Tell Me Who You Are
This is a good first question.
Why do "who" first?
Because it is easier to really know directly the who that is you. The "direct" experience is the deepest level of experience. So simple and so direct that you live in this great simple truth. The who that is you. It is not a thought of you, or a thought of how you might be, it is the you that you experience directly.
The skeptics might say "You are you, nothing is more obvious, so what is the big deal?" There are two answers to this 1) You are more than what you think, and 2) The direct experience is a level of certainty that forever changes a persons life.
You are more than you think you are. Thinking is like a shadow of reality. At best thinking simulates the way it is. Most times reality is way beyond the straight jacket of thinking. In the words of the Gnostic Gospels of the first and second centuries:
I am the first and the last. I am the honored one and the scorned one. I am the whore and the holy one. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the mother and the daughter... I am she whose wedding is great and I have not taken a husband. (Elaine Pagels, New York: Random House, Inc., Vintage Books 1981 page 66)
Be certain of Who you are. For example, all of our lives other people have been telling us the "truth" about us. Other people think they really know who we are. They think we miss the truth because we are too close to ourselves to be objective. Our parents and friends often want to help us "know ourselves." All this help can bury our true self in an intellectual construction of indirect knowledge. We buy into what others have said. We fit into the box they present us with. We slowly believe them and we gain their indirect knowledge. We now fit what others understand. Unfortunately this knowledge is all indirect and second hand.
Indirect knowledge is wonderful stuff - it is often well organized, labeled, and in agreement with others. (After all, it was knowledge gained from what others said. Their words, their thoughts and their observations.) When you are in agreement with others - with indirect knowledge - there is no need to talk. Unfortunately, all this indirect knowledge may have no personal meaning. Personal meaning comes from you directly, it doesn't filter down from others. We don't want meaning we can "believe in" we want a deeper level of experience, a deeper level of truth.
So if you continue with this web site, you will find the "dyad" way to approach this great question. Great questions need great support from others, to not tempt you into another indirect path. Once you get to the direct experience, the direct truth, there is no further value from indirect truth. Your truth will allow you to listen without confusion to others and learn their truth. Unlike indirect knowledge which prevents you from listening to others, direct knowledge allows you to really listen to others. Maybe this is the first time you are free to really listen. When you are aligned with the truth, your motives are clear to others. You are not lying to yourself and contaminating others with indirect motives.
Tell me who you are. Speak only truth no matter how much it hurts. Peel the onion, layer by layer, until you get to the bottom, the real you. It is a great question with an even greater answer waiting for your direct experience.
In the words of Eihei Dogen - a Japanese Zen Master who lived between 1200 and 1253 - he gives us..
To study the Way is to study the self.
To study the self is to forget the self.
To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened by all things
is to remove the barriers between one's self and others.
Then there is no trace of enlightenment,
though enlightenment itself continues into one's daily life endlessly.