As humans – or, perhaps, as intellectual and philosophically-inclined humans – we spend a good deal of time thinking about and analysing the self. Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I the way I am? Why are others the way they are? Does Peter across the room see the colour red in exactly the same way I do (now this is an interesting question and if anyone has any notes on this, please send them my way)? I don’t propose that we all ask ourselves these questions about all of mankind – and perhaps we should leave that to the philosophical discoveries of the likes of John Locke – but certainly we all seem a little curious and wanting to understand ourselves better.
Enter Human Design, a bodygraph synthesising astrology, Chinese I Ging, and the chakra system, and calculated using your birth and 88 pre-natal dates/times, which maps out different aspects of our personality and, well, our inherent design. It basically comes down to the way we are. Human Design uses the concepts of Definition and Openness to determine how we act and react to certain things. If an area is defined, this means that it is within our design to be a certain way. I’d go as far as to say we’ve been genetically programmed to be a certain way, just as our hair and eye colours are predetermined. The open areas are those where we are more receptive to the influence of others. There’s nothing good or bad about these things – one person isn’t better than anyone else because he or she has more areas defined or open – it’s simply information about the way we are.
Most aware people would argue that surely we know how we are – we see the evidence of our thoughts and actions every day! True, and I certainly thought the same. But always eager to learn and experience new things, I tried the Human Design system anyway. The lovely lady, Christa, who mapped out my chart for me isn’t in Cape Town, so I sent her all the requested details and she sent my analysis back to me – complete with an hour-long sound file of her explaining what everything means (don’t you just love modern technology?). So I cuddled up with some hot tea and embarked on a journey of self-discovery.
So, what did I learn? That blue is my favourite colour and I’ll get married at twenty-eight and I actually really like pears and being crazy and jumping out of airplanes even though I always thought I didn’t? Surely not. As mentioned, most people know themselves to a certain extent. Many of the things that were spoken about were things I already intuitively knew. Then again, apparently intuition is one of my strong points (isn’t that lovely?). But, yes, we do know ourselves – but how many of us trust ourselves? We know that we are a certain way but then go around beating ourselves up over it. I shouldn’t stress so much. I shouldn’t be so controlling. I shouldn’t be so emotional. I shouldn’t be so stone-cold. I shouldn’t be so bored all the time. I shouldn’t think with my heart. I shouldn’t think so much about everything anyways. And so all these thoughts run through our minds day in, day out, and we keep on pushing ourselves to change and try harder and be better and, ultimately, be different. All the while what we’re really saying is that we should change our genetic composition. And if it’s not as easy as buying a packet of hair dye, then we’re caught in this spiral of self-destructive thoughts of how we’re not the way we expect ourselves – or society expects us – to be.
And I think that, ultimately, that’s what Human Design comes down to. It’s giving us insight into the way we are so that we can accept that and act or react accordingly. I can already hear all the world’s skeptics mumbling something about it all being fake and whatnot, but having someone I’ve only ever met once telling me all these profound things about myself that I kinda already knew and saying ‘hey, it’s okay, this is you’, is very inspiring.
So did I learn some remarkable never-before-known fact about myself? No, of course not. I’m not an idiot and if you’d tell me something like the jumping-out-of-planes scenario above I’d laugh and walk away. But what I did learn is to accept certain things about myself and trust myself more. The analysis pin-pointed areas in my life that I should pay special attention to and things that I should look out for and try. It taught me to let go of all these voices in my head and just be me. Sure, it’s a work-in-progress, but all this self-knowledge is still pretty awesome, and I’d encourage all those eager to learn more about themselves and understand themselves better to definitely check it out. Visit their website for more information on this wonderful system!