August 20, 2013 at 7:27 pm #40869HaveLipsWillSmileParticipant
As part of my journey of self-discovery and generally changing the way I think and choose to live my life, I need to get to know me, as a person.
There seem to be a whole heap of generic questionnaires containing questions like “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time” etc… however, I don’t find these tools helpful or a true indicator to what lies beneath who I am, not what I do.
At the moment, I ‘do’ lots of things, but my life seems to be filled with activities or items that society says are acceptable or ‘the norm’. For example, my biggest past-time is watching TV. Up until recently, this is something I swore black and blue helped me relax and unwind. BUT I’ve realised that it is literally mind-numbing crap that I usually watch which brings nothing to my life, giving me nothing valuable to learn. I am a little embarassed that I have wasted so much of my spare time watching TV. I could be doing something amazing that I enjoy and gives my life meaning and fulfils me in a way I never imagined. Trouble is, I don’t know what this could be.
I am not going to call it a dilemma as I feel that may be a little dramatic, but – my question is, what are some pragmatic, thoughtful, demonstrated and applied ways I can discover who I am, what makes me tick, what I believe in, what I enjoy?
I want to fill my days with meaningful tasks or activities. That’s all.
Thanks in advance,
KAugust 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm #40870MattParticipant
Its good to hear that you’re waking up to the drawbacks of over indulging in being entertained by the dreams of others! It can be a little disorienting at first, and feels almost like a crisis… “Who am I? How do I find my path to joy?”
Most people don’t believe how simple it is, and make life far more complex than it has to be. It really distills into a simple aim, in my opinion . Live from the heart with the courage to jump. That’s it. The rest you learn on the path.
The way I see that statement moving from philosophy into a practical direction is the way we engage with our decisions. For instance, you wake up, perhaps do some meditation for stable mindedness, and open to the day. Then, where you go, whatever situations you’re in, look as deeply as you can at the possibilities, and when an inspiration to say or do something arises, take a breath and dive in.
What happens in my experience is that the actions which bring suffering to our mind and body fade away with time, as the heart becomes more wise. For instance, if you see huge plate full of cookies, even if there is curiosity in the mind what it might be like to eat a whole mess of cookies, the heart will say “nah, unneeded”. So, we take courage that our heart is right, and we jump away from the cookie as a source of nourishment. Or, if it hasn’t learned the lesson, we eat it and feel the pain of over indulgence. Then next time we see the plate, it is simple to turn away.
Or, if the thing we’re seeing is something or heart wants to do, the thing will sparkle… such as catching a glimpse of a guitar at a garage sale you happened to see when your heart said “how about a walk?”. On and on it leads us from lesson to lesson, and we find joy and wisdom.
One thing that can help keep the heartsong alight is by looking for ways to help other people. One of my teachers said that generosity is the energy of joy, so as we act kindly and generously to people (including ourselves through self nurturing) the heart gains strength and becomes louder for us.
Its a magic journey, and even though there is some pain as we encounter attachments, such as hopes we have that were unfulfilled in the past or don’t bloom in the future. But what does bloom is beautiful, and the fragrance of compassion uplifts the heart.
MattAugust 21, 2013 at 3:47 am #40898Buddhist WifeParticipant
I think Matt has given you some wonderful advice.
Crafts are a great hobby, in my opinion, because they allow you to be creative and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Pintrest has lots of craft ideas and can give you a sense of what might appeal to you. I also like doing crafts because they are personal, it takes you away from our mass produced consumer society into something more old fashioned and natural. I also think there is something about working with your hands that feels very spiritual and grounding. It doesn’t have to be crafts that produce something you would like to put on your mantle piece. Just getting out some paper and crayons and having a doodle can feel wonderful.
Other things like gardening or cooking have similar effects.
I’m not suggesting this is what you will settle on doing eventually, but they may be steps on the journey to finding something you will enjoy.
I also wouldn’t throw your TV out yet! Sometimes we just need to vegetate for a while and TV programmes can help on those occasions. There are loads of wonderful documentaries and educational programmes that can take you on a journey and open you up to new ideas, so try looking out for some of them.August 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm #40925Marilyn Briant-RockmoreParticipant
How wonderful that you want to get to know you.
Your disillusionment with television comes as no surprise to me. Every single of one of us who has woken up to the knowledge that what we are told and expected to believe has meaning in life, is really meaningless. I have found it doesn’t matter that you are not sure what is meaningful, because as you get to know yourself, you discover what it is you love and what you want to do.
For me, a whole new creative side to me came out – it seems as though all I had to do was think “Oh I would love to be able to make a flower arrangement, painting or pair of earrings like that…Then, when I tried to do it, I discovered I could do it…who knew I had these talents!
I have found that everything begins with a thought, an idea, and is created or flows from that, so I would encourage you to just look around and see what you love, what you admire and what you find interesting and see what happens…
Love and peace,
MarilynAugust 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm #40941HaveLipsWillSmileParticipant
Matt, thank you for your post. You write so beautifully. How did you come to be so clear-minded and expressive in yourself?
From what I understand from all of your replies, it seems there is no sinlge task you can do to discover who you are. Am I right in thinking it is a step-by-step, thought-by-thought process? Please excuse my ignorance but I feel like I am breaking free from a fog of conformity and need to think for myself for the first time! It is a little scary, I must admit, but I trust this journey will carry me to a place of fulfilment and meaning which is exactly what I am trying to achieve.
I am very focused on being ‘open’ and willing to try anything. I think it may be helpful to slow down and not be hurried in making decisions about my journey. I don’t think people should be embarassed by taking a moment to weigh up the options and the subsequent consequences. It seems that we are encouraged to decide now, choose now, act now. But perhaps a moment of quiet reflection will help me make the right choices.
And Matt, you’re right. I love how you’ve said “What happens in my experience is that the actions which bring suffering to our mind and body fade away with time, as the heart becomes more wise”. The concept of our hearts being wise is new to me. Traditionally, you learn that your mind or your brain are to be wise but perhaps they are the driver while your heart is your true compass. Very interesting thought. I am going to need to ponder that a little more.
I have always enjoyed helping other people, the satisfaction you get doing something for someone else is quite unique. I am glad you suggested this Matt, as I may have been inward focusing and had not thought of what I could project on the world. Thank you!
Buddhist Wife, I used to paint canvasses because I really enjoyed the process but afterwards I always had a real sense of dissatisfaction with the final product. It was as if I critiqued my work very harshly and could see every little thing that was wrong with it. I couldn’t handle the disappointment of producing unsatisfactory work anymore so I stopped painting about 3 years ago. I agree that crafts could still be an outlet for me to be creative and resonate with moving away from the mass-produced market as you mention. I suppose it is a matter of trying a few things and seeing what gets my passion back. I am a huge fan of Pinterest and will be creating a new board today with some ideas.
Cooking is actually something that I absolutely love. I love the whole process, from selecting a recipe to going grocery shopping with my shopping list to preparing the ingredients to serving the food to my friends and family. I really believe that a great meal prepared with love can be a really meaningful gift and can show your love and care for certain people. I have recently moved back to my home town after being away for 3 years and have hosted 3 dinner parties so far, all of which have been such a great source of joy for me. Even these small events have seen a lift in my spirits since coming ‘home’. I will cook for anyone, anytime, as long as they come and spend time, have a chat and leave happy.
Yes and I think the TV can still serve a purpose in my life, I’ve been watching different things lately which have opened my eyes to how lucky I really am. While I am worried about finding inner happiness and getting to know myself, there are many people out there without a warm home, nutritious food or loving family members to comfort them. It’s all about perspective. Learning about different cultures and perspectives on life is definitely something I am interested in also.
Wow, very long post but thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. Your support has started my journey in a very positive light.
xAugust 21, 2013 at 8:21 pm #40946MattParticipant
Thank you for the kind words about my writing. I think the reason I come across as clear minded is a mix of meditation, fantastic teachers, and taking my own advice. 🙂 As far as the beauty in the words, it wouldn’t feel right to try to own them. I breathe in a post, and breathe out whatever comes to heart. My hope and wish is it helps spark love and peace in whomever reads them, but I do my best to stay out of the way and just let whatever seems right to be said.
You seem to be very intuitive, and I appreciate the “pausing to reflect” quality, and agree. It reminds me of the hermit, who travels into the cave to protect the tender shoots of her blooming awareness. Its very self nurturing to pause to aim! Especially as we begin, and are still strengthening our mind/body connection. However, we are always deciding, and “big arcs” are certainly worth consideration as you describe. I meant more “breath by breath, what now” type jumping boldly from within.
Don’t forget to integrate the “ah ha” moments into a direction. Sometimes we can become addicted to insight, and seek deeper wisdom for the brightness of the revelation. Said differently, as we distill the patterns of reality we can become drunk with joy, which then quickly fades. Reinvest the joy into momentum, and spiritual development happens! 🙂
Finally, consider that perhaps there isn’t a solid “Kristy” in there to discover. We’re a mix of constantly changing and growing preferences, desires, skills, thoughts. Kristy is a blank canvas, which is constantly renewed. So as Doc Brown said “Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one.” Namaste.