Sages throughout history have pointed out that true knowledge is to “know thyself”. Seekers have understood that this is not a prescription for analysis of the ego, but a rather for a deeper recognition of the oneness between the individual and the universal existence.
Without what we consider to be the external world, we would not exist. Every breath we take requires the existence of plants to provide oxygen, and to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Plants convert the energy of the sun into forms that we can utilize. Plants in turn require nourishment support from the earth and the carbon dioxide that we and the other animal life forms excrete. There is truly not only a symbiotic relationship but an intimate oneness of all life.
If we remain closed into an awareness of just the individual ego-personality, we cut ourselves off from our own wider existence and the purposes that drive that existence forward. Self-knowledge therefore encompasses all-knowledge, and requires a shift of our perspective, as we move from ego-centric toward a universal standpoint.
Sri Aurobindo writes in The Life Divine: “To be and to be fully is Nature’s aim in us; but to be fully is to be wholly conscious of one’s being: unconsciousness, half consciousness or deficient consciousness is a state of being not in possession of itself; it is existence, but not fullness of being. To be aware wholly and integrally of oneself and of all the truth of one’s being is the necessary condition of true possession of existence. This self-awareness is what is meant by spiritual knowledge: the essence of spiritual knowledge is an intrinsic self-existent consciousness; all its action of knowledge, indeed all its action of any kind, must be that consciousness formulating itself. All other knowledge is consciousness oblivious of itself and striving to return to its own awareness of itself and its contents; it is self-ignorance labouring to transform itself back into self-knowledge.”
“To become complete in being, in consciousness of being, in force of being, in delight of being and to live in this integrated completeness is the divine living.”
“All being is one and to be fully is to be all that is. To be in the being of all and to include all in one’s being, to be conscious of the consciousness of all, to be integrated in force with the universal force, to carry all action and experience in oneself and feel it as one’s own action and experience, to feel all selves as one’s self, to feel all delight of being as one’s own delight of being is a necessary condition of the integral divine living.”