When standing in front of the mirror, who do I see? Sometimes it’s her, sometimes it’s me. Today Her was staring at Me. I said BOO! And she said BOO! too. That’s when I realized that “Her” was actually me.
Boom! There are two of me. The one I used to be and the one I am now. Feeling out of sync, I decided to consult the Priestess Pythia and took a boat to Piraeus where I had a tough time getting a donkey for Delphi.
The odor of burning pine and laurel from the eternal fire inside Apollo’s Temple made me dizzy. I had difficulty reading the writing over the door: “Know Thyself.”
There was a long line of people drawing beans from a pot and you could ask Pythia a question only if you got a colored bean. My bean was red so the priest took my question to the priestess. She was sitting above a giant crack with fumes coming out of it. After inhaling some smoke, Pythia started talking and talking and talking.
Later a priest came to me with Pythia’s advice: “Adapt and go on”. Not exactly sure what the message meant, I asked one of the priests who, for a small extra charge, explained that any answers I needed were already inside of me. But, like a treasure hunt, I just had to look for them.
I felt ripped off. All the effort to get there just to get this cryptic response to my question. But I had no time to complain as the last donkey out of Delphi was about to leave.
Once home, I went to Feltrinelli’s for a self-help book. While consulting the clerk, this tall handsome dude blatantly eavesdropped. He came real close to me and suggested I read Pierre Hadot, an expert on Greek philosophy. Hadot believed that you had to liberate yourself from the past and try to Be Here Now. Because experience can only be created in the present.
Instead of buying a book, I decided to buy a diary to help me find the answers on my own. Remembering the words over the temple door, the first thing I wrote was: Who am I? But I didn’t know what to answer so I put my pen down. This “Know Thyself” gig was going to be tougher than I thought.
Related: Diary Writing and other Spiritual Practices Bibliography: Hadot, Pierre. Philosophy as a Way of Life. Malden, Mass. Blackwell Publishing. 1995
(from Cool Breeze, aka The Age of Reconfiguration ©)