Here we ask, Who Am I? – and challenge the notion of the self
Ramana Maharshi was a famous Indian Saint living around the turn of the 20th Century. He was best known for his cutting discourse and no-nonsense approach to the human condition. Ramana is one of my favorites because he delves deep into the process of personal inquiry. His most notable contribution, in my opinion, is the essence of the inquiry into the “I”.
When asking the question, “Who am I?” for instance, Ramana’s response would have been another more poignant question- essentially, “Who just asked that?” and then “Who just answered that question?”- Deeper and deeper becomes the probe-– the central query of who the “I” is, in the first place, and who is actually asking the questions. Ramana challenges us to look beyond the notion of the self and to dig deeper (much deeper) into the essence of who we really are. Is there an answer? That is the Mystery of Mysteries the Taoists often refer to. So is there an answer? Well, just keep asking. There nature of the Infinite, at least conceptually, would be that there really IS no answer because we are trying to DEFINE that which is INFINITE. We, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, are trying to compartmentalize the garden and break it into rocks, trees, bugs, and animals instead of holding the global notion that we are in the garden- infinitely complicated and essentially an emanation of the fractal of life that is always moving and growing.
So who am I? Let’s be careful in trying to answer that because, again, syntax is everything. In another blog post I spoke of noun-based language versus verb-based ones. When we “noun” something, we Hex it- we entrap and encapsulate it as an object and define it as something distinct and set apart from all other Creation or Reality. This is a rock. Period.
In ancient cultures that are verb-based, (for instance in Chinese Taoism), we would say “The Tao is rocking”- i.e. The Tao is emanating or showing as a rock. This holds the understanding that this aspect of Reality is playing a certain flavor. Once we say rock, we lose all the magic. Well, that’s just a rock- anybody can see that…what’s the big deal?
This reminds me of the guy in the Avatar movie when he exclaims – You throw a rock in any direction around here and you’re bound to hit something sacred! Yes- exactly man. As we wake up from the dream of the Kali Yuga and awaken to a deeper understanding of who we are, this hexagonal noun language starts to shift to a pentagonal verb language where we can see wholly again. We fell asleep to Heaven all around us and now we are to wake up.
So who am I? Great question. Who just asked that? Who noticed that I asked and wants to know? Who just asked that? Who? It is I. Who’s that?
The answer lies in the query and the process of self-discovery is the prize. It would be too easy to just know, wouldn’t it? What would be the point of taking on these bodies? If we incarnated to rediscover our Divine nature, then why would we make it too easy? The glory and magnitude of the Great Mystery is like the Rabbit Hole…jump in and enjoy the ride…Infinity says that there is no bottom.
Grasping Infinity is painful. Let’s just try going for a ride. Like Ramana, let’s follow the clues and follow the river of Infinity all the way home- home to where? Home to the – I behind the I. What’s behind that? Ask.