The all-seeing eye of Horus 

Today the words 'Know Your Self' went through me. 'Know Your Self' stood above the temple of Apollo, the temple where the Greeks consulted the Oracle of Delphi. Many classical Greek philosophers, such as Socrates, were convinced of the idea that true knowledge about life starts with intensive self-examination. In fact, according to Socrates, an unexamined life is not worth living. For the sake of clarity: Socrates doesn't say that an unexamined life is worth nothing. 

I recognize this statement from Socrates. An unexamined life is not Life..., it is a life that proceeds mechanically according to learned patterns that we develop as a child. Example: you always fulfill the role of mediator (as an adult), because as a child you were in the middle of serious arguments between your parents, they often had a fight. Result: as soon as there is disagreement in a company or in the relationship, mechanically the pattern is put into action, you mediate, whether you want it or not, you are taken over by the pattern, because the last thing you want is to be in an atmosphere of fighting and quarreling. So any circumstance that has similarity with this atmosphere, triggers a feeling of insecurity, the insecurity you experienced as a child from which you stepped in between your parents. So you act 'unconsciously'. Actually, according to your learned program, which you have no control over, because this program is still unconscious in you, there can't be disagreement. Disagreement or quarrel, which in time is a given in a lifetime, means to you: insecurity. You don't want to be confronted with this feeling. 

Another pattern can be: distract. For example, you come from a family that didn't talk about emotions or difficult situations, because the parents themselves didn't learn how to deal with emotions. The example you have seen as a child: as soon as emotions or vulnerability are in play, your parents distract you. Consequence: as an adult you repeat, completely unconsciously, automatically, this pattern when emotions are popping up in a conversation with your child, partner or friends. Another consequence: you don't understand why you feel so empty..., cut off as you are of your own emotions and vulnerabilities... You feel alone with some regularity, you don't experience connection, contact, friendship, without being aware that this is caused by this pattern. 

Everyone, without anyone, knows painful experiences whose pain has never fully seen the light (for example the pain of being left out), but this pain does direct our behavior, without us knowing it. Unless... 'being aware' stands up in us.

In addition to learned patterns (appeasing, doing your best, distraction, wanting to be liked etc.), we also learn from a young age what is right and wrong. In this way many 'pictures' live in us, which we lay about reality. 

Example: to be lazy and doing nothing is wrong, nobody dies from working. Again we are guided by these 'pictures', which are automatically activated when a situation in the present agrees: your son or daughter, who with some regularity takes time and space to relax, is encouraged to work, you give him or her an assignment for a household job or let him/her know that homework needs to be done: lazing is not allowed. The reality is: a daughter or son who relaxes. That reality is therefore neutral, but not for you, because you have received the picture that doing nothing is wrong. This is one example, but I can tell you, through years of self-examination, that there are many pictures and beliefs in our lives that directs our behavior, without having to say anything about it..., unless we wake up, become aware. 

Whether we like it or not: we are lived by all those pictures, parental voices and beliefs, which we are not aware of. Ignorance and old pain determine our behavior. 

Okay, intensive self-examination seems to be necessary to wake up from the state of ignorance, also called the dreamstate. Yes, I agree. And that requires 'Consciousness', 'Awareness'. 

A first step is that we see the pattern. But what do you mean by seeing? Do you look from the mind? Or do you look from Awareness/Consciousness? If we look from the mind, we have an opinion about it: we condemn what we see. You see, for example, that a judgment passes and immediately a thought is activated: I am not allowed to judge, because judging is an expression of the mind. This is not the seeing that will free us from our suffering. It is about seeing from Consciousness, then it is perceived without judgment. And that is an essential development: the leap of seeing from the mind (which rejects what is seen) to seeing from the Source, which is clear, loving and neutral (our Buddha nature). 

How do you look? With what eye do you view your behavior and actions? Research that once every day. Do you look from the mind? Or is there a seeing from neutrality, a gentle, loving view of what is taking place in you? And what do you see? Do you see the patterns and beliefs in you that guide your behavior? Do you see which deeper pain is being affected, that you don't want to feel? The pain that lies behind irritation, judgment, distraction, your best efforts, guilt, shame, not being good enough, fear? 

Let the old pain melt, make contact with this pain that you have been carrying for so long: the pain of being unloved, the pain of loneliness and rejection, the pain of emptiness, the pain of not being welcome, the pain of helplessness and powerlessness, the pain of not being understood and heard, of being insecure and unsupported, the pain of oppression, of having no voice. The story is not important, because it keeps you in identification with the mind. Just feel the pain out of  Awareness (no story, be totaly aware while feeling the pain). The way out is the way in. 

Self-examination has a condition. What would this condition be? Any idea? What is essential to be able to reap the fruits of self-examination? 

My answer: a deep sense that you are the only one who is responsible for your pain. And we don't find that easy, because we are all avoiders..., avoidance of pain. And in order not to feel that pain or hurt, we point out, to the other, the others are the cause of my pain. And this conviction is very persistent: I feel so and that is because of you. No, that is not because of the other (s), the other only triggers the pain that is already present in you. If that pain is not present in you, there would be no pain at all, you would not experience the grumbling of your partner if you ask him to turn off the TV, because the bottom for it is missing in you. You can only be touched if there is a hook in you of previous pain, which seems to agree with what you think you perceive with the other person(s): my partner doesn't consider me important, he has no attention for me, only for that TV (mobile phone, other people etc.) If you are hurt, take responsibility for what is happening in you. And let the pain of the child you were melting. 

And the reward of self-examination is: inner liberation, unconditional love, suffering that ceases to exist, a clean lens, emptiness (there is nothing between you and reality: you see things as they are). A rich reward, which is not just thrown into our lap. It requires a total effort and then one day... the shift takes place... and you are no longer a slave of the mind. There is more and more vision, clear vision, the identification with the painful emotions and convictions gradually goes out (or suddenly), as the Consciousness deepens itself. If you feel challenged by this path, the way of self-examination, know that you are welcome for some guidance and support.

An examined life is worth living. 
LinkedIn: Caroline Ootes