Who am I? This is the question asked for centuries by those who seek to know who they really are. Self inquiry can happen any time, especially when we are just sitting or meditating. It connects us with who we are at the conditioned level of our many identities, and is often made up of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, what we’ve done, what we’ll do.
When we get quiet and neutrally observe our thoughts and feelings without engaging them or identifying with them, the structure of the stories we tell ourselves becomes much clearer. We need to stop, sit, and breathe to see clearly. Meditation teaches us how to do this. When you are sitting in silence, the first gift that comes is the awareness of how much time your mind spends planning, hoping fearing, creating problems, rehashing old experiences, thinking about what should or shouldn’t happen . . . so many things. And the more we see, the less power our habitual stories and reactions have. When we give ourselves the space to just be, we become more accepting of ourselves as we are and, at the same time, we are less in the grip of our conditioned thinking and behaving.
Self-knowledge arrives when we organize our lives in ways that enable us to create the space for meditation. Then we can sit consistently. Meditation is a step from the known into the unknown. It’s being okay with not knowing. It’s a rewarding process that leads to a fundamental experience of oneness. Its an experience and comes with consistent practice.