Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:It's very common when we come to the practice that we bring along some very strong notions of who we are or the kind of person we'd like to be: "I'm this sort of person. I want to be this sort of person." This type of thinking is very common. And yet it's not all that helpful, because that concept of who we are is very nebulous, based on all kinds of information and misinformation. It often gets in the way of what's the best thing to do at any given moment.
This is why the Buddha says to put those questions aside — "Who am I? Who am I going to be? Who have I been in the past?" — not only in their philosophical, abstract or metaphysical sense, but also in their psychological sense. Just look at what opportunities you have right here, right now for thinking, acting and speaking in skillful ways. That kind of question — "What's the most skillful thing to do right now?" — is a useful question. This is what the Buddha was getting at when he said to put thoughts of "me," "myself," "what I have been," "what I will be" aside.
From: Skillful Thinking by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
With metta / dhammapal.