Discovering ourselves

This page is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Português (Portuguese (Portugal))

Q: Is it better to ignore what is happening inside of us or to turn to others to discover it? Why not try instead to understand it firsthand, and start a beautiful inner journey? Wouldn’t it be better and more interesting to discover your inner world than to discover new things on the outside with occasional trips?

Ignoring problems does not solve them, and on the contrary, risks making them worse. Turning to others to discover (or rediscover) yourself would be a clever idea if others could understand what is going on inside you. You have the most right to understand this.

Discovering ourselves by searching within.“Know thyself” in Greek. Wikimedia Commons. Photo Mladifilozof
“Know Thyself” in Greek. Wikimedia Commons. Photo Mladifilozof.

Who Studies the Inside of Us?

In a historical period in which we have maximum freedom and great opportunities to develop all aspects of human knowledge, we limit ourselves, replacing this way the limits set by institutions or by lack of resources.

When we look outside ourselves, we think that we must drastically limit our field of research; we think human knowledge has become so vast and deep that we can know only a tiny sector.

If we want to find out something about ourselves, we have to rely on a specialist; the inside of ourselves, which was once a matter for philosophers, has become a major interest of psychologists and psychiatrists — and has become a specialized field. The moral is that we no longer look neither inward nor outward. We just read; we have many books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows and videotapes that describe what’s inside and what’s outside of us.

The Experience of Others

We no longer come into the world to have our experience, but to learn the experience of others. A solid understanding of a tiny slice of knowledge allows us to compete with others and fit into society; within the limits of that slice, we still have some right to explore. Is it enough?

This kind of research can be of great value to society, but of little value to us. Where is the solution? Many find it in joining a person who seeks it; they become followers of sects whose leader has sought all that inwardness or meaning of life that only “experts” should seek. Someone refuses to rely on the’ experience of others and, not being able to do their own, they fall into defeatism, drugs, existential boredom. And here comes the dilemma: is it better to join the chorus of the followers of some established doctrine, or live apart from society?

There is a third solution, which has existed since the beginning of time.

Getting to Know Yourself: Introspective Tourism

The great philosophical systems of antiquity, and all the great religions, recommend “self-knowledge”.

Self-knowledge is a right, a primary requirement. It is just as important as discovering the world around us.

Children like to discover the world around them; this attitude could make our lives much more interesting.

An inner journey to discover ourselves and understand emotions is fascinating.

We often like to spend our vacations as tourists in other countries; but the inner world is no less fascinating than the outer one. Have we ever considered that we could spend our vacations much closer to home, and discover ourselves?

In the distant past, tourism hardly existed, and the exploration of the world was a task for explorers and researchers, who then described their journeys for others; people would read these accounts and dream. Later, we found that we could travel and explore for ourselves — and discover things for ourselves — that the explorers could not tell us. Meeting different people, even in places not too far from home, is more satisfying to us than reading the journals of Stanley or Livingstone.

Foto di Stanley a e Livingstone
Stanley — Livingstone meeting. Charles Robinson, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Self-Knowledge is a Beautiful Inner Journey, a Way to Search within Ourselves

Similarly, in the future, exploring our inner world may be more fascinating to us than reading any psychoanalytic texts.

The Spanish poet Ramón Jiménez summed up this inclination to explore, both outside and inside us.

Don’t let a day pass without capturing its mistery

large or small.

Let your waking life be a daily discovery. [1] [2] [3]

“No one will ever be able to smell the perfume of a rose as I do. (Aurora Mazzoldi, 2019)”  

Individual Paths and the Inner Path

If you want to explore a country without having enough experience, you can contact a travel agency or a guide. They should then find a path that corresponds as much as possible to your desires and possibilities.

“An inner guide should be able to adapt the path and its difficulties to your ever-changing needs. This guide should find for you the most suitable path for you, advise and encourage you when there are obstacles to overcome, and clarify your doubts. Is there any question about his existence? Well, such sage, such master exists; he is close, he is present in each one of us: he is the higher Self, the spiritual Self. To reach him, a journey is necessary, but a journey into our inner worlds.” (Roberto Assagioli. Lo Sviluppo Transpersonale, pag. 69, Ed. Astrolabio Roma).

Surely you have had some contact with a non-rational intelligence as you have come to know yourself. Occasionally, you “felt” that you had to make a decision, and the decision was the right one, despite all the evidence. Have you ever “instinctively” saved yourself from a dangerous situation? Have you ever “sensed” something in a person that caused you to be cautious? These “intuitions” we often feel are messages from our inner Master.

Luis Pisoni

[1] “No dejes ir un día, — sin cojerle un secreto, grande o breve. — Sea tu vida alerta — descubrimiento cotidiano.” Juan Ramón Jiménez, Eternità, Pietra e Cielo, edited by Francesco Tentori Montalto, Edizioni Accademia, Milan 1974, 78–79.

[2] Luis Pisoni and Aurora Mazzoldi, The Power of Targeted Choices, Amazon, 2020, 76-79.

[3] Luis Pisoni, L’Esigenza di Sapere, Formazione e Ricerca, Project Learning, 1997, 20-22.