Who am I? What comes up for you when you ask this question of yourself? In terms of memories, ideas, how you’ve been described? What do you identify with? Does this process of identification help you, or just cause suffering? Are you still figuring or learning about who you are?
Perhaps when your favorite basketball team loses, you suffer as though YOU lost. When your car is damaged it feels like YOU got hurt. When someone attacks who they think you are, does it seem as though they’re actually reaching inside and poking at your true nature (they’ve struck a nerve)? How can you escape the unnecessary drama and pain?
Is it possible by seeing who and what you are not? Seeing the process of identification clearly can free you from the ego attachments that cause you to suffer. Through meditation and some self-discovery, we’ve found a meditation that may be of service to you.
Who Am I – A Meditation Of Self Identity
Sit or lay comfortably in a quiet place. Relax, close your eyes, and take several deep breaths. Breathe through your nose, eventually letting your breathing fall into a natural pattern. Pay attention to your breath, to the air moving in and out of your lungs and nose. Let the tension drain from your body. Now your mind may drift to the work or home task you have to do, but that’s normal. Simply bring your attention back to your breath.
Ask the question in your mind, “Where am I?” Then ask, “What am I?” and “Who am I?” Just let these questions sit for a moment in your mind.
Become aware of your body, and consider your leg. Would you cease to exist if you lost it? Are you your leg? Continue through the parts of your body, asking of each part, “Am I here?” and “Is this what I am?”
Then open your eyes and look around. Are you any of these things? You might feel pain if your favorite “thing” breaks, as though it were you, but you are not that thing. Which of these things you own are you? Ask these questions. Ask, “Am I this?”
Now close your eyes again and in your mind say your name. Is there a sense of identity? And if you had no name? Ask yourself “Am I really…” and say your name again. Consider what the most honest answer is. Try saying “I am…” and insert any other name. Note how, when you call yourself by another name, you feel differently. You have a name-identity that is a collection of ideas, something seen differently by you and others.
Let feelings arise, and ask “Am I this fear?… this pain, sadness, desire, pleasure, or anger? You can see that your feelings are not you – they just pass through you. Your Mercedes Benz, body type, reputation – none of it is your true self-identity, is it?
Continue this meditation for twenty minutes or so. Take a deep breath and get up, noticing if you feel different – maybe less worried or less attached to things, feelings and thoughts. Repeat the meditation as often as necessary, to remind you of what you are not. Oh, and you really don’t need to answer the question, “Who am I?”
Let us know if this proved useful for you or not… Was this a load of crap or did you benefit. We would LOVE to know, so drop us a line in the comments.