In terms of human psychology, that which changes stimulates. That which appears solid and unchanging secures.
We see ourselves as individual fixed entities. We see ourselves as having a birth date at a specific point in time. Then there were memorable events from childhood. We went to and graduated from various schools during our development. We have an identification number by way of the Social Security administration. We have specific bank accounts and investments. We will even be issued a death certificate that states a definite point in time when this fixed entity expired. We can not deny that this sequence of events occurred, therefore we – our projected, accumulated image of ourselves – existed as a fixed entity. This concept is the product of logic and reasoning on facts that we observe, and observations that we share within our culture.
Can this be the whole picture? In this scenario, as we search for meaning to our lives, we come upon the idea that we have a separate “soul” that lives “forever”. This separate soul came from “somewhere” and will go “somewhere” when it separates from our body, sometime around our date of death.
We can not argue that the events listed above occurred. They did, they continue to occur, and they will continue as long as there is breath and heartbeat. However, the accumulated conclusion of a “separate self as a fixed entity” can be opened up for further consideration.
There’s a quote: “The person you are right now has nothing to do with the person you were five minutes ago.” When I first heard these words, I was confused. It took several days of pondering to get to their meaning. Finally the answer came when I got angry while driving in traffic. I realized that the person who embodied the anger had nothing to do with the person who entered the freeway a few minutes ago. The nature of who we are is in a constant state of charge.
This is good news. I am not the things that I’ve done. I am not the victim of things that have been done to me. I am the living response in the present moment to the circumstances of my life as they spring forth. If approached with sufficient awareness and mindfulness, I can exercise a high degree of choice in the matter, including understanding and forgiveness both for myself and others. Yes, this is good news. I am not a fixed entity.