After almost 40 years now, I still love the chorus of that song, Who Are You? by The Who, released in 1978. Plus, it is among the greatest questions we could ever ask of ourselves and others. Who Am I? Who Are You?
Most people would answer the question by stating something about themselves, such as, their name, what they do for a living, something they have done to make a name for themselves, and more. But, none of that would be them. We are all so far beyond all of that trivia. In truth, we simply are.
I want to share an insight of the many insights I gleaned from Michael A. Singer’s powerful book, The Untethered Soul. In this book, he gets to the simple depth of answering who am I, and in a very short book, explains so much about understanding ourselves, and aims to help encourage a much more satisfying journey for each of us in our lives.
To simplify who we are after we let go of all the layers of labels we have for ourselves, he says, “Eventually you will get to a point within yourself where you realize that you, the experiencer, have a certain quality. And that quality is awareness, consciousness, an intuitive sense of existence. You know that you’re in there. You don’t have to think about it; you just know.”
And here’s the part that I want most to share this morning. He says:
“To make this more experiential, let’s try a consciousness experiment. Notice that with a single glance at a room, or out a window, you instantaneously see the full detail of everything that’s in front of you. You are effortlessly aware of all the objects that are within the scope of your vision, both near and far away. Without moving your head or eyes, you perceive all the intricate detail of what you immediately see. Look at all the colors, the variations of light, the grain of wood furniture, the architecture of buildings, and the variations of bark and leaves on trees. Notice that you take all this in at once, without having to think about it. No thoughts are necessary; you just see it. Now try to use thoughts to isolate, label, and describe all the intricate detail of what you see. How long would it take your mental voice to describe all that detail to you, versus the instantaneous snapshot of consciousness just seeing? When you just look without creating thoughts, your consciousness is effortlessly aware of, and fully comprehends, all that it sees.”
I was fascinated with this paragraph–fascinated because it resonated within me. Right after I read that, and ever since I read it, I often just look and pay attention to see, hear, feel, smell, and yes, even taste all that I am aware of in that moment, or as I string moments together into larger blocks of time. It is a glorious, mind-opening sense of awareness that is bordering on magical.
It doesn’t matter if I am in or near nature, or I am in my truck, or at an event, or our doing errands, or sitting here typing. There is so much around me wherever I am, and now I notice it all without thinking about it or trying to explain it. It simply is. Certain things get more of my awareness or attention, but even without turning my head, moving my eyes, I sense this grand awareness of being.
Try it for yourself. Look without thinking and sense the depth of your own awareness of all the intricate detail all around you. I’ll bet that you too will sense it all in that moment without needing to describe anything. It just is. I’ll also bet that this will change the way you look at things, and especially expand your wonder and delight, as it absolutely has for me.
“Behind It All, There You Are.” — Michael A. Singer
Spread Some Joy Today–by allowing your awareness to help you find joy where you only saw issues and problems before.