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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Know Thyself

One of the most ancient and mysterious of dicta, "Know Thyself" works on many levels.

Some think it means "understand yourself, your habits, your preferences." This is good, I think, but not enough.

Others go to the far extreme, and say the "Self" in this saying is the "true Self," the Logos, the Brahman, the Dao, the Buddha Nature. A tall order, beyond most of us in the "householder" life.

I vote for the Middle Way. I believe that "Know Thyself" means know your true self--not the mystical Higher Self, but the you that is truly You.

Hmm. I'm stumped about how to explain this.

OK, let's turn to my guy Socrates. He said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." To "examine your life" is a bit like "following your bliss." Look deep down in yourself, at "what makes you tick." Not just your preferences (which shift throughout your life) or your habits (which can be modified), but your motivations, your foundations.

The woman or man who knows what lies at the foundation can build a stronger edifice upon it. Jesus says that the fool built his house on shifting sands, but "the wise man built his house upon a rock."

Find your Rock, then. Find the core of your being. How? Through some sort of discipline (spiritual, athletic, academic, or social).

Once you know yourself, you can be true to yourself, and no one and no thing can shake you.

And, you'll be happier.

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