What are you?
At the core of our identity is a false assumption.
Both science and advaita spirituality challenge and dismantle our notions of self.
We think we are a body, with a brain. We understand that the body processes stimuli and constructs a multi-sensory representation of the world from the stimuli.
Actually, sometimes we forget that we exoerience the world as representation.
But a cusory examination is all it takes to realise this:
We see grass as green, but in fact green is the wavelength of electro-magnetic radiation REJECTED by grass. Grass absorbs the other colours of radiation in the tiny sliver of wavelengths we call the visual spectrum.
So, in a way, grass is anti-green.
Likewise we hear a sound (perhaps a tree falling in the forest, to zen this up a bit) and think that sound is an objective reality.
But in fact that sound is simply how we process vibrations in the atmosphere or medium we are in.
If our brains processed these vibrations ss colours then the “sound: of a falling tree mught be blue.
People with synaesthesia, a disorder in which ther brain processes stimuli atypically, experience the world like this.
So although there is world independent of our perception, our perception of it is a representation, specifically a representation which is useful to us as an organism.
For example, it is useful for us to percieve the wavelengths of radiation in the visual spectrum, whereas other species such ss bees see a little further into the ultraviolet because that is useful to them.
The world we percieve then, is a limited but useful representation of the real world.
So that’s looking outward. What about looking inward?
Again we find a useful representation. This time called the self, or ego.
Our body exists in space, and our brains locate our body in space by a sense called “proprioception”. This location is constructed from the centrality of our sense organs, and their representation of the world around us.
The most immediate, enduring unquestioned sense of being a human is the sense of being an “I”.
It is to this “I” which the world appears.
We regard this “I” as self evident fact, and we regard this “I” as “who we are”.
If someone asks who are we, we say “I am” and list a series of things such as a name, relationships, memories, labels, activities, occupation etc.
The revealing thing is, if we remove our name, occupation, relationships and memories; we are still an “I”.
So we haven’t really got at what we are.
Examining the issue as subject/object, we see that everything we are aware of, is an object, and awareness itself is the subject.
Anything we can say about “ourselves” is therefore object. “I’m tall, I’m a female doctor etc cannot be the “I” because we can perceive them. They are objects to our subjective awareness.
The “I” then, as awareness, must be featureless and “colourless”
It cannot have any distinguishing features, because they would be objects of perception.
Awareness then, cannot be personal. It must be exactly the same in all people.
Only what awareness is aware OF, the thoughts and sensations of the individual entity, can be varying.
Science cannot explain how consciousness is generated by the brain.
That’s because it isn’t.
Quantum physics is revealing that consciousness is an integral part of the physical universe.
The notion that a material universe has lead to the emergence of consciousness is now a less sustainable argument than that consciousness is prior to matter.
Every new discovery in cosmology and quantum physics further confirms this.
What this consciousness is, is exactly the same singular, universal and boundless awareness that we call “I”.
There is no multiplicity. Multiplicity is just an appearance.
The “I” that we all are, that all things are, was never born, and will never die.