What is Self Knowledge?
Self knowledge is knowing yourself intimately. It involves knowing your thoughts and feelings, how they came about, and how they influence your behavior. It is about understanding your needs, desires, motivations, beliefs, views and values. In short, it is about knowing how you tick and what makes you tick.
The tool for self knowledge is introspection, a looking within that focuses our attention on our thoughts, how they arise and disappear. This is best done in a quiet environment where you have time to watch and analyze your own thoughts. A busy life does not exclude this possibility of introspection or self reflection but it does make it less likely that you will do so. Furthermore, it is more difficult to watch a busy mind that runs and jumps everywhere like a monkey in a cage.
Why is self knowledge important?
Self knowledge is important because it helps you to understand yourself better. Through better self understanding, you are more able to be in control of your own life. You can then make life happens for you rather than have life happens to you.
It also helps you to find answer to the more insightful and spiritual question - "Who am I?"
Through self knowledge, we are in a better position to understand the outer physical universe as well as the inner metaphysical world within us, and to see how our mind becomes the interface for both experiences. We now know that the meanings we place on the "realities" of life have a greater effect on the quality of our human experience than the "realities" themselves. Thus, we can change the quality of our life simply by changing the way we think and view the world around us. We can become happier simply by changing ourselves, without changing the world. Paradoxically, when we do change ourselves, the world around us changes as well, as if on its own.
We live in a participatory universe where our thoughts and beliefs are very real "things" that affect the world around us. It is as if the content of our inner mind is reflected out into the physical world. This is how we create our own destiny. This is the understanding that will stop us from becoming a victim of circumstances, and instead become the master of our own destiny. This is the occult lesson in the ancient teachings of Hermes, in one of his seven spiritual laws. This spiritual law, called the Law of Correspondence, says "As Above, So Below. As Within, So Without".
This is a key lesson in self understanding, in knowing that we create our own lives and that we are fully and completely responsible for what we create - consciously AND unconsciously. It is extremely empowering to realize that whatever we create we can re-create, thus we are never a victim of circumstances. It is always within our power to change our lives.
Self knowledge allows us to recognize our error in thinking and to correct it. It is therefore the mean to a better and more fulfilling life - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor with keen interest in self improvement, mind science and spirituality. He is the webmaster of The Self Improvement Site and is also the author of "From Fear to Love: A Spiritual Journey" - a book that explores our hidden fears and how we can overcome them. Dr. Ong shares his personal experience as well as relates stories and lessons from his patients. You can get a copy of his ebook here (with a special discount): From Fear to Love.