My work is based on the fact that “I” must be where my body is at all times. Is there a separate “me” from this organism called Jill Eng? Some might argue so in philosophic and religious circles, but I do not see a way around nondualism.
When struggling with emotions of frustration, fear, worry, anxiety, and the like, it certainly feels like there is a “me” that can act on behalf of this organism (Jill Eng). This belief is deeply ingrained in most of us for purposes beyond our real knowledge. But, when confronted with an actual moment in time when I am in distress, I recognize that, in truth, the person I am calling me can only be in the activity my body/person is in. Where is this “other” entity of myself it is believed can choose to be in some behavior that isn’t where I find this body right now? This awareness is best understood in the present moment, as any time we think about ourself in the future or the past it seems as if the thought “I” has full control over the behavior of the organism.
Real-life time and thought time offer completely different perceptions of ourselves and our activities. When we become aware of our person/body in real time we can see there is no opportunity to “do” something in the way we imagine ourself in our life activities. There is no room because the organism is already engaged in some specific bodily movements and occupying a given space. This is an is, and an is cannot be denied once it is in motion. Once we arrive at the future activity we were concerned about, or at the time when we considered it occurring, we can see that there is no way to alter our current behavior (or we have long forgotten what it even was we were worried about or wanting to do).
The missing link between our predictive thoughts and reality is that we forget that when it is the future, our action, whatever it may be, will be emerging from the physical activity preceding it; this is something we never put into the equation. Just like now. Ask yourself if right now you can change what you are doing. You will say, “Well, in the next moment I can decide to do something else.” But, the next moment is this moment. Time does not stand still for us to decide what to do, then pause, then implement an action of our choice. It only feels like that. We can see what we are doing now, but when I ask the question, “Can you change what you are doing now?” the answer must always be “No.” This is because what we are calling “now” is not an isolated moment as the word tends to imply. Now is continual. As soon as we call this moment “now” we are in the next second. Consequently, we cannot change what we are doing now because now is already the past and we cannot change the past.
It is this bleeding of one activity into another that does not register for us when we think about our behavior. Even our retrospective thoughts presume options for our past that we truly did not have at the time, in addition to the fact that we are often, if not generally, okay with our actions when we are in them. It is after the fact that regret sets in, and we then believe we could have done otherwise. Of course, there are also present moments when our mind feeds us a story that we could be behaving differently. Here is the hitch: we could be in some other activity now if “we” were not our body. But, if our body is where it is, then we must be with it.
It is strange. If we identify ourself via our name, in my case, Jill Eng, and the question posed is, “Who is Jill Eng?” someone would point at my body and say, “That is Jill Eng.” Or, when a teacher reads the attendance list and our name is spoken we raise our hand and respond, “Here,” indicating our bodily presence. Yet, when thinking about ourself, we don’t identify at all with our body, rather the fictitious representation in our thought process. The hitch is therefore a trick of mind since we are our body. The physical reality of an individual will always rule over any desire to be somewhere we are not, doing something other than what we are doing. Hard evidence will always cancel out fantasy. Even if we feel separate from our body, there is no “we” that is separate.