I have had the privilege to see my teacher, my father, work and share what he knows for many years.
Since I was a young man, there has been one constant request from many who have studied under him:
"Don Miguel! Help me find the real me".
He would look at them and say, "You are right in front of me".
"No, no. That is not what I am trying to say. What I mean is, help me find the real me. My authentic self."
My Father would look at them with a compassionate smile, as if to say what I interpret as "so, you want it the hard way then", and proceed with the class with the question in topic. After years of hearing the same question under various presentations, I began to understand the question in regards to my own comprehension. It is the equivalent of them requesting "Don Miguel, Help me! I have been a PC all of my life, help me be a Mac" or vis-a versa. Of course he would still reply: "You are right in front of me."
They are essentially requesting my father to reprogram or, as my father would say, re-domesticate their Belief System into one where they can accept and love themselves, in what they believe to be the Authentic Self.
Replacing an operating system, or belief system, that is filled with viruses and malware that sabotages the individual from true self-acceptance. But they are still replacing one program for another, and in time they will do the same with the newly attained one once it gets corrupted like it's predecessor.
The cycle will continue for as long as the individual believes that the next re-program will be the key to their happiness.
So, why would my Father reply: "You are right in front of me"?
Well, let's continue with the example of the computer.
If you look at a computer, you will see that it has a physical surface that contains all the hardware that allows this computer to perform all the incredible things it can. Inside the computer, there is something called a Central Processing Unit, also known as a CPU, which stores all the software information, or code, for the Operating System to function and run all the programs efficiently; as long as the code is compatible with that code.
This computer can be the top model of the moment, with software that was unimaginable even a few months ago, but without electricity it is just another object. The electricity brings this computer to life, allowing it to function and perform. Shut off the flow of electricity, and the computer goes lifeless, without even a trace of all the incredible things it can do. Well, my physical body is like the hardware of this computer, and my brain is like the CPU, storing my belief system with all the programs, ideas, beliefs and knowledge that I use to construct a sense of self, depending on the code of course. Without Life, this body, with it's brain, is just another object.
This electricity, Life, Spirit, Soul, Energy, Love, God, or what ever your tradition taught you that this is, is what my father was referring to with "You are right in front of me". I can change my mind, thoughts, belief system, but I am still that living being that brings life into this body, and experience a full range of emotions, regardless of what I think of myself. I can suffer from amnesia, not remember the information and programs by which I constructed my definition of self, but life is still present; thus I am still here. The electricity is the user.
When the electricity leaves this body, it will become a corpse, a body that does not have the energy to be animated, and will even seize to exist. So what am I? I don't know, but for as long as I am alive, I am a blank definition that has the potential to become anything I decide to say yes to; with the ability to upgrade and shift as life presents itself, regardless of code compatibility.
I am not this body, nor this mind, but they are a part of me. They are the tools by which I am able to function in this World, as well as the tools by which I can interact with everyone and everything. The symbol of electricity is used in order to understand something that I can perceive within this physical, emotional and intellectual body. What happens to the electricity when I die? I can only make assumptions or tell you what my traditions tell me, but I won't know the answer until the moment of my death. Regardless of what I know, I will never stop being me, even if I can't see that.
So, how can I find the real me? I simply have to breathe.