“The only person I know is myself,” once said a renowned writer. At one time I was impressed by his words. Not anymore. The more I try to analyse myself, the more I am confused. Do I know myself? This is the question I have been asking myself for the last one week. Strange as it may sound, I had never bothered to ask myself this question in the past. I had never tried to search for my identity nor understand my existence.
The big question
Whenever I introduced myself, I would pronounce my name and add my profession. When I wrote my resume, I mentioned my age, physical address, qualification, profession, experience and extra-curricular activities along with my name.
Looking back, I doubt whether my resume represented my real self. Was I just a name, qualification and profession? Or am I just the way I look, talk and react? These are my physical and social traits. What then do I signify? Am I just a physical being with a distinct presence? Am I a thinking individual with opinions and abilities? Or am I an emotional being with feelings? Or a being with a spiritual presence?
Spiritual intelligence or spiritual consciousness is the key to success and to achieve success, we have to be aware of ourselves. Self-knowledge and self-enlightenment would lead to happiness and success.
How can you know yourself? Through meditation, one could realise one’s true self and worth. It is not easy to achieve this. Pursuing our worldly interests in this world of competition and ambition, our minds are always preoccupied with goals and targets. There is no inclination or time to reflect within.
What we do not realise, however, is that without self-awareness we would not be able to know our true potential to attain our goal. It is like blindly running after a target without being able to view it properly. Deepak Chopra, the wellness guru of international fame and the principal speaker at a seminar I attended, told his story of revelation.
As a successful medical practitioner, he experienced spiritual consciousness after his father’s demise. After performing his father’s last rites at Haridwar, while looking around, he suddenly experienced oneness with objects around him. “Suddenly I was suffused with joy as I could identify myself with the priest, the tree, the river and the chirping birds,” he narrated. It was an awakening that made him a better person, a better physician and the best-selling author of many thought-provoking books.
It reminded me of a story of Gautam Buddha. Suddenly one day, while travelling in his palanquin, he noticed a sick man and a beggar and his heart went out to them. Buddha had experienced universal consciousness. This spiritual awakening made him aware of his role as a messiah, out to provide solace to the suffering humanity.
He gave up worldly possessions to lead the life of a monk and to enlighten others. Swami Vivekananda too realised early in life that he was an agent of Goddess Durga and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He started his mission to enlighten people about godliness, peace and harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi realised his true potential after he was thrown out of a railway carriage in Petermaritzburg, South Africa. He understood that you had to fight for your rights and lead a life of dignity without resorting to violence. This self-awakening transformed him from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to Bapu or Mahatma Gandhi.
Mother Teresa realised her purpose in life at a young age. She travelled to India and started her missionary work—helping the needy, hungry and the sick. “I am the messenger of God,” she always stated and that the smile of an infant was her gift from god. The Mother, the Mahatma, the Swami and the Buddha were fearless, enlightened, and contented souls, able to succeed in their missions. They all became what they were only because they had asked the question, “Who am I?” and found the answer to it. They dwell within themselves to find the true meaning of their lives.
As Deepak Chopra recommends, through meditation, you can surely find an answer to this question. It may take time but once you realise your self, your potential and your purpose in life, you are bound to achieve your goal. You will be able to spot your weaknesses and correct them. You will be able to identify your strengths and use them to your advantage. You will become a source of positive energy inspiring others to achieve their best.
“Awake, arise or forever be fallen,” said the heroic Ulysses. It is time we become aware of our self and move ahead in life. We don’t have to renounce the world to be enlightened. We just need to find time to awaken our self. Yes, “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” It is for you to unravel it to find true happiness.
Signs that you have a connection with your body.
- You respect and trust your body. In a state of disconnection, the body is subject to constant threats, and capable of betraying you by falling sick at any moment.
- You rely on inner healing and know how to help it when needed. In a state of disconnection, you are baffled and alarmed when something goes wrong and feel that only doctors know what to do.
- You see the body as a balanced organism living in a balanced ecology. In a state of disconnection, the body is totally isolated, with hostile germs attacking it at random.
- You listen for signals of imbalance before they turn into symptoms of disease. In a state of disconnection, the body is ignored unless it cries out with pain or breakdown.
- You realise that emotions, stress, depression, anger, and anxiety aren’t just psychological but have physical consequences. In a state of disconnection, the mind operates independently of the body; neither speaks to the other.
— Deepak Chopra, MD, mind-body medicine guru
This was first published in the April 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.