The sign above the entrance way to the Oracle of Delphi said:
It also appears above the kitchen door in the film the Matrix when Neo goes to see the oracle.
What are the benefits of self knowledge? How can we expand our understanding of who we are?
Self knowledge has long been valued throughout the world. From Self Realisation within the practices of Yoga, to the Great Work of the Western Mystery Tradition. It is a rewarding journey. Sometimes it takes a little courage, but the benefits are many.
If you think of a person, maybe you just met them. And you have to buy them a gift. The likelihood of you buying them something that would enrich their life, or mean something to them is slim. When we first meet someone, we do not know what makes them happy, what they like, who they are.
Now think of your best friend, you probably have shared many good and challenging times with them. They have talked about their problems, their hopes and dreams. You have a good idea and understanding of what would make life good for them, what makes them happy, what helps them relax. Or hopefully your partner, who you share your life with. The thing is because you have listened, because you have explored, because you know them you are able to make the right choices to support their happiness.
This is why knowing thyself, is so important.
Entering into a relationship with yourself, to listen to that inner voice, to be aware of that which really makes you happy, sad, fulfilled. This allows you to make decisions in life that are in your true interest. What is more, when you are not happy with life, self knowledge allows you to understand what is going on for you, enlightens you on where you want to be and gives you access to the resources you need to live that authentic life.
Yet so many of us make choices and choose things for ourselves without this knowledge. We treat ourselves like the stranger that we just met, buying things and doing things that we think may benefit, be good for us and yet we are just guessing.
I wonder, how much more joy and fulfilment you could get from life if you knew yourself like you knew your partner or your best friend?
3 Paths to Self Knowledge
The first thing I want to say is that self knowledge is a lifelong pursuit. Why? You are not the person you were yesterday, or a week a go, or 10 years ago. Your needs, your happiness and desires change as you change. Where as in your 20s abseiling and mountain climbing maybe one of the things that made you happy and feel alive, when you are 65, it may be more a walk in the mountains.
Secondly, self knowledge is not about understanding the exact reason why you have anxiety, stress or depression. Many people have spent years gaining understanding of "their" problem, and they can tell you exactly what caused it. But they still have it.
They have been focusing on the wrong thing. They have been focusing on the mechanics of a problem. That time spent focusing upon you, who you are, developing self knowledge would lead you to see the things that would make you happy, bring more fulfilment and through that the realisation of how you can make it happen.
There are many ways that can lead to self knowledge. Within the IMeditate approach I use a combination of three to help people make powerful changes in their lives.
The IMeditate Three Paths to Self Knowledge
Path 1: Meditation.
Why is it every picture you find of someone meditating shows them in some sort of special position, it is not necessary, you do not need to do this. I digress.
Meditation is a tried and tested method of coming into a greater awareness of who we are. By creating that inner space, to sit, to relax and observe what is going on for us we peel back the layers of the onion skin, looking deeper, gaining more insight.
Think about it. Would you have got to know your best friend half as well if you just talked at the all the time? When we meditate we learn to shut up and listen to that which is within, we turn within. You will never silence your mind, you are human, you think and that is ok. Have you ever found someone so dull that you zone out and stop hearing them? This is what you can do with the everyday thoughts. Once you get past the chatter, you can start to witness what is really going on for you, and through guided meditations and self enquiry discover your true self.
If you are interested in learning meditation then you can join the IMeditate Facebook group where there are live sessions and over 100 hours of past classes. IMeditate uses an approach to meditation that I guarantee will have you meditating within a few weeks. Join us at IMeditate.
Path 2: Hypnosis.
Whatever you probably thought hypnosis was is probably not correct.
Understanding over this amazing ability we all have has changed over the years.
At it's very simplest. Hypnosis is a state of relaxation and inward focus. This is guided by the hypnotist to help you explore your unconscious mind.
It is being proven to be very effective in areas such as anxiety, stress and the limiting beliefs that hold us back, providing real results that change lives.
It is also a powerful tool for self discovery, what is more, with hypnosis you can remove the blocks and obstacles that get in the way of that self knowledge and find the resources to get where you want to be.
A couple of years back I was asked at a festival by a guy waiting for his wife to have her face painted what all this hypnosis stuff was about.
I said, "I would show him and asked him if there was an area of his life that he felt stuck, that he wanted to improve".
He said," he wanted to improve his guitar playing but he just did not seem to know why he never got any better".
I asked if there was an area of his life where he was the top of his game and he knew just what he needed to do to succeed and be the best. He replied that his work was such an area.
I guided him into a state of inner focus, asking that work part of him to talk with the guitar playing part of him, to share that self knowledge of what made his work self so successful and how it could help him improve his guitar playing.
5 mins later he opened his eye,
"Bloody Hell," he said, "it would help if I actually practiced!"
The obvious thing had been hidden from him, yet by accessing that self knwoledge that which was hidden was made seen. He was so grateful, he disappeared and bought me a beer.
Hypnosis is a great way to know thyself. To find out more why not book a free Discovery Session.
Path 3: Self Hypnosis
Yes, it is possible and easy to learn how to use the power of hypnosis for yourself.
From managing stress, confidence and anxiety all the way through through to personal enquiry.
The state of self hypnosis is like that of hypnosis, other than you are guiding the ship.
There are certain things that are better done with a therapist, however, when it comes to self knowledge and understanding self hypnosis is a wonderful method.
What is more it is a way of getting into relaxation that is quicker than meditation yet with the same benefits mentally and physically.
With Self Hypnosis you set up your session with the intent, purpose and through any of several techniques you can start to uncover who you truly are, what motivates you, what excites you, what makes you happy and start to also tune your mind in to those things that you discover.
If the idea of exploring your inner reality through self hypnosis interests you then IMeditate runs courses, take a look for the latest and book up. Start your journey today.
The three paths to self knowledge put you in control of your mental wellbeing, they enrich life through personal self discovery. Quite often that which we consciously think makes us happy is not the same as what the unconscious knows will make us happy, with these tools and techniques you can awaken you life to more joy, more fulfilment and more peace.
Although this blog is called the three paths, there is a fourth that IMeditate teaches and that is the Yoga of the West. A spiritual life practice that aims to not just bring us self knowledg
e but to bring us into a state of unity with our highest self. Some see the higher self as just a state of consciousness, others as something divine or universal. It is a path that takes a certain amount of dedication, but awakens us to the creative beauty of life. You can discover more on the
Keep an eye out for sessions and workshops as well.