The Unexamined Life

by johnandterri

20141013-Arzua-Santiago-291-1-EditThe famous dictum of Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living”, keeps coming into my mind recently. I really do not know much of the background on this quote, in the life of Socrates, but it seems to me he is making the claim that only in striving to come to know ourselves and to understand ourselves do our lives have any meaning or value. I do think there is some real wisdom here for us all.

During our long walk across Spain, as I mentioned, there is considerable time to reflect on one’s life and direction. The silence and quiet was a good time for me to consider my life direction.

What will I do after retirement? What will be my first things I want to start new when I return home? What it be like to be in the daily life of our new granddaughter?

Lots of questions were coming up in my mind. Asking questions is good. The questions we ask as we examine our life directions are particularly good but maybe it’s the questions that we don’t ask also.

“What shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think to ask.”—Sam Keen

I whole-heartedly agree with this quote. Asking hard questions regarding my own personal behavior may be the questions I “refuse to ask or never think to ask”. Here is a sample of the types of questions I have been thinking about, when I reflect on my own behavior:

  • Am I passing judgment on others that they are self-centered, selfish and unsympathetic or arrogant, unfair or untrustworthy, by only my reflex judgment alone?
  • Am I brooding over a slight someone made and starting to make “a mountain out of molehill”?
  • Am I boasting about all my accomplishments so much I can not hear what anyone else has to say?
  • Do I need to “check some of my own self-centeredness at the door”?
  • Am I prone to accuse others when I should be looking at myself first?

I have recently started the practice of reviewing my day before going to bed. I look back over the day and ask myself some hard questions about my behavior during the day. I am “examining my life”, if you will, daily looking for areas of where I wish I would have done or said things differently. I have discovered this to be an excellent practice. I feel it is leading me to discover areas of my life I could use some change. When I discover an area I feel I could use some change, I make every effort to find a way to change my behavior in the future.

I do believe we are indeed shaped by the questions we ask ourselves. Let’s not be afraid to ask the hard questions that lead us to become a better person to our family, co-workers, friends and strangers.

Blessings and all good,

John

Photograph of the Week

Ipomopsis gilia

This wildflower is one of my favorites. I captured an image of this beauty up at Tronson Ridge, near Blewett Pass a few weeks ago.

The “Ipomopsis” (Ipoo + opsis) genus name comes from Greek for “striking appearance”. I find that so appropriate as it is a very bold and striking flower. It goes my several common names as well, Scarlet Gilia, Scarlet Skyrocket, Scarlet Trumpet and Skunk Flower