“Who Am I?”
“I Am Who?”
Let that sit for a moment. A moment, isn’t that all we really have? This present moment? What else is there? What else exists, but this present moment? Who or what is existing in this present moment? Who are you? The real you. Who or what is looking out of your eye sockets at the world around you? Does that ‘world’ actually exist?
Let me digress a bit and ask you another question. What are the stories you tell about yourself? What labels do you attach to who you think you are? I am ‘this’. I am ‘that’. But are you really those things or are they just stories you tell yourself, the things that make up ‘your’ reality. Is that the reality of a stranger who lives across town from you? Do you even exist to them? Most likely, you have never met this person, so neither of you exist in each other’s ‘world’.
Our perception shapes our reality. There are levels of perception. There is your perception of what you believe to be your reality, your worldview, as it were. Then, there is your family’s beliefs of who you are. Your community’s view of what is. Your country’s view, the world view, and finally the cosmic view. Each of these help to shape what you believe on different scales, but what is the truth of who or what you really are?
Stories. Labels. I am a husband or wife. I am a parent, a child, a brother or sister. I am a teacher or engineer. I am all these things. Are you really? Are these labels the ‘real’ you? Who or what is That which is looking out from within you. Who or what is That? That is the ‘real’ you. You Are That. You Are That.
Sit with That…
You Are That. That…Is…All…You…Are. I.
You have most likely heard it said that all we have is this present moment, some call it the Now. Yes, that is all we do have and all we experience. The past no longer is the present we were in, it no longer exists. It is but a memory to us. Over time that memory fades and with many unimportant things, those memories can even be forgotten. Did they ever really happen, if you don’t have a memory of them? Do they exist?
The future has not happened yet. The future is but endless potential, endless possibilities, but have any of them happened yet? We worry about a future that may not actually happen. We expend unnecessary energy on worrying about things we can’t control and will probably not even have happen the way we fear they will. What we do have is this very moment and nothing more. This is why time and space doesn’t really exist, but is a mere perception of the mind, both individually and collectively. We only have the physical space we are existing in and this moment as we are existing in it.
Our ego constantly talks to us, telling us stories. I am ‘this’ and I am ‘that’. But who or what am I? It helps to quiet the mind, to silence the chatter that is constantly talking to us. This can be done through meditation. Not the meditation, when you sit and think about something. What I am talking about here is a process of freeing the mind of all the clutter that fills it. The chaos, the Ego.
Anyone can learn to meditate. There are many different methods, but the one I use that works for me is quite simple in it’s practice. Find a comfortable place to sit or recline. Wear comfortable clothes. It is important that you are comfortable as you don’t want the distraction of tight clothes that may be cutting your circulation or your foot falling asleep. Those things will pull you out of the meditative state. Turn off any distractions. Cell phones, computers, TV. Find a quiet place to do this. Obviously, if you have small children, you won’t be able to do this. Make sure there are no other persons around to distract you.
Now, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You want to only focus on your breathing. Don’t think about what you have to do after you are finished meditating. Don’t think about your to-do list, etc. Don’t worry, other thoughts will come into your mind, that is okay. Our mind talking to us is all we have ever known or been taught. If a thought comes into your mind, just bring yourself back to focusing on your breath. In time and with practice, it will become easier to stay focused on your breathing.
As you focus on your breathing, exhale fully through the mouth. Once you fully exhale, hold your breath for 3-5 seconds. Whatever is comfortable for you. You don’t need to force it and be uncomfortable. Three to five seconds is usually fine. Then inhale through the nose until your lungs are full. Breath deeply and try to get the breath down into the lower lungs. It is actually a healthy practice as many of us breathe in a shallow manner which isn’t so good. Breath deep. At the end of the inhale, hold your breath again for another 3-5 seconds before exhaling and starting the process over again.
Keep up your breathing while focusing on it. In and out, in and out. Again, if a random thought pops into your head, just let it go by returning your focus on your breathing. That is all there is in that moment. Your breath, nothing more. Give yourself time to do this. Five minutes isn’t going to be enough, but since this is your first time, if you only start out 5 minutes, that is okay, but your future meditations you will want to try and do it for longer periods of time. Doesn’t have to be extensive amounts of time, although if you have that kind of time, it will do wonders. Time will actually cease to exist for you as all you will experience is the present moment.
There will come a time, with practice, when your mind will be empty of all thought. When this happens, be aware of Who or What is experiencing this moment. Who or What are you? Who or What is aware of the breath? No stories, no labels, no thoughts, no past, no future. Only the Now. Who or What is experiencing the Now moment?
When you become totally aware of That, you will know It. You Are That. That Awareness. That…Is…All…That…Is. This is pure Consciousness and You Are That.
As you continue to practice your meditations, you will find that this awareness can stay with you. Sure, you have to be on with your life, work, pay bills, spend time with your family and friends, but once you experience this awareness it is very easy to bring yourself back to it in a moment. If nothing else, it can relieve stress. Just take a moment to quiet the mind, take a few deep breaths and bring yourself back to awareness of what you truly are.
You Are That.
Love and Light