What is the one question to set us all free?

Who are you?

Woman? Man?

Son? Daughter? Father? Mother?

Wife? Husband? Engineer? Assassin? Policeman? American? Canadian? African?

Is that really you?

Do all those labels mean a thing to you to who you truly are? If they were taken away from you, would it mean a thing?

Why all these questions?

Ill tell you later.

First, let’s start out with a task.

The body as a tool

Look around you. Is there something small, like a pen or something that you can pick up? I want to you to pick it up, and then put it down, and then return to this article.

Now, what tool did you use to pick it up? Is your answer your hand? (Bear with me if this sounds stupid.)

To most people your body is a tool. Who is the one controlling the body? Think about this before you read the next paragraph, I don’t want to lead your thoughts.

If your answer is, “I am controlling the body, of course!” Who is the “I am”?

Or did you answer “the mind”?

To most people, they would answer “the mind.” The mind is the one controlling your body. They are their mind. Keep that train of thought.

The mind

Now here’s the next exercise. Answer this question: What is (3 + 4 + 6) x 30 – 311?

The answer doesn’t matter. What tool did you use to solve that maths problem?

Your mind, your thoughts? If you are your mind, then who is the one that used the mind as a tool to solve the maths problem? Who is the one controlling your thoughts? Are not you your thoughts?

The emotions

Now how about this? Get angry. Think of something that makes you angry. Your boss, a specific event, a recent argument… Feel the emotion.

Then try to think of something that you love. A favourite nephew, niece, or son perhaps? Feel that emotion.

Who is the one feeling the emotions? Are not you your emotions?

Who are you?

What is going on?

You are not your body. This is easier for people to understand then the rest of the article. They think of their bodies as a physical vehicle for them to move around in, a machine. Put in X calories and you will gain Y pounds of fat, so you have to run for Z minutes to burn that off.

Who is using their bodies as a vehicle? Most people are identified with their minds and their emotions. They think they are the little brain sitting inside the giant body and giving the body orders. But when you think about it, you can use the mind as well. You are controlling your mind, telling it to do things, telling it to think. Does it still make sense to think that you are your mind?

What about the emotions? If you can control your emotions, then you are not your emotions. Then who are you?

The first step to freedom from unhappiness

I don’t know much about enlightenment, nor of this philosophy. Why am I sharing this with you? Because this very realisation – that you are not your mind or thoughts, your emotions, and your body – is what got me out of my depression. It has moved me from being easily irritated to being happy 99% of the time. Being able to observe my thoughts and emotions – the cause of much sadness and suffering – and knowing that it is not me, has been the important first step in being free of sadness and suffering.

Next time you feel upset, then be aware that it is simply something inside a vessel. Next time you are sad, angry, observe it. It is not you. It is merely something happening, an energy that has risen. It is not wrong or bad, it is simply energy, fed by thoughts. Accept it, and let it be, and it will dissipate.

I hope this article has helped you taken the first step as well.

Otherwise I’m just a tool :-)