#2: Self-Knowledge

Updated: Sep 18, 2021

Hi Folks,


Staying connected is one of the best ways to deal with all of the stress each of us is facing.


I think some of you will experience boredom during this time of being forced to stay home. I think this is a problem that prisoners face too. Realizing this, I thought of prison stories I have read that impressed me with how some people approach spending time behind bars. Malcolm X is the most famous. As a result, you may be familiar with his story. If not, The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a great read and there was a movie made about his life you might want to watch.


I bring this up because those in prison have lost control of their outer lives. It is obvious. We can see this. However, for those of us not in prison it is more difficult to see that outer control is also an illusion even for those of us who are “free.” It looks like we are free, but that does not mean it is true. A closer look reveals all of the conditioning we were faced with as we grew up. This conditioning controls us.


Self-knowledge is the antidote to this conditioning. It is only as we see ourselves that we can grow into greater freedom. When we really see the conditioning, only then do we start to loosen the cords that keep us bound. Seeing, in other words, is the first step. Seeing is facilitated by taking time to reflect on our lives.


This time of being limited and bored is basically outside our control. But how we use this time of forced “imprisonment” us up to us. We can waste our time or we can make good use of it. Malcolm X was turned on to reading while he was in prison. He was lucky that they had a good library. He read hundreds of books, many of them the great classics. He used his time in prison to educate himself. He said that he found true freedom while he was locked up. This is very important!


All of this is to say I hope you will use this time of forced limitation to grow. You could read so much more. You can watch more documentaries. You could listen to more podcasts. In other words, use the current conditions to grow as a human being. The practical way to do this is to come up with a schedule and stick to it. You might set a goal of reading for 30 minutes before you do something fun like binging on a show. Then 35 minutes the next day, then 40 etc. Take it slow and then build it up. This is an example of self-care on a deeper level then just getting more sleep or drinking more water.


Inner growth is not mandatory or automatic. You have to work at it. This period of time could be committed to becoming a wiser and more compassionate person on the other side of this pandemic. That is my hope for you — and myself.


To Inner Growth!


Apophat


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