How to Know Your Self
By Swami Satchidananda
The aim of all spiritual practices is to know your real Self, to know the Knower. The Bible says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But without knowing what your Self is, how can you love your Self in him? Know your Self and then see your own Self in your neighbor’s Self. Then you can love him as your Self. To love everybody or everything as the spirit, you should realize your spiritual truth; you should realize the God in you.
Have you ever seen yourself, even your physical self? Have you ever seen your face? Only in a mirror. Suppose I breakthe mirror, could you still see your face? No, but would you have lost it then? No. What you see in a mirror is the image, not the original.
If you look for your true nature in a distorted mirror you will see a crooked face. Is your face really crooked? What is the mirror in our case? Our minds. To see our true Self we must have clean, clear, calm minds. Some people keep the mirror clean and realize that they are beautiful. Others do not dust it well. Some break it; some bend it.
When you make the mind calm and serene, you realize that the soul and God are one and the same, without any distortions, without any color. The body should also acquire that serenity that is called the relaxed or pure state. A very healthy and relaxed body with a calm and serene mind will allow the true light or the true nature of the Self within to express itself without any distortion.
Primarily one should take care of the mind because the body is only an instrument of the mind. Normally, we identify ourselves as a mind and a body. That is why we call ourselves by different names and seem to differ from each other. The variations and definitions come only when we identify with the body and mind.
By nature we are at ease and in peace. However, due to negligence or efforts aimed at satisfying selfish desires of the senses, we disturb that ease and peace. And when we disturb the ease, we feel “diseased.” We were fine originally and lost that fine-ness. That’s when we became defined. Unfortunately, the moment we define ourselves—or limit the Self—we are no longer fine.
All the scriptures, all the sages, saints and prophets say to stop defining. This is the process of re-fine-ment. This is the essence of all Yoga and all scriptures.