Many times when we are trying to define a thing as profound as God, it’s easier to say what it is not than to say what it is.
When it comes to figuring out who or what we are, the most basic of questions, we can find many errors along the way. Some of us, perhaps most of us, never quite get to the core of who and what we are because we get distracted along the way, stopping to identify with what we are not. Our sense of identity becomes connected to what we possess or experience rather than what we indeed are.
There is an ancient teaching that the eye cannot see itself; teeth cannot chew themselves; a finger cannot point to itself. This saying conveys the idea that anything we can point to, anything we can observe, is not our true Self.
People will fight to the death to defend an idea, their nationality, their religion. People will identify so closely with their gender or their sexuality that they forget those are only traits or possessions, things they own. These things are not what we are. I am not my nationality, my religion, my gender, or my sexuality.
Our self-esteem can rise or fall based on the amount in our bank account as if our wealth is us. The more wealth we have, the more we are “worth.” I am not my bank account.
If we are not our nationality, our religion, our gender, perhaps we are our bodies. My body is the next logical thing to turn to. But, our bodies are not the same as they were when we were born or even a few years ago. Cells come and go. We grow. We age. We die. Yet, in spite of all the changes in my body, I am still the same person I was when I was born. I will be the same person when this body is 80 years old. So, I cannot be my body. My body is also a possession. I am not my body.
The brain. Maybe I’m my brain. That’s where all the thinking takes place. That’s where I perceive the voice in my head is. But, we are finding out the brain is not the source of our consciousness. It’s more like a receiver. And the brain isn’t the sole receiver of consciousness. The heart has a neural network similar to the brain. I can observe my brain function. The brain is a key component in being conscious in a body. However, we know that consciousness can exist independent of brain function (NDEs) and afterlife communications. So, I cannot be my brain. I am not my brain.
As we drill down, we arrive on our thoughts and emotions. It’s easy to stop here. We experience thoughts and emotions on a level very close to who we actually are. They can seem to be uncontrollable. They are always with us. But we can observe our thoughts and emotions. We can learn to control them even. They are experiences. They come, and they go. They are not us. I am not my thoughts. I am not my emotions.
The next stop is the mind. Ah, I must be my mind. But, again, the mind is something we can learn to control. The mind is something that we can observe. It cannot be us. I am not my mind.
What remains? I am the Observer. I am the one witnessing all of these other things. I am the Experiencer. Life is a series of experiences and who I am is the Consciousness observing and having these experiences.
Put simply, I am.
I created this meme as a reminder to myself.