Who Am I?

by maxmosher

When I was a kid, I was able to get myself into an almost trance-like state by asking the simple question “Who am I?” I would lie in the hammock at the cottage, looking past the birch trees to the sky, and begin to feel that I was much more than this individual person, born in March 1985 in Toronto. It was like a switch turned, and I felt that my mind, or my soul, if you want, was much older than my body, had experienced more, although I couldn’t remember anything that hadn’t happened to Max Mosher. I would think about it for a long time, allowing my mind to get further and further away from my specific body, with its dark hair and its weak right leg, and my specific location, hearing the waves of Lake Simcoe splash on our pebbly beach. When I would snap out of it, it was almost a let-down to simply be Max Mosher of Toronto again, although a bit of a relief that I could return to myself. If you let yourself continue down that rabbit hole, there’s no telling how far you may fall.

This is as close to spiritualism that I can get and it’s what comes to mind whenever I hear Descartes’ ‘I think, therefore I am’.

I don’t, or can’t, do it so much anymore. Maybe it’s because I no longer have the leisure time to lie around in hammocks pondering the universe. But it might also be that as we get older we become set in ourselves, supposedly sure of what we’re all about as people, and unable or unwilling to ask ourselves “Who am I?”