How to Look Within

Exploring ways to look and learn about ourselves


In today’s era of personal growth junkies, the saying “look within” is as common as “yoga” and “meditation.” But how can we start looking for something we’ve never seen? In today’s article, we’ll explore the five personal gates we can open in order to clearly look and learn about ourselves, then share tips on easy ways to introspection.

To Look Is to Learn

In working with people to increase their willpower and overcome addictions, I’ve walked with people through their scariest, and darkest”places within. In doing so, much learning has been done about why people behave the way they do. Even the oddest behaviors are actually quite premeditated (although often we are not consciously aware of this.) Once we know “why” we do as we do, we can do something about it and change if we choose. This is a very empowering possibility.

Two Necessities

Before we begin our look within, there are two things we need. First, we must be free of drink, drugs, and distraction. Possibly easier said than done. Unless led by a spiritual healer, and we are one of the few people who would take a medicinal herb with the pure intent to learn, there is no other way to look within but to be clean. Why? Because all that other nonsense dulls our vision. Think about it; when we’re “checked out,” none of our senses are keen. How could we expect to see, speak, think, or feel clearly? Second, we have to be willing. We need to believe that it’s possible to know and understand ourselves, and that no matter what we find, it will be OK.

Let’s Take a Look

How do we do it? Let’s open the five gates.

The First Gate 

Judgement. Like a house of mirrors, nothing deflects our ability to look within like judgment. Sure, we might have our reasons for judging ourselves. Maybe we did something that we know we shouldn’t have. In the desire to avoid believing that we are bad and wrong when we know that we have behaved in bad and wrong ways, we judge and distance our good and right self from our bad and wrong self. We might even make a nickname for the bad and wrong part of us, like Mr. Hyde or The Devil, claiming that the bad and wrong part isn’t part of us at all. When we abandon the judged part of us in this way, we abandon our ability to heal it. And then we’ve left the door to our hearts and minds wide open to be filled with every form of addiction, distraction, and pain. So open the gate and judge not.

The Second Gate

Meanness. Nobody likes mean people. We avoid them and hide from them. The same goes for the way we treat ourselves. If the good and right part of us calls the bad and wrong part of us mean names, like “stupid,” “fat,” “ugly,” “worthless,” and so forth, then the bad part will feel hurt, angry, rebel and hide. It is very difficult to get to know anyone who is hurt, angry, rebellious, and hiding their truth. By choosing to be kind to all of our self as we learn more about ourselves, we keep communication open and pleasant with both parts of ourselves and we can learn more. So open the mean gate and be kind.

The Third Gate

Stubbornness. Instead of being stubborn and refusing or resisting to look, we can be curious. Think about how curious we were to get to know that special someone that we’d fallen in love with. Are we willing to become that curious about ourselves? We really are quite fascinating, so open the stubborn gate and be curious.

The Fourth Gate

Blindness. Instead of choosing not to look, for fear of what we might find, we can observe. We can watch how we think and feel. Like a three-year-old, we can ask ourselves, “why?” and observe our reactions.

The Fifth Gate

Deafness. Instead of refusing to hear out of fear, we can listen. Time and again, it is my clients who choose to listen—to intuitive guidance, and to their thoughts, feelings and senses. They have the willpower to kick addictions and be their most successful selves. On the other hand, those who refuse to listen, and instead choose to check out through drugs, alcohol, denial, distraction, and work, suffer the immense pain of addiction and then share that pain with everyone who becomes near and/or dear to them.

Why Bother? 

When it requires us to open so many gates to really look within, people have asked me, “why bother?” The simplest and most direct answer is to learn, to enjoy life more, and to bypass painful repeat scenarios (like the movie Groundhog Day). By looking within, we can go without addiction, drama and wrong-doing.

The Easy Way

The easy way to look within is to simply choose to unconditionally be kind, curious, and observant, and to listen. We can treat our whole self like a friend, one that we truly want to know, understand, and care for, for the rest of our lives. When we can do this for ourselves and others, we will truly live in fascination and awe of the intricacy and simplicity by which we are made.

Make It Fun

What we find within can also be quite entertaining. Haven’t you ever wondered, “Why do I do that?’ or “What is my favorite color?” and why? Or, “Why do I always go for the same type of guy or always eat cheeseburgers and hummus on Sundays?” Who knows? YOU do! Have fun exploring.

I encourage you to start or continue your journey within and share with us what you learn, so we may grow in strength and willpower together.

Always with love,


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