Who Am I?
‘I have long pondered. I have found I am everything. And I have found that I am nothing.
In everything I see myself. In all of existence there are traces of me. Within me there are traces of all that exists.
There is one source, there is one destination.
I am all that I think, do and feel. I am endless, boundless and vast. As I have pondered I have discovered more. And there is more beneath the stillness.
I am nothing. In relation to the vastness. The vastness within echoes the vastness around. I am but a vessel containing and contained. It is seeing that I am everything. Yet knowing I am nothing. That liberates me.
Why am I? This is the question. Who I am – that is the answer.’
FAYRUZ ABRAHAMS; 3rd October 2004
Searching for purpose
The search for meaning and purpose is a quest which we at will at some point pursue. Self-awareness is an important part of this process. However, I have come to realise this is the start of the journey, not its conclusion. Etsko Schuitema once said to me: “The first lesson in personal mastery is ‘mind your own business’”. Which means start with yourself. And be mindful of yourself in your world. How you conduct yourself, what you stand for, and what you do. This has been an instruction which has been very helpful and enlightening on my journey.
This journey starts with the question: WHO AM I? And this definition entails both claiming and clarifying what you are and what you are not. It is a journey of discovery to knowing the complexity that is you. Knowing yourself, your values, thoughts, emotions, and personality, is a life task achieved through the early and mid-years. Recognising your strengths, talents, kinks, quirks and natural inclinations, is about getting to like and accept yourself and this builds a sense of self-worth. It is this journey of discovery, through encounters, relationships, engagement with the world that we learn about who we are.
How the journey of finding purpose unfolds
So many of the challenges people endure, essentially seemed designed to help them understand what they are made of (what they like or dislike and how strong they are). These challenges reveals the person to themselves. It shows them their mental. On the path to self-knowledge, one meets others or has experiences, which highlights the similarities between the self and others and furthermore builds an appreciation for the value and beauty in other-than-self.
With an openness and humility, this journey becomes a learning experience. In which parts of ourselves are found in all of existence. As we find these pieces of ourselves that resonates we may start to re-form and re-shape our awareness of who we are. We are the microcosm of the macrocosm – and when we realise that we become liberated into and unified with all of existence.
Finding about more about yourself to get rid of unconscious defense mechanisms
Self-awareness is the practice of becoming conscious of one’s own character, emotions and intentions. It is in practicing this awareness, that one begins to identify the alignment or misalignment to one’s own values and life standards. A misalignment can create a degree of dissonance or at its peak, it may create personal crisis. An existential crisis explodes when all of one’s identifying markers are erased or irrelevant, creating significant anxiety and triggering internal unconscious defense mechanisms. These unconscious forces may even break down the self in ways which are both enabling and dysfunctional. The self, becomes re-made and re-invented. Meaning, an ever-increasing evolution of the self is possible.
This is why knowing yourself, i.e. answering the question: Who am I?, while important is not the end, but rather the beginning. The self (the who) is not finite and absolute, but rather an evolving presence.
This evolution is enabled when we start to understand the question: WHY AM I?, as opposed to who am I? Why am I speaks to purpose. When we realise that our purpose is service to other (to give each situation what is due to it (E Schuitema), our actions are guided appropriately. When we act appropriately, it has a transformative and evolutionary effect. We become closer to the fullness that we are designed to be. Remaining cognisant to the WHY of our existence requires diligence and alertness. When we remain vigilant to our intentions, in every transaction and interaction, we have the keys to unlocking the treasure of our world.
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