Ruminations on Self-examination
First, let me apologize for not sticking to my self-imposed regimen of only meat-posts for the next few months, but I was smacked in the face by these tonight and wanted to share them with you. Second, I don’t proclaim to be any good at following any of these or be any sort of expert at them. I heard them tonight and will try to put them into action the best I can. I wanted to share them with you so that maybe you might get some benefit from them also.
In the 1950’s, Roman Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen had an Emmy award-winning top-rated television show called ‘Life is Worth Living‘ (drawing nearly 10 million viewers, giving Milton ‘Mr. Television’ Berle a run for his money). It was an extension of his long-lived radio show. Archbishop Fulton was a renowned philosopher having earned a doctorate of Philosophy from Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium and being the first American to win the Cardinal Mercier award for best philosophical treatise.
I try to listen to the re-broadcast of the audio from his television series whenever I can and it’s always a gem. He has a remarkable way of relating complex philosophical topics in simple ways that lay people like myself can understand. Anyhow, tonight’s episode was on ‘self-examination’ and was particularly good. I tried to remember as much as I could in order to recite some of the better nuggets for you here. I’ve done the best I can, but these are ONLY PARAPHRASED snippets from my rather unreliable memory. Hopefully they will do some justice. If anyone has official transcripts or the direct audio (I found some audio, but not this specific episode) please let me know! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Life is like a department store you walk into and see that the price of hair pins is $999 and the price of refrigerators is $0.15. What is the comparative value of these two items? Obviously, this is a mistake. Without self examination, would you ever catch it? Or are you content to leave your values so far out of balance and be taken advantage of by those who can see what you cannot?
Ever notice how the people who don’t examine themselves are the quickest to judge everybody else?
The grandfather asked his grammar-school-aged grandson, “What next?”
“Middle school,” he replied.
His grandfather immediately shot back, “What next?”
“High school, College” — “What next?”
“Wife, family, career” — “What next?”
“Retirement, old age” — “What next?”
The grandson paused.
It is precisely at this stage of life — the end — which we should begin our self examination. If we allow the youth to persist in thinking with emotion and passion and seeking only good times — these lower parts of our psyche — the mind will eventually begin not to accept reason and self examination will become almost impossible. Eventually, life will come to a close, self examination will be forced upon them and all that will be left will be regret.
There are three pools in which to gaze and see aspects of your life: The first pool is the way others see you, the second pool is the way you think others see you, and the third is the way you really are. So rarely do people even cast a fleeting glance at the third pool. Yet true self examination cannot happen without long stares in that pool.
The only thing we truly posses in this world is our own will. Power, fame, money, relationships can all be taken away. The only thing we are truly in control of is our own will. If you wish to truly know who you are and what you are worth, look at your will and adjust accordingly. True self-examination must examine only that which is real. Nothing is real in your life except your own will.