An important note here:
There's nothing nihilistic or escapist in this understanding. This simple practice of questioning 'Who am I?' will inevitably lead one to realize the inseparability of this life and the world. A sense of radical freedom will result, and one will, upon maturing of insights, engage the world with a more positive mind frame. This, I guarantee.
Who am I?
During the first year of my practice. I constantly asked this question every day; in the car when driving, walking, Meditating, taking a shower. Whenever this question was asked, the automatic response will be ' I am Nick', without a doubt. And following on will be this response 'No I'm not!', I had been reading extensively and chanced upon some zen verses with the phrase 'not I, me nor mine' and literally took this into the practice.
Honestly, when viewed with conventional lenses, here was one crazy bonker walking around questioning his own identity and existence. Relying only on faith and intuition, I carried on this exercise for quite awhile.
I shall not continue to describe the course of events and experiences for it will take forever. However I will instead like to write on the significance of this question.
Do we really know who we are? Or the person beside you? Or that irritating person we do not like? The person I love now? How very sure are we?
Looking at this screen on my writings, who is it that is giving rise to the thoughts 'This is nonsense'? Where did these thoughts come from? Did YOU write these thoughts consciously?
If not, then who was it that was thinking these thoughts? Is there another man in the head working in a cockpit controlling this Mind and Body like an aircraft?
Does our intuition tells us there is something bigger here. Something that is only accessible if we can allow all the chatterings in the head to ease for awhile. But NO, the chatterings will Not stop. The more you want them to, the more they come along. Is it really Me thinking thoughts, or thoughts thinking Me?
So. Admit it. You are not in control of thoughts. We can direct them in a certain direction when needed, but most of the time they direct us.
So if we can't control our thoughts most of the time, WHO is controlling them? Is there anyone else controlling my thoughts against my will?
What IF, there is Nobody here. No Inherent, Independent Personality existing within this body that is in control.
That this feeling of Me which I am feeling now is a mirage projected by the thoughts, and are not substantial in any way.
In Thinking, only Thoughts, no Thinker,
In Listening, only Sounds, no Listener.
Everything we can feel, hear, see, taste smell and think are dependently arisen with external/internal conditions without a separate agent in this body controlling. Empty of inherent existence, yet Full in experience.
Emptiness in Form, Form in Emptiness.
Everything is already Anatta in nature, perfect in their conditions within this seemingly imperfect world.
So 'Who am I?'