How well do you know yourself? What’s your favorite color? What makes you giggle like a five year old? How do you like your eggs?
There is a scene from the movie Runaway Bride which offers a nice analogy for how well you know yourself. Maggie keeps finding fiancés and then running away just before the ceremony. She also can’t seem to decide what eggs she likes. When she is with one man, she likes scrambled eggs. With another, she likes fried. With another, poached and so on. It seems that she likes whatever eggs the man likes.
At the end of the movie she comes to an amazing realization.
“When I was walking down the aisle, I was walking toward somebody... who had no idea who I really was. And it was only half the other person's fault... because I had done everything to convince him... that I was exactly what he wanted. So, it was good that I didn't go through with it because it would've been a lie.……I love eggs Benedict. I hate all the other kinds of eggs. I hate big weddings, everybody staring. I'd like to get married on a weekday while everybody's at work. And if I ride off into the sunset, I want my own horse.”
She got engaged to avoid truly getting to know herself, just in case she didn’t like what she saw. As Goethe said, “Know thyself? If I knew myself, I’d run away.” There are other ways to run away. Some people drink. I tend to eat. What do you do? Awareness is the beginning of knowledge. Awareness with acceptance is even better. Awareness with outrageous appreciation for your own unique style is best.
Get to know yourself. Learn your own preferences without judgment. Be boldly yourself. As for me, I like my eggs lots of different ways. I like eggs nuked in a McMuffin style sandwich. I like devilled eggs in a sandwich, but the sandwich has to be quartered of course. I like my eggs fried on toast but poached on spinach. Call me eggcentric, but eggs are diverse and so are my tastes.
Knowing how you like your eggs is part of the first layer of self knowledge. Take your self knowledge a step further. Ask yourself why certain knowledge moves you, and makes your skin tingle. Just as your body has tickle spots, your spirit is moved by different knowledge. What makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end? Last night nature put on the type of fireworks show that you couldn’t pay for. I had a physical reaction, as if the electricity was running through my body. Knowledge is my awareness that the distance between the thunder and lightning shows how close the storm is. Spiritual knowledge is my awareness that the storm evokes fear and wonder in me and moves me to ponder my place in the scheme of things and the fragility of existence.
Spiritual self knowledge is not so much about what I know but why certain experiences move and change me from the inside out. Knowledge is my awareness of what a CD is, and how the CD player works. Spiritual knowledge is my awareness that certain music can lift my spirit out of a limited perspective and fill me with optimism.
Knowledge is my awareness that I love my wife for rational reasons, such as she is creative, fun and getting ever more sexy with every passing day. Spiritual knowledge is my awareness that I can enjoy the miracle of love because I have come to a place of self love. As Ayn Rand said, “To say ‘I love you’, you must first be able to say the ‘I’”
In my best moments, I know that life is a spiritual shiver constantly looking for a spine to run up and down. Let it be me, easing wonder's zipper along the connection between my mind, body and spirit. Let it be me. I offer my spine to life’s shivers any time she wants to surprise me. I long for spiritual knowledge that moves and shakes my spirit. I long for self knowledge that knows what I like, why I like what I like, and what is emerging inside me.
Knowing facts is intelligence. Knowing myself is wisdom. Knowing skills leads to strength. Knowing myself is the power of self mastery that open doors of possibility beyond my wildest imagination. As Thoreau said,
"My desire for knowledge is intermittent; but my desire to commune with the spirit of the universe, to be intoxicated with the fumes, call it, of that divine nectar, to bear my head through atmospheres and over heights unknown to my feet, is perennial and constant."