The ancient commandment “Man Know Thyself” was inscribed above the portal of the ancient Greek Temple at Delphi, and it is no less important today than when it was written in the First Millennium B.C. Everyone is hungry for "self- knowledge"; character analysis, personality tests, astrology, various “self-realisation" techniques; all have widespread appeal in an age where personal values are increasingly being threatened. Yoga, religion, meditation etc. all aim to increase awareness of the deeper levels of our being.
Increased concern with "self" in the highest sense (eg. respect for life and individual freedom) has led to an awakening (or should one say re-awakening) of a concern with the whole planet as a similarly living conscious “self”, the “Earth Goddess”. Increasingly people feel respect, even reverence, for the earth as a living being. They feel that there is a limit to how much we can violate her with our life-destroying technological practices before she decides to shake us off her back.
It is not difficult to see that the outer threats to human dignity that are currently in the news; disease, climate change, warfare, terrorism, famine, waste of resources, corruption etc. are, at least in part, a reflection of our own inner violence, greed, selfishness and apathy (naturally, we ourselves are not responsible - it is always these qualities in others, never ourselves!)
The ancient saying: "As above, so below!" can be expressed in many ways. Essentially, we are all told that the whole cosmos is reflected in man; everything which is outside man (the whole of nature) can be found inside him too, and vice versa. Hence self-knowledge leads to knowledge of the world, and other people, while true knowledge of outer things illuminates our own essential nature.
To get to know ourselves a little better is inseparable from getting to know the world, but in addition, if we proceed in the right way, we gain the power to be more useful, to serve more effectively the needs of the world.
If we consider that we are spiritual beings grounded in a physical body and therefore multi-dimensional; we can attune to a web of universal energy and consciousness. By raising our consciousness to operate on the highest spiritual level, we can communicate through love, resonating with the universal energy that unites us all. This is the key to understanding who we are and why we are here.