Finding one’s self has become one of the most recalled things to do over the years.
A number on your bucket list. A thing you have to do.
Whether you took that conclusion yourself or you were inspired to do this by a spiritual movement or teacher, maybe even by the circumstances at work. It seems that where ever you go this topic is spoken of one way or another.
But at the same time we want to have security and are often confronted with the difficulties of letting go of all that we love and is giving us a sense of security. We want to have a life according to certain standards in which we feel safe, secure and have enjoyable and pleasant experiences. Can these two things be combined in harmony?
It is true that there is something compelling in the quest of finding the truth about who and what you are. By knowing who you are and even by knowing what you are, you most likely will know your purpose for this chosen life. And having a sense of purpose is seen as an enormous gift. Another number on your bucket list.
But what is your motivation for wanting to know who or what you are? Is it the need for security? Or is it unexplainable inner call that is telling you to go and find yourself? And is purpose in life a fixed thing or does it change while being practised? Does it all even matter?
An important, let’s call it ingredient, that will come your way on this road of exploring who you are, is the necessity for letting go and to go with the flow.
Why is this so relevant?
Something I noticed over the years when being in contact with people who seem to be in peace, to a certain level, with whom they are and seem to have a clear vision of their purpose in life, is that these people are most of the time open to change. They don’t hold on to a certain idea of how things should be but more flow and act on what is relevant for that moment. This can be interpreted in little moments but as well in relatively longer periods of time. For example, with jobs and undertakings.
It shows us that nothing is fixed. Nothing is written out, secure or certain. We crave for safety, security and certainty and are often in total loss when we are confronted with anything out of our control.
Let’s look at this for a moment: control. We use this word easy enough to imply that whatever went out of control is out of our control.
But are we supposed to be in control? Control over what?
This is a very important question. And the answer might be seen as a contradiction but it isn’t.
Ask yourself why you think you need to control. what would be the answer?
Is it because you feel that certain events happen ‘to’ you instead of ‘by’ you? Or because we are conditioned with the idea that bad or unpleasant things are always out of our intention because nobody wants things to happen that make them unhappy?
Or is it the idea that if you create control as much as possible over situations that you might at least have a bit of influence on how thing go as to give yourself the idea that you protect you and your surrounding from bad things to happen.
These questions aren’t easy to answer and will differ from one person to another. But to create some sort of desired change in this we need to accept one important thing:
Focussing on things that we do not want to happen will empower those things in happening.
What does this mean in short? It means that we are responsible for all that happens within our personal experience. All attention we give to events we want to avoid will eventually take us to an experience in which that what is being avoided will be expressed according to an appropriate need. Just as the attention we give to events we do want to happen will take us to a matching experience.
And this is where you do need to take control!
Not to protect yourself from what you don’t want but to create what you desire. That is basically the only control you will need to take. And you will soon discover that this kind of control isn’t as stressful, tiresome or demanding as the previous kind of control.
The flipside of this coin is to just go with the flow. This is deliberately choosing to live your life unconsciously. Going with the flow is a recommended thing to do but it is sometimes misplaced by putting yourself in the role of a victim of circumstances. Going with the flow is definitely not that. Going with the flow means that you consciously take full responsibility for your thoughts and actions and accept all consequences coming from your thoughts and actions.
We can call this consciously and deliberately taking control over your life in which you consciously and deliberately create your own reality.
How is this related to finding yourself?
Something more pressing here is to try to answer this question:
Who is it that you’re trying to find? Probably you will answer by saying that you hope to find yourself. Of course. But who or what is that? Really, try to focus on this question, who is it that you are trying to find?
Don’t get me wrong, I do encourage you to start this quest in finding yourself. But I would like to start by rephrasing the intention; start being who you are.
Finding yourself implies that you either lost yourself or never where yourself. Gosh, do you feel the anxiety and desperateness in this statement? Please read this article I wrote some time ago about acceptance.
Just as going with the flow is an important ‘ingredient’ for giving yourself the space to be who you want to be, so is acceptance. Don’t start your quest by first listing all the things in yourself that you are not cool with and then find an equivalent to replace it. Just skip this step and jump immediately to the process of taking yourself, seeing yourself and accepting yourself just and fully as you are! Now at this very moment.
Finding yourself is illusive! It will be a start of a never ending quest in which you eventually will discover that you really already are who you have been trying to find.
Being who you are, on the other hand, is an absolute must to fulfil this life that you chose to live.
The common mistake made, or better to say confusion, is to think that you first have to know who you are (by finding yourself) before you can be who you are. Wrong!
You do not even have to know who you are to actually be! In some cases, especially taken from a Buddhist perspective, it is considered as a great obstacle to wanting to know who you are. Being is not knowing! Knowing is not being! Understanding who or what you are, on the other hand, is coming from the heart and is dipped in loving intentions. This understanding comes from intellect and heart working together. Knowledge and love hand in hand. Love for yourself in all its imperfect perfection and insecure security!
‘to be or not to be’ van William Shakespeare, although coming from a different perspective does says it all. To be fully alive, to accept, to love and to fully give yourself the liberty to be who you want to be. Or, not to be and live your life according to assumptions, expectations and unconscious circumstances in which you feel you are the ball that is played by something else then yourself. In other words, not alive but dead.
We, as energetic nun-corporal beings, are complete. Directly connected to the source, which for some is god or the universe, we are indeed complete. But as corporal human beings we chose for a life of great contradictions and sometimes almost diabolic circumstances in which we develop an immense strong craving for security. We must learn to develop and master the harmonic use of our heart with our intellect. Both are still and often divided and seen as two opposites. But nothing could be further from the truth, they are both yours and neither one of them is to be denied in its existence. Use them naturally and intuitively.