Socrates famously said “The unexamined life is not worth living”, yet just as famously we often neglect to look inside ourselves when we encounter life’s difficulties.
We all crave contentment and wellbeing, and it is through an understanding of our personal values, drives and ambitions that this need can be satisfied. The inner life and the practice of its skills are the keys to living well. It is only to be expected that some of us feel uncomfortable when we hear terms like ‘inner life’, ‘inner journey’ or ‘spiritual nourishment’. This is because we are exploring concepts – the thoughts, emotions, values and aspirations which guide us – that few of us examine in our daily lives.
Modern society, our pace of life, the obsession with measurable results, and the rest, have progressively alienated us from the inner part of ourselves – our ‘spirit’, if you like (there’s another term that makes many people uncomfortable!) – and even from our environment. This is at great cost to us, both as individuals and to the societies we make up.
As if this isn’t enough, many people seem to think that they either don’t have, or don’t deserve, the time to find the space to take care of themselves. But there is no denying what centuries of wisdom tells us: there is an art to living happily and every art depends on learning new skills.
One way to do this
As any therapist will tell you, you don’t have to wait until you are struggling with a problem to examine your life. As anyone who has chosen to understand or improve themselves through personal development – with the help of a therapist or coach – it’s well worth the effort.
Therapy takes many forms so there is neither an easy description of the process, nor a single reason why people should be drawn to it. It’s fair to say that most people who choose therapy do so because of a crisis or problem in their life,but there’s a smaller number who seek out a therapist because they want to understand and/or improve something about themselves or their situation. Equally, many who are driven to therapy because of a crisis then find benefits they hadn’t anticipated.
In an increasingly chaotic world out there, and one in which we have little or no control over events. Many people find relative calm and stability – a refuge even – by looking into and understanding their inner world, and the things they can control.
Given that we hope for the good things in life, if you are serious about it an obvious first step is to examine Life itself.