Focus not on being known – focus on knowing
We want to be known. Living in a world filled with nameless masses in its mindless metropolises, we sense subconsciously the threat of obscurity looming constantly – anonymity threatens to reduce us to a cipher.
The prospect of walking into a crowded boardroom that contains no familiar faces can be unnerving. When heads turn and nod in recognition, we feel affirmed.
The endless processions of meaningless interactions that often go on in the name of socializing, either physically or digitally, can blind us to our real need
Yet this natural human need for affirmation can degenerate into an obsession when we tie our self-worth to how many heads turn. In a culture that equates people’s value with the number of likes on their Facebook page, being unknown can sound like death.
Yet the endless processions of meaningless interactions that often go on in the name of socializing, either physically or digitally, can blind us to our real need – the need to know. And what we need to know the most is who we really are, what makes us actually tick and what will make us truly happy.
We may think that we know who we are: “I am an extrovert who thrives in socializing.” But extroversion is a characteristic of the psychological layer of our being. Beyond our physical and psychological layers lies our core identity, the real me.
To help us know ourselves, the Bhagavad-gita holds an introspective mirror in front of us. Therein we see that we are immortal souls, parts of the all-attractive Supreme, Krishna. We are spiritual persons who have within us the potential for life and love eternal. Such self-knowledge, the Gita (02.29) states, cannot but amaze us.
And we don’t have to give up being known; we just need to put knowing first. When we know ourselves, we can put being known to the best use – not to pacify or gratify our ego, but to share with others the amazing joy of knowing.
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