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Self Realization for Beginners

Who am I?

If you have ever asked yourself this question, you have entered, or stumbled, into the world of self realization.  It’s a question that people of all ages struggle to answer, especially when realizing that what we do does not necessarily define who we are. Knowing who we are, to the best of our ability, can be a key to understanding happiness, and can give us greater stability, satisfaction and enjoyment in life. This process, however, is much easier said than done.

It’s interesting to see the amount of literature that is available on the internet, claiming successful ways to find happiness in our lives, especially when dealing with self realization. A search of the subject on Google will provide you with over sixteen million results, which alone can be overwhelming, especially when all sixteen million seem to take a different approach. The majority of it begins at a point so far into the process of  self realization, revolving around phrases and ideas, that we simply can not understand at this point, no matter how well the author explains the philosophy. Understanding and analyzing subconscious messages from our mind.  Emotional intelligence versus motivational intelligence.  How we attract positive and negative energies.  All are notable aspirations of any self reflector who is trying to live life at a higher level of consciousness, but there are easier ways at the beginning of our journey to understand who we are than those that an experienced spiritual alchemist would use.

You have to crawl before you walk.  You have probably heard it a million times but there is great validity in that phrase. Learning something new, even about yourself, takes time, perseverance and above all patience.  It’s hard for us to understand a concept that came so naturally to us as infants, especially when we live in an age of instant satisfaction, but the benefits of maintaining a patient aura will be extremely rewarding in many different ways. I would suggest, as will many others, that you keep a diary, journal or maintain an online blog to keep track of your experiences along the way. It will help you stay honest by showing you exactly how you felt about a given situation. You may also find this information beneficial to your learning in the future.

Start simple by looking at the world you live in.  Dictionary.com defines the word hobby as “An activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.” I appreciate this definition, as it does a fine job of defining the surface of the word, but especially because nothing is stated about enjoyment coming from doing something well.   However, I think our hobbies can be more useful to us than simply providing a means of pleasure and relaxation. They can also help us understand who we are and why we enjoy the things that we do. I would like to share this personal example with you.

I really enjoy gardening. There is a beautiful, natural world of life, color and enjoyment that can be found in flowers, trees and plants. It helps create a world around me that I can relate to and find enjoyment in. I never really understood how much enjoyment until I took the time to reflect and write about my gardening experience. I recently remembered an old blog that I had written on the subject. I feel it supports the exercise that I am trying to convey.

“God gave me a garden. Each spring my labor of love begins with freeing the garden of weeds, turning the soil, and adding nutrients until I have a very nice garden of fresh, tilled earth.  It’s a long process, but I must confess, I do enjoy the work.  I have spent many mornings with God in that garden, prayer in my mind and heart, shovel in my hands, dirt upon my brow.  I noticed recently just how much I cared for that garden, and by rights, I should with the time and work involved.  Each February begins with the planting of multiple seeds.  The next several months involves the care taking process, making sure that the plants receive enough sun, warmth and water. It’s a very delicate time when I often find myself staring at the plants with an eyebrow raised trying to figure out exactly what I planted (I often confuse the zucchini and the cucumber), or if the plant that looks weak is going to survive until summer.  Finally around Mother’s Day they are ready to go into the ground. With some luck they will be producing beautiful vegetables over the few summer months that follow.

Yes, it’s true, it would be just as easy for me to drive to the local market and simply buy the vegetables that I would like to eat.  But for me there is a satisfaction in raising a crop from seed and seeing it all the way to harvest.  It demands hard work, which brings its own satisfaction, but above all requires patience, which brings me back to my original point of posting this blog.  God gave me a garden, and through working in this garden I have learned patience (at least to some extent) and have tried to apply this to my life. 

While planting the seeds I realized there was a seed planted in me (patience), and every morning it was watered and it grew and to this day it continues to grow.  Patience has been a yielding of this work and it continues to lead me to understanding.  Whenever I feel my patience being tried, I just remember that God gave me a garden.”

Reflecting back on this entry I realized that gardening for me was more than a hobby.  It was also a time for me to be involved in spiritual meditation, a time to think of others and a time for me to learn many important lessons, like patience, that help define who I am.

Beginning the process of self realization does not have to be overcomplicated. With some time, patience and reflection you will be able to learn and understand who you are and why you do the things you do. This thinking can help lead you to a deeper understanding of the world around you and ultimately lead to self fulfillment.

What do your hobbies say about you?