Who Am I?

By Niranjan Matanich

Change has always been hard for me. As topsy turvy as my life has been, I would expect that I would deal with change a little easier, but actually it’s made it even harder. I almost always expect the worse when things change. I want things to stay the same because it gives me a sense of security. The unknown is scary so I want things to stay the same.

I was recently surprised to find that my reaction to change and fear of the unknown has changed a little. The company I work for recently sold. Our CEO retired and we were bought out by a bigger company. I was surprised that I didn’t have a strong reaction to it. In fact I observed my mind trying to create scenarios that would incite fear but the thoughts wouldn’t stick. It’s not the most pleasant metaphor, but it was like my mind was dry heaving.

Why am I having a different experience? I attribute this to the years of spiritual practices that I have done. I do not base my sense of self in my external world like I once did. My sense of self is not dependent on my external world.

If your whole sense of self is based on your job and you lose that job, it’s terrifying. You are faced with the question “Who am I if I’m not this job?” This happens with relationships and a multitude of other things in life that you base your sense of self on. To avoid this fear of facing not knowing who you are, you try to create continuity in life. Same job, same friends, same TV programs, etc. In this way you avoid answering the question, “Who Am I?”

Swami Nirmalanda says:

You try to create continuity because you are hoping for a sense of safety to come from the outside, so the internal levels of panic will subside and your crazy mind will quiet. The true sense of continuity comes from the innermost essence of your being, the Self.

The external world is always changing. Basing your sense of self on the external world is sure to create fear and anxiety.

Who you really are is unchanging. You are the Self, the one Consciousness that has become all things. Your own Self is never changing.

So, how do you base yourself in the Self?  Hear the teachings of a master like Swami Nirmalananda, hear the teachings and follow the practices that are given. It’s not theoretical. When you do the practices like mantra repetition, meditation and studying sacred texts you will begin to experience yourself as the Self. The more these impressions are imprinted in your mind, the more you will base yourself in the Self. When you live your life from those deeper dimensions you will not be devastated when your external life changes. I can tell you from experience that it works.