The most important question we can ask ourselves consists of three words: Who am I? Indeed, it is a question that invites regular and frequent exploration and contemplation, and one that has become increasingly essential to my ability to find grounding and peace no matter what is unfolding in my physical life.
The importance of this question doesn’t originate with me. It comes from a spiritual teacher whom I have never met in person and yet with whom I feel such an affinity. His name is Mooji, and online videos of his teachings during satsangs and his daily walks provide me with such profound and wise guidance as I continue my inner journey to explore and truly know who I am. I want to try to share with you what I am experiencing, knowing that there are no words that adequately express that which I am opening into. I invite you to open into this inner journey with me to find what you have been searching for all your life. As we explore this essential question — Who am I? — let us peel back the external layers to come at last to our true identities.
Consider how we first learned to identify ourselves in the world. We learned our names and whether we were girls or boys. We learned that we belonged to a family and that we had roles within our family — son/daughter, grandson/granddaughter, nephew/niece/cousin, and so on. As our experience expanded into the community and school, we learned to identify ourselves as friend and student. Maturation brought further identification with job titles and preferred activities — teacher, writer, activist, skier, traveller, and so on. Our first and immediate responses to the question, Who am I?, are the results of our conditioning and the ways in which we have learned to identify ourselves in the outer world. These external expressions are not who we are.
Daily, we look in the mirror and see a body that is seemingly separate from all other bodies, and we think that this is who we are. But which body are we? Are we the body that we had when we were young children, the body that we had when we were teenagers, or the body that we have as adults? Even as adults, our bodies change continuously. If we identify as a body, which one are we? The body that we are today is not the body that we will see next month or next year. The body is not our sense of “I.”
There is an “I” that has been present through all our bodily changes and social conditioning into various roles. It does not change as these external expressions do over the course of our physical lives. Who is this unchanging, ever-present “I”? Why is it essential that we find out?
Many of us spend our lives trying to be what the world deems as desirable. We search for the role that will fulfill us and tell us that we have at long last found who we really are. We search in the outer world for that which will complete us and make us feel whole, but we need to search elsewhere. We need to turn within to find out. In order to find that which we seek, we must find the “I” that continues as the unchanging witnessing presence and who is our eternal source of fulfillment and completion. As we do, we will find God.
Get quiet, close your eyes, and focus within. Feel the quiet presence within you. Is this a part of your body, or is it something more profound, something that is waiting for your return? Allow yourself to sink into this presence. Feel yourself opening and expanding beyond the limits of your body. As you rest in this space, can you feel the peace that is there for you? Can you feel the unconditional love and belonging? Can you observe the thoughts that arise in your mind? Can you witness the emotions that come with the thoughts and the stories in your mind? Is it possible that you can sense that these thoughts and emotions are not you, that you are the presence that witnesses them? You are the awareness in which they arise, and you are the awareness that continues as they release.
Can you feel this presence — the consciousness in which all of your experiences manifest and then disappear? This is where you will find the answer to the question: Who am I? And as you think you find the answer, seek further and deeper. Mooji challenges us to find the “I am” presence, and when we experience this, to explore what is conscious of this awareness. I am just beginning to comprehend where his words are pointing, and it is here that words fail. It is here that I begin to understand the words, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Will you respond to the call to explore your own answers to the question: Who am I? What do you experience when you go within? Can you feel the presence of your being? Can you open into what is there and go deeper? What do you find on your inner journey? I would love to hear from you and learn with you as we explore our way back home to our true identities. Namaste, my dears. I send you great love always.