“The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living” – Socrates (Sunset Musings)

Socrates is known for this statement as he spoke out at his trail, choosing death over exile.  Choosing truth and the experience of the eternal (after life) over selling out, is what he chose.    

I glanced around the room at a meeting I was at this week after hearing why one keeps coming to those rooms, and the answer was clear…the desire to live “an examined life.”   So many wise people were at this book study, ages were around my grandparents age, some my parents.  The common denominator?  Everyone there is into spiritual evolution that is tied to “real work.”  Meditation and prayer alone don’t cut it. They are important, but must rely on deep inventories, complete work on your side of the street (amends, and daily revisions) and yearly honing of our reactions, emotions, and defects of character that are the real issue we work on.   

We all tend to use coping mechanisms that are patterns ingrained. We can’t see a problem, until the problem is not where we stand.  Another way of thinking of this is we can’t see what we are doing, until we are not doing that thing anymore.   

Perspective is a powerful tool that can wildly deceive even the serious intellect and make reality not something as accurate as we think.  Throw in denials and peer delusions, (thoughts of those closest to us shaping us without us knowing) and you wonder how we can see things accurately at all.  

I’ve heard it described as Miles Law Theory in an academic setting.  The adage that depending on where we sit in a room, we see the same bottle differently. 

“The Great Work” of recovery requires another set of eyes (and peer support) to help us see things we may be missing.   When we do deep personal inventories to see where and how our emotions and the triggers tied to them have been ruling us for so long, we can begin to do habit redirection and change the habit loop driving us blindly for so long.  I also enjoy weekly therapy, because the people I respect the most in every discipline say that having healthy objective mirrors just make us better.   

Blind spots are tied to denial.  If you combine that with a lack of humility or too much pride we will think “we don’t need help from anyone.”  Relationships, runners, business owners, and people of all types; we all need help at some point if we want to grow to the next level. Or we will just keep repeating the same things again and again, just with new people around us and convenient folks to blame for the repeating issues that come up.  I find people who ask for help to be as Brene Brown says, “the most trust worthy people there are.”      

Eating, sex, gambling, drugs, alcohol, food, anything that becomes a coping mechanism can be an issue. Even yoga could, in theory, if used to an extreme approach without self-reflection and healing of our deep pains, COULD BE AN ADDICTION. Clearly some are healthier than others, but if our goal is spiritual evolution, we can’t bypass anything.  Faith without work, is dead.  

The places that scare us, the fears we run from, is the meat that is at the heart of our spiritual journey.  Choosing courage over comfort must be a mantra, and day by day, those fears we were paralyzed from don’t frighten us at all anymore. And this, it leads to a real liberation in the spirit. A real calmness of our energy and frequency that the world is part of.    

We can’t blame anymore, we can’t see our partner as the problem, or the president, or anything outside of us, IF WE WANT TO GROW.  Because we lose every ounce of the power of evolution when we do not embrace forgiveness, facing fears, and living an authentic life aligned with the God of our understanding where we focus on the one person we have total power over, ourselves.   

Listen to the dinner table topics, are those there talking about their changes? Or simply talking about others? Find what you want to become and immerse yourself with those types of people.   

No more excuses for me anymore, so I don’t hang out with people who use excuses. No more blaming my spouse or a country or a problem I can’t fix.  I own my actions and chart a course where my emotions, my reactions, my issues are the only thing I worry about. Because those things? Can be changed, and powerfully so.   

The more I learn, the less I know for sure, because as the bubble that is my insights and understanding of the world grows outward and up, so does the number of things on the other side of that bubble.  This is the great paradox of knowledge, and the more we truly know the less we are certain of.   

Humility means we are teachable, able to let ourselves and others be wrong gently, and lead with kindness.   

I was blind, sometimes divisive, and I don’t like that side of me. I do not relate to it, it is not part of my inner constitution and its part of what drives me so much today to seek truth and help people become inspired to see the good in each other.  Us versus them is fear, tribal lines and primal cortex part of the brain.  Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, anyone that I see walking the Earth today that radiates principles of honor, character that has meaning….they didn’t see us as different. They saw beyond the veil and had hopes we all could too.   

Friday night we looked at our good traits and discussed something on that side of the spectrum that we could be proud of.  

For me, I am most proud of this.  

I genuinely want everyone in the world, everyone I meet, to do well and live a life reaching for their dreams. Those that know me understand that is real with me.  

I do not get jealous or insecure of others success, I have always rooted for others.  

I love this about me.  I love finding things in you that inspire me, and letting you know what they are.  

I love doing good and expecting nothing in return. Because I believe in the goodness of the Force, or Source, or God if you will.  There are universal laws that simply reward us with peace as we do this intense spiritual work.  

Final thought… 

What came up at lunch today was the strong parallel between our wounds and compassion.  Unless we block them and do not face them (where they sit like bugs beneath a layer of paint) healed pain becomes the greatest source of inspiration, compassion, and areas we ourselves can become healers in.    

Pain is inevitable, but suffering…that is optional.

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