There are two pathways that determine who we. The first road, we might call the lower neural pathway goes straight to the amygdala via the sensory thalamus and it allows information to be process at very high speed without diversion to other parts. Hence the information has very little processes and results in immediate action, sometimes described as fight or flight. The second road, takes information first to the cortex the area for rational thinking and analysis where the information is processed much more slowly, but also more accurately and creatively.
When asking the question “who am I” most people will answer, not with who they are, but what they do. For example; I am an artist, writer, environmentalist, psychotherapist. I am also a philosopher, meditation and mindfulness teacher. This is what I do. Who am I? This is a bigger question. I am a small speck in a greater universe. I am a part of nature and all other living things. I am part of a greater force who is my maker.
Consider for a moment how difficult it is to describe your being? You might feel a sense of being, but what words will you use to describe it and will they be the same words for everyone else. Ask yourself, what is being beyond a sense of presence? What holds everything together beyond the flesh and that which illusive to the mind?
What is real and what is imagined? How can we truly know ourselves when all we are conscious of is constructed by our unconscious. When we try to describe consciousness and we stumble over the many metaphors that present as real life. Who we are is not who we thing we are. Then there is the other question, does it matter who we are?
The self is said to be who we are, but it is the most troublesome of metaphors for explaining human existence. No one has been able to say with any certainty what the self is or where in the body it is located or how it occurs. There are many suppositions arising from two camps. The scientific materialist belief states that the self is constructed by the human brain and it is born and dies with us. The second belief is a metaphysical one, which states the self is constructed by consciousness, which is a universal phenomenon existing outside of the body and brain and only makes a connection with life at birth (or in some cases conception). This latter connected level of consciousness is referred to as spirit (or being spiritual). There is also the common notion that spirit and brain have an interrelationship, or a correlate, which is another way of saying that where there is life it will always attract its duplicate or appropriate spirit. The metaphysical belief is that all life exists in the form of consciousness before and after bodily death. I am going with the theory of correlates. When I look up at the stars at night in awe I am know I will be leaving the planet and travelling back in time to where I came from. This is my destiny, this is my course, my comfort, my belief.