We have all heard the famous adage "Know Thyself" that is inscribed over the doorway of the Greek temple of Delphi. The ancient Greeks knew the unexamined life was not worth living. They knew that the knowledge of self was the key to all other knowledge. Socrates was asked once why it was that Alcibiades, who was so brilliant, was so unhappy. Socrates replied, "Because wherever he goes, Alcibiades takes himself with him." This is very profound for each of us today.
Have you ever tried to move to a new city to start again only to find the same situations following you? Possibly you have had the same type of co-workers following you from one job to the next, or maybe you continue to find yourself in the same type of relationships again and again. There is one ingredient in all of these scenarios that is the same, YOU!
Taking Yourself Wherever You Go
There is an old story of a gatekeeper of the city who was sitting outside the city gates when he was approached by a person entering for the first time. "How is this city you live in?" he asked. "Before I answer that, let me ask you how you found the previous town you visited?" the old gatekeeper asked. "Oh," the traveler exclaimed "the people were unfriendly and rude." The gatekeeper replied "It is amazing but those are the exact words I would use to describe this town. It would be best to continue on to the next town." So the traveler went on his way.
Later in the day, the gatekeeper was approached by another traveler looking for a place to dwell. "Is this a nice city to stay for a while?" the traveler asked: "How did you find living in your last town?" the old gatekeeper asked. "The people were lovely", the traveler said, "kind, generous, and very friendly." "Well, that is amazing, for those are the exact words I would have chosen to describe this town. Please come and dwell with us awhile", said the gatekeeper. The gatekeeper knew, wherever we go, we take ourselves with us.
Examine Your Life
One of the greatest teachers of all time Pythagoras, demanded that his pupils examine themselves each night and reflect on their progress. In this way, Pythagoras was teaching his Students to live an examined life, one which will produce a wealth of growth and insight. Can you imagine how truly different our lives would be if we took time every night to examine ourselves? By asking reflective questions of ourselves, it will deepen awareness of self and others. Questions such as: Did I listen to my children? Was I loving to my mate? Did I give my all at work? Have I been over critical of another or myself? Did I pay attention to what I was thinking then or was I on automatic pilot? Was I honest with myself and others? Did I leave a situation angry? These questions will help you become more self-responsible.
Unfortunately, many of us spend time every night examining lives -- but rarely our own. Too often we do not take the time or energy in relationships to examine what part we played in creating situations and circumstances. Instead, we spend an immense amount of time figuring out the other people involved. It is a waste of time figuring out others because the only person you can change or accept is yourself.
When I counsel someone, they usually begin by telling me what is wrong in their outer life, with their spouse, children, or job. They want to 'fix' one of these people or situations. I always turn the session back to the person I am counseling with 'because life is always an inside job'.
What Are You Creating?
If certain scenarios show up in your life repeatedly, it is time to examine what part you are playing in creating these situations. For instance, a woman might be attracting the same type of abusive relationships into her life. If she never ask herself why, if she never examines herself to ascertain in what way the abuse is serving her, she will continually seek and find these kind of men.
When we begin to examine our lives we will find strength-weakness, wisdom-ignorance, love-hate, joy-sadness, wellness-sickness, peace-chaos, spirit-matter. In some areas, we will be in balance and others we will not. However, what an examined life gives us is a road map so that we can watch out for the holes in the road. When we see situations that begin to look negatively familiar, we can say no immediately before we fall in the hole again.
Know Who You Are
Let us not forget that we are more than human beings with human frailties. Each of us has a spiritual being within as well. Wherever we go, we take this spiritual self. Yet, if we never take time to exercise this part of self we might not know it exist. All of us have muscles in our bodies but if we have not been exercising them we might not be aware of them at all. Knowing your spiritual self requires the exercising your spiritual muscle. Take time to meditate and to ask for direction from your spiritual self. Ask for healings, wisdom, love, and even to know more about the human aspect of your personality that is causing you to fall in those holes.
Each of us is multi-faceted. Just as a crystal reflects many colors when the light shines on it, so, too, do we shine when light is put on those parts of ourselves that are hidden. I have found in my quest to know myself, that I am many selves. I am not perfect. There are some areas of my life that I still do not accept very easily, and other areas that are still hidden from my self-examination (denial). Yet, I don't fall in nearly so many holes and my life is much more balanced. I now take time to meditate, to become aware of feedback, and to review each day so that I will know myself.
Instant Healing: Gain Inner Strength, Empower Yourself, and Create Your Destiny
by Susan Shumsky.
About The Author
Rev. Lana Allen is an ordained Unity Minister in Colorado. At the time of this writing she was a minister in Pompano Beach, Florida. For more info on Unity Churches, visit http://www.unity.org/.