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18 October, 2008


You may not want to know yourself because you are afraid of what you may find out. Many people have a secret fear that they are bad. But nothing you can find out about yourself is you. Nothing you can know about you is you.

While some people do not want to know who they are because of fear, others have an insatiable curiosity about themselves and want to find out more and more. You may be so fascinated with yourselves that you spend years in psychoanalysis, delve into every aspect of your childhood, uncover secret fears and desires, and find layers upon layers of complexity in the makeup of your personality and character. After ten years, the therapist may get tired of you and your story and tell you that your analysis is now complete. Perhaps he sends you away with a five-thousand-page dossier. “This is all about you. This is who you are.” As you carry the heavy file home, the initial satisfaction of at last knowing yourself gives way quickly to a feeling of incompleteness and a lurking suspicion that there must be more to who you are than that. And indeed there is more—not perhaps in quantitative terms of more facts but in the qualitative dimension of depth.

There is nothing wrong with psychoanalysis or finding out about your past as long as you don’t confuse knowing about yourself with knowing yourself. The five-thousand-page dossier is about yourself: the content of your mind which is conditioned by the past. Whatever you learn through psychoanalysis of self-observation is about you. It is not you. It is content, not essence. Going beyond ego is stepping out of content. Knowing yourself is being yourself, and being yourself is ceasing to identify with content.

Most people define themselves through the content of their lives. Whatever you perceive, experience, do, think, or feel is content. Content is what absorbs most people’s attention entirely, and it is what they identify with. When you think or say, “My life,” you are not referring to the life that you are but the life that you have, or seem to have. You are referring to contents—your age, health, relationship, finances, work and living situation, as well as your mental-emotional state. The inner and outer circumstances of your life, your past and your future, all belong to the realm of content—as do events, that is to say, anything what happens.

What is there other than content? That which enables the content to be—the inner space of consciousness.


Book on “A NEW EARTH – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose “ by ECKHART TOLLE.

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