What we are.

I was glancing through old issues of The Sun magazine today when I stumbled upon this quote that I feel I can closely relate to:

“We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity – but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up; our name, our “biography,” our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards….It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?

Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but never really wanted to meet. Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every moment of time with noise and activity, however boring of trivial, to ensure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?”

-Soygal Rinpoche

I must admit, I face much perplexity when attempting to examine my identity after dissecting the meaning of this one simple quote. When attempting to describe ourselves, we often do our character no justice. We revert back to easier means of explanation such as our job, the individuals we’re associated with, where we live, etc. Now we know who our friends are, we know where we live, we know where we work, but who actually lives there?  Who works there? That is a question that ceases to be answered.

To answer this question, I envisioned myself in a blank white room. In this vision, I had no prior friends, no work, no house, etc. In this white room, all that I had accompanying me was my thoughts. Who am I?

When the answer to that question gradually became revealed, it was a bit esoteric, and the only incontrovertible piece of ‘me’ I could extract is as follows:

I am a person who wonders.

Now I am curious to your response to this quote. Tell me, who are you?



Filed under Personal, philosophy

2 responses to “What we are.

  1. samirnazim

    We, especially in the western society, tend to describe ourselves through material objects. We are a consuming culture, and our ego’s and identities are built on social statuses. The funny thing is we are so caught up in our egos, pride, and materialism, that we’re clearly destroying the planet around us but are to stubborn to accept it and start fixing it. Who could we point the fingers to, to blame for all of us? One could say money, but I would say ourselves. We are all like a herd of sheep following one another blindly, and we like to put ourselves in this metaphorical bubble of what’s normal — and the minute an individual steps out of that bubble and speaks up we criticize them. We police eachother. Sadly, at my age of 17, people call this “talking shit”. I wrote a piece on this on my blog if you’re interested.

    To answer your question, who am I without all of these factors. I don’t think I could tell myself that. It’d take someone just as grounded as me to notice it and tell me, I’m already to caught up in my own life to take a step back, take a deep breathe, and look. I’d like to think i’m a white canvas waiting to be painted, but I already stroked the brush whether I like to accept it or not. And majority of us have, we just have to acknowledge it and accept ourselves.

    Good post.

    Yours Truly,
    Samir Nazim

  2. It’s hard to define who we are. I like to let my actions shape my identity.

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