Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

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Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#1  Postby -1- » July 29th, 2017, 9:47 am

I have a body. My body is not me; it is my body, so I own it, therefore it is not me, much like a book of matches I own is not me, and much like a car I own is not me.

Similarly, I have a mind and I have a spirit. They are not me; they are mine.

So who is I?

I can't exist without a mind, body and spirit, yet I am separate from them.

What makes up ME, without the addition of mind, spirit and body?

That is my quest. To find that out.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#2  Postby Burning ghost » July 29th, 2017, 3:29 pm

One place to start would be to say there is no "I" without language.

I am not really sure I can accept your general view though. I consider my body to be a part of "I". Without my body I experience nothing and therefore there would be no prior "I" to undertand language and say "I".
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#3  Postby JamesOfSeattle » July 29th, 2017, 11:23 pm

"I" and "me" are not set terms. They are terms of convenience which can be used in different ways. Sometimes they refer to your body ("Hey, why did you hit me?"). Sometimes they refer to an abstract concept, such as the mind associated with a specific body. Sometimes they refer to a specific subset of your brain/mind, such as the narrative self that has access to language and memories but not various subconscious (relative to the narrative self) activities.

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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#4  Postby LuckyR » July 29th, 2017, 11:46 pm

-1- wrote:I have a body. My body is not me; it is my body, so I own it, therefore it is not me, much like a book of matches I own is not me, and much like a car I own is not me.

Similarly, I have a mind and I have a spirit. They are not me; they are mine.

So who is I?

I can't exist without a mind, body and spirit, yet I am separate from them.

What makes up ME, without the addition of mind, spirit and body?

That is my quest. To find that out.


Well since your perception passes through your body and your thoughts lie in your mind, your ability to observe and analyze your data in your quest to answer that question will be somewhere between skewed and nonexistent. Better to ask what makes up him (or her).
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#5  Postby Eduk » July 30th, 2017, 4:29 am

Well I can cut my arm off and I'm still 100% me. But I can't scoop some of my brain out without loosing some of me. And there is no spirit to scoop or cut, depending how you define spirit.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#6  Postby Empiricist-Bruno » July 30th, 2017, 11:44 am

I, in that context, is a possession of history.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#7  Postby Synthesis » July 30th, 2017, 1:31 pm

-1- wrote:So who is I?

That is my quest. To find that out.

When you find the answer, then you will realize all things, as well.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#8  Postby Burning ghost » July 31st, 2017, 2:55 am

Have you read Being and TIme?

Or are you really one of those who hasn't read anything like you mentioned previously?

-- Updated July 31st, 2017, 2:55 am to add the following --

directed to OP and 1
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#9  Postby KevinS » July 31st, 2017, 10:31 pm

-1- wrote:I have a body. My body is not me; it is my body, so I own it, therefore it is not me, much like a book of matches I own is not me, and much like a car I own is not me.

Similarly, I have a mind and I have a spirit. They are not me; they are mine.

So who is I?

I can't exist without a mind, body and spirit, yet I am separate from them.

What makes up ME, without the addition of mind, spirit and body?

That is my quest. To find that out.



Hello -1-

What you posted is something that has been on my mind for awhile now. And while I cannot say with absolute certainty what I am about to say is accurate it is what "feels" most right to me.

We have a body and a mind. It is true we experience reality through these two things all of our physical sensations via the body as well as our thoughts and a host of other things through our mind. The question then is what is the Spirit? Personally it doubles over to me as a Soul. Not just as MY Soul but as ME. The Soul itself. It is that which I see as the "I". I don't just have a soul I am a soul. "I" am what animates this body, "I" am the furnace that burns that keeps me going. The body and the mind are tools I use in this existence. Just like a tigers tools are his claws and teeth, so The body and mind is there for me to utilize. The Spirit/Soul isn't that thing you see in cartoons which slowly floats away, and if it was then it would be "I" that's doing the floating. I hope this helps. To be honest realizing this for myself has gifted me more power and control over my daily life.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#10  Postby Spectrum » August 1st, 2017, 12:17 am

Whenever we deliberate on "who is I" we need to put it into the whole perspective of the individual [survival, mortality, moral, etc.], life and the universe.

There are various valid perspectives to "I-ness" i.e.

    1. The physical "I"
    2. The empirical mental "I"
    3. The psychological "I"
    4. The spiritual "I"
    5. The independent "I AM"

The recognition of the existence of each "I" in its various perspective is necessary in various circumstances.
As for 5-I AM - which can be thought of, there is no independent "I AM" that exists apart from the physical "I." There is no independent soul that exists after physical death.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#11  Postby -1- » August 1st, 2017, 5:52 am

Spectrum wrote:Whenever we deliberate on "who is I" we need to put it into the whole perspective of the individual [survival, mortality, moral, etc.], life and the universe.

There are various valid perspectives to "I-ness" i.e.

    1. The physical "I"
    2. The empirical mental "I"
    3. The psychological "I"
    4. The spiritual "I"
    5. The independent "I AM"

The recognition of the existence of each "I" in its various perspective is necessary in various circumstances.
As for 5-I AM - which can be thought of, there is no independent "I AM" that exists apart from the physical "I." There is no independent soul that exists after physical death.


This is the Briton's School of Existentialism, isn't it? They keep on talking about things like "Am I five" and "Am I six".
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#12  Postby Magicpotion » August 1st, 2017, 7:52 am

-1- wrote:Who is I?

Reminds me of the self-enquiry method "Who am I?" taught by the Hindu sage Sri Ramana Maharshi.

Sri Ramana Maharshi was a jivanmukta (one who has gained and assimilated self-knowledge, thus is liberated with an inner sense of freedom while living). The state is the aim of moksha (emancipation, liberation or release) in Advaita Vedanta, Yoga and other schools of Hinduism, and it is referred to as jivanmukti (Self-realization).

In 1982 he released a short booklet titled 'Who am I? (Nan Yar?)':


Text can be found here: sriramanamaharshi .org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/who_am_I.pdf

But as a general introduction, this video is great:


Transcript from the video:
If there be a goal to be reached it cannot be permanent. The goal
must already be there. We seek to reach the goal with the ego, but
the goal exists before the ego. What is in the goal is even prior to
our birth, i.e., to the birth of the ego. Because we exist the ego
appears to exist too.
If we look on the Self as the ego then we become the ego, if as the
mind we become the mind, if as the body we become the body.
It is the thought which builds up sheaths in so many ways. The
shadow on the water is found to be shaking. Can anyone stop the
shaking of the shadow? If it should cease to shake you would not
notice the water but only the light. Similarly to take no notice of
the ego and its activities, but see only the light behind. The ego is
the I-thought. The true ‘I’ is the Self.

Realisation is already there. The state free from thoughts is the
only real state. There is no such action as Realisation. Is there
anyone who is not realising the Self? Does anyone deny his own
existence? Speaking of realisation, it implies two selves - the one
to realise, the other to be realised. What is not already realised, is
sought to be realised. Once we admit our existence, how is it that
we do not know our Self?

Because of the thoughts - the mind.

Quite so. It is the mind that stands between and veils our
happiness. How do we know that we exist? If you say because
of the world around us, then how do you know that you existed
in deep sleep?

How to get rid of the mind?

Is it the mind that wants to kill itself? The mind cannot kill itself.
So your business is to find the real nature of the mind. Then you
will know that there is no mind. When the Self is sought, the mind is
nowhere. Abiding in the Self, one need not worry about the mind.

How to get rid of fear?

What is fear? It is only a thought. If there is anything besides
the Self there is reason to fear. Who sees the second (anything
external)? First the ego arises and sees objects as external. If the
ego does not rise, the Self alone exists and there is no second
(nothing external). For anything external to oneself implies the
seer within. Seeking it there will arise no doubt, no fear - not
only fear, all other thoughts centred round the ego will disappear
along with it.

This method seems to be quicker than the usual one of cultivating
qualities alleged necessary for salvation (sadhana chatushtaya)?

Yes. All bad qualities centre round the ego. When the ego is gone
Realisation results by itself. There are neither good nor bad qualities
in the Self. The Self is free from all qualities. Qualities pertain to
the mind only. It is beyond quality. If there is unity, there will also
be duality. The numeral one gives rise to other numbers. The truth
is neither one nor two. IT is as it is.

The difficulty is to be in the thought-free state.

...

Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its
identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish
and Reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method.
Whereas all other methods are done, only retaining the ego. In those
paths there arise so many doubts and the eternal question remains
to be tackled finally. But in this method the final question is the
only one and it is raised from the very beginning. No sadhanas are
necessary for engaging in this quest.


Text can be found here: selfdefinition .org/ramana/Talks-with-Sri-Ramana-Maharshi--complete.pdf
The above quote begins on page 131.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#13  Postby -1- » August 1st, 2017, 12:16 pm

Sri Ramana Maharshi wrote:Reality is simply the loss of the ego. Destroy the ego by seeking its
identity. Because the ego is no entity it will automatically vanish
and Reality will shine forth by itself. This is the direct method.
Whereas all other methods are done, only retaining the ego. In those
paths there arise so many doubts and the eternal question remains
to be tackled finally. But in this method the final question is the
only one and it is raised from the very beginning. No sadhanas are
necessary for engaging in this quest.


Thanks for bringing this up, Magi.

It says to me, that human beings are that because they have an ego; to access reality, you must destroy your ego, and then you directly can relate to reality.

I see two problems with this. The first is, that I would need to give up what's human in me, to experience reality. That is not good, as when you give up your ego, you become an object. I would much rather be a human with an ego than an object with no ego.

That's A. B. is that perhaps --nay, not perhaps, but truly, objects can't experience anything. So despite being part of reality, they can't experience any of it.

Sri Ramana Maharshi has the clear insight, that as humans, we can't experience reality directly. I fully, fully agree with this claim. The cure to this, as Sri Ramana Maharshi presents it, is to become part of reality, with no ego. That presupposes death, and presupposes a loss of perception. I can't go along with that.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#14  Postby Greta » August 1st, 2017, 9:37 pm

-1-, I'll join the list of those here who sometimes wonder about the issue.

Consider this: If you were raised by a pack of wolves, in what ways would you be the same person you are today? In what circumstance would dealing with wolf-raised-1- be similar to dealing with human-raised-1-? By the same token, what similarities would there be between dealing with child -1- and adult -1-? Probably not much is my guess.

That suggests to me that we are more part of a collective and less truly individual than we imagined. Google tells me time and again that my most brilliant and original ideas have generally been thought of before by at least 720,000 others and, of them, many have gone into greater detail and depth. Quite a reality check. It's also nice to know that when I die there will still be people thinking the thoughts that I believe to be important. Nothing will be lost to the world in that sense when I shuffle off into Neverland.

What is lost with death is a particular bundle of tendencies in physical reality. All of the tendencies are present elsewhere, but not in that particular combination. Do death tends to only be important to those who are strongly connected to the dead person. Grieving SOs don't benefit from those with similar bundles of tendencies to their beloved if they are living elsewhere and don't know them. It's the particular relationships that we have that matter most to us and, to a fair extent, define us.

In that sense, our relationships can be thoughts of as a particular part of our local environment, of which we are also more of a part than it can seem. Indigenous people were right IMO to claim themselves and their cultures to be expressions of the land.
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Re: Who is I? The possessor of my body, mind, and spirit?

Post Number:#15  Postby Burning ghost » August 2nd, 2017, 3:54 am

I think a lot of this is starting to sound dangerously mystical.

-1- No comment about Dasein?

How about we ask the temporal question of "being", of "I". Am I the same person now as I was five years ago? It is pretty obvious that I am not and no one stays the same. Over a greater expanse of time we understand perfectly well that we change as people both in opinion, emotional capacity and other facets such as intelligence and experience. What is more hard to come to terms with is that for this to be true, we must then really ask if I am the same person I was when I started writing this? Are you the same reader that started reading this? There is a rather strange emotional reaction to the idea we are "coming" and "going", untethered to anything but the convenience of language which comforts a sense of "selfhood".

The most obvious point would be to say we are "I" because we have memory of "being" a different "I". Or rather the very fact we recall memories is the exposition of if "I". The "I" is active memory. When "I" am unconscious and completely sedated the "I" does not exist, there is no appreciation of time. If I sleep and wake I sense a passing of time has taken place. Under anesthetic "I" have no appreciation of the passage of time, the "I" was absent during this state/stasis.

As for "fear", "fear" is a bodily felt process. No body means no "fear". To feel emotion a body is essential.

I should add I have been in a rather privileged positon of reaching the "state" grasped at above. I have been in a "state" where I had no "fear". You could've walked up to me with a gun and threatened my life and I wouldn't have been even slightly scared. I was still "I". That said I fully understand this as being something that could be clumsily described as "loss of ego". The truth is it is an extreme "state" and not easy to describe. If anything I feel it better to describe it as a striping down of social interactions, a very acute realization of cause and effect, of a communally lived façade that we engage in day-to-day more out of habit than necessity. To expose the comfort of society is to reveal the prison. Most of us just don't want to confront freedom as a reality. Instead people function in the comfort of the prison and dress it up as a freedom they agreed to prior to the habit of functioning within it.

In this sense "the destruction of the ego" is really talking about the realization of excepted rules you partake in without even being able to face them, the destruction is the break through that allows you to question, on a fundamental level, and face existential questions. The "existential crisis" is a crisis of the "ego", and to face it boldly, and in many cases with suicidal tendencies, is to reveal the lie of this "crisis" (that is all it is, it is a comfortable lie which we willingly fell into the habit of accepting, and remain comfortably imprisoned by.)

There is no "fear of death". It is just a nonsense.

There are two ways to break the façade. Be completely selfish or completely selfless. Don't for a second think one is "better" than the other! That is the road to pain and torment for all.

"death" is just a concept for the living. That obviousness of that statement is easy to miss.
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