Thursday, December 01, 2011

If you want peace, first Know Thyself.

When we think about what we want out of life, in life, we all have wants and goals, a need to love and be loved, to create. We need to express ourselves. Throughout history we have carved our names, symbols of our presence, of what we can see and what we, as a mind, are trying to understand.  We want to go beyond where we have been.

We start as an infant, pulling ourselves up.

During Thanksgiving I saw my four-year-old niece, who fancies herself a Cinderella for now – and she is a princess. She is charming, pretty, and has a presence, a sense of herself in the world as being entitled to all that is within her magical kingdom – everything she can imagine can be delightful and pleasing, exciting beyond description. She has her questions too. Shoes are not living things, she says with a big smile to her brother, Jack (13), when he tells her his shoes have names and talk to him.

We want life to make sense. As I listen to the news I hear the many ways we are trying to put the pieces of the puzzles of our collective lives together. Along with the heroes, large and small, there are shadows of princes and princesses, kings, queens, jesters, wannabes.  Sex abuse among young boys, kidnapping of girls, trying to pin down the “truth” of our affairs, integrity, character, harassment, courage, strength, love. Getting to a new true level of peace and understanding requires that we understand ourselves better, more deeply, more simply so that we can accept and acknowledge the complexity of our creation as we experience our physical lives.

I’ve been reading Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. He quotes Jobs: “It takes a lot of hard work to make something simple, to truly understand the underlying challenges and come up with elegant solutions.” (343) Jobs’s self-described “spiritual partner,” Jony Ive, described his design philosophy this way: “Simplicity … involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simply, you have to go really deep. … The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.”

Why don’t we do this more with our “human design”?  I’ve also been reading Paul Johnson’s book, Socrates: A Man for our Times. Socrates, as I relate to the personality shared, always operated using his intuition, as Jobs strived to do, yet also was inspired and guided to understand the philosophy of how men (especially, yet also women and children) thought, what motivated men to think, speak, act as they did. The delight of life is in the living. Creating as its own activity, the constant nature of us as human energy beings, began with thinking. Sharing our thoughts and feelings is one of our greatest gifts – as sensory beings, and also as a collective being. As a society we are most moved by the personal triumphs we experience – overcoming adversity to triumph through sharing love, in the form of food, listening, services, experience. This IS sharing the love and truth from our heart and the wisdom of our soul, beyond the sharing of physical possessions or needs. These gifts accumulate within us as love, as the Ethical Values which enhance every other experience we share as human beings.

I’ve been studying Spiritual Philosophy for most of my adult life. I was taught religious philosophy as a child, and encouraged to use my mind, to learn, to eagerly anticipate all of the opportunities life has to offer. I love to hear, to learn, how other minds respond to and create opportunities to live and learn (such as Steve Jobs). When I examine my life of 49 years, I can clearly see many of the cycles of complexity I’ve lived to get to the simplicity of “knowing thyself.” Knowing thyself continues to unfold its eternal beauty with each day that passes, as I am open to its exploration and discovery.  As I know myself, I am more open to others and how they experience life.

While at my brother’s family’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, they invited each of us at the table to share what we are thankful for. I had not been at their home for Thanksgiving dinner before, and I was happy to be there, to appreciate how they spent the day which has always been a day of happiness and being together for our family. I loved listening to each person express how they felt and thought in that moment of appreciation.  These moments go beyond our “everyday moments” to raise our consciousness of each other and the value of carving time in our busy lives to acknowledge the gifts of sharing life and love and how we learn.

The “instant gratification” concept that we are so accustomed to (such as the brawling seen by some in the black Friday rush) is what we know we must go beyond. Such chaos is not acceptable to a collective that consciously aims toward “peace, love, and understanding.”  Reading Kathy Oddenino’s Love, Truth &Perception this morning, I marked this: “Our soul and spirit seek acknowledgment.  We can only give and receive that which we are conscious of as real within ourself and our life.” The energies of love, nurturing, caring, support are an art unto themselves. I’ve taught my intellect to analyze life, experience, information. I understand how this teaching is only one level of learning. There is an end to that road, when the intellect is controlled by ego beliefs that have accumulated throughout my soul experience. Without love, we create conflict which leads to war, in the same way that roadblocks begin in our internal energy grid (nervous system) which can lead to disease. Then we must dig deeper, through the complexity to get to the simplicity of our design. Our design is the energy of Ethical Values – the courage to push on, the joy of sharing life and love in its minutiae, the laughter of a princess whose world is her pearl. To know thyself as I know another in the moment of truth – the best self invites the best self from another, and our best self, our spirit, is always loving. I’m grateful for learning, for all who teach me, every moment.

Reading Carl Zimmer's review of Steven Pinker's new book prompted me. The Better Angels of our Nature? Why not write a Ph.D. thesis on human nature? If we want to know peace, first Know Thyself.

1 comment:

smiley said...

i totally agree!