It’s the ultimate philosophical questions. “Who am I?”
You might think, “I am my body because without a body I wouldn’t exist.
Or, maybe I’m my mind because without my mind I couldn’t process life with thoughts.
So in that way I am my thoughts, which consciously (and subconsciously) translate my external experiences into an internal reality.
Since I have deep emotions, I am my emotions which experience the world surrounding me.
And I suppose in that way, I am the world which surrounds me. But I don’t relate to all that is around me.
I do have a past which I identify with. Perhaps I am my past, but that is gone and I am here.
I must be that which I identify with now, emotionally, physically, and morally. Yes, I am a conscious choice of who I create myself to be.”
This would all be true if you were contemplating ego, but the question is, “who are you?”
These thoughts seem reasonable and logical because that is what the mind does. The mind creates an identity via the path of least resistance. The mind mindlessly soaks up all that it encounters, absorbing it all like a sponge. Retaining the good and the bad, then ringing it out onto you as if it’s your own identity. As if you are your surroundings, your past, your body, your thoughts, your emotions, and so on. But all of those things change. They come-and-go. Yet you don’t come-and-go.
Your true Self is consistently and continuously present. Therefore, anything that is not consistently and continuously present, is not who you are.
The body for example, is ever changing from birth, to puberty, through the continuous process of aging, and during the natural process of death. Let’s say you were once able to consistently do your favorite asana (yoga pose), and one day the asana was no longer accessible by your body. Does that mean you are no longer you? Let’s say you lose 15 pounds. Have you then lost yourself? Certainly you don’t have the same body that you had when you were born. Your body is always in a state of change, while your true, immortal Self is not.
We definitely aren’t our bodies.
“Your past” sounds like a reasonable answer as to who you are, don’t you think? Without it, you wouldn’t be where you are today. You wouldn’t be able to explain yourself to others, and you wouldn’t be able to reflect on why you are the way you are today. Still, your past doesn’t exist in the present moment.
If you are your past, then you cease to exist. You are not your past.
If you aren’t your past and your future is just a fantasy, perhaps you are the present moment. This definition, “I am the present” is so very close. In fact, it is half of the concept of the true Self. It must be understood that you are the present, in order to identify with the true Self.
To really simplify things, you could understand the true Self as present consciousness.
We are ubiquitous consciousness, which is to say we are awareness.
Now, this is very different than thoughts. Awareness is not cognitive thoughts. In fact, it is when cognitive chatter becomes peacefully calm, that true awareness arises. Awareness is when the rambling mind ceases to speak, and allows you to experience, rather than to think.
The true Self is an awesome tranquility, experiencing all that exists now.
The true self is immortal, in that it has no birth nor death. Your immortal Self is a collective conscious being, harmonizing with the magnificent vibration of all that is, ever was, and ever will be. You will begin to know your Self when the barriers of your separate self, are porous.
May you find awesome tranquility, and experience true presence, today.