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  • Brian Tom O'Connor

The I of My

Bonus Game: The "I" of "My"

When we talk about parts of our bodies, we say things like, "my arm hurts," "my fingers are cold," "my foot is asleep," "my head aches." We even talk about "my body."

We know what we're referring to when we say, "arm," "fingers," "foot," "head," and even "body," but what does "my" refer to? Who is the "me" or "I" behind the "my"?

If we answer, "my body," who is this "me" who has a body?

If we answer, "my mind," who is this "me" who has a mind?

If we answer, "a thought," who has the thought? To whom does it appear?

Try this with various parts of your body, then try it with anything you could possibly conceive of as "I" or "me."

For example...

Think, "my hand." Then ask yourself, "Who has a hand? Who is this 'me' who has a hand? What is the 'I' that 'my' refers to?"

Think, "my face." Then ask yourself, "Who has a face? Who is this 'me' who has a face? What is the 'I' that 'my' refers to?"

Then try it with...

My head

"Who has a head? Who is this 'me' who has a head? What is the 'I' that 'my' refers to?"

My heart

"Who has a heart? Who is this 'me' who has a heart? Who is the 'I' of 'my heart'?"

My eyes

"Who has eyes? Who is this 'me' who has eyes? Who is the 'I' of 'my eyes'?"

My thoughts

"Who has a thought? Who is this 'me' who has thoughts?"

My name"

Who has a name? Who is this 'me' who has a name?"

My emotions

"Who has emotions? Who is this 'me' who has an emotion?"

My personality

"Who has a personality? Who is this 'me' who has a personality?"

My body

"Who has a body? Who is this 'me' who has a body?" Who is the 'I' of 'my body'?

My mind

"Who has a mind? Who is this 'me' who has a mind? Who or what is the 'I' of 'my mind'?"

My ego

"Who has an ego? Who is this 'me' who has an ego? Who or what is the 'I' of 'my ego'?"

Most people's strongest felt sense of who they ultimately are is one of these: my body, my mind, my thoughts, my ego, my name, or my personality. Pick the one that you most strongly feel is you, then repeat the questions above, focusing on that one, repeating it several times. Repeat it for as long as you like, or until you feel a shift in the felt sense of "I."

When you ask the questions, you're not looking for a logical or factual answer. You're not looking for an object or a thing. Rather, you're trying to feel into the sense of the ultimate "I" to which all objects, all things, and all experiences appear.

This game is not original to me. I simply put it into my own words. It's akin to the "self inquiry" practice of the great twentieth century Indian sage Ramana Maharshi and his "who am I" question, as well as countless other wise folks since.

The idea, as in all Awareness Games, is to turn your attention around from "what you're looking at, to what's looking," as Loch Kelly puts it. What's looking is not any of these things listed above. These are objects, and are therefore seen by something else. But what's looking is not an object. What's looking is pure awareness, the background of all experience, the "I" of "my."

And this is where happiness, peace, and joy live. In the clear, choiceless, loving ground of being, which is already here, already accepting, just waiting to be noticed. Noticed by what? By itself. The unconditional love of pure awareness. In other words, by you.

Happy looking,

Happy being,



The Awareness Games Meetup is back after a summer hiatus. Come join me and others on Tuesdays at 7 pm in New York City to play with our minds and create more joy.

Here's the link:

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To learn more about Awareness Games, listen to this interview with me from the podcast, “The One You Feed.

Play Awareness Games with others at the Awareness Games Meetup in NYC each Tuesday.

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