I was in the Minneapolis airport with a short layover. Rushing to get to my next gate to catch my flight, I made a quick stop in the women’s bathroom. As I entered, I saw four men standing there. Stunned and confused, I wondered what these men were doing in the women’s restroom. It took a while for my mind to understand that I was the one in the men’s bathroom! I was the one in the wrong place! Self-study is like this. It is seeing how often I am in the “wrong” place because of the limits of my conditioning and my personal orientation as the center of the universe.
In a very real way, self-study begins to free us from our own ignorance. As we notice our perception problems, we can begin to see through the limits of our own conditioning, and we become more available to reality as it is. We begin to understand how much of our own limitations we put on the moment and how cloudy our decisions are. We become open to knowledge.
My 87 year old father has recently been telling me stories of his relationship with my mother in their early years and how we children were so important to them. What he has been sharing has been changing my understanding of my growing up years. As my history gets rewritten, my future has different possibilities. Self-study allows us to rewrite our history, our present, and to become more available to a different possibility of knowing ourselves in the future.
As our self-imposed limitations and conditioning are revealed, we become less enamored with them; their grip weakens. We are more permeable and more available to the deeper subtleties and more expansive truth about who we really are.