How often do we answer this without thinking too much. I am ‘blah’ and I do ‘something’ for work. This is usually how we introduce ourselves. But did we not exist before we were given a name? Are we defined by what we do or how educated we are? Sometimes, we introduce ourselves by our relationships – son/daughter of Mr and Mrs Xyz or father/mother/spouse of abc.
As we grow older, these details change and hence our definition of ourselves changes. So that must not be who we are. How about our thoughts? 🤔That must be us! But do we cease to exist without our thoughts? For example, in the thought-less state of meditation?
As a newborn, before we have a name and everything else, who are we? Or who are we left with if we lose everthing that we use to define ourselves? That probably will happen towards the end of life.
Are we the very life force, the consciousness, the essence of that superpower? Is that the God that everyone keeps talking about? The god that is inherent in all beings? If so, God seems very simple and I wonder what is in the intricately written religious textbooks.
And of course, keep introducing yourself like you do to other people, else they will call you crazy😜, but try to truly answer this question for yourself.
Disclaimer:-I am a tiny dot in this enormous universe, so forgive me if i unintentionally hurt you.
Born in a Sikh family, I memorized the prayers that my mother and grand mother taught me, just to make them proud. However, i never understood what all the prayers meant and what i was gaining by doing that. Growing up in a boarding school, much of that association with religion and prayers slowly disappeared and was replaced by an effort to excel in the coursework. One thing was always there – the discomfort visiting the religious places. Marrying someone from another religion only added to that confusion. Now, I was visiting newer religious places only to find my inner self in turmoil. And then one fine day, i confessed to myself and my family that i do not find the peace that everyone else finds at the places of worship and i find the rituals torturous to my entire being. Immediately, a burden was lifted over me and i felt liberated. Now that i had disassociated myself from any religion, i felt comfortable asking questions like why we have to follow the religion that our parents followed, while we freely make choices in other areas of our lives. Why questioning religious practices is looked down upon, while we are encouraged to question subjects taught in the classrooms? Are we, as a world, better off without any religion, as religion has been direct or indirect cause of many destructive battles.
I still am not sure if i believe in God or if i am an atheist but i am in no hurry to answer that question for myself. Recently, i have started exploring spirituality, specifically, the question about whether we are more than our mind and body. I came across a book ‘Power of Now’ on this topic. Apart from talking about staying in the present moment, it talks about consciousness – that magical power inside you, that was there even before your mind formed inside the womb. The author calls it the watcher. Idea is to be the silent watcher of your thoughts. By just doing that, you reduce the power of those thoughts about past and future. It is tuning into that consciousness that I believe when practiced consistently, could bring us to a much calmer and happier space.
While I still sometimes visit places of worship, to accompany my family and friends, I take that opportunity to sit quietly and meditate. Remember that sometimes you have to lose yourself, the self created by how others see you, and the one you started believing that you are, in order to find your real self. Until next time…