Episode · 1 year ago



This lecture highlights the intimate and often overlooked relationship between the ability to learn or face the truth, especially unpleasant ones, and the ability to cope. It also highlights this important fact: Humans are incredibly adaptable.

Meditation, Time Lecture One Self Awareness. Let us start with socrates philosophical imperative, know yourself. This is great advice, as any effort to lead a fulfilling life without first striving to achieve self awareness is like building a house before learning the fundamentals of the construction trade. Such a building endeavor could never amount to anything that we would feel inspired to call home. How do we go about knowing ourselves? The answer lies in paying attention to the truth of our nature as we experience it daily. That said, this attention has a prerequisite. We must at least be willing, if not rearing, to face the truth, and that in itself is a daunting challenge. Indeed, truth is...

...often painfully unsettling, and we humans have an inborn tendency to evade suffering by way of diversion and mindlessness, or denial and fancifulness, which are impediments to truth. Yet, daunting as it is, this challenge calls for a STOIC act of lucidity, where we bring to the forefront of our consciousness the very aspects of our lives that we find the most difficult to cope with. This new demand exhorting us to face squarely and bravely, our unpleasant truths should not be left at that. We have both the freedom and the power, and therefore the duty, to help ourselves rise to the challenge. To this effect, we ought to cultivate our ability to cope, in so far as it is the necessary condition for our ability to learn. As mentioned earlier, the...

...latter is indispensable to the process of self discovery for the purpose of a wise and happy life. The thing is, we are sentitioned beings who are extremely vulnerable at the psychological level, and our so called rational nature is greatly overstated. What we cannot process psychologically, for lack of accepting it, we cannot process rationally, with the result that we fail to acknowledge the truth and instead indulge in wishful thinking. Again, allow me to emphasize the fact that such a misguided way is in total contradiction with the act of turning a negative situation into a positive one through self awareness and self realization. Fortunately, our weaknesses are paired with strengths that can proudly offset them. Among those strengths is are innate adaptability, while it usually exceeds by a wide margin our assumptions about it...

...or is grossly underestimated. It can be developed by degrees as we overcome various hardships thanks to some resourceful adjustments. In the meantime, we may feel somewhat emboldened by the example of others who have proven remarkably adaptable or capable of coping with significant upsets. But this courage by proxy is always subject to doubt and can waver. Others are not us, even though they may share with us some common traits and experiences, we can always question the relevance of their example as far as we are concerned. It follows that faith in our human faculties, physical or mental, is most invigorating if derived from an intimate knowledge of these faculties when we successfully exercise them. A similar statement can be made regarding our knowledge of human nature in general. So long as it is acquired through...

...lessons alone, imparted to us by enlightened others, it feels abstract and hollow, hardly real largely uncertain. It may broaden the horizon of our curiosity beyond the scope of our current empirical knowledge and make us less complacent or arrogant, in a word, more humble. As such, it can be useful. However, the only sure path of self discovery is our own existence as an object of meditative observation. This is especially true with respect to our unique individuality, which is completely outside the purview of education. The latter deals solely in generalities and hence has no predictive value for our individual characteristics. In conclusion, the better we know ourselves as individuals, namely our unique blend of abilities and...

...limitations, of needs and desires and responsibilities, the more we are likely to make the right choices to achieve well being in peace of mind. Of course, this likelihood does not exclude the risk of mistakes or failures, which relate to the chronic imperfection of our knowledge, a lifelong work in progress that merely stops at death. But if we are fortunate enough to survive these mistakes or failures, we can learn from them and increase our chances of succeeding proudly and joyfully in the future.

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