Finding yourself in the other

Our search for truth rarely stops with a book, workshop, or idea.

Tijn Touber | September 2004 issue
Recently, I’ve come across more and more people who are lugging boxes of self-help books up to the attic or taking them out to the street to give away. They’re no longer signing up for workshops with healers, coaches, and gurus.
So what’s going on? Many truth seekers are noticing they’ve heard the same truth so many times that if they don’t put it into practice now, they never will. They know everything already about their inner child, spinning chakras, emotional healing and everyday enlightenment. What they need to do now is just do it.
Another book or workshop can become an excuse to postpone living the truth. There comes a time when it is no longer productive to think too much about yourself. There comes a time when “working on yourself” has just the opposite effect: you only become further estranged from who you are. If “your process” has become more important than your friends, family, fellow human beings and the world around you, then you’re missing the point.
You cannot (any longer) find yourself by thinking about yourself, talking about yourself or working hard on yourself. You find yourself by giving up looking for yourself. You are already what you are looking for; all you have to do is see it.
How? Not by looking inside but – paradoxically enough – by looking outside. By seeing your friends. By seeing the world. By opening yourself up to what is already there. You find yourself in your surroundings. You find yourself in your relationships. Your relationships—or the lack thereof—define who you are. In Africa they say: “I am, because you are.” They understand that you cannot be human on your own.
To the degree that we can allow others into our world, to that degree we can be who we really are: ourselves.

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