On a recent morning I was attending a discussion about the Gnostic Scriptures. If you’re not familiar, these are the papyrus scrolls found in Nag Hammadi in the 1890′s that appear to have been written by very early Christians but were not included in the Bible as we have it today. During this discussion a quote was shared that caught my attention. Here it is:
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” – the Gospel According to Thomas
This resonated with me from my coaching work as well as from my own personal journey. In coaching I strive to help clients recognize their “true self” and to reflect that in their daily actions. As a human being I know how hard that actually is.
“If you bring forth what is within you…”
What is within you? How do we know? These days we have scads of psychological and career measures that claim to describe your personality. I’ve given them to coaching clients as well as therapy clients. I’ve taken them myself. We have astrological charts, psychics, palm readers and a host of others who claim they can peer into your soul and explain your inner life as well as predict your future. I’ve even tried those on occasion. What I do think is that we humans tend to believe what we’re told by people we consider to be professionals. We like to ascribe power to others in hopes that they have “the answer”. We love to focus on ourselves and it can feel even better when we have someone else focusing on us!
But do we find truths this way? Do we really know what is within us after such an experience? I think not. Can we know? I’m not sure. I’m reminded of another Biblical saying (I hope you’ll be patient with my Christian references here. I’m actually very open and interested in a variety of spiritual beliefs but these are references I’m familiar with because of my culture and experiences). The quote is this:
“For now we see in the mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
The idea here is that we will never know ourselves fully, at least not as long as we’re alive in these bodies, in this lifetime. It’s not possible. According to this quote, it will not be until we have passed from this lifetime that suddenly it will all become clear.
So – what then? Are we doomed? How can we be saved by bringing forth what is within us if we’re never going to clearly know what that is? Is there any point in any of it?
Here’s what I think. Chasing complete knowledge of ourselves is a futile and narcissistic task. We are a narcissistic society. Complete self-focus does not produce valuable beings and does nothing to better the world. And no coach, therapist, guru, minister, or other “helper” has all the answers. Take a careful look at how much time or money you’re spending to learn more about yourself. As the saying goes, “For everything there is a season…”. There may be times to focus on self exploration but don’t let those times become a lifestyle. Eventually it will be time to turn outward and focus on others.
That said, although we may never “fully” know our inner selves, it is important to do our best to understand why we are who we are and why we do what we do. As important – we should acknowledge what we’re passionate about. And that, (to me) is where lies the significance of the first quote.
“If you bring forth what is within you what you bring forth will save you”
Your passion. What is it? Are you doing what you’re passionate about? Is it reflected in your business, your career, or your life? When our lives do not reflect our passion in some way that is when we are allowing ourselves to be destroyed.
“There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.” — Anthony Robbins
You may be one of the fortunate individuals whose career reflects their passion. You get paid to do what you love each day. What a blessing! Take time to be thankful. If that has not been your path and you find yourself making money by something that is not your passion you have a couple of choices:
- Change your work to reflect your passion
- Find other outlets for your passion outside of work
Either way, the crucial point is to make sure you are bringing forth that inner part of yourself. How will you know when you’ve accomplished this? Hmmm… energy, happiness, enthusiasm, a silly inexplicable grin on your face? Believe me, you’re going to know!
Photo: Anirudh Koul