That is a good question to ask oneself periodically over a lifetime.
It brought a freshly re-worded version out of me — not complete, but satisfying in the moment:
That depends on which 'I' you mean.
The 'sense of self' writing these words is a projection generated by frequency complexes of the body. 'I' includes the body as well as the soul in this lifetime. The sense of self is temporal, ephemeral like the body.
The 'I am' of me is an individuated unit of consciousness encapsulated by quantum frequencies (wavicles), the Soul. It is made coherent by the same types of forces which make an atom coherent. The Soul can survive the body at its passing.
The True Self of the Soul — and all that is — is Source.
My experience of who I am can vary from one moment to the next as the center of awareness contracts to the personality and expands to the Soul or to universal consciousness.
Human awareness, universal consciousness, is centered in the body between the rib cage and the belly and has been mistaken for the Soul.
A question which often accompanies Anja's is, 'why am I here?'
For me it is, 'to expand awareness while in the body to the soul and beyond.'
What is your version? Who are you, really?
Mark De Lima
I think "I am" is just an illusion of separation from the whole. Every atom of the Universe is connected on its essence, even though it groups with other atoms to make individual complex structures (molecules, stars, planets, living beings). All these structures are temporary (lasting from fractions of a second to billions of years). In the end, time itself is just another illusion generated by the human being's incapacity to be connected to the whole all the time. Most of us only get short glimpses of this connection on our lifetimes, for example when being on shamanic states of mind opening. While under these states, one realizes there are no boundaries to ourselves and everything else, and also that time is meaningless to the energy of the Universe (even when it's a necessary concept for the daily human life... or is it? If time wasn't the sovereign "god" of the whole human race, wouldn't this be a better society?) Food for thought
Mark De Lima,
MDL - I think "I am" is just an illusion of separation from the whole.
GS - I've thought of it as a 'placeholder' until individuals begin living as universal humans.
MDL - Every atom of the Universe is connected on its essence, even though it groups with other atoms to make individual complex structures (molecules, stars, planets, living beings).
GS - An infinite variety of combinations creating endlessly diverse, multi-dimensional universes. I've thought of it as an ever rotating kaleidoscope of wavicles/particles. Cells combine to create organisms, molecules to create cells, atoms to create molecules, sub-atomic particles to create atoms, until... the indivisible, where there are no borders, no boundaries.
MDL - All these structures are temporary (lasting from fractions of a second to billions of years).
GS - The particle kaleidoscope.
MDL - In the end, time itself is just another illusion generated by the human being's incapacity to be connected to the whole all the time. Most of us only get short glimpses of this connection on our lifetimes, for example when being on shamanic states of mind opening. While under these states, one realizes there are no boundaries to ourselves and everything else, and also that time is meaningless to the energy of the Universe
GS - Yes, and how to bring the open mind state, the expanded awareness, into daily life?
MDL - (even when it's a necessary concept for the daily human life... or is it? If time wasn't the sovereign "god" of the whole human race, wouldn't this be a better society?)
GS - It starts with one person, one individual, then another and another. In a sub-culture so designed, time would not be a necessary concept. I still envision a village (individual living spaces and communal by choice) with people of compatible values and diverse skills and perspectives, sharing life.
MDL - Food for thought
GS - I am still chewing ;)
Mark De Lima
Nice. I like the 'placeholder' concept... It's optimistic/positive thinking (it induces the idea of it being replaced by something better, even if it takes a long effort for mankind to do so). To get rid of a 'placeholder' requires a sort of a revolution on an individual level. There are many 'placeholders' other than "I am".
By now, to detect and mentally liberate from such concepts is enough for me.
Willem van Bommel
Truth is a matter of perception and perspective. So ewho I am is also a matter of perception and perspective. To you I am different then to the person next to you. And even for myself I am different "things"
The "ego" part of me sees me as a person with rights, beliefs, features etc. The "feeling" part of me sees me as a no-body. A not-thing. Everything. Connected to all. Love.
All depends on where you see from...
Gary R. Smith
Willem, we are in agreement. I think we said the same thing in different ways. Does it matter how we perceive ourselves? How does our perspective on who we are as individuals influence how we live our lives?
Willem van Bommel
Considering that our state of being creates our reality, how we perceive ourselves can be a defining factor in that reality.
You and I and many others have known these things for large portions of our lives. Yet, for me at least, integrating that intellectual knowledge into my daily attitudes and actions, into my experience of life, has been a lifelong journey with many sidetracks and dead-ends. I choose to live as a feeling being, but mental force has prevented me. Oddly, I have been convinced that at some point my hunger to know will be satisfied and I will just be.
Willem van Bommel
Gary, our environment is not helping... Our society teaches us that we are victims of our environment and corcumstances. That is stored in our deepest levels of subconsciousness and that makes it very tough to change. But not impossible.
Being aware is the first step towards really changing. I myself have already experienced that I create my reality, I just haven't really paid attention how I did it. Recently I have gotten into a new stage of development and curtrently I am learning tools to help me apply the knowledge I have aquired.
The older you get, the more difficult it gets to unlearn what makes your personality. But with patience, trust and conscious work I am convinced I will get to the point of consciously creating my reality. There is no doubt anymore. I do need patience though ;)
Yes, as sentient observers intersecting with wavelengths of probability, we have much influence on creating our reality, our experience of life. This is well known in ancient wisdom and quantum mechanics, I've heard. And there are many influential forces acting upon us, including hereditary, astrological, environmental. Yet we are capable of overcoming those influences, as you say with patience. And perseverance. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
I am not afraid of being 'wrong,' as in experimentation there is no wrong. There is discovery and learning, reflecting, balancing, acting upon, and reviewing. Then sticking one's neck out to test another theory in a group gathered for collective evolution.
There is a schizoid element to Gary's post. Self awareness is experiential; if you have to analyze "who?" you are, you are out of touch with your own experience. Gary found that the question.."brought a freshly reworded version out of me.." Me is different from I. "I" is the active sentient presence of self: "I am" therefore... While "Me" is the particular internalized structuring of our consciousness as a result of (and as an organizing guide to) our conscious experiences (and how we process them). If Gary is referring to our current embodied "selves", the sense of "self" may be somewhat ephemeral, but not that temporal. The "I" of who I am feels the same now as in the past. If the "I" is the result of organic existence (a biochemical-electrical field created by living beings), then the "I" is temporal. But, this is not what Gary is talking about. Gary sees the "true" self as "soul" which can survive the body. He states: " The true self of the soul -and all that is- is Source." The thinking me, spurred by I, has four questions. Why do you have to go there to be aware of who you are here? What the dickens is "Source", other than some new age babble to replace the somewhat tarnished term "god". And, why does it appear that you guys are scared of time and death? Are they not essential to life?
LC - There is a schizoid element to Gary's post.
schiz·oid adjective PSYCHIATRY 1. denoting or having a personality type characterized by emotional aloofness and solitary habits.
How is it you perceive me as schizoid, Larry? Help me understand your perspective.
LC - Self awareness is experiential; if you have to analyze "who?" you are, you are out of touch with your own experience.
GS - I agree 100%. Analyzing removes one from the experience. I have wrestled with this especially when participating in forum discussions. Writing about it separates me from the feeling I most value. Interacting here is somewhat of an addiction. I have determined to stop, but keep coming back. Don't know fully why.
LC - Gary found that the question.."brought a freshly reworded version out of me.." Me is different from I. "I" is the active sentient presence of self: "I am" therefore... While "Me" is the particular internalized structuring of our consciousness as a result of (and as an organizing guide to) our conscious experiences (and how we process them).
GS - Whoa, that goes into more analyzing than I am up for. I will just assume you are correct.
LC - If Gary is referring to our current embodied "selves", the sense of "self" may be somewhat ephemeral, but not that temporal. The "I" of who I am feels the same now as in the past. If the "I" is the result of organic existence (a biochemical-electrical field created by living beings), then the "I" is temporal.
GS - That makes some sense to me, Larry.
LC - But, this is not what Gary is talking about. Gary sees the "true" self as "soul" which can survive the body.
GS - My writing is experimental. I was probably writing unconsciously to readers who 'know' me from my writings over a period of time, so did not spend much time working out every detail.
LC - He states: " The true self of the soul -and all that is- is Source." The thinking me, spurred by I, has four questions. Why do you have to go there to be aware of who you are here?
GS - As an experiment, my writing is meant for learning, for discovery. I felt bold enough to put out an idea, not an opinion or belief. I do not know its validity. My experience is that when contracted by thoughts or emotions, I shrink also from expanded awareness. When I let go of what contracts me, such as resistance, judgment or trying to control a situation, I have often experienced spontaneous expanded awareness. No, I don't have it all sorted out. Neither does philosophy or psychology. I just like to explore ideas which may lead to understanding that can be applied to daily life.
LC - What the dickens is "Source", other than some new age babble to replace the somewhat tarnished term "god". And, why does it appear that you guys are scared of time and death? Are they not essential to life?
GS - Larry, rather than compose an answer to what I mean by Source, I refer you to the discussion which preceded this one, 'What is the human soul?'
What gives you the notion 'we guys' are scared of time and death? Normally that is the opposite of what I was saying. I acknowledge that my personality passes with the body, and that there is the possibility of expanding past the personality sufficiently to survive in some form of self-awareness as the soul.
Just reviewed some previous responses. This notion of creating reality strikes me as solipsism. No, we do not create reality. We cope with it. Considering our finite and puny amount of space/time in an infinite universe of existence (yes, I am speculating) "being wrong" is a regular state of affairs for humanity. But, relatively speaking, being wrong is not a prerequisite for knowing when you are "right". As far as the broader questions of "soul" and "reality" are concerned, I figure we can be less wrong about such issues, but am not so sure that means being more right. Some people choose to fantasize and "create" answers that feel good. If it helps them cope with their lives in this world, fine. But, what does that have to do with collective evolution?
Larry Cox , well at least with you I am expanding my vocabulary - I had to look up - sol·ip·sism
noun the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist.
In a way, perhaps that is how it feels to me. Then, which self? Certainly not 'my' self. The Self is all there is, and I am an individual expression of it. You read the discussion on the Soul, there I wrote about stillness and motion, consciousness and wavelengths being the only actuality. There are many realities, one actuality.
But, what does that have to do with collective evolution?
I liked Mark's response in the previous post to the question of the soul, then he went off the deep end with names as encapsulating mantras. In using the term "schizoid", I meant to refer to the separation between experiencing and thoughts. You picked up on that. As for psychology, I agree with R.D. Lang's approach, which became known as "anti-psychiatry". Instead of cataloging symptoms, profiling, then following a prescribed way of treating someone (he worked with people labeled schizophrenic), he chose to interact with the person in his personal milieu and the relationships in it in order to learn the meaning of this person's use of language. Only then could he begin to "treat" that person. What he found was people trying to cope with emotionally charged imbalances of personal power where the labeled persons were aware of this imbalance and their own position in it, but too weak or lacking confidence to directly confront the situation and persons involved. This led to the symptoms used in the definition you quoted. Lang would disagree with that definition. Sorry about my long winded statements. I generally liked your post; just needed more info to see where you are coming from. I also generally agree with your statement about being wrong.
here i am on earth agitated and seeking for the truth.....there is HE high above anxiously awaitng my return...the path i take for this reunion....wwill eventually complete my entity...
They ask you about the spirit Say: The Spirit of the Lord is
An ungraspable moment,
Stillness in dance,
Silence in music,
What I am Gary is you and you are me, just as we are each the other in all realms. We together are this moment in which we define the undefinable, separate the inseparable and play this individual game which can only be played together as one. And we do it so well. <3
Larry, you distinguish between I and me. How do you distinguish between Self, consciousness and Being? - "Me is different from I. "I" is the active sentient presence of self: "I am" therefore... While "Me" is the particular internalized structuring of our consciousness as a result of (and as an organizing guide to) our conscious experiences (and how we process them)."
Anja van Loon
I just "am" so therefore I am here, to "be" myself (with all my flaws and I am okay with that) As a unique individual, choosing every day between the wonders of what life is giving me and to enjoy them. Using my hands, body and thinking capacity, as instruments to help the ones who are not (yet) "able". My source? - Just me and only humany? And maybe my loving capablility? Which raises a new question in my mind - let's define "humany? :)
Hmmm (How’s that for an attention grabbing opener?) Asking the question,,,“Who am I?” may be equivalent to…”If the answer is a lemon… Why is a duck…” When I’d tell my students that, there’d be a sort of unsettled silence in the room for a while and occasionally some intelligent/brave/foolhardy kid would stick his hand in the air and say, “That doesn’t make sense!” “What doesn’t?” “That question?” “What question?” “The lemon, duck question.” “Who said it’s a question?” “Isn’t it?” “Is that how you’re thinking about it?” More silence but of a different kind…
If there's an unresolved issue still kicking around after millennia the chances are the problem lies in the way we're thinking about it.... If it's an unanswered question, we're either asking it wrongly or it's the wrong question...
There are no wrong questions. There are no questions asked wrongly. I believe the unresolved questions still kicking around after the millennia are the ones we are all answering (albeit very slowly) now.
Ok...I'll have a think while I walk with the hound...
Occasionally an unwary student would, during one of my interminable and inconsequential rants, ask to be excused to visit the toilet... The reply would be something like... "If you wait until the weekend you'll have more time..." the battle-hardened ones learned to think before asking questions...
Gary R. Smith
Please tell me more about your teaching.
OK...I've discussed it with the hound... She, as always, listened quietly without interruption, nodding sagely from time-to-time then, part way through, took off to chase a couple of seagulls after which she loitered in the water for a while, then, we turned around at the cliff-end of the beach, came back home and this is your answer... "That's who we've been ...really" for the last 52 minutes (give or take)... other than that, the question is unanswerable because it's still couched in archaic terms and concepts that, given our current ever-expanding and evolving views of an ever-expanding and evolving universe, don't make any real sense. I could write..."I'm Rod MacKinnon" but that's just a set of symbols, for you, attached to a thumbnail photo. The photo isn't me either... If I say my name out loud it isn't me...it's a noise I call by another noise..."my name"... every response here is a representational symbol of an internal mental representation held by the person (another noise/symbol) writing it... we can talk about souls or wavicles of woven-widgets but it's only when we stop talking do we have anything approaching a snowballs's hope in hell of understanding anything... There's a story you've probably heard about Jesus of Nazareth (not the mythical magical rock-star of christianity) that goes along the lines..."A guy came and asked what he needed to do to get into the kingdom of heaven...(something like that)... and J said, "give away everything you've got"... but the guy couldn't do it...bummer"... the give away bit is usually interpreted as "worldly goods" but the thing is... it's not material stuff that gets in the way of understanding...it's all our concepts and ideas and all the "knowledge"we just aren't prepared to let go of... which is ok... no-one has to... but if we just keep on doing what we've always done...we'll always get what we've always got...and the crazy thing is...there's nowhere to go and nothing to get... we're living reality, truth, blah, stardust, wavicles, whatever...right now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now...this is who we are..."What are we here for?" What are we doing now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now, now...that's what we're here for....
The hound was able to listen to all of that?? Poor thing. :D I would agree we are here for the infinitesimal now. And people define that now however they like. For some they think they have a unique purpose so that's their now and for others it will be something else. From my perspective it's just all play. This entire Universe is just a playground. There is no need for it. It takes so much energy to keep it going that it must have some type of purpose and the only purpose I can conclude is play. Otherwise why would it exist?
I'm with you... that's the only thing that makes any sense... She's a very mellow hound...
The husky, Aura, likes Marcel's version of play. She advised me to remember we are all as individual as snowflakes, yet made from the same substance.
This is a deep thought that I will have to respond to in a shallow manner. Being precedes consciousness, and consciousness precedes Self. There is a developing field in biology that draws its name from the Latin terms referring to "life" and "signs or meaning". While not familiar enough with the research nor the theoretical perspective to be certain, it seems to me that view is pointed toward investigating the notion that consciousness is an intrinsic aspect of all living beings. And, the structuring of consciousness is specific to the species. I suggest that consciousness is instinctive in that it is the organism seeking out and responding to stimuli in its environment. Being is not a passive state for living organisms; it is inherently interactive. Consciousness and Self arise therefrom. It may be that the more complex the organism, the more complex the structuring of consciousness and self. In any case, my primary interest is not in the biological nor metaphysical nature of consciousness, but is in the practical and qualitative values that a more coherent and expansive understanding of consciousness can infuse into our "doing" and "becoming".
Like you, my interest is in practical and qualitative values. If it cannot be applied to daily life, it has little value other than as mental entertainment. I have encountered before the idea that consciousness is generated by being, or life-form.
According to Athene's 'Theory of Everything', consciousness is produced by neural synergies. That is local consciousness and I sense only part of the picture. How do you feel about universal consciousness?
Robert C. Sohn wrote in 'Tao and T'ai Chi Kung':
Inevitably philosophers are plagued with the question, 'Why does the Wu Chi manifest motion?'
And this taunting question leaves us, no matter how much we may deliberate, with only two possible answers: either accident or intention underlies the motion.
The possibility of accident in the Absolute denies the very idea of Consciousness. Indian philosophy expresses this idea by stating that the first manifestation of the Absolute is 'Satchidananda,' which is composed of the three words: sat (existence), chit (consciousness), and ananda (bliss).
Chart 1, Descent or Limitation of Being, shows the devolution of these primary experiences into what man calls existence, thought, and feeling in the gross material world.
The particular manifestation of events in the material universe could be considered the result of the random interaction of the three constituents of the primary creation.
However, the fact that all possibilities occur is attested to by modern science in the concept of waves of probability.
This is also the position of esoteric philosophers as expressed by P.D. Ouspensky in the idea of the '5th dimension as the realm of all realized and unrealized possibilities.'
Since all varieties of intelligence and consciousness are inevitable, the source must contain and be greater than the greatest of the possible manifestations of consciousness.
This then brings us to the conclusion that there is fundamentally an intention, a purposefulness, in the very fact of the motion — that consciousness is inherent in the primary condition.
This fundamental idea or notion of movement is called li, and the principle of li is the basic source of the formation of all that is. First there is a li of anything — a notion, an idea, a picture.
Then there must be ch'i or 'will to accomplish,' and slowly it manifests as material occurrence in time.
Li differentiates in the 'world of ideas,' and this is reflected in the material universe as the constituents and the events of experiential existence. - pages 7 - 9
Larry, there are references to consciousness (quotes from a wide variety of sources and my thoughts) throughout the Whole Human blog which I write and edit. Are you interested to explore this further, bringing it always back to the practical and qualitative values? Consciousness previews.
Very interesting; this is the first time in 40 years someone has mentioned P.D. Ouspensky to me. As an undergraduate student majoring in psychology and philosophy, I was disappointed with most of the required studies. I was drawn to Existentialism, Phenomenology, and Gestalt theory. But, it was not until I came across the writings of Ouspensky and Cedric Evans "The Subject of Consciousness", that I was able to clearly articulate my position and my disappointment; and, then move in a positive direction for me. This took me well outside of the academic confines of the schools I attended. But, it also enabled me to bring a individual perspective into my teaching that students could relate to. As for the notion of universal consciousness, this occurred to me at very young age. Due to a number of profound and positive experiential moments and the occasional ability to observe my dreams while sleeping (and the subsequent unfolding of those dreams in waking life), I imagined a universal connection of all that "is" through frequencies and wavelengths. Not that I knew what that meant, nor could I articulate it. I just knew it fit with my "profound" experiences and it felt right. Still, what is important is not mine nor some other notion of reality, but the practical and qualitative values that can be derived from the exploration of being, consciousness and self. I will check in and follow the discussion on your site. Meanwhile, may the Schwartz be with you.
Gary R. Smith
Larry Cox , excellent. I am always enthusiastic to bring my self-formed ideas into balance by the insights and perspectives of 'others.' It was interesting to scan the previews on a keyword search for 'consciousness' on the Whole Human site, as it reminded me of entries I'd forgotten. I'd not seen before how many references there are to consciousness on the site, and how they relate to one another even though from very different sources. I'd like to read more of the practical and qualitative values that can be derived from the exploration of being, consciousness and self. Can you give me examples? Where do you teach?