“The deeper you go within, the more profoundly you become one with your true self” ~Oprah Winfrey
I love that quote from Oprah. Do you wonder though, when you read this, what your true self is and why you would even want to be one with it?
Your true self is centred in the heart
The beautiful thing about your true self is that it is beyond the contradictions, conflicts and fears of personality and ego. Your true self is centred in the heart. The qualities of your true self are qualities of the heart: Joy, appreciation, love, peace, compassion, strength, gratitude, power, creativity and any other heart centred quality you can think of. Being connected to your true self ~ even a little bit ~ means you begin to embody those qualities in the way you live your life.
So how DO we build a close connection to our true self?
Oprah has the answer. We go deep within. Slowly. It takes time, practice, and practices! Spiritual practices .. little rituals that will lead you down the path of self discovery, and keep you there.
I’ve made a list of my top 5 rituals for self-discovery. If you want to enjoy some of the benefits that come from being connected to your true self ~ and there are more than I have listed above ~ try these small daily practices.
My top 5 rituals for self-discovery
1) SPENDING TIME ALONE
Solitude is such a potential thing. Not only is it a refreshing and invigorating daily practice ~ it can also lead to much needed insights and Ahas!
I love to retreat to my room, sit on my big orange bed, lean into my pile of pillows, and breathe! That’s when the solitude starts really. When I breathe. Then I imagine I am drawing my room around me; the photos, the flowers, the stained glass, the pillows and curtains, everything ~ drawing it all around me like a cocoon.
And then, when I am all wrapped up in my room, I place my hand on my heart and focus my attention there, feeling the pool of warmth beneath my hand grow bigger and bigger until it fills my entire body. If I sit there long enough there is always a point where, without even trying, the voice of my true self starts to speak to me ~ gently lifting me, informing me, and guiding me wherever I am lost.
So that’s my favourite way of doing solitude. You’ll come up with your own version of that. Do what works for you!
2) WRITING IN A JOURNAL
Writing in a journal helps me stay connected to my true self.
As Janet Conner says in her book, Writing Down The Soul, “As you write your story in all it’s fullness, you begin to hear yourself .. you begin to hear the sound of your essence, your core, your soul. This kind of listening reaches far beyond the physical act of hearing to the spiritual act of perceiving the essence within the words”.
After I have written in my journal I like to look back and find that essence hiding in my words ~ little pearls that seem to jump off the page and say something significant to me, and about me. When I find these little pearls I like to listen to them even more deeply by making an art journal page around them.
3) ART JOURNALING
As art therapist Kelley Brown says, “Art journaling combines the written language and the visual language to give a greater breadth of expression and understanding. In essence art journaling is the combination of art making and journaling with the intention to create greater insight and understanding of the self and others.”
Art journals are more than an extension of self. They are a place where your true self finds its voice. The creative act of building an art journal page around questions that don’t seem to have answers, like “Who am I? and “Why am I here?”, will draw unexpected insights to you. There is power in the art journaling process and you will be surprised at the revelations that spring off the page. And the source of those revelations? Your true self.
This is a really valuable exercise to do as you head into your 50s and want to be sure you’re on the right path in life.
Meditation is especially important after 50 because it helps us find a clear path forward that is uniquely our own.
In the words of Buddhist teacher Reggie Ray, “Meditation is a technique to find out who we are, to discover ourselves, OUR TRUE SELVES.” And he goes on to say that “people come to meditation in the modern world because they don’t know who they really are. When you don’t have periods of time with yourself pretty soon your whole image of yourself is defined by everything around you and you become dependent on your accomplishments, on your relationships, on what people think of you, on your appearance and so on to define who you are and give you either confidence or lack of confidence and in that process somewhere we lose track of who we are. We don’t know who we are anymore. We feel lost.”
When we meditate we transcend the fears, contradictions and conflicts of personality and ego, and move into a place of stillness where it is possible for us to hear the voice of our true self. If we remain open and receptive we will be guided on how to live from that higher place within us. In other words, we will be guided on how to live a heart based life.
5) MIRROR WORK:
This is a little known gem for self discovery as far as I am concerned. As Robert Holden says in his Hay House video series on mirror work “We do mirror work to meet ourselves. We do mirror work to connect with who we are and to remember who we really are. When we’re looking in the mirror we’re looking for our true self. We’re looking for what the Buddhists call your original face, or what the mystic Thomas Merton called “Your secret beauty””
There are all sorts of negative connotations around gazing at yourself in a mirror, but don’t let that deter you. Far from being an act of vanity this is an act of self love and self discovery that will serve you well at this stage of your life. Spend a few minutes each day looking closely at your eyes in the mirror. Find the light of your spirit shining there and call on that light to illuminate your path forward.
Mirror work is about looking for who you are when you’re not caught up in the contradictions, conflicts and fears of personality and ego. The more we do this the more we begin to recognise the face of our true self.
So there are 5 of my top rituals for self-discovery. As I have been writing it others have come to mind. There will probably be a sequel to this blog post!