Saturday, July 4, 2015

Know Thyself

Rendition of original text inscribed at the Temple of Apollo
I have a plaque that hangs over my work space which I painted and it reads "Know Thyself". These famous two words were also inscribed at the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. It is one of the Delphic Maxims or aphorisms which were given to the Temple of Apollo by the Oracle of Delphi. These two words were also uttered by various philosophers and sages such as Heraclitus, Plato and Socrates. Self-knowledge and self-enlightenment are also a very large component to spirituality's such as Hinduism. Knowing who you are and self-knowledge is viewed as the way to total self-enlightenment. 

The true meaning of "Know Thyself" can be so complex and philosophical that it can be defined in many different ways. I used to struggle with the real meaning behind this statement. It seems so simple and yet so profound at the same time. There is power behind these words and when spoken that power settles around you like a great and heavy mystery. It feels strange to think that we may not really know ourselves. I used to think that I knew exactly who I was. Until I discovered who I actually was. I also believe that a large part of knowing yourself has to do with being brutally honest with yourself and being able to accept what you find. There will always be a part of ourselves that we do not like or we wish we could change. But then we would be changing who we are and we can never do that. 

Learning to accept yourself for who you are means accepting and owning your darker aspects or your flaws/faults. It means understanding yourself and knowing how you handle certain things life throws at you. It means taking yourself out of your comfort zone and throwing yourself into the fray so to speak. I believe that once you truly get to know and accept yourself you will lead a more peaceful and content life. And according to many spirituality's we are on a constant journey of knowing ourselves which will not end until we achieve total self-enlightenment. There is power in being self-aware. There is also peace and love as with self-acceptance also comes self-love. You must love yourself for all your aspects for that is who you are and you cannot change who you are at your core. You can change how you react to things and how you behave but you cannot change who you are. So it makes sense that you must embrace yourself fully and live the life you were meant to live.

Who knew two simple words could have such a powerful effect? Sometimes, as was in my case, in order to know ourselves we must first break apart and experience a "dark night of the soul". For those of you who have also experienced these they may be some of the hardest things you will ever go through. What you thought you knew about yourself will be completely stripped away. You will feel lost and confused and you will struggle to find meaning. We must be completely emptied and broken in order to be refilled and repaired. It is a transformation and you are becoming who you were supposed to be. It is supposed to be painful but at the end you will be thankful for it. Even though going through my own dark night of the soul was the most painful experience of my life thus far, I wouldn't have changed it for the world. It helped me to see and to know. It helped me to love and accept and ultimately lead to a more peaceful and accepting life.

Know yourself, love yourself and accept yourself for you have a purpose. We all have one. It's the struggle to find it that trips us up.

1 comment:

  1. Always love your posts! Thank you for sharing your wisdom


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