Who am I? Who are You?

This Practice is quite simple and straightforward. At the same time you can find it to be a Practice that helps you to shift your perception of “self” and “other”, and thus your sense of being in the world.

You can benefit from this Practice many different times during the course of your life. Do it for one five day round, and then do it again at other times whenever you have the desire to do so.

One of the best ways to do this Practice is to create a “prompt” to remind yourself to ask yourself the various questions that are suggested. You can place a card or object in your change pocket that you will notice several times a day when you go to buy something; you can place a card on your desk at work with a question mark on it; you can set some alarms on your computer, and you can place a question mark on the mirror that you look into in the morning. Anything that will help you to remember numerous times a day, to ask yourself the question for the day.

Day One. “Who am I?”

Numerous times during the course of the day, ask yourself “Who am I?” (It is great to ask the question out loud if the situation allows, but asking this question internally is also quite fine.)

Please do not attempt to actively answer the question, but instead, simply ask it in an inquisitive manner. Somewhat in the same frame of mind as asking yourself “I wonder what the weather will be like tomorrow?” Or, “I wonder who will win the upcoming election?” I often ask myself the question several times in a row, one right after the other, and then I simply let the question reverberate in my mind for a while.

Day Two. “Who is (he) (she)?”

Pick someone that you have a meaningful relationship with and want to be able to better understand with your heart. Numerous times during the day ask yourself “Who is Jane?” or “Who is Tom?” (Filling in the name of the appropriate person.) Usually I suggest that you ask the question in regard to only one person, but you can do otherwise if you are really drawn to. Asking about one person one time, and another person the next time.

At the end of the day, take some time to write down your thoughts.

Day Three. “Who are ‘we’?”

Today, you are meant to think about yourself and the person you were contemplating yesterday, and wonder about yourselves as “a relationship”. The relationship can be a business relationship, a marriage, a friendship, etc.
For instance, “Who are Betty and I as a couple?” “Who are Bill and I as business partners?” “Who are Marina and I as parent and child?”
Ask yourself your question, numerous times during the day, without attempting to come up with answers.

Day Four. “Who are ‘they’?”

At this stage you have considered yourself, a significant other person as an individual, and your significant other in relationship without yourself. Now you are meant to take a look at the rest of the world.
You can let your question be just as it is above, “Who are ‘they’?” or you can of course customize your question. “Who are our customers?” “Who are our clients?” “Who are our neighbors?” “Who are the terrorists?”

At the end of the day, take some time to write down your thoughts.

Day Five. “Who am I?”

Today you return to the same activity as the first day, after having had the chance to contemplate who and how you are in the world.

Numerous times during the course of the day, ask yourself “Who am I?”

At the end of the day, take some time to write down your thoughts, AND today, take some time to contemplate what you have learned over the course of the last five days. You will likely want to re-read the thoughts you have written down over the course of the week.

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I have done this Practice many times over the years, and I always find that I learn something new each time.

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