Several self-inquiry schools towards self-realization seem to encourage the seeker to ask the question ‘Who am I?’
‘Who am I?’ is a question that would evoke an answer relating or associating the person to something. For example, ‘Who is Venkat’ could invoke the following answers:
- A techie
- A son
- Lives in Bangalore
- Likes Tea
and so on…
You will note that in all these, the person ‘Venkat’ is associated with something or someone to identify himself – Technology, Parents, Place, Food/Drink, Physical characteristic.
The whole self-inquiry process is to break the chains with something or someone and to exist as a free spirit.
If I sit with my eyes closed, I should be void of anything. If you keep your body in great shape, it won’t complain or make noise! Likewise, mind could become silent through meditation. In that state, I exist, not associated with even my body and my mind.
In such a state, the question ‘Who am I’ does not makes sense, because I am not related to anything!
Then the question ‘What is this’ would make sense.
Also, questions like: what is this that exists here? where did it come from? where will it go? when the body dies, what will happen to this? when I don’t have any thoughts, what is the use of mind? etc.
Give it a try, and let me know what you experience, in the comments!