How would you say who you are without saying what you do?
This is a question I first heard asked by the late Wayne Dyer many years ago. I thought of it often because it was so difficult to answer.
A common question that is often asked when we meet strangers is, ‘and what do you do’. Replying that ‘I am a dentist, or a carpenter or an headmistress’, may be a great way to start a conversation but it reveals little of who you truly are.
Who you are is what may be described as the theme emotion of your being; the intention which drives your thinking. It could be described as the placebo of your existence. Telling the answer to a stranger at a cocktail party may not be necessary or even advisable but it is important to know it.
Let us take an example of the theme emotion of a day. Suppose you are driving to work and a stupid driver offends you in some way, It makes you so angry that it takes over your thoughts. Throughout the rest of the journey you are arguing with the offending driver in your mind, over and over again. It makes your blood boil. How dare he!
When you get to work you tell anyone who will listen how affronted you are. This has set the tone for your day. If something does not happen to change your frame of mind, the dreadful feeling will last into the evening when you may relate the story all over again to your partner or friends down in the pub.
An episode such as this and the unpleasant emotion clouds who you really are. It will be very therapeutic to spend time clarifying for yourself how to answer Wayne Dyer’s question. Sit with a piece of paper and write down the emotions which are the most important in your life.
For me a powerful emotion is success; success for myself but also in others. I am inquisitive. I like to learn how things work. A great satisfaction in my professional life is helping others and relieving pain. It is so nice to have the ability to do this.
Sketch the emotional version of yourself like this. What are the powerful emotions for you? Love, altruism, being with your family or so on. It may take many sessions before the real message of this question clicks for you. It did for me.
It will be possible to narrow your list down so that you can have the few emotions which clearly define you. Make this the emotion of your morning meditation. Like taking a placebo it will become the subconscious programme of your day. It is the theme tune of your being. By using this focus it will be as if you are turning up the volume until the emotion is a powerful as the anger of the dangerous driver, influencing your success.
This week I read news of an amazing breakthrough for paraplegia. Scientists have developed a method of capturing the brain waves of the intention to walk of a paralysed man by using just a skull cap. There were no internal connections to his brain tissue. A computer interpreted the signals to discover those which were intended make the leg muscles move. Damage to the patient’s spinal cord had severed the nerves which normally carry the messages from brain to those muscles.
The messages of intention to walk were filtered out by the computer and connected to the leg muscles. Of course the muscles were very weak, not having been used, so after some weeks of strengthening them, the patient was able to walk using the power of intention to do so without any other mechanical support; no callipers or splints.
If we can clearly filter out the precise emotional combination which defines the person we wish to be and be seen as and focus on that emotion each day it will become the driving theme, the intention within us.
Here is a meditation by Wayne Dyer which you may find helpful. It may not be presented in the way which suits everyone, Wayne Dyer became increasingly spiritual as the years passed but the message is clear and the music very helpful.
Buy your copy of my book The Mind Diet.
Also published on Medium.