Finding ourselves


Finding ourselves – by P.K.Odendaal – November 2015

I have heard many people say that they want to calm down their lifestyle to find themselves and I have also in the distant past made this remark, but what bothers me really is that none of those have ever told me that they have indeed found themselves. This was rekindled in my mind a few days ago when someone repeated that desire in my presence, to which I replied: Forget it, nobody has ever found them self.
Or have they?
The search of people who are trying to find themselves, is apt to end up with you and me helping to search for them as well, and they may have found themselves years ago, whilst we are still trying to help them find themselves. Where will be looking for them?
It reminds me of the silly joke, with deep connotations and deeper meaning, of the case where an egoistic person asked the airlines desk clerk to upgrade his seat for the coming flight. After the lady explained to him that it was not allowed for his type of ticket, he asked her whether she knew who he was. She immediately picked up the public address microphone and broadcasted: I have someone here who does not know who he is. If anyone can identify him, please come to the information desk.
The question can be framed in many ways:
  • Who am I?
  • Where am I?
  • Why am I here?
  • What am I doing here?
  • Where can I find myself?
  • Who knows who and what I am?
    At first we may think that these are questions have no answers, but I have this notion that they are not so difficult to answer after all, and I wish to address some roads we may travel which will lead us to finding and knowing ourselves. These may be difficult roads and uncharted terrain and we might not be successful in the end, but that should not prevent us from embarking on such a search.
    Okay – before we get confused - we know where we are physically. It is called a location, but does locating us by coordinates on a map solve our problem and is that what we are looking for? Starting off by considering our present physical position is however a starting point to discover the rest.
    Our answer to asking where we are physically has two aspects, because we have come to know the concept of space-time. So, our answer will have to include two dimensions – one in space and one in time – and the answer is so easy and straight forward that we can just say that we are in the Here and the Now. It is really an easy and accurate reply; but do we know what we mean by that – where Here and Now are?
    As a first approximation it is a beginning, but we might find it lacking in certain crucial detail as we will discover later on. Let us just take this at face value for a start. If we are in the Here and the Now, we can consider how we should live in the Here and the Now - a task many people find very difficult and daunting. I have written an article on ‘Smelling the roses’, which addresses this aspect and when I look at myself and people around me, I find that it is a very difficult  and daunting task, as we always want to be somewhere else and in another time zone – be it the future or the past, but almost never the present. Why do we have this pre-occupation with the past and future, but not with the present?
    And I think that this is the reason why we cannot find ourselves, because we are looking for ourselves in the wrong place and in the wrong time zone. If we can master this art of living in the Here and the Now, we will certainly find ourselves, or at least find where we are.
    The deeper and more profound meaning which I wish to pursue is not only that of finding ourselves, but that of getting to know ourselves, after we have found ourselves. Even this is not a very difficult task if we address it rationally, a thing most of us cannot do, because we are so delusional. We always pretend to be someone else, or we wish to be like someone else, or we think we are someone else or somewhere else.
    We need to sit or even lie down – to become smaller - and realize that we are indeed ourselves, however unhappy we may be with such a realization. If we take the example of alcoholics, we have learned that an alcoholic can never start to get recover from that bondage without saying, in the presence of others, at their AA meetings: I am an alcoholic.
    It is time we stand up in the presence of others and say: I am … (whatever that may be). I have written an article on psychotherapy, and that is what it is about. To come to a deeper understanding and knowledge of who and what we really are. But we must start at the basics. We must first realize that we are nothing, and not fall into the trap of the guy at the airlines desk, thinking that we are something.
    If we look at the beauty and size of things around us, starting at the earth and working our way up to a comparison with the universe, we realize that we are indeed nothing – and that is the best place to start from - and that gives us the opportunity to understand and appreciate our place in the Scheme Of Things on another level, in another domain and in another time.
    Once we can give up the delusion that we are these macho and egoistic wonders, we can start to work with what we have, and only then can we start to know ourselves and to grow ourselves.
    And that is why this road is called: The Road Less Travelled. Very few people take this low road, as the high road is so grand, fashionable and empty.
    We were in fact created to be servants of each other. I think we can only become servants once we realize that we are nothing.
    Listen to Mac Davis:
    Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble
    When you're perfect in every way.
    I can't wait to look in the mirror
    Cause I get better looking each day
    To know me is to love me
    I must be a hell of a man.
    O Lord it's hard to be humble
    But I'm doing the best that I can.
    I used to have a girlfriend
    But I guess she just couldn't compete
    With all of these love-starved women
    Who keep clamouring at my feet.
    Well, I probably find me another
    But I guess they're all in awe of me
    Who cares, I never get lonesome
    Cause I treasure my own company.
    I guess you can say I'm a loner
    A cowboy outlaw tough and proud
    Well, I could have lots of friends if I wanted
    But then I wouldn't stand out from the crowd

    Some folks say that I'm "egotistical"
    Well, I don't even know what that means.
    I guess it has something to do with the way
  • that I fill out my skintight blue jeans.