If the only way to be happy is to be true to yourself, what we really want to talk about is getting to know the self! And when we say it that way, we recognize the enormity of the task. “The essence of knowledge is self-knowledge,” said the Greek philosopher Plato.
“Know thyself,” is accepted as the corner stone on which the temples of philosophy were erected; and without the corner stone, all other knowing crumbles. It is the quest that has traveled with man from the launching of a soul until the present day. It has, from the beginning, transcended continent, race, culture, and tradition. But if the sages of every age have sought the knowing, only for the next generation to seek it again, how can we have the audacity to take on the task. How can we not?
The knowing is not knowledge that can be passed on. The knowing is uncovered only in the process of seeking it. No man has rights to it; yet all men have the right to pursue it. And so, we must seek it.
How? Face the mirror. Face the expressions formed on other faces when they encounter yours. Face the pain of looking inward that you are tempted to avoid. Ask the questions you don’t want–but know–the answers to.
Chisel away the armor, instead of polishing it. Let go of the coping mechanisms you worked hard to develop, and got hooked on.
Be fearless. When you can’t be fearless, talk about it out loud. It’s okay if nobody’s listening. You listen, patiently, lovingly. Talk and listen long enough for you to realize that you don’t actually have anything to fear.
If, for example, you’re afraid to break up with somebody, ask yourself why. If it’s because you may not find somebody better, ask yourself if it really matters. Maybe you don’t want to die alone. Why? Continue to ask why until you get to the root of your fear. Only then can you invalidate the mother of all fears … and act on fearless love.
Be aware of what feels honorable and what feels dishonorable. What becomes you is your truth. What does not become you is a betrayal of your truth. The truth is your essence. Persevere in seeking it and finding it.
Align with it. Be thyself.
“‘Know Thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world,” said the Irish writer Oscar Wilde–more than two thousand years after the seven sages inscribed it on the forecourt of their oracle. “Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be Thyself’ shall be written.”