“Become who you are.” - Friedrich Nietzsche
It sounds like the obvious, cliché piece of advice in the world.
And yet it is also the supreme challenge, the most sacred of tasks for each of us in this lifetime: to become who we really are.
But who is this self that we are to become?
Is it somehow different from who we’ve always been, who we woke up as this morning? How do we “become” something that we already are?
I hear Nietzsche’s words as a challenge, calling us ever onwards towards greater heights of authenticity and greater depths of intimacy with our own being.
When we really go looking into the depths of ourselves, what do we find there, at the center of all centers? The world’s great spiritual traditions all speak - in their differing metaphors, symbols, and rituals - to the truth that our most essential self is of the same essence as the source of all being. Call it being a child of God, call it having Buddha nature, call it oneness with the Tao, all paths point to the same realization: that our true self is a kind of meeting place, a space where the divine intersects with our one unique, individual existence.
So we may ask ourselves: how does this divine creative energy desire to express itself through this particular being, this body, this lifetime of mine?
I believe the primary way the sacred speaks is through our great passions, our great gifts and talents, the things in life we are drawn to again and again, as if these particular ways of living and expressing are calling our names over and over until we finally listen. The sacred speaks through our particular stories, through even our struggles and what we have survived, for through our wounds we learn to make the medicine that will heal ourselves and others.
To be ourselves is the art of listening to what most deeply calls us. To have the courage to follow after that voice, which is simultaneously both our true voice and the voice of God. To move this one body of ours to the dance of the divine.
The task of becoming who you are is allowing the creative energy of the universe to move through this one particular form of your life, this one sacred vessel which is YOU.
It is to trust that your body, your heart, your gifts, your strengths, even your shortcomings and struggles, are precisely the tools you need to complete this sacred task you’ve been given: to live out your unique destiny in this world.
There is nothing else you need, for the greatest gift has already been given to you: yourself.
You must simply walk the path right in front of you, the one that is always right underneath your feet.
Let the sacred move through you, like air through a wind instrument, making the music only your life can create.
Go, and become who you are.
- Matthew Foley