According to Carl Jung, ” Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” This is one of the quotes I have on my ”visual board”, to always keep in mind I should look inside of me, into my heart, my soul, my thoughts, for sometimes, I cannot find answers on the outside.
But what if …? I want to add to this idea a bit, for I don’t consider it enough to only look inside. Obviously, through looking inside, one learns how to look outside, but both perspectives are, in my view, essential to this awakening Jung talks about; which is merely a deeper understanding of and liaison to the world around us and the nature of our persona.
The state of self-awareness is one of the most beautiful thing telling us we’re alive (well, we’re actually telling to ourselves). Isn’t it a wonder to be able to examine ourselves and comprehend in depth who we are, what made us till here, and how we can grow further? I really believe having a powerful relationship with ourselves, in which we can be painfully honest, but also comfortable and serene, tolerant, is a great achievement. The simple act of continuous questioning and not settling for less than we deserve is a great part of this “consciousness”. But it’s not enough.
How can one live in their tiny, shiny, marshmallow house, when all around is full of sorrow? Is our “home” enough to make shelter for whatever storm to come? Forgive me for I beg to differ. We are (still) used to being part of a community, and connecting with other people is a vigorous link we need in our lives, because of the external perspective it gives us. A person who is too oriented inwards, might fall in the trap of a singular, selfish, ungrateful state of attitude, exceptionally because there is no “empathy”. We need stories, diverse stories, and sharing understanding in order to complete the big scheme of things — as much as we can.
The way I see it, looking outside also means travelling, means exposing oneself to challenging and distinct situations we can’t find inside, in our hearts or our minds. It means talking to people and getting to know where they come from. It means witnessing the greatness of places in this world and how small and insignificant, yet wondrous, we are. It points to comparisons and judging but without building statues. A state of self-awareness on the outside — how do I fit in this frame? Or … what, of this frame, can fit in my life? What am I taking from where? What do I discover about me, when being here? Fascinating. Full circle.
I met people who were dying to travel, but had no idea how to do it with a meaning, and how to immerse in the experience — they were lacking the “inside”. I encountered persons who never wanted to get outside of their countries — what for? People who could not conceive how another person could “think like that”. But not for one second those people wanted to be in others’ shoes, to try to understand, because, as I said it before in other articles, it is so much easier to judge. And probably these people were lacking deeply both on the inside, and on the outside. No extreme is ever good … and that is why balance in the self-awareness process must mean (although I do not like things that ”must”, but this time, the image is not complete without it) looking both inside and outside, willfully, curiously, and compassionately.