Although not always considered as such “Knowledge of Self or Thyself” as used in the different texts of many traditions is a process designed to lead to spiritual awakening. Although some people consider knowledge of self to be knowledge of the “things/accomplishments” a group of people have done, it is quite a bit more than this. Knowledge of Self is a process of self- discovery that awakens a person to an aspect of life missed by most.
While I believe that it is true that many people are familiar with the phrase “Know Thyself” and the similar “To Thine Own Self Be True” what may not be known is the answer to the following questions about them.
- What is there to be “Known” about thy-Self that is not already known?
- Why has “Knowledge of Thyself” always been considered to be important?
- What if any is the benefit derived from “Knowing Thyself?”
What is there to be “Known” about thy-Self that is not already known?
Presumed in knowing something is the obtainment of a certain amount of experience with it. The experience can be obtained through one’s senses or can be experienced in a way which requires their use. Experience of a car for example is experienced through seeing, driving, and even hearing it. However, experience of gravity or the life force essence within air is not done through use of the senses. These types of experiences occur beyond the sense faculties of taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing.
There are a number of things not known by the average person that once known can change ones’ outlook on life. For example, did you know that…?
- The brain process over 4 billion bits of information every second yet the average person is only aware of 2000 of them? Those two thousand are those things that can only be perceived through ones’ sense faculties.
- A person can only see/perceive those things which they have first told themselves is real.
- A person doesn’t see with their eyes but with their brain. The eyes act like a camera but the visual cortex in the brain takes the picture given to it by the eyes and compares it to other pictures already stored in it. What most consider to be seeing is nothing more than a brain acknowledgment that the picture before it presently is similar or the same to one already stored there. The brain does not know the difference between what is occurring in the present moment and what is stored in its memory. What most consider to be sight is not seeing at all.
This is a small number of things about how the human body works that is knowledge of ones’ self that can be known but for many are not. There are more. Is it reasonable to believe that lack of knowledge about these limited human anatomy functions gives a person a skewed perspective about human life far different from its reality?
Why has “Knowledge of thy-Self” been considered important?
The “Know Thyself” phrase has always been important for two reasons. First, because it is referring to the spiritual process of Self-discovery, known by various names according to various religious and spiritual systems: Yoga, Union of the Lower and Higher Self, Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana, Liberation, Salvation, Moksha, Self-Realization, and Enlightenment to name a few. The Kemetic term for spiritual enlightenment is Per M Heru, which means “Coming into the Light.” Enlightenment according to this tradition is also known as Nehast, Resurrection, and Awakening.
Second, “Knowing Oneself” has been important since ancient times because it was believed that the “absence” of this knowledge is the root cause of all physical and mental disease. Lack of knowledge about ones’ true essence which according to the ancient philosophical and religious systems that predate Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is Divine, prevents the obtainment of abiding happiness and perpetual peace. It is also the cause of the negative emotional traits such as anger, hatred, doubt, worry, anxiety, envy, jealousy, fear, frustration, depression, sadness, mental unrest, mental illness and stress just to name a few.
In today’s modern era “Knowing Thyself” is not considered to be important as the negative emotional by-product traits just mentioned are considered normal aspects of being human. This idea is especially prevalent in areas where western societal cultural practices are the norm.
What if any is the benefit derived from “Knowing thy-Self?”
Although the word “thy” in thyself we can all agree refers to the individual person, what exactly constitutes the “Self” is rarely considered. However once considered through sustained study, reflection, and meditation, it is discovered that there is much more to a person than his/her physical body.
The biggest benefit derived from Knowing thy-Self is just that. The awakening/realization of the Knowledge of Self. This knowledge transcends the senses and for thousands of years its realization was considered “the” purpose of life. This is because the “Self” is the aspect of the person that is eternal, immortal and infinite. It is the aspect of the person that animates the body producing what is considered “life.” It is the aspect of the person that when leaving the body causes what is considered “death.” Therefore, this aspect of the person is “real.” This is because this part is never born nor does it ever die. It is eternal.
For many people, this aspect/essence/Self is something totally unknown to them. Lack of Knowledge of Self-coupled with the mistaken simultaneous belief that the physical body is inherently real is the cause of the negative emotional quality traits considered to be normal by most. Anger, hatred, greed, envy, jealousy, lust, anxiety to name a few are the by-products of ignorance of thy-Self.
Therefore, the benefit derived from Knowing Thyself is the eradication of ignorance from the personality and with it the ability to know what life is. Lack of knowledge of Self is lack of Knowledge about life.
Peace and Blessings!
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