When you ask the question, “Who am I?”—if you have enough time and
concentration—you may find some surprising answers. You may see that you are
a continuation of your ancestors. Your parents and your ancestors are fully
present in every cell of your body; you are their continuation. You don’t have a
separate self. If you remove your ancestors and your parents from you, there’s no
You may see that you’re made of elements, like water for example. If you
remove the water from you, there’s no “you” left. You’re made of earth. If you
remove the element earth from you, there’s no “you” left. You’re made of air.
You need air desperately; without air you cannot survive. So if you remove the
element of air from you, there’s no “you” left. And there’s the fire element, the
element of heat, the element of light, in you. You know that you are made of
light. Without sunlight, nothing can grow on Earth. If you continue to look, you
see that you are made of the sun, one of the biggest stars in the galaxy. And you
know that the Earth, as well as yourself, is made of the stars. So you are the
stars. On a clear night, look up, and you can see that you are the stars above.
You’re not just the tiny body you normally may think of as “yourself.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.
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