Who you are is a decision, not a discovery. You won’t find out who you really are at a lantern festival (but nothing against lantern festivals).
There is nothing about your character that you did not choose. Your soul is not external, therefore, you won’t find it somewhere outside of yourself. There is a difference between seeking to know yourself and searching for your soul in places it’s never been.
By all means, “know thyself”. Understand your thought-processes to maximize your productivity and effectiveness. Take note of your emotions so that you can control them more intelligently. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses to use them both. Knowing yourself enables you to control yourself, which is the greatest super power anyone can have.
So what do I mean by “stop soul searching”? I mean stop using self-discovery as an excuse to procrastinate building yourself up as an individual. Experiencing new things and new places has its value, but what is the value of a beautiful painting to someone who can’t see it clearly? Working on our character, virtues and principles is like putting on glasses for the first time. They are the lens by which we are able to see more clearly. Focus and clarity are the result of a firm identity. With those lenses, the landscape becomes more breath-taking. Then a lantern festival is no longer chasing the wind, but rather a reflection of beauty you’ve already found internally, and therefore more meaningful.
In all my reading and meditating I’ve found love to be the most compelling force and truest part of human identity. As my tool to remind myself of who I really am, I put on the same bracelet everyday. It’s my brain training tool, my sticky-note, to act in accord with love. Every piece I craft is intended to bring to mind the goals of the wearer. Find your own tool here.
[photo by Larm Rmah]