To enlighten, isn't just a religious term, as I had thought. Webster's Dictionary gives the meaning as simply "to give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation." And what better subject to learn about than yourself, am I right?
"Who are you," the wise one explained, "isn't a trick question. It's about asking how well you know yourself as a person. What do you see when you look at your core? Irwin, my little tadpole, how can you align your life with your true self, if you don't take the time to find out who you really are?" He made an excellent point. I asked him to continue....
He went on to explain that our ability to find meaning and purpose on our journey through life, depends entirely on how well we actually know ourselves. I contemplated this for awhile, then remembered something that Oprah Winfrey once said. She called knowing her true self, her "emotional compass." She said she used it as her personal "GPS" when navigating the highways of life. Inner knowledge tells us not only where we started from, but where we want to go in the future. He nodded in agreement.
"OK, Dharma. I understand this a little better now, but can you PLEASE explain to me who do I find out who I am?" As I poured another cup of tea for us, he went on to explain the seven steps everyone can do to learn more about who we really are.
1. Finding your values. These are our core beliefs, the things that matter most to us at our deepest level. We can call them our standards; the things we refuse to compromise on.
2. Understanding your strengths. What natural abilities to you possess and which you'd like to cultivate further? We can call these our "personal assets." These gifts should also include our emotion strength and our ability to love and appreciate.
3. Finding your passions. We all have things that we're passionate about. I have many, but at the top of the list are environmental strewardship, animal welfare and, of course, helping children. Our passions should always align with our values; a kind of checks and balance system.
4. Identifiying our tendencies. Our tendencies can be either good ones, or bad ones. Knowing our tendencies can give us insight as to where we might need to make some improvements.
5. Acknowledging our limitations. We can't be the best at everything. Accepting that we're not "Superfrog" will eliminate feelings of doubt, inadequecy, and guilt. It's better to focus on what we CAN do and do that to the best of our abilities. Be realistic when doing your personal assessment. The Dharma Frog says that honesty is a "prerequisite" for knowing our true self.
6. Setting your goals. Asking ourselves, "What do I really want to achieve?" and "What kind of frog ( or human) do I want to grow into?" The goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic. Lack of clear goals will lead to inaction.
7. Establish your direction. Now's the time to dust off that personal compass or GPS. We can do this by simply asking ourselves, "Where does my true self want to take me?"
The Dharma frog wrapped our our chat by telling me not to worry about getting to my destination because it's not the destination that counts, it's all about the journey. We all know this, instinctively I think, but it's good to be reminded from time-to-time.
It was time for my wise friend to hop off to his meeting. But, before he left, he paused to give me this final piece of advice, "Irwin, you are a beautiful, unique, and special frog. You have amazing qualities and gifts that no other frog has. There will never be another frog just like you. I hope you'll take some some time today and get to know more about your true self. And developing a deeper appreciation for who you are, wouldn't hurt either, my boy. It serves no one, if you hide your light in a bucket of worms."
I believe that his advice is applicable to everyone, no matter your species. In these often difficult times, it's easy to get led off our truth path. But the more we know about who really are, the easier it is to "stay the course." We all get sidetracked. Once we discover that we've taken a wrong turn...when the new path doesn't "feel" right...we simply need to spend some time checking our personal compass (or GPS for you high-tech folks) to find our way back. Life becomes so much easier, the more we know about our true self.
As I pondered his wisdom for awhile, it all began to make sense to me. I am slowly becoming enlightened.