THE STRUGGLE TO FIND YOURSELF


"There is more in a human life than  our theories of it allow. Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path. You may remember this "something" as a single moment in childhood when an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events struck like an annunciation.  This is what I must do, this is what I've got to have, this is who I am."

James Hillman


Why is so much time spent by many following paths that elicit complaints, frustrations and general dissatisfaction? Our culture directs you to go to college where you either graduate or drop out. In either case decisions have to be made about your future. Your choice of college may be determined by your parents, your grades or its location. If you end your education by dropping out you probably hope for a good job somewhere depending upon the pay, location or simply what's offered. These days even a good college education isn't guaranteeing a job after graduation. If you see yourself as a creative person you may try your hand at a particular art but you may not know if this is just a wish or if it's a true talent meant to be honored. The last thing you might do is to try to get in touch with your true longing, without allowing yourself to be influenced by financial limitations, geographical locations or parental pressures. But if you listen to that inner voice and trust it, no matter how impossible it might seem, you may find yourself finding a way to accomplish what you always wished for.


Steve Jobs is the poster child for this philosophy and talked about it in his 2005 Commencement speech at Stanford University.  His adoptive working class parents promised his biological mother they would send him to college.  He chose an expensive institution his parents could barely afford and dropped out after feeling he had no direction and couldn't see how college requirement courses would help him. Instead he decided to simply sit in on classes that might interest him. He noticed the attractive posters, labels and signs on the campus of Reed College and knew it offered the best calligraphy studio in the country.  Intrigued he signed up and was fascinated to learn about typefaces and what makes topography great. It wasn't until 10 years later he realized,  while designing fonts for the first Mac computer what that class meant and where he was being driven. He said "you can only connect the dots looking backwards so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, Karma, whatever - because believing that the dots will connect down the road and will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path and that will make all the difference."


Scientific minds such as Jonah Lehrer, author of the book "Imagine," writes about neuroscience. In an interview he talked about creativity and referred to a time when creative people experience a block and struggle to solve a problem. They need that moment of insight that gives them the answer. He stated that brain imaging has shown the lighting up of an area of the brain just moments before an insight occurs.  It's a moment when the answer pops into our minds and we know, without a doubt, it's the right answer. He calls it "the quiet voice from the back of our heads that's been there for days, weeks.." that has the answer.  I suggest it's been there your entire life.


Lehrer goes on to say that when roadblocks occur we tend to struggle further, to work harder in an attempt to break through.  But the only way to hear that voice is to be in a relaxed state of mind, to let go, take a shower, a walk on the beach, go jogging or go for a drive meditate. That quiet voice is more apt to pop up once you stop the struggle.


This is the same voice that will tell you what you are meant to do.