Early last week, I spent lunch one day having a conversation. With myself (click here for my transcript of that dialogue, which I simply wrote with pen and notepad at a table in a courtyard one sunny day a little more than a week ago and then typed in as a blog post this morning; it is not intended to influence or persuade or imply that I have some insight or revelation that I consider important; it is only published here as an example of an attempt at self dialogue). The process seemed somewhat Socratic to me in spite of the fact that I am not a formal student of philosophic methods or specifics. What IS going for me, however, is the fact that I am seeking, and have been doing so for many years. So lots of surfaces have been scratched in this search, some deeper than others, and Socrates is one of those surfaces that has been scratched broadly but not deeply. He is just too influential to those who came after him to be ignored, so one gets frequent exposure to his thoughts, works, and methods without even really trying.
I recommend starting with an open-ended question, with yourself as the questioner. Then, put yourself in the role of the answerer, interpreting the question however you wish. Try to take a "philosophic" tone or stance in your questions and answers in order to make yourself think more effortfully, but don't let yourself slip into "fake deep" queries and replies that you think sound intelligent but aren't really representative of your true thoughts or feelings and really aren't helpful at all in this process of discovery. Remember, this is for you to stumble across thoughts or feelings or knowledge or insight that you aren't even aware that you possess, so be as honest and all-encompassing with your dialogue as you can. Finally, and most importantly, don't view your personal revelations as some kind of "real, true, authentic, unalterable essence of you." Just be more aware of your current state, and try to be mindful of things you come across that challenge or conflict with what your dialogues reveal about you. Scarcely a week after dialogue 1 with myself, which is what I've linked to in this post, I'm already re-evaluating my impressions of the relevance and validity of creativity in man based on recent study of the Buddha (thumbs up on his teachings!) and my first exposure to Gnosticism (still very early days for me here and in regards to Buddhist teachings, but already have mixed impressions of the Gnostics coming up with some great stuff and some wackiness, with definite undertones/overlap of what the Buddha brought to the understanding of the self) and also of free will (not covered in dialogue 1, but maybe I'll publish that one at some point as well). Have fun with yourself, and remember, you don't have to worry about boring your partner or talking about yourself too much in that conversation.