Why You Are Not Who You Think You Are


“He who worships ignorance enters into blinding darkness, 
He who worships knowledge enters into greater darkness still. 
The True form of the Self is distinct from ignorance, It is distinct from Knowledge.” 

— Isha Upanishad

Throughout history, in all traditions and cultures, vast amounts have been written on the true nature of the Self. 

This is testimony to the fact that the greatest of all human quests is the answer to the eternal question, “Who am I?”  Some of the most ancient and profound of these texts originate from India: the Upanishads, Yoga Sutras, and the Vedas.  Many of these texts have been expounded upon by philosophers and scholars, most of whom had great knowledge about the texts themselves, but little personal experience of their essence. This is one of the reasons that realizing the True Self is often seen as a difficult thing.  On the contrary, realizing the True Self is actually the simplest thing in the world, it is simpler than taking your next breath. It is your natural state, your most Authentic being.  How can it be difficult to be that which you already are?  Surely it would be more difficult to be that which you are not.  If it is so simple, why is it that everyone does not experience this state all the time?


When you ask someone, “Who are you”, the answer is nearly always along the same lines. This is my name, I am a male (or female), I am this many years old, this is what I do for a living, I have this many children, I live in this place, etc.  All of these things are qualities of an individual life, but the question still remains unanswered, “Who is the “I”?


When you look out and experience your world, who is it that is experiencing? 

Is it the eyeballs that see?  Is it the nerve endings in the skin, the fingers and toes that experience reality?  Or is it the lump of soft, pink flesh in the center of the skull that is the point where the “I” lives?  Maybe “I” am simply the sum total of all these things, an accidental point of reference in a sea of sensory data.


The idea that consciousness is the artifact of electrical and chemical impulses, miraculously coordinated throughout the human nervous system is fast falling away at the cutting edge of the scientific community.  The human nervous system is being discovered for what it truly is, a vehicle for the Self to experience this magical multiplicity we call life. The root cause of all human pain and suffering is that we become identified with all of the qualities of our existence.  We believe that the “I” is the content of our lives, rather than the context.  We live in a world that demands we forge an identity for ourselves.  Striving to create a better environment for ourselves and the world, to “get ahead” in life is a good thing.  Unfortunately, this usually leads to a forgetting of our True Nature.


What separates us from our Source is simply a case of mistaken identity. 

We have come to believe that we are a product of our thoughts, our feelings and our environment, when quite the opposite is true.

In order to experience what you are, all that is required is to let go of what you are not. What is required to know the Self?  One thing only: surrender.  All that is required is to continually surrender every thought, feeling and action back to its Source.  This is the simplest thing in the world to do.  It actually takes far more energy to maintain separation from our True Nature than to dissolve into it.  For most people, however, the lifelong habit of choosing to define ourselves by that which changes is so strong, this actually feels more like our natural state.  Never the less, it is still a habit…and any habit can be broken.  This need not be difficult, nor take a long time.  For most of us, all that is required is a practical and efficient tool, valid guidance, and the willingness to give this development a chance.


It is irrelevant how much knowledge you have accumulated about it or what you believe to be true.  It is irrelevant whether or not you have lived a “good” life.  Age, sex and culture are also irrelevant.  When all thought, belief and judgment are surrendered, the True Self stands revealed.  It is Self-evident and Self-revealing. It is Absolute Stillness. It is Silent, Aware, intense Presence.  It is beyond all concepts and beliefs, crystal clear, boundless Consciousness.  It is beyond any thought, yet is all intelligent.  It is beyond all emotion and feeling, yet is the ultimate Bliss.  It is a state of Absolute wholeness; full and complete.  In a world that is constantly changing, It is the One Unchanging.  It is unshakeable, infinite Peace.




That Thou Art


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Narain has been teaching Ascension since 1998. He currently teaches at the Mastery of Self course. He lives with his wife, his daughter and their very conscious dog in the mountains of Spain.