I mentioned in my first blog of Advent (“’Twas the Night Before Advent”) that the Advent season is a time to ask the right questions rather than recite the right answers. One of those questions is: “Who am I?”
It is the most fundamental spiritual question one can ask. It is more basic than the God Question (“Does God exist?”) or the Christ Question (“Is Jesus the Son of God?”) Before one can ask about God or Christ, one must know who is asking the questions.
I have come back to this question again and again in my spiritual life. Each time I ask the question, I peel off another layer of my self. I ask the question, and I find that I am not my name, profession or family identity. Those are incidental to who we are. I am not my gender, racial, national, or ethnic identity.
By asking the question I am not sorting out personal psychological issues. I am not having a midlife crisis. I have been asking this question all my life. This question is spiritual, not psychological.
When we ask the question often enough, we realize that we are not the psychological persona that we have created for ourselves during our lifetimes. We are not our personal identity with its preferences, quirks and tendencies. When one looks directly at the persona, it is seen to be a mirage.
We are more permanent than our human manifestation. Christianity has historically referred to our core identity as the immortal soul. The more accurate biblical term is spirit.
As I read what I have just written here, it is sounds too theological and philosophical. Words are so cumbersome. What I am talking about is not intellectual or theoretical; it is experiential. We can know this directly.
Instead of me trying to describe this, it would be best if you, the reader, just took a direct look at what I am talking about. Just ask the question of yourself, “Who am I?”
Ask it repeatedly, thoroughly, completely and relentlessly. Accept no answer at face value. Do not accept my answer or the answers in any theological or philosophical system. Discover your self for yourself.
As each answer is proved to be false, go deeper. Eventually you will find. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” In questioning is the answer.