November 2

Today's quotation:

One does not "find oneself" by pursuing one's self,
but on the contrary by pursuing something else
and learning through discipline or routine. . . 
who one is and wants to be.

May Sarton

Today's Meditation:

It's always interesting to me to hear people talk about finding themselves.  Whenever they say that they're trying to do so, the first thought that always enters my mind is, "Well, here you are, standing right in front of me."  And while I know that there's more to the idea than knowing where the physical self is, I also know that finding oneself more than likely is simpler than most people believe.  I think the major problem is that most people haven't defined or identified just what they're looking for, and therefore have no idea what they've found even when they do find it.

May's words resonate with me.  In most of my experience, I find that the best things come to me when I'm focused on accomplishing something that's important to me or someone else.  I find that keeping my mind occupied in a certain pursuit allows my subconscious mind to work on other things, and keeps my conscious mind--and thus the trouble-maker ego, also--out of the search for things like peace or happiness or my inner self.  You see, the ego wants to find things on its terms, not on the object's terms.  The ego doesn't want to accept things as they are, but to receive things just as the ego wishes to receive them.  Life doesn't work that way, but just try telling that to your ego!

Discipline and routine are great teachers, and we would do ourselves a great favor if we would stop searching so hard and so actively and allow things to happen.  I searched for years for a steady relationship, trying to make it happen whenever I met a woman, only to stop searching finally when I realized the damage I was doing myself.  A few months after I stopped searching and started focusing more strongly on the work I was doing, I met the woman who was to become my wife.  I didn't try to make anything happen, but just tried to enjoy her company, come what may.  A year later, we were married, and we still are, ten years later.

By shifting my focus, I finally learned a lot about who I was and who I wanted to be.  And in learning that, I became a more attractive person to others, for I was much more enjoyable to be around--much less stressed out, and much less desperate.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people feel that they have to work hard to find themselves?

What are some major benefits of focusing our efforts on very specific tasks?

Why do we so often feel that we have to take on all tasks directly, and to see any results of our efforts?

For further thought:

I often hear people say "I have to find myself."  What they really mean is "I have to make myself."  Life is an endlessly creative experience, and we are making ourselves every moment by every decision we make.


Kent Nerburn

  

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