You are not your mind.
While this statement may be true, I would say that we are somehow, partially, our mind, or the mind adds to our whole being. For what is a human being without his brain? Or what is a being without its brain? It’s like a computer without a CPU. Some spiritual teachers believe that we are pure consciousness, that we are spiritual beings, that there’s a greater force that govern our mind. While these may be true to some, (and they may be correct as well; don’t get me wrong, I am not completely against these), they’ve forgotten that our brain, powerful as it is could actually make us feel things that are beyond logic and reason.
A supernatural phenomenon may be translated by the brain as such because it couldn’t explain it. If we are pure essence or consciousness, then how about the other animals? What made us so special that we have the capability to feel and know things and they cannot? Or are we just a species with brains that are capable of making things, understand complex ideas, protect our whole being and choose our own perspectives?
It is somewhat sad to think that despite our capabilities, there’s an end for all of us. And this thought made the brain invent ideas and things that would prove otherwise. The mind doesn’t like the notion that it will end, thus, religions were invented, afterlife has been discussed and considered by many, essence, consciousness, soul, God, heaven, hell; all of these were invented because our brains didn’t want us to end. For one would think, what is the sense of all these, of living when in the end, we would all return to dust. If there’s nothing after this life, then what is the sense of all that we are doing?
There is an end. There is nothingness. It is better to believe these and wholeheartedly accept these facts until scientifically proven otherwise. What are we afraid of? We were on a state of nothingness before we were born. After our demise, we will just go back to that state. And we wouldn’t really mind, because we already ceased to exist.
The capability to think and to act in accordance to one’s values; to own, accept and correct one’s flaws; to know the pain of too much tenderness; to love one’s self despite of one’s imperfections; to admit that we are human and we are bound to commit mistakes; to choose the wrong path sometimes; to seek pleasure; to be selfish and sometimes to harm other people because of too much love for one’s self; yes, some of these are somewhat extreme, but these things and more are what make us what and who we are, complex beings who are capable of feeling, of dreaming, of making things happen and yet without resilience and wisdom, slaves to our own desires and emotions.
Human beings are special and one of a kind because of our ability to feel emotions and still be rational. This is one of the gifts that we have and what sets us apart from other primates. We are actually amazed with other creatures such as the dolphins and how they are attached to their partners because they are similar to us. We appreciate the mothers who take care of their young whether they are canine, feline, cold blooded or warm, because they somehow display traits that we also possess. Ours is an amazing brain, that we have developed moral values, ethics, virtues and some sort of organization within our tribes. Because of our ability to think analytically, we have survived as a species and we are thriving successfully, somewhat invading the whole planet and being able to lead and control all other species; and yet because we also have emotions, we have controlled misdeeds, inequity, crimes, heinousness and other evil doings; basically all the things that may have caused extinction of our species. These abilities and more are what made us survive in this planet. Although some species are bigger, stronger, have sharper teeth and claws, we have actually managed to proliferate because of our brain that gives us the power to analyze things and at the same time feel emotions.
Losing the ego is one way of being able to live freely and happily. I wouldn’t argue with this idea, but to lose one’s identity is a completely different thing. For one to be able to do that, he has to think like any other animal and be one with them. Our ability to think first and pause before making an act is one distinctive character that we have. Humans do this because we have values and fundamentally, we were taught to act in accordance to them. Losing our identity completely would mean losing our values. To be absent of judgment or opinion would also mean losing our very own values and not being able to discern properly. These values are important because they are supported by virtues, the very essence of being a thinking human. The virtues that we have are derived from our values and vice versa and from our natural state of being good. To not give judgment to anyone or to anything would mean to not give importance to our values and to life’s virtues. We have the ability to analyze things and this is a special gift that only we, humans have. We are always analyzing, therefore we have the capability to determine and to select what is good and what is bad for us. There are times that some people would go overboard in their judgments; while this is not entirely good, this is also the ability that we have and only us have this, that made us survive and multiply as a species.
Losing the ego is different from losing the self. Some people, in their search for meaning tend to lose both, or worse some people lose one and keep one, the worst part is having it all mixed up and one may lose the self and keep the ego instead.
Our brain is imperfect and all of us are bound to commit mistakes, but what’s important is, we own each and every one of them and we learn from them. I still love my mind and how it functions, though it has attempted to fail me a lot of times (and I assume that it would continue to do so for as long as I’m alive). Ours is a love and hate relationship that makes living extraordinarily exciting and painfully beautiful. My brain isn’t something that is separated from me. It is within me. I am a thinking human (though my brain needs recalibrating sometimes) and for this alone, I am proud.