Who Am I?

The following is written by a friend, Dipesh Bhattara. He investigates the simple, but for most of us largely unanswered, question, "Who am I?" Or, in its more general form, "What is this?" For the devotees of secular science and knowledge the question remains untouched. Yet the ancient sacred spiritual jewel, Advaita Vedanta, reveals the answer in stark clarity: Brahman and the Self are one -- the eternal changeless Bliss. The statement is echoed in Jesus' assertion that "God and I are one," the "I" intended in the non-dualistic tradition and applying to all, but corrupted by man's penchant for warring with what he perceives as "else."

Knowing who you are is perhaps the single most important question. All else passes. This does not.

I would like to start by dividing the subject into two parts for simplicity:

The Internal Me
The External Me
Let me start with the difficult part: the internal me. Recently, l have been exposed to some ancient eastern philosophy. It seems to both pique my curiosity and to deepen my confusion. It has helped me in my path to understand who I really am. And today I am going to leverage that philosophy to speak about who I think I am. The philosophy is quite deep, and I will do my best to present a drop from this vast ocean.
In ancient India, it was widely believed that life is a made up of a series of experiences. These experiences are the building blocks of our life; just as bricks are of a wall. The strength of a wall depends upon the quality and texture of the bricks that comprise it. Similarly, the types of experiences we have in life determine the nature of our life. But am I just the sum of my experiences? Am I nothing else?
One could raise the question whether I am the body that I have. Let’s take the example of my hand touching a hot object. Who is feeling the heat from the object? Is it my hand, itself, or is it I feeling the heat through my hand? If my hand were to be separated from my body would it still be able to feel the heat? If the answer is "no" then I must be different from my hand. If I am different from my hand, then I must also be different from my body? Then who am I?
Am I the mind which feels the happiness, sadness, sorrow and all my other emotions? Is my mind, alone, capable of experiencing the world of emotions without “my” being present? When I see a sad event somewhere, what is it that experiences the event? Is it my mind, or do I experience it through my mind? If I experience the sadness through my mind, then I must be different from my mind. Then who am I?
Am I the intellect that I have? The intellect that we humans have is much more advanced and developed than that of any animal. I sometimes compare Einstein’s intellect to the Hubble telescope. Both can search and find scientific objects and phenomena hidden deep in our universe. But Einstein is still Einstein when he is not using his intellect. If Einstein is not his intellect, then he must be different from his intellect. Similarly, I must be different from mine. Then who am I?
I am not my body, not my mind, nor my intellect. The body, the mind, and the intellect are only the instruments that I have to interact with the external world. These things are tangential to the experience of "I-ness." The question, "Who am I?" is not so easily answered, because what I am is something much deeper and bigger that the rational mind cannot easily comprehend. My search is on...
Now the easy part: the external me.

For ease of communication and identification you may call me Dipesh Bhattarai, Dipesh, or even just “D” for short. I like nature, outdoors, hiking, and horse riding. Spirituality and philosophy are subjects that interest me. I am the father of a young boy. 
I hope you now know a little bit more about who I really am? Do you know who you are? 

Reference: Self-Unfoldment  by Swami Chinmayananda

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