What makes you, You?
I spend a lot of time sitting with that question.
Are you you because of your name, your title, your job, your accomplishments, the number of kids you have, how you spend your day, what sort of good person you are, the car you drive, the size of your bank account?
And if you’re not you because of those things, then what are you because of?
It’s a real mind-twister.
Up until now, the evidence I’ve compiled for who I am has come from looking around at both my current life today and my past. The physical things I see everywhere all around me: my house, car, address, the events in my calendar, my to do list, the projects I’m undertaking, the school my son attends, my personal values, my body, my health and fitness, my family, projects I undertake, etc… those are all parts of the puzzle.
And then there is my past… the jobs I’ve held, the races I’ve raced in, the podiums I’ve finished on, the rivers I’ve kayaked and oceans I’ve paddled, the countries and states I’ve visited, the schools I’ve attended, the friends I’ve made, the girlfriend I married… those too… all evidence of who I am.
These answers have always been good enough. Who I am is all of THAT.
Never mind the fact that I’ve heard time and again from spiritual teachers and gurus that who one is has nothing to do with any of that. To me, that was just something I said “yes” and nodded my head to, not actually getting it, but hoping someday that I would.
And then I had a breakthrough. I was listening to “Karma: A Yogi’s Guide to Crafting Your Destiny” by Sadhguru, the chapter called Karma and Memory when it hit me…
WHO I AM is PRESENT TIME… it’s got nothing to do with the PAST. Great, that eliminates all of my jobs, accomplishments, and past.
And guess what… all the things that I look around at that I’ve always thought are in the present… they are just artifacts of the past! They are physical representations of who I have been UP UNTIL NOW. But they are not representations of who I am now, in the present. Take, for example, my body… every single thing going on in it and with it – fitness, mobility, strength, health, breath, injuries, hunger, thirst, aches and pains, anxiety, fear, excitement, joy – the moment I notice any one of these things, it’s an imprint of an event or experience of my body that has already happened, or has been happening. It’s not what is ACTUALLY in the present. Neither is my desk, phone, computer, incense burner, coffee mug, pen, wallet, or journal. These are also artifacts… evidence of the PAST.
I think that is what makes it so hard to both answer the question and to get myself into the present during meditation. EVERYTHING all around us in our physical world is an artifact of the past, and pulls us back into the past every time we see it… continuously. The world as we know it is part of the structure of things that keeps us locked in our own matrix.
To come out of it requires creating the time and space to see things more deeply.
When we answer the question, Who am I?, we answer it thinking that the question is really, Who have I been? But that’s not the question.
Who am I? is an infinite question with infinite answers. Who am I? changes with every moment of every day. It is happening now… and now… and now… and now. It’s a continuous process that never ends. the answer is also a continuous process – a process of CREATION. I get to CREATE who I am every single moment of my life… so who I am is anything and everything that I say I am… right now… and now… and now… and now… and…