Without self-reflection, there is no happiness. The happiness of those who do not introspect is random and unmaintainable, neither robust nor progressive. Those who do introspect can grow their good states, identify, extend and maximize them. With that awareness, they can bring joy to their community: people witness them and get curious, the anxious and more emotional members of the community relax and feel safer, the intelligent notice and wonder what the secret of such a constructive, balanced and creative mindset might be. The introspective may get overlooked by groups who are not exactly on the same wavelength. But to those who need the medicine of looking within, they are very visible and often the incentive to explore the inner life.
If only half of the human family was in touch with themselves, we would be living in very different systems. If the majority of the human family was self-reflective, we would carry down the harm we are causing to animals, the ecosystem, the water bodies that we all drink from and other human beings in only a few years. Unfortunately, many cultures have elevated people without a great deal of self-control and who act like very young children, because, I guess, they act as a canvas for projections and the shared, though not exactly conscious, desire to be admired for acting like a young child. Maybe someone who acts like a kid does not seem dangerous or premeditated, but disarmingly cute or “passionate”; the fact remains that many of these people have not been children for a few decades and that such projections on them are only possible because we do not look within, we shy away from genuine feelings that we find within and we shy away from responsibility.
By looking within, we can discover how we tick, what imprints we had, what causes good feelings and how we can multiply our good feelings. The process of elimination (getting rid of stuff that accumulated while we weren’t looking) can be daunting, so it is important to persevere, not expect awareness to be thrown into your lap, but to think of it as a skill – like playing an instrument, for example – that can be trained.
After some training, you will not go back to life as it was, and you will not regret that you made yourself available to it. In fact, your better traits will rise and become more prominent, and you will find more pleasure, humour and serenity in your experience. Digging deep into your inner life will also uncover solutions and paths you had no idea existed or were possible and will connect you to what has meaning to you. Life will seem less chaotic and bewildering because you will be more centred and committed to your vision, influence, calling and everything you love.
By going within, you will also experience states of equanimity that will help you transform many situations that robbed you of peace or made you feel inadequate or helpless. You are neither helpless nor inadequate nor incapable of coming to peace with whatever happened or may happen. The practice of introspection will give you the resources to cope with the events, learn what can be learned, and to pull away, while it is still time, from painful learning. There is enough pain in the world to learn from. You don’t have to volunteer as a lab rat; it is enough to take in the experience of human pain in order to change course, soothe the hurts, recover from unwell conditions and unwell conditioning and steer away from more of the same. In course correction, there is potential that we haven’t even begun to tap into.
You are worth this journey to the inner realms. Wherever you travel in the world, you take yourself to. So you can land in a beautiful place and feel your baggage, still. Or you can land in a beautiful place, let it open your heart, let it feed your sense of style, take a few deep breaths, appreciate what your eyes are showing you and express the delight of finding yourself there. The difference between being in a beautiful place and missing everything about it and being in a beautiful place and noticing and fully appreciating it will become obvious to you. The quality of your perception produces the quality of your life and the quality of your mind.
16 February 2023