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Who Am I, Really?

Who Am I, Really?

To experience this lesson you need to forget your name for a while. Let’s say that “Who am I?” is a real question now. Escaping name and form means finding out who you really are. Most of the time we experience ourselves through limitation. Playing a role is a limitation, yet every person slips in and out of roles all the time.

Remember when you were a child and your mother was all-important? It did not occur to you that she had a life other than being Mommy; her identity was fixed in your mind. Only after you grew up did you see that she played other roles—wife, sister, daughter, career woman, and so on. Over time we learn to slip into our own roles by following the examples of our parents.

Taking on more roles seems like a way of expanding our experience. A woman who was only a mother would find her life suffocating. Being “complete” in our society means wearing as many hats as possible. But the wizard (wise self) does not see the situation that way at all. To him being complete means being free from all roles. “I am a free spirit reduced to the appearance of this little body,” the wise self would say. “You can circle the sun with your thumb and forefinger, but doesn’t its light still fill the sky?”

Stepping out of role playing is a tricky business, yet you cannot enter the wizard’s world if you define yourself through the roles you play. So what is the experience of being entirely free from roles? It is actually quite simple. When you wake up in the morning, there is an instant before you start thinking about your day, a moment of just feeling awake without any particular thought in your mind. You are just yourself, in a simple state of awareness. This experience of simplicity repeats itself off and on during the day, but few people notice it, because our habit is to identify with the thinking process. In reality, you are not what you are thinking.

If you are a woman thinking about her child, how he is doing in school, what to make him for dinner, and so on, you are not having these thoughts. Mother is. If in my medical practice I go around thinking about diagnoses, prescriptions, and so on, Doctor is having those thoughts. Mother and Doctor are useful roles, of course, but they come to an end, and one day each of us is faced with the riddle “Who am I?” This question never got answered, no matter how well we played our roles.

You can slip beyond the roles in a split second if you want to. As you read this, who is doing the reading? Or while listening to music, turn to the one who is hearing. Or if you see a rainbow, catch sight of the one who is seeing.

In all these cases you will immediately sense an awareness that is alert, awake, uninvolved, silent, yet intensely alive.

What have you actually done? You have interrupted the act of observation to catch a glimpse of the observer. This seer is the timeless factor in every time-bound experience, and this seer is you.

This still, silent, nameless state is very satisfying. It cannot be touched by thinking, talking, or doing. It’s the castle whose walls no army will ever scale, guarding the treasure house where the real riches of life are stored.

Read more: Deepak Chopra's Tips, Exercises, Spirit, , , , , ,

Adapted from The Way of the Wizard, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books 1995).

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Deepak Chopra

Acknowledged as one of the world's greatest leaders in the field of mind body medicine, Deepak Chopra, M.D. continues to transform our understanding of the meaning of health. Chopra is known as a prolific author of over 49 books with 12 best sellers on mind-body health, quantum mechanics, spirituality, and peace. A global force in the field of human empowerment, Dr. Chopra's books have been published in more than 35 languages with more than 20 million copies in print.

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The Way of the Wizard

Twenty Spiritual Lessons for Creating the Life You Wantbuy now


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12:50AM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Thank you for the article - a beautiful exercise..........

5:08PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Thanks Deepak.

3:54PM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

"Seek and you shall find " Mat 7;7 Who am I really? The answer to that ,like all such questions, requires having a purpose for it. I believe that purpose is finding the reason for our being and Mat 7;7 referrs to that.Not finding that reason will mean a life of incomplete fulfillment no matter whatever our occupation may be.We owe it to God and ourselves to find it.

1:40AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Good tip for us to reconnect with our inner being.

7:06AM PDT on Jul 30, 2012

It is relaxing. You let your mind rest as well as your soul.

10:34AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012


7:13AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

good to revisit on occasion

4:33AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

I'm a loverly person ,,,,,and I love all ,,,

3:57AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Thank you for this tip of discuising the greater self. "who is the reader of this text?"

3:48AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

It must be great to experience the mystical sense of simply being without being something but having been made redundant after 30-odd years I sure miss having a defined role and being of use to people outside my own particular circle. Nothing I've thought of yet goes even part-way close to giving the sense of satisfaction I used to get daily.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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