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Know yourself, the path to enlightenment

"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality."
- Ayn Rand, (The Objectivist Feb 1966)

"To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
- Albert Einstein, November 9, 1930

“Religions are different roads converging upon the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads so long as we reach the same goal?”
- Mohandas K. Ghandi

    To walk the path is to know the path, know yourself.  The experience variously referred to as Enlightenment, Satori, Prajna, Awakening and Healing simply stated, is a neural synaptic cascade that integrates and aligns perceptual and analytical cognitive functions probably at an engrammatic level. For many people this phenomenon can last for a split second and offer a ‘flash’ of insight (e.g. the Archimedes 'eureka' story). My experience lasted in varying degrees for days and weeks. For further explanation you could refer to these pages on my site, Definition and Recognition.

The Delphic Oracle
By Eloise Hart
The best known Delphic injunction was carved into the lintel at the Temple of Apollo: GNOTHI SEAUTON, Know Thyself. These words may have originated in Apollo's response to a question Chilon of Sparta asked: "What is best for man?" The reply, "Know thyself," is similar to the one believed to have been given to the Lydian king, Croesus, when he was told that he must know himself if he would live most happily. Croesus, a man of action and not philosophical, took this to mean that he should know his own strength, know what he wanted, and should rely on his own judgment. Others have found deeper meaning in these words, taking the "self" to mean the higher self, the true Self; to imply that as man is the microcosm of the macrocosm, he who knows himself knows all.

    I happened to see the headline “Did Jesus have a twin brother?” on the cover of a magazine called Nexus (March-April 2002) and that put me back on the track of reviewing the Gnostic gospels. Since I am a fraternal twin the question of whether Jesus had a twin or not grabbed my attention (not sure how they surmised ‘identical’ twins mentioned later in the article) and I’m not really interested in finding out if this can be proven.  For me, having a twin provided years of valuable insight into the differences and similarities in our personalities.  Most people see me and my twin as opposite personalities (INTP & ESFJ).

from jesus to christ: the story of the storytellers: the gospel of thomas
“This book opens with the lines, "These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and the twin, Didymos Judas Thomas wrote them down." Then there follows a list of the sayings of Jesus. Now this raises all kinds of questions. Did Jesus have a twin brother? Actually the name Thomas Didymos -- well, Thomas is Hebrew for twin. Didymos is Greek for twin.... The implication here is that he is Jesus' twin. But this character, of course, also appears in the Gospel of John, he's one of the disciples, the twin.  Here he appears as if he's Jesus' twin, and he is one who knows secret teaching, which Jesus hasn't given to all other people. Some of these sayings are familiar. We know them from Matthew and Luke - Jesus said, "I have come to cast fire on the earth." Or "Behold, a sower went out to sow," and so forth.... Others are as strange and compelling as Zen koans. My favorite of these is saying number 70, which says, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." The gospel opens as Jesus invites people to see....”

    For unresolved questions like these I think the real benefit comes not from having the answer but instead from being inspired to think and explore so that you’ll not necessarily find past truths but more importantly find truths in the here and now as well as timeless ones.  Either way you grow. Just as the author of the PBS program observed the gospel of Thomas contains sayings, “as compelling as Zen koans”. The reason she identifies them as such is because the gospel of Thomas is filled with Koans with the same purpose (koans appeal most to those who introvert a perceiving function and extrovert a judging function).

    In another article Vincent J. Romano reviews the work of the same author Elaine Pagels and observes that the Gnostics, “had some contact with Buddhism in the formation of their ideas”.  I contend however that it is not necessary that the Gnostics encountered adherents of a separate Buddhist tradition as they are one and the same thing regardless of the proper noun used.  There is only one path, there is only one Tao regardless of many peoples' inclination to over-simplify, to try and identify differences between them or suppress what they have in common. (for several examples please go here)

A Review by Vincent J. Romano: Elaine Pagels on "Jesus and his Message in the Gnostic Gospels"
“Indeed, the suppression of the Gnostic gospels fits the pattern of rational patriarchy that has marked the Church throughout the centuries. Unlike the dominant imagery of God (The Father) in the institutional Church, the Gnostic gospels recognize a feminine influence in God as Jesus' origin, and also affirm Jesus' upending of Jewish tradition by including women in his ministry. In addition, it seems clear that the Gnostics had some contact with Buddhism in the formation of their ideas. The Church's rigid demand for participation in sacraments and other externally focused actions has severely truncated the inner religious experience, precipitating many Christians to go outside the Church and add meditation practices to fill the void in their spiritual lives. The forced exclusion of these Gnostic elements have kept hidden from Christians many aspects of their faith--until now.”

    The explanation for the "pattern of rational patriarchy" can be found in the book "The Alphabet Versus the Goddess" by Leonard Shlain.  The content of the first two sections of my web site particularly the Language page support Shlain's theory. 

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess : The Conflict Between Word and Image by Leonard Shlain
“Making remarkable connections across brain function, myth, and anthropology, Dr. Shlain shows why pre-literate cultures were principally informed by holistic, right-brain modes that venerated the Goddess, images, and feminine values. Writing drove cultures toward linear left-brain thinking and this shift upset the balance between men and women, initiating the decline of the feminine and ushering in patriarchal rule. Examining the cultures of the Israelites, Greeks, Christians, and Muslims, Shlain reinterprets ancient myths and parables in light of his theory. Provocative and inspiring, this book is a paradigm-shattering work that will transform your view of history and the mind.”

    The following fulfilled prophecies are intended to appeal to the right hemisphere; The White Buffalo Woman, Lion lays down with the Lamb, and the child who will lead them.  Again because it's central to understanding everything, I'll cite Dr. Benziger's conclusions on the Physiology of Type as well as a bit of basic supporting info.

Cerebral hemisphere
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The cerebral hemisphere forms one half of a brain. Humans (and many other types of animals) have a brain divided into two hemispheres. Each hemisphere is a mirror image of the other and has an outer layer of gray matter called the cerebral cortex.  ...In most people, the left hemisphere of the human brain dominates, and specialises (in very broad terms) in speech, writing, language and calculation. The right hemisphere has equivalent broad associations with spatial abilities, coherent form recognition, visual face recognition and some aspects of music perception and production.

The Physiology of Jung’s Four Functions & Their Organization
By Katherine Benziger, Ph.D., © March 1998; September 1999
From the above overview we have learned that:

  1. Jung’s four Functions are rooted in four distinct areas of the cortex. Thinking is housed in the Left Frontal Lobe. Intuition is housed in the Right Frontal Lobe. Sensation is housed in the Left Posterior Convexity. Feeling is housed in the Right Posterior Convexity.
  2. Jung’s assertion that each of us has one Natural Lead Function is the result of a neuro-chemical - physiological fact that each person has one area which is 100 times more efficient than their remaining three areas.
  3. Jung’s assertion that each person has two natural auxiliaries can be understood to be the natural result of the brain’s structure. Factually speaking, neuronal bridges hardwire a person’s Natural Lead to their auxiliaries, making communication between their lead and auxiliaries easy, even though each actual auxiliary is relatively speaking highly inefficient.
  4. Jung’s assertion that once a person’s Natural Lead Function has been identified, one can confidently calculate the person’s greatest Natural Weakness, is the result of the simply fact that there are no diagonal bridges in the human brain.
  5. The difference between the Feeling Function and Emotions can be understood more clearly. The Feeling Function is a cortical capacity to recognize the presence or absence of harmony – between colors, tones, or human beings. By contrast, emotions are a limbic capacity to experience delight, anger, fear, grief.

    While enormously important, this is all rather boring and academic to me now. A simple question, if the philosophy and teachings that form the foundation of the world's religions contain fundamental truths in them as each claims, wouldn’t you expect to find these essential truths in all of them? Other than the proper nouns of “Christs” and “Buddhas” aren’t these two paragraphs identifying the same message?  Keep in mind that the Buddha Siddhartha Guatama achieved enlightenment by searching for the cause of, and solution to, human suffering.

Many Buddhas
“The word Buddha is a generic term, meaning the Enlightened One. It refers to a person who has realized the Dhamma and attained enlightenment. This enlightenment, as we have seen, is open to all, and so is Buddhahood. In line with the Theravada teachings, Mahayana tradition goes a step further to strongly assert the universal presence of Buddha-nature in all beings, without exception; this Buddha-nature is the inherent potential for enlightenment, which can be cultivated and actualized by each and every individual. This spirit of openness and tolerance is characteristic of Buddhism.”

A Review by Vincent J. Romano: Elaine Pagels on "Jesus and his Message in the Gnostic Gospels"
The Gnostics believed that by investigating the source of sorrow, joy, love and hate, one could cultivate insight and discover God as the fountainhead of all of these states of being. The significance of Jesus is interpreted to be that of a model, one whose instruction to come and know oneself as he did will transform human beings into sons (and daughters) of God like him. Consistent with the scholarly consensus that Jesus' purpose was not to found a new religion centering its devotion upon him, the Gospel of Philip, a companion text to the gospel of Thomas, urges followers not to become Christians, but rather new Christs.”

    The central message is that people should understand themselves, nosce te ipsum (also temet nosce, gnothi seauton). By increasing conscious awareness of yourself and your surroundings you will eventually understand your strengths and weaknesses, prejudices, preferences and things you dismiss without consideration. By following a peaceful path where you do not exert your will on others or your environment (extrovert judgment) but instead listen to everyone (extrovert your perception) and sort it out logically (introvert judgment) and not how you want or expect things to be (subjective reasoning influenced by older structures) you will discover related fundamental truths about yourself and the rest of the world (universe). That knowledge (engrams) integrated primarily with the use of intuition (right frontal lobe) will be linked (analogous to hyperlinks) between quadrants of the cerebral cortex  and enlightenment can be triggered (neural synaptic cascade integrating both analytical and perceptual cognitive functions (memories/neurons/engrams).

    One consequence of the cascade is that balance between the two perceptual functions is achieved, (specifically, Ne=future and Si=past) temporal bias is lost, timeless truths are easy to identify (Ni) and one can comfortably live in the present (Se).  INTPs are blessed, or cursed since historically they are often executed for challenging authority, with having a cognitive matrix most likely to achieve this form of enlightenment (Ti Ne Si Fe).  Keep in mind that the left hemisphere (Sensing & Thinking) embodies what are considered masculine values (e.g. order) and the right hemisphere (Intuition & Feeling) embodies what are considered  feminine values (e.g. harmony).  Upon achieving enlightenment a balance is found between them by integrating neural engrams.  This balance between order and harmony is the explanation for uncommon wisdom.  Here's a description by Jesus of the same process.  He appears to be alluding not only to the four cognitive functions but also the different attitudes, see my cognitive matrix description.

The Gospel of Thomas
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

    Here is also a passage from one translation of the Tao te ching alluding to the same process.  The claim that "ordinary men hate solitude" has been validated by research on personality type that finds that perhaps 1 of 4 people are born with a physiological predisposition toward introversion (higher set rate for RAS).  And among introverts those with a preference for objective reasoning (T) over subjective (F) are more comfortable with infrequent social contact (consequently dominant function is introverted Thinking i.e. Ti and least developed is Fi).

The Tao gives birth to One.
One gives birth to Two.
Two gives birth to Three.
Three gives birth to all things.

All things have their backs to the female
And stand facing the male.
When male and female combine,
all things achieve harmony.

Ordinary men hate solitude.
But the Master makes use of it,
Embracing his aloneness, realizing
he is one with the whole universe.
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

    To elaborate further on the "ordinary men hate solitude" claim I think it's important to understand why the reference is to 'men'.  This touches on gender issues, an area I only superficially address on this website.  However, because I have enormous respect for women it has bothered me that I've found so few references to 'enlightenment' in women.  I recognize now there are a number of reasons for this.  Aside from societal bias and social-historical examples that Shlain explores in Alphabet versus The Goddess I believe there are biological differences such as neurochemistry.  In the citation below note the claim that, "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own." as well as the reference to, "a classic 'aha' moment".

UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women
An alternative to fight or flight
©2002 Gale Berkowitz
A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. They shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research---most of it on men---upside down. Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible, explains Laura Cousin Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by saber-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioral repertoire than just fight or flight; In fact, says Dr. Klein, it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is release as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men, says Dr. Klein, because testosterone---which men produce in high levels when they're under stress---seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, she adds, seems to enhance it.

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded, says Dr. Klein. When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something.

    Recognizing biological differences is a sensitive matter that I recognize has been used perhaps more often to discriminate, disparage and oppress than to illuminate, celebrate and liberate.  I myself see men and women overwhelmingly more alike than different, this is primarily because I recognize the importance and features of the neo-cortex.  Where they do differ I see complementary skills and abilities that enable both to survive and thrive.


"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things."
- President George W. Bush, June 4, 2003, President Meets with Reporters on Air Force One

    It is difficult for many people to achieve this level of self-awareness because they struggle daily to meet more essential basic needs.  Psychologist Abraham Maslow studied successful people and identified a hierarchy of needs that must be fulfilled before an individual can achieve what he called self-actualization.  I contend a self-actualized person is largely an enlightened person even if their awareness was built slowly and predominantly while they slept in contrast to the experience of sudden 'awakening'/satori etc.  Of course even balanced/self-actualized individuals are different from one another based on their learned experiences, accumulated knowledge and place in time.  No human has experienced or acquired knowledge of 'everything'.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Pyramid of needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as deficit needs, the top level is referred to as being needs. While deficit needs can be met, being needs are a continuing driving force. The basic idea of this hierarchy is, that higher needs come into focus only after all needs lower in the pyramid are met. Growth forces result in upward movement on the hierarchy, whereas regressive forces push prepotent needs down in the hierarchy.

Dr. C. George Boeree
One of the many interesting things Maslow noticed while he worked with monkeys early in his career, was that some needs take precedence over others. For example, if you are hungry and thirsty, you will tend to try to take care of the thirst first. After all, you can do without food for weeks, but you can only do without water for a couple of days! Thirst is a “stronger” need than hunger. Likewise, if you are very very thirsty, but someone has put a choke hold on you and you can’t breath, which is more important? The need to breathe, of course. On the other hand, sex is less powerful than any of these. Let’s face it, you won’t die if you don’t get it!

Maslow took this idea and created his now famous hierarchy of needs. Beyond the details of air, water, food, and sex, he laid out five broader layers: the physiological needs, the needs for safety and security, the needs for love and belonging, the needs for esteem, and the need to actualize the self, in that order.

    You may have noticed the unusual claim above in the excerpt from the Tao-te ching, "The Tao gives birth to One. One gives birth to Two. Two gives birth to Three. Three gives birth to all things."  It took me a little while but I believe I've confirmed my own personal insight and can reconcile this claim with the research of Dr. Paul D. Maclean and his identification of the Triune Brain (three brains in one).  Above the brain stem is the R-complex (R for reptile) and surrounding it is the limbic system (mammalian brain), and capping it is the cerebral cortex.  The first two structures are the source of our emotions and instinctual responses. 

    While distinctive and understandable on their own, the functions of the cerebral cortex do relate to the older structures, can influence and be influenced by them.  I believe that the cognitive function localized to the right posterior cortical convexity which many call the Feeling function and which I prefer to refer to as subjective reasoning is most closely associated with these older structures and has been consequently confused with them.  Identifying and distinguishing between higher level cognitive processes and the features of the older structures is essential in understanding your own needs, unconscious drives and how events in your environment can trigger what may seem to be an irrational response.

    You should be able to identify the qualities of needs in Maslow's hierarchy with those of each of the three brains.  For example the R-complex would provide an explanation for the Physiological and Safety Needs.  Above them the qualities of the limbic system can explain the Belonging and Esteem needs.  I've cited excerpts from relevant articles below.  Note that the fourth and fifth articles relate directly to the goals of controlling one's emotions and the value of knowing oneself and consequently everyone else. (In everyday events, try to identify those who listen to the serpent R-complex and encourage others to listen).

About: Paul D. MacLean, M.D.
“His Triune Brain Theory, based on an evolutionary model of the brain, proposes the idea that the human brain is really three brains in one. The R-Complex is similar to the brain of reptiles, in that it controls basic, instinctive survival thinking and behavior. The limbic system, which is similar to that of lower mammals, seems to be the source of emotions, some aspects of personal identity, and some critically important memory functions. The third and outer formation of the brain, called the neocortex, like the brain of higher mammals, is devoted to higher order thinking skills, reason, linguistic expression, and verbal memory.”

The Triune Brain
The Reptilian Complex
The R-complex consists of the brain stem and the cerebellum. Its purpose is closely related to actual physical survival and maintenance of the body. The cerebellum orchestrates movement. Digestion, reproduction, circulation, breathing, and the execution of the "fight or flight" response in stress are all housed in the brain stem. Because the reptilian brain is primarily concerned with physical survival, the behaviors it governs have much in common with the survival behaviors of animals. It plays a crucial role in establishing home territory, reproduction and social dominance. The overriding characteristics of R-complex behaviors are that they are automatic, have a ritualistic quality, and are highly resistant to change.

The Limbic System
The limbic system, the second brain to evolve, houses the primary centers of emotion. It includes the amygdala, which is important in the association of events with emotion, and the hippocampus, which is active in converting information into long term memory and in memory recall. Repeated use of specialized nerve networks in the hippocampus enhances memory storage, so this structure is involved in learning from both commonplace experiences and deliberate study. However, it is not necessary to retain every bit of information one learns. Some neuroscientists believe that the hippocampus helps select which memories are stored, perhaps by attaching an "emotion marker" to some events so that they are likely to be recalled. The amygdala comes into play in situations that arouse feelings such as fear, pity, anger, or outrage. Damage to the amygdala can abolish an emotion-charged memory. Because the limbic system links emotions with behavior, it serves to inhibit the R-complex and its preference for ritualistic, habitual ways of responding.

The limbic system is also involved in primal activities related to food and sex, particularly having to do with our sense of smell and bonding needs, and activities related to expression and mediation of emotions and feelings, including emotions linked to attachment. These protective, loving feelings become increasingly complex as the limbic system and the neocortex link up.

The Neocortex
Also called the cerebral cortex, the neocortex constitutes five-sixths of the human brain. It is the outer portion of our brain, and is approximately the size of a newspaper page crumpled together. The neocortex makes language, including speech and writing possible. It renders logical and formal operational thinking possible and allows us to see ahead and plan for the future. The neocortex also contains two specialized regions, one dedicated to voluntary movement and one to processing sensory information.

The Nature of Man - Carl Sagan, Cosmos p.276-277
"Deep inside the skull of every one of us there is something like a brain of a crocodile. Surrounding the R-complex is the limbic system or mammalian brain, which evolved tens of millions of years ago in ancestors who were mammal but not yet primates. It is a major source of our moods and emotions, of our concern and care for the young. And finally, on the outside, living in uneasy truce with the more primitive brains beneath, is the cerebral cortex, which evolved millions of years ago in our cosmic voyages. Comprising more than two-thirds of the brain mass, it is the realm of both intuition and critical analysis. It is here that we have ideas and inspirations, here that we read and write, here that we do mathematics and compose music. The cortex regulates our conscious lives. It is the distinction of our species, the seat of our humanity. Civilization is a product of the cerebral cortex."

The Triune Brain
This hypothesis has become a very influential paradigm, which has forced a rethink of how the brain functions. It had previously been assumed that the highest level of the brain, the neocortex, dominates the other, lower levels. MacLean has shown that this is not the case, and that the physically lower limbic system, which rules emotions, can hijack the higher mental functions when it needs to.

By Mark Lindsay
In order to increase your control over your emotions, it is helpful to understand emotions from the viewpoint of a brain specialist. This will help you to understand the origins of our emotions and why we have them. The advantage of this is the same of any type of self-knowledge: the more you become aware of the mechanical or automatic aspects of yourself, the more you are able to increase your control over them.

...According to the triune model of the brain, evolution has simply added new sub-brains to preexisting ones like a man who keeps building additional structures onto an old house. However, to continue with the analogy, with each new addition to the house the physical structure of the older components were altered or modified to some extent. In other words, the reptile brain in humans is not exactly the same as the brain of a lizard. That is not to say we haven’t retained any reptilian functions in our brains; we most certainly have. MacLean has shown that our reptile brains play a major role in our aggressive behavior, territoriality, ritual and social hierarchies.

The Triune Brain
It is interesting that many esoteric spiritual traditions taught the same idea of three planes of consciousness and even three different brains. Gurdjieff for example referred to Man as a "three-brained being". There was one brain for the spirit, one for the soul, and one for the body. Similar ideas can be found in Kabbalah, in Platonism, and elsewhere, with the association spirit - head (the actual brain), soul - heart, and body in the belly. Here we enter also upon the chakra paradigm - the idea that points along the body or the spine correspond to nodes of consciousness, related in an ascending manner, from gross to subtle.

Cult Conversion, Deprogramming, and the Triune Brain
Volume , Number 10, 1, 1992
Geri-Ann Galanti, Ph.D.
California State University, Los Angeles, California
This article presents a theoretical analysis of cult conversion and deprogramming based on the model of the triune brain. During participant-observation at a Unification Church training camp, the author found, to her surprise, that her intellect was unaffected; the "brainwashing" affected her emotionally (limbic system). Cult life involves much ritual behavior (R-complex) but de-emphasizes intellectual processes (neocortex). Interviews with deprogrammers indicated that their goal is to get the cultist to see contradictions between cult doctrine and practice in essence, stimulating the neocortex. Thus, cult conversion and deconversion emphasize different parts of the brain.

    For a modern approach toward introspection, which is the path I took, I highly recommend studying; intelligence research, Jungian personality theory, Jungian inspired personality/behavioral research and the testing/classification system referred to as the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).  For descriptions of each of the four functions referred to in theory as 'preferences' you can click here.  For descriptions of all 16 personalities you can click here.  For a free personality assessment test you could go here. additionally several are offered here.  While it costs a few dollars I would recommend taking the test here at the Personality Page site.

The Personality Page
"By learning more about my own Personality, and about other Personality Types, I can come to a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. I can improve my interpersonal relationships, realign my expectations towards others, and gain a better self-knowledge that will help me define and achieve goals."

Daniel 12:8-10 :: King James Version (KJV)
8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

NOW, January 3, 2003
MOYERS: I did an interview a number of years ago with your colleague, the scholar of religion Elaine Pagels I think some of you know her. And she said there's practically no religion I know of that sees other people in a way that affirms the other's choice. That is the nature of religion, is it not, not to affirm the other's choice. If my truth is true, can your truth be true?

"I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world.  I believe that they are all God-given and I believe that they were necessary for the people to who these religions were revealed.  And I believe that if only we could all of us read the scriptures of the different faiths from the standpoint of the followers of these faiths, we should find that they were at the bottom all one and were all helpful to one another."
- Mohandas K. Ghandi

    Here are passages from various teachings that identify the importance of understanding/'knowing' yourself.  Often, most typically those who may be identified as 'Extroverts' (usually a dominant judging function, T or F in the extroverted 'external' attitude) who have typically misunderstood the teachings of various Buddha/Christs/teachers/masters (master of oneself) have used the truths to create religions (social organizations) inevitably these hierarchical institutions compel those at the top to enforce dogma and coerce those below to accept and obey.   However, because everyone already has the capacity to understand right and wrong, by forcing others to obey, those who coerce become themselves something to be opposed.  This is true even if they are attempting to convey something positive.  For the listener (follower) the positive message is lost when the individual is threatened and becomes defensive (triggers use of R-complex).  'Masters' on the other hand lead by example.  'Masters' wish to walk side by side with strong, independent and honorable individuals.  The weak and corrupt think poorly of others and surround themselves with people they can control.  Those who accept a subservient role to such a person will only aid in their corruption.

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mohandas K. Ghandi

“Humans are by nature a curious lot. Our expansive sense of time and space stimulates us to ponder our place in the scheme of things. Many of us have had experiences in which we seemed to glimpse other dimensions, or realities, and these epiphanies inspire the belief that there is an existence greater than the one commonly described. Attempts to discern the supernatural and experience the transcendent have been part of virtually every culture. All spiritual traditions share certain common denominators. All have developed exercises and rituals to alter everyday consciousness to transcend an individual’s feelings of alienation and reconnect (religare) that person to “the source.” The inner peace so generated enables a person to see oneself embedded in the matrix of a grander entity, and to intuit connections to all other living things. This insight engenders in the soul of the one so graced both wisdom and compassion, two attributes that characterize every prominent ancient religious leader.”
- Leonard Shlain, “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image”, Chapter 32: Sorcery/Science, p. 363

Many Buddhas
"As far as attaining enlightenment is concerned, Theravada literature describes three kinds of Buddhas. One who has attained supreme and complete enlightenment through his own efforts, unaided and unguided, and is capable of teaching the truth he has realized to others, is known as Sammasambuddha, the Perfectly Self-Enlightened One. The second kind of Buddha is the one who has, likewise, attained enlightenment (through his own effort and without any external assistance) but is incapable of imparting his knowledge to others in such a way that they also could realize the Dhamma. He is known as Paccekabuddha or Silent Buddha. The third category, added by the commentaries, consists of those who attain enlightenment not solely through their own effort, but through the guidance and assistance of a Sammasambuddha. These are known as Anubuddhas or Savakabuddhas. Some Mahayana authors prefer to call Anubuddhas, or those people with exceptional knowledge and spiritual experience, simply buddhas (small 'b'). Theravada tradition popularly refers to those noble disciples, who have realized the Truth after the Sammasambuddha and have achieved the highest stage of spiritual attainment, as Arahants."

"In light of knowledge attained, the happy achievement seems almost a matter of course, and any intelligent student can grasp it without too much trouble. But the years of anxious searching in the dark, with their intense longing, their alterations of confidence and exhaustion and the final emergence into the light -- only those who have experienced it can understand it."
- Albert Einstein (1875-1955), German-born American theoretical physicist, theories of relativity, philosopher

"What objectivity and the study of philosophy requires is not an 'open mind,' but an active mind - a mind able and eagerly willing to examine ideas, but to examine them critically."
- Ayn Rand, "Philosophical Detection," Philosophy: Who Needs It

"It is because we have at the present moment everybody claiming the right of conscience without going through any discipline whatsoever that there is so much untruth being delivered to a bewildered world."
- Mohandas K. Ghandi

“Jihad, the subject of the "documentary," is not even defined. We are not told that jihad has many definitions, that in general it means struggle, and that the highest form of jihad is the struggle against self.”
- The Wisdom Fund, April 28, 1995

- Thousands -
One may conquer a million men in a single battle;
However, the greatest and best warrior
Conquers himself.
Conquest of one's self is the greatest victory of all.
The honor paid to the one who has achieved
For one single instant
Is worth more than monthly offerings
Of a thousand pieces of gold.
- Anger -
The wise ones who do no harm,
Ever restrained in body, word, and mind,
Come to the place of peace
Where they will sorrow no more.
- The Dhammapada (The Path of Truth)

The Basis of Zarathusta’s Teachings - Dr. Bahram Varza
“In Zarathustra’s philosophy, everybody has the liberty to choose the right way, out of his/her good reflection and since human wisdom is more related to good reflection, thus the followers of Zoroastrianism should precede by each other to the propagation of science and education. In this manner, Zoroastrianism becomes the forerunner of knowledge and enlightenment.”

Matthew 15 :: King James Version (KJV)
16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

”In order to increase your control over your emotions, it is helpful to understand emotions from the viewpoint of a brain specialist. This will help you to understand the origins of our emotions and why we have them. The advantage of this is the same of any type of self-knowledge: the more you become aware of the mechanical or automatic aspects of yourself, the more you are able to increase your control over them.”

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

If you realize that you have enough,
you are truly rich.
If you stay in the center
and embrace death with your whole heart,
you will endure forever.
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.
1. And he said, "Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death."

2. Jesus said, "Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]"

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."

70. Jesus said, "If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you."
- The Gospel of Thomas

“Do not despise the world, for the world too is God.”
“Whoever knows himself knows God.” – Muhammad


Self knowledge does not end with understanding humans and their motivations.

“The surface of the Earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean. On this shore we’ve learned most of what we know. Recently, we’ve waded a little way out, maybe ankle-deep, and the water seems inviting. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can’t, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re "made" of star stuff. We are a way that the cosmos can know itself. The journey for each of us begins here.”
- Carl Sagan, introduction to his 1980 public television series "Cosmos."

"A human being is part of a whole, called by us the "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
- Albert Einstein

The Gospel According to Mary - Chapter 4
...Will matter then be destroyed or not?
22) The Savior said, All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots.
23) For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.
24) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

30) Matter gave birth to a passion that has no equal, which proceeded from something contrary to nature. Then there arises a disturbance in its whole body.
31) That is why I said to you, Be of good courage, and if you are discouraged be encouraged in the presence of the different forms of nature.
32) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Dark Matter, Energy Puzzling Astronomers
June 19, 2003
"We owe our very existence to dark matter," said Paul Steinhardt, a physicist at Princeton University and a co-author of a review on dark matter appearing this week in the journal Science.

…dark matter caused particles to clump together. That set up the gravitation processes that led to the formation of stars and galaxies. Those stars, in turn, created the basic chemicals, such as carbon and iron, that were fundamental to the evolution of life.

You can think of ordinary matter as a froth on an ocean of dark matter. The dark matter clumps and the ordinary matter falls into it. That led to the formation of the stars and galaxies."

Without dark matter, "there would be virtually no structures in the universe," he said.

Robert P. Kirshner, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the presence of dark energy was proved only five years ago when astronomers studying very distant exploding stars discovered they were moving away at a constant acceleration. It was a stunning discovery that has since been proved by other observations.

"What this is pointing to is a deep mystery at the heart of physics," said Kirshner. "We don't understand gravity in the same way we understand other forces."

“The Master keeps her mind
always at one with the Tao;
that is what gives her radiance.

The Tao is ungraspable.
How can her mind be at one with it?
Because she doesn’t cling to ideas.

The Tao is dark and unfathomable.
How can it make her radiant?
Because she lets it.

Since before time and space were,
the Tao is.
It is beyond is and is not.
How do I know this is true?
I look inside myself and see.”
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

Rebirth as Buddhist Reincarnation, Wikipedia
Within Buddhism, the term rebirth or re-becoming (Sanskrit: punarbhava) is preferred to "reincarnation", as the latter is taken to imply there is a fixed entity that is reborn. However, this still leaves the question as to what exactly it is that is reborn.

3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
- John 3 (King James Version)

“Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time has gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.”
- Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

If you overesteem great men,
People become powerless.
If you overvalue possessions,
People begin to steal.

The Master leads
By emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

- The Way -
Following this path, you shall put an end to
Having myself realized the way that can lead to
of the thorns of defilements,
I have shown it to you.

You, yourselves, must walk the path.
Buddhas only show the way.
Those who are meditative, who have gotten
On the path,
Will be free from the bonds of Mara.

All conditioned things are subject to change.
When one realizes this truth,
One feels wearied of these suffering heaps.
This is the way of purification.

All conditioned things are unsatisfactory.
When one realizes this truth,
One feels wearied of suffering.
This is the way of purification.

All things in the world are insubstantial.
When one realizes this truth,
One feels wearied of suffering.
This is the way of purification.

The lazy man, weak in mental discipline,
Indolent, prone to sloth,
Unproductive, and though young and strong,
Failing to move at the right time,
Never finds the road to wisdom.
- The Dhammapada (The Path of Truth) translated by Ananda Maitreya

Can you coax your mind from its wandering
and keep to the original oneness?
Can you let your body become
supple as a newborn child's?
Can you cleanse your inner vision
until you see nothing but the light?
Can you love people and lead them
without imposing your will?
Can you deal with the most vital matters
by letting events take their course?
Can you step back from you own mind
and thus understand all things?

Giving birth and nourishing,
having without possessing,
acting with no expectations,
leading and not trying to control:
this is the supreme virtue.
- Lao-tzu , Tao-te ching “The Book of the Way and Its Power”
A New English Version by Stephen Mitchell

"The way of peace is the way of truth.  Truthfulness is even more important than peacefulness.  Indeed, lying is the mother of violence.  A truthful man cannot long remain violent.  He will perceive in the course of his search that he has no need to be violent and he will further discover that so long as there is the slightest trace of violence in him, he will fail to find the truth he is searching."
- Mohandas K. Ghandi

“He [Zarathusthra] was wise enough to recognize that all the motives of human beings are based on action and reaction. Because, the receiver of every good deed in this world will react accordingly with the good behavior. Therefore, in the realm of interaction, if human beings act favorably, they receive favorable reaction and vice versa. In this regard, if a person robs another one, he should not be surprised when some day he will be robbed as well.”
- Dr. Bahram Varza

- Twins -
Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind,
Suffering followers,
As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.

Mind is the forerunner of all actions.
All deeds are led by mind, created by mind.
If one speaks or acts with a serene mind,
Happiness follows,
As surely as one’s shadow.

“He abused me, mistreated me, defeated me, robbed me.”
Harboring such thoughts keeps hatred alive.
“He abused me, mistreated me, defeated me, robbed me.”
Releasing such thoughts banishes hatred for all time.
- The Dhammapada (The Path of Truth) translated by Ananda Maitreya