April 19

Today's quotation:

We forge gradually our greatest instrument for understanding the world--introspection.  We discover that humanity may resemble us very considerably--that the best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbours is to know ourselves.

Walter Lippman

Today's Meditation:

It seems somewhat contradictory to think that the best way to know the world around us it to know ourselves, but based on what I've learned so far, it's definitely true.  When I practice introspection, I learn more about myself, my motivations, my true feelings, my shortcomings, my strengths.  I learn more about what I can tolerate and what I can't--and why.  I learn more about my own humanity and my feelings about life and living, and when that happens, I feel closer to my fellow beings because I feel more compassion for them, as I know that in most ways, they're just like me, going through similar experiences, feelings, and fears. 

I am a very unique individual, but I don't necessarily live like one.  I may be taking on certain roles that I think are important, and living like other people live in order to fit in.  If I spend time in introspection, I can discover things and ways of being that are uniquely me, that will allow me to become the unique creation that I was born to be.  If I never stop to consider just who and what I am, I face the risk of putting on a mask to wear for the rest of my life because it's the mask the world wants to see, not because it's who I truly am.

It's important that we carve out time in our schedules to be alone, whether we're locked in a quiet room or walking in a park or a forest or in the desert, someplace where there are few distractions that will take our minds away from our goal.  When we give ourselves chances to know ourselves better, we give ourselves chances to deal with many of the issues facing us effectively and authentically, and many of the fears we have melt away; many of our problems lose their intimidating natures and become simply speed bumps that are easily crossed.

Introspection can help us to overcome our feelings of separateness and help us to see just how much we're like the other people who are sharing this planet with us.  It's important that we give ourselves a chance to learn this, and we won't do so if our focus is constantly directed outward.  Take some time, be alone, and don't be afraid to look inside--there's a lot of beauty there!

Questions to consider:

Why does introspection seem to be something that we neglect?

What kinds of things might we learn if we took the time and made the effort to look inside ourselves honestly and deeply?

What kinds of benefits might we reap if we're to get to know ourselves better?
For further thought:

People live with themselves. . . and don't know themselves.  "Know thyself" means:  devote time each day to studying yourself. . . ferreting out your weakness, working at self-improvement, purifying your immortal soul.

Israel S. Lipkin
  

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