An ancient axiom of spirituality was “Know Thyself”.
Seems obvious and essential, plus profound and a worthy soundbite which is and was always dramatic enough to make an impression. Also, in the days of carving words into stone, it didn’t take long to carve this phrase.
It is the kind of phrase that can mean whatever you want it to mean, and the limit on it is the questions you know that you can ask, and the issues you know about. Also, there can be a point to knowing yourself. But what “to know” depends on where you are at in your life.
For some people it is enough for them to know what kinds of friends they like, what people they like to follow on social media, the music they like, the fast food they like and don’t like, the political views they like (and don’t like) etc. Life is such for these people that they haven’t had to consider other issues ( a big yet), including more life and death type issues; the kind that force people to re-prioritize their lives.
People who set up businesses, if they write a business plan, often do a SWOT: Lists of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. All useful stuff in a business context, and which can helpfully spill out into everyday life.
There are jobs where making good decisions and taking the right actions can be critical. For instance surgeons often have to consider how they make decisions and why they make the decisions they do. If they make mistakes they have to learn from them. So surgeons have to learn and reflect on how they make decisions, and know this about themselves.
Even in sport, even though the outcomes can be less crucial, sports psychologists will help elite sports people get to know their thinking processes and decision making, so that they make better choices. This is soemthing that can be useful in other aspects of life. It is something that many people would find helpful.
Part of knowing thyself in an elite sports context, and also in high pressure situations is knowing how you cope in an extremely stressful situation, on your own and with others in a team. In some walks of life this can prove invaluable. For instance, if someone works in an emergency department in a hospital, or as a paramedic, or when helping out in a birth, or in sea rescue, and so on. All a bit different to sitting there in meditation and just trying not to think.
“Knowing thyself” can mean exploring your preferences more deeply to get to your values. You can find what really, deeply you think and feel, and particularly feel what is important. Then explore why and get down to the issues and articulate them. Taking the time to do this is powerful. But doing this won’t make you popular because it means that you will know your own mind, and that you won’t necessarily end up following the herd from one emotionally highly charged issue to the next, and the angry self-righteous will dislike you. But if you know what’s important to you, you probably won’t care about them trying to make out that (in their opinion) you are “wrong”, as you will know in your own mind you are right.
Issues and morals are an odd thing though. Even though they seem important right now, in years to come they will all change, and what was important will seem really unneccessary.
For myself, and I know others who use their third eyes, we feel into or look at issues with our third eyes. In this way it is possible to evaluate and energetically analyse an issue, or someone’s beliefs, or their opinions on an issue. In this way it is possible to sense what issue or belief or opinion is worth paying attention to, and what to disregard, and in a healing way, what issue needs some healing energy to deal with any twists or embedded negative energy. This approach is unconventional, and definitely means not following the herd, but doing what seems right from an energy point of view.
Knowing yourself in a spiritual context. That can mean a number of things depending on where you are at, and what feels right to you at whatever point you are on your spiritual journey. It might be what has been written about above is what is required.
It could mean knowing that from a spiritual and energetic point of view that you are a soul that is immortal, which reincarnates time and time again into lifetimes, each time with a new body and new personality, with new karma just right for that lifetime. That is something pretty big to know about.
In this context it helps to know that you as a soul came from God, from the Divine, into creation. So from the Light, to the relative darkness. Now why would you have done that? Why go through all the pain and suffering, all the emotion, and experience love and joy in all its forms? Why?
Well after a great deal of lives, and all that experience and learning you will know why, because God, who is Infinite in anycase, isn’t experienced in books and the Infinite can’t be learnt about intellectually. God is learnt about by living and experiencing what Love isn’t and what Love is. There is much more to this but why spoil the ending to your story when you can find out for yourself? Live, and Love.
In another spiritual context, knowing yourself can mean knowing you are a soul in a physical body, inside an etheric body, inside an emotional/astral body, inside a mental body, and that you are inside your aura, which has an outer coating as a protection. Inside all these bodies there are chakras or energy centres with different qualities and functions, though all of them let in energy, do something to that energy, and radiate or send out energy of different qualities. Many people still think there are seven main chakras, but times have moved on and there is change all around in the world, as there is change in people’s energy systems. So there are more chakras. You might notice these, or might not. Don’t worry if not. As a general rule, it is always good to focus on and meditate on the heart centre, as everything else gets affected by this. It is still good to learn how to clear and protect the centres from third eye down, and the other centres will make themselves apparent as and when. The heart centre is where it is at, spiritually.
In yet another spiritual context, it helps to think of things in terms of spirit, which can be thought of as an energy that pushes, influences and motivates in a particular way. Spirit can also be thought of as a flavour. You are a collection of spirits. So if you want to know yourself, you can think of yourself as a combination of the spirit you incarnated in with, a spirit from your father, a spirit from your mother, a spirit from your family, a spirit from the area you were born in, and a spirit from your country of birth. Then overlaid over these core spirits are the spirits you gather according to how you live, how you were treated when you were a child, what you experienced, from the things you are involved in and interested in, from the people you associate with and who you think are important, from your job if you are working…
Even moods and habitual thoughts can be thought of as spirit. So each lifetime, we are a veritable zoo of spirits, or perhaps an orchestra. Now is that orchestra producing a symphony or a cacophony or something inbetween? You can think of spirituality as knowing what spirits are there in your system, and getting rid of those you don’t want, and collecting up the spirits you do want (divine spirit anyone?) like some living version of a computer game where you can gain rewards and move onto the next level (or drop back to the start as in the spiritual game of snakes and ladders).
Each lifetime, we start over with another hotchpotch of spirits for the experiences we require, but with our intrinsic spirit having grown a bit.
“Know Thyself” in a spiritual context can mean knowing what we think. There is a spiritual saying that goes “energy follows thought”. Some people believe that we create our reality with our thoughts. This is only partially true as anyone who believed this notion and yet still found their house burnt down in fires, or totally destroyed or flooded in storms, or still ended up dying from some illness would have found out to their dismay. That’s it put bluntly. Thoughts have some influence, but usually karma wins out, as does the will of more powerful beings. If thinking is aligned with karma, any positive outcomes are usually attributed by the proud, happy person to their positive thinking. There are times though, when the karma is of the opportunistic type, where it can go positive or negative. Here, a person’s thoughts and their ability to focus and concentrate on putting out that thought can make something out of an opportunity. Also, some people know about spiritual matters such as the Law of Love, the Law of Faith, and what to do, what to think and what to avoid thinking, and how to take physical actions to bring about what they see as the most loving outcome. So what do you think about yourself? What would be the best to think of yourself? What do you think of others (what attitude do you have towards them)? As this affects the energy you radiate. Many thoughts need exploring as they are tucked away in the subconscious, and are very much worth knowing about. What are your thoughts about relationships? About your mother? About your father? About their relationship? (These we use as models in our own relationships.) What do you think about health? What do you think about money? About work? About success? About the future? About God? And so on. Sometimes our old thoughts don’t help us, and happily we can take on board new ones and focus on thinking those instead. Some thoughts we hold can be fairly neutral, emotionally. But when we think, we feel, we generate emotional energy. Some old thoughts and issues can have a lot of emotion bound up with them. Before we can realistically adopt new thoughts, we have to deal with the emotional energy. It is really worth exploring how to use forgiveness in this case. Sometimes with painful issues therapy of some sort is very helpful.
This is by no means a definitive exploration of “Know Thyself”, as there is more, as we all shall find out in due course.
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5 thoughts on ““Know Thyself” means what?”
Knowing yourself is hard, I believe, because no one thought us how to speak to ourselves. Explore ourselves from an early age. We need to learn this skill when we’re older and already damaged by the surrounding life – and crippling thoughts. Thanks for the suggestions and the tips.
You are welcome. I think I will write something about thoughts soon.
Dear Ivaylo, I’ve written an article on changing thoughts you might be interested in.