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March 01 2013

Ask Deepak - Why You Are Not Your Body or Your Mind

Category:  Ask Deepak Videos

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“You are not your body or your mind. Your body and your mind – actually the whole world – exist in you.”
In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra discusses the distinctions between body, mind, and consciousness. If you’ve ever struggled with things like weight, weakness, difficulty solving puzzles or learning new concepts, it may be liberating to know that our selves, defined by consciousness, transcend the woes of body and mind.

Our bodies and minds record every experience in our lives: the mental and emotional associations, the elements in the air, the impact of all sensory data. But, Deepak continues, we are not our experiences. Bodies and minds are in a constant state of flux, growing, dying, losing cells, gaining new ones. The experiences that occurred in a ten-year-old’s body and mind are not the same as those imprinted on the teenager’s or the grandmother’s.

Our physical and mental selves are also things we experience, but only intermittently. How often do you think about your elbows or the tops of your feet? How often do you recall those algebra equations from ninth grade or the address of your first house? There is one thing, however, that is never turned off. It is consciousness hosting a temporal body and mind. It is you, your true self.

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Top comments

  • The body is composed of energy structured in a physical form. The mind is composed of energy structured in a metaphysical form. I am body. I am mind. I am witness to body and mind. I am energy which flows throughout time and space. I am time and I am space. I am yin and I am yang. I am and I am not. I am paradox.

    Joshua Cantrell // 2013-02-09 02:16:02 // //
  • It is and stays your own interpretation from your own background dear Deepak. Take care that your interpretation does not become a dogma to your followers. Is there really a Universal truth? Yes in so far life is a self omnipotent universal lifesystem that breathes. But that then is only my interpretation.........

    YourSoul // 2013-02-06 11:28:50 // //



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    Pseudo // 2013-12-20 01:33:06 // //
  • ” If I am my body and my mind, then I can’t be my body and mind.” Yes! The mind is not me, the body is not me, me is just the owner of my body. We are simply a living breathing organism signified by the word human being, a material and physical being. “We are the heart, the hand and the head on this earth,” and experience ourselves through our sensations, thoughts, desires and dreams, pain and pleasure and are the conglomeration, a whole melting pot of things and thoughts, feelings and force, ideas and emotions. Yes! We brand ourselves with this copyright symbol and strongly identify with our material model and mind. Are we our name, resume, marital status and our complete history? We institutionalize ourselves with our bodies, meeting its needs all the time, such preoccupation overrides our other daily activity and thought, giving no time to ponder the meaning of existence as to who are we underneath all the trappings and titles? We are but ignorant humans, who run after pleasure and sink to satisfy our selfish ends and get entangled in the illusion of life and death? No matter in our quest to live a happy, fulfilled and meaningful life we raise our family, earn money, write books and paint canvas. But we are not aware that our thoughts, feelings and desires are constantly changing and it is difficult to achieve enduring happiness or peace of mind through objects and events. We are born, we live and we die in this “I am ness.” This is simply our ego, a naive connection with the little self instead of a genuine union with big self. Our mind is always wandering, what attracts us today fails to satisfy us tomorrow. Thus our pleasures and happiness are fleeting feelings that focus on temporary body sensations acquiring things or changing circumstances to satisfy our desires. Our feel good syndrome is spasmodic and our life spins on this mind- body axis. We often utter statements like” My back is paining,” My heart is longing; Sometimes we feel depression, anger, hunger and thirst. These are nothing but mind, body and soul game making our life a “POWER POLITICS”. We need to know that what we feel is not the whole me, what people thing about is not the whole me. If at all we surrender to this moment it will not define but defeat us. Our whole world expands when we stop confining ourselves to these drifting, passing mental and physical mutterings. The main mantra is - “To know thyself is to forget thyself, to forget thyself is to be enlightened.” We need to know that we are not our names, it was bestowed upon us, and we are not our bodies we need to remember that our body is of earth and to the earth returns. We are not our mind but the ocean of ever drifting thoughts. We are eternal energy, God’s child and a priceless place of the jigsaw, part of the pure consciousness. Although, each of us live with our stream of consciousness which constitutes our conscious experience what we call – LIFE, is the physical journey of infinite consciousness. Bible aptly says- “In the beginning there was the word.” In reality in the beginning was silence.” As silence is our existence, we need to go back to the silence. This is a trip to consciousness. When our outer sensations quietens , we stop moving, doing thinking and remodeling and merge into the inner quietness, where a divine plan unfolds making our soul ready to participate in this conscious yearning for truth and freedom and we become love which is the real nature of ourselves.. Our real self is only love which sees, hears, feels and tastes love. Only through the heights of love, liberation accelerates. Here the symptoms become apparent. We become lighthearted, free of all worries, experiencing meaningful coincidence and more and more synchronicity in our lives and we experience miracles and Midas touch in life Love is kind, compassionate, forgiving, tolerant, enduring, faithful, trusting and peaceful. If we let this foundation of love guide the course of action, repairing, relaxing and rejuvenating our mind, body and soul, healing it mentally, physically and emotionally though loving intentions and actions, life becomes a complete bliss making all the physical energy flow into the direction of enlightenment. It has been said.- Love is a great inspiration and has the power to turn a bad man into a good soul... When love births and breathes within us in any form, we are on the path of enlightenment. Rumi aptly sums up-“Come out of the circle of time into circle of love.”

    Soni Shalini // 2013-03-28 10:57:01 // //
  • @Joshua that was sublime, many thanks :) @73Veejay great question! I believe we (our conscience) create thoughts and action plans. We use our bodies & minds to perform & record those experiences. I have requested Deepak to clarify.

    @MerchantKaushik // 2013-03-27 06:28:17 // //
  • yes ur explanation makes perfect sense we are that consciousness._-that powere

    Renu Das // 2013-03-24 13:56:49 // //
  • when you know that a dog is as empathetic and/or more compassionate than those around you, learn from the dog.

    Deanna Stevens // 2013-03-24 13:11:51 // //
  • like

    Sandhya Devi Jhowry // 2013-03-24 00:05:26 // //
  • Who performs the karma, is it the mind ?

    // 2013-03-23 22:01:56 // //
  • I guess I'll just never understand the true meaning of living. So yeah, why should I continue on? I had dreams. Not anymore. I don't know what happened. The mind. The body. It doesn't matter.

    Tara Helmadollar // 2013-03-23 19:33:31 // //
  • post the videos directly. easier to see

    Mohammed Hansen // 2013-03-23 18:57:34 // //
  • This is a challenge to investigate further.

    Jose Angel Rivera // 2013-03-23 18:55:46 // //
  • Would love to be able to leave earth now. I'm done. Seems cruel to keep us on the planet when we don't have any skin in he game [and it is a game] anymore. Keeping the physical body going just for the sake of staying alive is miserable. God has made so many mistakes, we need an exit door that doesn't land us right back on earth again for the same old crap.

    Deborah Riley // 2013-03-23 18:14:02 // //
  • Thanks to let me be able to return in my mind and conect with my body beyond the space and time. It is hard to me answer this question why I can live in pace only when both are in armony. I say Meditation, the best way to arrive a good conclution. Namasté Dr Chopra.

    Zully Pereyra // 2013-03-23 18:01:23 // //
  • GOD IS MEAN . . . why.

    Boneta Jackson // 2013-03-23 17:42:59 // //
  • Wow! That's very thought provoking and Deep! Thank you, Dr. Chopra!

    Debbie Rowe // 2013-03-23 16:34:00 // //
  • i just adore your quotes, so wise and well said!!!!! Namasté, Dr. Chopra

    Al Monsivais // 2013-03-23 16:31:53 // //
  • We are give the gift of thinking, talking and takeing action. These action should always be done with care. Not just selfish.

    Cindy McLaughlin // 2013-03-23 16:30:35 // //
  • Dear deepak: Please advise..what is the best way for me to decide from the plethora of choices available to me..especially in the choice of which guru/master to follow and which box of cereal to purchase...this vascilation on my behalf causes much tension between my mind and body...thanks as always for your super advise.

    Sangeeta Gulati // 2013-03-23 16:30:24 // //
  • Understanding the universe is like a detective story, and the evidence has been carried to us across vast expanses of space by light. We've even been able to capture the light from the beginning of time and we’ve glimpsed in it the seeds of our own origins. And we’ve seen things our ancestors wouldn’t believe: Stars being born in distant realms. Alien worlds, created by gravity. And spectacular galaxies, frozen in time. But we’re not mere witnesses to these events, because the story of the universe is our story. We’ve learned how the dust of the stars makes each and every one of us. How a simple, universal chemistry set, makes everything we see. We’ve explored how the secrets of deep time, shape the destiny of the universe and marveled at the brief, flickering moment in which life can exist. And we’ve seen how stardust falls to build the grandest structures in the universe. We know all this because of messages carried on beams of light. And isn’t a wonderful thing, that these biological light detectors, that first emerged half a billion years ago in the cambrian explosion, have evolved into those most human of things: our green, blue and brown eyes that are able to gaze up into the night sky, capture the light from the distant stars, and read the story of the universe.

    Lina Bidot // 2013-03-23 16:21:56 // //
  • Awesome Deepak!!

    Atasi Mukherjee // 2013-03-23 16:12:02 // //
  • My mind is gone how do I begin to understand what the rest of me is doing.

    Heather Waugh // 2013-03-23 16:08:06 // //
  • Have a great weekend!

    Rodica Crasi // 2013-03-23 16:07:11 // //
  • - What is your opinion about internet frauds? I'd like to invite you on my FanPpage with Like or/and comment about my Novel. I'm unknown author that's why I need help. The novel talk about huge internet fraud, I experienced it.

    Irena Seifert // 2013-03-23 16:04:42 // //
  • Ouiiii !! Have a great weekend ! Thank you for being there Deepak !

    Manon Morin // 2013-03-23 16:03:31 // //
  • That makes perfect sense. It is so pervasive. Sometimes I change perception of something and that thing itself changes!! For example, if someone is driving slowly in the fast lane, I react angrily, but being indoctrinated to be kind to the fairer sex, I make a conscious effort to control my outburst when that someone is a lady. Soon I notice that my perception is an ephemeral aberration, and I decelerate and am in synch with the traffic so as to not encounter a red light later!

    Ashish Rai
    // 2013-03-16 15:01:20 // //
  • Can you be too aware of the sensations in your body? So as to perpetuate discomfort and urges that get in the way of daily functioning?

    HBelle // 2013-03-15 11:13:47 // //
  • I love that Deepak said in this Video " I hope that made sense"! Absolutely!

    // 2013-03-04 05:50:47 // //
  • Serene and no-knowing meditation is the key.

    Rohit Sharma // 2013-03-02 03:02:00 // //
  • Thank you for the information : - )

    Bjørg-Marit Aga Shukri // 2013-03-02 02:36:58 // //
  • Thank you Information :)

    Mariann Boda Toth // 2013-03-01 21:56:02 // //
  • This is comfortably elusive! Im gonna be thinking about it for a while. Very thought provoking. Thank you.

    Poops Gags
    // 2013-03-01 18:18:48 // //
  • Hola k el CUERPO,es un zosten,para,la;mente,!!!

    Jaime Fuentes // 2013-03-01 17:10:07 // //
  • Letting old memories come alife again: Enjoying dancing on this one, being my body all the time :)

    TheHeartphone // 2013-03-01 14:39:34 // //
  • "Tell me and I will forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I will learn." --Benjamin Franklin

    Ron Greenstein // 2013-03-01 12:30:59 // //
  • Deepak, your wisdom is phenomenal. I share your opinion. The mind and body are indeed fleeting, very ephemeral. The eternal spirit which when departs the body at the initiation called death, is the real US.

    Prosper Kudjoe
    // 2013-03-01 12:20:25 // //
  • It seems to be the role of our mind to insure it`s continued doninance over the soul. When the mind is dethroned and the soul is revealed, we remember what we have forgotten for many, many life times; unless we awaken, and remember that we are the sons and daughters of our Father/Mother-the creator and his beloved the Mother-creation, we remain dominated by our minds.The Father speaks "the word" and the mother listens. Hear the "word" and awaken to eternal life, sons and daughters of God!

    // 2013-03-01 01:23:31 // //
  • Let`s consider the following statements: -If I can witness a book lying on the table, I am not that book. -If I am a witness to myself listening to music, I am not music. Axiom: If I can witness something or if I am a witness to something, I am not that something. I am separate from that. Now, -I can witness my hands, legs, my body etc., so I am not my body. -I am a witness to the emotions of being happy, sad etc. and am a witness to the sensations of taste, smell etc. So, I am not my mind.

    // 2013-02-13 09:49:12 // //
  • In other words, since attention is always OF something, and you cannot be attentive of everything that exists, but only of one thing at a time, that what you aware of, cannot possibly be you. If there is a you, then that you must be always existing, because that what you ARE is a form of `being`. And something can only exist, if it is. And that what is, cannot be not being. To apply this to this explanation, since you can only be momentarily aware of your body, that is, if you are attentive of it, it is not constantly existing. And that is why you cannot be your body. The same applies to anything you are thinking about. You cannot think one thing constantly. And since the mind consists of the sum total of everything you can think, any part of it is fleeting, and therefore all of the mind is fleeting. Sorry to say, but this is a bogus explanantion. For, by the same reason, I can also say that a vase is not that what it is made of, because the vase cannot be aware of itself. And, extending this argument to every existent, every existent is not what it is, because it cannot be aware of itself, except when it has this capability, and it is active in being aware of itself. Moreover, I want to point out, that in this commetntary there is an implicit assumption: namely that consciousness, the background of everything, always `is`, and that is not true. We can be in a state of dreamless sleep. And if we do, NOTHING exists, not even consciousness. In this state we do not experience the world as not existing. No, we do not experience anything at all. Nevertheless, the statement itself is correct, but for a far simpler reason. You are not your body, and you are also not your mind, simply because the idea of `you` itself is flawed. Or, to say it differently, the idea of a `you` that `is` is false. Why? Because there can be only one candidate for `you`, that is for the `I`, and that is, `that what controls the body`. But `that what controls the body` does not consist of a thinker that thinks, but consists of only thought itself, with no thinker that does the thinking. Thought creates the thinker, and not vice versa. In particular, the `I`consists of some thought that tries to accomplish some outcome. In fact, the picture of the final outcome IS `you`. So it is not the case, that if there is something you want, there is a separation between `you` and `that what is wanted`, that is, there is no separation between that what wants and that what is wanted. They are one and the same. That what is wanting is identical to that what is wanted, and that is where the illusion of permanency of the `I` comes from. So whenever there is something that is wanted, whether it is something you want to accomplish, or something you want to avoid, that what you want, or that what you try to avoid IS you. It is the picture at the core of all activity. The illusion of the `I` consists of the mistaken thought, that there IS a separation between `you` and `that what is wanted`. Whenever consciousness has been developed to a point, that it sees, that this separation is false, then the `I` is understood as the false idea it is. And then there is understanding that you are neither your mind nor your body, because the whole premise on which it is based, that there is a `you` that you `can be` is false. That is enlightenment. Enlightenment is not the ending of `I`, but it is the understanding of the illusionary nature oof `I`. It does not mean that the `sense of being` when you are awake is no longer there, but it means that it is understood for what it is. Namely as a manifestattion of attempts to fulfill needs and satisfying desires. So the needs and desires ARE you. And the full awareness of this is the full understanding of Dukkha.

    Konrad Swart // 2013-02-12 08:48:59 // //
  • Isn`t that a Miracle of miracles, a saint said 1once

    // 2013-02-11 23:36:16 // //
  • You are not the experience but the one having the experience. And the mind that had the experience as a child a teenager, even an adult are different. What's not healthy is if you remain the person of those experiences. You are not your body nor your mind but the soul that is experiencing your environment. I definitely understand where you are coming from.

    Kalia Kincade // 2013-02-11 04:51:53 // //
  • Buddha said `with our thoughts we create our world `

    // 2013-02-10 21:03:18 // //
  • Namaste and thank you so much, Deepak...

    Angela Rose Pate
    // 2013-02-09 21:15:51 // //
  • I see my body as a means of transport in this world. My "mind' and my spirit are free to travel even when the body is still. Being 62 with metastatic cancer gives me time to ponder many of the things that occurred to me as important many years ago but 'I' was too busy with worldly things.

    Joanna van der Drift // 2013-02-09 03:12:47 // //
  • The body is composed of energy structured in a physical form. The mind is composed of energy structured in a metaphysical form. I am body. I am mind. I am witness to body and mind. I am energy which flows throughout time and space. I am time and I am space. I am yin and I am yang. I am and I am not. I am paradox.

    Joshua Cantrell // 2013-02-09 02:16:02 // //
  • Go to med school, we`re just a bunch of chemicals.

    Scott Young
    // 2013-02-08 20:27:32 // //
  • It makes perfect sense.

    // 2013-02-08 19:43:26 // //

    Sara Patricia Yupanqui Alvarado // 2013-02-08 07:51:58 // //
  • Paul burke, you are also as stupid as your cult hero

    Mark Henderson // 2013-02-08 02:40:09 // //
  • Thanks Deepak... We can cut a piece of hair off or a finger nail or take a kidney out and realize that is not us. We can dig deep inside of the biological organism and not find you inside... So where are you? Hence we are immaterial consciousness

    Farhan Qureshi
    // 2013-02-07 21:48:13 // //
  • Thank you so much for sharing that - we are so glad to be a part of your daily ritual! Be well :)

    The Chopra Well
    // 2013-02-07 14:28:01 // //
  • I have always appreciated your words of wisdom and this was no exception. I am enjoying my elder years a great deal more since YOUTUBE from you came a part of my daily ritual. Thank you a million times over.

    Marlene Kennedy
    // 2013-02-07 11:15:57 // //
  • Muy interesante ok

    Nina Marin
    // 2013-02-07 10:14:38 // //
  • here is a excerpt from a song for you. i`ll let you guess who wrote it: You say tomorrow you will be brave... Fool! Dive today from the cliff of what you know Into what you can`t know You fear the rocks? Better a man who`d have died on them Dying on rocks is nobler than a life of death For between the door of life and death stands Yet another door Wholly inexplicable And he who is able To be born Before the door of death Is born eternally Die before dying Die Living! Namaste {3}

    // 2013-02-07 09:50:50 // //
  • Thanks Deepak~~ Love it ~~

    Angela Pittman
    // 2013-02-07 09:44:02 // //
  • Deepak is a blabbering fool!

    Ed Erasmus // 2013-02-07 06:55:57 // //
  • Thanks Deepak. I think you had said this awhile ago and it`s always good to hear it again and think about it! Which book have you written that elaborates on this way of thinking? I think in your book, "The Book of Secrets," talks a bit about this. Problem arises when mankind in our society does not think like this. It`s a dog-eat-dog world out there and not a spiritual world.

    // 2013-02-07 04:09:23 // //
  • Thank you

    // 2013-02-06 21:02:52 // //
  • I just finished reading " The 7 Spiritual Laws Of Success " and I must say I have been highly enlightened and I greatly appreciate your words of wisdom and your teachings. You are a true role model for a young free thinker like myself! Are you going to be speaking at any events in the San Francisco Bay Area or anywhere else in Northern California this year? I would be delighted to see one of your speeches in person.

    Eric Fino
    // 2013-02-06 20:45:23 // //
  • We are not the body nor the mind....we ARE the witnessing consciousness.

    Paul Burke // 2013-02-06 19:29:27 // //
  • I love you, boss! You're the "poet-prophet of alternative medicine". Looking forward to seeing Deepak in-person in Toronto, Ontario on April 30, 2013!!! It's taken me a while to figure out, but I understand what you mean when you say: "You are not your body or your mind; Your body and your mind...actually the whole world...exists in you". Thank you for your numerous teachings! Cheers!

    Harjot Atwal // 2013-02-06 19:15:12 // //
  • Thank you for sharing your story! Be well.

    The Chopra Well
    // 2013-02-06 18:28:27 // //
  • The mind controls the body, not the other way around.

    Jay B. Lawrence // 2013-02-06 17:56:56 // //
  • This is a concept that I have been recently been compelled to embrace as I became wheelchair bound less than two years ago It has been instrumental in helping me to come to terms with how I view my self as well as coping with the way I interact with the world ,Coping with the way the public reacts to me and my disability has been a challenge but along the way putting people at ease by being confident and kind is most effective in helping people see my true essence rather than a disabled person

    Madam Vonkook
    // 2013-02-06 17:47:26 // //
  • Peter, you might read a few of his books before you are so rude, open your mind Peter, Marek??????

    Cheryl Lowman // 2013-02-06 17:19:47 // //
  • I'm not in the body The body is in me I'm not in the mind The mind is in me I'm not in the universe The universe is in me

    Da Dudez // 2013-02-06 16:47:40 // //
  • Read "Super Brain" and you will understand Dr. Chopra's view.

    Ronald Collins // 2013-02-06 16:45:52 // //
  • Yes it makes sense very much we are concious of conciousness the video explains it very well.

    Renu Das // 2013-02-06 16:22:54 // //
  • Who Am I?

    Jane Davis // 2013-02-06 16:22:02 // //
  • It make perfecly clear, dear doc, I see teabags, under your eyes, is that english blend.. or, a lack of sleep, brain waves.. whatever, I think a lecture on Lila, or Sidha powers, would revineate, you,

    Marek Dariusz Podsiadlo // 2013-02-06 16:20:47 // //
  • What right do u have to dish out opinions? Who bestowed this upon you?

    Peter Smillie // 2013-02-06 16:19:39 // //
  • You should come see how much you are loved on the Richard Dawkins foundation for reason page...

    Raymond Fritz // 2013-02-06 16:08:09 // //
  • I like you...!!!

    Itamar Bastos // 2013-02-06 16:04:41 // //
  • love makes lots of sense..

    nidhi shree
    // 2013-02-06 15:37:22 // //
  • It is and stays your own interpretation from your own background dear Deepak. Take care that your interpretation does not become a dogma to your followers. Is there really a Universal truth? Yes in so far life is a self omnipotent universal lifesystem that breathes. But that then is only my interpretation.........

    YourSoul // 2013-02-06 11:28:50 // //
  • No matter how astute one is at explaining this truth--and, Deepak, is one of the best--a person must discover this truth within themselves in order to gain a profound understanding that transcends the intellectual understanding. Real learning is transformational. It is a heart-based knowing--becoming. Keys to this process are: honesty, humility, and humor. May your every effort in this process be blessed.

    Ron Greenstein // 2013-02-06 10:10:48 // //