version of this book
A baby learns to differentiate I from not I as a practical necessity. I is what can be controlled by sheer act of will. Not I, such as parents, require more subtle or devious means. The distinction comes from the wiring of our nervous system and the mechanics of the body. There are no absolute or metaphysical boundaries between I and not I. The I of the nervous system was conceived, born and will die. `I' in this sense is ephemeral.
We choose what we mean by I . Love broadens our sense of self. Love can be personal, or religious. Our sense of self can extend to our families and to life itself. `I' in this sense is eternal.
Experience is particular and at the same time whole. Our individual lives are particular and at the same time an inseparable part of a wider unity. We experience this wider unity as `I' whenever we feel our connectedness to and unity with others and with life.
I walk through the towering redwoods in a three dimensional landscape of sharply cut gullies falling towards a rushing stream. How many years have I walked this trail? Fifteen? As long as the land has been here? Am I here? No, here is I.