I have been fascinated recently with the story of Brahma and the So Ham mantra. In the Hindu religion, Brahma is looked to as the creator. It is Brahma who creates the world. When he opened his eyes for the first time (all five sets of them), he finds the world in complete darkness - yet to be created. Could you even imagine the simplicity? The quiet? The peacefulness?
At this moment, he has no choice but to live completely in the present. He has no past, so how could he grasp the idea of future. His life at this moment is without suffering - no past to cling to, no regrets, no disappointment. No thoughts of future - no sense of longing or concern.
He begins to ponder the question - who am I. In his wisdom, he realizes that who he is cannot be found in the outer world - so he turns inward. His thoughts materialize to words when he says "I am" (So Ham). And from there, mantra was born.
His response to the question of "who am I" is so basic, but so wise in its simplicity. He does not cling to the idea that he is a god or a creator, but instead identifies with something so base and so simple. I am.
We work hard in our lives to create. We educate ourselves, earn prizes, meet goals, and can easily identify ourselves with these goals. I am a teacher, I am a CEO, I am a student, I am wealthy, I am poor, I am thin, I am large, etc. Each of these titles or roles giving us a reason for separation. Separating ourselves from each other and separating ourselves from the simple true nature of what we are. While these goals or titles may be comforting, they may also be painful or lead us to pain. Each of these roles creates walls and barriers to being.
For me, this story of Brahma shows us the real truth of ourselves and the beauty of just being. Perhaps once we realize the simplicity of what we really are, we can relate and understand others and answer the question that we all ponder, even at old age. Who am I?