Finding The David: Searching For Your True Self
I once heard that when Michelangelo was asked how he was able to sculpt The David, he answered that 'Creating The David was easy - all I had to do was remove all that was not the David from the stone.' While there are many ways to understand this comment in the context of the sculpture and the creative process, it makes a wonderful analogy for the process of revealing your own splendid self in all its glory. The following insights and exercises are intended to help you clear away all that is not the true you to help unleash your amazing potential.
Michelangelo's sculpture happened to be male, but please do not be too concerned with gender. This discussion could just as easily been called Finding The Sarah: Searching For Your True Self. We will look at various areas important in your life, including education, career, beliefs, dreams, and purpose.
The great news is that most people have almost endless options for education including free materials through libraries, books, audiovisual courses, educational software, schools, colleges, and continuing education courses. But sometimes it is difficult to choose the right educational path for you.
There are many influences that may cloud your educational choices such as family hopes for your career, peer pressure, and perhaps your own belief that you should choose more 'practical' courses over subjects that interest you but may seem frivolous to others. Sometimes you have basic courses that you need to take, but where you have choices, you can follow the advice of Joseph Campbell and "follow your bliss". In other words, look for subjects that you are naturally attracted to and bring you the most joy.
If you look around at many of the people you admire, I think you will find that most are doing things they love. Many enjoy fabulous financial success doing what they would do for free. The trick seems to be to look for ways of creating a rewarding career involving things you care about most.
If you try to image yourself as an independent observer of human behavior (pretend you are an alien being studying earth), you may notice that people see and interpret the world differently. For example, someone with firm Christian beliefs may interpret and react to the world in a way that is foreign to a Muslim, Taoist, Buddhist, Wicca, or Science practitioner. The sad truth is that people and societies often spend incredible effort to defend and sometimes impose their own views of the world, often with violent consequences.
It seems that if there is a God, Creator, Universal Force, or whatever, there is only one. Indeed, how could it be otherwise? So I am inclined to think that there is a Something Beyond, it would have tried to communicate truth and guidance to all the peoples of the world in terms that the individual societies would understand. Thus the Creator of the Ojibwa would be the same as the God of the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
Whether you have strong beliefs about the world or have not thought about such things, here are a few things to watch out for in the context of identifying all that is not the true you: · Friends, family, and community members can be relentless in trying to have you see the world as they do. They may mean well, but be careful with those who think anyone with beliefs other than theirs will be left out, or worse. · Look for truths that may have been obscured by hundreds of years of unfortunate or opportunistic editing, local understanding, or manipulation for political or material advantage. If possible, examine what people like Jesus or Buddha actually said or did rather than rely on the interpretation of others. Listen respectfully, but trust yourself. · Watch out for convenient fictions. One of the attractions of religious beliefs is that we often want an orderly model that we can use to make sense of the world around us. So sometimes we are quick to accept worldviews that seem to make everything fall into place neatly. Many New Age views and some of the newer Christian churches seem to provide simple solutions. Most of us who grew up with Star Trek do not have any problem accepting the usefulness of warp engines and transporter beams, but it is healthy to remember that these are fictional devices.
I think there is a blend of truth and fiction in most worldviews. I also tend to be somewhat Taoist in the sense that the universe is as it is and just as it should be. And perhaps the universe cannot be fully understood intellectually, so don't worry about it. Albert Einstein said that "not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think."
That said, I think it is possible for every individual to get in touch with their deep inner selves and their connection to the universe through meditation, contemplation, or prayer. Most of the world's most respected religions and philosophies use similar approaches, once you remove the quirks of local traditions.
And sometimes it is best to simply go out and enjoy nature and everything else in this amazing world we live in.
Sometimes among the daily bustle, perhaps the daily struggle to survive, our daily hopes, dreams and aspirations can get lost. Our dreams are the things we once hoped to achieve, places we wanted to see, people we wanted to help, people we wanted to become, and other goals. Sometimes our dreams are forgotten. Sometimes they are discouraged by disappointment.
Yet often the thing to do is remember our dreams and take steps to realize them. Often dissatisfaction in our daily lives can be symptoms of not pursuing our dreams. Please take the time to remember all the dreams you might have had and see if you can take steps towards them.
Many of us ask, why are we here? What is our purpose? There are not easy answers to this question. And quite possibly no one but you can answer the question for you. But if you can understand your higher self with all your best dreams, you can begin harmonizing your education, career, beliefs, and dreams towards living with true purpose in your life.
Here are some resources that can help:
Looking for help unleashing your creativity, try:
Looking for spiritual wisdom, try:
Looking for help focus your career goals, try:
Want to map out your life, try:
Please feel free to return to these resources regularly. Have fun finding your true 'David' (or 'Sarah')!