The Good to be Found in Self-Absorption
featured on the essential life
We start out in life with the intrinsic wisdom of a child. As we grow into adults, we lose some of that valuable child-like wisdom & courage.
This is the story of how my experiences fighting in Afghanistan became the catalyst for peace.
We have all asked ourselves the BIG questions in life: what is my purpose here? What is the meaning of life?...We keep asking these BIG questions, but what if the answers are self-evident & lie within us?
Sometimes we force ourselves to work hard in the hopes that overworking ourselves will produce success. In reality, overworking doesn't have much to do with success. Success if driven by passion.
Thriving in troubled times is about finding sustenance for inspiration. This is the well from which I draw my hope-sustaining waters.
In the wild eyes of horses, there is unending & enviable freedom. Did you know, The Essential Life accepts creative writing pieces? If you'd like to share your writing, contact us at info@TheEssentialLife.org.
A reflection on empathy through the lens of the 1999 Columbine shooting.
When you pass judgement, or you bully someone, this is what is feels like.
There are so many big questions within a single existence. True courage is being brave enough to ask the tough questions, get the answer & keep moving forward.
The only expectations you should live up to are the ones you have for yourself. Don't worry about how others define you. Life is better lived learning to define yourself.
When we speak of self-absorption, we speak of it in negative terms as if those who focus their attention on themselves are the antithesis of community & commonality. It is assumed that a self- centric view of life is egotistical, yet no growth can come from someone who is lacking a knowledge of self.
Knowing Yourself: An Internal Journey
A knowledge of self opens the door to self-improvement much in the same way that the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one. To this end, enlightenment & awareness cannot come unless you first realise that you are neither enlightened nor aware.
Armed with the knowledge that you are not yet the best version of yourself & that there is room for growth & refinement, only then can you embark on a journey of self-awareness lead by the twists & turns of knee-jerk reactions, old habits & emotions. This internal journey is one of complete & utter self-absorption with the destination being a deep and intimate knowledge of who you really are for the purposes of improving yourself & all that you have to offer to the world.
Self Improvement: A Life's Work
With a full understanding of ourselves, we can find the places deep inside our personalities that are the causes of the actions & reactions of who we do not wish to be. With a complete knowledge of these actions & reactions, we can begin to work on the reflexes that have become automatic; those which produce negativity. We can begin to uproot the weeds which have created negative spaces inside ourselves by understanding the root of their existence, anticipating our own reaction & practicing a logical counteraction until that counteraction becomes habit, thereby improving upon our natural self, wether that self is begotten by nature or by nurture.
Self-Involvement is Self-Improvement
With the link between self-absorption & self-improvement firmly established, the lingering question is: why is it important to grant individuals space & time to embark on this lengthy journey when strength of community & a societal oneness seem to be of greater import?
The answer to this is that each of us are a piece of a whole much in the way that our body is a series of systems. When one of our body's systems becomes diseased or fails, so too does our body. In this same way, when there are those among us who are broken, we become broken. Time & time again, we are brought down, as a whole, or stunted by the most broken among us.
These are not the people whose brokenness is manifested in depression, illness or physical impairment. Rather, it is people whose brokenness is a version of deviance such as sociopathy, psychopathy, or a pervading lack or care or empathy, that are our weakest links. Still, we champion the divisiveness of competition & making it to the top which encourages singularity rather than community.
Being of Service
While it may seem that competitiveness & self-absorption for the purpose of being your best self are synonymous, this is not the case. Competitiveness is to compare yourself to others & to endeavour to be better & bigger than them. The purpose of self-absorption is to be better & bigger than you were before & to bring this better & bigger self to society to be of service to the community.
Being of service is ofttimes not a concept that humans are comfortable with. Service denotes lesser-ness & lesser-ness stands in staunch contrast to what seems to be our natural desire for domination.
Through the journey of self-absorption, however, we can come to a space where we have staved off the knee-jerk reaction to compete with others, to be better than others and to dominate others. Instead, we can approach the concept of community with humility & the knowledge that our own humility will be met with the similarity of all parties having done the work necessary to be comfortable & confident in lesser-ness.