When we ask ourselves the question who am I in earnest, we have this expectation that we can answer the question.
In reality though it is a trick question which is designed to push you further and further into self, until you surrender completely and find no self exists and the question of who am I is totally irrelevant.
However this is not a conceptual exercise. It isn’t like saying OK I give up now and then you awaken. It isn’t even like saying well since I can’t define who I am, I just give up trying.
It more akin to being in a fight with an adversary so powerful you stand no chance. This adversary keeps on punching you, until your down on your knees and you think OK I have had enough, I can’t stand it. But when you say that, you almost instantly say “hang on I am not done yet”.
Your adversary keeps on punching you constantly. This time you are on your very last breath of life and again you say OK had enough.
That still isn’t awakening. Somehow you manage to have the thought “I am still not done, I am going to die, I know it, but I am not going to give it up to my adversary”.
Your adversary swings at you with a fury and rage that is beyond fear and the final death blow comes; you are completely and utterly shattered emotionally, intellectually, on all levels you are defeated. You are immobilized and death ensues. You know the futility of the exercise as a deep felt experience encompassing all facets of your human form. You give up, you let death take you.
When death takes you, you look around and you are not there. Something is there though; something that seems so beautiful that it is inexpressible. That is still not awakening. I bet you wish it was though..
You have a sense that its not quite the end of the road, the adversary is still swinging blows at you, even in death, so you surrender again. The embrace of the nothingness takes you and everything vanishes (God’s will be done). And then you discover that you are this nothingness, this void, that can never be stated here in this world.
Thats the real purpose of asking the question “who am I”. To come to know the futility of asking the question in the first place. To come to know the futility of asking any question. To come to know the futility of having knowledge and spiritual techniques.
Who are you?