Who am I? It’s a simple question but like most things there are a great deal of facets to the response. Who am I in which context? Am I always the same person? Who am I really? Am I this body? This physical form that contains my essence. Maybe I’m what I do. We have many roles we play in life. Son, daughter, adult, lover, husband, wife, employer, employee, citizen, the list goes on depending on your circumstance. Are those things, those roles that you play in life who you are?

It’s like defining love. This is one of those intangibles. We have snappy definitions that give us some confidence that we have order and structure, and that we understand this life. That brings us comfort. We need that comfort in our lives. If we don’t define and structure the answer, the unknown becomes uncomfortable.

Dealing with what cannot be defined is something we can have trouble with. Not because we can’t handle it but because we want to control it and put it in its place. Like we do the rest of the world. We understand that the world is very ordered and there are processes and systems that can help define how it all works. We just have to put in the time and effort to find out what they are. We feel the same way about ourselves. We can define ourselves by our actions, our emotions, our nationality, we must have some identification as to who we are. If we meet someone one of the first things we say is the name that we were given by our parents. Often, we next describe ourselves with what we do for work. I am a … It’s hard because who we are is limitless. We can do one task today, learn a new one and do it the next. We are ever changing, growing, and becoming someone new.

We have this illusion that we are a constant being that is definable, but the reality is who we are from one day to the next is as unique as a snowflake. We have been lulled into thinking that our routines define us. We say we are coffee drinkers or not, we are smokers or not, we are vegetarians or not, the list goes on and we pack these labels onto ourselves to create affiliation with the world around us. We say I’m with you! I do that to! I’m not alone, am I?

Our essence is spiritual and we have trouble in this physical experience putting into words who we really are. We are like the wind. We are strong at times, soft at others. We can make ourselves felt by the force of our presence and we can be as delicate as a whisper. We go in one direction one day and another the next. We take comfort thinking we are a specific identity which we can surround ourselves with because when we pause and realize how we can’t even describe who we are we squirm.

The mystics and spiritual leaders, the monks and the sages that ponder such things. They work to see reality as it is not as they suppose it is. They start the process of unlearning the well-intended things they were taught throughout life to determine the truth of this experience. They work their way through the layers of assumptions that entangle them at their outset and in time they break free. As they leave these things behind the way becomes less cumbersome till they reach the veil of their experience. At this point they are different people than when they started. They realize how little they know about this life. They determine to go past the veil and the rapture of the experience is even less definable than our day to day. The closer we draw to the Creator of it all the more our language falls short. The closer we draw to the spiritual the more humble we become. The spiritual seekers and thinkers are humble because they see how vast this experience can be if we take the time to be still in it. They are humble because they understand how much our physical experience pales in comparison to the spiritual experience one. As we seek to understand who we truly are. We begin to unlock the mystery of this life.