Excerpts About Who Am I

Knowing the answer to "Who am I?" happens only in the moment. The answer has nothing to do with the past. If the past determines the answer now, then it is obviously not a correct answer, since the past no longer exists. To really answer the question requires that we see that we don't know, and also that we don't know how to find out. Is it possible to let yourself see that you don't know the answer and don't know how to find out, and still let the question burn in you? "Who am I?"
Diamond Heart Book III, p. 29   •  discuss »

To summarize, this process is a matter of investigating your identity, at any level of identification, and your attachments to it. That’s why one of the most powerful techniques in spiritual traditions is to ask yourself, “Who am I?” and to keep asking. Every time you say, “That’s me,” investigate and continue asking, “Who am I?” until there is no one left to say it. It’s not a matter of trying to push or do something. There’s no need to do anything at all, all you need to do is understand what’s there. The moment you want to do anything your motivation is attachment. The awareness of exactly what’s there, whatever it is, without wanting or not wanting, is finally the void. So you can take this attitude from the beginning: simple awareness without ceasing is the understanding that leads to the final freedom. In fact, the means itself is the final freedom—bare objective awareness and understanding. All kinds of techniques exist to get to one or another of those levels, but the only technique, I believe, that will really bring the final freedom through all the levels is the technique of simply understanding, simply knowing, simple awareness. Any technique which involves doing something implies the existence of an identity who does it. It’s all right to let your ego work for you; it can go far. But at some point it must go.

Diamond Heart Book II, p. 62   •  discuss »

You may have had an experience in the past and felt, “That’s me.” Maybe you were right, maybe not. Even if it’s true that you recognized yourself then, perhaps now you have a different self. We want to know what you experience now. We want to be right here, right at this moment. Let’s investigate our beliefs, rather than taking them for granted. When you have experienced what you perceive as your true self, it’s not unusual to think, “I’ve experienced myself and that’s it, now I’ll be happy forever after.” Well, maybe, but we want to know right now. Can you answer the question definitely, you yourself at this very moment, when you say, “Who am I?” One thing that can help our investigation is to connect the feeling of “I,” the feeling of self, to what is called “identity” or “identification.” Finding out who you are is essentially finding your identity. You can see the connection between identity and identification, if you look at your experience of any moment, and see that at that very moment you are identifying with something, you’re taking yourself to be something in particular. You might not be consciously aware of what you are taking yourself to be, but at any moment you are taking yourself to be something, or someone. So we want to investigate what or who you are taking yourself to be at each moment and question it. Is that really who you are? At each moment there is an identification, there is, in a sense, a feeling of self: “I am watching,” or “I am sitting.” When you say “I,” that “I” is attached to something. Is what you’re attaching the “I” to really you?

Diamond Heart Book III, p. 18   •  discuss »

There is another side to us as well. In addition to our relationships, another realm draws the attention of the heart: the love of mystery, the fascination with what might lie beyond our normal view. Since ancient times, human beings have been seeking to know and understand whatever is there. This has expressed itself in many ways—through the adventure and exploration of the external world and how it works, and also through our inner exploration, the quest for meaning and the desire to understand our place in the universe. The question “Who am I?” has been a significant part of our evolutionary story. All the questions that arise at the beginning of the spiritual journey become more scintillating as we get a taste of what lies beyond and a taste of our spiritual being and its vastness, its magnificence, its beauty, its lightness, its unfettered nature. Each taste tends to inspire love and appreciation, to make more love available in every way; and the love grows and expands both inwardly and outwardly. The more we know about our nature, our spiritual nature, the more we love it, the more it draws us, pulls us. The more we feel the expansion of how we view our life, the more we feel, know, and are drawn by and to a more fundamental sense of reality. As our questions are answered, more questions come to replace them. The unknown grows as we come to know it.

The Power of Divine Eros, p. 33   •  discuss »

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