The Struggle of Finding the Answer to “Who Am I”
Imagine you are looking for that lost key, which you must have conveniently misplaced somewhere in the house and now you have taken on the daunting task of locating it. You ransack each and every corner of the house only to be greeted by things you haven’t seen in ages or don’t even remember having them at the first place. Now you are surrounded by this vast sea of objects and files and papers everywhere that are screaming for your attention. Mind you the key that you were looking for is now nowhere in your immediate physical or mental periphery.
Lost and found or found and lost? This is exactly what happens when you go on the quest of “finding yourself” or more aptly “who am I”.
You are overwhelmed with findings, conjectures and surprises that completely baffles you and the quest that you were on takes a back seat.
The idea that you set out with to find the answer to “who am I” gets colored with different shades each time and ends up looking like a wall where a toddler just exercised his new found painting prowess.
Each shade on that wall is a concoction of the latest spiritual and psychological book that you dived into or listened to a life altering Ted Talk by someone who just happened to“found himself”. Though most of them promise you the same destination, the road that they take you through is so distinctly diverse that when you walk some distance on these roads, you come back with a altered sense of reality. The quest gives rise to multiple new questions, branching out to some more.
In the “Ego Trick: In Search of the Self” Julian Baggini beautifully marries philosophy, anthropology, sociology, neuroscience, religion and psychology to bring home the point that we are nothing but a reflection of our egos and this keeps constantly changing, given our age, surroundings, physiological conditions, exposure and so on and so forth. “I am” is constant and what follows is dynamic.
“The topic of personal identity is strictly speaking nonexistent. It’s important to recognize that we are not the kind of things that simply popped into existence at birth, continue to exist, the same thing, then die off the cliff edge or go into another realm. We are these very remarkably ordered collections of things. It is because we’re so ordered that we are able to think of ourselves as being singular persons. But there is no singular person there, that means we’re forever changing.” ~ Julian Baggini
Keeping this argument in mind the quest for “who i am” looks redundant. What I was a minute ago, I am not that anymore.
In “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” Eckhart Tolle puts all his emphasis on separating ourselves from our egos and living purely in the present moment.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time — past and future — the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
If we compare this to the more prevalent school of thoughts like, “you are who you are” or “you are a sum total of your purpose of life” or “you are special” suddenly we are hit by that tall wall that we can’t climb anymore.
It is interesting to note how we religiously look for the answer to this question of “who we are” in books and self improvised talks of people who have no clue of who we are or have ever lived our lives.
It’s like trying to fix a jigsaw puzzle with cards picked up from different boxes. In the least probability, if you are lucky to have cards that fit in you are sorted and have found the answer. But in most cases of unlucky people we will just keep on shuffling the cards till we are harassed enough to give it up all.
May be the idea is not to pick up cards from different boxes, but to search for that one box with your name printed on it, take it home and solve it.
Where is that box with your name printed?
In that shop outside? Really? Are you sure?
Good luck with that!