ON INHABITING OURSELVES Life as a journey towards coherence
I hear the expression ‘be yourself’ everywhere. We live in
an era where the ‘I’ is to be celebrated, and technology
gives us the tools to do so every day – we share instant
“reflections” (of parts) of who we are, every day. I am
not here to question this contemporary trend … but I am
interested in this: What does ‘being ourselves’ actually
mean? Will it bring us the happiness that we are all
searching for, that seems so elusive? Are we truly being
alive, here, now?
These questions have interested me ever since I became
painfully aware of the challenges that life was throwing at
me, some decades ago. And I summarize here the two
simple answers that life has given me on becoming, living
and touching joy.
Firstly: We are not all light and bliss. We encompass
everything, at every moment – both the pain and the
joy. I am not a distilled version of my wholeness; I am not
the superficial glorification of the positive aspects of my
personality. What makes the whole of me is my light and
my darkness. As much as I would like to believe that only
shining light on the positive makes the negative go away,
it just doesn’t – we might as well be courageous and admit
this, and thereby free ourselves finally to embrace who we
are. Who benefits, anyway, from us presenting ourselves
diluted this way?
So, the first lesson I have learned is not to look away from
what hurts. I have seen this time and time again in my
coaching practice: negating our suffering is negating a
part of ourselves, and we only truly find peace through
opening the door to what is creating our discomfort.
Counter intuitively, we find joy through becoming aware,
consciously, of the roots of our pain. We learn to love truth
for the sake of truth itself. And when we see truth inside
us, we know it with all of our being – that is aliveness. This
awareness, along with the attitude of taking responsibility
for the whole of ourselves opens up a world of possibilities
and choice for our lives.
And the second answer to my questions builds on the first
one: when we start listening, looking, noticing, we start
knowing ourselves intimately. We begin to understand
the patterns of our minds. We encounter the deepest
longings of our souls. And, crucially, we also start noticing
the messages our bodies have for us, reversing the
unspeakable disconnection most of us live with to our most
accessible truth. We are not complete unless we include
mind, body and soul in our experience, and live in these
with absolute integrity.
To be, to truly inhabit who we are, is a process, a journey
through life getting to know ourselves, uncovering ever
more coherence and unity within. Practicing living like this
deepens our connection to our own innate joy. We are no
longer dependent on finding happiness outside ourselves.
If we are still for a moment, we all know that what endures
is what is inside.