Self-Knowledge

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Self-knowledge is one of the 13 great practices of the New Message.

Spiritual Practice

Through Self Knowledge, students of the New Message "cultivate a high degree of honesty and awareness about our states of mind and life condition. We seek always to know the content and state of our mind and the condition of our body so that we can be capable and ready to participate in the world." [1]

“To know yourself is to know God’s Presence in your life, to know that God has placed a deeper Knowledge within you to guide and to protect you and to override your self-destructive tendencies and your selfish pursuits. To know yourself is to know what God has placed within you—not to understand it intellectually, but to know of its reality, to experience its presence and to follow its direction.” [2]

The Moment-by-moment Practice

Moment-by-moment, Self-knowledge is practiced by doing a personal assessment of our mental and physical condition.[3] This momentary assessment be done in nearly any circumstance or interaction.

Here we may note physical sensations such as fatigue, thirst or other signs of disregulated physical state. This may lead us to take action; to eat, drink, rest, conclude a conversation or adjust our plans for the day.

Mentally, we may assess the clarity of our thought, our level of acuity or the nature of our self-talk - something which pervades the background of our thinking.

The Deeper Practice

Beyond its moment-to-moment application, Self-knowledge is practiced in a larger and deeper way through long-term mapping of our mind and its thoughts, states and condition.[3]

People of the New Message recognize that the condition of our mind affects the expression of our outer life in all ways: our decisions, our utilization of time, our relationships, our financial and physical well being and our preparation for a higher purpose in life.

Therefore, we feel it is vital to undergo deeper inquiry into the makeup of our mind, how it has been shaped by culture and how it has been conditioned by past negative experiences.

In this deeper inquiry, we "map" three aspects of our mental condition: our tendencies of thought, states and condition.[3]

Mapping the mind can be done through a long-range commitment of study, perhaps 1 to 6 months, that utilizes daily or weekly reviews to build self-knowledge over time. This mapping can be done on paper through any form of outline or visual chart.[3] The objective is to know the content of our mind, where it tends to go, and the life condition which these tendencies build and reinforce.

As a first step, the student of the New Message can spend time each day reflecting on the condition of their mind, accounting for all the moments in which they practiced. Here, the momentary practice fuels the deeper inquiry and makes true self-knowledge possible.

Without the moment-by-moment practice, we may come to the end of a day with little sense for where our mind was over the hours. Likewise, without the deeper inquiry, we may not have the acuity or understanding to know what we're experiencing in a given moment. Each practice, momentary and long-term, makes the holistic development of self-knowledge possible.[3]

Tendencies

Tendencies of the mind are the habitual thoughts and patterns of thoughts that we observe in our mind.

Like the bricks which make up the building, thoughts and their patterns are the functional building blocks which in turn construct the states and condition of our mind.

By mapping the tendencies of our mind, we may find predictable patterns at work day after day. We may also realize that these patterns are triggered or fueled by interactions or events in the world. This mapping work may lead us to a deeper inquiry into the triggers and irresolved issues of our life which consume our thinking and sap our energy. This leads into the practice of the deep evaluation which is a key aspect of preparing for the Great Waves of Change.

States

States are the product of our tendencies of thought which manifest on the timescale of days and weeks. States of mind may otherwise be described as moods, attitudes, ruts or emotional lows.

Condition

Life mapping

References

  1. Our Practices
  2. The Fate of Nations (April 17, 2007), shared by the Messenger December 5, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 As taught in the 2010 fall session of the School of the New Message

Further Study

Our Practices