How can it be already March? So much has happened already this year. I have a new granddaughter for example. This tiny new being weighing less that a bag of potatoes arrived two weeks ago and through her sweet, soft vulnerability has opened our hearts a little wider. When we witness the birth of a baby, we know the true meaning of miracle.
This led me to ponder once again the age old question, who am I?
As a much younger person I experimented with many philosophies and ideas in an attempt to discover who am I. I read everything I could get a hold of by Ken Wilber, Carlos Castaneda, Fritjof Capra, Alan Watts and Russel Peters, Krishnamurti, Bertam Russel and Paramahansa Yogananda to name a few.
I completed diplomas and post graduate diplomas is a wide range of modalities but I still could not answer that question. Who am I?
Over the years I have come to realize the journey towards knowing oneself is often a process of elimination rather than a gathering of information. What works is usually discovered by the realization of what doesn’t work. Our attraction to teachers, books, activities, languages and friends reveals our bent toward particular aspects of ourselves that when acknowledged and accepted can lead us to great insight and self realization. Just as the letting go of teachers, activities and friends can reveal our growth and changes over the years.
By a Process of Elimination:
I am not my thoughts. I certainly have them but they are not who I am. Especially as they can frequently change leaving me dangling somewhere between a past thought and a new idea.
I am not my emotions. Again I can have as many as I wish, however if times of sadness were to define who I am I would very quickly lose all hope of being anything but miserable.
I am not my intellect as that too has oscillated between moments of brilliance to times of confusion and cognitive numbness.
I am not what anyone else may think of me.
So what’s left?
There have been times when my life flowed with effortless ease, and during those times a thought would flash through my mind that now I know who I am, but of course as soon as the thought came, I realized it was only a thought and something would soon occur that would prove me wrong.
It is often when life takes a turn, when that which we took for granted is suddenly gone, when we are faced with a threat, a challenge, an unexpected trial that we realize we are not who we thought we were. And ironically these are the times we really do come face to face with who we are and what we are capable of or not. And this does not come from books, or teachers, of even friends. It comes from something within. It comes from the essence, the spark, the inner wisdom within each one of us. This indivisible seed of wisdom can be hidden by our beliefs, our attitudes our fears and our judgments however it is there. Always there. and always available to each one of us if we simply stop and ask.
As hard as life’s challenges are, and we all know them, it is only through these ‘gifts’ do we discover who we really are. It is only when we are faced with the unthinkable, unimaginable, and occasionally unfathomable challenges, do we see who we are and who we are not more clearly.
When we bought our new home off the plan in August 2012 never did I imagine that we would find ourselves in a situation where the builders extend the completion date month after month after month with no end in sight. I had no idea that this waiting would turn my life upside down and reveal parts of myself that I don’t always like, but have to accept, in order to understand who I am, in order to choose to respond differently.
I remember leaving Australia forty years ago without a clue how I was going to survive in a country where I knew no one and not a word of the language spoken and losing my watch one Friday morning and collapsing into tears of irrational yet terror struck fear that as all the shops would be closed in about an hour and I would not know when to eat or sleep or wake up. I remember sobbing all the way back to my tiny room and finding the watch under the bed and realizing this was a turning point in my life and I needed to take stock and take steps towards creating a new life, right now. That day I learned, yet again, a little more about who I am and who I am not.
What is the benefit knowing who we are? To live in authenticity. To accept ourselves unconditionally. To be the best we can in every situation. To live in harmlessness. For only when we know ourselves, accept ourselves and appreciate the spark of immeasurable wisdom within ourselves, can our inner peace begin to illuminate the world in which we live.