A Guided Meditation to Answer the Eternal Question “Who am I?”
How do you introduce yourself when you’re meeting someone for the first time?
Often, people ask you introductory questions like, “Tell me a bit about yourself,” or “What do you do for a living?” Take a moment to imagine what your response would be – would you say you’re 42 years old, a female, a wife and a mother of four? Or maybe you’re a doctor, and work at the local hospital? Or passionate about helping people? Would you say you’re a leader, a caregiver, or a yoga teacher?
All of those may be true. And yet – do all those descriptions really define you?
Who are you?
Are you not something more than everything you think or say or do? Are you not something deeper?
As you go deeper, strip off the layers:
I’m not just a female,
I’m not just an Army wife,
I’m not just an American,
I’m not just a writer,
I’m not just this body . . .
Keep stripping away the outer body identity that you’re packaged in.
I’m not just a happy person, an outgoing person, or an angry person.
I’m not just an introvert, an empath, or a worrier.
Strip off the inner emotional layer.
Go even deeper
I’m not my thoughts.
I’m not what I think or say.
I’m not my fears, frustrations or beliefs.
Strip off the interior mental layer where those thoughts arise from . . .
Keep stripping them off as they come up and you’ll begin to recognize that none of it is you.
So then – who are you, really?
Just your spirit. Your pure soul. Your essence. Your awareness.
Aham Brahmasmi – I am Brahman.
This is a powerful statement in the Vedas – a Mahavakya, or a profound truth.
The truth is that your fundamental awareness is the same as that of the universe – Brahman’s. The only difference is that your self’s awareness is finite, limited. Yet your experience, or your soul’s journey, is infinite.
The truth is that your fundamental awareness is the same as that of the universe. The only difference is that your self’s awareness is finite, limited.
What is Brahman?
The Vedas describe Brahman as imperishable, absolute, unborn and undying, omniscient, omnipotent, and many other long strings of descriptions.
In essence, Brahman is eternal truth, universal wisdom, and infinite existence.
Brahman is not an individual, but an existence. Brahman is not an entity that’s worshipped, or placed on a pedestal, and is not tied to any religion, not even Hinduism (Brahman is a Vedic concept, whereas Hinduism is a descendant or a combination of several other concepts). As souls (Atmans) come and go, they take on individual existences, and yoga (meaning “to unite”) is one of the ways they can transcend their individual states of consciousness and become one with Brahman.
Brahman is not an individual, but an existence.
We may not fully realize this in our everyday lives, but moments of glory materialize now and then, when we can get an exquisite taste of this grace – of experiencing a certain oneness, of transcending (if only temporarily) the body and ego’s limited identity.
If you’ve ever experienced a feeling of awe when you stood at the edge of an ocean, or when a butterfly landed on your shoulder – a moment when you’re completely taken out of your physical senses, when time seems to stand still, and you feel like you’re held in the palm of something greater, then you have experienced this oneness.
To live in that oneness is ultimately the purpose of this human life. To evolve spiritually and consciously, to recognize the unity of the microcosm (the individual soul – Atman) and the macrocosm (the supreme Soul – Brahman). To answer the eternal question, and be able to simply say: “I am.”
Guided meditation to answer the question, “Who Am I?”
Just as a mantra can be used as a mechanism to tame your mind, a Mahavakya (or profound truth) can be used as a mechanism to contemplate the deeper meaning, and to meditate on what the truth means to you personally.
Aham Brahmasmi (ah-HUM brah-MUS-mee) is a Sanskrit Mahavakya, which when repeated, will help your awareness expand into the eternal boundlessness.
To meditate on this Mahavakya, sit in a quiet place and close your eyes. As you inhale deeply, feel yourself expand and soften. As you exhale, feel yourself let go and surrender.
With each inhale, allow the universe to flow into you, and with each exhale, release the flow back into the universe.
When you’re ready, gently introduce the Mahavakya into your meditation – either the Sanskrit Aham Brahmasmi, or the closest English translation: “I am That.”
Take a deep inhale, and as you exhale, chant the Mahavakya. Each time you let go of your breath, let go of a layer of yourself – your name, your weight, your gender, your job . . . each of these layers carry a lot of weight and years of baggage with it.
As you get deeper into your meditation, you shed more and more layers, and you feel yourself becoming lighter and lighter as you expand into the universe, becoming one with it.
Rest in that place of deep peace, presence and infinite possibility.
To make this your go-to meditation practice, pick a particular time and place and continue to meditate on Aham Brahmasmi every day for 21 days. It’s a practice that many ancient and modern yogis, from Adi Shankara to Sri Ramana practiced as well as preached. This meditation is a powerful practice that empowers you to internalize the truth of Oneness and experience it for yourself.