For all of my teenage and most of my adult life, I observed other people who I thought really had their act together, whom I admired and oftentimes of whom I was envious. In the silence of my own mind I would question my abilities; wondering what I could do to be more like this person or that. The truth is, sometimes I would actually go about befriending certain people whom I really admired. Not for any devious reason but simply to know this person better. How did she or he get to be so great? Maybe I’ll discover their secret “sauce.”
Now that’s a pretty embarrassing act to admit. But for me, I guess it was one of the experiences that I had to go through to get to the essence of me. In the beginning of this process, I was a critical judge of my skills, talents and contributions. I was never satisfied with me and felt I had to do more or do something different. I didn’t know who I was and wasn’t satisfied with who I “thought” I was. As the song goes, I was “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
Through a series of life events and a process of laser-beam introspection I came to face to face with myself. And I got to know me really well. There was no where else to go! I came to realize that I am really no different than most of us. We’re all doing the best we can with what we think we “have” or with where life has brought us. We all have our strengths, weaknesses, wisdom, naivete, intelligence, ignorance, blindsides, etc. etc. I worked with this and subsequently realized that there was no other me to get. I discovered that all of this that makes up “me” was nothing to be gotten outside of me from another person.
The truth is what my spiritual teacher, A. Ramana, awakened me to, “people come into your life to acquaint you with yourself.” It taught me gratitude for all those people who have appeared in my life – be they short or long periods of time. All along these wonderful people had simply been reflecting to me the essence of myself.
A Discovery Exercise:
Journaling is a great way to get to know yourself and get in touch with all the people who’ve come and gone in your life. If you don’t journal presently and would like to get started, go out and buy a notebook or journal that you will use only for your personal thoughts. Begin writing about yourself, your life, your day, week, year. As you write, take stock of the good the bad, the happy and the sad. Take stock of all the people, places and things in your life that have brought you joy and sadness. Include it all. Watch as the words leave your pen and fill the pages of the journal. Allow the words to land on the page in whatever form and with whatever words that come up to use. Do not judge what you are writing. Just let it be as it is. Write until there are no more words. Do this journaling exercise at least once a week for half an hour. Watch how you begin to let go of your concepts of yourself. Watch how you begin to accept everything about yourself and your life. Watch as you realize that you are perfect just the way you are. And…be grateful for all those in your life who have brought you to this point. Then…write about that too.