Introspection is the art of looking inward at the Self. Hear then, the Song of the West Wind: Oh Human, Know Thyself!
Were you taught as a youngster to look at yourself and examine your behavior, your strengths and your weaknesses, talents and flaws? Do you see yourself as a victim or as a powerful person who controls their own life? Were you given skills to overcome character flaws, inappropriate behavior, or any trait one might find in one’s self that is what psychologists call “dysfunctional”? I doubt it.
So many of us grew up in a family in which blame was assigned to something outside ourselves. Unhappy conditions, problems, ugly situations and so forth were attributed to others. In this manner, we were essentially taught to “give our power away,” because if others are to blame for our unhappiness and problems, how can we possibly hope to change all those outward circumstances sufficiently?
But if we recognize that we have control of our own inward spaces, of our own feelings and thoughts, we keep our power and control our own destiny.
Grandmother Parisha has taught her Circle the wisdom of the Medicine Wheel. In it’s basic form, it is symbolic of the universe and it consists of seven directions– Above, Below and Center; and the North, South, East and West “gates.”
The Medicine Wheel wisdoms developed through centuries of observing the natural beings, phenomena and elements that were associated with each direction. For instance, each direction is associated with a season and time of day–the East, where the sun rises, is associated with sunrise and spring; the South, with “high sun” and summer; the West, where the sun sets, with dusk and autumn, and the North, with midnight and winter.
Imagine, if you will, the Great Black Bear, the gatekeeper of the West, who eats her fill and heads into the cave to hibernate during the late fall. This is an image of what a human being can do on a regular basis but especially during the months of fall, when the skies cloud over and turn to gray and the bare bones of trees are revealed. The spring and summer sun that lifts our spirits wanes and a kind of thoughtful melancholy can descend. It is in the autumnal hush that the human can hear then the Song of the West Wind: Oh Human, Know Thyself! Take Time to venture into the cave of the mind and soul, peer into the darkness–introspect–look within!
As the Tao Te Ching advises:
Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.