It was somewhere in the middle of august when Elijah took the first steps on his journey. Winter was closing in on Elijah. A few months had passed and he had not found what he set out to find yet. He thought he was somewhere in the Middle East, but he wasn’t quite sure. The days he traveled were slowly making him go insane.
Elijah set out on a journey to find himself. He used to be a writer and made good money doing so, but the past year he felt out of sync. He wasn’t happy with the person he had become. He wanted to find his true self, the one they called the higher self in the books he had read.
Elijah sat down on the side of the road drinking some water and gathering strength and energy to pursue his journey. “Hello, my sir.” A friendly voice spoke. When Elijah looked up he saw a man dressed in worn-out robes with nothing but a small sack on his back. He carried a small flask in his hand that was probably filled with water.
“Hi,” Elijah hesitated. “What brings you here?” The man asked Elijah. “I am on a journey,” Elijah spoke calmly. He didn’t want to give away much of his story. “What kind of journey?” The man asked. “Who are you?” Elijah answered. “I am a dervish, I travel the world just like you. So I might be able to help you on your journey.” The man answered.
>To find oneself, one must let go of everything he believes about himself and the world around him.
Step 1: Let Go of All Believes
Elijah thought for a moment but decided to share why he was on this journey. “I am on a journey to find myself,” Elijah said. The dervish asked if he could sit next to Elijah. Elijah was fine with it. “A Journey to find yourself, huh.” The dervish said. “And have you found yourself yet?” He asked. “No, otherwise I wouldn’t be on this journey would I?” Elijah answered fiercely. “You’re right.” And the dervish laughed. “So…” Elijah spoke. “Can you help me on this journey or not?” He was slowly losing his temper with this stranger.
“I might be. What is it you want to know?” The dervish asked. “How can I find myself?” Elijah asked quickly. He wanted to be done with this weird man as soon as possible. He didn’t think that this man could show him the way.
The dervish thought for a moment. “How can you find yourself?” The dervish mumbled. “That’s a question that consumes many people.” “So can you help me or not?” Elijah interrupted the dervish, but the dervish didn’t seem to be bothered by Elijah’s anger.
“To find oneself, one must let go of everything he believes about himself and the world around him. That’s the first step any human must take on his path to find the God within himself. You must not get into your own way by thinking that you know it all. You must not believe anything or hold onto anything. You must be free of the belief that you can ever know yourself fully. You, my sir, aren’t something to be found, nor something that can be lost. It would mean that part of you would stay in someplace as the rest of you would go on. That is not possible. You are always here, right here. You cannot lose yourself. You just hold beliefs of what you should be, or ought to be. That is what’s in your way of finding yourself.” The dervish smiled, and without saying a word he got up and left.
You, my sir, aren’t something to be found, nor something that can be lost. It would mean that part of you would stay in someplace as the rest of you would go on. That is not possible. You are always here, right here. You cannot lose yourself.
Elijah was confused and thought about these words for days. As he wandered along the sand road. He didn’t know if the dervish was right, but he had nothing to lose. So he began to let go of everything he believed about himself and the world. Every time he found himself identifying, or labeling himself he noticed it and therefore saw it vanish before his eyes. More and more he began to realize that he wasn’t the person he thought he was. He was nothing. Empty.
If you truly want to find yourself, you must find peace with this emptiness. We all have to, for if we begin to let go of all beliefs on what is right and what is wrong we will see the emptiness of life.
Step 2: Finding Peace with the Emptiness
That emptiness scared Elijah. After days of wandering and feeling a deep sense of fear within himself, he arrived at a palace. Majestic white walls reflected the bright sun, blinding everyone that starred at it too long. Around the palace was a big open garden, with a beautiful fountain where the people of the town could gather their water. Elijah filled his bottle with refreshing water and looked around. He saw a gardener taking care of the beautiful flowers and plants that surrounded the palace.
Elijah walked up to the gardener and asked him who lived in the palace. The gardener told Elijah that he couldn’t tell him for the safety of the one who lived there. The gardener noticed that Elijah wasn’t from here and asked him why such a young man was wandering around the world like this. Elijah had lost his fear for strangers and openly told the gardener that he set out to find himself. He told about the dervish and about letting go of all his believes about himself. The gardener smiled. “So you met Najib have you?” The gardener said. “Crazy old man he is.”
“How do you know the dervish?” Elijah asked. “He is my brother.” The gardener answered. “We grew up together in this town, he chose the path of enlightenment through a spiritual journey, I chose it through taking care of these wonderful plants.” And the old gardener began to laugh.
“So can you help me on my journey to find myself as well?” Elijah asked. “Oh yes, I can. What is it that you want to know my boy.” The gardener asked. “I let go of all beliefs I held, but now I feel this emptiness deep within me. It frightens me. I dare not look at it too long because I fear that it will consume me and make me go insane. What am I to do now?” Elijah asked.
The gardener scratched his pointy grey beard. “If you truly want to find yourself, you must find peace with this emptiness. We all have to, for if we begin to let go of all beliefs on what is right and what is wrong we will see the emptiness of life. This scares us because we have always believed that life has this vast meaning, that it is of grave importance to do something valuable with our time. But those who set out to question this belief will find that life isn’t about this grave importance. That breeds meaninglessness, emptiness, and you fear this. Your second step is to love yourself at this point. To love the fear that is within you. To not condemn it, but to look at it straight on. To confront it, but not as a worrier would face his enemy. Do not face your fear in order to destroy it, that will only create an unwinnable war within you. Face your fear with love. Face it with the inner eye of acceptance, peace, and compassion. That’s what you must do.” And like the dervish, the gardener walked off into the palace leaving Elijah alone with his thoughts.
Face your fear with love. Face it with the inner eye of acceptance, peace, and compassion.
For days Elijah wandered around the palace but never found the gardener again. During these days he thought about the wisdom that the gardener shared with him. Slowly he began to notice that he was in fact this emptiness he felt. That he didn’t have to be scared of it, because he was it. He turned his inner eye towards the emptiness and meaninglessness of life. But instead of finding a dark place, he found a light place. A realization that this emptiness doesn’t mean that his life is completely useless, but that anything he believed to be of meaning like work, achievements, gold, and wealth was a mirage for what truly mattered. He looked around the palace and saw how everyone was consumed in their usual everyday business. It made him feel alone.
He turned his inner eye towards the emptiness and meaninglessness of life. But instead of finding a dark place, he found a light place. A realization that this emptiness doesn’t mean that his life is completely useless, but that anything he believed to be of meaning like work, achievements, gold, and wealth was a mirage for what truly mattered.
Now he understood more and more who he was it daunted him how separated he was from all the rest of the planet. How lost everyone was. He felt sad for them. A strange feeling of compassion, but also loneliness and sorrow came over him.
They weren’t just wandering through their life, they were aware. Consciously living it.
Step 3: Find Yourself in Everyone
For days Elijah wandered through the town. He sat down on the corner of the street. Taking in the lost faces of all the people that walked by. It wasn’t that he judged them, he felt sorry for them. He wanted to help them but didn’t know how. A couple walking hand in hand passed him by. For the first time, he looked at two humans and saw what he saw within himself. He saw light, awakened eyes. They weren’t just wandering through their life, they were aware. Consciously living it.
“Hee” Elijah shouted, and the couple turned around. “Are you calling us?” The woman politely asked. “Yeah, sorry for my rude way of calling you, but you would have walked off. May I ask you something?” Elijah asked. The couple looked at each other and the man answered. “Yeah sure.”
“I looked at you two and noticed something familiar. I notice the light within you, your eyes are bright and the way you look at the world is…” Elijah thought for a moment. “Is different than others who pass. You seem to actually see the world instead of just walk by it.” The couple smiled. “Hmhm” They hummed in agreement. “I have set out on this journey to find myself, and I already met a dervish who told me to let go of all my beliefs and a gardener who told me to find peace with the emptiness that is within me. I did, but now I feel so alone. So different from the rest of the world. Until I saw you and noticed that you fell in love with each other and the world. How? Have you too set out on this journey to find yourself?” Elijah asked.
The couple again smiled. “You have keen eyes, sir.” The man said. “We have. Many years ago. We too met the dervish and the gardener. They are good friends of ours too. But let’s return to your question. You want to know why you feel so alone, and if you will ever find yourself? Don’t you?” The man asked. “Yeah, that’s right.” Elijah answered. “Well…” The woman began. “If you want to find yourself then this will be the last step. Which is to see, to recognize that you are everyone, and everyone is you. That if you were to ever try and define yourself you wouldn’t be able to do so because it always involves some relationship with the larger world around you. Let’s say you want to define yourself as a kind human being, that would involve the action of being kind to another human or living thing on this earth wouldn’t it?” The woman waited as the man continued.
If you were to ever try and define yourself you wouldn’t be able to do so because it always involves some relationship with the larger world around you.
“You see kind, sir, to find yourself means to recognize yourself in everyone around you. To see that we aren’t separated from one another, but are all one. That everything you are in each moment is because you are in a relationship with the world around you. Whether that relationship involves another human, animal, thing, or plant. You cannot be defined by you alone. You need others to do so. It is the duality of life. Light cannot exist without darkness. Good without bad. Love without hate. So to find yourself you must know others and recognize that you are them and they are you. You cannot be separated.” The man smiled and kissed his woman.
So to find yourself you must know others and recognize that you are them and they are you. You cannot be separated.
“You must be love. It is our true nature.” The man said, and the two of them walked off. Again leaving Elijah alone with the thought they gave him. Elijah sat down again. Thinking about what the two lovers told him. And then he realizes. His search is over. He hasn’t found who he is, but he has let go of all the ideas he thought he was. He has found acceptance with the deepest part of himself and saw the light in the darkness. He looks around and sees all the humans crossing him. He notices himself in each one of them. He sees the parts of himself that he was, and is. He sees that everyone has the possibility within him or herself to fall in love with their life. To see that today we live, we have a chance to make the most of it.
He finally realizes that he is free to shape his destiny. To be whoever he is in each moment. He doesn’t need to find himself. He is free to be himself in every moment, which is nobody, yet at the same time everyone. He is part of everything as much as everything is part of him.