Are we truly this body, emotions, and thoughts? Or are we something more? According to Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, one of the leading spiritual teachers in the past century, we are much more than what we normally perceive ourselves to be. Shri Mataji says we are the pure spirit (pure awareness and bliss), and our body, emotions, and thoughts are merely illusions (Sahaja Yoga Meditation). After careful consideration, I have come to believe this premise to be true, due to experiencing a state beyond thoughts, body, and emotions known as equanimity.
Thoughts are merely electrochemical reactions to stimuli. When we experience anything, we can react to it, and many times these reactions form as thoughts (What are Thoughts Made of). But are we these reactions? We must be more than reactions to stimuli, especially if we can control these reactions accordingly. It would be depressing to know the random thoughts that appear in our minds, especially the ones that are deemed as strange or disturbing, are to be intrinsically our own.
Our bodies are composed of the elements oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, magnesium, and traces of many other elements (Anke M. Arsenic). Are these elements and the processes associated with it who we are? We can control our bodies’ reaction to stimuli and are general health with enough practice. In this sense, we only owners of our bodies. If we are our body, then how does consciousness come into play? This is still an elusive question without a firm answer (Can Science Explain Consciousness?).
An emotion “is a neural impulse that moves an organism to action, prompting automatic reactive behavior that has been adapted through evolution as a survival mechanism to meet a survival need” (Emotion). Are we to be identified with this mundane process? Individuals can let their emotions come and go, and be detached from their chemical influence. This shows how we are beyond emotions, but usually accept to abide by them—consciously or unconsciously.
Are we a combination of emotions, thoughts, and a body? What makes up our emotions, thoughts, and bodies are mundane aspects of ourselves. We are not robots, hardwired to feel, think, and be in a body. We are much more, being able to witness these processes as a different self. This different self, in my belief, is the true self, as it is above the physical precision that runs our lives. This different self is simply awareness, without the badgering of emotions, thoughts, or bodily sensations. It is a witness to personal perception.
By experiencing equanimity, or a state when one is not perturbed by senses or external stimuli, I realized how our thoughts, bodies, and emotions are not who we are. In this state, which happened spontaneously to me, I forgot my name, who I was, and anything about myself. I had no thoughts, no bodily attachment, and no emotions—only a sense of complete ease. I simply was aware of existence as it is—without names of separation.
“Can Science Explain Consciousness?” Brainfacts. Society for Neuroscience. Web. 15 March, 2013.
“What are Thoughts Made of?” MIT School of Engineering. Web. April 26, 2011.
“Quotes by Shri Mataji.” Sahaja Yoga Spirituality. Web. February 4, 2015.
“Emotion.” Science Daily. Web. February 3, 2015.
Anke M. Arsenic. In: Mertz W. ed., Trace elements in human and Animal Nutrition, 5th ed. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, 1986, 347-372; Uthus E.O., Evidency for arsenical essentiality, Environ. Geochem. Health, 1992, 14:54-56; Uthus E.O., Arsenic essentiality and factors affecting its importance. In: Chappell W.R, Abernathy C.O, Cothern C.R. eds., Arsenic Exposure and Health. Northwood, UK: Science and Technology Letters, 1994, 199-208.
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