Philosophy is riddled with abstractions. One such abstract element is something I’ve touched on the corners of, yet haven’t fully wrapped my mind around. This is the individual essence. Not merely your “soul” but the flavor of who you are that is attached to everything you do. Personality is a highly dumbed-down term for what this is.
Getting in touch with your essence means going closer to the core of what “you” are. Unfortunately, many people spend their lives disconnected from it. On the other hand, artists are often extremely connected, yet not always able to tame it, or even accept it.
By understanding what you “represent” you come a long way toward achieving a greater balance in your life.
Create Several Types of Art
I would suggest something like: a short story, a short film, a painting and a collection of photos. This may, indeed, be a lot of work to undertake. The point, of course, is for self-discovery and not commercial viability. If the art “sucks” and is not marketable, that is fine.
An exercise like this is especially important if you are not an artist. In truth, any conscious human has the capability to be an “artist” because it’s an expression of their elemental core selves. The trick is to create art, and then use it to better understand who you are.
To do this, attempt to create the ideas from a space of relative non-input. What that means is to implement fresh ideas from a state only minimally influenced by external stimuli (what’s on the news, TV shows you just saw, etc). Whatever you come up with, it needs to come more from the core of what you are and how you think.
Confront a Fear
When was the last time you stood up to a fear? As it turns out, many fears are little lead weights holding down a particular element of yourself.
So, it’s time to name a fear and confront it. It could be skydiving, or it could be public speaking. What you will find is that after the fear is overcome, you’re a bit closer to understanding yourself when that much more mental fog is reduced.
Now, unlike a lot of “self-helpy” types, I don’t believe fear is always a “bad” thing. There are some things to be deliberately afraid of. If you have a fear of crocodiles and you live in South Florida, overcoming a fear doesn’t mean hanging out by a lagoon late at night. Nor would it get you much closer to discovering your elemental nature.
Redecorate From a Place of Honesty
What art appeals to you? What colors appeal to you? Whatever space you call yours you should attempt to decorate in an extremely honest way according to particular things that appeal to you. Even if you, a mild mannered schoolteacher, secretly likes dark metal and skulls, it may be time to be brutally honest about these types of things. That interest in dark metal and skulls could be pointing toward your elemental personality that is, perhaps, “bohemian” for lack of a better terminology. Rather, someone who enjoys a whole pastiche of macabre and unusual combined with many other things. Instead of repressing it, it would be wiser to bring it into the open.
This may also apply to fashion, and may encompass any number of styles or things that appeal to you. Whatever it may be, it’s wisest to find it and expose it to yourself.
Eliminate Several Things That Are Not “You”
On a superficial level, it means getting rid of the polka dot shower curtains. On a more extreme level, quitting your job or severing a relationship. As with other practices, it requires rather extreme honesty. I’ll let you be the judge to decide what is appropriate in that regard.
Go On a Solo Discovery Mission
It’s time to reforge your relationship to “you” – yes, some of us enter relationships with partners that span our whole lives and they become our proverbial “second halves,” but, if you neglect your inner relationship, to that elemental essence, you’ll find yourself lost at sea when tragedy and challenge strikes. And, it WILL strike.
That’s why the best solution of all is to create an ambitious solo journey. That means going to Rio for a week by YOURSELF. I am, of course, just making that up as an example destination. This “solo journey” could take various forms and involve any number of places; and preferably, should push your comfort zone and plant you in situations requiring some wits and social interactions.
This isn’t likely to “fix all your problems” but it’s more than possible it will put you back into a type of alignment with yourself. Part of solo traveling that’s so healthy is it requires you to, above all, trust yourself. This is an elusive concept because most of us do not trust ourselves, and that reveals in the form of insecurity and uncertainty in new situations. If, at some point in your life, you achieve general confidence in the majority of new situations, you’ll know you’ve arrived a great deal.
Despite the fact our consciousness is aware of itself; oddly enough, we are still not truly aware of who we are. While common spirituality practices focus on finding “God” – both the east and the west place not nearly enough emphasis on finding “yourself” which I’d argue as a goal that’s just as important, if not more so.
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