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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Unexamined Life

Venice, Italy
It was Socrates who in 399 BCE said the unexamined life is not worth living.

Most of us live unexamined lives. Why? Because that is how our world - generally speaking - is. We may examine our outer circumstances: our profession, our homes, our standing in society, our finances, etc., but we tend not to examine our inner lives.

History - world history - has shown us that there are certain cycles that repeat with some regularity, and that we can learn from in order to avoid mistakes of the past, and potentiate other, stronger, and more positive aspects.

Interestingly, humanistic astrology also focuses on cycles in the human life span, and uses, for example, the planet Saturn to determine when those cycles take place in the life of an individual. Once determined, and especially if the individual is no longer a young person, by virtue of past cycles, the current and future cycles can be much better understood (not predicted...this is not about fortune telling, but about understanding). However, even with these tools, past cycles can only be understood if the individual has made an effort at examining the events - inner and outer - of his or her life.

Economic and business cycles also study the fluctuations of the market and the changes in any given economy or society.

Therefore, it would seem that examining one's life is also truly important, if one has any interest whatsoever in understanding it and oneself.

Examining one's own life is not tremendously difficult, but it does pose some awkwardness for those not versed in this kind of activity, as it involves time with oneself. I have found that for some people journaling is a good activity, as it allows them to bring out inner feelings and thoughts that they may not be so very much aware of in ordinary everyday life. More than journaling, however, I also recommend that a sheet of paper be taken for every year of the life. Then, simply write down those things that you know: residence, which family members (and pets) lived with you, school, friends, etc., progressing to further education, jobs, partners, cities of residence, and so on. As you fill in obvious bits, you begin to remember others. Jot them down in bullet fashion, in order to flesh out your own forgotten and unexamined life. This is the beginning to greater understanding. You may see how decisions you took at age 22 led you to expansion and growth at age 29, that in turn led you to other avenues at 36. Or you may see the reverse. You may notice that whenever you had one type of calamity, your reactions were of a given type, that led, some time in the future, to another version of the same calamity. Now you are in the middle of facing another one. Perhaps - due to this examination of your life - you may now decide to react differently.

However you do it, examining the life is always of great value. You may even find it fascinating!

Click here for previous posts on awareness.

Or read my May 2007 Newsletter: Tending Your Inner Garden.

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  1. I love your topic, and I love your suggestion of journaling.

    Besides drinking water and getting extra sleep post treatment, starting a journal just has to be advice I give most often to my clients who come for Reiki healing in my practice. It is so incredibly simple and has great potential benefits.

  2. Thank you, Gabriella. I find that even in writing my novels, I am taught about my self and my perceptions.
    Peace and wonder,

  3. Astrid Lee and CG:

    Isn't that the truth! Journaling is such a magnificent tool.