Thanks again to everyone who is contributing.
Lars, I will look into the book you have recommended. Jared, thank you for the link to the document – I will check that out.
Ian, thank you for your thoughts, they are very helpful.
Kamlo, I’m comfortable with the idea of transformation and the atoms that are in one object eventually becoming part of new molecules and new objects. I think your post has given me a better starting point for thinking about how something like the mind could continue over multiple lives. For example, a cloud disappears when it turns into rain. That rain will fall and become part of an ocean and, at some point, those atoms will form a new cloud, and I can see that all of these forms share characteristics (specifically H2O). I will get contemplating!
Sarah, this might be tangential to your question, but your post reminded me that there was a recent Guardian article) about patients with dementia having periods of terminal lucidity shortly before death. Somewhere near the end of the article:
“It opened me up to possibilities,” says Kay Porterfield of her father’s Christmas resurgence. “That I don’t know this is this way and that is that way. And it has made me feel more open to the possibility that our mind is not a physical thing and it is not located in our body. Maybe it’s just a tenant. Our mind is a tenant in our bodies.”
I have lots to think about. Thanks everyone.