Many people want to find their true essential nature, their soul, but of course, that is a very rare discovery, at least it is if you are honest about it.
I have another way of searching for that answer which is a bit simpler and perhaps answers more questions about why we are the way we are, as individuals.
I was given a bit of advice from an old man in Turkey about love. Ibrahim said; “When you find a woman you love (naturally this goes for women to men as well) do not love her for how pretty she is, or how good a cook, or her talents, or any of the things that make you love her. Instead, love her for that which is within her that makes her be that way.”
I was told this fifteen years ago and still contemplate the deeper meaning. I see now that it is not just about finding a deeper love for another person, but about the spiritual seekers deepest quest, the search for ones soul and God, whatever your view of God may be.
In regards to relationships, this attitude makes one look far deeper at another person and not only will you find a love that continues long after we age and loose our nimble talents, but as well, it will help prevent you from getting involved with the wrong person.
Too many people are good at giving a perfect performance and looking like the perfect one. The disappointing reality follows with a hardening of the heart which rejects anyone who follows that looks too good to be true. The problem is that one of these days you will meet the ‘perfect’ one for you and reject them because they look too good to be true and you remember the previous one that looked that good but turned out to be a fake.
If your mind is always looking at the cause of the effect, rather than just the outward appearance, you will quickly see the truth in the person you are with. Then one day, when you do meet an authentic person, you will quickly be overwhelmed with a pure emotional feeling that goes beyond explanation.
This one simple way of living, to love what makes the person be the way they are, rather than just love what they are, will open your heart to see Truth in all things and people. When you can do this, your spiritual nature is being cleansed.
The Sufi say that the heart is the veil to the soul, and the mystic’s work is to cleanse that veil to find their true nature, your true essence, your soul.
The heart, in this context, is clouded and dirty with our preconceived ideas, opinions and fears. When we clean those from our mind, we will see the purity and unity in all beings. Your heart sees another persons heart, which is the personality and body, and all the qualities that make a person who they are.
If we live only on the level of heart to heart (mind to mind) in this context, we never connect at the deeper soul to soul level, and that is where disappointment in relationships is born. It is astounding how many people fall in love based on a looks or talents that anyone knows will not last forever, yet they blind themselves from the obvious.
However, looking at a person on the level of what makes them develop their talents, what makes them able to work very long hours, to make their way in the world all on their own without family or support of any kind, is where we can find true love.
True love is not the emotion of love. That may sound strange but consider this for a moment. When you feel ‘love’ for someone and can see that it is triggered by something they do, for example playing a musical instrument so sweetly that your heart melts, what would happen if they lost their hands? Would you love them still?
However, if you loved the same person because of the emotion behind their talent and the time and effort they put in to perfect their skill so they could touch other peoples hearts and bring joy to the world, then you would love them for that which makes them be that way.
The music is an expression of a desire to evolve, to become more each day, to share and bring joy to others. That is a beautiful person worthy of not just love, but something far more valuable and everlasting, respect and admiration.
If another person was also an excellent musician, and they put in an equal effort to perfect their skills, but the reason was so they could be rich and famous…well, I am sure you see the difference.
One typical example is style of clothing. We each have a preference to our own style of dress, as well as what we like in another person. Your style expresses something about your personality. If you are attracted to a certain style, there is something about the character of a person with that style that you like. It is not the cloths, but the personality that chooses to wear those cloths.
This is a big problem because if we stay at the level of the clothing, we will miss a great person simply because they have bad taste or cannot afford to, or it is inappropriate to dress the way they would like.
If you learn to see what makes a person be the way they are rather than just how they are, you will no longer look at the cloths, but you will look in their eyes and see their soul.
This is where we can find true love, and avoid surface infatuation which results in disappointment. More importantly, this is the key to self discovery and your own success in life. This is the key to your own happiness, regardless of having a relationship or not.
There is another Sufi saying; “When you know your Nafs (the ego), you will know God.”
Interesting, isn’t it. That we can know God by knowing our human lesser ego. And here we see why one saying alone sounds good but is only one number in the combination lock. We must learn enough to gain value. What is it within you that makes you want to learn?
Likewise, what is it within you that makes you do the things you do, good or bad. Is it the same thing that is behind all your actions? Or, is there one thing that pushes you in the majority of your life and another that only rarely is behind your actions?
Find what is behind all you do and you will discover your lower ego. When you see that for what it is, you may see that what you consider to be you, is not really the essence of you. It is this discovery which opens the door to discovering your true essential nature simply because it must be that higher part of yourself which is making you undertake this self-exploration.
Love someone for what makes them be the way they are.
Find what makes you be the way you are.
Then you will find truth by discovering why and not just what you do.
In finding truth, you remove lies and, you will find God, your essential true nature.