Ask, “Who Am I?”

Here is a passage from my book Leap Before You Look.

 

eye-250x195Be still and listen
To the sounds around you.

The sounds are heard, aren’t they?
Heard perfectly.
Now shift the attention from the sound
To that which is hearing the sounds.

What is that?
What sound does that itself make?
Ask yourself, who am I?

Now feel the sensations in the body,
Just as they are:

The breathing, the places of tightness and relaxation, pleasure and pain.
Let the attention shift, from the sensation in the body
To that which is feeling the body.
What is that which feels?
What is that which says “my body”?
And ask, who am I?

Let the eyes be gently open.
Look, see what is here.
Notice the shape of it, the color of it, the form of it.
Now let the attention shift from the object to that which sees.
What is that which sees?
Again, ask yourself, who am I?

Whatever arises to be experienced, Shift your attention from the object to the experiencer. Seek out your own presence, and discover what that is.body-mechanism-300x300All our life we use the terms “I” and “mine” and “me.” We talk about my body, my thoughts, my mind, my family, my money, my life. We know what the body is, we know what a thought is, but do we know who claims to own these things? As long as this question remains unexamined, we remain trapped in a world of limitation, fully identified with things that have a beginning and an end in time.

When you start to inquire in this way, you may pass through many layers, rather like peeling an onion. Every time you ask the question, “Who am I?” the mind will kick up an answer. “I am a man or a woman, I am rich or poor, I am educated or a simple person.” But do not stop with any of these answers. Keep asking and going deeper. To this question, all the answers given by the mind are false. You may shift from identifying with the body to identifying with your thoughts, believing that you are the thinking mind. But that, too, is being experienced. You may drop deeper, into an identification with feelings. But feelings also are passing, coming and going. Finally, you come to the label “me.” Who am I? Me. I am meplumeria-300x225

Stay with this “me.” Try to find it; try to investigate its real nature. You may be surprised to find that it is a challenge to locate a “me.” It cannot be found. It simply is not there. And yet this moment is being experienced; sounds are being heard; form and movement are being seen. In the absence of any entity to be found, what remains?

This simple practice returns you home to yourself, to infinity.

To read more, purchase my book Leap Before You Look on Amazon.

 

Photo credits: Pixomar, digitalart, masterisolatedimages

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One Response to “Ask, “Who Am I?””

  1. Margaret October 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm // Reply

    Dear Arjuna, So lovely to have this inquiry in a poetic form. That fed my creativity to help ‘me’ return home. As you say,I returned home to myself, to infinity. To the same infinity that is ‘you’ and all! Such an amazing, freeing, bonding-to-all mystery! Thanks for all you do.

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