Who are you? Do you know? Have you ever taken time to ask, really ask yourself who you are?
Are you Sally, John, David or Eva? Or is that just your name? Are you an engineer? A mother? Or are those roles you play? It's common to identify ourselves with our name, our job, our role. But these are just labels. Are you a label?
If you say you're a women or a man, then you believe you are your body; but this body has changed constantly since you were born, and continues to so. Most of the cells in the body are replenished every seven years. Which of the body's cells are you? Are you the baby, child, adolescent, young adult, middle-aged person, or elder? If you lost a limb from your body, would you be less, or would you be the same but have a body missing a limb?
It's common to refer to bodily states as if they are our state, to say "I'm hungry" rather than "I'm experiencing hunger." The two are different you know. The first identifies you as the hungry body, the second indicates that you are aware of a sensation of hunger. So are you the body or the one who experiences the sensations of the body?
It's also common to say things like, "my body is bloated or my body is overweight", and this indicates an awareness of separation between body and person. Are you one and the same as your body? Is the body really who you are? If not, who are you?
This process of asking, "Who am I?", is an age-old process; a way to gain insight into the greatest mystery of life. For this self-inquiry to work, you have to be willing to keep looking deeper. In the Indian spiritual science, they say "neti, neti" - "not this, not this" - to every idea we try to identify with.
Am I my name? Not this. Am I my job title? Not this. Am I my body? Not this.
We don't just say, "not this." We look deeply to see the truth of it, that we are really not this, that we are more than this.
In this way the inquiry goes deeper and deeper, beyond the domain of easy and superficial answers, toward increasing subtlety, toward the realm of Truth.
Self-inquiry is a method than can be used by anyone to delve into the reality of their being. It can be used by itself, and also along with the other yoga methods that calm and focus the mind and emotions so that the inquiry can go deeper.