I ask, “I’m wondering about the old admonition, ‘Disciple, know thyself’, inscribed on the Temple at Delphi. Philosophers and spiritual teachers down the ages have advised us to ask the question, ‘Who am I?’ So, I’ve asked that question, but I don’t have a satisfying answer yet.”
V watches me silently, nodding. I continue, “Of course, I can describe myself with many different labels, roles, or achievements. But it’s not who I really am, not down inside my psyche. At the same time, mysteriously I do have a sense that I know who I am. If I go deeply enough within, I sense a living presence at my core. I certainly recognize my own being and perspective on life—my own awareness; I just can’t put a tangible description on what it is, who it is.”
V answers, “You don’t know and yet you do know. It is paradox, of course. Nevertheless, understanding this can be quite simple. Your not knowing is in the mind; that’s all. The heart is the place to know who and what you truly are: It knows that you are truth itself, the essence of Source.
“The reason you cannot find satisfactory explanations of who you really are is the same one that keeps you from capturing the pure truth of anything. The truth of you—of all—has no form; no words can contain it. It exists without a framework for the mind or ego to hold as information. The essence cannot be captured in formation. Essence has no handles or boundaries! The ego-mind wants to grasp understanding. There is nothing in ‘truth’ or in the deep ‘self’ to grab and hold onto. It’s like trying to limit the flow of air inside a birdcage.
“Appreciation of the paradox of knowing-yet-not-knowing opens us up beyond the mind. If you look at the two sides of knowing as one and the same state in essence, you sidestep the mind and leave it flaccid and porous. The embrace of this paradox is your ultimate liberation. This is the fullness of empathy.”
My uneasiness makes me ask, “Why does this make me feel so uncomfortable? It seems like it sends me forever in circles, chasing my tail. ‘Who am I? I don’t know. Who am I? I do know—in my heart. Yet I cannot say.’ Why not? Why can’t some words be put on it?”
“Because words cannot contain the liberation that lives at your core. Think about it: Why would you want to circumscribe liberation with trifling words or thoughts? This is the great, grand Life of Source. Yes, we do put words—pointers—on it. But it is very important to realize these words are inadequate and ultimately unsatisfying to our questing spirit. The very words ‘Source’ and ‘Life’ are totally insufficient, except to point our awareness in a direction of awakening. Any word is. That is fine, as long as we sense and know inwardly that there is a state of being that far transcends the pointer. It is right to hold ideas in the mind about deeper truths that cannot be spoken, as long as we realize these ideas are only introductory symbols.” (more…)