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    A Complete & Concise Course in Self-Knowledge

    SpiritualityThere are three general areas of self-knowledge:

    1. Knowing who you are personally and spiritually –and how one empowers the other;

    2. Knowing what is the personal and spiritual purpose of your life – and how to achieve them; and

    3. Knowing what is the “human condition” that is the root cause of your problems – and how to overcome it.

    This is all you need to know to take you anywhere you could ever want to go. Let’s take them one at a time.

    Who are you, spiritually? Your higher, spiritual self is nothing more s not contaminated by personal thought and feeling). Relationship-wise, it is above and s the pure, unadulterated awareness of all that your personality thinks, s not otherwise involved in or corrupted by any of the personal faculties. You know that you are seeing a tree, therefore, your awareness is above your senses. The same with thinking re thinking or feeling something so, in that moment, you are above thought and feeling.

    What are the qualities and characteristics of your spiritual self? It is whole, complete, self-contained, finished. Nothing is missing from it nor needs be added to it. Nothing is above it. It exists in the – neither comes from nor goes anywhere. It is the only thing in the Everything else is derivative or secondary.

    What does your spiritual self do? The spiritual self doesn’t do anything, per se, because everything is already done. All it “does” is just reflect – like a mirror, whatever you – your personality, is thinking, feeling, sensing or doing. It just knows everything, witnesses everything, watches and observes everything. How does it watch, reflect, observe, witness? It does so passively, detachedly, unaffectedly, impersonally, impartially, indifferently.

    Who are you, personally? Personally, you are nothing but a flesh and blood physical body with faculties for thinking, feeling and sensing. Your personal self is powerless of itself. It derives its creative power from its subordinate relationship with your higher self. This correct relationship is what allows the personality to access the higher self’s subconscious storehouse of infinite knowledge. Your creative power is limited only to the degree you achieve and maintain this correct relationship. The right and primary purpose of “willpower” is to help you to do this.

    Who are you personally in terms of behavior? In terms of behavior, you are nothing but an actor playing a role. An action figure. An actor can’t act in a vacuum. He or she needs a medium of expression. The myriad roles you play through the day provide that medium – parent/child, employer/employee, lover/beloved, doctor/patient, husband/wife, etc.

    How do you act? It’s impossible to not be yourself, so you act by simply being yourself in the context of the particular role you’re playing. The role gives you identity, motivation, direction and purpose. Simply know your role in a given relationship or situation, then perform in a way that’s most appropriate to it to the best of your ability.

    Where and when do you play a role? You play a role wherever you are, all the time. There’s no place, setting, situation or relationship when you’re not playing a role. At a funeral, you play a mourner; at a wedding, you play a celebrant, etc. Even when alone you’re playing a role – of reader, writer, meditater, listener to music, etc. Role awareness keeps you in correct relationship with your higher self, otherwise you’d be lost in your role – mistakenly thinking it’s “real.” This is the source of most conflict and stress.

    What is the “human condition?” The human condition is the set of circumstances humans are born into and, unless checked, causes an unconscious chain reaction of negative responses and behaviors. The chain reaction or “vicious circle” begins with your genetic self-centeredness. This causes you to see only from a personally-biased rather than holistic perspective. You have a worm’s eye view instead a bird’s eye view. This incomplete picture diminishes clarity and causes errors in the decision-making and creative process. These errors cause the emotional pain of failure, frustration, disappointment – which then seeks relief – through food, sex, excitement, alcohol, drugs, gambling, over spending, over working, etc., which then becomes a habit or addiction.

    How is this “human condition” overcome or corrected? This pre-existing condition is corrected by changing your perspective from self-centered to neutral-centered. It’s to come from your spiritual self rather than your lower personal self. This correct perspective is achieved by detaching or separating your awareness from entanglement in all internal and external experience. It’s to keep a conscious, respectful distance from all that your personality sees, hears, thinks, feels and does. This keeps your awareness uncontaminated and unencumbered by what it’s aware of — allowing it the freedom now to do what it’s supposed to do – empower your personality to an unlimited degree. Centeredness is the goal; detachment is the way.

    What is the spiritual purpose of life and how is it achieved? The spiritual purpose of life is to be happy by changing your perspective from self-centered to neutral-centered. It’s achieved by keeping a mirror-like distance from all that your personality see, hears, thinks, feels and does all the time, to the degree possible.

    What is the personal meaning of life and how is it achieved? Your personal life is a creative, recreational activity whose only meaning is whatever you choose it to be from moment to moment – start a business, write a novel, save the whale, climb a mountain, lose weight, earn a degree, play the piano, speak Chinese, etc. With the empowerment of your higher self now in play, all you have to do is know clearly what you want and come from the spirit that you already have it — because on the subconscious level, you already do. Remain detached from every aspect of the creative process. This gives you the perspective and clarity to see the whole picture and know you have it rather than think you have it. This is the power of self-knowledge.

    Author Bio: Bill is a Zen teacher and the creator of TheZenfulLife.com. His formal  training was in electronics engineering – a field he abandoned after a certain  “spiritual awakening” experience led him to an intense 30-year study of human  potential development. He is author of Getting Centered, The Zen of  Sobriety, and Break Your Love Affair with Food. Bill is a single,  former Bostonian, living in Naples, Florida, where he blogs on personal  development from a spiritual perspective. http://www.thezenfullife.com/ 

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