From the moment of our birth into physical life, we begin learning from and about our physical reality -this is the person who feeds me, that is an object I am not allowed to touch, these are the words that are acceptable to use, these are the type of people I am to stay clear of, this is the tone and volume of voice I am to use if I want to get the things I want, one should eat three meals a day, 1 + 1 = 2, to think critically and swiftly on a subject matter qualifies as smartness, and so on. This level of study was initiated since our birth so we could understand how to navigate our physical world, mainly with a level of safety and/or success in mind. We learned about ourselves and our respective roles relative to the people and things around us from the personal roots, values and corresponding perspectives of care givers, relatives, community members, schooling, other institutions or literally anything else in our external environment.
Inevitably and eventually, each of us arrive at a point where the ego is more established within us, and we desire to understand our reality through contrast. The way we perceive and behave changes, and while we welcome it internally, we’re also reluctant to express it outwardly because we’ve already been learning how life works or how it should; even for the future.
Something about us desires to know the truth of things for ourselves through our own materializing.
Consistently, gradually, direct experience continues to dissolve the hard lines once planted and rooted in the minds and subsequent behaviors of caregivers or other authorities who eventually lose the permanence of their role as teacher, leader or knower towards those they’re grooming. Experience becomes a much stronger force and even when we’re admonished not to cross an established boundary, in certain instances, we attempt to anyway. Although we learn certain things for our own well being, certainly we’re also learning from the biased learnings of people and instances in our environment.
Sparked by an inner big bang, for each of us, on some level, at some distinct junction in our life, we prioritize our focusing lens to see beyond what’s been predigested for us. For some of us, we prioritize our focusing towards an inward process. We seek to understand and/or know the truth of our existence through ourselves.
You are the initiator of all your initiations.
One of the most significant initiations for me, was allowing myself to agree to having my hair cut away and my head shaven clean by a woman who claimed to know what was best for my life and my spirit. For the sake of spiritual progress, I spent the next eight years fighting with myself to remain obedient to a “spiritual process” established by an authority and governed to me by several elders who never considered my thoughts or feelings, or encouraged self inquiry through it all. It wasn’t all terrible and ultimately, doesn’t feel like a total loss to me. Everything seeks to further. Unbeknownst to me, some aspect of me desired that experience to support me in seeing and choosing what I was truly needing: to see, hear and feel into myself, in order to get to the heart of what was substantive for my life.
Self Study, certainly not a new concept nor practice, occurred to me more acutely after concluding a rites of passage process in 2015. The heart of the process focused on learning about the particulars of yourself -why you occur the way you do in each layer of yourself? I wanted to know me more intimately, on a level that wasn’t so apparent and outwardly oriented. I set an intention to excavate how I’ve come to understand myself in order to get beyond it and into the deep depth of my nature. There was a time I’d often wonder:
Who am I when I’ve done away with the filters, education, teachings and practices of others?
What does it mean to know for myself what is best for me without perceiving hesitation?
Could I truly know what’s best for me if I didn’t know my essential nature?
Am I willing to set aside the personal values and/or truths of another in order to explore and discover my own?
Self Study encourages one to explore what’s true for themselves. One must be willing to travel and explore beneath the many layers of established boundaries, beliefs, values and identities that informs what we choose for ourselves, our lives. Peeling away at the layers lead to the discovery of profound vastness and interconnectedness with the whole of existence. It inspires and informs a new dance with the living, igniting a pathway towards meaningful connection with Self and others.