Common and not so common answers to the big question “Who am I?”

Mike Sosteric
8 min readFeb 28


Photo by amit kumar on Unsplash

“Who am I?” is a big question most of us ask, but the answers the mainstream provides just aren’t that great.

Who am I? It’s a big question, an existential question, and we all ask it from time to time. We ask it when we are young children, we ask it when we are adolescents, and we ask it when we are grown adults. We ask it throughout our life and we don’t stop asking it until we find a satisfactory answer. When we are happy with the answer we’ve found, we stop asking and settle in. We only start up again if something happens to make us unsatisfied to the point where we question once again.

Now, you might think that all this questioning would leave us with a lot of different answers. Yet, despite all our questioning, on this planet we are generally offered only two answers to the question “Who am I?”, the science answer or the church answer.

The science answer is provided by Charles Darwin. Most of us know the science answer because it is taught in our elementary schools. This answer is that we are apes evolving from some violent, primordial past. As such, we are all part of a natural struggle to survive and adapt. Our goal, according to this narrative, is to work really hard, strive, and compete in order that we might win “the game” by dying at the top of the hill with the most toys. Terry Pratchet chooses the science answer when he says: “Evolution was far more thrilling to me than the biblical account. Who would not rather be a rising ape than a falling angel? To my juvenile eyes, Darwin was proved true every day. It doesn’t take much to make us flip back into monkeys again.”

On the other hand, we have the church answer. The Church answer is provided by Churches, obviously, but also by what I would call Ideological Institutions, like Hollywood, or Penguin books. As Terry Pratchet notes above, the church answer is that we are all fallen angels, Fools in School as I would say, on a perhaps multi-lifetime journey towards redemptive/karmic success. We are here to learn lesson and pass tests. Curiously, this church narrative is a lot like the science narrative. Here, we are also told to work really hard, struggle and strive so that when we die we can avoid eternal torment and go to the “good place” where all the good boys and girls go to play with all the best toys that ever existed.

People generally pick one or the other of these answers, sometimes bouncing between the two as their dissatisfaction with one or the other gets the better of them, and then they live their lives until they die. Perhaps you have picked one of these answers.

If you’d like, you can record your answers to the big question “Who am I?”, and three other big questions, by taking the “I Believe” survey. It will take between five and fifteen minutes to complete, depending on whether or not you go into detail. Please take the survey before you finish reading this article.

Take the “I Believe” Survey

There is, however, an alternative to the above two answers, a third possible answer. This alternative is definitely not mainstream, but it is available for your consideration. This alternative is provided by mystics who have had spiritual experiences, what I would call Connection Experiences, and who consequently believe that we are not broken down angels in need of extensive cosmic repair and testing, atmans on a journey of karmic purification, or evolving apes clawing our way toward some competitive evolutionary goal.

Connection experiences are just mystical experiences by another name. They happen when your biological ego (bodily ego) connects with your spiritual ego (soul, or atman). They can induced with meditation, yoga, and things like cannabis, LSD, mushrooms, etc.

We are, in fact, and as shocking as it might appear to some, powerful sparks of incarnated God Consciousness entering a body in order to build a utopian physical creation to we can all play and have fun. But don’t take my word for it. Below are some quotes from famous people who, despite all propaganda to the contrary, have stumbled on this alternative option.

I am the body” is the opinion of the fool. “I am body and soul” is the view of the scholar, while for the great souled, discriminating man, his inner knowledge is I am God. Get rid of the opinion of yourself as this mass of skin, flesh, fat, bones and filth, foolish one, and make yourself instead the self of everything, the God beyond all thought, and enjoy supreme peace.

Swami Vivekacudamani

You are a distinct portion of the essence of God in yourself. Why then, are you ignorant of your noble birth? Why do you not consider whence you came? Why do you not remember when you are eating, who you are who eat; and whom you feed; do you not know that it is the divine you feed; the divine you exercise? You carry a God about within you.


Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask then and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less, nor pay heed to the crumbs which fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in It and rejoice and you will obtain the deepest desires of your heart.

St. John of the Cross

I gazed upon [al-Lah] with the eye of truth and said to Him: “Who is this?” He said, “This is neither I nor other than I. There is no God but I.”

Abu Yizad Bistami

Beyond caste, creed, family or lineage,
That which is without name and form, beyond merit and demerit,
That which is beyond space, time, and sense-objects,
You are that, God himself; Meditate this within yourself.

Swami Vivekacudamani

The image of God is found essentially and personally in all mankind. Each possesses it whole, entire and undivided, and altogether not more than one alone. In this way we are all one, intimately united in our eternal image, which is the image of God and the source in us of all our life.


I looked for God I found only myself, I looked for myself I found only God.


Knowing the science of “I am God” is the science of bodies, but becoming “I am God” is the science of religions


Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

1 Corinthians 6:19

My Me is God, nor do I recognize any other Me except my God himself.

St. Catherine of Genoa

Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these” are the shining parts, is the soul.[1] The simplest person who in his integrity worships God, becomes God.[2]

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Muhammad and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong

John Lennon

Father rejoice with me, I have become God… When I looked into myself, I saw God within me and everything he has ever created in heaven and earth… I am established in the pure Godhead, in which there never was form or image.

Sister Catherine Treatise

I am he Whom I love, and He whom I love is I: We are two spirits dwelling in one body. If thou seeist me, thou seest Him, And if thou seest Him, thou seest us both.

Hallaj Husain ibn Mansure

Behold but One in all things; it is the second that leads you astray. Benares is to the East, Mecca to the West; but explore your own heart, for there are both Rama and Allah.

Saint Kabir

I am you; you are me You are the waves; I am the ocean. Know this and be free; be divine

Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Thou art My lamp and My light is in thee. Hidden Words.

Bahá’u’lláh”Who am I?” is a big question most of us ask, but the answers the [wiki]mainstream[/wiki] provides just aren’t that great.

He who knows his self knows God.


The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hardworking farmer, it will thrive and grow up to be God, whose seed it is; and accordingly, its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God’s seed into God. God expects but one thing of you, and that is that you should come out of yourself, in so far as you are a created being and let God be God in you.

Meister Eckhart

We have on our hands experiences which have opened to individuals and to the race as a whole wider realms of being, experiences which have heightened the quality of life and which have given new energy of survival, and we are compelled to conclude, either that the personal self is a bottomless affair, carrying within itself infinite unexplored chambers and undreamed of energies which sometimes come into play, or that / the personal self is bosomed on a larger Realm of Consciousness from which we draw our being into the bounds of individuality, and with which we may correspond. It has been, as we shall see, the contention of mystics in all ages that God Himself is the ground of the soul, and that in the deeps of their being all men partake of one central Divine Life. The facts, at any rate, all point in this direction

Rufus Mathew Jones

And that’s all I have to say. To summarize, most of us, at some point in our lives, ask the big question “Who am I?” Typically, mainstream thinking gives us one of two choices, a science answer which suggests we are apes struggling, striving, and rising in some natural system of selection, and a church answer which suggests we are fallen angels trying to get back to some lost paradise by working really hard. Both of those answers are really two sides of the same coin which seems to suggest that our purpose in life is to work. A third answer is different. This answer, popular among those who have had Connection Experiences, suggests we are sparks of God consciousness building a garden paradise so we can all play and have fun. Which answer is right? As someone who has had many connection experiences, I favour the third. But you can believe what you want. Just be aware, when deciding, to consider all the choices.



Mike Sosteric

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