When one inquires “Who am I?” or “What am I ?”
When one inquires “who am I?” or “what am I ?” he will never be able to reach the ultimate end. Who or Am represents physicality. To understand ‘I’ in a broader prospect, we have to verify the very existence of the ‘I’. Since people think ‘I’ as self, they will never be able to go deeper in inquiry. The “Who am ‘I’? or “What am ‘I’? Inquiry is helpful for the beginners, but they are inadequate penetrate to Ultimate end. Therefore, instead of who, or am, we have to investigate the very existence of the ‘I’ which appears and disappears. When ‘I’ appears the ego, body and the world appears together, and when ‘I’, disappears then the ego, body and world disappears together.
So the ‘I’ is not limited to the physical entity alone, but ‘I’ is the mind, which contains the whole universe in you and me and other exists. So we all appear together and we disappear together. Thus we all exists within the ‘I’ or mind. The mind appears as waking or dream. But the witness of the mind is within the three states but it is formless and apart from the three states. It is nothing to do with the individual experiences within the waking or dream. It remains with or without the waking or dream. If it remains consciously without the waking or dream then is true nature of the soul, the innermost self. If it is unconsciously remains without the waking or dream it is deep sleep or yogic Samadhi.
The states are identified due to ignorance cause by considering the ‘I’ as self. When one becomes aware of the fact that the ‘I’ is not the self, then one realize all the states are illusory.
The one which understands does not exist as person perceiving the world, but it exists as the formless soul or consciousness eternally, which is called Brahman, Buddha’s nature, Christ in the past.
We are unconscious of the consciousness, which is aware of both conscious and unconscious experiences. The Unconsciousness can only be a consciousness without objects; otherwise it has no meaning. Therefore it is really and somehow consciousness. Through study of the mind one gradually becomes aware that it is what intellectuals’ calls "The Unconscious" which is at the back of it all, and what is called the formless soul , the innermost self, which is in the form of consciousness.