We often think of who we are in a particular way. We have certain characteristics, traits, beliefs, values, skills, emotional responses and a body and brain within which it all resides. But is anything about us actually the same from one year to the next, from one day to the next? We may think a great deal in terms of stability and certainty – holding on to those characteristics that we like as if they are permanent and wanting to shift those things about us that we don’t like – perhaps without realising that all aspects are inter-related anyway and a change in one aspect of us will impact another! We become attached to ourselves and others – in a particular form of being. But this is not who we are in so far as WE are not permanent in form.
Yes, we are in a permanent state all right, the permanent state of transformation – we are neither the same nor different from what we were before! As we look at a picture of ourselves as a child that is not who we are now, but it is not entirely not who we are either. We are not that child now, but that child is still of us – we are a continuation of that child. Transformation is our journey here. When we ask about where we started life, we weren’t in human form, we were a bunch of cells full of the potential for human life. Before that we were in two separate bodies (those of our parents). As we continue our transformation in life we change – it’s called ageing and our transformation influences past generations as well as future. That process of transformation leads us to the end of this physical life at some point in time, but even then we can talk of our continuation – just in another form, as we were before we were conceived.
Are we who we were?
We are not who we were, and we are not not who we were either!