Wow, the new year is upon us. With this in mind, I would like to share some musings for the upcoming period. We live in truly narcissistic times, as has been experienced many times in history. (1) Images are omnipresent: we are asked to glorify the beautiful me as if it were an already completed project, as opposed to a work in progress. But what if I have a poor picture of the self, of myself? Can it not be ameliorated? The Internet is awash with completed portrayals of magnificent bodies or exquisite lifestyles. We are easily fooled into believing that our icons, our idols, have always been exceptional. They have invariably been special. This is just not true. Many times, they have simply been created by marketing gurus. (2)
What then I am to make of my true essence? It is much like a seed planted in the earth. If it is given water, sunshine, and love it matures into a magnificent flower: its bouquet spectacular. Unfortunately, removal of any of these elements and the plant still develops, but it is stunted and sickly. We are much the same. If I truly want to nurture my true essence, I must be prepared for a life of spiritual and philosophical growth. The journey into the inner self is fraught with many difficulties and challenges. What is important, I believe is the realization that your essence, your life, is already resplendent at birth. But much like any raw diamond, it needs to be polished to achieve perfection.
This requires an element of critical thinking — and reflective thought takes time. This can simply cannot be avoided. In an age of instant gratification, it is difficult to have the will or the knowledge for that matter on how to begin the journey. Our decline into a lack of thoughtfulness can actually be traced to the rise of the credit card. (3) A brilliant financial tool, it allowed a person to forgo saving for an item and buy it now — at once — and pay for it later. Soon we were awash with debt and financial trauma. This was eventually somewhat resolved, but the idea had been implanted in society.
The future is not in the distance, it is now, today! There is no time. At least not in the traditional sense. This was only reinforced by the advent of the Internet. Everything in this medium appears instant. I can immediately talk and convey information across vast spaces. This removal of the natural concept of time, woefully, has come at a great cost. The space between activities is viewed as “dead time” and must be filled with some activity. From my observation, no one sits in solitude and reflection. The time is dominated by “scrolling.”
Thus forewarned is forearmed. Though my true essence sits inside of me, I am obligated to put in the work to make me magnificent. The effort is simply my own to undertake. The great psychologist and humanist, Erich Fromm (4) leaves us with a thought: The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born when we die – although it is the tragic fate of most individuals to die before they are born.
A closing thought: We appear to live in a time that does not laud a pensive and meditative space. To begin to nurture your true essence, I highly recommend finding a quiet lacuna, a library, a temple or a church — a place of enforced quiet — to sit in quiet contemplation. If you observe your breathing, you will find that your thoughts will become deliberate and a wave of peace will embrace you. Relax: you can just slow down! With this feeling of respite and tranquility in mind, the meditative unfolding of my true essence can begin the voyage.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about nurturing your true essence, your true self.
To be noted: From Mahatma Gandhi (5) — As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.
Just for fun:
This week, on your reflective walk, please ponder your own unique essence.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave –critical thinking is great!
Quote: You must first be a magnificent being to your self, without vanity, and then help humanity.