I do not always know who I am. I wake up discovering that I am waking up. My awareness, a part of my brain, investigates my inhale and feels the slow inventory of body parts, the air on my face. Part of my brain disentangles from the dream state that I might or might not remember. My sensory self starts collecting information. My eyes explore whether to open or not, either way noticing the quality of light or darkness. My ears assemble the sounds and assign meanings, attaching understandings of birds and season, who else might be up and moving, and other conditions of the moment. Is the cat on my leg or is that a blanket?
Part of my brain keeps track of these sensations and part of my brain keeps track of my calendar of commitments. It acknowledges a pattern of chosen events, perhaps identifying the source of what woke me, clarifying that I am rising from the bed in order to satisfy basic needs and be available for specific tasks. My mind introduces my feelings. Based on all kinds of conditions, I interpret physical signals and mental images into a fluid emotional material from which I will react to greetings, or temperature, to physical sensations or the metaphysical message on the clock.
All of this assembles into a personality, a character, a task-oriented being. This is the person who walks into the kitchen, braids her hair, or heads down the sidewalk. This is the person others see teaching yoga, or choosing broccoli at the food coop. She is the one who writes this blog entry.
When I meditate a few moments, there are times when I can see this assemblage and observe it. Even a few minutes of yoga stretching and exploration can help me acknowledge and work with this construction in a more relaxed, tolerant even celebratory way. That, in turn, changes my reactions to others and to conditions and affords me more equanimity, gratitude and good humor in the face of all kinds of influences. When I am really awake, I continue to experience my self throughout the day. Of course some days I am more like a somnambulist - sleep walking!