Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
tgalten

Who Am I?

Recommended Posts

On one of Bishop Spong's recent question and answers, someone asked him "What is God?", stating that her granddaughter has asked he this question.

 

Rev. Spong's admirable answer was that no one can say who or what God is.

 

While I believe this is true at a certain level, I am not quite so modest about what we can say about God as is Bishop Spong.

 

Borrowing here from Rev. Spong's response to the question asked him, I strongly endorse his statement that God is the "ground of being", using Tillich's famous definition. And it is here that I believe, with all due respect, that we can go at least one step further than Rev. Spong does.

 

For while "ground of being" and "God" are both terms that can be used to mpoint to, or refer to, the ultimate, I believe it can be instructive to consider what eastern philosophers (not to mention Tillich himself) and religions, which do not share our visceral, western insistence that God is "wholly other" than the world, have said about the ultimate.

 

Shankara, for example, the 7th century founder of Vedanta (usually classified as a school of thought within Hinduism), stated simply "Tat tvam asi", which is Sanskrit for "You are it". This means, of course, that the deepest aspect of you is identical to the dimension that we call God.

 

Interestingly, Jesus said the same thing when he claimed "I and the father are one" and "When you have seen me, you have seen the father". Fact is, this experience of realizing one's identity as the ultimate (or God, ground of being, or the divine) is not limited to Jesus, as the most profound mystics have known for millennia.

 

In short, I am the ultimate, as was Jesus, as is everyone. And I always have been (though I haven't always known it).

 

To realize my true identity, moreover, is to experience transformed consciousness. And I am free and am privileged to identify myself with and as this level of reality (which some, in addition to God and ground of being, have called "the Formless", "Brahman", "Tao" and "the Void", among other terms used), to rest in it, and to simultaneously dis-identify from the illusory and egoic identity which goes, in my case, by the name "Tom".

 

Realizing one's true identity and letting the old one go. This is the ultimate purpose of consciousness (or God) in the human species.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TOM

 

Love your introduction and insight.

 

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like Meister Eckhart's theology that "God is in everything and everything is in God," substitue Tao for God if you like.

Edited by soma
spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meister Eckhart a Christian mystic with a nondual theology states that all is in God and God is in all. Other mystics have discovered that God is hidden in the self and surrounds the self because God is in the universe also. They have opened their interior sight on the soul and its connection to the Eternal Reality we live in to discover that the world is glorious and filled with heaven. In other words the presence of God is in all things and within us; people are unfamiliar of God’s presence because they are too focused on the unsatisfactory, temporary side of the universe. God is in all and does not set himself apart from what others consider to be imperfect. He is at the door of our consciousness knocking and waiting in everything that is changing because in Him we live, move and have our being. He is waiting for our door of awareness to open and awaken to love, peace and heaven on earth. God is inspiring us in nature to come up to his level of being, but we bring him down to our level where our mind exists. Many think they are spiritually superior because of the religion to which they belong, but our religion does not determine how far ahead we are spiritually. There are many paths and religions to the awareness of God and Heaven on earth. Some use the word God and some do not, all have the highest most advanced spiritual seekers, the average and the low, ignorant terrorist willing to harm others in the name of a cause. I use the word God because I am a Christian, but we could use Almighty, Love, and Quantum Unity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pronoun "I", wherever it is used, refers not to an individual human body/mind organism, but to the One Self, Pure Consciousness, God. Enlightenment is simply the realization of this truth and the subsequent dis-identification from the illusory individual self and identification with the One (also known as God).

 

Certainly the One Self playing the role of Jesus had this realization of itself as, through the body/mind known as Jesus, it said "I and the father are One". Again, this was not the realization by a person, but the realization of the Self by and through an apparent person. God, also known as the Self, is what awakens; Jesus did not awaken and neither does Tom (the name that is conventionally attached to the body/mind form that is writing this post).

 

When this body/mind is no more (which will of course happen sooner or later), its loss will not affect the true me at all. I will have by then died to the old Tom identity and will have awakened to my true identity, which is God itself. Recall the Self's (God's) words by way of the body/mind known as St. Paul: "It is no longer I (as Paul) who live, but Christ (or God)".

 

I am not Tom. I am the Self. And I have awakened to my true and ultimate identity in the time and place known as Tom.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom, I agree with you. Jesus didn't identify with his body either, but it is too bad that Christian worship it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So is it necessary that we put Jesus somehow above ourselves? If he actually existed in history (and I tend to believe he did not and is an entirely mythical figure - a sort of Jewish answer to the Egyptian Osiris) and was enlightened he certainly would not endorse Christianity.

 

If, as I believe, he is a mythical figure, then he symbolizes transformation of consciousness. In either case, we must look within, not without, for salvation.

 

I am that. Tat tvam asi. It is that simple.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the Bible is mythical so is Krishna, Shiva and stories of Buddha, but in my interior life I can relate to them and am inspirored to continue where the inside and the outside become spiritual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am new to this already fairly old topic, but so be it. I think the question "Who Am I?" is possibly the most important question somebody can ask her/himself. The fun thing is that it is not really such a difficult question to answer when we realize that behind everything we observe, experience and all that we do not observe or experience is what you might call God, or Moving Force, etc. --- and that WE ARE THAT MOVING FORCE. This has been said over and over again (Meister Eckhart: "Ich bin Gott, aber nicht auf göttliche sondern auf menschliche Weise"; it looses a lot when you try to translate that). But the realization that we really are that Force, individually and collectively, gave me a refreshingly new perspective. Personally I prefer to name that Force IC, short for Infinite Consciousness. And that new perspective led me to the following answer to the question Who I AM: "I am Infinite Consciousness, expressing Itself as Me". Quite simple, actually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Lex,

 

I see you got logged on ok.

 

I like your way of expressing what might be unfathomable to many.

 

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Lex ... I can't help thinking I am a product of the universe ... no more no less.

 

My personal sound bite ...

 

When I look deep inside myself,

the universe quietly stares back at me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Joseph and romansh,

It is such a fascinating and utterly important topic: Who I really am. While talking with others about this is notice how difficult it is for many to accept their greatness, to really accept that they ARE the Source. We have been so ingrained with the notion of being the lesser; that is so difficult, and perhaps also scary to accept. After all, we used to burn those who dared to say "I am God" - Meister Eckhart just escaped that by dying before the church got him.

After many years of editing I finally summarized this notion in a kind of personal mantra:

"My Source,

I am thankful for this very moment

accepting who I truly am

compassionate with All".

 

But once I got to this place my whole perspective of reality changed - and things get less and less important. At the same time I have this struggle between "accept what is" and becoming more critical. For example: I have my doubts about "Progressive Christianity" - their aim is too low. If you really want to start a modern belief system based on the present insights of the "Nature of Reality", you must let go of the term Christianity, because Christ is indelibly connected with a theistic and predominantly western belief system - and that is just what Bishop Spong is trying to dismantle. Bother (I am fond of Winnie the Pooh, a book for 8 to 80+, which I am).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that “Who am I” is a very good starting point after one has dispelled all of their belief systems, if that is indeed possible. It’s a very Zen-like question, something like asking “what is your original face?”. I’m not sure the point is to try and answer it, at least not logically. To speculate might ruin the intuition one hopes will arise, and that intuition might be the solution to the paradox of existence and non-existence.

 

Maybe it’s best just to contemplate the question until we finally realize its futility.

 

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But once I got to this place my whole perspective of reality changed - and things get less and less important. At the same time I have this struggle between "accept what is" and becoming more critical. For example: I have my doubts about "Progressive Christianity" - their aim is too low. If you really want to start a modern belief system based on the present insights of the "Nature of Reality", you must let go of the term Christianity, because Christ is indelibly connected with a theistic and predominantly western belief system - and that is just what Bishop Spong is trying to dismantle. Bother (I am fond of Winnie the Pooh, a book for 8 to 80+, which I am).

 

Lex,

 

The aim of Progressive Christianity is not to connect a person with a pre-defined destination but only to encourage one on his/her journey for truth. There may indeed come a point where the label Christianity loses its importance to one on a journey but i think it is more important to NOT initiate a "modern belief system" lest we again create another religion that detracts from the purpose of PC which stated on our main site is ...

 

Progressive Christianity is an open, intelligent, and collaborative approach to the Christian tradition and the life and teachings of Jesus that creates a pathway into an authentic and relevant religious experience.

 

In my view, there is a distinct difference to an approach versus a "belief system" and a religious experience versus a defined destination. Also, in PC it is recognized that PC is a journey and is not the only acceptable approach. In my view, PC is not trying to grow a religion or belief system although it may become such a goal to some. What Bishop Spong and many others are doing i find commendable, and who is to say whether his aim or any other is to low or best? After all, we are all just IC expressing itself. Are we not?

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
adjusted for clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Steve,

"Who am I?" - looking at that question the Zen way is one option; Zen can be rather fuzzy. But you can also look at it cool-headed, and yes, "logically". When there is an Unlimited Force, giving rise to this Universe (and probably many other Universes), which is an assumption, than any limitation arising from that Force also IS THAT FORCE, albeit with the limitations of being limited. A drop from the ocean is still ocean. So I did not need a koan to answer that question - it was pure logic: if there is a Creative Force, then I am that creative force. I have to admit I got a hint from Eckhart Tolle, who said:" You are Consciousness, underlying all Form". Some people approach this from the quantum-field angle, but I suspect that quantum physics ultimately can only work within the 'material' realm. One may have to search beyond that level, a terrain as yet untrodden by science. An interesting window can be NDEs, Near Death Experiences. I know that the medical establishment is not fond of those, too unscientific. I don't know what the church has done with it in the past; I suspect rejection, because too threatening. But there are tens of thousands NDEs, from all over the world, and they are worthwhile to take notion of. A particularly lucid NDE is described in Anita Moorjani's "Dying to be me". Has NDE already be subject of a Forum? If not, it might be interesting to start one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Joseph,

As you know, I am new to these PC Fora; I got there via Bishop Spong's website. Spong strongly advocates to re-invent Jesus, which I think is long overdue, and the consequence of that would be a totally new direction for "following Jesus". I'll try to get better informed about PC before I vent my doubts - if any.

 

Totally different topic: The website asked me to introduce myself, and I tried, but could not make it happen. Any hints?

Warm regards,

Lex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lex,

 

Fair enough.

 

To introduce yourself from the main screen click on the "Introduce Yourself" forum and then Start New Topic box on the right side of the screen that comes up. The rest hopefully should be self evident.

 

Joseph

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Steve,

About logic: you are right, things are not always that logical. For me it is totally logical that I am the totality, but that has a reason. Once, early one morning, I was sitting on the edge of my bed and the thought popped up, out of the blue: "If a Force is causing the Universe, then ​I AM that (spiritual) Force" (Dec. 2002). As from then I accepted that perspective. I could understand "I and the Father are One" from that perspective: the Created and the Creator are one and the same - with the possible difference that the Created operates within the boundaries of being created, whereas the Creator works in the Unlimited. Language is - as always - such a predicament.

Lex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hard to say how these realizations come upon us, Lex. Some are minor intuitions and some can be life changing. Yours came to you "out of the blue", but it may have been the result of years of pondering the nature of existence. Obviously,the intellect is involved in the process, but the end result may or may not appear to be "logical" to others. In any case, you came to your realization and it is yours alone.

 

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Steve,

About logic: you are right, things are not always that logical.

 

 

It is not things are not always that logical ... our models are incomplete (perhaps worse completely wrong), our information that we feed into the models and our application of logic can be woeful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, but is fun to share it with others.

Lex

 

I agree ... not only is it fun to share but it is an opportunity to test our beliefs (or the lack thereof) by discussing and critiquing them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×