The other day, while repotting some orchids, I suspended my prejudice and listened to a shaman who said the whole point of existence is for the universe to ask it’s big question, “Who am I?” — that all the different lives, yours and mine, with all our varied experiences are fragments of this great self reflection.
She said many more interesting things throughout the night and into the next morning but this one resonated hard, like a giant bell struck with a single clean hammer blow, it continues to reverberate.
In my book, “Why Do We Get Sick? Why Do We Get Better?” I talk about a question I observed at the core of our lives. A question unique to each person — my question being different to yours and your question being different to the next person.
Viewed through this lens all the circumstances and events in a life revolve around the central axis of our individual question.
Why were you born at this time in history?
Why were you born this gender?
Why were you born to those parents?
Why were you born in that country?
What themes are in the experiences you have had so far in your life?
What do they point towards?
What might you be trying to figure out about yourself?
How powerful you are?
How evil you are?
How good you are?
How strong you are?
How light you are?
The young shaman has helped me see how these individual questions, 7.888 billion at the time of writing, could all fit under the umbrella of the universal question, “Who am I?”
That is significant because, in the end, there may only be one question.
Am I alone?
For a long time, I have wondered why my whole existence is from just one perspective – my own.
My experience of life is like a point-of-view documentary all from MY point of view.
People tell me it is the same for them.
I have to take their word for it.
What else can I do?
If I don’t I am left with the stark possibility that I am alone here. That there are no other people out there.
That there is just me,
just my thoughts,
just my experience of being, because I have no experience of being any another.
Always just me.
These are unsettling thoughts and resonate with the idea that God is fundamentally a single lonely entity who created existence as a way to amuse itself.
This would explain the great forgetfulness.
Why we don’t remember where we were before we existed or more recently where we go in deep dreamless sleep.
It is why we sense a connection with others but never look out of their eyes.
From this perspective we are all fragments of God trying to forget we are God and gathering data about who we are, or from God’s perspective, “Who am I?”
The shaman’s bell continues to ring for me because if God is asking, “Who am I?” it follows that God is in the process of becoming more conscious —
just like me,
It deepens the significance of my personal question,
the, “What am I trying to figure out about myself in this life?” question,
because it folds into the bigger question,
possibly God’s question of,
“Who am I?”