One of philosophy’s greatest minds, Socrates once uttered two of the most incredible and profound words ever. He said “know thyself”. As simplistic as the statement may sound, “Knowing yourself” is a search or journey that in itself is difficult but many thinkers consider a necessary one.
Now Socrates didn’t author any book, according to his era as viewed by these that wrote about him, he was described as not attractive with his words, he was also described as someone of no pretence and voiced his ideas with honesty and blunt authority.
Through his influence, he had brought through people like Plato and others important life lessons for any lover of wisdom and their words do hold important ground even today.
Knowing oneself is perhaps the most difficult and only real task you will ever face in life, why you may ask? Because what we truly and only own in this life is our minds and bodies nothing else.
Here is my take, when you search your being, your heart and mind, you will be surrounded by doubt, error, a multitude of conflicting feelings and questions. These may draw your attention away from your search entirely and may make it seem futile and or worthless.
If you try to deal with each distraction as it appears, you will end up floundering without direction. Your goal as you look and search may appear at the sweet horizon yet the closer you get, you never seem to get there, but one must set aside all questions, doubts and fears.
Instead, put all energy and thought into your search, understand then ask and answer questions about one’s self. It is often hard to stay on track, your search will take you through life at its best and worst.
The daily experiences, deep memories and thoughts filled with colourful emptiness, the diverse cruelty and physical pain of others and yourself. The boundless and flavourful pleasure of the world, where answers are in fact seldom found.
The cold glances of strangers on the streets, the reality of poverty in the shadow of enormous wealth, watching people get sick and die, bitter tears of the helpless, war, crime, the untamed minds of the selfish on their high horses, ivory towels, the vivid hate and poison of other people.
Yet as you journey deeper, thoughts of food, art, drink, music, work, money, education, health and sex,all the physical pleasure pull your attention away and cause you mind to slowly drift away and your focus is blurred as one thing after the next interrupts your attention.
Even when you think you have broken through the fog of mystery of knowing oneself and are running toward this goal, a tiny diversion, a moment’s pause, a brief stance, a blink and you found yourself back to a stranger and cloudy state of doubt and not knowing where you are and if anything who you are.
In this haze, you find yourself believing you reached your goal when you didn’t. This feeling of success can be strong and give you an incredible rush of living and since there is little time to stop and think in our day and age about who we really are,
here we have been and where we have gone, what happens is that we make ourselves believe we understand and have truly found meaning when in fact all we see, and hear is a false view and melody, an illusion of it, error in a sweet perfume. You may have wrongly concluded that meaning when really its nothing special at all.
To allow this is to condemn yourself to deep darkness, a blackest void shared by all who live with no true meaning. A darkness few recognise, a depth only appreciated by these who have no meaning or have no sense of self.
Only those who finish their search and keep moving never giving up will understand and love meaning and life.
Completing the search requires a shire willingness to start. It is far easier to live your life following with whatever sort of daily routine you have over the years.
In life, you can wait for people to give you what you want or give up and take what life gives you or live the life people have set out for you or be a boss and make decisions for yourself.
The last thing you need in this life is regret. Learn to live and find that unique voice that makes you. So consciously and subconsciously construct yourself a routine designed to make your life feel good and reasonable. This is the art of soul searching.
It is obviously easier to live a normal life than to question, search and change yours today, yet if you want to understand yourself you must search without fear of or resistance to the change that may come in your life.
You search and search until you know what it means to have meaning and to all in all truly accept, appreciate and know yourself in turn, this shades light on what it means to live in this world we live in.
In the immortal words of Nelson Mandela “one of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming for some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our window today.” So be present and know yourself.