“Know thyself and be free,
And you will soon attain immortality”
Last 2 lines of Sivananda Ashram mantra
To know myself: what does this mean?
With each crossroads I meet in life, where how to invest my energy is questioned, which ideas to pursue, which to leave alone, I feel like I don’t know myself when in a situation without answers. (control?)
Attaining the state of Godliness is listed in the yoga texts as the ultimate state to realize, but the texts all also say that to define God is to limit God. To know God is a feeling, often expressed within a cautious list of words like Samadhi (super-blissful state) and Turiya (enlightenment), but stress the value in not defining God further to box the image of God, and I was created in God’s image?. Super-blissful state and Turiya both suggest to me a feeling. To know God then is a feeling. To know myself, is a feeling.
How do I strive to know myself without words that define me? If I am to achieve self-realization which I understand it so achieve union with God, why do I expect to travel the dictionary of descriptions to find which fit me or rather those that I can attach to for now?
How can I know myself without words?
Won’t words keep me in the past as a summary of actions?
So my next guess is to move to a feeling. Know myself by feeling – as suggested by super-blissful state. It feels like feeling my way around an unfamiliar room with the lights switched off – so how is that enlightenment? Being in the dark?
But using words to pinpoint me is surely avidya (ignorance and hence darkness).
By reasoning then, it’s ignorance to think I know myself, and arrogance to use words to prove it!
So who am I? With a dose of creative intelligence I can stay as much within the ‘present’ as possible when using words to describe me (so as not to let words keep me in the past), so, I am expressed (on purpose or by mistake) in each moment, from present to present. In the small space of the present, there is not a lot of space for words. Does it mean I will be defining myself from second to second, and therefore, am not really definable, because looking at a collection of seconds, there would not be a single state to describe but rather a collection of states of being, which to the outsider would look like a fickle mind, but to the inside, looks like being in the present?
If knowing myself is all about a sense of control insofar as I can deduce and reason consequence and action which implies control - action and decision as guided by my sense of self – the words listed to define me. (i.e. I am this which determines my behaviour and every situation that appears like this results in executing that predetermined behaviour, which is control).
So when I can’t rationalize, do I not know myself? Or am I really, finally living in my true self?
Feeling. Heart. Surrender.
I can’t get my head around it?
Is that Freedom?
“ We can continue to make choices in the absence of definite answers” Julian Baggini