The Ideal of Introspection

The Ideal of Introspection

Death said: ‘The Self-existent pierced the openings (of the senses) so that they turn forward: therefore man looks forward, not backward into himself. Some wise man, however, with his eyes closed and wishing for immortality, saw the Self behind.’  Katha Upanishad (II:1,1) , trans. Müller

Let man, then, learn the revelation of all nature and all thought to his heart; this, namely; that the Highest dwells with him; that the sources of nature are in his own mind, if the sentiment of duty is there. But if he would know what the great God speaketh, he must `go into his closet and shut the door,’ as Jesus said. God will not make himself manifest to cowards. He must greatly listen to himself, withdrawing himself from all the accents of other men’s devotion.  The Over-Soul, Ralph Waldo Emerson

One theme that is common to all works in the spiritual tradition is the need for introspection.  But “looking within” raises some immediate questions:  Who is doing the looking?  What is it looking for, or at?  If looking for something, how will it know it when it sees it?  These are some of the questions I hope to consider in this essay.

Link to the essay.

This entry was posted in History, Literature, Philosophy, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink.