Who am I? What am I?
Who am I?
The world defines us by our name, our nationality, our race, or gender, our job, etc., but these descriptions are not who we truly are. Looking a little deeper we may describe ourselves in terms of our beliefs, our mood, our interests, etc. But these characteristics aren’t permanent – they come and go, they change and evolve, so they cannot be who we truly are. So who am I?
If we look back over our whole life we realise that only one thing has stayed the same over the years – our sense of awareness. Our awareness is the unifying thread that links our early childhood memories to the present moment. Our awareness is the only aspect of us that has experienced every moment of our life. When we inquire deeper into the felt sense of our awareness we discover that it has a unique blend of characteristics, qualities and attributes. It also has an inherent sense of identity that is far more fundamental than any personal characteristics. This must the essence of who we truly are!
A Human Being = Self (monad) + Soul (causal body) + Personality (mind, heart & body)
The Self (or monad) is our unique essential identity – our divine spark. The Self is the core of who we are – the centre of our experiential field of awareness (the soul or causal body). So our Self is the centre of our soul, and our soul is an extension of our Self.
The Self has two primary functions:
1. It directs our life (will): Our Self directs our thoughts (mind), emotions (heart) and actions (body).
2. it experiences our life (awareness): Our Self experiences our life directly through its field of awareness (the soul), and indirectly through our perceiving our mind’s thoughts, our heart’s emotions and our body’s senses.
The mind, heart and body (which collectively comprise our personality) are not our Self, but they are aspects of our Being. It has been said that “we are spiritual beings having a human experience”. Our Self is our spiritual (or transpersonal) aspect, and our mind, heart and body are our human (or personal) aspects. And our soul (or field of awareness) unites them all into a human being.
Our mind, heart and body enable us to operate in the world:
1. Our mind is the realm of our thoughts and beliefs.
2. Our heart is the realm of our emotions and desires.
3. Our body is the realm of our impulses, instincts and actions.
Like the Self, the mind, heart and body are both centres of consciousness and fields of consciousness . We will focus on the three centres first:
- The human brain can be divided into 3 sections: Neo-Cortex, Limbic System and Basal Brain, which are associated with thoughts, emotions and actions respectively.
- The human body can also be divided into 3 sections: Head, Thorax (chest) and Abdomen (belly), which are associated with thoughts, emotions and instincts respectively.
- Eastern religions recognise three centres of energy and consciousness which are located in the head (upper tan tien), chest (middle tan tien) and belly (lower tan tien or hara).
- Theosophy recognises three centres of energy and conscious which are located in the head (mental permanent molecule), chest (emotional permanent atom) and belly (physical permanent atom). Refer to my book, The Science of Spirituality, for further details.
- The Enneagram recognises three centres of intelligence: the head centre, the heart centre and the body/belly centre.
For simplicity, I will identify these three centres by their physiological locations:
- The Head centre, located in the centre of the head, is our centre of mental consciousness and our mental energy store.
- The Heart centre, located in the centre of the chest, is our centre of emotional consciousness and our emotional energy store.
- The Body or Belly centre, located in the centre of the abdomen, is our centre of physical consciousness and our vital energy store.
The fields of consciousness associated with these three centres penetrate and surround our physical body, but the majority of their activity occurs in the area immediately surrounding each centre.
Our Self’s experiential field of awareness (our causal body or soul) permeates our physical body and extends about 100cm beyond. Our mind’s field of consciousness (our mental body) is concentrated in our head but permeates our entire physical body and extends about 70cm beyond. Our heart’s field of consciousness (our emotional body) is concentrated in our chest but permeate our entire physical body and extends about 40cm beyond. Our body’s field of consciousness (our etheric body or energy body) is concentrated in our belly but permeates our entire physical body and extends about 2cm beyond. Our mind, heart and body centres are interconnected to seamlessly integrate our consciousness. Collectively these three centres of consciousness constitute the authentic personality.
We are not a Self or soul living within a body – our body, heart and mind all live (for a few decades) within the eternal field of our Self or soul.