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Know Thyself with MP3 

The transcript for Know Thyself including the MP3 Lesson

The MP3 link is here: ASFG Lesson 2: Know Thyself (21mb)
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Know Thyself

The Theme of this lesson is "Know Thyself"
But the question may naturally arise:
"Why should I seek to know myself?"

According to the Readings knowing ourselves is a crucial stage of our spiritual journey.

One reading speaks to all of us when it says:
"Each are called in their respective sphere.
Each must find the answer in their own selves.
All of us are called upon to answer
according to our own unique talents and abilities.

An individual calling in this lifetime."

The only way to know our particular mission is to search for it deep within ourselves.
One man asked Edgar Cayce:
"Whom should I contact in order to obtain my best development?"
His reading answered:
"First know self. Contact first and foremost that necessary for self to understand.
Not only to have knowledge concerning - but to understand - why life is as it is in material planes."

We are promised then that
the more we look,
the more we search,
and the more we use what we know about ourselves
applying what we have learned in everyday life,
the more will be given to us to know and to understand
and the greater we will progress in our spiritual journey.

Another person asked:
"Is there more that I can do at this time?"
The Sleeping Cayce answered:
"Keep on keeping on. And as this that the other experience opens the understanding of that necessary for spiritual
or physical activity. Be willing and ready to answer."

The phrase "keep on keeping on" reminds us that the process of knowing ourselves is an ongoing one.
It takes persistence.
By observing ourselves closely - nonjudgementally
- and often we can come to know ourselves in new ways.

In other words, we can begin to discover
that so many of our actions and reactions are determined by habit.

Once we clearly see these behaviour patterns in ourselves.
Once we can identify them as they begin to happen in us.
We reach an important new level in self-knowledge.

Then and only then can we begin to change the habits that keep us from our important purposes
living this life-time.

For example, the business executive who doubts her abilities for giving a presentation for colleagues
may benefit from realizing that she consistently sets her up for failure by mentally previewing images
of herself making many mistakes - before even entering the meeting room.
Or she may simply observe that she says things to herself silently and repeatedly beforehand
"I can't do this."
"I just know I am not going to do it right."

If she can change that mental preview of herself of making mistakes
with a new image of being clear and concise in her communications
then she has wisely used self-observation to change her
habitual tendencies to doubt herself.

George Gurdjieff, a spiritual teacher and contemporary of Cayce,
refer to our submergence in these habitual behaviour patterns,
as a sleep-like state of consciousness.
"It is in this state of consciousness," says Gurdjieff,
"that we unfortunately spend most of our lives."

According to his theory, this sleep-like condition
which most of us would consider normal,
masks the essence of our real selves.
It keeps us from our real destiny in life.
But we can awake from sleep-like living to that essence.
It is then we are capable of knowing our real selves.
Not just our superficial selves, and it is then we are ready to conduct our lives,
as they are meant to be conducted.
In the language of the Cayce Readings,
this essence is related to our Soul's Purpose in any given incarnation.
Getting to know this deep part of ourselves - is an ongoing process of discovery.
The learning comes only through doing what we know to do from what we have already learned.

Cayce's reading from one 52 year old woman told her:
"For what ye are as in each activity, gives us strength or weakens thee,
for the next lesson you are able to recite.
How well ye will meet the problems as they are presented
depends on how well you have mastered and do master the problems before thee
from day to day."

How then in a practical fashion do we go about the business of knowing ourselves?
The affirmation of this lesson in A Search For God gives us a clue in one important way.
It asks that "we may each come to know ourselves, even as we are known."
That may mean of course in God's eyes but it also means how we are known by the eyes
of our fellow human beings here in the Earth.
That's a tall order when you think about it.
Have you ever tried to see yourself, really see, in the same way that someone else
is seeing you?

Let's try that right now:
We'll take some time to do a Journal writing exercise to practice that approach.
Make sure you are in a place where you are not disturbed about 15 minutes.
You will need a couple of pieces of paper.
And either a pen or pencil.

[Pause the tape now and get yourself set up]

With your paper and writing instrument near you.
Let's first go through a preparatory imagination exercise.
The purpose of the brief introduction will be to get you in a
"feeling and mindset of another person."
You will be choosing someone who knows you well with your good points
and your weaknesses.
In the guided imagination exercise - you will become that person.
Seeing the world in other people as that person might see things.
Most importantly, you will re-experience a situation or an encounter
where two of you had.
This will give you the chance to see yourself in a way that someone else
sees and experiences you.
At the end of this preparation exercise - you will be instructed to open your eyes
pause the tape and write about what you have seen, thought and felt,
still in the identity of this other person.
So let's begin by finding a comfortable sitting position:
Close your eyes.
And take a few deep breaths.
Concentrate only on the in and out of your breath.
You need not change the rate of your breathing.
Simply put your concentration on your breath.
And allow a feeling of warmth come over you as you breath comfortably and easily.
Allow that to come to your mind the face of someone who knows your strengths
and your faults.
Feel the presence of that person.
Look into his or her eyes.
Take a moment and remember in detail a situation or encounter the two of you had.
Now, become the person.
And view this situation and yourself from their perspective.
See your actions and words as this person saw them.
Now slowly begin to bring your attention back.
But stay with the same sense of identity.
Continue to be the person who has just relived the situation or encounter.
Slowly, open your eyes, and look around you.
Nearby there is a paper and a writing instrument.
In a moment you will pause the tape.

And spend at least 10 minutes writing about perceptions, thoughts, and
feelings you have just had.

You will be writing about a person you know well.
Someone who's strengths and weaknesses you are able to see clearly.
Write about what you see, what you think and feel about that person.

[Pause the tape now until you have finished writing]

Now, having finished writing, hold in your hand what has been recorded.
As you look at that paper - feel how your identity is beginning to change.
You are becoming yourself again.
You are moving back to a familiar way of seeing things.
A feeling and thinking.
What you hold in your hand is a written set of insights from someone
who cares about you.
Someone who knows many different sides of you.
And has taken the time to write down for you some objective observations.
So that you can know yourself more fully.

Let's take time now to read what is written.

Read it as if you have seen the words for the first time.
Feel open and undefensive about the comments.
Allow yourself to see yourself as someone who knows you.

[Pause the tape now for a couple of minutes and do this.]

"Stand aside, and watch self go by."
This is what the Cayce readings invite us to do.
But it is not an easy exercise whether in revery or in real everyday experiences.
However, it is worth doing at least once daily as a powerful tool for self-knowledge.
Being more conscious of how we act, think and feel in any given situation is important
if we are to come to know ourselves better.

As we begin to peel away the layers of self-delusion.
We find that in every stage of life there is the tension of polarities.
Each polarity offers choices.
Challenges to competing sides to ourselves.
Love and wisdom.
Intellect and intuition.
Freedom and mutual dependence.
Joyfullness and seriousness.
We progress from stage of awareness to another.
Only to find that each stage offers its own polarities,
more choices for us to make.

Dr. Harmon Bro divides our journey through self-awareness into three stages.
Giving each stage a meaningful symbol.
He characterizes the first stage as The Dwarf.
The second stage as the Enchanter.
And the third stage as the Royal Self.

The first of these stages correspond to the beginning of self-observation.
As we set out to truly know ourselves - even as we are known.
The symbol of the Dwarf is especially appropriate because that's
what we are very likely to see when we first take a close hard honest
look at ourselves - Shy, stunted little creature.
Cringing as we regard it with all of our apparent blemishes.
But the dwarf, says Bro, carries with it the gift of high energy, of self-discovery.
If only we could love it for itself just as it is.

The Dwarf-Self that we see when we first look long, hard and honestly at ourselves
points out our genuine need to have healthy egos.

To believe in ourselves without condemnation - just as we are.
A healthy ego must be in each of us before anyone can sacrifice ourselves
to a higher principle.

So the dwarf needs our love, our compassion, our understanding.
As well as our critical eye.
It means loving the ugly things about ourselves that we first see
upon careful self-observation.

As the Cayce readings put it:
"Be not ashamed to be what you are.
If you are there is something amiss.
Think not that the abilities of self are lacking in such conditions.
Doubt not that thy own supplications reach the throne of grace and mercy.
Show forth then that in thine activities day by day
that in the union of strength comes a greater understanding and awe."

What the symbol of the dwarf points to is that which needs attention in us.
And what we must do is give that attention.
By loving and tending what needs changing in ourselves.
In other words, Dwarf points to a line of action.

Often-times according to the Cayce readings,
We must take a step.
We must do even if we fully understand.

As one reading said:
"As self keeps self nearer in attune, in accord, in vibration,
in coordinating of vibration, nearer the awakening,
nearer the ability to heal self, and give life, light, understanding
to another. Each individual as this Entity should know
First is the application.
Then the understanding and knowledge of that applied."

So sometimes we must take a step, take an action
not knowing for sure whether it is the right one or not.
But as we apply - as we act - we begin to understand more
and to know more about ourselves.

So our journey in self-knowledge begins in loving this Dwarf.
Or the shadow side of ourselves as Jungian psychology would call it.
For if we could truly love the shadow side of ourselves -
the Dwarf will soond stand up straight and shed its hideous appearance.
to transform into the Enchanter.
The symbol of our second stage of self-knowledge.

The symbol of the Enchanter is that part of us
- that is full of potential.
- that is sparkling with imagination.
- that carry's its own mystery and great promise.

It represents everything within us that is not ego.
Instead, that mysterious part that seeks newness and adventure.
And it brings wonder and suprise to our lives.
It may come in the form of a psychic experience
or in the awakening to the power of creative forces that is within us.
However, there is a danger that is associated with this self-knowledge.

The danger, the ever present choice for the Enchanter, comes in
not using this new awareness for good and for the benefit of others.
But simply for the self-centered thrill we get from the experience itself.
Yet if we continue to use the gifts of the enchanter by giving to and for giving others.
We may at last awakened to the third stage of self-awareness - The Royal Self.

This Royal Self hears the call of God
and answers it without fanfare says Dr. Bro.
It comes from within us at those times when there is the greatest needs.
And gives us the capacity to do what needs to be done.
To speak what needs to be said.
And to draw others to us to see what is needed.
It is the symbol of that real identity within us
that is here to serve, to forgive and heal.
If misused, the Royal Self manifest only as self-importance or stubborn
But allow fully to show its true colours - The Royal Self can lead us to
our very mission for this life-time.

In the images of our dreams these stages may be symbolized in various ways.
The dwarf may appear as a mindless violent character or a figure of darkness,
again the Jungian shadow figure.

The Enchanter may appear as the opposite sex, a guide or a protecting angel,
or as a love or a siren.

The Royal Self may be symbolized in dreams as a loving child, a cosmic presence,
a gem beautifully fashioned or even as the Christ-Figure.

Since the meaning of specific dreams is never totally the same for any two
people it takes practice to recognize and understand the symbols and themes
from one's dreams.
But carry their own unique meaning for the dreamer.

One tool for self-awareness is to keep track of your dreams in a Dream Journal
or notebook.
And learn to work with them in your daily life.
If you regularly record your dreams and feelings about them
you can use them in conjunction with day to day events in your life.
To explore ancestor questions and give you new insights in your concern or problems
you may be facing.

One woman who'd been struggling with the question of staying on a demanding job
and was struggling with an abundance of activities in her life had the following dream:
"First, she saw a pair of shiny bright spit-polished men shoes.
The kind that military men often wear.
Then, standing in those shoes appeared a doll that she had had
when she was a twelve year old girl.
The doll was three feet tall, and its features were very similar
to the dreamers own.
As soon as the dreamer had identified the doll in the dream
it fell forward as though unbalanced and unable to stand up.
And then disappeared.
Then the dreamer woke up."

In examining this dream, the dreamer concluded that rather than failing
to live up to her responsibilities as she was feeling as the case
Perhaps she was asking herself to fill bigger shoes than it was fair to
ask of herself at that time.

By examining the dream closely, the dreamer was able to see that her
tendencies to take on more and more was having a detrimental affect
on that sensitive part of herself, she felt was represented to her
in that dream by the doll.

Subsequently, the dreamer began to observe her tendencies to
accept more and more responsibility.
Before making further commitments - she began to weigh the importance
of the proposed new responsibility against the need to maintain
an inner balance within herself.

Deeper self-knowledge comes not only through studying dreams
that happen during sleep but also through daily observations
of the thoughts we dwell upon consciously during waking hours.

The Cayce readings tell us that what we think or dwell upon mentally
with consistency is what we become.

What thoughts go through your mind habitually throughout the day?
Are you constantly questioning your own worth?
Are you wondering if you will amount to anything?

Perhaps you constantly tell yourself you are much better than others.
Always commenting to yourself about the inadequacy of this person.
Or the imcompetence of that one.
You might also observe what might prayer enters into your thought patterns
during any given day.

How frequently do you appeal for guidance from your Creator
during the day?
How often do you give thanks for your joyous moments?
Or forgive others in your thoughts.

This kind of self-examination is crucial to self-knowledge.
Your answers to these kinds of questions may be seen as keys to
knowing how you are building toward your own reality.

Of course, this does not mean that every time you have a negative thought
you would have a negative reality.
It does mean however that consistently dwelling on negative thoughts
can build a corresponding experience.
But on the bright side - the dwelling on consistent positive thoughts
can build a positive reality.

So to review what has been covered so far:

We have seen that it is important to know ourselves because
the self is the cornerstone of our spiritual journey.

By trying to see ourselves as others sees us, whether in imagination,
or in actual observation, we can use this important tool for
knowing ourselves.

We have also seen that action is important to this process of self-knowledge.
Sometimes if we do not know exactly what to do - it is better to take
some action then to do nothing at all.

We have examined the three stages of self-discovery.
With the accompanied rewards that they may bring.
The Dwarf, the Enchanter, and the Royal Self.
Each stage of self-knowledge gives us choices.
We can make good use or ill use of our self-knowledge at any of
these three stages.

Dreams are also a good place to look for clues about ourselves
and how we function.
Valuable guidance may be gleaned from dreams.
If we study them at the same time we study ourselves.

A Journal of our thoughts and spiritual insights can help us keep in touch
with - who we are - because what we dwell on mentally - we become.

Self-exploration can be challenging business.
It takes a firm commitment and a vow to "keep on keeping on."
Even when the going gets difficult.

The Know Thyself chapter in A Search For God material is the second lesson.
Therefore it is the basic essential steps for our spiritual journey -
one upon the rest of the journey builds.

May your journey be a rewarding challenge as you continue along
the path of knowing yourself.

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Updated: 8 August 2017