Tag Archives: Self Knowledge

The ‘Alam al-Mithal: Henry Corbin & the Sufi Ibn ‘Arabi | FIFTH SUN / FIFTH WORLD

“Self awareness and mastery arises only through a direct participatory process. There can be no authority, even if that authority is simply the fixed authority of objectivity that inhibits such a mutual knowing. Corbin writes: “Each human being is oriented toward a quest for his personal invisible guide, or he entrusts himself to the collective, magisterial authority as the intermediary between himself and Revelation.” In Ṣūfīsm, those who refuse to follow any earthly master are called Uwaysīs and are said to follow an invisible master. It is the “co- responsibility for personal destiny assumed by the alone with the Alone,” in Corbin’s words.

In my own reading here, I would draw a direct correspondence to the Kashmir Shaivite understanding of the “Guru Principle” in which the true Guru is no longer the external master but, rather, the master personified within the Self. It is necessary not to misinterpret such an idea of a personified “invisible guide” or inner Guru as a dualistic act, such as the Incarnation or the personification of the monotheistic God. Rather, it is nothing if not Gnostic and participatory act of creative Imagination, that integrates the mystic into a mutual knowing. The inner guide is the archetypal manifestation of knowing.” – Peter Matthew Bauer

Source: The ‘Alam al-Mithal: Henry Corbin & the Sufi Ibn ‘Arabi | FIFTH SUN / FIFTH WORLD

The Perennial Philosophy of Aldous Huxley

220px-PerennialPhilsophy“Knowledge is a function of being.” – Aldous Huxley

“Based upon the direct experience of those who have fulfilled the necessary conditions of such knowledge, this teaching is expressed most succinctly in the Sanskrit formula, tat tvam asi (“That art thou”); the Atman, or immanent eternal Self, is one with Brahman, the Absolute Principle of all existence; and the last end of every human being is to discover the fact for himself, to find out Who he really is.” – Aldous Huxley

“Mr. Huxley quotes from the Chinese Taoist philosophers, from followers of Buddha and Mohammed, from the Brahmin scriptures and from Christian mystics ranging from St John of the Cross to William Law, giving preference to those whose writings, often illuminated by genius, are unfamiliar to the modern reader.”

The final paragraph of the cover text:

“In this profoundly important work, Mr. Huxley … provides us with an absolute standard of faith by which we can judge both our moral depravity as individuals and the insane and often criminal behaviour of the national societies we have created.”

Free download or read online from Archive.org https://archive.org/details/perennialphilosp035505mbp

Both the landscape and its beholder – Simone de Beauvoir

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Formerly, I had been quite satisfied with myself, but I had taken very little trouble to increase my self-knowledge; from now on, I would stand outside myself, watch over and observe myself; in my diary I had long conversations with myself. I was entering a world whose newness stunned me. I learned to distinguish between distress and melancholy, lack of emotion and serenity; I learned to recognize the hesitations of the heart, and its ecstasies, the splendor of great renunciations, and the subterranean murmurings of hope. I entered into exalted trances, as on those evenings when I used to gaze upon the sky full of moving clouds behind the distant blue of the hills; I was both the landscape and its beholder: I existed only through myself, and for myself… My path was clearly marked: I had to perfect, enrich and express myself in a work of art that would help others to live.
― Simone de Beauvoir

Separating ourself from ourself | Jim Robinson

“…our first steps towards freedom require us to “remember ourselves” and in doing so “separate ourselves from ourselves”. As I understand it, this means in my psychological language to dis-identify with the reactive places we are caught in. In other words to make an object of the part of that is caught into whatever reaction is happening now. This is also what Robert Keegan’s 1994 “Subject / Object Theory” is all about, making objective, i.e. clear to ourselves, what we are identified with, bringing our unaware ground into consciousness so that we can relate to it, so that we can develop our awareness around it and start to understand it. So that we can start to look after ourselves in a new way.This is what therapy is all about, facilitating this movement of separating ourselves from ourselves in order to develop our awareness and understanding around that part of ourselves. This in the service of healing the unfinished trauma in its widest sense that we hold from our pasts and which unconsciously drives our compulsive reactive identifications. Just making this step into seeing that we are caught and that this is not the whole of ourselves, is such a profound and powerful one. ‘Remembering’ ourselves, i.e. connecting our split self back together again, opens the door to not only self-knowledge and understanding, but also to all the possibilities we have of being.Held trauma inevitably splits the heart and mind and body, and it is re-connecting these aspects of our whole together again that facilitates “self-remembering”. Or is it ‘remembering ourselves’ that enables them to re-connect? I’m not sure which way round it is, maybe both work simultaneously, or maybe we can get there from using either our ‘intention’ or ‘attention’.

via Separating ourself from ourself | Jim Robinson.

The four faults of natural awareness from the Shangpa tradition

The Borscht of times, the Würste of times

The four faults of natural awareness from the Shangpa tradition

So close you can’t see it

So deep you can’t fathom it

So simple you can’t believe it

So good you can’t accept it

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There’s a Monster in the Room – Self-inquiry

“Self-inquiry is simple. It does not require you to do anything, change anything, think anything, or understand anything. It only asks you to pay careful attention to what is real. I have two sons. When they were about four, they both went through a phase of having nightmares. I would go into the room and switch on the light. Two small eyes blinked at me from the corner. “What’s the problem?” I’d ask. “Daddy, there’s a monster in the room,” a timid voice would reply. Now, I had more than one choice of how to respond. I could tell my frightened boy that it was not true, there was no monster, go back to sleep. That response is the equivalent of reading a book that says, “We’re all one, there is no problem, just be with what is.” Fine ideas, but they don’t help much. I could also have offered to feed the monster cookies, talk with the monster, negotiate. That approach is like some kinds of psychotherapy. Treat the problem as real, then fix it on its own terms. But the only real solution I ever found was to have a good look. Under the bed, in the closet, behind the curtains, we undertook an exhaustive search. Eventually my sons would let out a deep sigh, smile at me, and fall back to sleep. The problem was not solved but dissolved. It was never real in the first place, but it took investigation to make that a reality.”

Arjuna Ardagh.

(with thanks to Tim Pendry)

Who am I? – All the World’s a Stage and All the Men and Women merely Players by Jaq White

All the World’s a Stage and All the Men and Women merely Players – Which part are you playing? – by Jaq White

One of the questions many of us ask ourselves at some point in our lives is, “Who am I?”

Throughout life, we take on many roles, each one relating to whichever situation we find ourselves in at any moment ; son/daughter, student, teacher, wife, husband, mother, father, financial advisor, scientist, fitness instructor, footballer – of course the list is endless. These roles may not even be “official”; how often do you hear people commenting on their home life with expressions of how they feel like a nurse, or a hotel owner (if you have teenagers!) or a dustman, odd-job man, cleaner, cook, taxi driver etc? If we look closely, we are each playing many roles throughout our day. If we could imagine ourselves in the relevant outfit, or uniform or costume for each character and role we play throughout the day, imagine how many costume changes you have to go through in 24 hours.

Add to this how often we also adopt roles for ourselves in order to “give a good impression”. This has also been referred to as “putting on a mask”. We may want to be seen as generous, kind, caring, strong, charitable, fun-loving etc. yet at times feel quite the opposite, though will go out of our way to give the impression of what we believe we should be. We put on the masks.

At the end of each day, you may have put on quite a few costumes and masks, but have you remembered to take them off?  If we don’t take them off, we start to convince ourselves that this is who we really are. “I am a banker” “I am a policeman” “I am a mother”. We start to identify with a particular role, and pile the costumes and masks on top of each other, until we forget who is underneath all of the disguises. Even when we try to unmask ourselves, to try and remember who we are, we have become so attached to some of the masks and outfits that we are convinced they are really “me”. What we are forgetting, is why we put them on in the first place. When did we put on that “brave face”? What about the warrior mask? The little girl lost mask? Why do we think we have to play the Fool? We each have our own, and some are more difficult to recognise than others.

We can start by developing an awareness of our reactions – how we react to certain people in a different way to others, what pushes my angry button, my rude button, my generous button, my patient button or impatient button, my panic button, my flirt button, my protective button, my Fool button… and so on.  We are actors, playing a role, and our actions and reactions are part of the role.

When we can identify the actions with the role, and question why we acted in such a way, why we put on that mask or invisible costume, we start to become more aware of ourselves, and to recognise our true nature. It isn’t always a pleasant discovery, and you won’t always like what you discover about yourself as you strip away all the layers, but there are many ways of addressing that and of learning to embrace the parts you thought you needed to hide or to ignore.

In ancient teachings, this was referred to as removing your garments without being ashamed – think of the old story of Adam and Eve, naked in the garden until they became ashamed and tried to cover themselves. Like many wise teachings, this story became twisted until it was unrecogniseable and its deeper meaning was all but forgotten.

“Auditions are being held for you to be yourself. Apply within.”