This process of growth towards a form of self-knowledge is an often painful one. It is sometimes difficult to see the truth and understand what it means, and to reach for that truth past our ego’s denial that we are often the cause of so much of our own misery. It is not a comfortable process, but it is an unfailingly honest one. It impels us to change, because we must acknowledge that every conflict with something or someone else is the result of our struggle with ourselves, and with what we demand and expect from the world. Therefore it requires that we question our motives and our feelings with complete honesty and courage.
It requires courage because we must look at the worst in ourselves. Those aspects of character that are arrogant, scared, selfish, uncompassionate and disrespectful to others raise difficult questions, and demand that we are never satisfied with easy and convenient answers. Even if we are willing, this process requires complete honesty, unflinching investigation, and detailed analysis sustained by determined effort. This is truly difficult because we are often unable to recognise and thus identify what the real issues are. The challenge, and the measure of us as mature adults, is to see beyond the impulsive and the superficial, our ego’s expectations and demands, and our reluctance to admit that it is really all these unworthy things that drive us.