Who am I? How do I find out?

I am really not sure who I really am, to be honest.

I heard a lecture a while ago in which the speaker went through a series of thought exercises and it left me rattled. It goes as follows :-

When you call out to a person in the crowd by his name, who does the name refer to? Let’s say you shout “Hi Ram”

  • so, is Ram the blue shirt and black pant? No – it’s something underneath that.
  • the skin under the dress? No – it’s something underneath that.
  • the flesh underneath the skin? No – it’s something underneath that.
  • the bones in the flesh? No – it’s something underneath that.

Then who or what does the name Ram refer to?

What you are seeing with your own two eyes is not the person. And what you cannot see is the person – is that the conclusion?

I had the same realisation a year ago when my aunt died. I had gone to my aunt’s house to pay my respects and her body was being brought back from the hospital in a hearse van. When the van reached the house, someone shouted – “Everyone give way – the body has arrived.”

The body has arrived? Wasn’t that “body” addressed as “aunt” a few hours ago? Every single bone/piece of flesh/strand of hair is right there. Nothing has been lost for the past two hours. Then how did my aunt transform into a “body” in a matter of hours.

There is something that was lost from my aunt and that led to her death and her transformation into a lifeless body. Or did her death lead to the loss of that something?

I am not sure, yet.

But, I want to discover that thing or force or whatever which causes life to exist or cease.

Is that thing what I am? Is that “I”? I don’t know.

I am tired of reading scripture, chanting prayers, and performing rituals. One, they are in a language I don’t fully understand. Two, they force me to do things I don’t get or see the relevance of. Three, I have been doing it for 20+ years and I don’t see what they have done to me or changed in my life. These rituals have been imprinted in my routine – that’s pretty much it.

Knowledge is key and I don’t have much of it.

I know of things, but, I don’t really know them. 

The only resources that have taken my journey a step further are reading the Bhagavad Gita,  Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, Autobiography of a Yogi, Swami Rama’s Living with the Himalayan Masters, and listening to lectures by various teachers.

These books and teachers make sense and appeal to a logical side of me. They don’t prescribe lengthy rituals and prayers. Rather, they use intellect as a scalpel to cut through BS and crap and lay things out to see.

The Gita, is a hard one to follow for me because it again tells you what is what. I can’t imagine or figure out how to follow some of the things mentioned in there. I have a whole bunch of friends from ISKCON who pretend to know stuff and act like they are sanyasis. They regurgitate verses that they have committed to memory and force themselves to act pious, humble, and “spiritual” when it’s clear as day that they aren’t.

Why do we do this? Who are we trying to please? The same society that will refer to us as a body when we die? That society?

Anyways, leave all of that aside.

How do I find or understand that life-force inside of me?

My eyes are of no use. They can’t see inside. Neither are my ears, nose, skin, tongue. None of these faculties are going to help me.

The only clue I have is Hindu scripture that says that God and the Soul reside near your heart. I am just going to try and “see” them or “talk” to them at that spot.

I am going to go mad if I say this repeatedly – “I am going to my soul”. Who is this I? Who is the soul? What is the meaning of “my soul”?

I need this answer and I need it now.



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