Who Am I?

We all have asked ourselves this question from time to time in our lifetime: Who am I?  

I could answer by stating my name, nationality, age, gender, or what I do in life. Just like any analytical questionnaire. I could tell you the story of my life to define who I am. 

Unfortunately, my story and any of these analytical definitions did not completely satisfy me as the appropriate response for who am I when I began to ask myself this question. I was probably 17 and had a desire to know who I was, why I was here, and what was my purpose in life. I was searching for answers. And the more I searched, the more I had questions and no satisfactory answers!

All these definitions being marginally satisfying stopped being meaningful for me when I began to get glimpses of who I am from a first-hand perspective. Once I began to understand my individuality, I had a more fulfilling understanding of who I am. At first, I began to understand who I am not. It was easier to realize who (or what) I am not exactly because all of the many answers I had were mostly unsatisfactory. I went to the list. I simply felt I could not be this, that, or the other. I knew and felt my responses were incomplete.

I Am a Human Being

So who am I really? I kept asking. One day the answer came. Or so I thought! I felt satisfied with the knowledge that I am essentially a human being (HB)! What a realization that was. I am not kidding. Realizing that I am a unique HB was a great revelation at first. A realization that I felt deeply in my guts (whatever that means). 

Pretty soon I had another question though. What is it to be a HB? I accept and know that I am that. It means I am aware that I belong to the HB species. What does it mean to me personally? Again, I had no satisfactory response to this question, although I began to realize that there are two parts of the one definition: (1) I am a human, and (2) I am a being. Oh no! I thought I am two in one. How can that be? I understood the word “human” much better. I am human, I know what it means to be a human. The word “being” was problematic at first. I thought: What is it like to be a being? 

What Is “Being”?

That is a hard question. I came up with an answer that was another question. If I am a being, then what is it to be a being? The question, “Who am I?” now shifted to “What am I?”! Am I my body? Yes, no, maybe! I thought the body is something that I can feel and touch, so I figured this aspect is the human (the flesh). What is asking the questions is not the body, I told myself.  What is it? That must be the beingness of what I am. How do I measure it? And where, or how, do I think, feel, and experience life? How do I know that I am tasting an apple, seeing the color green, or feeling upset? I had more questions than when I started this quest. 

A little voice inside me kept telling me that I just had to pause because I was on the right path to discover something that would change my life. I just had to let go of the thought to know and give space and time to just being. “Enough thinking about this,” I said to myself. So, after a while, I was no more concerned with knowing what I am. I began to enjoy small things in everyday life. I slowed down. And started to feel satisfied and grateful for the small things. Appreciating others more. Seeing the cashier at the supermarket and smiling at her kind service. Waiving to recognize and thank the police officer standing in the middle of the road where an accident had just happened. 

And out of the blue, in one moment, I had an epiphany! Remember the being part of the human being that I am? There it was right in front of me, or better, right in me! I could sense it. Feel it. I realized in one instant that I am the observer! I am the witness to all of the things that I am and I am not. I am the beingness that experiences life knowing that as external circumstances change and as my story changes, I am that unchanged witness. I came to realize that I am the one thinking, feeling, and acting out life–and yet, at the same time, I am the calm, unmoved witness to all.  I realized that the being was always present and that presence is who I am!! This presence is now my companion and my experience of it grows daily as I experience who I am from the beingness of presence. 

I Am that I Am

I am that I am is a reassuring realization that I share this reality with you in the deepest sense possible. I realize that we are all in this presence as beings and that this is the predominant aspect of who we are. It supersedes our story, our belonging to our family, our community, and our country. It is the presence that humanity shares at a fundamental level. As I realize that presence is the experience of consciousness at a vibrational level, the need for thoughts, judgment, and measurement ceases to have meaning, and a profound sense of peace descends on me.  

Through time and practice, I have learned to access this beingness more and more often, and my body feels lighter, my mind clearer, and time feels infinite–space feels infinite. Breath after breath, I rejoice for this mystery we call life. 



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