Learning to Know Yourself

“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” -Tao te Ching

A few years ago I attended a writer’s conference and during one of the workshops we were asked to write an “I am” poem. I remember feeling a little shy and frankly horrified. What would I write? I did not want to reveal too many things about myself to strangers. At the same time, I wanted people to know who I was. The workshop leader gave us a handout with five lined stanzas to guide us. She told us we did not have to fill in all the blanks. Each stanza began with “I am …”

I found this quote by Tao te Ching and once again I was faced with basically the same question. I pride myself in thinking I am a good judge of character. When I meet someone for the first time, I try to get to know the person sincerely for who they really are. Yet, I still struggle a little with knowing more about myself. I want to be enlightened. I want to be open to learning more about me.

As I practice more mindfulness, I find that I have become more aware of my thoughts. “Observing your thoughts without getting caught up in them can help you realize that your thoughts do not define you.”  My thoughts are usually thoughts of worry. This is a behavior I learned. I come from a long line of worrisome people. However, during short meditations I have learned to label those thoughts and erase them as soon as possible. I try to focus on what I want and what I need to be a happier and more productive being.

One way to learn more about yourself is to listen to yourself and to trust your emotions and feelings. I start my day with a mantra of gratitude. I have so many things to be grateful about. This has helped me to know myself more. My mantra starts with “I am grateful.”  Then I follow with a few minutes meditation. Meditation should be a daily practice. It does not have to be long and dragged out. Your will see that time is timeless. Your will meditate for a longer period of time as it becomes necessary and almost a routine.

I also keep a diary after I meditate. I find that I am more serene. I find that I am more focused and fervent about my beliefs. I invite you to try writing the “I am …” poem. Since that day at the writer’s workshop my poem has changed in many ways. However some statements of I am have been constant. One is: I am who I want to be.

       (c) 2018 Melba Christie





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