The Tao of Roark

by Peter Saint-Andre

Chapter 23: The Inner Life

Previous: Chapter 22: Compassion

The hardest passion to accept is my passion for myself; the most difficult person to love is myself; the attention I most resist is directed within.

To experience life inside myself, I must accept my feelings as signs and signals of what I truly value, I must take clear perception as a precondition of strong feeling, I must listen to myself and train myself to hear, I must attend to the fine gradations of my emotional experience.

The inner life involves true joy in the senses, for seeing and hearing and touching and tasting are deeply human ways to know and love what is.

When I cultivate my inner life, I attend to myself; I am not afraid to be alone, indeed I revel in solitude and I enjoy my own companionship.

Can I be a friend to myself? Can I honor myself? Can I be self-contained yet still reach out to others and to the world at large? Can I grant myself compassion and empathy and understanding while never giving up my drive for self-improvement? Can I love myself in the toughest and tenderest ways possible, and strive above all to be worthy of such reverence? Can I hold onto my dreams, hopes, ideals, aspirations, deepest interests, and inner passions? Can I refuse to float on the surface of life but instead dive deep within myself in a search for individual freedom, personal dignity, spiritual depth, and moral beauty? Can I do all this without pretension, with simplicity and seriousness and humility and a realization of how far I have yet to go in my search for joy and reason and meaning?

Next: Chapter 24: Inner and Outer

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