Each of us is constantly under pressure to conform – to do what others expect us to be and do. This pressure begins when we are early and continues until we die. Yet, the most revered figures throughout the traditions of the world became memorable because they were uniquely themselves. Their behavior was uncommon, exceptional in some way, even radical. Whether a spiritual leader or an artist, a healer or a leader; they are remembered because they managed to manifest the uniqueness within them.
There is a story of an old rabbi on his death bed being asked if he feared facing God. The rabbi answered, “Yes, I am very afraid.” His students said, “Why, you’ve shown the leadership of Abraham, the courage of Jacob, and the wisdom of Moses. Why should you of all people be afraid?” He answered, “when I face God he will not ask me – Rueben, why weren’t you more like Abraham, Jacob, or Moses. No, he will ask me why weren’t you more like Rueben. To that question I have no answer.”
The old rabbi reminds us that God is most interested in the unique spark he placed in each of our souls. The greatest wisdom, the greatest calling, the greatest discovery is to become oneself.