The conventional question, largely spiritual in nature, is to ask “who am I?”. My work to transform started with this, but quickly I learned that there is a more profound way of phrasing this, which is to replace who with what.
This question, and the answers I found, became the crucial discovery in my work, and this led to the biggest realisations. Especially in the sense of completely re-engineering my understanding of the world around me, and my place in it.
The first, big, realisation was the understanding that we are a system.
I like to say this is not a uniform system but a unitary system.
It is not unform, because it is capable of immense change. It is unitary because there is no division between anything within the system, it all makes up the singular system.
The classic example here would be mind/body. You are not a mind and a body, they are not separate. They are one.
If you strip away your identity, your uniqueness, and focus entirely on what you are from a scientific viewpoint, then you are a chemical and biological system.
This is important because when you understand the nature of the chemical and biological processes several things slot into place and you discover some interesting aspects that are far from clear, without this discovery.
There are many and I will give you some examples.
First, your emotional state is driven by the chemical factory within your system. This means your emotions are created from instructions from your brain to produce certain hormones in particular quantities. You can alter these quantities, levels, balances using certain techniques and practices, generating different emotional outcomes.
Second, you don’t really have a mind as such, conventional language describes “the mind” in line with some sort of sense of being, the mix of thoughts and feelings, that create your conscious experience. However the mind doesn’t really have a place in any structured form, it is – in fact – a way of describing two things, one is certain activities of the brain, which create the sense of “mind”, the other is the combined conscious and subconscious processes that drive the system.
In the conscious realm, you have an experience, with your thoughts and feelings, and this creates an energy. Thoughts are real, and are physical structures made of proteins.
How these thoughts are developed and built alters the brain through neuroplasticity.
This means you can learn how to shape or evolve the brain, as what you think, how you feel and what choices you make consciously, will change the brain in particular ways.
Your unconscious mind describes the activities of the brain away from your conscious mind, and sweeps up the subconscious, as well as those automatic functions (breathing, cell replacement and so on).
The brain houses both minds and as with the conscious mind, you can alter the subconscious to get rid of unwanted aspects or introduce beneficial ones.
Third, your unitary system, interconnects everything. This means you create a level of alignment or coherence, and this can range from low level to high level.
Basically, if you are low level, then bits of the system work together somewhat efficiently, but nowhere near as efficient as they could be or they do so but in a way that doesn’t help you.
Your brain has two hemispheres, and these can work in line with each other satisfactorily or brilliantly, depending on how you align them.
Your brain and your heart are, in some fashion, actually like two brains, as your heart has some of the characteristics of a brain. In any event there is a strong connection running back and forth between these two vital organs. If the connection is aligned and strong it creates a form of coherence and if you get this to an optimal level, you can engender a new experience.
Your body is comprised of a ridiculous number of cells, each a little energy source, with their own needs for feeding and how they perform can vary depending on how well they are fed and instructed.
It is estimated that there are more than 50 trillion cells in your body. The brain houses around 86 billion of these cells. It is fascinating to note that each of these cells has millions of atoms in them, giving you a sense of the awesome scale of what you are, if measured at the quantum level.
Every single bit of this is a tiny bit of energy accumulating to create the you, that is you, and if you consider this as a system it is quite incredible.
The key takeaway is how much of this system, all of it just about, can be altered through conscious application. So, if you know how, you can decide or choose to make alterations.
If you do so in one part it changes the system, and if you know how to combine the relevant changes, you can enhance the system to a completely different level of experience.
So, how this system is functioning to a large degree determines your state of being.
If your current state of being is not satisfactory, then you can learn all the changes you need to make to move to a different state of being.
If you consider yourself a system, you can work it all out, but that still leaves your experience. Or what is known as consciousness or awareness.
It is important to understand that no-one has any real clue as to what consciousness is, in terms of your experience of existence. Modern science is floundering on this front.
So, how does this interact with the accurate knowledge of how your system works, not complete in science by any means, but very advanced, and the totally unknown aspects of consciousness?
You can alter your experience, as in perception, and how you think and feel, your emotions and general physicality through changing the system.
This has the effect, even though it is unclear how, of changing your conscious experience and your relationship with existence.
Now, it can work backwards, as well, as with certain techniques, such as meditation, or generating altered states of consciousness, you can change your experience of existence. Even if you leave the system untouched, although because of the connected aspects of your entire state of being (system and consciousness/awareness) it is likely if you change one you will change the other, in either direction.
Some of the greatest teachers I have had propose that the experience of existence, the more spiritual side of this, is really an exercise in getting familiar with the unknown. I like that a lot, because where science falls short, as it does with consciousness, it allows us to use our own experience to understand what is happening better. The difference being that understanding, in this instance, is more about an innate knowing.
We can convert this into souls, spirits, inner child’s, inner gods, source or anything else we like to call it.
You will note to this point I have not referenced you as an identity.
The nature of the transformation work and process does have spiritual aspects to it, but these are part of a more pronounced approach that tries to identify scientific aspects alongside.
Our identity, or the way we typically identify ourselves, is something that seems to come from our conditioning, that evolving process as we become aware and conscious of being.
There is a lot of this that then leads to the ego, the shadow and so on, so it tips us into psychoanalysis. It takes us into the territory explored so brilliantly by Freud and Jung, in particular.
This takes us straight back to our unconscious state of being, which is the hallmark of the typical human condition.
This suggest to me that we do identify ourselves incorrectly, as we assume our experience as being real.
I am not saying it is unreal, more that it is one version of many possible ways of experiencing existence.
If we are conditioned, then we perceive ourselves in a certain way and this creates our self-identity.
This can be tested through simple means, by asking others how they perceive you. This can be a shocking exercise to go through, as normally this gives rise to a completely different perception than the one you have!
We also will tend to see ourselves through ‘form’ or as a physical being, not through our awareness or energy.
I have huge respect for the idea of the ego, and all that spins off from that, and listen to Alan Watts, Ekhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer, David Hawkins and many others relentlessly to understand this better.
My suggestion is, and this is how I dealt with this in my transformation, is that we just accept that our current/old self is capable of being changed in significant ways and this leads to a new self.
As I did the work to raise my awareness, rewire, reprogramme, become more aligned and coherent, to stop resisting, forcing and craving, and simply to allow, my identity seemed to change, both from my perspective and that of others.
I am not saying I have lost my ego entirely with my new self, but it does seem to have lost its edge!
I can say for sure that as soon as I discovered what I truly was, from all angles, as described, I was able to create a new state of being, it changed the way I navigated the world, and that changed my life.