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The Art of Self-Discovery - Embracing Your Individuality

What is Self-Discovery? The name implies a journey or a quest that will end in the finding of a personal treasure buried deep within oneself. This is esoterically correct indeed as self-discovery becomes a journey and the jewels in which we un-earth do come from within. So often though, our tendency is to get stuck on the concept of the journey, always seeking another map that will lead you to your treasure, ready to cast off for shores beyond the farthest horizons in search of it. But self-discovery really simply means self-realization and to find that you need look no farther than yourself. It is the realization of who you are and for what reason you were given this talent and desire to express who you are.

We have all been created uniquely and everyone of us embodies our own essences, strengths and weaknesses. The realization of the nature of our own uniqueness leads us to a fuller understanding of self. In the realization that we all are created so that we may express our individual uniqueness, one comes to appreciate the unique qualities of others, therefore creating more harmony in your life. It is by each individuals expression of his or her own being that the whole creative force of life manifests itself in this world. Without the expression of your own individual spark, the fire of your desires will never burn and our world would become cold and stagnate.

“He who knows others is learned; He who knows himself is wise.”

-Lao-Tsu, Tao te Ching

Life is blessed with variety and each of us is moved to action by a different means than someone else. This is how the great symphony of life is composed. Each of us carries our one pitch or our own note, and when all of our individual notes are strung together in a harmonious balance, our note then becomes an integral part of the music of life. We would not be graced with so many unique genres of music had it not been for someone taking a chance to express an idea by putting his or her own spin on what inspired them. So it is by this expression of individuality that the creative energy in our world expands.

“After Self-Realization, one does not regard any other gain superior to Self-Realization.” -Bhagavad Gita

Another point of view to consider when examining the idea of self-realization is to pick apart words and dissect their meaning. Self is a word used to describe our own individualism or what we recognize as our own being. Generally our view consists only of what we experience, such as the legs we stand on, the hands we write with and the eyes we see with, etc. We recognize these individual parts as one whole SELF. As you explore this notion of self further, you begin to take note of your connection to a greater oneness or a higher self, as it is often referred to. This feeling of connection leads to a realization and a broadening of your conception of the real meaning of self.

Realization is the awakening of a certain level of understanding, in which something that appeared unclear has revealed its secret, and the mystery behind it has been exposed. It is the act of knowing what is real and aligning your vision with each new truth as it is unveiled. In essence you could say SELF-realization is looking at life through the REAL EYES of the self! By finding that deeper connectivity to the creative essence that makes YOU a unique individual, you will give your life and art a new purpose, and evoke a desire to express it by simply living up to a higher idea or concept of yourself. So how does one go about realizing self? It begins by studying your own nature, such as your habits, your ideas, your dreams and desires. By understanding clearly what it is you wish to achieve and identifying the habits that keep you from reaching that goal. With this understanding we can re-sculpt our lives to express who we really are.

“Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.”Janis Joplin

To fully express your self you have to know yourself and unfortunately most people identify themselves as how they are perceived by others. We have become so consumed with our appearance to others that we take drastic measures to appear as others wish us to appear. By viewing yourself through the eyes of others you become detached from your intuitive voice that is calling out for you to fully express the majesty of your being. It is an art by which we cultivate our individuality, so to punish yourself for not living up to someone else’s expectations or raising your own expectations to please someone else is completely counterproductive. You may as well put down the guitar and walk in the other direction, because that’s literally what you’re doing to yourself, walking in a completely different direction than the one that the “real you” wants to go in. By learning to control your thoughts and only focus on what will aid in the fulfillment of your purpose, you will be able to tune your mind, body and spirit with the frequency of your divine self.

Self-discovery is also a process of cultivation, which is the same thing we are doing as musicians every time we practice. We are cultivating our creative expression and perfecting the techniques to perform them in a way that will project that creative expression through our art. This is the ultimate aim of a martial artist as well, so let’s take a moment to compare these two forms of artistry. In martial arts there is a warrior mentality present, that mentality is to be aware of your opponent and be prepared to intercept the energy of their attack and counteract it in a way that you use its force against them. It is the same with music; you can learn to gracefully use the energy of each musical technique to create your perfect masterpiece. An artist expressing yourself begins with knowing yourself. Through a process of self-discovery you will unlock hidden potential within you that will be transmitted through your art, infusing it with a great power and presence.

(From the book Mind Over Metal: The Musician's Guide to Mental Mastery.)

Available now HERE!

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