Who Are You?

“Who are you?” asked the Caterpillar of Alice in a puff of smoke in the famous book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

Do you remember what Alice said?

She said, “I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

How many times a day to we change who we are?

What can we do to be a consistent “I?”

Here is what Gangaji said in Weekly Words of Wisdom chosen by Lama Surya Das:

Who Are You . . . Really?

“This most basic question, who am I, is the one that is most overlooked. We spend most of our days telling ourselves or the other we’re someone important, someone unimportant, someone big, someone little, someone young, someone old. Never truly questioning its most basic assumption. Who are you, really? How do you know that is who you truly are? Is that true, really?

When you turn your attention to your question, who am I, perhaps you’ll see an entity that has your face and your body. But, who is aware of that entity? Are you the object, or the awareness of the object? The object comes and goes. The parent, the child, the lover, the abandoned one, the enlightened one, the victorious one, the defeated one, these identifications all come and go. The awareness of these identifications is always present.

The misidentification of yourself as an object or awareness leads to extreme pleasure or extreme pain, and endless cycle of suffering. When you are willing to stop the misidentification and discover directly and completely that you are the awareness itself and not these impermanent definitions, the search for yourself and thoughts ends. When the question “Who” is followed innocently, purely, all the way back to its source, there is a huge astounding realization. There is no entity there at all. There is only the undefinable, boundless recognition of yourself as inseparable from anything else. You are free, you are whole, you are endless. . . “

– Gangaji,

transcribed from the video below.

Gangaji is a wonderful teacher in the long line of yogis in the Hindu tradition. Her root teacher is Sri H.W.L. Poonja, also known as Papaji.

I met Gangaji in 2002, the day after I got canned by Network Associates. When I asked her what to do, she gave me compassionate advice staying centered and finding my path.

So, who are you right now? How would you answer the Caterpillar? Please share your feelings and thoughts.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Dover Thrift Editions)
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