Who Am I? And Why Does It Matter?

At some important point in the life of every seeker, a perennial question presents itself: “Who am I?”

Whether a person takes this question seriously or not, the quest for personal identity is an ongoing theme in modern industrial culture. We are bombarded with messages to “find yourself” and offered consumer objects designed to further define and determine what makes us uniquely separate individuals. Ironically, this consumer messaging in turn shapes us into remarkably similar capitalist actors, united by a mutual participation in a culturally reinforced zero-sum game of competition and one-upmanship.

Fortunately, there are paths that invite us off this hamster wheel. The contemplative traditions have been telling us for (in some instances) thousands of years that identity is not the answer to our problems – at least not in the ways that we have been socialized to believe that it is. Rather, various contemplative traditions point us toward a journey of identity that ultimately cultivates a realization that we are not who we think we are. We realize that the answer to who I am can lead to a journey of discovery paradoxically both simple and profound.

This discovery, we find out, makes all the difference in the world – and not just for ourselves.

Cast

Jacob Kyle
Speaker

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