Essay on: “Know thyself” (“Temet Nosce”) by Amira

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“Know thyself” (“Temet Nosce”)

 

The ancient Greek aphorism “Know thyself” is one of the Delphic maxims,(though we find similar teachings going back to ancient Egypt and Asia) the first of three, inscribed on a column in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi (Greece). It’s given as “Nosce te ipsum” or “Temet nosce

This wisdom comes to us from 4th century BC, 2400 years before us!

 

The next two maxims are: “Nothing to excess” and “surety brings ruins”.

Among the 147 Delphic maxims, some of them stand up for me and are still all so relevant to our current days, such as:

  • Be in control of yourself

  • Control your temper

  • Embrace friendship

  • Be eager for Wisdom

  • Practice what is just

  • Exercise nobility of justice

  • Look down on none

  • Honour generosity

  • Praise hope

  • Despise slander

  • Listen and observe

  • Despise strife

  • Deal kindly to everyone

  • Repent of your errors

  • Be grateful

  • Pursue harmony

  • Shun hatred

  • Respect the old

  • Respect yourself

  • Do not initiate violence

  • Do not live your life in discontent

  • Speak from knowledge

  • Be ruled by justice

So what does “know yourself” mean?

It entails a long life journey of self exploration. In order to fully understand our shadow aspects, and our deeper identity, we peel through all the layers of the onion to reach our core.

Are we congruent with our thoughts, words and actions, and with our core values? Do we have that integrity that it’s fully in alignment with our Soul’s Purpose?

As we unravel the deeper truths of who we are, facing our shadow aspects, doubts, false beliefs, self-fears, biases, vulnerabilities, insecurities, and limitations, we can begin to listen to our inner wisdom and to start following our heart.

It takes much work, introspection, mindfulness, reflection, courage, dedication, meditation and commitment to travel this path. However, this may be one of the most important journeys we could ever take, the path within.

Here are some quotes that serve to illustrate this concept:

  • From Lao Tzu: “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”

 

  • Confucius said: When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”

 

  • Jesus in Mathew 7:5: First, remove the beam out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother’s eye.

     

  • “Your own Self-Realization is the greatest service you can render the world.” by Ramana Maharshi

 

  • “The Self is unmanifested, beyond all thought, beyond all change.” Bhagavad Gita

 

  •    “This is true knowledge, to seek the Self as the true end of wisdom always. To seek anything else is ignorance.”  Bhagavad Gita

  • “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” Aristotle

 

  • “Once a man has found himself there is nothing in this world that he can lose. And once he has understood the humanity in himself, he will understand all human beings. – Stefan Zweig

 

As the inner journey continues, the great philosopher Socrates suggested that further revelation lies in asking “Who am I?”

Then, a deeper identity begins to emerge when we delve into this inquire. We start to realize that we are much more than our physical bodies, and also more than our personalities, and even more than our own minds…

The deeper we go, the further we reach to a state of pure consciousness.

Who is the silent observer, beyond your mind, your thoughts and your ongoing inner chatter?

We begin to sense our Higher Self, our Soul, our own connection to the Divine.

The Upanishads also say “Know thyself” and the Bible says, “Be still, and know that you are that”.

“That” is the infinite part within us, which cannot be defined by our words or understood by our limited minds, which goes beyond our birth and beyond our death. Some call that connection a total immersion into the Oneness.

This wisdom has been passed to our current times from ancient civilizations.

For example, here is are some quotes from “the Egyptian book of the Dead”

  • “Strive to see with the inner eye, the heart. It sees the reality not subject to emotional or personal error; it sees the essence. Intuition then is the most important quality to develop.”

     

From the temples of Luxor, we receive similar teachings through profound proverbs:

 

  • True teaching is not an accumulation of knowledge; it is an awaking of consciousness which goes through successive stages.

 

  • Man must learn to increase his sense of responsibility and of the fact that everything he does will have its consequences

 

  • The body is the house of god. That is why it is said, “Man know yourself.”

 

In Hindu philosophy, the Sanskrit word “Atman” means: “essence, breath, soul.”  It’s used to describe the inner self, the spirit or the soul. In the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Atman is the First Principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. The drop from the Divine Ocean.

Atman, in Hinduism, is considered as eternal, imperishable, beyond time, “not the same as body or mind or consciousness, but is something beyond which permeates all these.”

In Advaita vedanta, it is “pure, undifferentiated, self-shining consciousness, the witness-consciousness which observes all phenomena yet is not touched by it.

The Upanishads teach “know your Ātman” as their thematic focus. These texts state that the core of every person’s self is not the body, nor the mind, nor the ego, but Atman, which means “soul” or “Higher self”.

Atman is the spiritual essence in all creatures, their real innermost essential being. It is eternal, it is the essence, it is ageless. Atman is that which one is at the deepest level of one’s existence.”

This essence is different from all the other layers of the self, the “ego” part of us, our individual personality with its characteristic habits, prejudices, desires, impulses, delusions, fads, behaviors, pleasures, sufferings and fears.

Human personality evolves and changes over time, but our true essence is the unchanging, eternal, innermost radiant self that is unaffected by personality, unaffected by ego of oneself, unaffected by ego of others; is that which is ever-free, never-bound, self-existent awareness, limitless and non-dual, the eternal self-luminous consciousness , the pure and Divine essence.

When the Bible says that “man was made in the image of GOD”, is referring to that pure essence and Divinity that connects us to our Creator.

“ Jesus has said: “Those who lose themselves will find themselves”.  It is to dissolve like a drop falls into the sea. The spiritual teacher is a death, but he is also a rebirth, a resurrection, a rejoicement.” ….

“When a person experiences the divine, he can no longer condemn anyone. Love becomes natural to him, because he starts seeing godliness in everybody. …


…“The person that has entered the inner temple of the heart of all living beings truly sees.

…To experience godliness one has to recognize that which is hidden deep in the inner temple of the heart. The divine is hidden deep within yourself.”

 Swami Dhyan Giten, When the Drop becomes the Ocean

Human beings, in a state of unawareness of this universal self, see their “I-ness” as different from the being in others, then act out of impulse, fears, cravings, malice, division, confusion, anxiety, passions, and a sense of distinctiveness.

Once we connect with our innermost essence, we reach a state of full awareness, liberation, and freedom that overcomes dualities at all levels, realizing the divine within oneself, the divine in others, and in all living beings; the non-dual oneness, that God is in everything, and everything is God’s.

 

Namaste!

Amira

 

Jumping a Little Deeper into Yoga: YogaMOOC | Joy is Found in the ...

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphic_maxims#Entrance_Maxims

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakshi_(Witness)

“When the drop becomes the ocean” by Swami Dhyan Giten https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43804978-when-the-drop-becomes-the-ocean

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Trina Graves says:

    What a wonderful essay Amira! Chock-a-block full of knowledge and insightful quotes! I will definitely be re-reading this several times to properly digest it all. Brilliant and much needed at this time.
    Much Love, Light & Blessnigs – Namaste ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Trina! I am honored by your comment. ❤ Much love, light an blessings back to you always! Namaste dear friend! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. earthskyair says:

    Wow, Amira! I love this! So much here, so many nuggets, but I especially love being reminded to ask the question you posed: “Who is the silent observer, beyond your mind, beyond your thoughts, beyond your ongoing inner chatter?” Much here to carry with me. Thank you, and namaste. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PK says:

      Excellent Amira! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will reread again! Condensed wisdom of great souls!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you P.K. I am honored by your comment! Namaste! 🙂

        Like

    2. Awww, thank you so much dear friend. I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed this post! Much love and light. ❤ Namaste 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for this inspiring and knowing who we really are post, Amira. Every Avatar has come and said the same thing but we as human beings have not listened to his teachings. Good words, Good thoughts and good deeds is said in different ways but we have interpreted totally differently. Namaste dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much dear Kamal! Yes, we had many Light teachers and Masters that passed on this knowledge for millennia, and now more than ever we need to start learning our lessons and realizing our oneness. Much love! Namaste! ❤

      Like

      1. Yes and I agree totally with your words Amira. Masters will come and go and new masters will take over who will always give pearls of wisdom to all of us. Namaste😊😊😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Anita Bowden says:

    A wonderful collection of important thoughts, reflections and guidance, Amira! Thank you for sharing so much wisdom in one place!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Anita! We are very lucky to have access to the wisdom of the ancient teachers! There is so much available to us from them. They showed us the way… Now, we need to stat seeking inwards… 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My dear friend Amira,

    Thank you very much for this wise compilation of wisdom as a collection from our wise men sharing their insight with us.

    Gnothi seauton! Man know thyself! It is indeed not the outer knowledge, or book knowledge it is the treasure that lies in us, in each of us.

    My Master has spoken about it in a lecture hold in 1954, Delhi, recorded on a video. So I would like to share His words about this important subject:

    Thank you so much for sharing this subject and your work and effort put into it, dear Amira 🙂
    From heart to heart 🙂
    Didi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you dear Didi for your comments and your valuable contribution and sharing the teachings of your Master on this topic. I find it interesting that it does not seem to be a “popular topic” for the majority of the people these days, perhaps when it is most needed that we actually go within.
      Thanks again dear friend, from heart to heart, Amira ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome, my friend .)
        Consciousness starts from within…
        Now time to jump to bed. Have a great day-time, dear Amira 🙂
        From heart to heart
        Didi

        Liked by 1 person

        1. LOL! How amazing time is… my day has just began here, it’s 2:32 pm.
          Sweet dreams my friend! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, dear Amira, I think we have a time difference of around 10 hours. so when I am awake it is your sleeping time and vise versa.
            Thanks, dear friend 🙂
            Have a great time on the island of thousand dreams… 🙂
            Didi

            Liked by 1 person

          2. thank you dear friend, I love that the island of a thousand dreams! ❤ My bed time soon!

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Then good night, my friend 🙂
            When on the island of the thousand dreams, take your landing net and catch some beautiful dreams, dear Amira 🙂
            Here it is now 9:21 in the morning.
            Good night!
            Didi

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Thank you so much dear friend! And a new day starts here…

            Liked by 1 person

          5. And here the day ends, almost 22:00 here 🙂
            In Oneness, dear friend 🙂
            Didi

            Liked by 1 person

  6. LindaP says:

    Wonderful compilation of so many profound thoughts and wisdom Amira! Love and blessings,Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Linda! Much love and blessings back! ❤ ❤ ❤

      Like

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