What we think about defines and characterizes us. Proverbially, from the Old Testament: “As you think, so you are.” And, famously, from Descartes: “I think, therefore I am.” Which begs the question: Who are we when we’re not thinking?
We are fascinated by our bodies but of “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower” we are mostly incurious.
We are light emitters. Now, from a scientific point of view, all matter emits light, even stones, but ours is an extraordinary radiance, rapturously described in The Tibetan Book of the Dead as “the luminous splendour of the colourless light of Emptiness.” We think we are bodies going about the business of the body, but that’s vyakti, the outer self. The inner self, the vyakta, is pure light. I occasionally have the experience of seeing a soft white glow around the head of the man I am counselling. On those occasions I know again that all is well. There’s nothing he needs to do.
The word philosophy comes from the Greek for ‘love of wisdom’. The question upon which all of philosophy sits is, Who am I? Jesus answered this question directly. He said, “You are the light of the world.”
And I thought I was a body.
The door to the heart opens on the realization that the ground of our being, the essence of who we are, is formless. All else is congealed energy. “Our bodies are like prisons,” said Einstein, “and I look forward to be free, but I don’t speculate on what will happen to me. I live here now, and my responsibility is in this world now.”