Who Am I?
I was hiking in the mountains, and I found these dogs. I took pictures with them. I took pictures of myself. When I was at a viewpoint, I was looking at the pictures, and I asked myself “Who Am I?” It is a simple question and yet it is a question that led me to consciousness. Who am I? Am I the hands that I have? The simple answer is no. Am I my feet? The answer is no. Am I my eyes? Am I my nose? Am I my hearing? Am I any of my body part? The answer again is no on all of them. If I am not my body, then I am my mind, right? What is my mind? My mind is composed of thoughts. The question therefore is not “Am I my mind?” but “Am I my thoughts?” In that moment, it occurred to me that I am not my thoughts. I came to this conclusion because I am aware of my thoughts. There is a space between my thoughts and who I am. If I think of an elephant, a car, or any object, then I could see those in my mind. I am aware that those are only thoughts. So I am beyond thought for the simple fact that I am aware of it. So I am not my thoughts. The question is, am I my emotions. The answer is no. There is again a space between my emotions and who I am. I am aware of my emotions so therefore my emotions are not me. I am separate from my emotions. I am above thought and above emotions.
So who am I? I am not my body, nor my mind nor my emotions. I am far more. I can separate myself from those things and I can watch them from a distance. There is a space between me and all of these. The answer that I found is that I am that awareness. What is this awareness? No one knows what that is. Introspection stops at that level.
I have searched the Internet to find out what others have found about this awareness. There are many names that people have given this awareness like soul, God, higher self, oversoul, consciousness, spirit, the formless, and so on. No one knows or no one can explain what awareness is in words. It is beyond words and identification.
What Do I Know About This Consciousness?
What I did was I studied my emotions, thoughts and this awareness. I studied what other people have found out about themselves that I think are true about myself also. In order to explain what I found, I will just give an analogy.
Emotions, Thoughts And Awareness
One of the best ways I could explain this is that the body is a clear crystal glass, awareness is the water, thoughts would be the oil on top of the water and emotions would be a light bulb at the center of the glass surrounded by the water. I will exclude thoughts and focus on emotions first.
Adding An External Variable
When an external variable happens, this causes the body to experience emotions. The light bulb would turn on and create a colored light. An external variable can be anything. Let’s say you are waiting in line in a super market. The line is big and the cashier is very slow. This external variable which is the big line causes the light bulb to emit a red light. This red light symbolizes anger. The crystal glass which is your body becomes red, the water becomes red, and light bulb becomes red. Everything is red. You are now filled with anger because you are waiting in this big line.
When you examine this closely, you will realize that you are not that anger. What I notice is that I can separate myself. There is that tiny space between me and my emotions. If I pull back a little bit or if I take deep breath to look at myself, I can see myself in a third person point of view. I can even say to myself, “Hmmm this person is so angry. He is full of anger and he has lots of thoughts of anger.” What I notice is that this awareness is always calm. It does not change. It is the same as the water in the example. The light bulb can emit such a fiery red that the whole glass can be very red but if I pour the water out, I can clearly see that the water is unchanged. It is still clear. Even though the body is experiencing a lot of emotions and the mind is having lots of emotional thoughts, this awareness is always clear.
Everything Happens Inside Of You!
When you put the same external variable and give it to multiple people, people will have different emotions. Whatever this external variable is like traffic, waiting in line, watching korean drama, watching horror movies, watching dogs in youtube and so on, what happens is that not everyone will have or experience the same emotions. This proves that the external variable or external world is neutral. You or we have control of our emotions. We create our own suffering and joy. We create our own emotions. We can all be watching the same movies and have different feelings about it. We can all be in traffic, and not all of us will be angry, some neutral and some are happy. We turn on our own light bulbs into the desired color we want. Everything happens inside of us.
The traffic did not make you angry. You gave yourself the emotion called angry. The other person did not make you angry, you made yourself angry. The weather did not make you sad, you made yourself sad. You created your own emotions and thoughts. The conclusion that we can clearly see from this is that you created your own suffering.
Thoughts And Awareness
I can create a better analogy for this. Thoughts would be the waves of the ocean. External variable would be the weather. Awareness or consciousness is the bottom of the ocean. The body is the boat.
An external event could fill up your thoughts with worry, panic, fear and so on. Let’s say you have bills and you got fired from your job. Your savings only last for 1 year. So you are filled with worry, where are you going to get the money, you are going to lose your car, you are going to lose your apartment and so on. The weather is stormy, the waves are crazy big. The waves are pushing the boat all over the place. Everything looks bad, everything looks awful. The way worry and thoughts work is that they repeat themselves over and over from morning till night. This can last for weeks, months and even years. The person is suffering for long periods of time.
If you pull yourself back. You just watch your thoughts. You can again look at yourself in third person viewpoint. When I do this, I can see my thoughts. I am like “I am having stupid thoughts again.” Sometimes I would just look at it and see the thoughts that pop up. It is a constant repetition of the same thing over and over. When I pull myself back or separate myself from my thoughts, I can clearly see them. I become the bottom of the ocean, the thoughts are the waves. I can see how the thoughts are pushing the body or creating stress for the body. I can see how this external variable played a role in my thoughts. I realized a long time ago that worry, fear and panic are optional. Suffering is optional.
In my example, the guy could have said to himself, “I am fine right now. I don’t need to worry or panic. I can find a new job to pay for my bills.” The thoughts would stop.
Even if the external world is very turbulent, the awareness is not affected. Who you are or who we are is beyond thought. We can stop the thoughts from coming or think of something else. Whatever is happening at the surface level, the deeper level is always calm. We can see that a lot of people can experience the same external variable but create different thoughts and view points out of the same external variable. This proves that we create our own thoughts and our own suffering. We all react differently, thus each one of us created a unique thought, a unique viewpoint and thus this proves that we are responsible for our own happiness and suffering.
What we can see also is that a lot of people like to suffer. A lot of people like to suffer like what I talked about in one of my relationship articles. A lot of people want to suffer, they have an identity with suffering. They have this victimization attitude. The world is the villain and they are the victim. Like in stories, the victim is allowed to retaliate, attack and destroy the villain since the victim/hero is right. Just look at Star Wars, Disney stories, and so on. People play these stories or thoughts in their head that they are the victim over and over. They attack others who are the villain while they are the hero. They play these stories over and over in their heads. They want to suffer because the one suffering is the victim and the victim is allowed to attack, retaliate and get mad at anyone or anything. This is the introduction to the ego. I am right, others are wrong. I am suffering, thus I am right, I can get mad at anyone so people have to please me or make me happy. There is some sort of high or sense of feeling good when people identify themselves to be powerless, victimized, being small and have no control. But we all know this is not true because like I said we create our own happiness and suffering. So we can see that some people even the smallest thing, they will complain, nag, create lots of negativity, and victimization identity out of it because they want to be the one that is complaining because the one that is complaining is the one that is suffering, the one suffering is the one that is right and is allowed to attack others who are wrong. This is how the ego thinks which is “I” or “me me me me”. We will talk about this way of thinking more in the future.
But let’s go back to my analogy. There are people also who do not have any attachments to cars or houses or certain material things. If they lose their car, they lose it. No attachment to the car and no suffering. They are not attached to it. They can buy another one in the future when them make money again. Same thing for houses and material things. So we can see from this that we create our own thoughts thus we create our own viewpoints or the way we see the external world. This again proves that we create our own suffering and our own joy and that the outside world is neutral.
In my analogy, we are the bottom of the ocean. The waves are thoughts. Who we are surpasses thought. This means that who we are is more than the story that we tell ourselves. We are more than the victim, we are more than our jobs, we are more than our excuses, we are not our past nor where we are headed in the future. We are this consciousness that cannot be explained with words because words come from thoughts.
Introduction To The Present Moment
All that there is and all that there ever will be is the “NOW”. Controlling our emotions, thoughts and looking at the bright side of things is very hard. The trick to being peaceful and having a beautiful inner world is the present moment or the “now”. Let’s look at the past, and let’s look at the future. What we can see is that we spend the majority of our thoughts in the past and in the future. But the past and the future are only thoughts. They are not real. The past happened already and the past is just in your head. When you die, your past is gone. High likelihood that nobody will care how you lived or how you die for someone 100 years from now. We can even say that your past never existed. The past happened but it is gone. It is now just a thought. It is only a thought in your head and yet you play it over and over like it is the only thing that matters and only thing that is important.
The future is also just a thought. It is just a concept or idea. When the future comes, it is still the present moment or it becomes the present moment. The future that you are thinking of also only exists in your head. We can use the concept of future for appointments, watching our shows and so on. But most of our thoughts create predictions of the future that are not real. We play these roles of hero or victim in the stories in our heads of the future. We are always the main character in our predictions of the future. We project pain that will happen to our character so worry, panic, and fear gets inserted into the predictions of the future. These ideas of the future are not real. They are just thoughts that have a high chance of not happening.
All that is, all that ever will be is the present moment.
The Abandonment Of The Present Moment Leads To Suffering
The most common examples are waiting in a line, traffic, losing a job or money and so on. I will talk about these but for me, the one that I can relate to the most is withholding happiness for some future scenario that has not happened yet and may never happen. The thinking that I have was that I want to achieve this then I can be happy. When I achieved that, the happiness lasts for a week or a month then I go for another achievement. I tell myself, I will be happy when I achieve this next thing. It goes on and on and on. I will be happy when I have this. I will be happy when this happens in my life. I am sacrificing the present moment. I realized that I could be enjoying my life more if I stay in the present moment or if I enjoy the present moment. If I don’t enjoy “now”, I will not enjoy the achievement. It will turn into the next achievement, when I get that, it will turn into another achievement, and so on. If I accept the present moment and enjoy it, then I can enjoy all the moments of my life. When I achieve something, I will enjoy it a lot more and appreciate it more. No matter what I experience, it is always going to be the “now”. If I always wait for a future happiness, then when that happiness arrives, I will just move on to the next one because that is how I trained my mind which is to enjoy the next future moment. So enjoying the present moment is training my mind to enjoy every moment of my life.
Another realization is that if I want to be a writer then I should enjoy reading and writing right now or in my free time. So if you want to be a programmer then start programming right now. If you want to be a singer then start singing everyday or take voice lessons. If you want to be a painter then start painting. If you want to be a makeup artist then start doing makeup. Create a youtube channel or learn what others are doing. Whatever your dream job is, then start enjoying it as if you already have it. In my 20s, I used to have this future concept also. Example what others experienced on this, I am going to practice singing once I sign a contract. I am going to paint more once I get paid for my works. Why not sing now and enjoy it? Why not paint now and enjoy it? You get to learn and improve your craft also rather than watching tv or wasting time. Instead of saying “I want to be an artist” and one whole year passed by and only spent like 2-3 weeks worth spending on your craft. When we look at this thought concept, we can see why some people succeed and most fail.
How can you enjoy waiting in a line or being in traffic? This is pure suffering to most people. The answer to that is that people are suffering because they have abandoned the present moment. Their minds are in the future. The future is just a thought. They created their suffering within their minds and within their emotions. Their minds are in the future when the line is done, when they are in the cashier, and so on. The complete denial, abandonment and resistance to the present moment is what causes suffering. If the person accepts the present moment, then the suffering is gone. When you fully accept the present moment and not wishing it to be different then that is where you can appreciate it. One of my heroes which is Nick Vujicic who has no arms nor legs makes more money than me, has a very beautiful wife, wonderful job that he loves, travels the world and loved by a lot of people. All because of acceptance for who he is.
In my example of the guy losing his job and worried about his car payments, in this example the guy denies the present moment also. He wishes it is different, he wishes he still has a job, he worries, panics and so on. Our power comes from the present moment. We have no power whatsoever in the past and the future because they are only thoughts in our heads. The worrying that he has of the future takes away his power. The acceptance of the present moment would allow him to accept that he lost his job and would allow him to take action to make more money. Energy spent on worrying, lying down on bed thinking of the future, creating victimization thoughts in the head, are all draining him of the power to take action in the present moment. We can only take action and create change in the present moment. We cannot create in the past nor future. We have no power over there because they only exist in our heads.
The Present Moment Is The Gateway To Love – Intro
One of the best things that I realized this year is that the present moment is the gateway to love. In the present moment, there is an abundance of love everywhere. In the present moment, you are alive, you are breathing, and you are provided for. Right now, you have more than enough to survive and thrive. It does not take much money to survive or live. What I learned is that my desires only give me very temporary happiness like the achievements. In order to maximize the happiness I get from it is to appreciate the present moment. So desires which causes people so much suffering and agony may not give them the happiness or satisfaction that they are searching for. So getting the job that you want, getting the girl that you want, getting all these things may not give you the satisfaction that you crave. People end up trying to get the next desire, the next achievement, the next promotion and so on. The thinking that “the next one will really be the one that will make me happy” is a thinking that most of us suffer from and this way of thinking is not real, it is only an illusion in the mind. It is because the satisfaction and happiness comes from enjoying the present moment and not some future scenario. So getting the “thing or things” you want may either give you a lot of suffering or the realization that this will not provide lots of satisfaction. Getting what you want may become hell for you because you will try to go for the next thing which may require more effort, sacrifices, and so on.
So the conclusion is that in order to be happy and get the satisfaction that we want is to enjoy the journey. Enjoy each step. Each step is one present moment at a time. In the present moment, we are provided for. We have plenty of the things we need and more. If we list everything we have in the present moment, there will be a lot. There are so many things to be grateful for in the present moment. I am alive. I can enjoy the weather. I can enjoy my foods. I can enjoy my coffee. I have freedom to go for a walk. I can write. I can do anything and enjoy a lot of things. This is where the feeling of abundance comes from. I have so much in this present moment. The simple things that I take for granted, not all people have that. Even breathing. There are people that need machines in order to breathe. I spent my whole life not thankful and appreciating breathing. I had asthma attacks also when I was kid. It does not happen anymore but I should have learned to appreciate this a long time ago. Now I am so appreciative that I breathe well. I can feel so abundant just for being grateful for the things I have in the present moment or in the “now”. This feeling of gratefulness is a feeling of abundance and that I am rich in this present moment. All is well in my life. I can go for more money, financial independence and so on which I am doing but at the same time, in this moment I know I have plenty. I have more than plenty.
Who Am I?
The search for who I am led me to know that I am not my thoughts, and I am not my emotions. So I am beyond the story I tell myself, the roles that I play in life, the job that I have, the material things I have, and beyond anything I can identify myself with. I am this mysterious awareness or this consciousness that is formless, cannot be explained, and cannot be put into words. The purpose of my life is to experience the present moment because the present moment is all there is and all that there will ever be. In order to experience the present moment, the thinking and thoughts need to stop. There should be silence in the mind. Some people call this the stillness. It is because experiencing has nothing to do with thoughts, it has to do with feeling or with using our senses to experience the present moment or the “now”.