Part 1 of 7
Every evening before going to bed, I step outside and look up at the night sky. When I can see the stars, the sense of seeing into the distant distance and distant time invariably fills me with awe. Recently, with Reb Zusya, Plato, Buddha, and other ancient and modern sages on my mind, I’ve realized that when they stepped out into the nighttime air, they saw the same stars I am seeing today. Among these and many other teachers, I have found a common thread about our need to find ourselves.
In the world to come they will not ask me, 'Zusya, why were you not Moses?' They will ask me, 'Zusya, why were you not Zusya?’ Reb Zusya of Hanipoli
Doubt everything. Find your own light. Buddah
The true profession of man is to find his way to himself. Hermann Hesse
Know thyself. Plato
And you? When will you begin your long journey into yourself? Rumi
The stars we share and the unique light within our hearts – the two are universal; they are both opposite and interconnected, and therein lies the tension.
In so many wisdom traditions, teachings about the need and importance of finding and following our own unique path in life are found. In religious terms, the Name we worship wants us to become ourselves. Outside the religious and spiritual world, in the self-help section of the real or virtual bookstore or library we can find myriad programs to help us become our best selves. Could it really be that no matter where we are coming from culturally, an inner drive is urging us to find out who we truly are? Could it be that we all feel the need to become and be ourselves? Could it be that this is our personal human mission in life?
Self-discovery and self-actualization are not simple concepts. If they were, we wouldn’t need so many teachings! In my limited experience, it is a lifetime journey to discover who I am and to allow my unique gifts to shine forth in the universe. It is a journey along which I have had many and varied teachers. It is a journey with many bumps, ups and downs, wrong turns, and backtracking, but that moves me ever forward into new territory.