People are a process, not a "real thing".

During a conversation with my dad, I spoke of an ocean wave as an analogy to humans not being separate, but rather a part of the whole.

When the wave is formed on the surface of the ocean it becomes distinguishable – it is born. We can point at it with our finger. We can measure it’s height, width and speed. We can ride it. Much like the birth of a human being.

When the wave flattens out and disappears, just like humans, it dies.

My point was that in all the time, while being distinguishable, the wave has never ceased to be a part of the ocean. It was a manifestation of the ocean.

I have made this point in many conversations before and the idea was not new to me. My dad pointed out an interesting observation. Even though the wave is distinguishable it does not contain the same water as it moves. In other words, this is why a boat on the wave rolls over it and does not simply get carried away by a single wave.

While contemplating the fact that a wave is more of a process rather than an “actual thing”, I was struck by a new realization. So are we! A human body replaces all the cells in it. Chances are there is not a single cell in your body that you were born with.

During our life we consume matter in the form of food. We breath air. We drink water. It all passes through us, as we would normally think. It is harder to see in the case of people, but much like a wave we are not an “actual thing”. We are more of a process that was pushed into existence at birth and will flatten out at death.