Even though it's contrary to Buddhist teaching, I have always instinctively thought of myself as separate and apart from everything and everyone else.
I have also always thought of my body as just a tool my brain uses – and in my case, a tool that wasn't always as effective as it might be. As I think I've written before, I'm a big guy, and someone who just met me might naturally assume I had been a football or basketball player at either the high school or collegiate level. But in fact, I am decidedly nonathletic. I'm clumsy and graceless. I'm sloth like in my movements. I have always tired easily, even as a child. I remember a couple of instances in childhood where I almost blacked out just running around and playing with my friends.
For me, my own right hand seems as alien as the pen or fork or hammer as it's holding.
I mention this because until recently, I just assumed that everyone thought the same way about their bodies: tools being used by brains. It had never occurred to me that athletes, dancers, yoga instructors and others may not think that way about their bodies at all. They may see their minds and bodies as a single entity. Perhaps that's the reason they are athletes, dancers and yoga instructors.
Well, that's just what I'm thinking. I don't know if it's true.