One of the 'Icebreaker' Exercises we have to complete on this course is to answer the existential question: "Who am I?"
It is, of course, the oldest question since the dawn of time (or humanity) - and unanswerable.
There are perhaps two avenues when it comes to answering this question: external or internal. The former route I would see as those people 'running away from themselves'. This technique creates lots of noise, is a smoke-screen and avoids facing up to the actual question. They are deeply [shit] scared to even look inside themselves.
Should the external group ever begin to gaze inwardly, they again avoid answering the question directly by tending to blame their parents "for fucking you up". This Larkinesque approach or slight-of-hand firmly puts blame on the father and/or mother (or another). These people conclude that they never will know who they are. Their "I am" has been distorted and disturbed; their heart, soul and life will never be right as a result of the actions of others. Perhaps long-term psycho-analysis will put them on the right track and then they will be OK and get on with life - in their dreams.
My present 'internal' conclusion about "who am I" is not to be found in the past or the future nor at the end of some inner or outward journey.
It is here and now.
I am NOW. Now is all there is.
I am the sum total of all my past thoughts and actions. They have brought me here and now.
Some of this current thinking is based upon my recent reading of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (2006) - a Christmas gift - and some Kristnamurti books [these especially kept me going during my bleak, depressive Cardiff years 1978-84].
Anyway, back to the now and let me end this serious blog with a joke by George Burns. It was perhaps during his last public appearance as an after-dinner speaker in the States. He was in a tuxedo (not sure if he had his big cigar or not), but he stood up and came out with the usual opening line: "I'm really glad to be here tonight". Then he paused for a moment to look around the room at his audience. Then he added, "At 98 you're glad to be anywhere!".