In his books, articles, videos, and courses, spiritual author Belsebuub describes a process for gaining self-knowledge and developing a greater level of consciousness. The following information gives an introduction to self knowledge from the perspective of his work as well as that of ancient texts and modern science. This site was created as a place where people interested in Belsebuub’s work on self-knowledge can share self-discovery experiences.
What Is Self-Discovery?
If someone asked you who you were, what would you tell them? Your name most likely, maybe your family history, what you do for a living, or your education perhaps. If we were to ask ourselves, we might reason that we are our likes, our beliefs, our ambitions, and what we see when we look in the mirror.
But are these ways of defining ourselves who we really are? And how can we answer this huge question?
Many spiritual and philosophical traditions from all around the world have talked about the importance of knowing oneself in order to develop spiritually and to gain an understanding of our existence and purpose in life. Just a few examples are:
- On the entrance of the Greek Temple of Apollo at Delphi a Delphic maxim was inscribed: “Know thyself”1
- In the Tao Te Ching, the sage Lao Tzu says: “Knowing others is Wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”2
- In the Book of Thomas the Contender, Jesus said to Thomas: “For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all.”3
A reading of sacred texts shows that many ancient cultures had a strong focus on discovering who they really were. To find an answer to this question people throughout the ages have used specific practices to explore their fundamental inner nature — sometimes referred to as the consciousness, the soul, or essence.
Exploring Consciousness With Self-Knowledge
The consciousness is the part of us that Belsebuub explains is the source of the peace behind our transitory thoughts and emotions. One common way to explore feelings of consciousness is through practices of meditation where a person observes and watches their thought processes. There are also practices which can be used throughout life to activate this latent part of ourselves. Consciousness is also the part of us that is active beyond our body during out-of-body experiences (OBE), lucid dreams and near-death experiences. In daily life, it gives us the ability to see with clarity when we look around ourselves in awareness.
Some ancient cultures built whole civilizations around the exploration and development of spiritual consciousness, where understanding the process of awakening consciousness and attaining enlightenment was seen as vitally important. In these cultures, spiritual practices were used as tools not just as a means to understand themselves, but in doing so to also understand the world around them and all of existence.
We can see this understanding in the many references in sacred texts to creating eyes to see and ears to hear — an allegory for developing the ability to perceive beyond the boundaries of normal reality. In Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus of Greece, Prometheus explains how the lack of these abilities cause people to go through their lives as if within a dream:
“First they had eyes but had no eyes to see, and ears but heard not. Like shapes within a dream they dragged through their long lives and muddles all, haphazardly.”4
In the Kybalion — a text said to contain the essence of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus — it is said “The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding”.5
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus talks of people whose “heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.”6 However when referring to his disciples he says “blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”7
In the Gospel of Thomas — an esoteric Christian text that was excluded from the bible — Jesus shares a number of short sayings with spiritual meaning, many of which he finishes with a variation of “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.”8
It was understood in ancient cultures that a human being was a microcosm — a smaller part which reflects the greater whole — of the universe. This was explained in the common saying “as above, so below”. Wisdom seekers felt that by knowing themselves they would be able to develop “eyes to see and ears to hear”, that would allow them to not only understand themselves but to gain “knowledge about the depth of the all”9 and to understand the “universe and the Gods”.10
This point is also explained in Belsebuub’s work, where he shares that,
“Spending more time out of the subconscious increases the perception of reality, and psychic faculties which are buried emerge, and then things that the physical eye itself can’t see become visible. There’s a huge psychic potential that remains dormant while in the sleep.”
~ Belsebuub, The Awakening of Perception
He goes on to explain the importance of waking up in perception in order to understand our purpose for being here:
“We are all in nature, as the multi-dimensional experience of consciousness in form. But we are here for a reason. To know that reason and to do something about it, we need to wake up. Not just in terms of information, as that is just a step, but in our perception.”
~ Belsebuub, The Awakening of Perception
By exploring and developing consciousness we too can develop the “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” that give us the ability to perceive spiritually and which we so valued in ancient times. Once active, the latent faculties of consciousness and the ability to travel beyond the body can be used to explore higher states of consciousness and our inner and outer worlds.
Awareness and Self-Observation: Foundations for Spiritual Growth
Awareness — also known as mindfulness or simply being in the present moment — is an ancient technique for experiencing spiritual states of consciousness in daily life by being “aware” of our external surroundings.
From the Taoist Hua Hu Ching, to the Hindu epic the Mahabharata, ancient Egyptian scrolls, the Christian Bible, and many more — awareness is common to the practice of spirituality through the ages all over the world.
The Hua Hu Ching, for instance, beautifully captures the essence of this practice:
“Each moment is fragile and fleeting. The moment of the past cannot be kept, however beautiful. The moment of the present cannot be held, however enjoyable. The moment of the future cannot be caught, however desirable. But the mind is desperate to fix the river in place:
Possessed by ideas of the past, preoccupied with images of the future, it overlooks the plain truth of the moment. The one who can dissolve her mind will suddenly discover the Tao at her feet, and clarity at hand.”11
Awareness is also a subject that has been widely studied by science due to its many observable benefits on mental, emotional, and physical well-being as is explained in the section below on the science of mindfulness.
Many ancient sages have taught that awareness involves being “present” and “here” psychologically, so as to perceive all the information from the five senses naturally and simultaneously.
For instance, the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu epic, explains that, “When the mind becomes bound to a passion of the wandering senses, this passion carries away man’s wisdom, even as the wind drives a vessel on the waves.”12
Ancient texts explain that when awareness is practiced, the consciousness (also known as the essence) is activated, allowing a practitioner to experience all the benefits that it brings, such as peace, happiness, joy, love, and more.
For instance, in the Hua Hu Ching it is explained that:
“… there are two kinds of wisdom. The first is worldly wisdom, which is a conceptual understanding of your experiences. Because it follows after the events themselves, it necessarily inhibits your direct understanding of truth. The second kind, integral wisdom, involves a direct participation in every moment: the observer and the observed are dissolved in the light of pure awareness, and no mental concepts or attitudes are present to dim that light. The blessings and wisdom that accrue to those who practice the Integral Way and lead others to it are a billion times greater than all worldly blessings and wisdom combined.”
~ Hua Hu Ching, Chapter 26. Translated by Brian Walker
On this subject, Belsebuub writes,
“By increasing conscious awareness we perceive things in a higher way and the faculties such as those which give us a sense of beauty increase. The world really needs this, but for the world to have it, we have to be able to firstly understand it and do it in ourselves.”
~ Belsebuub, A Sense of Beauty
Ancient teachings also suggest that if we are not in this state of awareness, we are said to be experiencing life through the subconscious, driven from thought-to-thought, emotion-to-emotion, daydream-to-daydream, while missing out on life as it is transpiring all around us — a radical contrast to the possibility of spending the day being conscious of our surroundings and our inner world.
For example, the ancient text Poimandres, The Vision of Hermes expresses this concept quite poignantly, saying “Let the man endued with a Mind mark, consider, and learn of himself, and with the power of his Mind divide himself from his not-self and become a servant of Reality.”13
In the Taoist Hua Hu Ching it is written that:
“The Tao doesn’t come and go. It is always present everywhere, just like the sky. If your mind is clouded, you won’t see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. All misery is created by the activity of the mind. Can you let go of words and ideas, attitudes and expectations? If so, then the Tao will loom into view. Can you be still and look inside? If so, then you will see that the truth is always available, always responsive.”
~Hua Hu Ching, Chapter thirty-one. Translated by Brian Walker
Beyond waking up to our surroundings during the day, Belsebuub also explains that awareness of the present moment is the beginning of the work to reach enlightenment, and that consciousness can become a treasure of unmatched value by uniting with other aspects of divinity:
“The perception of the present moment is a thread to hold on to, which can eventually lead the way through the process of enlightenment. It is consciousness that perceives and it is the spiritual within. It has the potential to unite with divinity and become a treasure that the world has no value in comparison to. It becomes part of you permanently and is the ultimate purpose of living.”
~ Belsebuub, The Awakening of Perception
Science on Mindfulness
It is not only ancient cultures however who saw value in learning how to live in the present moment.
A recent study at Harvard University has demonstrated that being in the present moment greatly improves the psychological well-being of a person and leads to a happier lifestyle. The study concluded that regardless of whether people’s minds were trailing off into pleasant or unpleasant thoughts, ultimately the lack of actually being in the moment led them to be more miserable on the whole, whereas activities that encouraged people to be more mindful left people feeling far happier.
Practicing awareness or mindfulness has also been proven to positively affect overall health and well-being. Studies have shown for instance that these practices reduce stress and depression, and promote overall emotional wellness and balance. Mindfulness has also been demonstrated to strengthen and improve cognitive abilities (such as memory and concentration).
Self-observation is an exercise related to awareness, and is aimed at taking the practice of mindfulness inwardly, enabling a person to see various inner states, thoughts and emotions. Self-observation is known in the field of psychology as introspection, with famous psychologist and mystic Carl Jung stating “He who looks outside, dreams, he who looks inside, awakes.”
Learning to be mindful of our inner world has been emphasized in spiritual practice throughout the ages as a key step towards gaining self-knowledge, and as something essential for spiritual development and happiness. For example, in the Corpus Hermeticum it is explained that ignorance of our internal states allows us to be tormented by the likes of sorrow, greed, envy and anger.
In The Awakening of Perception, Belsebuub explains self-observation by saying:
“For spiritual change, we need to see and understand ourselves. What sees is consciousness, it is what perceives, and is essentially what we are. To understand ourselves we need to look within and study how we think and feel, and doing that is called self-observation.”
~ Belsebuub, The Awakening of Perception
Self-observation provides the means to understand negative or harmful thoughts and emotions and to experience higher states of consciousness. This provides a solid foundation for spiritual change and is said to pave the way towards spiritual growth.
Learning about Self-Knowledge
Mark Pritchard (Belsebuub) has been writing about and demonstrating techniques for self-discovery for over twenty five years, in Europe, Australia and the United States.
For over ten years Belsebuub ran a popular self-knowledge course, which people could participate in free of charge both online and in person. This course was a practical guide to self-discovery, the contents of which formed the basis of the popular book The Peace of the Spirit Within, which was later revised, updated, and released as Searching Within.
In his work, Belsebuub describes a variety of different techniques that can be used in the process of self-discovery such as practices to be aware of the present moment, to observe and understand our thoughts and emotions, to get rid of lower ego states, and to reflect back on the motivations for our actions over time.
Many people having tried these practices have found they bring a lot of benefits, such as increasing the level of peace and happiness in daily life, helping to improve relationships, giving one the ability to overcome negative emotions and challenging behaviors such as addictions, and helping people to live more consciously and spiritually.
You can learn more about the possibilities for self discovery these practices bring by reading the personal accounts on this site. If you would like to share an experience of your own you may do so here.
Tao Te Ching, stanza 33 ↩
http://www.religion.ucsb.edu/faculty/thomas/classes/rgst116b/ThomasContender.pdf — page 1 ↩
http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/kybalion.pdf — page 5 ↩
Matthew 13:15 ↩
Matthew 13:16 ↩
The Nag Hammadi Library: The Book of Thomas the Contender, Translated by John D. Turner – http://gnosis.org/naghamm/bookt.html ↩
Inscribed over the entrance to the temple of Delphi is the saying “Man, know thyself and thou will know the universe and the Gods” ↩
~ Hua Hu Ching, Chapter twenty-one. Translated by Brian Walker. ↩
The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 2, Verses 67-71. ↩