Under everyday circumstances, we talk about the loss of one’s identity. Often this is tied to something such as the loss of one’s career or a partner, something that definitely put you in the realm of social affairs and distinguished you in relation to other people.

However, the week before last, while journeying with Tyler and my friends somewhere, I had a more frightening version of losing my identity.

Without warning, suddenly I was quite confused as to who I was and how it was that I came to be who I am. No doubt, I could identify things such as my name, age, all the usual things; instead, there was something more crucial that suddenly seemed odd and strange and completely out of place in the scheme of reality.

This is certainly an “awareness of being aware,” a strange state of affairs where one’s own awareness stands in contradistinction to one’s personality and identity, a separation of Mind and Name might be a way to explain it better.

The first time I recall ever having such an experience as this was when I was a child, sitting in the bathtub. Suddenly the same oddness and out-of-placeness of myself hit me, of who I was, of my distinction as a person as opposed to other people in terms of individuality.

I do not mean to state that I was unaware that others exist; of course I was aware of that, and of course I am now aware that others are aware. This is a wholly different experience, one that is confusing at best and likely anxiety-provoking at worse.

Perhaps one might call it an awareness of being who one is. Perhaps it is the remnant of a child-like impression of who I was, an outside imposed notion of who I was as opposed to who I really am on the inside.

I realize that stating all these things is quite subtle, and only those who have been through the experience can begin to fathom and relate on what I mean.

The truth is that experiences that others have not had, perceptions and differing degrees of awareness, are ultimately the very “business” I’m in, for want of better terms. Mysticism revolves around this sort of ineffability.

I do want to make it clear that what happened was not the same as the disappearance of the Ego, which is the sudden and blatant absence of the “I” that normally resounds most loudly in the mind. That, too, is an experience that mystics all the time mention, and yet until one encounters it for one’s self, it sounds like pure rubbish.

Perhaps someone out there can give insight into what exactly this experience means or refer me to others who have had it.