There was a story I never understood until recently. The tale speaks of a king who sent his son out
to experience the world, armed only with a some money and the knowledge that the adventure
would last for a couple of years. After a year or so the king sent a courtier out to surreptitiously enquire after
the prince’s welfare and to offer support.
The courtier discovered the prince living homeless, having spent all of his money and living
on meagre supplies of food and drink – mainly drink. The courtier approached the prince,
telling him that one request would be granted to him on behalf of the king. The prince replied,
“please tell the King that I would like a warm coat for the winter”. When the report got back
to the king, he burst out in tears; “my son could have asked for anything and I would have granted it
to him – even entry back into the royal palace. He has forgotten who he is”.
Several months ago, one of my teachers recommended that I put up an ‘achievement wall’ in my
office, complete with my book cover nicely framed, posters of my plays, newspaper columns
and so forth. I resisted doing this for a long time, simply because I did not want visiting
friends and clients to get an impression of arrogance. When my teacher asked me recently why
I still had not completed the task, or even begun it, I explained that I did not want to remind
other people who I am. “No”, he explained, “you put it up to remind yourself who you are. It is
for all those times when you forget”.
And so my question is simple: how often do you forget who you are? How frequently do you
experience a sense of ‘mission drift’, suddenly waking up and discovering that several years
have passed and you have gone off track? If you were to have a conversation with your
8-year-old self who was bursting with hopes and dreams, untainted by the fears and scars
of adult life, what would you say? Would you be able to stand in front of your 8-year-old self,
looking them in the eye and say “yes! It worked out AMAZINGLY! I stayed true to myself and
relentlessly pursued those amazing childhood dreams”?
There is a Biblical injunction to take a rest every seven days, another rule let the land
lie fallow every seven years, a different law to enable certain slaves to go free every 49
years (7 x 7) and the command that all leased land returns to its original owners
(Leviticus Chp. 25). On an energetic level, seven is the number that represents physicality,
relating to our body and ourselves. On one level, we take a break in the physical cycle to
press reset. We redeem land, slaves, crops and ultimately ourselves. We can take the opportunity
to remind ourselves who we are.
At times everyone gets lost. Some people, perhaps even the majority, allow this to go on for
an entire lifetime. In their twilight years they live with a sense of frustration that they
did not follow their inner voice but rather got seduced by what they were ‘supposed’ to do
Sometimes we need to get lost so that we can find ourselves.
Here are some ways of applying this throughout your day;
Meditate: Why are you truly here? What are the unique gifts you bring to
Yoga/At the Gym: During your physical practice (yoga, gym or sports),
become aware of your body and any messages it is sending you. Listen closely to the ‘voice’
of your body during your yoga practice and carry this listening throughout your day. Allow
your body to inform you when you are off-track or performing actions that are misaligned
with your higher self.
Business: Are you truly expressing yourself through your work? Is there one
small change you could make today that would bring you more in alignment with your higher
purpose? This might be a change in attitude, but give it some if needed.
Footnote: Based on Parsha Behar.