The exploration of our essential nature can look so pointless, or dangerous, to the mind. But it really is the only place to look for the security, peace and contentment you’ve been searching for everywhere else.
This lovely client I was working with yesterday could see a repeating pattern —“I really want to do these things that I enjoy about my work, that give me energy, what I can see being really fulfilling — but I keep putting them off. Or I put time in the diary and then get distracted, so they aren’t progressing.
If someone else asks me to do something, I do it, and I meet the deadlines. Why can’t I do this for my own things?”
This last sentence leapt out of me — it’s not true. Just moments before he’d been telling me how he’d taken time off over the summer because he wanted to, and he’d been spontaneous about doing things with the kids he wanted to, and just the week before he’d painted a room he wanted to paint.
This person is perfectly capable of following-through on things he wants to do.
But — not when it comes with the thought “but what would that mean for me?”
To do his own things in work and put himself out there brings a fear and a tangle of thoughts about wanting to, but I can’t. Would love to, but what would others think? This would be amazing, but would that be showing off? I want to do these things but is there too much me in them?
So yesterday it was time to get right to the heart of it — who is this me that all this seems to revolve around? What is the most essential aspect of this you that you keep referring to?
Who are you?
We began with a list of responses to the question — “Who are you? What can you tell me about yourself?” (You can follow along with this process too, if you like. Grab a pen and paper.)
Then I asked, what of those things on the list are constant? Cross off anything that’s not constant.
My client was left with a shortlist:
- “Positive.” Are you positive all the time? Immediately there was evidence of one significant time (and no doubt lots of tiny times) when he was not positive. So that was off the list.
- “Helpful.” Are you helpful all the time? How could you know if what you count as ‘helpful’ is helpful to another? An example came to mind where it seemed pretty obvious his help wasn’t helpful. And other times when, in an effort to be helpful, he gave too much of his expertise and time until the point of needing to uncomfortably say no as the situation was no longer helpful to himself. So that was off the list.
What we were looking for was the constant-ness of who you are, and we hadn’t found it yet.
What has literally never changed. Never come or gone. Ever?
After exploring a few more coming-and-going experiences to see they were also not constant, we started to look at the fact of knowingly having an experience. The fact of knowing the ideas of positive and helpful. The fact of consciousness, or awareness.
Are you aware?
We tracked back to the baby stage where we can see a baby is aware of having an experience. They are aware — they just haven’t yet added in all the concepts and ideas like language and ‘good’ and ‘bad’ traits to display.
Bringing it forward again to today, to see that this fact of awareness as a baby has been there through every experience and age of life, is the constant-ness of ourselves. This is our essential nature.
Do you see that constant-ness?
In the recognition of this for my client — a fresh thought came. One which was a reminder of a time at 18. A seminal moment that stuck in his mind and led to the belief that what he had to say didn’t matter. A core driver of all the behaviours we began the conversation with.
If you’ve been following this process along, you might also realise something fresh about a seminal moment in the content of your life. It’s not guaranteed every time, but looking to who you really are massively increases the chances of more realisations appearing.
And that leads to living in ever-greater alignment and authenticity as yourself.
So why is it worth getting curious about who you really are?
- Because it is the only constant, reliable, peaceful, contentedness you’ve ever known. And you’ve been looking for it everywhere else in life to no avail. Because it’s who you are.
- Because in the recognition of who you are, more genuinely helpful thoughts, realisations, insights and unravellings are brought into the light. To be seen for what they really are — one moment in time, taken as a truth about who I am.
These two aspects combined releases you from the grip of identifying with a moment-in-time and returns you to identifying as yourself: timeless, eternal being.
Does that sound worth exploring to you?
Much love, Helen
PS If you love this exploration of your essential nature, or you want to know more about it, Sara Priestley and I have published a book: The Complete Book of Awakening. It guides you through practical explorations, like the one above, so that you too can recognise the only constant, reliable, peaceful, contentedness you’ve ever known — yourself. Find out all about it here.