Who Are You Really?

Who Are You Really?

Written by Lars

Topics: Mindset, Spirituality

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I’ve struggled with this question throughout my lifetime, as it’s one of the toughest existential questions out there. I want to share with you the progress I’ve made on this fascinating topic, and help you along your journey to find out who you really are.


On my first day of Comparative Religions class in high school, we were assigned to write (in 250 words) the answer to the question, “Who Am I?” Before that assignment, I had never really thought of that question before. After some initial confusion about what to write, I got started.


I started with my name, then went into my upbringing, my likes and dislikes, my personality, the way I label myself, etc. I had no idea what else to write about. It turns out that everybody in the class wrote more or less the same thing about themselves too.


As I think of my answers now, I realize that they were all shaped by external influences that “I” had no control over. What I wrote down was what I identified with, but it wasn’t me on its own. A person cannot be defined at their core by things that they did not choose or control.


You are not your job, age, belief system, net worth, race, memories, and you’re not your “story.” You are not your ego, which is a false mentally constructed idea of a self that is put upon us by social conditioning.


You are not your body. If one of your legs were cut off, for example, would you still be “you?” Of course.


You are not your mind either. During meditation, some absolutely weird and random thoughts will pop up from your mind that “you” definitely didn’t choose or even want to pop up. “You” at your core didn’t come up with those thoughts, your subconscious mind did.


We are also not our emotions. If you say, “I’m happy,” or “I’m angry,” ask yourself, “who knows this?” It is your essence, who you really are, that is realizing what emotional state that you are in at that certain moment.


What’s left? Only your consciousness. Your consciousness, or awareness, never changes. It’s the “watcher.” It observes everything: our thoughts, what we see in the world, etc. Science still can’t explain our consciousness. Nobody can explain with any kind of proof how or why we are conscious, yet we are undeniably conscious.


The deeper you go into your mind, the more you realize that the “watcher” of everything including your thoughts, words, and actions, is always aware. It’s even there during your dreams, as your dreams always have a “watcher.”


This is who I have realized that I am at my very core. Pure awareness. That is who you are as well, and always have been. Strip away all the layers of false ego identification, and it’s all that’s left.


We all share this awareness, and each person’s awareness is the exact same, yet they are all separated by our physical bodies. Think of awareness as water in a giant bucket. Drop by drop, the water has been poured into many different cups. Each cup has a different outer appearance from the perspective of another cup.


We are each one of the cups, and we can’t see through to the drop on the inside of everyone else’s cup. We must realize that all that we at our core are our own drops of water, and not the cup that everyone sees. When we realize that all the drops are the exact same and come from the same source, then we can start having huge amounts of empathy and compassion for others.


I have learned so much about this topic from the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. I believe that he’s one of the wisest people that has ever lived. One of his books, The Power of Now, transformed the way I live. It should be required reading for being a human.
“What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.” —Eckhart Tolle

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