Know Thyself

“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” -Socrates.

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; Mastering yourself is true power.”
-Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist Philosopher

Philosophers would not write about knowing yourself and mastering yourself if it were not a challenging task. It’s not so easy at best but trying to do it in the isolation of your own head may be impossible. As a result of trying to do it alone, many of us spend our time and are often anguished trying to understand ourselves and to have control of our behavior and feelings. Perhaps one of the first wise discoveries one makes in one’s life is that wisdom is best when shared, and that we get to know ourselves in relationship to others. My suggestion is that you choose your “other” carefully. Not everyone is able to give you good feedback or insight.

What about mastering yourself? Freud said, “The ego is first of all a body ego.” What he was talking about is the early development of a sense of self in babies. And yet, it remains true for our entire lives. Our sense of self is first of all experienced in our bodies. And so, one of the best things to do is to take a dance class or a martial arts class where your attention is on your body in a very focused way and then in relationship with other bodies.