Self-knowledge is one of the 13 great practices of the New Message.
Through Self Knowledge, students of the New Message "cultivate a high degree of honesty and awareness about our states of mind and life condition. We seek always to know the content and state of our mind and the condition of our body so that we can be capable and ready to participate in the world."[Our Practices]
Moment by Moment
Initially, Self-knowledge is practiced moment to moment in a personal assessment of our mental and physical condition.
Here we may note physical sensations such as fatigue, thirst or other signs of disregulated physical state. This may lead us to take action; to eat, drink, rest or adjust our plans for the day.
Mentally, we may assess the clarity of our thought, our level of acuity or the nature of our self-talk - something which pervades the background of our thinking.
The Deeper Inquiry
Beyond its moment to moment application, Self-knowledge is practiced in a larger and deeper way through long-term inquiry into the makeup of our mind and the tendencies of our thinking.
People of the New Message recognize that the condition of our mind affects the expression of our outer life in all ways: our decisions, our utilization of time, our relationships, our financial and physical well being and our preparation for a higher purpose in life.
Therefore, we feel it is vital to undergo deeper inquiry into the makeup of our mind, how it has been shaped by culture and how it has been conditioned by past negative experiences.
In this deeper inquiry, we "map" three aspects of our mental condition: our tendencies, states and condition.
This mapping can be done on paper in through any form of outline or visual chart. The objective is to know the content of our mind, where it tends to go, and the life condition which these tendencies build and reinforce.
Mapping the mind can be done through a long-range commitment of study, perhaps 1 to 6 months, that utilizes daily or weekly reviews to build self-knowledge over time.
As a first step, the student of the New Message can spend time each day reflecting on the condition of their mind, accounting for all the moments in which they practiced. Here, the momentary practice fuels the deeper inquiry and makes true self-knowledge possible.
Without the moment-by-moment practice, we may come to the end of the day with little sense for where our mind was all day. Likewise, without the deeper inquiry, we may not have the acuity or understanding to know what we're experiencing in a given moment. Each practice, momentary and long-range, makes the holistic development of self-knowledge possible.
- As taught in the 2010 fall session of the School of the New Message