PhilosophyCenter PhilosophyCenter | Odysseys
PhilosophyCenter | Odysseys

Posts from — October 2014

Self-Friendship

Self-Friendship

The life we see around us reflects our self-talk, the silent inner dialogue that each of us literally embodies. We are beings who must return this inner dialogue, question its assumptions, and begin to participate in it consciously if we are to stay on good terms with ourselves. As Hannah Arendt states in The Life of the Mind: “The guiding experience in these matters is, of course, friendship.” This self-friendship is the basis of the wholeness we often seek in worldly conditions, which can do nothing more than outpicture the inner state. Simplistically, the self asks and the self answers. More precisely, since this two is also a one, the self can only receive in accordance with how the self asks. So we may learn a great deal about our life by paying attention not so much to what we‘re saying inwardly, but to how we’re saying it. Some of us beg, others demand; some ask expecting to realize fulfillment; others expect to be disappointed. In some inner conversation, there is a throughline of joy; in others, victimhood or persecution. One of the most important things we can do as students of philosophical self-work is pay mindful and honest attention to the tone of our inner conversation throughout the day, for it is the true logos, or creative word, no matter what words we may speak aloud.

To the extent that we choose to befriend the self in this inner dialogue, something remarkable happens: The world, to use Einstein’s phrase, becomes a friendly place. We see that everyone is in conversation with the self, finding his or her way, more or less self-aware at any given time of the causal role of inwardness but in any case inevitably reaping the outer fruits of the inner labors—and this can open us up to the realization that we’re not alone but always in the company of ourselves and each other, and that life stands ready to enrich and instruct us, extending to us the same accommodations of friendship that we extend consistently to ourselves.

The world is the self-relation writ large. As Anaïs Nin writes, “We see things as they are; we see them as we are.” No amount of rhetoric, no justification, no evasion or denial or rationalization will exempt us from the outer consequences of our inner stance. All we have to offer the world is rooted in the tone of our inner speaking. Muktananda, instructing us in how to be in proper self-relation, says simply, “Love the Self, honor the Self.” Imagine if each of us chose to put an end to the terrorism in our hearts and see the world and others and ourselves for what we are: the miraculous expression of life’s longing for friendship.

October 24, 2014   Comments Off on Self-Friendship