Looking Within

This weeks blog was inspired by a calling to understand those who don’t look within. I am fascinated by people who are not aware of how their thoughts or actions create suffering, and as a result am constantly wondering what it is I can’t see or am not “awake” to. How do we inspire each other to wake up to ourselves?

Without Looking Within
Without looking within
Can one truly begin
As a person to grow;
Their mind to really know?

Without looking within
Truth is lacking wherein
Real truth not without lies,
But within us resides.

Without looking within
One is somewhat akin
To one who is half–blind;
Answers harder to find.

Without looking within
With honesty therein
How can one see the light;
Develop true insight?

Without looking within
Can one hope to begin
To attain peace of mind;
True happiness to find?
Damian Murphy

Recently this poem came to my attention somewhat randomly. While as poetry it certainly won’t win any prizes, as words to live by I find it to be not only outstanding, but also timely for my own life, that of many of my clients, and the season we’re entering.
You may be wondering what the season has to do with it, so let’s look at that first.

All summer long plants have been growing, flowering, and fruiting, animals have been grazing, gathering and growing fat, and we’ve been outside whenever possible, active and enjoying the warmth and beauty of nature. Now the children have returned to school, and many of us are watching trees change color, leaves falling, and darkness coming earlier each day. We’ve been harvesting, putting gardens and their associated tools to bed, and looking to the tools of winter. We may be preserving, preparing for the months of bundling up and spending more time indoors. While much of life hibernates, winter is traditionally a time for our resting, repairing, and reflecting. In other words, for looking within.

“Without looking within can one truly begin as a person to grow; their mind to really know?”

What does it take to truly look within? According to e.e. cummings, ‘It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.’ So, we may ask ourselves if we’re brave enough and whether bravery is worthwhile. The other questions here may be why we would want to grow as a person, and why we would want to know our mind.

“Consider a tree for a moment. As beautiful as trees are to look at, we don’t see what goes on underground – as they grow roots. Trees must develop deep roots in order to grow strong and produce their beauty. But we don’t see the roots. We just see and enjoy the beauty. In much the same way, what goes on inside of us is like the roots of a tree.” Joyce Meyer

If we don’t grow, stretch our limbs and develop our roots – if they don’t grow deep, we’ll be unstable, and unable to withstand the storms that life inevitably brings. And if we don’t explore, look within, and come to know how deep our roots truly go, we may live our lives in fear of every wind – wondering if this will be the one to knock us over.

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“Without looking within truth is lacking wherein real truth not without lies, but within us resides.”

We’re also in the midst of a long season of political posturing and obfuscating as people seek to convince the American voters that they should become our next leader. If we haven’t devoted ourselves to looking within, we haven’t developed the ability to recognize truth when we hear it, and so are vulnerable to deception. As we go deeper and deeper within, we come to find that place that resonates with the Truth…and conversely to notice how lies strike a sour note within us.

“Without looking within one is somewhat akin to one who is half–blind; answers harder to find.”

If we look only to what we see in the bright light of day, or the artificial light of our electronic devices, we’re seeing only half the picture. What’s true for one is not always true for all. In order to fulfill our individual potential, we must look into the illusive images in shadow, in dusty volumes, the strange light of our night dreams, and the dreams of childhood that we may have denied, ignored or forgotten.

“Without looking within with honesty therein how can one see the light; develop true insight?”

“All of us grow up in particular realities – a home, family, a clan, a small town, a neighborhood. Depending upon how we’re brought up, we are either deeply aware of the particular reading of reality into which we are born, or we are peripherally aware of it.” Chaim Potok

If we’re not already aware of the reality of our upbringing, it’s important for us to look within. We must shine some light on the ways in which we’ve been formed by our early experiences, and be honest with ourselves about how we tend to repeat patterns of behavior that may not serve us today.

“Without looking within can one hope to begin to attain peace of mind; true happiness to find?”

When we identify and eliminate these behaviors, there’s a sense of relief and freedom. As we release the inner struggles that we’ve sometimes been unaware of, an experience of inner peace takes their place. We find ourselves on a path leading to the possibility of true happiness!

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.” Aeschylus

Please explore the Clay Alchemy from the Voice of Clay website. As you do, pay attention to that inner resonance that may lead you to the experience that’s just the right approach for your next growth spurt…for growth is an ongoing, life-long activity!

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” Leonardo da Vinci

shannon Burke