Who Am I?

Alex Stein
3 min readJun 30, 2023


Far-out experiences are not just fun: they can give you a window to another world and self. For some, like me, they are essential. However, if you want to step through the door and not just look through the window, there’s no substitute for hard work.

Ironically, the work is not usually that hard. You just have to remember to do it and commit to keeping going, even with gravity working against you through habits, resistance, and inertia. These limiting forces are part of the human package. We cannot destroy them, nor should we fight them. That will only make them stronger. But we can withdraw their energy and put it somewhere else. That’s transmutation.

The work is “hard” because it seems to go against our “nature” — the part we know. The one with momentum on its side. To realize higher aspects of our nature, we must constantly pull on the leash of our attention. There are ten-billion-and-one things to fear and loathe and just as many to love. We tend toward the negative out of habit. It is hard to break the cycle by willpower alone, and likely counterproductive. However, if you are willing to quiet down, listen closely, and approach the world with reverence, grace will surely come. It might be a simple “aha!” or a moment of profound peace or a sudden wave of love. It may only last a moment, but that will be enough to work with.

Little confirmations of goodness, truth, and beauty are everywhere, and once you start seeing them, sooner or later, big ones will come. Eventually, you’ll reach a tipping point where momentum is on your side, and things that used to seem like a struggle no longer do, and those that are still difficult are not so miserable.

One of the keys is daily introspection — with some ground rules and caveats. The aim is to get a clear picture of the expression of your personality, with the understanding that you are not your personality. This doesn’t mean suppressing or rejecting the ugly parts of yourself, so you can transcend your way out of here. Instead, you have to use your personality to wake up. See it as a doorway you can step through, the key to which is clear, non-judgmental observation. Know that your true Self lies on the other side. Following this approach, you will eventually experience transcendence — but not as an escape. In contacting the Self, you have more to give back to life.

Try it out. For ten minutes before bed, review the day just past — especially any problematic situations or exchanges. See things as if from the outside, without seeking to praise, blame, justify, or rationalize. If somebody did something awful to you, and you returned the favor, try to see your actions for what they are. Notice how easy it is to justify yourself to yourself. If it’s a long-standing pattern, notice how easy it is to evade discomfort by pointing to childhood experiences, society, or unfair situations. You’re not denying the relative impact of these things. You’re simply allowing yourself access to what lies beyond them. You’re turning the doorknob and walking out of the room instead of considering yourself trapped because you find the door closed.

The ego will throw everything it’s got at you to keep you bound to its perspective until you convince it that the new way is good for it. So, keep pulling the leash until that tipping point occurs. It can help to continually remind yourself that you are not your body, not your mind, not your trauma, not your race, gender, or political affiliation, while at the same time affirming your appreciation for whatever good these have brought you, and more importantly acknowledging that these are the very doors to your awakening.

As an astrologer, writer, teacher, and coach, Alex helps people to discover just what their consciousness is capable of. Weaving together practices from ancient and modern traditions, both Eastern and Western, Alex helps people let go of their limitations, discover powers they did not know they had, and open up to whole new dimensions of experience and manifestation. Alex lives in Benicia, CA, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in East-West Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Visit him at https://www.twentyfirstcenturyalchemy.com/