The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself”, is one of the Delphic maxims and was the first of three maxims inscribed in the pronaos of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias. The two maxims that followed “know thyself” were “nothing to excess” and “surety brings ruin”Thanks Wikipedia.
It’s funny, when people ask what I do and find out I am a yoga teacher, personal development coach/therapist, the reactions can be priceless.
“But you’re a yoga teacher, don’t you have it all figured out?”
“Why are you emotional, isn’t that why you do yoga, so you have your emotions under control?”
Or they think I’m psychoanalysing their every move…Pfft…like I have nothing better to do in my spare time or when I’m out having fun!
Here’s the thing, when you begin to really look at yourself, when you begin to remove the distractions, the alcohol, drugs or whatever vice you have (and that can be anything from shopping to sex), that stops you being with yourself, you’re laid bare.
To really get to know yourself, means knowing your beauty and your shadows. We all have them. You can’t have real joy without knowing sorrow. You can’t appreciate love without having seen hate. You can’t forgive others, until you forgive yourself. This is the natural process of experiencing contrast and discovering what you do and don’t like.
As we learn to sit still, we become acutely aware of ourselves, our emotional responses and our behaviours – good and bad. It sucks. You get to see your inner bitch in action. You get to be fully aware of when you act out of alignment. You get to meet your entire self. That includes and your beautiful, kind self (sometimes the hardest part to see).
So why the hell would anyone embark on this journey of self exploration?
Because change starts with awareness. You can’t change what you don’t see or know. And you can only see and know, when you give yourself time and space to reflect.
Then the real work begins.
In the next blog post I give a couple of exercises to start this process of self discovery.