Your Self as a Center of Gravity

A very light question to kick off the morning today :) Ladies and gents ... Who am I ? Are we the breathing body that is reading this text, sitting on a chair or holding a phone in its hand ? Or maybe the mind that realized we had to stop reading for a slight moment to realize that, indeed, we are a body and eyes reading a text ? One form of meditation (there are many) sheds a light on the question. You might have been asked to close your eyes and focus on your breath maybe? You see, when we focus on our breath and then let our thoughts come and go, we realize we are the observers of both our breath and our thoughts. In other terms, we are neither ... and both!

Now, that last sentence is exactly the kind that made me shake my head in despair whenever anyone talked about Zen and meditation. So to illustrate my point, let me use philosopher Daniel Dennett's analogy in his 1992 paper, The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity : "A center of gravity is a well-behaved concept in Newtonian physics. But a center of gravity is not an atom or a subatomic particle or any other physical item in the world. It has no mass; it has no color; it has no physical properties at all, except for spatio-temporal location. (...) It is a purely abstract object. (...) It is not one of the real things in the universe in addition to the atoms. But it is a fiction that has nicely defined, well delineated and well behaved role within physics."

Same - if the drawing is any help - I like to think of my Self as the center of gravity of all my perceptions! My thoughts, my breath, my ideas, my emotions etc. It isn't any of them, yet it is a consequence of them all. Most importantly, it is constantly moving as my perceptions change! So who I am is a dynamic concept! As the great Carl Sagan put it : "If we ever reach a point where we thoroughly understand who we are and where we are from, we will have failed". Now a coffee or tea to get that brain of yours shaking :D