Who are you?

Who are you? No seriously, who are you? Before you read on, take a minute to think about how you would answer that question. If you find yourself looking for words that don’t seem that moving, you are not alone. A friend of mine asked me that overwhelming question the other day and I got upset at myself because I didn’t like my textbook answer and I then I came up with something profound. I said, “I don’t know.” Then my friend broke down something she read in a book by Dr. Wayne Dyer entitled, Your Sacred Self that talked about the implications of who we are as individuals.

I thought I would leave a lengthy excerpt for you.

“Who are you?” It is a question that is literally impossible to answer with words, because who we are is formless, and words belong to the world of form. The answer to this question does not come from the physical domain. Each of us is a soul with a body, rather than a body with a soul. Soul cannot be measured or observed with the tools that we use to observe the material world. Perhaps the best way to begin to answer the question is to look at what we are not. …..Just as the colors in this carpet are brought out by light but light is not the color, so is the world caused by you but you are not the world. That which creates sustains the world, you may call it God or providence, but ultimately you are proof that God exits, not the other way around. For before any question about God can be put, you must be there to put it.

Discard these names [i.e., ethnicity, gender, any and all labels] and you will identify with the realm of the spirit rather than the world of ego…The cries of nationalism, tribalism and theism have been the source of wars and of the slaughter of billions of human beings. You know in your heart, as do all who play out this game, that this is a violation of God’s laws, that it is inconsistent with the relationship of all the spiritual masters who have ever walked among us.

…be free by letting go of your personal history….[when you do this] what is left is the invisible, intangible you, which is the heart of the message in this book.

These passages bowled me over as I hope they did the same to you. And I have heard variations of these themes but I realized that I hadn’t quite applied those principles to their full extent. In particular, I am reminded of my textbook response to this perplexing question, “who are you?” I often think of my race (Black) and my gender (male). Then other traits and qualities fall as they may. But is that all I am? Of course not, but why use such limiting adjectives?”

One theory is that we are used to labeling and categorizing everything in our lives so that when a situation presents itself that is indefinable, it is often rejected. Take food for instance. I myself am very picky eater and I remember the first time I had mango and I asked the person offering what it tasted like. He responded, “It tastes like mango.” That reply wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to know which fruit was most similar to mango. Now I know that that story is partly an explanation of my pickiness but it is also an accurate description of how many people approach life. Just think about all the hardened descriptions of a person you would have if you knew their age, race/ethnicity, education, geographical location, and income. But all of those things mean anything!!

And another part of the excerpt I like from the book is freeing yourself from your history. As a Black person, I don’t think I can let go of the pain and suffering of my ancestors and as a result, I often feed off the anger for those who suffered under Black enslavement. But wouldn’t my ancestor want me to remember their stories but live free of that anger? Of course, it just takes a lot of focus and determination on my part.

Personal history also includes the successes and failures we experienced in our own lives. I often find it funny though that no matter what, there is an ideal (or set of ideals) that we often strive for especially when we are young adults. But after I saw the Weatherman with Nicholas Cage, I heard something very profound when he said (and I am paraphrasing); “I always wanted to be respected, strong, honorable and all of these great things but as I got older, I whittled down those things and all that was left was me.” I encourage you to think about who you are because it will undoubtedly help give your life direction and help you realize all the good you have to offer this world. So who are you?

Stay up fam,



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