Awakening to Who You Are

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Mystics throughout the ages, and from every tradition, have expounded that we are One with all of existence.  This priceless knowledge is almost in the mainstream now, and occasionally an everyday conversation can land there.  While this is fantastic and points the great awakening that humanity is undergoing, the knowledge of it is quite different than a living experience of it.

There are various approaches to awakening, and the experience of the path is as varied as the seekers, after all, the Divine manifests in countless forms.  But one of the ways is direct inquiry – constantly pondering on the question “who am I?”

As discussed in a related article (https://celebrateyoga.org/who-am-i/ ), when we pose this question to ourselves, we have a string of answers that catalog our mental identifications with various facets of our lives.  These identifications are so engrained that we have a difficult time finding the separation between our inner being and these mental constructs.

And so, it may be useful to try a thought experiment.  What if there was an accident and as a result you got amnesia?  You would have no memory of your life script.  Who would you be then?  Have you changed into a different person or are you what you always have been?  How would you answer the question, “who am I?”  Think deeply, after the standard answer of “I don’t know,” who remains?

This thought experiment shows how shallow our identifications are, how quickly they can disappear, and point to that eternal truth – we are not our stories, nor our identifications.  How can we be those things that can be gone in an instant of amnesia?  You may say, “but I am still that person, and my friends and family can attest it my personal history, but I have just forgotten.”  Let’s unpack this.

First, we need to understand that our inner being is not defined by life circumstances and a character script.  We are not the stories we tell ourselves, and which our friends and family, and society reinforce.  In a situation afforded by amnesia, we are suddenly face to face with that reality – you exist, there you are, so who are you?  And second, that argument the amnesia making you forget your identity actually has a subtle truth… that you have indeed forgotten who you truly are.  There are fleeting glimpses of remembering when fully enveloped in love, or when deep at peace.  What if that could be the everyday experience?  That is what awakening to who we truly are means.

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