Pop-spirituality often does a disservice in people's desire live whole, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. One of the top notions espoused is being "present in the moment." There's been so much focus, discussion, evaluation, instruction, and coaching about "being present in the moment" that it's damn near impossible for a person to experience the present due to analysis-paralysis truly.
Another such concept is "finding yourself." Many people are convinced that the matter of "finding yourself" is the end-all quest that will fix everything in their lives and finally deliver the meaning and fulfillment they've been searching for. Sometimes the find-yourself quest becomes a never-ending wild goose chase... as if there was an objective, defined, unchanging "self" that is hiding or buried inside you that you "find" in the abstract through some process of "looking within." There is no fixed answer to who you are because you are continuously growing and evolving. There are a lot of layers to every person, and some of them are quite messy and confusing.
Rather than "finding yourself" in some abstract or spiritual sense, consider knowing yourself better on more practical terms. Rather than trying to find a fixed "self," instead learn to inhabit awareness. In other words, become more aware of yourself in ways that are useful and fulfilling. Replace the search for self with the practice of self-awareness.
For example, ask yourself:
What brings me pleasure? What do I most value in life? What kind of person do I want to be? I feel most inspired when ...... I feel most joy in my life when .... How can I care for myself better? What do I need to do that I'm not doing? How do I want to grow? How do I add value to other people's lives?
Convert your answers into actions. Thoughtfully consider these questions, and take steps to cultivate your responses into your daily life. You may find the benefit of doing this is far greater than sitting atop a mountain trying to find yourself.
As a spiritual director and personal growth mentor, one way I work with people is re-framing their life quest and shifting the questions that drive their life.
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