It is said by several esoteric sources that to “Know Thyself” is one of the most important things a person can do. Without self-knowledge, we are absent from ourselves, easily controlled by others, and lose all direction in our lives. So how do we go about actually “knowing ourselves” and reclaiming our lives?
In our head-centric society, most people take the admonition to “KNOW THYSELF” as a primarily intellectual endeavor, with endless books and thinking, all the while neglecting the deeply felt presence of our embodied experience. In our lives, we’ve polarized our intelligence to our heads, often ignoring the “gut instinct” and deeper awareness of the body. To truly “Know Thyself”, one requires a deeper Gnosis, which requires as much awareness as possible, experiencing the full presence of our psychosomatic bodymind, fully sensitive, present, and receptive to life with every sensation we experience as a form of thought.
However, as we see throughout society, our “head-centric” attempt to understand ourselves, and reality, creates an imbalanced, unhealthy confused schism between our ideologies and reality, our selves and others, as well as our bodies and our minds. While this approach has created some convenience and novelty (at the expense of destroying much of the world), it primarily keeps us divided, hostile, clinging to a “top-down” authoritarian model of reality, and in a perpetual state of existential malaise.
Underneath all the top-down, head-centric, tough, desensitized, and divisive games we play from this cultural indoctrination, the fact is that the intellect alone will not suffice in the deepest sense of ‘Knowing Thyself”. After all, can mere words hold the full beauty of a tearful symphony? Can words substitute for the experience of falling in love? Can words give you the same feeling as the thunderously euphoric release of a rapturous orgasm? Can words adequately touch the eternal grace of nature which holds all things in ephemeral cosmic balance, with its constant cycles of birth and death? Not even close. But the fully embodied presence of Being can, in every moment.
Getting in to the body can be as simple as regularly allowing ourselves to slow down, breathe slowly and deeply in to your stomach and even deeper in to your pelvic bowl, releasing the clenched pelvic muscles, vocalizing and moving as needed, stretching our tightened bodies, and feeling your energy body expand as you breathe. Feel the breath enter in to you from all over your body. Be still and silent until you can hear your own heartbeat. Feel the tightness melt away as your armor dissolves and your dormant senses begin to rejuvenate. Be present with your breath, letting thoughts come and go, but never being attached to them. When this sort of practice becomes embodied in our daily relationship to our sacred selves, you will begin to awaken the inherent embodied wisdom of your full presence and deeper gnosis. This is only the beginning of the process with a few short suggestions, which will help you go deeper more rapidly with regular practice. These deeper layers of awareness are already in you, awaiting your conscious care to nurture them back to the foreground of your awareness.
The most intimate, real, and authentic parts of you are ecstatically invigorating and deeply ever-present, yet they are constantly dulled by culture’s loudly indoctrinated obsession to try and confine life, and ourselves, in to tiny, “clean”, labeled boxes of logical organization of thought. Our sovereign authenticity requires a willingness to surrender control of our intellectualized notions of “what should be” and allowing the vulnerable, spontaneous “messiness” of pure being to emerge. While logical constructs serve an important purpose in “DOING”, we are too often polarized towards their rigidity and we lose sight of what’s most fundamentally important- BEING.
When we integrate the two polarities, however, doing no longer requires “hustle” and “struggle”. Our “Doing” comes from our “Being”, and effort becomes effortless. We act not from the conditioned constructs of our identity, but from ourselves in the present moment in harmony with our environment and greater awareness of the world. This embodied connection, which is to be experienced as fully as possible, with all its ineffable joy, sadness, silliness, passion, fear, presence, wonder, and love, is the essence of what it means to truly “Know Thyself”.
For an even deeper look in to what it means to “Know Thyself”, please watch the following short, yet in-depth video. You’ll be glad you did!