Who Am I?
Here's my answer...
I tend to spend a lot of time in my head—oh, the dialogue that goes on in there. When I first asked myself, “Who am I,” I began with my name. I then continued with my physical characteristics and the different roles I play (son, brother, friend, etc). As the list continued, I realized these were all just labels and ideas of who I am. They weren’t answering the core of my question. We tend to throw around the word, “I.” I am John Mathew. I am male. I have dark brown eyes. I am the voice in my head. But I am not any of those labels or thoughts. They don’t have a connection to the essence of my being. After further contemplation, I realized that my thoughts only exist because there is an awareness of them. And that’s when it hit me. I am that awareness. I am the awareness of my thoughts.
So, then what are my thoughts? My thoughts are my ego, or self. When Jesus said, “Deny thyself,” he meant to deny the misleading impressions of self. If self (my ego) is truly who I am, it wouldn’t make sense to “deny” it. This realization has become the impetus for me understanding my purpose in life.
My purpose is to simply exist. To be. To connect with others and the life around me. Everything on earth has an active energy that is connected. I translate this energy as the breath of God. But to connect with that energy, you have to be aware—present. And it’s impossible to be present while thinking. Try it. If you are thinking, you are living in the past or hoping for the future. You are focused on your ego. The only way to be present and live consciously, is to silence your mind, open your heart, and just listen. The thing that separates humanity from the rest of nature is thought. However, we all feed off the same energy. I like to take walks in nature to clear my mind. You can learn a lot from a giant oak tree. It’s massive and has lived for hundreds of years. And all it does is exist.
So, now when people ask me who I am, I still use the labels because I have to. But I have a better understanding of those labels and know that I’m more than my name. Internally, I say, “I am…” (not filling in the blank) because who I am is larger than I can imagine. And when I wake up in the morning, my purpose is to love and connect with others, as well as nature, knowing we all exist through the breath of God.