What does your ideal self look like?
This has been the question I have been asking myself the past few months. Going through a divorce has been the most trying time of my life emotionally and mentally and part of my survival strategy is to look more deeply into myself. There is always a part of ourselves that we keep in secret, dreams from when we were young that lay dormant as we settle for the ‘real world’ instead. In Chinese Medicine it is referred to as the Shen or Acquired Self (you plus your interactions with reality, education, culture and so on) and the Hun or True Self.
I know that speaking for myself my Hun (true self) has been a huge part of my life. From my first martial arts class I have had an irrestable pull to train, understand and want to share it with others. I structured my entire life and now career around it and am at my happiest when I am engaged in some form of martial study or sharing. Training, Teaching, Writing, Making Videos or enjoying tea with friends and students. But alongside all this has always been a desire to travel, nomadicly walk around the world looking for teachers, experiences and deeper understanding of life and myself. But instead my Shen (Acquired self) has always been along for the ride, directing me to fit in, settle down, buy a house and toe the line of society. Nothing wrong with that but it has left me with something missing from my heart and life. My upcoming backpacking trip is a way for me to shed more of my acquired self and allow my Hun more freedom.
But this is not just about me. Being Human means we must not only follow our dreams and look for happiness but also accept the pressure our cultures place on us during our lives. I am not saying that my Hun is anything like yours or anyone else’s. But as I slowly realize more and more what all my reading, study and training throughout my life means it’s that our true selves are looking to have us be true and happy whatever that means. For some the house and kids and white picket fence is their true purpose and happiness, for others it might be travel, or a monastic life, or something even less accpeted by society. If nothing else, the martial arts have taught me that self expression is a form of high level art. In combat the very best I have ever met or seen express themselves with techniques and do not run “routines” on opponents. Express your Hun, look into your self to find those hidden dreams and find the balance (平衡) that can be struck towards your happiness.
As always it seems the truth lies in the middle of the extremes, find out who you are and our path is simply one way to do so.
My two cents today.