Who are you?
If you have a ready answer, you are not in a state of mindcoolness.
Because what could your answer be?
Are you perhaps your status in society, your family role, your gender, your ethnicity, or your affiliation with some other group? Are you your skills, your hobbies, your occupation, your professional calling, your purpose in life?
Maybe you are your values, your religion, your philosophy, your moral convictions, your political opinions? Or do you identify with your likes and dislikes, judgments of your face and body, facts about your character and personality, or the idiosyncratic combination of all your physical, psychological, and ideological traits?
What all these potential answers have in common is that they have the form of beliefs, of thoughts your ego likes to identify with. If your answer to “Who are you?” has such a form, your mind is not cool, but heated by egoic ideas.
Coolness of the mind means not having an answer to the question “Who am I?”—and not needing one. It means understanding that the knowledge of who you are cannot be verbalized and that any attempt to verbalize it would only heat the mind.
You may speak objectively, “Who I am? Well, a biological organism, of course.” And you would be perfectly correct. Yet somehow you feel that who you truly are is something deeper, something more personal, something more subjective than that, do you not?
Perhaps the best subjective answer to the question “Who are you?” is Jesus’ assertion to be the Son of God—for it implies an identification not with his ego’s petty personas, but with the whole of the universe, the entirety of nature, the totality of being, the Α and Ω, the Brahman, the Tao.
Obviously, since “God” can mean nothing and everything, the phrase “Son of God” is just as hollowly abstract and objectively meaningless. But that’s what makes it such a great answer! “I am the Son of God” is an improper, though poetically appealing verbalization of something that cannot be properly verbalized, namely, the nature of one’s being.
In the end, your knowledge of who you are will always remain esoteric. Satori, as Zen Buddhists call it, cannot be communiated with words. And by not trying to verbalize it, by not trying to bind your self to something exoteric, you keep your mind cool, keep your consciousness open, so that your True Will can emanate from it.
- The Detriment of Self-Knowledge (this post discusses factual self-knowledge rather than the esoteric self-knowledge discussed above)
- The Fundamental Problem of All Religious Teachings
- My View on God