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Self-Knowledge • Know Yourself

A Bedtime Meditation

To foster ever greater self-awareness, we should carve out time for introspection during two highly conducive periods: late at night before we go to sleep and early in the morning before we start the day. While the room — and the world — are quiet, we should try to touch on layers of sincere feeling that are otherwise too easily buried and rendered invisible by our commitments and the chatter of our active lives.

Photo by Yohann LIBOT on Unsplash

We should step outside the ordinary flow, close our eyes, and ask ourselves the following:

What am I really worried about right now?

We should let the question resonate for a time, and let its true profundity emerge, and we stand to find that there is a pain we knew all along, looking up at us with startled eyes, like those of a tortoise we find hiding beneath a car or a fox burrowed in a corner of the garden. We can continue the questioning:

Who has hurt me?

What do I really want?

What is bad?

What remains good?

What should I be doing?

The questions are deliberately both vast and simple. Answering them may take only a few minutes. But we may stumble upon some highly significant and neglected insights along the way.

Our minds are not obvious to themselves. We may be running for days, months, decades, without pausing to wonder what is really inside them. We need to create — every day — a small safe period in which we can reorient ourselves and exchange worried confusion for open-minded kindly self-awareness. 

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