Wednesday, 11 December 2019

What we need to investigate is not the act of witnessing but the witness itself

Referring to a passage I wrote in If any state that we take to be waking is actually just a dream, we can infer that there is just one perceiver (ēka-jīva) and that its perception of phenomena is what creates them (dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi) (section 14 in one of my previous articles, Which is a more reasonable and useful explanation: dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda or sṛṣṭi-dṛṣṭi-vāda?), namely “Therefore ēka-jīva-vāda does not deny that there are many people, nor does it deny that each person seems to be a perceiver. What it denies is that any person is actually a perceiver, because just as a dream is perceived only by the dreamer, namely ego, who is one and the same in every dream, our present state is perceived only by this one ego, the false awareness ‘I am this body’, who is what dreams any state in which phenomena seem to exist”, a friend wrote to me:
Does that imply that what we define as ego is the mere act of being aware of phenomena (the witness so to speak)? And we mistake that one and only act of perceiving phenomena (ēka-jīva-vāda) with the first person (the vessel needed to experience this world through the senses?), or body-mind we encounter in this dream and that turns out to be what we think we are?

Is that act of witnessing what the ego is (only from its own perspective) and is that the real focus of the self-investigation? So there’s no single manifestation shared by many egos but one single ego manifesting a wide multiplicity of seeming perceivers? So I’m (the body-mind phenomena) no more real than the second and third person in this dream? Ego wouldn’t be a “personal”, “limited to one body-mind” phenomena but the mere perception and projection of manifestation?
In reply to this I wrote:

Ego is not the mere act of being aware of phenomena, but what is aware of phenomena, so it is the witness or perceiver. However, though as ego we are essentially just the witness, we mistake ourself to be a set of phenomena (namely a person consisting of five sheaths: body, life, mind, intellect and will), so we seem to be a part of the dream we are witnessing, and as such we seem to be acting in it.

What we need to investigate is not the act of witnessing but the witness itself. That is, we need to investigate what is perceiving all this, not what is the act of perceiving all this. So long as we are in any way involved in the act of perceiving anything other than ourself, we are not investigating ourself, or at least not investigating ourself keenly enough. To investigate ourself, we need to separate ourself, the perceiver, from the act of perceiving, because only when we attend to ourself so keenly that we cease perceiving anything else will we be aware of ourself as we actually are.

Regarding ēka-jīva-vāda, in a dream there is only one perceiver, but that one perceiver seems to be a person, so in its view all the other people it perceives seem to be perceiving the same dream world. However, all those other ‘perceivers’ seem to exist only in the view of the one perceiver, namely the dreamer, who is ego.

Ego is not personal, in the sense that it is not any person but what is aware of itself as if it were a person. Since it always seems to be a person (though not always the same person), at any one time or in any one dream it is limited to one particular person (or ‘body-mind phenomenon’, as you call it).

Ego is also not the mere projection and perception of phenomena, but what projects and perceives them, so projection, perception and phenomena do not exist independent of it. It is the perceiver, and all other things are phenomena perceived by it, and they are created or projected by its very act of perceiving them (as we know to be the case in a dream).

45 comments:

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
the ego's obvious ability to slip in the role of billions of persons is quite considerable. At least, that must be a record in dramatic art.:-)

May I ask you a question wandering off the subject ?
Now there is full moon. Why do the Indians/Tamil people believe that doing pradakshina around Arunachala at full moon is of particular benefit ? What is your opinion about that subject ?

anadi-ananta said...

Two thoughts arose:
a.) Are also animals and plants or even mother earth submitted to something similar in effect as prarabdha ?
b.) Does astrology have any actual influence over humanity, fauna and flora and earth and universe ?
c.) Or is all equally submitted to the will of Ishwara/God ?

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

Michael,
I can see that it is possible for me to know myself as something that I am not, because i know myself as different things in waking and dream. But how can it be possible for me to ever be something that i am not? Shouldn't i always be what i really am even though I may be ignorant of that reality? So I am unable to understand how to make effort to be as I truly am, as Bhagavan says in Ulladu Narpadu, could you please explain?
Bhagavan says in Atma Viddai that this path is extremely easy. What is the significance of this statement? Is this an assurance for the wretched ego? Is this a clue, so that we don't overlook the simplicity and get caught up in too many ideas? Or is this a poetic refrain not to be taken too literally? Is it easy only for those who have a lot of bhakti and vairagya? What about the role of perseverance in light of Bhagavan's assurance that this path is 'extremely easy'? If one does not find it to be easy, one should nonetheless not lose hope? It doesn't seem an 'easy-going' path, in my experience.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Liking for happiness is our real nature

As ego, our love is very fragmented, but behind this fragmented love, there is a fundamental liking. We like so many things in this world because we believe these things will contribute to our happiness. I like posting comments on this blog because posting comments make me happy. I like knowing about naturopathy because this knowledge makes me happy. Whatever we like or desire, underlying that liking or desire is the liking to be happy. We like whatever we think will make us happy. That liking for happiness is our real nature.

This liking for happiness impels us to do all actions, impels us to take birth again and again. All our actions are driven by our liking for happiness, and since our appetite for happiness is unlimited, the actions we do are also unlimited. We dream one dream after another only driven by our liking to experience happiness.

The problem is we are searching for happiness where it simply does not exist. I like football and when my team wins I am happy, but when it loses I feel miserable. Why do I feel happy when my team wins? It is because I want my team to win, and when that want is satisfied I am happy. I am relieved of that desire for a while. However, our desires are never satisfied. If my team wins this Saturday, I want it to win next Saturday and next and next - just one win does not satisfy us.

So we are looking for happiness outside ourself, but we cannot permanent happiness from anything outside. All the happiness we seem to get from external things are all finite, all fleeting. None of it lasts.

The very nature of ego is the desire for happiness because happiness is our real nature, and love for our real nature is also our real nature.

• Based on the video: 2019-12-07 Sri Ramana Center, Houston: discussion with Michael James on Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu verse 35 (1:03)

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
when we consider a particular person as a vessel then ego's seeming functioning in a multiplicity of persons can be compared with the water flowing in communicating or communicated vessels. Is hat a correct comparison ?

anadi-ananta said...

Sorry, I meant to ask "Is that a correct comparison ?".

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
may I make a little amendment of your above comment-heading ?
Liking for happiness cannot yet be equated with actual happiness. Therefore liking for happiness is not yet our real nature but certainly comes from our real nature.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
ego is said to be aware of itself as if it were a person. Thus/thereby identifies itself with a person and its adjuncts/five sheaths. So it consequently makes use of a body and percieves all the phenomena with the help of the five senses of any/this body. Although a person acts apparently as the perceiving (and executive) agency of ego and ego is mainly in this way aware of phenomena, ego is named as the witness or perceiver - instead of a person. Is not at this situation (as matters stand) a person to be considered at least as a/the tool/instrument or extension of the one ego in the sense of ēka-jīva-vāda ? In this context I cannot easily see the importance of stressing the necessity of a clear distinction between ego and person. I have the picture of a huge tree before me which receives/obtains its viability, vitality, zest for life and thus its awareness by its many roots, branches, twigs and leaves. Can one figuratively compare the functioning of ego with such a tree trunk and the roots, branches, twigs and leaves as the many persons ?

anadi-ananta said...

To whom? To me. Who am I?,
if you allow me to write a few lines regarding your questions in the first paragraph of the above comment...
According Bhagavan you actually are always what you actually are. However, due self-forgetting/ignorance or maya you seemingly have lost being aware of your real nature and now you find yourself as being seemingly different from your real awareness.
So actually you never have lost your real awareness which now seems to be mixed up with non-aware adjuncts namely body-mind facetts (jada). Therefore there should be no obstacle in your way to practise self-investigation persistently.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Añadí-amanta, Doesn't love for our real nature come from our true nature?

Salazar said...

Yo Soy, right on! It surly doesn't come from the ego because then would be a subject-object relationship.

Also, one is always self, and as Bhagavan has put it, the problem is the identification of the self with the non-self. That has to stop.

99.9% of all questions (and doubts) on this blog are due to the identification with the non-self. Alas, self is taken or seen as something foreign, difficult to see, and so on. Maybe some people need just to relax and stop "trying". One cannot try to be, that ruins being. That is an extremely important pointer.

Salazar said...

It's like the snake insists to be a snake without noticing that it is really a rope. It refuses to see the rope, sort of funny - like wearing a necklace (self) and still looking for that necklace (self).

The snake (ego) focuses on the rope (self) as if it would be something different or foreign. The snake (ego) simply believed to long being a snake that it made it so real that the rope (self) seems unreal.

Bhagavan said to those who asked him to show them self, "how can I show you your very home?"

anadi-ananta said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,
as you say, love for our real nature comes from our true nature.
I did not anyway express a different view.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
sometimes it is said that the body is insentient or unconscious (jada, whereas it is also written that even the body is nothing but consciousness or is not other than self or that formless and unlimited consciousness is the only real substance of the body and everything else. Presumably that is not contradictory but one has to consider in which context is spoken.

anadi-ananta said...

Yes, Salazar, in dim light one scarcely can see clearly.:-)

To whom? To me. Who am I? said...

anadi-ananta,
Thank you for your comment of 13 December 2019 at 17:29. You say in your comment that there should be no obstacle in practicing self-investigation because I have never lost my real awareness. I agree, if self-awareness was lost then the practice would be difficult. Since it is never lost, it should be easy to do self-investigation. My question however was that since we have never really stopped being what we really are, how can we try to be as we really are? It is like if I am at point A, how can I go to point A, since I have never left it (although I may mistakenly think that I am at a distant point B). So when Bhagavan says "Being in the heart as it is alone is thinking [of it, i.e. the existing substance]", what to do?
I think "being in the heart as it is" perhaps means "being self-attentive", and certainly we can make effort to be self-attentive.

Salazar,
You say 99.9% of all questions/doubts on this blog are because of identification with non-self. Aren't 100% of questions/doubts because of identification with non-self? If we didn't identify with non-self, there would be no blog left to post questions in, and no one left to ask those questions, according to what Bhagavan taught - "if ego comes into existence, everything comes into existence; if ego does not exist, everything does not exist".

Anonymous said...

True beingness can occur only if we can go beyond I am the body thought/feeling.. All other types of beingness is still by the ego and for the ego.

Anonymous said...

Similarly, Bhagavan says world is a dream and at the same time he says world is nothing but self.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, there is only one type of "beingness" - all "other" types are made up by thoughts.

IMO, your problem is kind of an obsession to get over the "I am the body" idea/feeling. That [I am the body idea] will vanish just by being (without thoughts). Of course not immediately, how fast is determined by one's willingness to let go of any ideas and concepts.

Salazar said...

To whom? Yes, let's quibble about 0.1% :-)

All what we can do is to follow the pointers of the sages and relay these pointers as good as one comprehends them. Now if we post or not and what we post or not is determined by prarabdha. So even while typing comments atma-vichara is required to see "who is typing comments"?

No entity is typing these comments (just seemingly the hand of a body), it's a mysterious force according to Bhagavan, the ego just likes to believe it is it who is doing that. That is the problem.

anadi-ananta said...

To whom? To me. Who am I?,
since you have never left point A but mistakenly think that you are now at a distant point B - as long as you are seemingly in the grip of maya - you must seemingly return to point A.:-)

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

Anadi Ananta, Salazar, Michael...
To what extent do you think that the following sentence by Rupert Spira is or is not aligned with Bhagavan's Teachings?

MODULATIONS, YET UNMODIFIED:

I, the pure light of knowing, modulate myself in the form of thinking and seem to become a mind; I modulate myself in the form of sensing and seem to become a body; I modulate myself in the form of seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling, and seem to become a world. However, I always remain myself, unmodified by any of the forms or activities that I assume.

Rupert Spira

Anonymous said...

I agree with your last paragraph. That mysterious force is typing the comments and at the same time doesn’t know that typing is happening.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I am obsessed with that idea since the very existence of us in this world is dependent on that idea. I doubt just being will automatically destroy that I am the body idea. We have to question where and how that thought originated.. otherwise we will just go nowhere.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, you said "Bhagavan says world is a dream and at the same time he says world is nothing but self."

Yes, that's correct. A dream is within self as is the world. However there is no distinction in reality.

There is only self. How can there be anything independent from self? That is impossible.
Of course there is the paradox that an object is within self and also self but only with undivided awareness. If an object is seen as seemingly independent (like a body for example) then it is not real in the sense that it is [incorrectly] perceived separately from self.

IMO many people spend a lot of time trying to figure out certain paradoxes which stem from the Absolute. It is better to look for the one who wants to know or who doubts or who questions Bhagavan's seemingly contradictory statements.

Sanjay Lohia said...

Anadi-ananta, sometimes back you wrote, ‘Are also animals and plants or even mother earth submitted to something similar in effect as prarabdha?’ Animals are definitely governed by prarabdha because animals are no different to us, humans. Animals are also egos. On the other hand, there is no prarabdha for mother earth because prarabdha means predestined experiences, and some entity should be there to experience such predestined experiences. In our case, our ego as an entity experiences these predestined experiences. One needs to be conscious to experience anything, but since mother earth is not conscious, it cannot experience anything, including prarabdha.

What about plants? Do they experience prarabdha? Even though plants are sentient in one sense, but their sentience is quite different to our sentience. The plants do not experience things as we do because they do not possess a central nervous system. Plants may respond to external stimulus but they do not experience pain and pleasure like we do. However, we cannot say with certainty what takes place within the plants. However, according to my understanding, plants do not experience prarabdha.


You also asked, ‘Does astrology have any actual influence over humanity, fauna and flora and earth and universe?’ Astrology is a science, and genuine astrologers can predict quite accurately the happening of the future. However, we should have nothing to do with astrology because our concern is not with the future but with the present. Who are we now who wants to know about our future? So Bhagavan’s path compels us to stay away from such unnecessary curiosity about our future. Even if we are able to know about our future, how will such knowledge help us? Can we change our future in any way? According to Bhagavan, we cannot because whatever is to happen cannot be changed in any way.

So we should have nothing to do with astrology. We do not want to know or change our future, but we want to destroy our future. That is, if we investigate the reality of our presence, we will find that we alone exist, and therefore past, present and future have no existence whatsoever.

anadi-ananta said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,
in the quoted statement there is no clear distinction between self and ego.
Ego-mind of course is the modulating subject, but "I" as the pure self-awareness cannot be supposed as doing anything let alone modulations of the mind.

anadi-ananta said...

Anonymous,
just being as permanent state will certainly have automatically destroyed the "I am the body"-idea.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
perhaps I left a comment on 13 December 2019 at around 21:14 UTC. However, it is quite well possible that I forgot to click on the publish-button.
You may remove this inquiry-comment in any case if the supposed comment is found or not.

Salazar said...

Yo Soy, that quote by Spira sounds fancy but that is not Bhagavan's teaching, IMO.

I.e. "I" doesn't modulate anything, that's just the ego's backdoor justification that it is still somehow involved in any affairs. IMO, somebody who is making comments like that is not a sage.

Salazar said...

Anonymous, it depends how you understand "being". So considering your comment about "going nowhere" it must be quite different than mine.

By the way, 'being' is where the thought "I am the body" originates.

Mouna said...

Yo soy tu mismo,
"To what extent do you think that the following sentence by Rupert Spira is or is not aligned with Bhagavan's Teachings?"

If I may suggest:
It sounds like a pretty good description of the I-thought or ego. Self doesn’t modulate, since any kind of modulation needs space and time to do so, it would have to become limited within those parameters to accomplish that.
Like saying that the rope “modulates” into or as a snake.
This is yet another “modulation” of the idea that self is the witness of phenomena, which is not in sync with Bhagavan’s teachings.

anadi-ananta said...

Sanjay,
how do you know whether mother earth is conscious(ness) or not and that it cannot experience anything ?
My question about astrology should have been formulated more accurately, namely if there are actually any connections between the constellation of celestial bodies or the signs of the zodiac and the fate of humanity, fauna and flora, earth and universe.

Yo Soy Tu Mismo said...

I think what he is referring to is the modulation of the consciousness "I Am" which, ultimately, is the substratum of the Real or Chit aspect from which emerge, as a distortion, the apparent manifest forms, by intermingling the chit aspect with the coarse and insentient of jada (body). And since all manifested forms need consciousness (Chit) to appear as forms, we could conclude what the Heart Sutra tells us when it mentions that: "The Void (substratum) is form and form is Void".

Mouna said...

In my opinion, Rupert Spira is more aligned with Vedantic traditions like Kashmir Saivism (although one of the most articulate presenters of that) than with Bhagavan's teachings. Subtle differences between the two.
Articulate presentation of any kind of teachings is not a requisite to be a sage (whatever that means) or being wise, although sometimes it comes together in a bunch (like Bhagavan's case). Language articulation is primordially a feature of the intellect.

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, I have replied to your comment of 13 December 2019 at 15:05 in a separate article: Why do we need to distinguish ourself as ego from whatever person we seem to be?

Salazar said...

Yo Soy, Spira is one of many theorists who like to share their opinions about certain teachings. Nothing wrong with that, however I do not resonate with his way of presentation. I find his book "The Transparency of Things" mediocre at best.

That said, I find most contemporary Advaita Vedanta teacher mediocre, it's the same old rehash mixed with the particular biases of the teacher/author. Knowing what I know now I could have saved a lot of time reading books from these guys.

Standard story, someone has spontaneously an experience of subtle levels of mind, called "awakening", and then they feel the urge to share their sudden wisdom with the world. Some even confuse that with manonasa. These books are a waste of time.

Unknown said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo,

As for Rupert Spira's quote you mentioned, it is completely aligned with Bhagavan's teachings. This is what is meant by saguna Brahman and nirguna Brahman.

Michael James said...

Yo Soy Tu Mismo, regarding your comment of 14 December 2019 at 21:44, in which you quote a passage from Rupert Spira and ask to what extent it is aligned with Bhagavan’s teachings, though it may superficially seem to be aligned, it actually differs from them in a fundamental respect.

That is, what he refers to as ‘the pure light of knowing’ is presumably pure awareness, which is our real nature (ātma-svarūpa), but pure awareness is immutable, so it never modulates itself in any way whatsoever. What seems to modulate itself to become mind, body and world is only ego, as Bhagavan implies when he says in verse 26 of Uḷḷadu Nāṟpadu: ‘அகந்தையே யாவும் ஆம்’ (ahandaiyē yāvum ām), ‘Ego alone is everything’.

Therefore most of what Rupert wrote or said in that passage is true of ego but not of pure awareness. However, it is not entirely true to say that ego modulates itself to become mind, body and world, because though it may see itself as all these phenomena, it remains the same ego throughout. Ego is everything in the sense that it is the sole substance that appears as all phenomena, so in this respect it is like gold, which is the sole substance of all gold ornaments. When gold is formed into a ring, bangle or necklace, what changes or is modulated is not the gold itself but only its form. Likewise, when ego sees itself as a constantly changing stream of phenomena, what changes or is modulated is not ego itself but only the forms in which it sees itself.

Rupert’s failure to distinguish pure awareness from ego is highlighted in the final sentence of this passage, in which he says: ‘However, I always remain myself, unmodified by any of the forms or activities that I assume’. What always remain itself, unmodified by any of forms or activities, is pure awareness, because though ego as the substance and perceiver of all forms and activities is not itself modified by them, it does not always remain itself, because it appears only in waking and dream and disappears in sleep. However, what assumes all forms and activities is only ego and not pure awareness, because they appear only in the self-ignorant view of ego and not in the clear view of pure awareness.

Like the vast majority of teachers of advaita, both past and present, Rupert Spira seems to espouse a somewhat diluted and relatively superficial interpretation of it, whereas what Bhagavan taught us is pure and undiluted advaita, so in comparison to most other versions of advaita his teachings are extremely deep and radical, but nevertheless very simple and clear.

Salazar said...

Thank you Michael for your fine response re. Spira's "idea". I couldn't agree more.

anadi-ananta said...

Michael,
could you please look shortly to my enquiry-comment of 15 December 2019 at 11:45 ?

Michael James said...

Anadi-ananta, as you say in your comment of 15 December 2019 at 11:45, I think you must have forgotten to click on the publish button after writing a comment on 13 December 2019 at around 21:14, because I never received any notification about it, and I could not find it either among comments awaiting modification or among the spam. If you remember what you wrote in it, you can write it again.

anadi-ananta said...

Thank you Michael for searching the mentioned obviously unpublished comment.
So now you may remove both my enquiry-comments. Sorry for having demanded your time.

Michael James said...

‘To whom? To me. Who am I?’, regarding your comment of 13 December 2019 at 07:19, in which you wrote, ‘So I am unable to understand how to make effort to be as I truly am’, what we actually are is just pure awareness, which means awareness that is uncontaminated by even the slightest awareness of anything other than itself, so in order to be as we actually are we just need to be aware of nothing other than ourself.

Though we are as we actually are in sleep, the pure awareness that shines alone then does not eradicate ego, because ego is not present there to be eradicated. Ego will be eradicated only when it is aware of itself as pure awareness, which is why Bhagavan defines real awareness in verse 16 of Upadēśa Undiyār by saying:

வெளிவிட யங்களை விட்டு மனந்தன்
னொளியுரு வோர்தலே யுந்தீபற
      வுண்மை யுணர்ச்சியா முந்தீபற.

veḷiviḍa yaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉantaṉ
ṉoḷiyuru vōrdalē yundīpaṟa
      vuṇmai yuṇarcciyā mundīpaṟa
.

பதச்சேதம்: வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு மனம் தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Padacchēdam (word-separation): veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu maṉam taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

அன்வயம்: மனம் வெளி விடயங்களை விட்டு தன் ஒளி உரு ஓர்தலே உண்மை உணர்ச்சி ஆம்.

Anvayam (words rearranged in natural prose order): maṉam veḷi viḍayaṅgaḷai viṭṭu taṉ oḷi-uru ōrdalē uṇmai uṇarcci ām.

English translation: Leaving aside external viṣayas [phenomena], the mind knowing its own form of light is alone real awareness [true knowledge or knowledge of reality].

In this context ‘mind’ means ego, because ego is the cognising or knowing aspect of the mind, so what Bhagavan implies in this verse is that in order to be aware of ourself as we actually are we as ego must cease being aware of phenomena and must instead be aware only of our ‘own form of light’, which is pure awareness. And as he says in verse 26 of Upadēśa Undiyār, ‘தானாய் இருத்தலே தன்னை அறிதல் ஆம்’ (tāṉ-āy iruttal-ē taṉṉai aṟidal ām), ‘Being oneself alone is knowing oneself’, so by being aware of ourself as we actually are we are thereby being as we actually are.

(I will continue this reply in my next comment.)

Michael James said...

In continuation of my previous comment in reply to ‘To whom? To me. Who am I?’:

Since we are pure self-awareness, what can be easier than to be aware of ourself alone? To be aware of anything else requires effort, because we must rise as ego and thereby project whatever else we may be aware of, whereas to be aware of ourself alone requires no effort at all, because all we need ‘do’ is just be as we always actually are.

To be aware of ourself alone seems to us as ego to be difficult and to require effort, but that is only because we have so much desire for and attachment to other things that we are unwilling to let go of them. Therefore whatever difficulty we may experience is entirely of our own making. We are wilfully clinging fast to phenomena, and we complain that it is difficult to let go. How can it be difficult? If we were willing to let go, nothing could be easier.

Therefore, as you say, we will recognise how easy it actually is only when we have sufficient bhakti (love to be aware of ourself alone) and vairāgya (freedom from desire to be aware of anything else at all), and we will gradually acquire such bhakti and vairāgya by patient and persistent practice of self-investigation and self-surrender.

Regarding your related comment of 14 December 2019 at 11:15, in which you ask, ‘if I am at point A, how can I go to point A, since I have never left it (although I may mistakenly think that I am at a distant point B)’, the only way you can go to point A is to look carefully to see where you actually are, because if you look carefully enough you will see that you are already at point A. Likewise, the only way to be what you actually are is to look carefully to see what you actually are, because if you look carefully enough you will see that you are always what you actually are and were never anything else.