Perhaps when you ask yourself this question there are many things that instantly spring up to make up the story and the character that you have become identified with in this life.
We have accepted numerous attributes that are what we consider to be the self or “me”. In our minds we have created a form or structure that seems like a frozen sculpture despite its constantly changing nature; our body is changing, our mind is changing and our emotions are changing all the time.
We are unfamiliar with the true nature of our being. We are caught in a dream and have taken that to be the inescapable reality, a dream that repeats itself ad infinitum.
Freedom from this false identity is what we yearn on the inside, but it is not something that we can get to as long as we are caught up with what the 5-10% level of the mind is presenting to us everyday. It is to be found in the realization of what we truly are at the deepest level, at the level where we experience life 100% on the inside. Here we find permanence, stability and peace that seems so elusive in this outer world.
Think of an actor. He is on stage and is powerfully involved in the drama and the emotion of the play. The play ends, but the actor continues to be in the role and completely forgets it is merely a role and that there is life beyond it. And then expand this vision to encompass an entire planet of seven billion people. Quite a dramatic play, don’t you think?
Our Self is truly formless. It is not bound by anything of this world. Not even the words used to describe it.
When the surface of the lake is agitated, the bottom cannot be seen. Immeasurable treasure could lie there, but it will remain undiscovered until the day the water stills. When the mind becomes quiet, consciousness naturally experiences union with its fundamental reality, the true Form of the Self.
In the Waking State, we identify with our thoughts and do not experience consciousness as it is. And yet were it possible, by any means, to still the random, chaotic thoughts until there was no more motion in the mind (and assuming that we did not fall asleep in the process), then we would directly see what consciousness is.
Stilling the chaos of the limited ego’s individuality and perceiving the Reality lying within is the goal. What is this experience like?
An analogy might serve to clarify this. Consider a movie. Image after image flashes across the screen, giving the experience of continuity. The screen is not seen because the mind is focusing on the moving pictures. But were the film to break and the projector light remain on, the screen would suddenly become visible. This can be very surprising, if the involvement with the movie is very intense at the time.