Probably the toughest question one can ask to oneself. Many people take it for granted that they know who they are. They're like, "Of course I know who I am. Are you kidding me?" While in fact they might find themselves at a total loss in front of questions like: What is your ultimate aim in life? How would you really wanna spend your lifetime? What's your best faculty? What could you have done differently in case you went back in time? Why are you attracted to a certain type of people? What makes you unique? Why do you believe in a certain religion? Where would you rather be most? Are you satisfied with who you are?
Knowing onself is not a matter of listing personal information. It goes way beyond that. It goes way beyond your hobbies, zodiac sign, favorite food, musical taste, or type of personality. You can never be able to tell who this person wearing your flesh truly is, without thinking deeply about certain abstractions. You need to come up with your own definition to words like: identity, life, love, faith, ambition, belief, morality, beauty, truth, reason... among others. It is perfectly fine if you decide to alter a definition that you had previously reached at one point in your life. But you have to make sure to analyse the consequences of this alteration, its new relation to other definitions, and what this reveals about you as a person at the present moment.
Before I started off on my journey of self-discovery, such ideas had never occured to me. I was merely a life drifter, a lonely sailor with only a boat and oars in the middle of an endless sea. There was no compass.. no map.. no destination in mind.. no watch.. no companion.. no knowledge of the sea.. no survival skills.. no clear notion about what a boat is or what it is for.
One can look back at this phase and reflect on it in many different ways. For example, you might think that the discovery in itself was a big achievement, bearing in mind millions of other life drifters who have never paused to find out where they are standing or where they are heading. You might think it is a curse that you have thought about such issues in first place.. You are only adding misery to misery, doubling up the misery of humanity in facing its endless dilemma. You might believe it is the best thing that could ever happen to anyone, as it opens up a totally new world of possibilities. You might think that discovery is evil by default, and that knowledge has always inflicted pain on those who sought it.. Adam, Pandora, Prometheus, Icarus, Copernicus, Galileo... only to name a few.
Yet, eventually, one can not help but realize that "knowing who you are" is indeed the best possible investment of a person's limited time on Planet Earth.
A question is like a tree, it seems.. It keeps branching in all directions. Once you start thinking about a good answer, your mind automatically tends to generate other questions instead. And you suddenly discover a very interesting chain.. Tracking it down, I found myself in front of a most splendid scene:
A Question = A Tree
An Answer = Question/s
An Answer = A Tree
An Answer = A Tree
An Answer = Knowledge
A Tree = Knowledge
Knowledge is in fact a tree! And it is under the tree of knowledge that one can find the shade of truth and the comfort of faith. So into the garden of questions and answers I entered. It is there that I found out the answer to my question. It glittered as I moved closer, and I understood that in order to know who I am, I first gotta know where I came from. The tree of "Origin" was calling out for me.. and I went to find my way to it.