I met Yoda this week. Not really, but I got some very Yoda-esque advice from a stranger, so that's kind of the same thing, right?
I was just sitting on campus finishing some homework when this middle-aged gentleman sat down across from me and asked, "If I were to ask you who you are, how would you answer?"
So, as any socially awkward and cautious person would, I gave the simplest answer I could, "Um...I'm Kim and I'm a student here."
This answer did not satisfy Sensei. As he explained, you are not your name or your occupation. He proceeded to tell me a little bit about himself and introduced me to his daughter. As he went to leave, his parting words to me were these, "It was nice to meet you, Kim. And remember, always know who you are."
Yes, Master Yoda.
I've been thinking about those words for the past several days, and it worries me to find that I still don't have a good answer. A few years ago, I would have told you that I am a singer, a vegetarian and an LotR fanatic. That would have been a fairly accurate description of who I was then. I still, technically am all of those things, but they seem to fall far short of who I am now. There are so many parts to me, as I'm sure you can relate. How does one explain who they are to a stranger, or any person, in a minute or two of conversation? It seems impossible, but vital.
In a practical sense, knowing who you are would be really useful in, say, an interview. But more than that, I think it is important to life to know who you are. How else can you know if you are on the right path? How else can you begin to seek the right path?
I think that discovering who I am is the key to discovering what I want to do with my life.
For now, all I know is that I am equal parts romantic and cynical, brave and cowardly, hard-working and lazy. I am lost, but seeking. I guess that I am a pilgrim. I am seeking self.
There is a meditation mantra that I really like. Hamsa. It is the sound of inhale (ham-) and the sound of exhale (-sa), the most natural phrase a person can utter. It means, "I am that." What could be more natural than knowing who you are?
I encourage anyone who feels lost, or just feels like checking in with themselves to ask yourself this question, "Who are you?" because it is necessary to always know who you are.