How do you know who you are?

To know requires a knower and the thing known.

That’s why it’s so hard to know yourself — to be the knower and the thing known at the same time.

It is impossible for the eye to see itself.

It is impossible for the ear to hear itself.

For the tongue to taste itself.

For the fingertip to touch itself.

So, to know yourself, you have to examine the evidence that you leave behind. Even this is not in real time, but it’s close.

1. Create

When you create something — a painting, a piece of writing, a sculpture — you get a reflection of who you are. Art works best because when you create something for the sake of creating something — not for a boss or a market — you get to see who you are when no one’s looking.

2. Relate

Also, in your interactions with people, you get to see how kind and generous and honest and authentic and cruel and rude and and duplicitous you are.

3. Challenge

When you do something challenging like scaling a mountain or rebuilding a vehicle, you get to see what you’re like on the inside — your intelligence and resilience and happiness or lack thereof.

In order for the knower to know itself, it has to create things outside of itself to get a clue of what it is, because trees bear fruit after their own kind. If you see that you’re producing apples, you must be an apple tree.

4. Be

And then, balance out this introspection by sitting still and quiet and just be, without trying to know. The separation between knower and thing known is just an illusion, when you’re talking about knowing yourself. You are one being, not two. It’s important to take time to just be without trying to know.

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