Philosophers, psychologists, and ordinary people are all interested in one question: Who are you? The traditional philosophical answer is that the Self is an immortal soul that transcends the physical being.
Some philosophers have swung in the other direction and rejected the idea and for them the Self is nothing more than a bundle of perceptions.
The Self-concept is an idea about who you are – physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and in terms of any other aspects that make up who you are.
You form your Self-concept as you grow, based on the knowledge you have about yourself. The Self-concept is related to several other Self constructs; Self-esteem, Self-image, Self-efficacy, and Self-awareness.
Some mystics sometimes take this idea to the extreme: If I lose my arms and legs, Awareness still exists. If I lose my arms, legs, and body, Awareness still exists. If I lose my arms, legs, body, and this very thought and all thinking, Awareness still exists …
The Self as Awareness, mind, Consciousness, may transcend the physical and mental Self. And when you think of the Self in this way – as Awareness that transcends the individual – something interesting happens.
Just in the same way as you don’t focus your attention on how you make your thyroid gland function. So in the same way, you don’t have any attention focused on how you shine the sun.
So then, let me connect this with the problem of birth and death, which puzzles people enormously of course. Because, in order to understand what the Self is, you have to remember that it doesn’t need to remember anything.
When you die, you’re not going to have to put up with everlasting non-existing. Because that’s not an experience. A lot of people are afraid that when they die they’re going to be locked up in a dark room forever and sort of undergo that.
Try and imagine what it will be like to go to sleep and never wake up.
Think about that. Children think about that. It’s one of the great wonders of life. What will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up?
And if you think long enough about that, something will happen. You will find out, among other things, that it will pose the next question to you. What was it like to wake up after having never gone to sleep? That was when you were born.
You see? You can’t have an experience of nothing; Nature abhors a vacuum. So after you’re dead, the only thing that can happen is the same experience, or the same sort of experience of before you were born.
In other words, we all know very well that after people die, other people are born. And they’re all you. Only you can only experience one at a time.
Everybody is I. You all you’re you.
And wheresoever’s beings exist throughout all galaxies it doesn’t make a difference. You are all of them. And when they come into being, that’s you come into being.
Only you don’t have to remember the past in the same way you don’t have to think about you work thyroid gland or whatever else it is in your organism.
You don’t have to know how to shine the sun., You just do it. Like you breathe. Doesn’t it really astonish you that you are the fantastically complex thing and that you’re doing all of this and you never had any education on how to do it.