Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. ~ Carl Jung
Don't be afraid of the universe that lives inside of you.
The more time I spend alone cultivating quiet time with me, exploring my inner universe, the more in awe I am of the woman I am. Raise your hand if you're with me? How many of us can honestly say those words and believe them? Sadly, modern day society is not built around self exploration. We hardly champion quiet time to just be. Let me explain: so much of our time is spent looking outside ourselves for approval, connection, acceptance, and love, that we forget that inside each of us is a rich multi-verse--complex, majestic, and magical: pure perfection.
When you travel inside and cultivate your inner world, you learn the nuanced language of your emotions, and as a consequence, be able to better articulate yourself and your emotions to the outside world. And also in the process of this self exploration, you will expand your capacity to understand others. Those two lessons are worth the trip.
Philosopher Martha Nussbaum's eloquence on this topic hit close to home. I read it on the blog of my new favorite blogger, Maria Povpova, whose intelligence, light, and beautifully cultivated blog about life, the arts, love, and all things in between is a daily inspiration. I wanted to share:
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals.What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings.Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others. This was an excerpt from a book, Take My Advice, written by James L Harmon, there's more goodness on Brainpickings! Check it out.