“What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves? This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, all the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.”

Thomas Merton

Really knowing ourselves is a great gift.  But it is not a gift to ourselves.  It is, rather, a gift to others – to the planet.

“Awareness, Awareness, Awareness.”  That is the mantra of my spiritual director.  What am I doing?  What am I saying? What am I feeling?

Last week I noticed that I was pulling on Kai’s leash.  He was smelling things.  That’s what a dog does.  He was doing his job.  And he waits for hours and hours while I do mine – so a few minutes lingering over a new smell seems like a reasonable thing.  But no.  I was yanking on his leash.  I stopped.  What am I doing?  What is going on here?  Why am I pulling on this leash when I so often walk him peacefully?  What have I noticed about pulling Kai’s leash?  There seemed to be something – some awareness tucked away somewhere.  Caffeine.  It was caffeine.  I had had too much coffee and I was yanking on his leash because I was anxious.  Over-caffeinated.

Just that little bit of mindfulness was enough to force me to ask myself about my caffeine consumption. It forced me back to my Rule of life.  What does my chapter about Kai say?  What does my chapter about health say?  What does my chapter on peacefulness say?  What are my longings for my life?

All of us do stupid things.  The sin is not seeing it.  The sin is recklessly repeating the same ones over and over again without awareness.  I now walk Kai before I have coffee.  And I limit my coffee to one cup.

My dog, Kai is very good to me.  Why would I risk being unkind to such a kind animal?  Why do you do the things you do?  Why do I?  Do we think about what we are doing?  Do we take time in silence to think about our lives or do we simply steamroll through them, so busy that we never feel our feelings, never consider our actions, never wonder about what in our lives needs to change?

Knowing ourselves – seeking self-awareness is the first and greatest step to world peace.

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