Why is knowledge of Self important?
We often hear it bandied about in quotations, pithy sayings, and axioms, but does self-knowledge make any difference in how you live your life and the happiness it provides? How does knowledge of self provide that happiness?
I provide a simple, Taoist method for increasing your happiness through the 4 managements (described in this post on happiness). Be certain that I have yet to find one mentee that has not achieved far greater happiness in his or her life by attending to these four. There is, however, one major block that can derail the happiness process, a significant lack of knowledge of the self.
The reason? Your life has to be tuned according to two major pieces of information:
- One: Where you are right now.
- Two: Where you want to be.
The more lacking in this self-knowledge you are, the more likely you are to steer your development in the wrong direction.
Two Simple Tools for Building Knowledge of the Self
I will describe for you two simple tools for building knowledge of the self. First a caution, often times the information revealed to you about your own self is shocking. These methods should be done privately, not in the presence of friends or family. Otherwise, you may censor yourself subconsciously. In 4 Ascendant Taoist Tradition terms, you are stepping outside the Social Sphere, and journeying toward who you are in the Tao Sphere. As you take this measure of your self, it is important not to judge or impose should thoughts (e.g. I should be this way or that way). An assessment is a time to look clearly and calmly at the way things are without a mind toward action or the way things should be.
You have 2 easy self measuring tools:
The more time you spend on something, the more you value it and the more likely that it is to be developed. The reality is that you have 168 hours available to you during the week, and about 56 of those hours are spent in sleep. That means you have a remaining 112 hours available to allot to doing things. Time is a very precious, limited resource. Isn’t it? Your current flow of time indicates what you have chosen to value. You should know this valuation.
At this point the reasons and the rationales of why you have chosen to spend the time the way you have is unimportant. Document it. Understand it. You will create for yourself a picture of how you are making your self through time. That’s a highly valuable, but often painful knowledge of the self.
Where You Spend is Where You Grow
Money is a very clear, physical indicator of what you have chosen to value. What you chose to not spend money on is also a very clear indicator of what you have chosen to value. It is what I call wallet time. The function of money is to mark and transfer value. If you are not willing to spend money on something or on someone, you simply don’t value that thing as much those things you are committing resources to. Document your money flows to specific activities and people and the feelings that are associated with those activities and people. You will get a very illuminating picture of where your chosen value is.
Conclusions of Self Knowledge
The pursuit of knowledge of the self needs to occur outside standard social relationships, so that you can get to the root of your current valuations. If you are unhappy, it is because the valuations you have are not balanced. You may also not have a goal that is suitable for creating happiness for you.
Many times when the process of self-discovery matures, mentees will ask, “What are my goals? We didn’t work on my goals?” Actually, your goals become more clear as you reveal your current valuations. Such is the self.
Master Mikel Steenrod Keeper of the Gate of Man and Heaven
(Lineage Holder of the 4 Ascendant Spheres Purity Adept School of the Tao)