A monthly reading to ponder!
You are a Spiritual Being by Manisha Melwani
Every single being has both an apparent identity and an essential nature. The apparent identity of an object, or being, constitutes its outer characteristics, while its essential nature is the fundamental substance from which it is made. For example, take a clay jug. The shape, form and color of the jug is its apparent identity. But clay is its essential nature. The apparent identity depends on the fundamental substance for its existence. Without clay, a clay jug would not exist.
The apparent identity keeps changing and dies away, but the essential nature is unchanging. Think about how the jug will start to fade in color over time or consider that you can take a hammer to the jug and break it. But no matter what happens to the jug, the clay will always remain clay. It was there before the jug was formed, it exists in the form of the jug now, and it will remain after the jug is destroyed.
Human beings are no different. Each of us has both an apparent identity and an essential nature. Our apparent identity arises out of our identification with our changing bodies, emotions and thoughts. It's easy to see how these are constantly changing. Our bodies look and function differently as we go through various stages of our lives, when our health changes, or when we gain or lose weight. Our thoughts and emotions change over time, certainly from year to year and often even from moment to moment.
Our essential nature, on the other hand is something distinctively different. It is Spirit that remains unchanged, in the past, in the present and in the future. Spirit enables you to recognize the changes that occur in your apparent identity. These changes do not affect your essential nature. As was the example of the clay, Spirit is present before you are born, it remains while you are alive, and it continues to exist even after you die. Without Spirit you could not exist. It is only Spirit, which is your essential nature, that can enliven the identity of your body and mind.