“Who am I?”
This question is the trigger that opens the gate to a new path where a person embarks on a journey of self-exploration.
The moment we focus on this question, we realize that in reality none of the factors that we identify ourselves with can completely define us. For example:
All the above factors are like different groups that I am a part of. Many of these factors can change with time. They don’t define me.
As soon as we realize this, we move on to the next state where we relate ourselves without body and thoughts and start identifying ourselves based on our overall personality. To counter this argument, a Greek philosopher Plutarch used an example of a ship. ‘When Theseus, the mythical founder of Athens slew the evil Minotaur at Crete, he returned home on a ship. To honor this, the people of Athens preserved the ship for 1000 years by constantly replacing the damaged parts with new identical parts. Over some time all the parts of the ship were replaced and the ship which was thereafter 1000 years in the memory of the heroic event was identical to but completely different from the original one.
Similarly, every second in our body, new cells are formed and old cells die. We are constantly changing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The person you were two years ago is completely different from the person you are now in all aspects. All you have is a memory and even that fades away with time.
Ask yourself- is there anything that is constantly there with you?
The process of transformation is not noticeable and the information is passed on in form of short-lived memories between the states before and after transformation. What remains is an egoistic ‘I’ that is identifying itself with different entities at different times.
‘Who am I’ is a question which can never be answered theoretically. The answer lies in the experience when we start shedding off the ever-changing factors that we generally identify ourselves with. This experience is so strong that it completely changes the perception of the world around us.
As said by Aristotle, ‘Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom’
Let me know your views on this.