Insight is something we understand as a virtue. A quality we would all be better off for possessing. It’s something that we either strive for and too often something that we either don’t consider much or consider we already possess.
Insight is defined as ‘the capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding about someone or something’. One of the most important ‘someone(s)’ that we can develop a deep understanding of is our very own self. In fact this is where the cultivation of insight has to start; our ability to understand others and to interpret our experiences correctly is directly related to the extent to which we understand ourselves. Insight isn’t something we are born with. Sure, some of us might naturally have a greater capacity for it than others, but it’s something that we all have to try to develop within ourselves.
Much of the quality of our lives rests on our capacity for insight. With insight comes understanding, and with understanding comes meaning. As a wise woman once told me; the pursuit of happiness is overrated. It is not happiness that gives us life quality. It is the ability to make meaning from our life. And the two don’t always go together.
To seek to always be happy is like trying to make water dry; it’s just not in it’s nature. It’s also kind of missing the point. There are so many things to feel, so many tones of emotions that are not only an inevitable part of life but also give life it’s richness and beauty. Many of these things, of course, we would not actively seek, yet they exist nonetheless and they certainly can have beneficial effects.
Happiness all the time wouldn’t be happiness because there would be no way for it to know itself. It’s not happiness that is responsible for forming our characters or giving us the strengths we possess. The search for insight ultimately is far more significant to a fulfilled and purposeful life than the search for happiness. One of the fundamental things that sets apart those who experience a sense of meaning in their life and those who don’t, is their capacity for insight. If we don’t nurture insight, then we become passive and we cheat ourselves of the opportunity to learn and grow from the events in our life. As Socrates once said; “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
So look within, examine what you find and develop that insight – it’s much like realizing a stumble prevents a fall.
Peace and Love, Jim