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Leo Tolstoy, Rumi, Osho, Thomas Carlyle, and the mystery of self: who am I?

excerpted from THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves, by Jack Haas




“What is bad? What is good? What does one live for?

Who am I? What is life and What is death?”

Leo Tolstoy 


          What is it to be? Why are we here? What are we? Who are you? Where shall we ground ourselves and find footing in the blessed, miracle of life? How could it be that we, who are life itself, can find life such a peculiar happening?

Rumi wrote:


“All day I think about it, then at night I say it.

Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?

I have no idea.

...who is it now in my ear, who hears my voice?

Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?

I cannot stop asking.”


And the crazy mystic, Osho, makes it quite obvious what the real question is, as he relentlessly queries: “Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?”

          There now, everything has been condensed down to its most purified essence; in a great, bewildering universe- the dimensions, characteristics, and complexities of which cannot help but create limitless inquiry for anyone who takes honest account of such an unfathomable existence- there remains yet one mystery which stands out above all else as the essential conundrum: Who am I? What am I? Why am I? In short, what is this ‘I’ that I am?

This ‘question of questions’ was addressed by Thomas Carlyle, who stated: “With men of a speculative turn, there come seasons, meditative, sweet, yet awful hours, when in wonder and fear you ask yourself that unanswerable question: Who am I; The thing that can say ‘I’? ...[Your] sight reaches forth into the void Deep, and you are alone with the Universe, and silently commune with it, as one mysterious Presence with another. ...Who am I; what is ME?  A voice, a Motion, an Appearance- some embodied visualized Idea in the Eternal Mind?  ...but whence?  How?  Where to?”

          The mystery of self and the universe is astounding, the questioning is limitless, yet what we are seeking is an answer- that is all we want. And, in fact, there is an answer. But the beautiful and tragic aspect of the response is that the answer is not really an answer at all- it is merely a recapitulation of the questions.


excerpted from:


way of wonder, sacred geometry, sri yantra



THE WAY OF WONDER: a return to the mystery of ourselves

by Jack Haas

author Jack Haas, Canadian, American writer, artist, photographer














Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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