The Oracle of Delphi tells us, KNOW YOURSELF. This could mean a lot of things to different people. I believe most of us think we know ourselves, but when you get right down to it, we are just following our thoughts and are at the mercy of these thoughts. Many of us are possessed by certain thoughts like I’m too fat, or I’m not creative enough, or life is passing me by. These thoughts are like a viral infection of the mind.
Our thoughts can take possession of us. I think millions of people suffer from this affliction. So who or what put these thoughts in our heads to begin with? Our thoughts are seductive things; they make us judge ourselves as well as others. We think about who “screwed” us over, or who we’ve done kind acts for. They are only judgements.
Philosopher and renowned author, Eckhart Tolle, suggests to know ourselves we have to allow a space to open up inside us – this space is felt as an alertness, and in that alertness, we can get a glimpse or a flash of enlightenment. I think we’ve all been in that state of enlightenment from time to time. For instance, when we recognize beauty in nature, and we get out of our thinking mind and into an alert presence as this beauty reveals itself to us. Tolle asks us to get out of our thinking state of mind. He explains how the personality consists of self-talk that tells you who you are, and is absorbed by the mind. This self-talk develops your foundation of who you are. It continually adds new concepts such as, maybe if I find the right partner my life will be fine, or maybe if I made more money, I could have the freedom I need. We are never satisfied very long as we are always adding new concepts. These concepts are accompanied by heavy emotions and this is dysfunctional thinking according to him.
There’s a space within us that is continually missed, and can be attained by meditation and mindfulness – by being totally alert to your surroundings. This is a place where we are no longer dominated by thought. We are very present in the moment, without the compulsion to label and judge everything. When we are in complete alignment with the present moment, we become spiritual masters.