Who and What Am I, Really?
Is it possible to know who and what I am really? Why give attention to the question?
Self is said by some to be unknowable. I see knowing Self as being a never-ending discovery, and a joyful one at that. One reason for setting oneself upon the journey of discovery of Self may sound like a 'cause' but is more of a calling. It is regarding the prophesied global shift.
in his book, 'Global Shift: How A New World-view Is Transforming Humanity,' Edmund Bourne writes, "Some degree of deconstruction of the old world order is likely necessary for a new consciousness to emerge. Decay and rebirth are characteristic of all forms of evolution, whether biological or cultural. A global shift in world-view, values, and actions is inevitable. Whether it precedes and redirects humanity away from chaos or follows an epic global breakdown remains an open question. Either way, the shift is destined to come about."
What could cause the shift? One possible scenario is that a scientific discovery or globally recognized new information about the nature of reality and the identity of humans will become widely accepted and cause a shift in the cultural norm of world-view. 'Knowing who and what I am really' may be a key to having collectively a conscious and voluntary shift rather than an epic global breakdown. I do not advocate taking this up as a cause, but to heed the inner voice if it calls one to explore and discover.
"What actually shifts as humankind evolves?"  and 'What is Ego?'  are discussed on Collective Evolution. In those discussions, Pareputiputi Nuku commented:
"The only thing I know for sure is that I am not my ego. Once I had the most transcendental experience where I separated from ego. It was beautiful! haha. I felt happy and exhilarated and full of compassion towards myself - for no reason at all. It was this mirror I was looking into. I was aware of my self, how I was feeling, then I looked in the mirror and the person staring back didn't fit. It was sad and tired looking, but I was feeling quite the opposite. Then boom: I left the 'sad story' behind. I stayed on that high for a while, but the entire weightlessness of losing your fears and insecurities wore away sadly. Striving to get it again...."
Marek Rozenberg wrote,
"....everybody has to create that space him/herself in order to be him/herself and follow the purpose in life. No one can do it for anybody else, because to be your Self you just have to experience your Self, regularly, every day, and it's so simple and easy because it's the most intimate, deepest level of your own consciousness."
and David Lynn added,
"Positive thoughts and emotions I believe are coming from a higher level of consciousness or spirit, what you've termed the "universal mind" which is really is, we all share in this portion of ourselves and it's literally our God Essence."
Reflecting on this further, I feel that in pure consciousness there are no thoughts, only emanations. Universal mind is more ordered than the human version, yet still just a 'larger brain.' Where there are thoughts, distortion begins. Going to the Source, universal consciousness or pure awareness, means feeling its emanations and emanating presence oneself. I am still discovering the distinctions between Source, Consciousness and Self. As it has been asked, "Who is God's God?" I propose that Consciousness emanates, creating God wavicles, which create a sense of Self and the multi-universes. Yet some things best remain unknowable by the analytical mind, as over-thinking only prevents feeling and Consciousness is only to be experienced over feeling its emanations.
Needed Distinctions or Just Semantics?
When my partner and I brought our light touch energy healing work from Spain to the States, we called it 'Touch of Love.' We meant love as pure energy from creative source. Most people interpreted 'Touch of Love' as sexual massage, as we learned that sex and love are words commonly used interchangeably.
Similar confusion is caused by not making clear distinctions when using the words 'self' and 'ego.' In this writing, self is an aspect of universal consciousness and a creation of the 'God particles.' Persona, which includes all of the personal characteristics of the conditioned individual, is a space-holder until true self has permeated the body/mind. Ego is a split-off distortion and dysfunction of the persona.
"Self is that level of one's existence or Being that everybody can easily and effortlessly experience by transcending (going beyond) the subtlest level of thinking process. It's a level of Transcendental Consciousness or Pure Consciousness.... Of course all descriptions about the Self are just concepts that are NOT the self. Self can only be experienced...." - Marek Rozenberg on Collective Evolution.
In this context, Self cannot be possessed and there is no "myself" or "yourself," there is only *the* Self, unless we distinguish between universal and localized self. Selfless is actually ego-less. Self actualization is actualizing the true, universal, impersonal self. Self development in common usage probably refers to developing the persona, but here means opening to receive ever-present consciousness into the fabric of one's whole being and developing into the impersonal self.
If I use the words 'self', 'persona' and 'ego' interchangeably, it is like saying love and sex are the same.
What is Self?
The Ancient Greek aphorism "Know Thyself" was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. 
According to Matthew, Yeshua (Jesus) said, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 
Shakespeare wrote, "This above all: to thine own self be true...." 
How often are the sayings repeated, "Don't be so selfish," "Stand up for yourself," "I feel a little self conscious," and "Just be yourself."
In his "Theory of Everything," Athene sheds new light from current science on consciousness and self identity. These scientific findings are subject to individual interpretation and the evolution of experiential understanding. According to Athene, in these excerpts from his ongoing research,
"Just as the pixels on a screen can express themselves as a recognizable image when in unity, the convergence of neural interaction expresses itself as consciousness. At every moment, we are, in fact, a
"When we use our mirror neurons to look at ourselves, we may construct the idea of identity. But if we do this with our scientific understandings, we see something completely different: the neural synergies that produce our oscillating consciousness go far beyond our own neurons....
"Nothing is external. Since our behavior is neurally mirrored by the people around us, we are continuously rewiring both our own brains and those of others with each action that is socially observed. This is one of many aspects that underlines our superorganismal nature and emphasizes the effectiveness of 'self-development activism'.
"Self-observing profoundly changes the way our brain works. It activates the self-regulating neo-cortical regions which give us an incredible amount of control over our feelings. Every time we do this our rationality and emotional resilience are strengthened....
"We are a global network of neurochemical reactions. And the self-amplifying cycle of acceptance and acknowledgment, sustained by the daily choices in our interactions, is the chain-reaction that will ultimately define our collective ability to overcome imagined differences and look at life in the grand scheme of things." 
From this it seems "I" do not exist as a static being but as rapid firings of neural interactions within my brain and with the environment where "nothing is external".
As one interpretation from Athene's research, my self-identity as a separate entity is a construct of the brain confirmed by society and my surroundings and has no real existence. What is actual is a global network of neurochemical reactions and the consciousness of the moment.
Athene's Theory of Everything
Whereas Athene leaves consciousness as a convergence of neural interaction expressing itself, my sense is to look further into the connection between this and the God particle (Higgs field and boson.) According to Athene, neural synergies produce consciousness and we are a global network of neurochemical reactions. Neurochemicals are founded like everything else on the creative wavicles, the God particles, are they not?
I see the foundation as being consciousness, which acts through the wavicles to create the worlds and universes. Once I read a laymen's version of the quantum theory of the time which said that the strings vibrate at such intensity that their 'singing' creates particles. I enjoy the poetry of this view. Athene concludes that neurochemical reactions create consciousness, yet I feel that consciousness is also behind the God particles which create neurochemicals. Perhaps the distinction is in the type of consciousness - universal creating localized so that It can know Itself. I am still exploring and discovering the distinction between consciousness and self. My sense is that consciousness emanates without identity, and the emanations create and sustain Self through the God particles.
Max Planck, the theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, wrote "I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness." 
What is ego?
The headline on a New Age newspaper proclaimed, "Ego Does Not Exist." I did not read the article but pondered the statement.
At that time, ego seemed a problematic actuality of my existence. I felt that understanding ego was essential to self-development as it was the greatest hindrance. To me, ego was what creates and sustains the illusion of separation, feeds on attention, wants to feel important or special, is needy, greedy, dependent, defensive, reactive, and the primary cause of havoc in relationships. I wrestled with it daily, which only gave it strength.
Various systems of metaphysics and psychology refer to ego, higher self, lower self, sub-personalities and other aspects of the psyche. At this writing I feel that my persona is a fragment of self, conditioned by the world. There is no lower or higher self, smaller or greater. Self is an aspect of consciousness, and the persona who claims to be me is a 'partial self' that sometimes experiences a contracted space of consciousness or an expanded state of consciousness.
When pre-occupied with thoughts and contracting emotions such as fear, anger, resistance, and so on, my persona is in a repressed space. When my persona 'goes far beyond my own neurons' as Athene wrote, and in a state of biophilia feels at one with all, this temporary 'I' experiences a more expanded space, or is superceded by universal Self. To expand, I let go of control, thoughts, fear-based emotions and enter non-judgment, non-resistance, acceptance, compassion, heart-centered intelligence and feeling and acting from (not thinking or writing about) oneness.
Ego and self in this context are like oil and water, they don't mix. When ego is expanded, true self (universal consciousness) shrinks from the waking state of the body/mind and the human being functions on automatic behavior as a robot. When true self expands, ego shrinks as it has no place and the human being lives on a higher plane of existence.
To answer 'who and what am I, really?', my evolving conclusion is this:
The body/mind I inhabit is an experiment of Source to co-create an organism who, through the vehicle of universal self, develops conscious identification with the God particles of which it and all is made. 'My persona' is a temporary placeholder to keep body/mind intact and functioning until localized consciousness yields to universal consciousness. I am an on-site co-creator with Source in this experiment.
Who am I?
Am I a fish walking from the sea?
Am I a leaf on the family tree?
Am I conceived of egg and sperm?
Am I H2O, a chemist's term?
Am I the works behind clockface?
Am I a sinner saved by grace?
I am the ocean, that is me,
I am the clouds above the sea.
I am the sun and falling rain,
grass and grazer on the plain.
I am the island you can see.
The mountain also, it is me.
I am just what is to show.
Oops! Where did the borders go?
I am white spray against the shore,
sandy beach and ocean floor,
quiet depths 'neath wind and wave,
rising cliffs and darkened cave.
I am the tree with gnarled root,
and branches bearing seed and fruit.
My roots reach down through clay and sand,
bridging heaven to the land.
I am the night and the day
I am the hunter and the prey
The desert sun in mid-day heat,
the silver moon so cool and sweet.
I am a sinner saved by grace,
I am what saves the human race.
I am what seeks the golden shore,
I am the one I am waiting for.
I am the potter and the clay.
I am for earth another way.
I am a human made to be,
a creator living free.
I am the void, unformed and still,
I am dynamic, active will.
I am the Now in endless space,
I am the All with human face.
 "What actually shifts as humankind evolves?" discussion
 What is ego? discussion
 Know Thyself
 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.', Matthew 22:39, Aramaic Bible in Plain English
 Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82
 Athene's Theory of Everything (PDF) researched by Chiren Boumaaza, A.K.A. "Athene" and edited by Reese Leysen et al.
Athene's Theory of Everything (video)
 Max Planck, as quoted in The Observer (25 January 1931)
I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam - Popeye