Who am I?
The eons-old human question – who are we?
Naturally, we are the ones that know our name, title, geography, sex, our list of positions and achievements. But aren’t these just a tiny parts of us? A label, a medal, a happenstance.
Who is aware of all that we are? I can be aware of my thoughts and feelings, but who is the one aware of the thinking of thinking and can witness feelings for feelings?
Where is this consciousness that notices everything we seem to be experiencing in this world? Witnesses all the nooks and cracks of what it means to be human.
The more I extend my awareness to all that I seem to perceive, the larger I feel and the more confused I get around defining myself.
With words I can grasp only fractions of me. There’s always more.
Limited by language, I’ve heard the terms ‘higher self’ or ‘true self’ for describing the-I-that-can-not-be-described. I’ve struggled with those terms as I feel them to be dualistic. If there is a higher self, is there a lower self? If there is a true self, is there a false one?
As a human, I’m probably a mishmash of consciousness interpretations, two of which I am regularly aware of – the earthly self and the cosmic self.
The Ego and the Spirit.
Once before bedtime I asked the powers-that-be to show me what this mystical Ego truly is. People around me seemed quite enamoured with the concept of Ego, placing the blame for all of human misdeeds and over-inflated sense of superiority on its fragile shoulders.
‘Stop being so egoistic!’
‘This is not you, it’s just your Ego.’
‘Oh the size of that Ego!’
I was simply curious for a second opinion.
That night I saw myself trapped in a construct made of golden rods. The structure was continuously moving, evolving. Some rods were adjusted, some were added. Each golden line was strong and malleable… and very straight.
This golden cage was everything that held me together on this Earth. My body, my name, my memories, traumas, failures and successes. All held firm by my connections to other structures, friends, colleagues, parents, ancestors and well- and ill-wishers. Whatever ‘Helen’ is, that was it.
In this dream, each time I redefined myself, the golden lines adjusted accordingly. Like a seasoned bodyguard and a crafty marketer, my Ego was always ready to defend-and-sell each new ‘version’ of my self-image.
I have risen from the ashes of my past and have transformed!
Lo and behold, now I am this!
My ego was… is who pretend to be on this planet.
And like all pretence, it is soothingly safe and deceptively false. No wonder we have trouble with accepting it.
If I can describe or be aware of something, I am not that. I am the one who’s aware. To the extend that I’m aware of my Ego, of ‘Helen’ I am neither the cage nor the tag. I am simply aware of both.
I can no more describe the Spirit than I could catalogue each grain of sand on all the planets in the Milky Way. Still, I can comprehend their existence as much as I can comprehend that I exist beyond this body and the labels attached to me in the human culture I live in.
I call this part of me the Cosmic Self only because I have an experiential connection to the words.
Oftentimes in my meditations I feel myself out there in the vastness of Space. Everything around me is in constant motion and it feels like I’m moving, but I am still. Distant stars blink in and out of existence, but I persevere and the only thing that matters in the entire multiverse is Love and my ability to witness it.
Am I making this up? Who knows? What if I am?
Even as I have physically witnessed all that I describe, the earthly version of Helen, the Ego is also sceptical towards anything that isn’t a five-senses part of her golden cage on this planet.
Personally, I’ve reached an inner agreement that as long as I can see and feel the inexplainable within this body, I can humour myself with a bit of a mystery and speculation around my origins and the meaning of life.
As one of those powers-that-be told me years ago, ‘The Earth is a planet for feeling, not understanding. All you will feel is real. All you may know is a mere shadow (of real).’
That felt like something I can believe.
Finally, we arrive at the nagging conflict that’s the very reason I picked up this subject.
If I am not my Ego, but my Ego is a part of me and keeps on demanding my attention… is my Ego my friend or my enemy?
Do I embrace selfishness or fight against self-importance?
The more I become aware of my Cosmic Self, the less I feel interested in my earthly, human stuff. But I still need to eat, keep warm and otherwise function in this dystopian society.
How does infinite love and light serve me while I’m stuck on this planet?
With those questions I kept going back and forth between Heaven and Earth, eventually not fully belonging to either. I was lost.
Earlier this week I laid down on my bed, turned off the lights and gazed upon my bedroom ceiling. I called towards the powers-that-be and asked, ‘I am of the Earth and of the Cosmos. How can I live in harmony with both?’
I prepared myself to receive feelings and images, but a simple question popped into my head. ‘What does your Cosmic Self offer your Ego?’
I sought inside for the answer. ’Spaciousness. Room to expand. Hope for grandness and immortality.’
Another question followed. ‘What does your Ego offer to your Cosmic Self?’
‘Preciousness,’ I said immediately, surprised by the realisation. ‘Focus on small things. Respect and love for all that isn’t grand or huge or important.’
The powers-that-be went quiet after that. With their help I had solved my own conundrum: we have all those layers of awareness, because we need them all. It’s the only way to experience creation.
My Cosmic Self didn’t even blink when stars went supernova, destroying everything around them. That was a ‘regular Tuesday’ to its grand eternalness. Besides keeping me safe and grounded on Earth, I need my precious Ego to get excited about transient, irrelevant details. To experience loss and pain and all that it means to be alive.
My Ego – the limited-time-cage of my persona – needs to be aware of the grandness of my Cosmic Potential to be able to create, expand and evolve towards the unfathomable, exploring all the tiny, precious transient phenomenon on the way. Per aspera ad astra.
The one thing all of me agrees with – whether in ego or in spirit – is that I’m here to witness Love and all that can become through it, no matter how small or big.
There’s my peace. This is who I am.
Who are you?