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Though there are many pressing questions in the world, especially in the realm of science and mathematics, the most stressed-upon inquiry for humans is usually “who am I?” This is a slippery question, because as soon as we answer this question, we can hardly be satisfied with the resolution. Why is defining ourselves notoriously difficult? Well, to start with, we have a general confusion about what constitutes a person.

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We can start by saying, “I have this name, this body, this job, this family, these friends, this personal history, this supposed future, these possessions, this personality, these ideas, these feelings, and these attributes.” We can even go further and say that based on physics, we are stardust. However, many people think this is not all there is to one’s identity. What comprises a person is more than what you see at face value. Each person has a pure awareness within them, that when all thought subsides, it can be experienced. Thoughts are reactions to stimuli and calculations, which can be useful, but they should not stand as our essential selves. They are simply tools we use to get by.

By saying that each person has this pure awareness points to the universality of each individual. Some might say this makes us monochromatic, but each of our connections to this awareness is what makes us unique.

Why is this awareness important? It allows us to experience life in its reality, without the influence of thoughts, which dictate how we are supposed to think and feel about our surroundings and ourselves. When we allow thought, which is a tool, to run our lives, we must know that we are out of balance. The primary state of an individual is this collective awareness that observes without the influence of mental analysis.

To this end, I can say who I am is my connection to the thoughtless awareness, and this awareness itself. Each day, I take some time to connect with this awareness, and this results in me returning to this connection throughout the day. When I am deep in this awareness, all I feel is peace and contentment. This is due to this awareness simply being the state of observation, and not reaction. In reaction, we derive pain, anger, hate, jealousy, greed, and other negative emotions. Without reacting to stimuli, suffering would cease. These reactions should not be confused with autonomous reactions of the body. They are necessary to let the body live. The reactions I am speaking of are based on choice—our human will.

What is the meaning of life if this is what we are? Personally, I see it as staying as long as we can in this balanced state of pure awareness, and helping others get into this state. When we are in this state, there seems to be no need for heaven, as one feels like one is already there. Though many people say the meaning of life is being able to have the right to go to heaven after one dies, it may be that heaven can be achieved during this earthly existence.

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