The motto γνῶθι σ(ε)αυτόν (“know thyself”) was one of the maxims inscribed on the pediment of the temple of Apollo at Delphi, along with μηδὲν ἄγαν (“nothing in excess”), inviting mankind to exercise moderation in life. It was through these maxims that Apollo’s oracle – one could think of it as one of the “mass-media” of ancient times – invited men to self-investigation, prompting them to discover that the essence of one’s life is not to be searched for in the world outside, but instead within ourselves. —Ancientgreekcourses.com
The death of Socrates (J. Louis David, 1787)
The thought came to me this
morning that few of us truly know ourselves. Most of us have lived our entire lives acting out assigned roles based on a lifetime of programming. Like walking, talking computers operating on data input from various external sources.
We busy ourselves with work, daily tasks and goals based on societies view of success, and numb out behind our screens for hours on end. Yet more often than not we are left feeling empty and unfulfilled.
As we begin the process of truly knowing ourselves, who we are not is brought to light, often in the most painful way. We are then left with two choices; continue going through the motions of everyday existence, unfulfilled, or venture into the unknown where we meet ourselves fully, many of us for the first time.
The latter offers no certainty, It is often referred to as “the road less traveled.“
It‘s a beautiful, albeit lonely journey at times wrought with the deepest pain as our illusions are exposed, brought to light and dissolved. However, it is also the most transformative experience as we begin to re-emerge as our true selves, which brings a profound sense of peace, passion and purpose.
We will never fully know who we truly are without first knowing who we are not. There is no way around it. Are you even the slightest bit curious about who lies underneath all of those layers?
I don’t believe any of us fully arrive, it seems to be a lifelong process. We simply learn how to navigate it all and flow with the process as opposed to constantly fighting it kicking and screaming.