Self-Discovery Portal

What Part of Speech Are You?
by Art Ticknor

Let me remind you
That the perceived
Cannot perceive.
~ Huang Po

If you ask yourself what you are, or investigate into your true identity, how do you talk to yourself about it?

Here's how four of the people in a self-inquiry retreat began their responses to four five-minute writing exercises:

Responses to "I am…." began with: Responses to "I am not…." began with:
A: I am tired….
B: I am scared….
C: I am dot dot dot dot
D: I am waiting….
A: I am not immune….
B: I am not excited….
C: What am I?
D: I am not God….
Responses to "I love…." began with: Responses to "I hate…." began with:
A: I love the possibility….
B: I love beauty….
C: [no response]
D: I love this person….
A: I hate getting distracted….
B: I hate feeling confused….
C: [blank]
D: I hate this life….

Do you head yourself off from the corral-of-looking with an "I don't know" reaction? Of course you don't know; otherwise, there'd be no need for investigation. But if that's a stopping point for you, you've followed a path of the tired, the hopeless, the paranoid, or some other sense that the threat of looking would overwhelm you. But how could that be the case? What were you afraid you might see, and why would that threat shut down your investigation?

A is for Angry Are you an adjective ("I am tired," "I am scared," etc.) or a verbal gerund ("I am waiting")? Verbs and their relatives describe action or movement; adjectives describe features or attributes.

I am rolling (verb form)
I am round (adjective)
What am I?
A rolling stone :-)

Are you afraid to label the subject of your investigation?
Are you a body?
What is this I-amness?

Look around … everyone you see is going to die.

You were what you are

Before you were born
Before you became self-conscious

What you are doesn't depend on


All spiritual work is aimed at consciously knowing what you really are

The closest clue you have is your I-amness sense

       What you are "knows" (i.e., experiences) that
       You are not that sense of self; you are that which experiences it

Your focus needs to be turned from what you believe yourself to be

       (A body-mind; a person)
       In order to investigate your I-amness

When what experiences I-amness has explored I-amness sufficiently

You/it will be liberated from the suffering inherent in "being" a person

Graphic above is from A Is for Angry: An Animal and Adjective Alphabet by Sandra Boynton.

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