Unity Metaphysics 1
Lesson 08 Self-Knowledge
Our quest for Truth must begin with self-knowledge. Our first step toward spiritual enlightenment is the awareness that we have an inherent knowledge of the truth about ourselves and God.
In this chapter we will consider the concept of self-knowledge in relation to our spiritual unfoldment. We will also discuss self-observation as a technique for gaining greater self-awareness.
8A “KNOW THYSELF”
A Key to God mind is with everyone--it is the action of the individual mind… Study your own mind, and through it, you will find God-Mind. In no other way can you get a complete understanding of yourself, of the universe, and of the law under which it is being brought forth" (Christian Healing 19).
“Our most important study is our own mind, not only the intellectual mind but the spiritual mind. ‘Know thyself’ was inscribed on the temple of Apollo at Delphi; and it must be inscribed on our own temple, ‘over’ the door of our mind” (Keep a True Lent 38).
“‘Know thyself’; know who and what you are where you came from, what you are doing here, and where you are going" (Talks on Truth 76).
Self-knowledge is the true prelude to Christ consciousness. Without genuine self-knowledge, other knowledge often becomes a kind of clutter in the mind. With genuine self-knowledge, however, other knowledge reveals its meaning and ripens into wisdom. We begin our quest for self-knowledge by realizing that the source of all wisdom is within the spectrum of our own consciousness.
8B KNOWLEDGE IS WITHIN:
“Heretofore we have sought knowledge and help from outside sources, not knowing that the source of all knowledge, the very Spirit of truth, is lying latent within each one of us , waiting to be called on to teach us the truth about all things” (Emilie Cady Lessons in Truth 19).
“In education the emphasis is normally placed on the acquisition of knowledge… However, progressive educators are beginning to realize, as the ancient Greeks did, that true education is the process of waking up to life and releasing the effusion of light” (Eric Butterworth In the Flow of Life 41).
The key to self-knowledge is the awareness that true knowledge comes from within. We must keep in mind that the gaining of wisdom is not merely the result of pouring a sufficient number of facts into our heads; rather, it is the process of “remembering” or calling forth the spiritual truths that are inherent within each of us.
“All things are in the consciousness and you have to learn to separate the erroneous from the true, darkness from light… This sifting begins right now and goes on until the perfect child of God is manifest and you are fully rounded out in all your Godlike attributes” (Atom-Smashing Power of Mind 49).
“We must learn to watch our consciousness, its impulses and desires, as the chemist watches his solutions. Man forms his own consciousness from the elements of God, and he alone is responsible for the results” (The Twelve Powers of Man 163).
One of the most effective ways to gain greater self-knowledge is through the process of self-observation. The primary purpose for self-observation is to discern the movements of thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and opinions in our own consciousness. Only in this way can we distinguish between what is desirable or undesirable in us at any given moment. Some persons never take time for sincere and calm self-observation and consequently find it difficult, or even impossible, to change their consciousness. Error originates in consciousness and self-observation is a method through which it is detected. It is important to point out however, that self-observation must not become self-condemnation. Our goal is not to reproach ourselves for our thoughts and actions rather, we are seeking to carefully observe our thought patterns so that we may release and transform error beliefs. We need to remember that an important part of self-knowledge is self-acceptance.
8D OUR GOAL:
"The most profound knowledge that you can attain is that your whole existence flows forth inexorably from a universal process, which is always from within-out" (Eric Butterworth In the Flow of Life 4).
"There are not thousands of things to learn in life. There is only one thing to learn: to know the knower within and to sincerely and regularly 'acknowledge Him in all our ways' “(Eric Butterworth In the Flow of Life 48).
"The ultimate aim of each individual is to gain a consciousness of Truth. In this knowledge, man finds himself and the particular work he is intended to do. Each man brings a gift into the world, a donation to its progress. Each is restless and unsatisfied until he has delivered his contribution. He becomes free from the ignorance that binds and hampers him only in proportion to his knowledge of Truth. False thinking makes his way hard, but Truth is always liberating" (Richard Lynch Know Thyself 11).
Once we become aware of the "knower within”, we are able to seek this knowledge through prayer and meditation. We come to realize that we each have unique and special talents to share. We begin to understand that true success in life is not dependent solely on formal education but on the knowledge of Christ within us. We are then able to use our education and the knowledge we acquire in life to help and serve others.
8E SECURITY AND SELF-CONFIDENCE:
Security comes from knowing the truth of who and what we are" (Sue Sikking Only Believe 133).
"Self-confidence is a great asset, and we cannot succeed in life without it; but self-confidence must have its base in the knowledge of who and what we are" (Martha Smock Halfway Up The Mountain 209).
- Ed Rabel
A true sense of security and self-confidence comes from a deep inner conviction that all we ever need to know is available to us at any time and under all circumstances. When we call upon the living spirit of. Truth as our true teacher and guide, we are acknowledging and celebrating our oneness with Omnipresent Mind.
THE MOST IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE HUMANKIND CAN ATTAIN IS SELF-KNOWLEDGE. THROUGH KNOWLEDGE OF OUR OWN MIND, WE WILL FIND THE KEY TO GOD-MIND, FOR EACH OF US IS THE "MICROCOSM OF THE MACROCOSM."
THE KEY TO SELF-KNOWLEDGE IS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT TRUE KNOWLEDGE IS A PROCESS OF CALLING FORTH THE SPIRITUAL TRUTHS INHERENT WITHIN US.
ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO CULTIVATE SELF-KNOWLEDGE IS THROUGH THE PROCESS OF SELF-OBSERVATION. ONLY BY WATCHING OUR THOUGHT PATTERNS, CAN WE DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WHAT IS DESIRABLE OR UNDESIRABLE IN OUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
WE MUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO TURN SELF-OBSERVATION INTO SELF-CONDEMNATION. THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL SELF-OBSERVATION IS SELF-ACCEPTANCE.
WHEN WE SEEK SELF-KNOWLEDGE THROUGH PRAYER AND MEDITATION, WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO UNCOVER OUR GOD-GIVEN GIFTS AND TALENTS.
TRUE SUCCESS AND SELF-CONFIDENCE COME FROM THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST WITHIN US.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
- Explain your understanding of self-knowledge. Why is it emphasized in the Unity teachings?
- What is the importance of self-observation to our spiritual unfoldment?
- What role does formal education play in the process of self-knowledge?
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION AND MEDITATION
"We should cultivate the silence and when we are alone, the Universe will talk to us in flashes of inspiration. We do not have to learn anything. In fact all we really need to do is recollect it, for it is already within us as the reality of light." (Eric Butterworth In the Flow of Life 41)
Butterworth, Eric, In the Flow of Life, chapter 4, "The Effusion of Light."
Transcribed by Rev. Evan Coleman on August 19, 2017.