Do you ever find, every now and then, that you see/hear/read/do something that just gels with you? You get a “Gotcha!” moment, where everything just clicks?
What with my marriage break-up last year, and everything that went before, and everything that’s happened since, I’ve certainly done my share of soul-searching and if there is a single positive thing that’s come of such a yucky situation it’s been that I understand myself — and others — more than I did.
Actually I’m quite an introspective person and for many years now have made a conscious effort not to kid myself. I am allergic to hypocrites and any sign of hypocrisy in myself makes me just as desperate to escape as hypocrisy in others. But it’s harder to escape from yourself…!
So I’ve also learned that you have to face up to unpleasant truths — and deal with them as best I can. And I’ve learned I deal with some better than others. (Let’s face it, some things life throws at you are just frickin’ tough.) But the point is — I’ve learned. And, like everything, the more I’ve learned about myself, the more I realise I don’t know.
It’s weird how you can think you’re pretty together, and know what you want and what you don’t want (and the older you get, the more this becomes the case) and you feel assertive and self-empowered and whatever other catch-phrase happens to be fashionable at the time — on the surface. Then life throws something your way that you haven’t had to deal with — yet — and you question yourself anew.
I recently had this scenario play itself out with a relationship that was great on the surface but, before long, it was clear that we both wanted totally different things from our relationship. I had to ask myself if I was being unreasonable in what I wanted (and had thought I needed) from a relationship, or was I simply expecting too much? Should I accept the good of what I had, and “put up” with the rest?
It’s amazing how we can “know” something about ourselves and our needs and then… emotional entanglement throws all that out the window.
I’ve just revisited the writings of Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet and in particular the section on self-knowledge.
Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always know in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.
Isn’t that just beautiful? The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals… that’s what I feel life is about, sometimes… self-knowledge and the soul unfolding itself. At the moment I’m just grasping at the knowledge, but I know it’s there… because “I have met the soul walking upon my path”.
I find that really comforting. I don’t need to know and understand everything about myself, and how I relate to anything — or everything. There will always be something more to learn. It’s a matter of being open, and aware, and it will all unfold. Every glimmer and glimpse of understanding is a thing to cherish, protect — and nurture.