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KNOW YOURSELF

After his enlightenment the Buddha took his ministry to the people and in one instance he was asked if he was a God? The Buddha answered, “I am no God, I am awake!” Without going into what the Buddha meant by “I am awake” we can say that he woke up from the illusions of the world. And what are these illusions? Some of the illusions are:

1.      I am better than my neighbor---In your dreams

2.      I am chosen! ----- No one is indispensable.

3.      I have the truth!----It stops the conversation and stops the experience

 Awakened Living is essentially about expanding our awareness and living from that awareness.

But before we get into the details of expanding our awareness I want to take you to ancient Egypt specifically to the Luxor Temple. Observe the outer Temple where all the neophytes are seated and waiting to prove themselves in order to be admitted into the inner temple. If you look up toward the east you would notice the inscription on the outer Temple: “The body is the house of GOD! Take a deep breath and meditate on this inscription. This is the beginning of wisdom!

Next move on to the Inner Temple and observe the initiates as they wait patiently to be initiated. Look up again toward the East and notice the inscription "Man, know thyself, and you are going to know the Gods" Now take another deep breath and meditate on the inscription. This is the gateway to the mysteries of the Universe because as above so below! 

Now follow me to ancient Greece to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Notice the inscription at the gate of the Temple: NOTHING IN EXCESS, and KNOW THYSELF.

 If the ancients never contributed anything but simply handed down this doctrine to us they would have given us everything we needed to know! Self knowledge is the portal to Awakened Living!

Now the first question is what is this SELF that we should know?  Some have said that the SELF is CONSCIOUNESS while others think that it is the SOUL. In Chandogya Upanishad the godless actually thought that the SELF was their physical bodies and went on to adorn their bodies with fine garments, perfumes and ornaments with the belief that by doing so they would be masters of life. Obviously our physical body is not the SELF but without going into the metaphysics of the SELF the Upanishads teach us that the Self is beyond words but dwells within the hearts of all.

1.      The Self, who can be realized by the pure in heart, who is life, light, truth, space, who gives rise to all works, all desires, all odors, all tastes, who is beyond words, who is joy abiding----this is the Self dwelling in my heart. Smaller than a grain of rice, smaller than a grain of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a grain of millet, smaller even than the kernel of a grain of millet is the Self. This is the Self dwelling in my heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than all the worlds. The Chandogya Upanishad III: 4.2-4.3 by Eknath Easwaran

This is the Self dwelling in my heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than all the worlds. Is it not an irony that we embody the greatest in the Universe yet many of us are hopeless, helpless and poor?

The second and more important question is how can we know the SELF? The ancient mystery schools in Egypt and Greece did not tell the outsider what to do in order to know the Self. Modern mystery schools continued the tradition but the Upanishads teach us that the Self can be known through dedication.

      Dedicate yourself to the Lord of Life,
     Who is the cause of the cosmos. He will
      Remove the cause of all your suffering
     And free you from the bondage of karma
     The Shvetashvatara Upanishad II:7 by Eknath Easwaran

This sounds very easy but how many people would really dedicate their lives to the Self after reading the Upanishads? Would you say1, 2, 3,--- or 10 in a thousand? We don’t know but the most important question is how do we go about it? This is where Joseph Campbell comes to our rescue by introducing us to the SANCTUM. Most if not all Mystery Schools introduce their members to the Self with the help of the SANCTUM but before we go into the details of knowing the SELF here are 3 truths that are very important for anyone who wants to live an Awakened Life!

First Truth: Every incarnation is loved without conditions!

How can I say that we are all loved without conditions with the memory of a malnourished child abandoned to be devoured by a vulture! How can I say that? No Saint had compassion for her suffering; not even a Savior or a God noticed her fragile and helpless body! How can I say that? How can I say that we are all loved without conditions with the thought of six million Jews being slaughtered by Nazis? How can I say that? How can I say that we are all loved with the history of millions of Africans brought to the New World and other places and treated as money making machines? How can I say that? How can I say that we are all loved in a world where culture has imprisoned the lives of many innocent people? How can I say that?  I can go on and on and mention instances where LOVE seemed to have failed but it is not the whole story!

As painful as these experiences might be I encourage you to take time out and look around you. When you do that you will also notice that free air is sustaining you, flowers are blooming, fruit bearing trees and plants are at your service, rain is watering your crops, the sun is warming you up,  snow is inviting you to play, squirrels are entertaining you and many creatures are keeping you company. All these things were provided for your own enjoyment and happiness freely irrespective of your race, color, religion or nationality! Now I can say that we are all loved without conditions, which means that you are also loved without conditions!

Second Truth: Every incarnation is blessed without requirements.

How can I say that we are all blessed without requirements with many people who could go to bed without dinner tonight? How can I say that? How can I say that with many sick people who might be left to die because they do not have Health Insurance? How can I say that? How can I say that we are all blessed with many homeless people in our cities? How can I say that? How can I say that with our history of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness? How can I say that?

There is no doubt that some of these challenges will always remain with us because of our nature and the nature of the environment in which we live. Meanwhile take time out and look around you again and you will find many who have risen above their shortcomings; many who have overcome their physical challenges, many who have changed their lives from rags to riches; many who have been healed from seemingly incurable diseases and many who have realized seemingly impossible dreams. Thus I can say that you are blessed without requirements and you live in a loving and giving Universe!

Third Truth: Every incarnation has a moral duty to rethink the world

As cultures collide and science introduces us to new frontiers we are each called upon to reexamine our beliefs about what it means to be alive. As we move forward in this brave new world the ideas that separated us must now give way to new ideas that unite us.  In this new world the stage is set for a universal consciousness; a consciousness that includes all creatures without discrimination irrespective of color, race, religion or nationality. And this consciousness begins with each of us taking responsibility to know who we are! The Universe rejoiced when you were born because you brought a brighter LIGHT to the world. You did not come to follow the world. You came to SHINE! You have a moral duty to rethink the world and that duty is to know YOURSELF and SHINE! The Chandogya Upanishad puts it this way:

There is a Light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the Light that shines in our heart. Chandogya Upanishad P. 113, Penguin Classics

Know YOURSELF and let your LIGHT SHINE. This is the primary purpose for which you were born!

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Know Yourself

 

 

 

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