“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
The fear of the Lord [ is ] the beginning of wisdom........................'
Being brought up Christian as I was, I was taught to 'fear the Lord' from early on. To be honest, it was often, in my limited understanding, 'softened' ( for lack of a better word? ) to 'a healthy respect' or 'reverence', but for most of my Christian life, I experienced this 'healthy respect' as an almost deafening, blinding fear; fear that, at any second, the bottom could drop out & the hammer ( or 'lightning bolts' ) could come crashing down. Such was the Fear I was forced to confront when I began to 'see' myself for Who I really was, not what I was taught I was! Though Fear continues to rear its ugly head, it no longer rules me!
'Know thyself', as the phrase usually attributed to Socrates is often shortened to, has been the subject of philosophical arguments from ancient times, even, some say, as far back as Ancient Egypt. Some, in this article, for instance, seem to take it to mean that striving to know yourself could & most likely would lead to 'cognitive dissonance' & even confusion. This argument, however, should be dismissed outright, if only because who we are is not necessarily who we've been led to believe we are! As we have discussed for some length of time in this blog, we, as human beings, are More than our humanity. We are, in reality, 'spirit beings having a physical experience'. If we allow this physical experience to define us, then, as the article above suggests, it might be silly & yes, even dangerous to 'know thyself'. But if, in fact, our quest for self-knowledge reveals our True Nature, then it is truly a noble, even Divine venture.
Fear, in this human experience, is our greatest detractor! It could also be seen as one of our greatest protectors. By that, I simply mean if we have a healthy respect for what will most likely result from certain actions, we, humanly speaking, are preserved from bodily harm. On the other hand, though, an unhealthy fear will lead to stagnation, to rotting in our own shell, being afraid to venture Beyond our humanity & what Truths lie Within. In many ways, not just because we have been programmed for it, we fear this Truth, this Wisdom, because with Knowledge comes Freedom & with Freedom comes Responsibility. Responsibility scares the 'hell' out of most human beings. When we do the things we know we shouldn't or fail to do the things we should ( my training is showing here ), who are we to blame if we can't blame someone ( or Something ) else? For instance, 'the Devil made me do it', 'he/she finally pushed me too far & I just snapped', etc., etc., etc.
When we, as human beings, begin to take responsibility for our own actions, though it hurts like hell, this in turn, leads to experiencing true freedom, which can, admittedly have the startling effect of learning to know yourself. 'Knowing yourself', of course, is not so simple or frivolous as truly understanding beyond a shadow of a doubt what kind of person you are ( in essence, what kind of coffee you like; 'am I coffee or tea-drinker?' ) To truly know oneself, one must discover their True Nature by peeling back, like an onion, the various layers of their humanity. This is by no means to say that our humanity is necessarily a bad thing, just that it does not define us!
As responsible human beings, we do have an almost frightening tendency to blame anyone but ourselves for our problems! Part of 'knowing yourself' is acknowledging that we ARE responsible for our own actions ( or inactions ). 'As above, so below'; this can lead us dangerously close to the 'abyss' of Freedom, which, again, usually involves learning much of our True Nature. Being Who & What we are, we need not live in Fear of 'what may come', for whatever may come can only harm to our humanity, though this is itself somewhat relative, for 'harm' is just a perception. Only if we perceive our humanity as defining us can someone ( or something ) harm us. On the other hand, what one person perceives as 'harm' may indeed be perceived as a 'boon' by another.
'As above, so below'; to truly know Oneself , One must simply acknowledge that One is More than Human, More than this Biology. Sounds simple, right? Well, yes; it IS that simple, but its also easier said than done! Yes, we're More than this Biology, but we're also IN this Biology. So, in Essence, we must reconcile these two glaring & glorious facts. In order to function in this mundane world in which we live, we must accept the fact, like it or not, that we have chosen to manifest in this Biology, in whatever form. However, if would truly be Free ( as we are ), we must live with the understanding that, though we are human beings, existing within the Circle of Life, we are also Spirit Beings, Eternal in the Heavens, without Beginning or End, outside that Circle!
'Yes', as you may have guessed ( neither should it come as a surprise to some of my readers ), 'I AM equating Myself ( indeed, all my readers, too ) with the One that Christians call 'God'. 'No, I'm NOT saying that we, in our humanity, are equal to ( not even a blip on the radar ) the Source of all Life, though this Biology too, derives from this same Source & is inextricably & unexplainably linked to It'. Maybe it would be more correct to say that we are One with the Spirit of Life, call It 'Divine Energy' or what you will. Our Higher Self, then, is simply an extension, if you will, just one facet of an infinitely multi-faceted Gem!
Namaste' & Blessed Be,