Philosophy of Who You Are [A Video Essay]

Philosophy of Who You Are [A Video Essay]

welcome to the ancient woodland of
Glenmore forest in the Scottish Highlands I’ve been here for the last
three weeks reading and thinking about Who am I
it’s really easy for us to fall into this idea that we are a consciousness
trapped in a bag of skin alone and alienated in a difficult world with our
respective floors and failings at least the story about Who I am and how I
messed up in certain ways has been the source of most if not all of my mental
pain don’t know if that’s familiar but this idea of i of you this conception of
our being is it correct? who are we? are we are body are we are mind are we are
consciousness? well I’ve been going for long walks and cycles in nature talking
to the trees they are hundreds of years old and reading philosophy and I feel like I
do have a bit of a better idea of my place in the universe so in this video
like to explore some of the lessons I’ve learned because it might help you on
your journey I’m guessing I’m not the only one it
feels good walking in nature that’s probably stating the bleeding obvious
but perhaps we feel good because we’re subconsciously reconnecting with part of
us. hear me out. cut off my leg I bleed out take my heart out George’s no more
but curiously get rid of that and we won’t be about either for most of
Earth’s history the atmosphere was made up mainly of hydrogen an explosive toxic
gas that prevented life on earth for billions of years but thankfully over
hundreds of millions of years plants in the ocean released oxygen indeed 99% of
our atmosphere today is of biological origin and of course that continues with
trees like this which release oxygen as a consequence of photosynthesis which we
then inhale we exhale carbon dioxide which it then uses in turn it’s a
beautiful symbiotic relationship so the next time you go for a walk consider the
trees as your second pair of lungs this leads us to the surprising conclusion
that the trees surely adjust as an inseparable part of who we are as our
lungs and hearts we wouldn’t survive without them suddenly the definition of
our being has transcended the borders of our skin to something much larger
something much more interesting where then do we begin and end or perhaps
that’s the wrong question because like the relationship between humans and the
trees there’s an inseparable dependence between you and I in almost every aspect
of the planet the solar system the galaxy and the universe that’s why Carl
Sagan famously said if you want to make an apple pie from scratch you better
start at the Big Bang Carl Sagan’s a legend what a quote and check out this
quote as well if you want life you need heavy elements to make heavy elements
out of hydrogen you need thermonuclear combustion to have thermonuclear
combustion you need a time of cooking in a star of several billion years in order
to stretch out several billion years in its time dimension the universe
according to general relativity must be several billion years across in its
space dimension so the universe has bigness is a necessary condition of our
hereness so next time you look at the night sky agent think I’ll why am I so
small in the universe so big it’s exactly the right size for you to enjoy and have wonder looking at the night sky you and I are
intimately wrapped up in the whole cosmos in the words of Alan Watts each
individual is a unique expression of the total realm of nature you are dependent
upon and therefore arise with come into being with everything else you can’t be
separated now that is a cool idea and surely is a ground for feeling of
belonging to this world rather than being an alien visitor you and I are
deeply connected so the next time you’re feeling down consider going for a walk
and remember that your true being is much larger much more powerful and
mysterious and you would normally ever give yourself credit for all right let’s
go for a ride but what about our consciousness because
you do seem to have a different point of consciousness to me. I can’t see what
you see I can’t feel what you feel I can’t hear your thoughts and of course
this is how a different identity evolves in each of us we grow up in our thoughts
and string them together with memory to create a story of who we are so yeah
maybe we can believe that our physical body is intimately connected to
everything else but surely our formless mental cells are these stories like I’m
George and my favorite biscuit is chocolatey grounds recommend it if you
haven’t tried it before I’m mentally weak which is why I procrastinate and
get anxious so I need to improve myself at least that was the story that I had
before reading all this philosophy stuff and it gave me a lot of pain it gave me
anxiety and I imagine that you probably have something similar but of course the
problem with these stories is that they change a lot say you’re going out for a
night out you’re wearing your best outfit you check yourself in the mirror
you’re looking good then you have a quick scrolling into the ground and
check out the fitness babes and suddenly you think actually I’m not as good as I
once thought I was you’re exactly the same person exactly the same being only
moments apart and yet that story is completely different you feel completely
different so there’s no way that that ego story could be us because it changes
too much it changes depending on the weather who you meet what job you have
so that can’t be fundamentally who we are so for not the ego story then who
are we so this is where things get interesting and at least it’s a key
insight for me on this trip if you’ve done a bit of meditation you’ll know
about the concept of the observer we can try and demonstrate it now so if you
just think about the word jellyfish just say jellyfish in your head can you hear
it so when your mind is thinking the word jellyfish who’s observing your mind
do the thinking spooky right and when you try and meditate and you catch
yourself worrying about the clothes that you left in the washing machine who’s
watching your mind worried about smelly clothes it’s your mind watching
your mind and in Zen Buddhism they’re distinguished between the thinking mind
and the observing mind the existence of the observers one of
the key insights that you get from meditation you realize wait a sec I
don’t need to be controlled by every thought I can observe them you can have
a negative thought pop up and go without affecting how you feel that’s the key
insight that’s helped me and millions of others liberate ourselves at least a bit
from a lot of our mental pain but the existence of the observer is more
significant than that because truly who we are our formless mental non-physical
essence is just that observer it’s the point of conscious awareness that we all
have think about it what else is with us from birth to death
through every job that we have through every person that we meet through every
thought that we use to construct the story of who we are behind all of that
is the observer that point of awareness and we can connect with that kind of
pure unlabeled undefined essence and moments of quiet in fact in the forest
I’ve had some crazy experiences here where I lost the sense of my body there
was no George left no breath no thought all that was left of me was just a point
of awareness like a droplet of water hanging off the moss you know I’ve read
about experiences like that and the spirituals always say look the answer is
not in the book you just got to experience it for yourself
and I’m such a sucker for thinking that I could think through and read through
everything but truly when you experience it you realize wait a sec yeah really
all that is left of me is not the ego of George it is just that point of
awareness and you know I’m quite glad at least in my current understanding that I
have an ego an idea of Who I am where I’ve been where I’m going without that
I’ll just be a point of awareness lost at sea but surely the stories of who we
are are constructed maybe let’s just have a moment of quiet together now
let’s just take a breath in and observe it so just take a breath in in this moment we could be anyone
or no one the ideas of beautiful ugly good bad smart stupid interesting boring
none of those apply to that present moment we are labeled as we are formless
in that moment of presence were just a piece of conscious awareness in the
world so what’s the significance of this well it seems to me that the craziest
most bonkers part of existence is the very fact that we all have a unique bit
of consciousness our atoms were made in a distant star billions of years ago and
these this Stardust and your Stardust has woken up it’s awake in all our
searching of the cosmos we haven’t found a single other species that is
self-aware like we are so the next time you’re feeling down about who you are
about your ego story you can remind yourself of the story of your essence
that you are Stardust that woke up and that reminds you that anything that you
believe about yourself on top of that is up to you and that can free us from so
much stress and pain in our lives so bringing these ideas together and of
course these aren’t my ideas then my current understanding of zen buddhism
taoism christian mysticism all the spiritual traditions seem to point to
the same thing that who we really are our true being is inseparable from the
whole with a unique point of conscious awareness you and I are like waves on
the ocean distinct but very much connected and the more time I spend in
nature the more ridiculous and idea it seems to be able to criticize Who I am I
know self-love is truly a difficult thing every day there’s something I
don’t like about myself or something I want to improve and I imagine you’re
probably the same but to criticize ourselves is to miss the point where
Stardust that woke up true miracles and we can celebrate that so the next time
that you notice those harsh thoughts remind yourself of your true being the
true wonder your true mystery and hopefully those thoughts will have just
a bit less power yeah so thanks for watching it’s been
three weeks of trying to think through these ideas and it was great to finally
have a bit of insight in the forest so I’d love to hear your thoughts on it
the next video that you’ll see will be down in London I’ve only got a week left
here I’m going to the extinction rebellion climate change protests in
London we’re shutting down Westminster it’s going to be the UK’s biggest civil
disobedience event ever it’s going to be pretty crazy you’ll see the star video
eventually I think I might actually come back up here in the winter because I
haven’t quite finished the sort of shots that I want to get but yeah hope you’re
doing well thanks for watching see you next time you

100 thoughts on “Philosophy of Who You Are [A Video Essay]”

  • Safe Container says:

    Well played George. Yes, criticism does undermine self love. A recent discovery of this being about love in general as well as as love for self is about 100% acceptance. Improvements are great and expansion is needed but to accept the self along the journey of expansion is love.

    So perhaps replace the word criticism with acceptance. Shift focus

  • Hedonists Heaven. says:

    Yeah but everything is what it is in material terms and is the product of prior thought.
    So we are where we are and what we are and experiencing what we are experiencing now so people sholuld make more of an effort to create a better world.
    Unless of course we are all experiencing an individual creation.
    May be the case.
    You experience your own level of enlightenment.

  • When he said that we are stardust, this song line sprang to mind, "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden. From the song "Woodstock" written by Joni Mitchell.

  • Loving your channel I have to say!! it’s really opened my eyes to a few things that iv been lacking in, you have a bright future brother keep up the awesome work

  • Peyote Slurpee says:

    Plants invented animals to use up some of its waste product oxygen and create more CO2 also so we could carry plant seeds about for them. You see, we are good for something after all.

  • Alan Watts was and still is an important part of my philosophical studies. If you listen to enough of his tapes, he does sometimes contradict himself. I've tended to take bits and pieces from several different thinkers. Anyway keep the quest going, but remember the Tao that can be explained is not the eternal Tao. Years ago I studied Geography in college. Climate change? Yes it's mostly cyclical, and has caused mass extinctions. Eventually, sooner or later, man will have to wait his turn as did the Dinosaurs and ice age mammals. Does that meen the extinction of consciousness? I dont thin so. As the Tao says, the end of something is the beginning of another.

  • When in doubt of my value as a human..I remind myself that in the birth process there are thousands of sperms and hundreds of eggs but only one sperm connects with one egg…. I am the result of that miraculous connection if I am here I am already a winner

  • Mate, this is a professional grade production – and the quality and value you bring to your videos is virtually unparalleled. Very impressed. I am not sure why you don't have more subscribers. You should. But something tells me your purpose is greater than getting likes, comments and subscribers. As with the natural process of Osmosis, those who need this guidance will arrive and flow on taking with them the knowledge imparted, hopefully helping another soul. And when the tide comes in, so will your subscribers. Be peaceful my friend and stay strong. Thank you.

  • Jethro Bradley says:

    Well done, George. I think you manage to put some difficult concepts across very simply. You mention Christian mysticism in the video – out of curiosity which approaches or works are you referring to?

  • You have found your calling in life, George. The video was clear, insightful, and poetic. You made me think of the transparent eyeball. Well done!

  • You study Daoism and zen, please study the climate change
    debate that is both sides of the argument. Computer models have no integrity. Co2 is needed by plants, lots of arguments against this extinction nonsense.

  • Wow! One of the best videos I’ve seen on YouTube! What wisdom from such a young man and so well presented! It has taken me 65 years to realize these truths! Good on you! I look forward to more!

  • Stick to who are You, George. Buy a Who album, a surfboard, a scooter. Get the nicest smallest suitcase and fill it with clothes and hit the road. Wander to the stars, kiddo. I can tell you all this, trust me. On a Route 66 Bus through Centennial Colorado, a young woman who had just returned from a solo walk across Russia and China tumbled me: "You're a timelord," she said. "Yes," I said. "I am." Last night I found a Timelord woman. The circle goes around forever, George Thompson. It just IS. The self is essentially unknowable. It changes as circumstances alter cases. It's just taking off the coat you created in weaving an identity. Do not cling. You too are a Timelord and in coming decades you will understand, my dear man. We are all learning. Nobody graduates.

  • TimC Cambridge says:

    Great, thank you. So.. can I reflect ? Two sides.. The ' created ' ( attributable ) framing of existence Vs The eternal that can be named ( attributes ) is not the … Etc. In my experience the rhythm explored is between : Too high.. isolated purity, Too low.. absorbed dreamer, the Master flows through the ' Now ' as the centre from which all directions stretch out. Does that make sense ?

  • Cundrau Deplazes says:

    The next time you feel down. Remind yourself, that you are star dust, than woke up.
    – George Thompson

    Thanks George. Keep up the good work

  • Such a beautiful video George, gorgeous scenery and yes, hooray, I have the same understanding of the interconnectedness of all things and the satori of consciousness (and a similar book list; what a great idea!) Other ideas that have helped me are…it’s no good comparing yourself to others, either looking up or looking down and (Sadhguru) that if you allow others to control how you think and are really nothing but a slave!

  • JustASimpleGuy says:

    Seems like a lot of people are beginning to awaken to this realization.

    EDIT: An important observation. The climate change protests are wrapped in layers upon layers of identity. It occurs to me these types of protests are an impediment to realization.

    Hmm, let me rephrase that. They can be an impediment if one doesn't remain mindful and grounded in what you're beginning to understand.

    Oh, and just to let you know I included this video in my channel's Wisdom playlist. 🙂

  • Glad you have been getting into Alan, I love his talks and they have really helped me. As for the experience of losing ones ego during meditation and having a spiritual/mystical experience, it can also be attained via psychedelics, which in certain contexts can give you some key insights into your essence as 'stardust that's woken up'. This is what happened to me spontaneously and it lead me to get into philosophy and spirituality to better integrate and understand what had occurred. I think it can be easy to overly intellectualise the idea of an awakening and try and "think" it through and explain with language. But as they teach in buddhism its beyond abstraction and words, its felt rather than thought, by subjective experience, which is a bummer for the western mind thats kind of obsessed with ideas, thinking and explanations. I think its important not to try and force the spiritual too much.I can get wrapped up sometimes with "seeking" the feeling again, but trying to pursue it feels like it puts it further away. One of the things I've realized is that there's nothing to find, you are complete as is, and if you do search for something to attain what you end up finding is yourself. That sounds pretty cryptic and I'm not sure how helpful that is, but I felt compelled to try and explain what I've realized anyway. Love your channel and the video, keep doing what you are doing xx

  • When I was just a child, I remember thinking, how strange that I can see from beyond these eyes and hear these thoughts, yet I can't do it from anyone else's. I wondered if I was the only one alive and everything else was my imagination. I felt overwhelmingly alone, I still do. But I do not think everyone else is a figment of my imagination anymore: I would never be able to imagine such suffering and destruction.

  • this video is so beautiful!

    your tone, words, method of filming, etc. it’s so calming yet entertaining and beautiful. you should have your own show or something seriously!

  • The Observer is The Observed….
    Look up Krishnamurti your love his books George.
    See you in a few weeks with Master Gu

  • Until recently I never understood the phrase about "hugging a tree". I now know it's because a tree is the most powerful source of "chi" , or universal energy.

  • Son, you better take a good look at what the criminals from Extinction Rebellion are doing now. NOT peaceful. Not non-violent. NOT "civil disobedience." They are committing criminal acts of vandalism and violence and that's what you just happily announced you're running off to join in on. If what they're doing is what you want to do, your head is FAR from being in a good place. That brings into serious question everything you talk about. And that's a shame.

  • Here are some of the idiots from Extinction Rebellion committing criminal vandalism. That is NOT civil disobedience. That is actively planning and committing a crime.

  • Great video George!!
    I recently visited the Cairngorms so I recognised some of the locations you were at. At the beach you were sitting at was were I experienced a great moment of feeling complete interconnectedness with nature while looking out at the loch. It's amazing that being in nature allows us to see more clearly and let go of the labels we place on ourselves.
    Do you think there is a connection with people using nature as purely a commodity and the increase feelings of isolation and depression within society?

  • Zsuzsanna Spiry says:

    As you like contemplation, may I add one more title to your recommend literature? "Resonate with Stillness – Daily contemplatjons", by Swami Muktananda & Swami Chidvilasananda. I've been daily reading this book since 2013 and as we progress in our journey every time I re-read a contemplation it sounds new. It is so surprising. Hope you enjoy it as I do.

  • Alastair Gordon says:

    "We are stardust that has woken up!" Great line! If it’s true, then maybe our consciousness is continuing to evolve. And while ancient wisdom worked in the past, maybe we need to find something that works for us today, or connect in a new way. Don’t know. Just wondering.

  • Alexander Karpov says:

    I’m extremely and sincerely grateful for this piece of content George ! I feel the profound and positive energy you put into it, seriously. Thank you 🙏🏻

  • Excellent series with Master Gu and been now following your updates into these thoughts and being. I'm awakened to this and it makes so much sense. I am now looking to experience meditation to help further. Thanks George.


    Hi, George! Great vid, it's really a pleasure to see and listen to you! The indian and catalan biologist, theologian and philosopher Raimon Panikkar would really smile listening to you… Thank you again, brother in the Rhythm of Being! 😉

  • Another beautiful and inspirational video with fantastic information and powerful insights 🙂 – thanks George 🙏🏼

  • I remember starting to feel improvement in your channel, it definitely continues. These are concepts that I have always had hard time to talk about with people, because of how hard they are to put into words, and you just did it great.

  • Man, I love you and I love this channel. I remember when you posted your first video and I was admittedly a bit jealous at the time because what you are doing was very similar to what I thought i wanted to do at the time! As I have been going on my own journey I returned to binge watch your videos and It's crazy how so many aspects of my realisations about my self and my connections to the universe have coincidentally happened to you as well. I must admit this life stuff is really very funny indeed and I am loving this journey which we seem to be sharing in some crazy coincidence! Love everything you do and if you ever come to Australia and you need anything or want to grab some beers, don't hesitate to let me know. Anyway man enough of me babbling, love seeing your joy about life and your persistent ability to share your thoughts in a meaningful and coherent way. Cheers!

  • Rishi Thornhill says:

    Lovely meditations man 🙂 coming back to London after 3 weeks is going to be interesting. The question is how do we integrate these lessons into regular life where our connection to all nature is less apparent . How do we remain aware so this doesn’t become forgotten. It seems that in most cities and lifestyles that the true connectedness to the universe becomes clouded. Is that a sign to change our lifestyle or change our mind about how we view it?

  • Greetings, George!
    What you are doing is so wonderfully edifying on many levels.

    At 9:13, you state: “In all our searching of the cosmos we haven’t found a single other species that is as self-aware like we are.”

    I am not convinced that such a search is the best application of one’s energies, but anyhow, there is a saying archaeologists are fond of, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

    We are accustomed to using human intelligence as a barometer of what self-aware consciousness is. It is likely those amazing trees you co-mingled with manifest a self-awareness far more advanced than what humans have come to express.

    To be preoccupied with the human form of self-aware consciousness is (to use a phrase of Timothy Leary’s) “a tender trap”, which you will discover, soon, I am sure and move beyond.

  • can 'we' ever be in the moment – like stepping into a river that is ever changing moments are always in flux – we're a mystery to ourselves

  • criticizing ourselves is built into the fabric of our culture at least in the west – constant advertising to turn wants into needs – constant way to compare self to other selves – in a world based on self self self – system change not personal change is needed

  • George, I recently stumbled upon your channel and I have to tell you, this video was phenomenal! Brilliant narrative and story-telling you've injected into this video. I look forward to growing alongside you and the community.

  • Guilherme Meneghelli says:

    I connect with your thoughts 💭 if you think to know 🇧🇷 you’re welcome.

  • Keep it going brother. Your videos are next level. And I love the topics you talk about. You are very important in bridging these Eastern ideas to the West.

  • "You are stardust that woke up" "All that was left of me was a point of awareness, like a droplet of water hanging off of moss"…
    So poetic! I also loved the simple explanation you gave between the observer and the observed without over-mystifying it whilst still keeping the awe of being a conscious living being.

  • LightBoltProductions says:

    After year on YouTube , after years of video essays, I've find your take on this so fresh it makes me think I'm watching a documentary. Love the blocking, the nature and the natural talking, exclenent man. Excellent work

  • Hey Georgie! I have been watching your videos almost on a daily basis. Thank you for the effort you put into waking us up mentally. I hope to meet you some day; physically or otherwise. smiles

  • But we're connected not only to the Universe. All in all people are part of the human society. Current society tells us what is wrong about oneself from the childhood. «You need to make money, you need to look good enough, you need to do this and don't do that», they say. Should a man who understands his being follow the road that millions and millions of people do every day? I somehow feel that our generation is free. I can take my laptop and work from any corner of the earth. Even from this forest of yours. But it is a fake freedom. From my point of view understanding of who you really are is the first and the most difficult step. But there is the second one. To share your understanding and creative source with others. And I believe there is more steps to climb. Some hard thoughts from Russia. I hope that once we will drink some tea together and do chatting. Thank you for this channel.

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