Asking the Question, “Who Am I”

Who am I

All meditation techniques are means to the same final target, to empty the mind from thoughts, discover the real ‘I’, and ‘awaken’ a wider sort ‘consciousness’.

Sounds complicated? No, not at all. You don’t have to be a superman to do that. It’s a natural process that everyone goes through, some more deeply, and others superficially.

The purpose of meditation is to “unlearn” all the ‘wrong’ concepts we have acquired, and then, to help us discover who we really are. This realization is usually mental at first, until we really KNOW experimentally.

We are not the physical body and the ego, which is comprised of our thoughts and feelings, but something else. By delving inside ourselves, usually with the help of meditation, into our consciousness and sense of awareness, we come to know ourselves. We ‘discover’ our real I.

This Real ‘something’, is like a bright bulb of light, which is hidden from sight by many covers. We have to strip away the covers. These covers are our thoughts, feelings, and mental habits. By stripping them away, we uncover the internal bright light of our true being.

We don’t have to create this ‘something’ that is our true being. We only have to take away everything that covers it.

  • For a few moments, look inside yourself, at your awareness, trying to focus on it. Feel this awareness, this consciousness, this sense of existence and of being alive.
  • It might not be so clear to you what you actually need to do, but nevertheless try it.

This feeling of existence, of consciousness, is always with you, no matter where you are or what you are doing. It is an unchanging and continuous essence. You are not always aware of it, because your mind is usually occupied with thoughts, because of feelings that cloud your mind, and because of the sense impressions coming through your five senses.

All this is not something theoretical, metaphorical, or mystical. It is a fact. It is the common experience of everyone, but it is often ignored.

When looking at some object and thinking about it, there is ‘you’, and there is the object. You are not the object. You are the one looking at it or using it.

In the same way, you are the one looking at your body, taking care of it, and using it. In the same sense, you are not the body, but the one using it. Yes, this might seem weird to you, but if you think deeply about what I am saying, you will begin to accept it.

This also applies to your mind and thoughts.

Thoughts, feelings and beliefs change, sometimes radically, but you retain the same awareness, the same consciousness of your being. The ‘I’, the pure aware that is beyond thoughts remains as it is.

Everything comes and go, but your “I”, your feeling of being alive and existing, is always the same, never changing. This “I” is your real Self.

Asking the question, “Who Am I”

Try the following meditation:

  1. Find the time and place to be alone and undisturbed.
  2. Pay attention to your body, feelings and thoughts, while at the same time being aware that it is you, who are examining them. You, your awareness – consciousness is looking at them. This means that you are not them, but “something” outside, looking at them.
  3. One minute you might be thinking or feeling something, and the next minute another thought or feeling pops up. Ask yourself, who is it that is aware of the thoughts and the feelings? Focus on this question, trying to find the answer.
  4. The answer will come not through analysis and verbal thinking, but as understanding, awareness, intuition, realization, not in words.
  5. After a few minutes, start to ask yourself the question, “who am I?”
  6. Ask the question and wait for the answer, without trying to find it through thinking. Both question and answer have to be without words. The real answer doesn’t come in words. It is a feeling, realization with no words or thoughts. It is an intuitive knowledge, with absolute certainty.
  7. When you become aware of the answer you experience a sense of bliss. This state is called by many names by different traditions, such as Cosmic Consciousness, Samadhi, Nirvana or Self-Realization.
  8. Finally, try, without forcing yourself, to stop thinking and just ‘be’, meaning, feeling your real being, without identifying with your thoughts or personality.

The question, “Who am I”, as a trigger for Self Realization, was a method taught by Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great Sage of India.

As you progress, the moments of blissful inner peace and silence will occur more often, increasing in length, and the breaks between them would get shorter.

This meditation has to be practiced with a spirit of detachment, and without tension. In time, you will become more aware of your Consciousness, your Real I, and act and do everything from its viewpoint, not the ego’s point of view.

One day, you might find that this Consciousness has become your natural state of awareness, irrespective of where you are and what you are doing.

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About the Author

Remez Sasson

writes and teaches, through his articles and books, about inner growth and awakening, peace of mind, and developing one's inner powers. He is the founder of, a website about meditation, inner peace and spirituality.

4 thoughts on “Asking the Question, “Who Am I”

  1. One of my best experiences with this type of meditation started from bodily discomfort.
    – I felt I had to move, but then realized – no, I don’t have to.
    – I wanted to move, but then realized – no, I don’t want to.
    – I saw that I just witnessed those thoughts.

    I am not that which felt, wanted, or thought.

    Thanks for the post, much enjoyed,

  2. The same technique is described in chapter “The Technique of Vichara” in the book “In Days of Great Peace” by Mouni Sadhu who recounts his visit to Sri Ramana Maharshi’ ashram.

    It’s important to establish the firm conviction that you (the real You) are not the transient body or mind (emotions, feelings, thoughts)

    Thank you

  3. You have made some good points there. I looked on the internet for
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