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Who Are We Anyway

I once went camping in the Sierras with some friends. We were fishing late in the day. We were drinking and I was drinking the most. As the sun began to set my two friends headed back to the campsite. As I thought the campsite to be very close by, I decided to stay and continue to fish (and drink).

After dark I headed back towards the campgrounds. It was a pretty good size campground and I began to walk through the it looking for our campsite. I must have walked for a couple of hours. I was finding myself walking in circles as I came upon the same campsites a number of times. At one point I found myself out in the thicket, away from the lights of the campgrounds. It was very dark and I felt very lost at this point. I found my way back to the campgrounds and just by chance, found my campsite.

Everyone had already retired for the night. My party, of three different campsites (in a triangular pattern), consisted of one camping trailer and two large tents. My tent was a large six-man tent and when I entered it my daughter was already asleep in her sleeping bag. She was about 7 years old at the time. I crawled into my sleeping bag and went to sleep.

I don't know what time it was when I awoke but it was still dark outside and everyone was still asleep. The first thing I felt when I awoke was disorientation. I didn't know where I was. It soon occurred to me that I didn't know who I was either. Naturally, at first, I sat there waiting to collect myself, but nothing came to mind. It was pitch black and I searched in the darkness for something, anything to give me assistance and I found a flashlight and hurriedly turned it on.

Now here is where it gets weird. When I turned on the light I could see I was in a tent. So I knew the what a tent was. I saw my daughter lying in the sleeping bag across from me, but did not recognize her. I knew it was a little girl, but who? I shook her awake and asked, "little girl, little girl, do you know who I am? Still half asleep she said, "Yeah, your Daddy", and then she turned her back on me and start to go back to sleep. I wanted to stop her from going back to sleep and get more details from her but I had the presence of mind not to do so because by now I was entering a panicked state of mind and if the little girl was my daughter then seeing me panicked might frighten her.

I decided the better course of action was to move outside the tent and get a look at my surrounding as it might trigger something the would help me remember who I am and where I am. I unzipped the tent entrance and went outside. I immediately recognized that I was in a forest and there were campsites all around, but I still had no recognition of why I was there and who I was. This brought on a much deeper feeling of panic and I began to experience cold sweats.

I was deeply frightened and disturbed. Something in me knew that there was something missing. Something was suppose to click in, something was suppose to have started, come about, I wasn't sure what. But something was suppose to happen and it didn't. And now, every nerve in my body was on edge and I felt like hell.

I sat on a tree stump and lowered my head in agony. Then something popped into my mind. Just two words. Pam Am! I raised my head quickly at the recognition of the words. I knew those words, they meant something. YES! PAM AM WORLD SERVICES! THAT'S WHERE I WORK!

Then the flood gates opened and all the memories came flooding back in. Everything I knew about myself came back to me and I jumped for joy at their return. I went from being a lost soul to a made man in seconds.

In retrospect I realized that I had temporarily lost my identity. The whole experience probably lasted only 10 to 15 minutes. But it felt like forever. I hadn't lost all my memory, because I knew I was in a tent, in a forest, and more importantly, I deduced that if I was in a tent, in a forest, I must be camping. So who is it that was camping? That is what I asked myself, that is what was missing, and that was what caused the panic and fear. I had no identity, and I now realized that my identity is a memory from the past and that all things are memories of the past. Once the memories are gone, who are you and what is everything else? We definitely live in the past.

Who Are We Anyway

Alzheimer's is considered a medical condition - do you think that it is prequsite by the individual forgetting his/her identity and never really finding it again as you did, so what is experienced is just radom patterns of memories in which the individual tries to build an identity?

Who Are We Anyway

Well, there is cognition and recognition. To be cognizent of something is the perceive it for the first time. To recognize something is to see it again. We always recognize everything. We know it from our experiences with it in the past. Even if it's a car we've never seen, or a bird, we still recognize it as a bird or a car.

Everything we know about our personal self, our ego, is of the past. If we dropped the past, who are we?

Who Are We Anyway


Everything we know about our personal self, our ego, is of the past. If we dropped the past, who are we?

We become our Divine Self.

We need to let go of our personal self, ego and the past to move towards the transformation to the Divine, for that is who we really are.
The past has been developed from how we responded to events. We are creating the present by how we respond to events. The future will be created by the projection of our past and present creating the events in which we will respond to. That is why it so important for us to let go of those things that will cause deteioration instead of edification.

The "who am I" experience

To Dave:

With regard to your post entitled "Whom am I?"-- we had a patient once who, for several hours one afternoon, could not remember who she was, what date it was, or what she had been doing that morning. She saw some paperwork on the kitchen table that she herself had obviously been working with, but she had no recollection of doing it. Finally her brain fog cleared and she consulted a physician the next day. The diagnosis in retrospect was retrograde amnesia, which can occur from intracranial vascular spasm with temporary compromise in blood supply to the brain. This sounds alarming, but with this patient it never recurred and she is still around thirty years later. I'm not saying this explains your very interesting experience, but it might be a possibility.


Who Are We Anyway

Thanks Drena, no doubt something like that is what happened to me.

But it did point out to me that what I think I am is just the past, memory. What I was experiencing was the present moment, without the baggage of the past. However, with all my knowledge of spiritual matters, from all my past experiences and all the books I have read, meditation I have done, etc., the experience would have been a good one. I would have realized that I was living in the moment, free of my past. However, my memory was where all those spiritual things were also, in the past. So consequently, I didn't have it to refer to so that I could appreciate the moment. And if I had, then I would not have been experiencing a moment in the present without the past. It's kind of a Catch 22.

It did shake me up at the time because I wondered if that is what happens to people when they die. They revert back to their essence and the past fades away, and then when they are reborn, they have no memory of their last life. Which led me to wonder, then what is gained by one's life in the physical world. If we are here to work out our Karma, but then forget the lessons that are learn, then life is a useless, futile, endeavor.

Further, if we are all one, then there really is only one Being playing all the roles. From human beings, to a grain of sand on the beach, to a huge super nova somewhere in space. And if it is only one Being playing all roles, then the lifetimes of the alleged "individual", with all it's so called karma, is nothing but an illusion anyway.

Consequently, what does it matter how many lifetimes I live, or what I do, or where I go, or what I think. In the presence of the One, it's just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.

Yet, on a deeper level, since there is only One Being in existence, which is existence itself, then I am that I am. And that is the Play, that is the Dance. That is the discussion between Krishna and Arjuna, the Brahman and the Atman. The Self and the ego. And why not? What else are you going to do. Eh, it's a living.

Who am I

Dave, you have come up with a very thoughtful, perceptive "take" on your puzzling experience. Frankly, I much prefer your spiritual view to my admittedly mundane medical suggestion. You are absolutely right that there is only one BEING, and actually there is only ONE of us here. Whatever we experience must be within the context of that ONENESS, and we need only recognize this to realize its significance.