“Who am I?” Maybe you’ve never even asked yourself this question. You might think you already know who you are. Unfortunately, however, it’s likely that you don’t know who you are at all. And if you don’t know your real identity, you’re in trouble. You’ll spend your life in a kind of dream state—you’ll falsely identify yourself as something or someone you aren’t. Then, on the basis of this false identification, you’ll determine the goals of your life and the purpose of your existence. You use these goals to gauge whether you are making “progress” in life, whether you are a “success.” And you are aided and abetted in this delusion by a complex network of relationships with other dreamers. Of course, at death (and sometimes before), the whole thing turns into a nightmare.
So knowing who you are is a very practical necessity. The question “Who am I?” is not a philosophical football meant to be kicked around coffeehouses by pseudo-intellectuals. It’s a real-life question. Nothing is more important and more relevant than to know who you are.~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)
© 2007 Science of Identity Foundation
You are your body, right? You are chemical in essence ... right? At least, that’s what one of America’s most influential scientists claims:I am a collection of water, calcium and organic molecules called Carl Sagan. You are a collection of almost identical molecules with a different collective label.*
Like Sagan, most people believe that they are their body. So if you ask them who they are, they think and respond in terms of bodily labels.
“I’m Susan. I’m blond, 29 years old, a mother, and still 36-24-36!”
“I’m Henry. I’m a white American male and proud of it!”
“I’m John. I’m a lawyer. I’m 40 years old and getting older every day.”
“I’m Alice. I’m a female student. I’m fat and I’m a Methodist.”
Name, race, age, sex, religion, nationality, occupation, height, weight, and so on—all these are bodily labels. Therefore if you consider your body to be yourself, you automatically identify yourself with such labels. If your body is fat and ugly, you think, “Woe is me! I am fat and ugly.” If your body is 60 years old and female, you think, “I am a 60-year-old female.” If your body is black and beautiful, you think, “I am black and beautiful.”
But is the body really the self? Are you really your body?~ Jagad Guru Chris Butler (Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa)
© 2007 Science of Identity Foundation *Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Random House, 1980), p. 127.