Monday, January 28, 2008

"Know Thyself"

This little something-something was given on January 20, 2008 at the Trinity @ 7 service.

It strikes me that we live in a state of fear
…or something
Maybe it’s a state of anger for you
Or worry, for her
Perhaps there is variation
And it takes slightly different forms
For each of us

There is an alternative, of course
And it doesn’t require a pilgrimage
To a distant land
(Though sometimes that helps)
It doesn’t require attaching yourself
To a guru
(Though that can help, too)
And of course, there are many ways
To get there,
But here is the alternative for today;
Introspection, coupled with honesty, fearlessness,
And compassion

Socrates said, “The unexamined life
Is not worth living.”
Written at the oracle of Delphi, simply,
“Know thyself.”
An AA step, “Fearless self inventory.”
And from the Buddhist Lojong teachings,
We have, “Liberate yourself
By examining and analyzing.”

“Know your mind
With honesty and fearlessness.”
[And compassion, I would add.]
“See what leads to more freedom
And what leads to more suffering.”

Now, this is simply said.
To put it into action requires
Something more, one would think.
More effort, more strength of will,
More power, more, more, more…
Of something we don’t have.
Or is that true?

Perhaps it really requires less.
Less effort, less strength – or at least,
Less strong-arming. Less struggling
Against who we really are,
Who we really need to be.
And when we come to know ourselves
And cease to struggle against who we are
We begin to choose freedom
Over suffering, in our own lives.

But this is not the end,
First the introspection,
Then then choosing.
Besides the fact that we must do it
Again, and again. And again.
And again.
This is not the end.
Because then,
Then there is maintaining your choice
Of freedom over suffering
At home, at work
With family, with friends
Places where change of behavior
Isn’t always welcome

Because after all these things,
What is the point of introspection
If it doesn’t impact our daily lives
In some discernable way?
What is the point of making lists,
Coming to realizations,
What is the point of the hard work
Of being honest with yourself
About yourself, without beating
Yourself up about not being perfect,
Or even nice?

What is the point,
Unless by simply realizing
Something is awakened inside of us
Something that was simply waiting
For us to come look for it,
To give it time to grow and blossom
Something that makes choosing
Freedom over suffering
A thing that is not just simple,
But increasingly easy
Something that is, perhaps, ourselves
And having spent many blissful years
In the dark womb of our subconscious
Now has the light of our own vision
Cast upon it

And so we, ourselves,
Become enlightened.

But this is not the end
Because then, we share it with others,
And that is just the beginning.

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