You can see below a very complete list of what eminent men have said about the need to
“Know your SELF”
but it is astonishing superficial and clueless – most just repeat the question or state how hard it is. Few if at all give at least some superficial ideas of what effect it would have if you
“Know your SELF”
but mostly lacking any specific advice how to get there.
Most feel the importance of this question and that its solution would be giving a certainty and contentment that we otherwise only try to achieve by many experiments that usually do not last long or commit to some dogma that gives an artificial sense of certainty.
I know I have come across a solution that proves better every day and that is in fact quite opposite to what contemporary spirituality teaches which is beginning of a new cycle. Imagine that possibly in a hundred years we might look at the “Do it yourself”, “You know best what is good for you”, “Save the earth and energy”, “We are all one”, “Take it easy”, “There is only light”, “What is yours will come to you”, “Think positive”, “We give freedom to the world. one country at a time”, “Everyone is right”, “There is many truth – every one has his own”, “Scientific reproducibility is truth”, “Everything is energy”, “To become an objective observe is the goal”, “Non-duality is the goal” a.s.o. as subjective and passing as we see today the ideas of 19th century. We do not live anymore in the paradigm of Materialism of the 19th Century but are now stuck in that of “Relativism” of the 20th century.
In the next few posts I will describe the 5 categories of Dynamic Labile Equilibrium forms, that if practiced will have an unexpected and supernatural effect on our health, contentment and spirituality.
Around my 50th birthday I was given insight that brings many previously unconnected pieces together and in their union fill me with so much certainty that I want to make them available for others to test and to benefit :
1. Before SELF can assert a kind of individuality it has to disentangle itself from the web of connections in which it is logged in a “we are all one” feeling – that is the natural state. Detachment as often practiced by monks leads usually to an attachment to poverty, chastity, self-lessness, loneliness rather than a strengthening of SELF.
2. In fact we have to be willing to experience polarities, which for a long time is always connected with a certain degree of discomfort – but we should not seek discomfort as a sign of spirituality. This state of moving between the polarities I call Dynamic Labile Equilibrium DLE. To the degree that this is undertaken with the wish to get a stronger Sense of Self, while less to hurt others or oneself it will be successful – a walk on the razors edge.
3. I created 5 categories of Dynamic Labile Equilibrium – sensual DLE, emotional DLE, intellectual DLE, awareness DLE and life-style DLE, all more or less overlapping (these categories I will be described in detail in the next posts)
4. DLE will first create a stronger Sense-of-Self and later make it possible to have a stronger connection to the Soul.
5. Because culture has not given the necessary emphasis on this quest or has misguided these efforts most feel not secure about their identity and cover this to the outside by artificial means Cars, Property, Clothing, Book-knowledge, Titles, Careers, ….
6. …. and to towards their feeling about themselves, many have to dull this sense of dissatisfaction with substance drugs, anger, depression, workoholism, stoic self control, …
7. If this ignorance of SELF is continued for too long, disease or tragic events have to come to attempt a new start – a Reset.
8. Once this Sense-of-Self has reached a sufficient level of Eigen-Resonance it is giving so much certainty and security that one one is not afraid of making mistakes, especially in front of others, one is not concerned about what others think about oneself – without being careless or the feeling of others, and many more aspect that will be discussed in detail
9…..and if “grace” enters you will be given more moments of a connection to the divine
What you can expect in the upcoming posts about DLE
– > an in detail description of the 5 forms of DLE which explain how they :
A) usually crystallize in one pol and their trans-formative power dies
B) will evoke all kinds of opposition in yourself and your environment
C) can be practiced or strengthened in your life
D) will create new posers in your life
and you will see how already now all benefitial and fun aspects of your life unknowingly are founded on one of these forms of DLE, how all spiritual traditions are based on one or several forms of DLE and how most crystallized into dogma and habit and why.
The concept of living in a flow from one polarity to the other is the foundation of all spiritual systems and as such contained in their symbols :
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Here as a start – a very complete compilation, thanks to Asaf Braverman, what people in the past had to contribute to the quest to “Know Thyself” :
And most often it is just an expression of sadness that we do not have it or how hard it is:
Aldous Huxley: If most of us remain ignorant of ourselves, it is because self-‐knowledge is painful and we prefer the pleasures of illusion.
Benjamin Franklin: There are three Things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.
Bernard Berenson: Yet, who is the real I, where does he hide from ME? I know who he is not, but how and what and if at all HE is, I have never discovered although for more than seventy years I have been looking for him.
Deepak Chopra: Who am I? is the only question worth asking and the only one never answered.
Finley Peter Dunne: People tell me to be frank, but how can I when I don’t dare to know myself?
Francios Villon: I know all except myself.
Michel de Montaigne: If the soul knew anything, it would first of all know itself. If I study, it is for no other science than which deals with the knowledge of myself.
Thales: The most difficult thing in life is, to know yourself.
Epictetus: Poor wretch, you carry about a god within you, and know nothing of it.
Some even only ask the question – also not very helpful – or worth quoting :
George Sand: Can one know oneself? Is one ever somebody?
Hans Christian Andersen: What a mystery I am to myself!
Jalalludin Rumi: Who am I in the midst of all this thought traffic
Lewis Carroll: Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.
Others convey that the commonly accepted idea that “TO know the SELF” would mean to become emotionless, objective observer :
Bayazid Bastami: Twelve years I have been smith of myself, until I have made of myself a clear mirror.
Epictetus: Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. In contemplating thyself, never include the body that surrounds you.
A few give practical indications about what to do in order to get there, but all remain very abstract and general :
Afdal al-Din Kashani: Strive and become near to whatever you know to be better for self, and flee and seek distance from everything you recognize is bad for self.
Alexander Pope: Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, the proper study of Mankind is Man.
Benjamin Franklin: Observe all men; thy self most.
Confucius: When we seen men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.
Lao Tsu: Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
Lord Chesterfield: Study the heart and the mind of man, and begin with your own.
Meher Baba: To know reality is to become it. According to the law that governs the universe, all sufferings are your labor of love to unveil your real self. The ‘I’ has to get rid of the falseness before it can realize who it is in reality. The mind creates false impressions and makes the real “I” think itself false. When you surrender all falseness you inherit the Truth that you really are.
Petrarch: I shall be content, if I succeed in knowing myself. To reach this end I strain my eyes. I never loose sight of it, nor do I cease praying the Gods, that they may teach me toknow myself, and grant, as the wise ought to desire, that I always be mindful of my goal.
Pindar: Learn what you are, and be such.
Plato: The essence of knowledge is self-‐knowledge. I must first know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that which is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self would be ridiculous. I may be a simpleton, but in my opinion, only that knowledge which is of being and of the unseen, can make the soul look upwards. If man’s attention is centered on appetite … all his thoughts are bound to be mortal and he can hardly fail to become entirely mortal. In every man there is an eye of the soul, which is more precious than ten thousand bodily eyes.
Socrates: The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. I am not yet able, as the Delphic inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not yet know that, to investigate irrelevant things. Care first about the greatest perfection of the soul. What I want to discover at present is the art which devotes its attention to precision, exactness, and the fullest truth.
William Shakespeare: Of all knowledge, the wise and good seek most to know themselves. Thou sleep’st: awake, and see thyself. The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man
Several others mention powers or glory that should be associated with a self-knowledge but do not described any why and how :
Afdal al-Din Kashani: No matter how clear things can appear to be, the self is clearer than the things.
Ancient Egypt: Man, know thyself, and thou shalt know the Gods.
Attar of Nishapur: If while living you fail to find your self, to know your self, how will you be able to understand the secret of your existence when you die?
Erasmus: The crown of wisdom is that you know yourself.
F.W. Boreham: Your pearl is you yourself.
Geoffrey Chaucer: The remedy for Pride is Humility or true self-‐knowledge.
Ibn Arabi: When you enter into His Paradise you enter into yourself. My voyage was only in myself, and only pointed to myself. This is a journey to increase knowledge and open the eye of understanding.
Prophet Muhammad: Whoever knows himself knows God.
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Wherever we go, whatever we do, self is the sole subject we study and learn.
Richard of Saint Victor: The high peak of knowledge is perfect self-‐knowledge.
Afdal al-Din Kashani: To know oneself is to know the everlasting reality that is consciousness, and to know it is to be it
Upanishads: Katha Upanishad: The Self lies beyond the senses and can only be understood by him who knows It is. Those who realize the Self are forever free from the jaws of death.A sage withdrew his senses from the world Of change and, seeking immortality, Looked within and beheld the deathless Self. The Self is the goal of life; attain this goal. Those who know the Self become the Self.
Walt Whitman: When shows break up what but One’s Self is sure? What you are picks its way.
Others speak about the effect of a lack of Self-knowledge without stating what it is in itself :
Nazarius of Valaam: Pride settles into a man when he does not yet know himself perfectly.
Paracelsus: Our uncertainty about ourselves is at the base of our uncertainty of all things.
George Gurdjieff: “Know thyself.” These words, which are generally ascribed to Socrates, actually lie at the basis of many systems and schools far more ancient than the Socratic. The first reason for man’s inner slavery is his ignorance of himself. Without self-‐knowledge, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave. This is why in all ancient teachings the first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation was: ‘Know thyself’.
Peter Ouspensky: To know oneself—this was the first principle and the first demand of old psychological schools. We still remember these words, but have lost their meaning. We think that to know ourselves, means to know our peculiarities, our desires, our tastes, our capacities and our intentions. The most fundamental thing is to know oneself, although if certain things do not change you cannot know yourself. To know oneself is a long process. First we must study. Very soon after starting to observe himself, a man will begin to distinguish useful features and harmful features in himself, that is, useful or harmful from the point of view of his possible self-‐knowledge, his possible awakening, his possible development. He will see sides of himself, which can become conscious, and sides which cannot become conscious and must be eliminated.
Rodney Collin: There is a state—like that of a small child or a shipwrecked man washed up naked on an island. In trying to answer the question: ‘Who am I?’, one may come to certain answers which produce almost the same effect.
Sir Joshua Reynolds: And he who does not know himself does not know others, so it may be said with equal truth, that he who does not know others knows himself but very imperfectly.
Frequently “To know yourself” is interpreted with “To be yourself” without again explaining what this would mean
Oscar Wilde: ‘Know Thyself’ was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, ‘Be Thyself’ shall be written. The message of Christ to man was simply “Be Thyself.” That is the secret of Christ.
Zen Masters and Proverbs: The Self is the goal of life; attain this goal. Those who know the Self become the Self.
Ancient Egyptian Sayings: The body is the temple of the God within you; therefore it is said, ‘Man: know thyself.
Bernard of Clairvaux: In spirit is my true self to be found.
Bhagavad-Gita: Wake up! Be thyself! The glory of the Self is beheld by few. The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change. This is true knowledge, to seek the Self as the true end of wisdom always. To seek anything else is ignorance.
Koran: And do thou, O Muhammad, remember thy Lord within thyself.
Heraclitus of Ephesus: All men have the capacity of knowing themselves.
Rainer Maria Rilke: I have an inner self of which I was ignorant.