Know thyself ...

Almost anything, from alpha to omega.
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Know thyself ...

Postby whimsicaldeb » May 10th, 2006, 5:32 pm

I was reading the introduction of your Eco-Consciousness section and I came to this part in the last paragraph (emphasis added by me):

Virtually all of the Teachers tell us that the only truly meaningful way to rid the world of its ills is to Remember Who We Are. When we Realize the Truth, they insist, the world -- for good or ill, always a reflection of ourselves -- will reflect that Awareness and be Healed. But even as we reach for that Awakening, clearly we need to adopt positions and practices which honor that high goal.

Actually, that's inaccurate. A vast majority of the teachers tell us to Know Thyself rather then remember who we are.

That would be because remembering who we are is different than knowing ourselves - remembering is a side effect of knowing ourselves, along with understanding ourselves and awareness, recognizing, and healing... and letting go. But it all starts with knowing yourself, not the remembering.

In other readings at this site I've notice you've used and quoted from the Gospel of Thomas, so I'll use that as my example (again, emphasis added by me):

The Gospel of Thomas
Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer Translation

3. Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you.
If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father.
But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."

So … remembering is important, but it all starts with ...

Know thyself

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Postby phyllis » May 17th, 2006, 12:19 pm

I have been an on and off reader of The Zoo Fence for a long time. In my estimation, you have misunderstood what they mean by “remember who you are.” This is an expression that appears a lot on the website, where it seems synonymous with “know thyself.” I understand it to mean know the Truth and keep that knowledge always in the forefront of my awareness. That is a teaching common to many religions and paths.

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Postby whimsicaldeb » May 17th, 2006, 4:21 pm

"... the first effulgence which hath dawned from the horizon of the Mother Book is that man should know his own self and recognize that which leadeth unto loftiness or lowliness, glory or abasement..."
Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 34

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power

Tao Te Ching opening lines of stanza 33
S. Mitchell translation

`To know thyself' is to know thy Self' - C. Jung
Zen Buddhism and Psychoanalysis, Erich Fromm

What of all the rules that the Buddha has passed down to us over the centuries? Accounts have it that just before his death the Buddha entrusted his monks to discard all minor rules, saying he knew they were able to discern the essence of dharma. Overcautious, the monks decided they couldn't decide, and kept all the rules. In effect, they denied the Buddha's last wish. Had Krishnamurti sat in the place of the Buddha, and had he made but one rule, it might have been "know thyself", and all other rules would have been declared to be minor and therefore to be discarded.
The Krishnamurti Connection and Buddhism
BuddhaNet's Magazine

Know thyself
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Ancient Greek aphorism "Know thyself" (Greek: γνώθι σεαυτόν or gnothi seauton) was inscribed in golden letters at the lintel of the entrance to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
The phrase has been attributed to at least five ancient Greek sages:
* Chilon of Sparta
* Thales of Miletus
* Socrates
* Pythagoras
* Solon of Athens
Other sources attribute it to Phemonoe, a mythical Greek poetess. According to Juvenal, the precept descended from heaven.

In Latin the phrase is generally given as nosce te ipsum. An alternative Latin rendering, temet nosce, appears inscribed above the entrance to the Oracle's kitchen in the motion picture The Matrix.


In my estimation, you have misunderstood what they mean by “remember who you are.” - Phyllis

The original quote was...

Virtually all of the Teachers tell us that the only truly meaningful way to rid the world of its ills is to Remember Who We Are.

That is incorrect - they do not say "Remember Who We Are" ...
they say "Know Thyself"

I have not misunderstood.
The writer of this article is in error.

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Postby windabove » May 26th, 2006, 3:12 am

My vote goes with Phyllis. In this context "remembering who you are" or "remembering yourself" is simply an admonition for or affirmation of, meta-cognitive thought. Remembering appeals to me as a better word to use than knowing because remembering more clearly indicates that this awareness is one of reflective mindfulness, not simply cognition. Of course either word works, because referring to the Self, remembering and knowing are precisely synonymous.

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Postby mjoel53 » May 27th, 2006, 3:21 pm

How can I remember that which cannot be forgotten? :wink:

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Postby whimsicaldeb » May 27th, 2006, 5:46 pm

... because referring to the Self, remembering and knowing are precisely synonymous.

Care to place a bet on that?
~a grin and a chuckle~

Remembering is ...
To recall ...
To retain in the memory: Remember your appointment.
To keep (someone) in mind as worthy of consideration or recognition.
To have or use the power of memory.

memory = past

Remembering's synonyms are: "... remember, recall, recollect. These verbs mean to bring an image or a thought back to the mind..."

And remembering's antonym is: forget


Knowing on the other hand means...

To possess knowledge, understanding, or information.
To be cognizant or aware.

To perceive...
To discern...
To regard ...
To have...
To be able ...

To be

Knowing means to be
present; current, in the moment; now; cognitive and aware

Knowing has no synonyms (nothing to remember, recall or recollect), or

The best example I can give is from the definition of "remembering" (above)

There is a vast difference between ...
needing to remember To keep (someone) in mind as worthy of consideration or recognition.
from knowing they are.

Or to simplify:
Remembering to take out the garbage
From knowing you have.

Past / Present
To be / Being

And that's why, that's the understanding behind the teachers saying "know yourself" ... and why they did not say "remember" yourself. Because they understood the difference, they understood that when we truly know ourselves, we've no need for reminders (memories, past).

Remembering yourself is living one step behind your true self, observing ... and as good/necessary for spiritual growth on the path as that is ... it's still one step behind, and not the same as being/knowing yourself.

And they knew that, intimately. Now it's up to us to know that intimately as well.

I hope I've explained this well enough, but if not ~ oh well ~ c-est la vie!

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Postby Neo » May 27th, 2006, 7:37 pm

I don't think remember on the zoo fence is about things like rembering to take out the garbage or to walk the dog. I think it is useed here as a seekers mantra, to remember the Trtuth about ourselves always. And knowing I have taken oiut the garbage is a different knowing than knowing who I am. The word is the same so it seems the same, but it isnt. That's why I need to remember my true nature and remember to remember it because I don't really know it, even though I think I know it, because if did I wouldn't I think I was Neo, would i?

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Postby zoofence » May 28th, 2006, 8:47 pm

Interesting conversation. Whimsicaldeb's distinction between knowing and remembering is, of course, quite right. Generally speaking, there is clearly a difference between the two. On the other hand, Phyllis, Neo, and Windabove are right as well in recognizing that context is important, even determining, in shaping, shading, and amplifying meaning. Knowing where and when and to whom and under what circumstances words are spoken is a good chunk of understanding their intended meaning. A very long time ago, a young naval officer, who was just beginning to learn ships' jargon, was taught this lesson by an old salt who told the following, undoubtedly apocryphal, story.

Steaming out of Newport, Rhode Island, a US naval vessel had its deck crew at the ready, as required just in case some unexpected emergency should arise. As it happens, the starboard anchor had recently been repainted, and that morning it was not yet fully dry. The bo'sun at the bow reported that fact to the quartermaster on the bridge who in turn reported it to the Captain. "Let it go," the Captain replied offhandedly. The quartermaster dutifully repeated the Captain's response to the bo'sun, and the bo'sun dutifully did so, bringing the ship to a sudden, shuddering, unintended stop in the middle of the channel. The point of the story, of course, was that ashore, "let it go" can mean something like "never mind" or "that's okay" or "forget it", but at sea, "let it go" means "drop the anchor".

Notwithstanding mjoel's suggestion that it's almost certainly impossible to remember what can't be forgotten, and even though it is probably equally impossible to know what can't be known, particularly if there is no one to know it, I have placed a link to this thread at the paragraph in question at TZF's EcoConsciousness page.

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Postby Gulliver » May 3rd, 2007, 9:36 pm

I came to this site today following a link to the articles about the Course in Miracles, which is my path. I like what is said in those articles and the rest of what I have seen here so far. I plan to read a lot more. It is an interesting forum, too. May I please have access to the Sand Box? As for this thread, I pretty much agree with Phyllis and the others. The Course in Miracles talks a lot about remembering our true identity, and I take it to mean the same thing as knowing our true identity. A particular sentence I have memorized is “Keep His Way to remember yourself.” I think that could easily have been written “Keep His Way to know yourself.”

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Postby anna » June 30th, 2007, 10:51 pm

It's nice to back here - it's been a while.

It occurs to me that this may be just a question of terminology, and sequence. To “remember oneself”, should be capitalized, “one’s Self” -- at least for a mind which believes in hierarchy and differentiation – which Self, capitalized, essentially is the God that we all are. To remember one’s Self, therefore, is to remember God. By doing so consistently, there is less separateness, more unity, and thus, more holiness, or wholeness – the ultimate goal of any seeker. However, in that process, one concurrently remembers oneself, because one understands and “knows” that one’s self is THE Self, or God being one’s self.

Likewise, “to know oneself”, is to know who one truly is, which is the same -- God manifesting as a being with a “self” which believes itself to be separate. If that investigation into knowing oneself, results in the understanding that there is nothing BUT God -- which, if pursued diligently, ultimately does result in that understanding -- and that we, as everything else is, is God manifested, then to know oneself, is to remember one’s Self, because one knows one’s Self, and in so doing, remembers one's self. The only difference might be in terms of persistence – to remember one’s Self, requires constancy and discipline, something that the seeker needs, and frequently lacks. Whereas to “know oneself”, particularly in the beginning, can be an entertainment, and thus, sometimes is more distracting, and less fruitful therefore. Remembering one’s Self, thus, is less distracting, because it is frequently “boring”, and certainly not entertaining or distracting, and thus becomes a useful discipline of the mind. (The mind of man loves distraction, in any form, and hates repetitiveness, or “boredom”, in any form. If one follows this concept to its bitter end, one realizes how controlled and driven we are by mind.)

Therefore, the “mantra” of “remembering one’s Self”, is a form of prayer, or a meditation, or a focus, or a constant “remembering” to the exclusion of the divisionary dualistic mind that constantly separates and defines. The act of remembering interferes with the mind’s chatter, and brings one back to the heart center, which is quiet, and non intellectual. All it is is a discipline, to control the vagrant mind, which, afterall, is the cause of all our misunderstanding and misery. Without control of the mind, we are servants to the mind.

Unfortunately, the process of “knowing oneself”, unless grasped fully to mean knowing “who" one is, and that “who” is God manifesting as that "who”, can often develop into an elaborate extension of the divisionary dualistic mind, because it is frequently used as a means for accumulating more “knowledge” as opposed to “knowing-being” – the difference being crucial to the spiritual seeker. The ultimate end of the spiritual seeker is indeed her actual end – and knowing oneself can sometimes interfere with that goal if that knowledge does not result in a shedding of concepts and mind images. True “knowing oneself”, therefore, is understanding, or revelation that one’s self, is in actual fact, THE Self, or God being whoever it is that is inquiring, and the mind ceases dominion upon that understanding.

Thus, it seems to me, that the two go hand in hand. One cannot remember who one is, until one knows who one is. But once one knows who one is, then to remember that is to persist in, or stand in the position of, that understanding, and thus, to persist in further knowledge about who one is, is redundant, and counterproductive, because it interferes with the process of union and “beingness”.

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Postby jenjulian » July 21st, 2007, 4:21 pm

Hello all,

I was intrigued by this conversation, so thought I'd add a few thoughts.
I agree with much of what Anna has posted.

I think first of all the definition of knowing can be looked at in many different ways. A teacher taught me that the Greeks idea of knowing was an intellectual process and the Jewish people, at the time of Jesus, considered knowing an activity of the heart. Knowing was meant to be something that you must do with your entire being.

Maybe whether 'knowing thyself' and 'remember who we' mean the same or not, depends on our larger view of spirituality. I think of Plato and his idea of the soul being intact and when it comes into the human body it becomes jumbled and we have to unjumble and 'remember who we are.'

If we believe out true selves are covered by our ego and all of the crud we have built up in this life, then knowing thyself is a process of uncovering and this seems the same as remembering. Maybe as we trek through the process of knowing thyself, we at the same time remembering.

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Postby W4TVQ » July 21st, 2007, 11:00 pm

With regard to "remembering", A Course in Miracles makes this a central idea. For example:

My name, O Father, is still known to You.
I have forgotten it, and do not know
where I am going, who I am, or what it is I do.
Remind me, Father, please, for I am weary of the world I see.
Reveal what You would have me see instead.

ACIM offers the idea that we are one and all suffering amnesia concerning our real identity; hence the idea of "remembering who we are." In the framework of thought of ACIM, the difference between "remembering" and "knowing" does not exist, because to know is to remember, and to remember is to know. And what is it we are supposed to remember? "Because I am with you always, you are the Way, the Truth and the Life."

It probably all boils down to a matter of semantics rather than of any differences concerning essential truth. I'm just personally comfortable with the Course's way of thinking.

"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Postby anna » July 22nd, 2007, 3:15 pm

I like the following idea that jenjulian wrote, very much:

"I think of Plato and his idea of the soul being intact and when it comes into the human body it becomes jumbled and we have to unjumble and 'remember who we are.'"

I had not known Plato said such a thing. It is essentially identical to what Gurdjieff stated when saying that we had to "build a soul" during our life, and that, in his mind, was the purpose to life. When you consider the energy and time spent by seekers to do just such a thing, although most would object, saying they were "seeking" God, as opposed to "building" or "unscrambling" a soul, they basically come to the same end result. If we keep in mind that the mind is what creates our reality, then the mind's focus determines everything, including the discovering of God within. Who was it that said we can't see without what is not within?

And, to bring this to its ultimate conclusion, the expression of Grace in ours lives (perhaps this is another way of expressing the Jewish way of "knowing with the heart?") -- which I have found to be real and necessary in order to know or experience God first hand, as opposed to intellectually or mentally, which almost always occurs during or after much soul searching or investigation -- does not degrade this concept in any way, because, Grace steps in DURING the process of unscrambling or building the soul, or AFTER much intellectual, or mental, work. In other words, the two go hand in hand. And indeed, Grace may simply be another word for the state of the "unscrambled" or "built" soul. Of course, it becomes obvious, doesn't it? :roll: The "original soul state" of Plato or the "built soul" of Gurdjieff, are clear mirrors of God expressing Itself through It's manifestation, and we are privileged as human beings to be conscious of that state when in a state of Grace. I recently heard an ethiopian expression that fits well here - God created the world and man because God loves to hear stories. And the stories are visual, verbal, experiential, and material. In other words, the creation experienced by God through each of us, the created, AS God being the created.

Isn't it beautiful that the more one looks around, the more everything, and everyone, and all of it expresses the same thing, does and longs for the same thing, and indeed, when beneath the wordiness of human kind, is stating the same thing, only in different sounds, colors, and images!!

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Postby jenjulian » July 22nd, 2007, 3:23 pm

Beautifully written Anna.
Another truth seer that is in unity with all you talked about:

Simone Weil, mystic and philosopher stated:

"Lifes purpose is to build an architecture of the soul"

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