One idea that we see again and again in sacred writings is that each one of us is a reflection of higher truth. What that means is that all the answers we seek to our deepest questions about life already lie within us.
While it is valuable to study the great sacred texts, it is also important to study ourselves. By spending time alone and in silence, contemplating great ideas or quietly meditating, we put ourselves in a position where wonderful, healing truths can be revealed to us from within ourselves.
Here are some sample quotes from across time and from a variety of traditions that tell us we are born with a knowledge that we must only allow to blossom within us…
God made the senses turn outward, man therefore looks outward, not into himself. Sometimes a daring man has looked round and found himself. Then he is immortal!
— Katha Upanishad (300 B.C.E.)
The humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than the deepest search after science.
— Thomas A. Kempis (1379)
Man does not know himself and does not know how to use the energies hidden in him, nor does he know that he carries the stars hidden in himself and that he is the microcosm, and thus carries within him the whole firmament with all its influence.
— Paracelcus (1493)
Of all knowledge the wise and good seek most to know themselves.
— William Shakespeare (1564)
Oh, thou that pinest in the imprisonment of the Actual, and criest bitterly to the gods for a kingdom wherein to rule and create, know this of a truth: the thing thou seekest is already within thee, here and now, couldest thou only see!
— James Allen (1864)
God dwells in you, as you, and you don’t have to “do” anything to be God-realized or Self-realized, it is already your true and natural state. Just drop all seeking, turn your attention inward, and sacrifice your mind to the One Self radiating in the Heart of your very being. For this to be your own presently lived experience, Self-Inquiry is the one direct and immediate way.
— Ramana Maharshi (1879)
And finally, here’s an inspiring quote from OneJourney founder Guy Finley…
Letting go is more than an act of asking for God’s will to be our own; it is awakening, moment to moment, to realize that our True Self is — and always has been — one with that which governs with Goodness all things.
— Guy Finley (1949)
Practical Steps to Fulfilling Your Promise in Life
The truth we seek is within us, but we must work uncover it. Old habits and beliefs steal our attention and keep us from contacting our own best nature.
Guy Finley, a master of practical spirituality, has prepared the following list of specific things to look for in yourself that he calls 21 Ways We Waste our Vital Life Forces:
All creatures in life are created to reach their natural fruition. The Great Life generously provides all of them with everything they need to fulfill their promise. This same abundance holds true for our spiritual awakening as well. Everything we need to succeed is forever raining down upon and within us.
The spiritually awakened life is not something that one achieves, like an award for fine art or some other measured performance. The true Higher Life comes to us naturally and reveals and expresses itself in anyone who realizes that, like the sun above us, this Living Light within us is always present.
It is we who are absent from this eternally indwelling Life, not because these vital forces are withheld from us, but because we waste them. Following are 21 Ways We Waste our Vital Life Forces, and for whose loss we remain sound asleep spiritually. Study these thieves closely and catch them in the act of stealing your chances for Higher Life as they drain away your vital life forces.
- All forms of useless talking
- Being wrongly involved in the life of anyone else
- Daydreams of any nature
- Using excessive emotions
- Keeping “accounts” on those who have displeased you
- Sitting in judgment of anyone for any reason
- Becoming identified with anything
- Useless thinking, such as speculating “why?”
- Overindulging yourself
- Resisting your environment or the unpleasant manifestations of others
- Being concerned with how others see you
- Defending yourself from imagined enemies, as with quips or sarcasm
- Puttering around in order to keep yourself feeling productive
- Any form of sexual imagination
- Rushing through or to anything
- All forms of frustration, including impatience and anger
- Doing anything in half measures, or leaving things hanging
- Telling “little” lies
- Taking part in any dialogue with yourself
- Seeking any form of vengeance or retribution, embracing resentment
- Wrestling with anxious feelings and trying to think your way out of pain
For extra benefit, make a list of ways you suspect your own vital forces are being wasted. Then stop throwing away your chance to know Real Life!
Do you have an inspiring quote from your own tradition that explains that the truth we seek already lies within us? Please click here to submit it to the OneJourney Living Book so that we may all be encouraged to look more deeply into ourselves.
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project