Self-knowledge means……… knowing the nature of the Self . . . .>>

The Self as the whole of the psyche comprises the ego-complex and the Unconscious and its archetypes. The ego is a small part of the broader psyche or the Self. The ego-complex and its faculty of reason have a consciousness field and a to the ego related unconscious. We call this the personal unconscious, which functions as an appendix of the ego and contains ego-related content. It supplements ego-consciousness as an auxiliary and contains, memories, instinctual and learned modes of action and conditionings, also content that is repressed or not -yet- accepted by the ego. We are not very aware that our ego-centred life is to a great extent dependent on the unconscious part of the psyche, particularly on the Unconscious.

All humans partake in the Unconscious; hence we call it also the collective Unconscious (coined by Carl Jung)

The Collective Unconscious, the more extensive part of the Self is the province of the archetypes that underpin biological instinct and the a priori forms that determine and characterise universal typical human psychology and behaviour. The Unconscious is the main factor that in finality guides human life; it forms our expressions, sustains our cognitive and creative abilities and provides us with meaning. We experience its hold over our ego-centred life when we think of the myriad of projections and their corresponding feelings that our ego-personality is subject to and succumbs to.

It holds the forces that make art, science and conscious light. It provides us with rounded and symbolic images via fantasy or dreams that help us understand inner and outer realities. In the Unconscious also lies the origin of our sense for love, truth, beauty and the good, that constitute our inborn conscience. The Unconscious can be viewed as a transpersonal Spirit.  This innate natural force can go against our will and can crush the ego’s imagined ‘power’. It can impose its will on us to bring us psychologically in balance and to correctly adapt to reality and to force us to become more conscious.

The ego reflects and mirrors the archetypes and other aspects of the Unconscious and acts these initially unknowingly out. But when we are critical and not too much identified with these, we realise that they have their origin in the deeper layers of the unconscious, and are transpersonal psychic elements.

The Unconscious—or innate natural Spirit- and its creative tools the archetypes – is an utmost mystery. It is a present and active factor within the human psyche. It permeates and encompasses the ego-complex and is genuinely unconscious; we know nothing about it. Its archetypal elements underpin and invade to a degree the Ego-complex, and are behind many of our emotions and motivations.  And by this have an immense influence in our lives. 

Therefore, it is essential to know this deeper layer and base -the psyche’s dynamic archetypal matrix. And to make oneself a conscious receiving vessel for their expressions for eternity.

Zen is a three-pronged practice of concentration, mindfulness, and enquiry.

By mindfulness we understand to watch the autonomous expressions of the unconscious part of the mind or psyche, expressions that react to the actions and thought of ego-conscious -life, in particular when engaging with others . This because ego is not the only King in the castle of the psyche. Attaining Self-knowledge–ego + the wider Self is not a narcissistic affair. Zen at heart is about activating the wider personality – the full Self and to bring it into the world. The Buddha seeds/nature– the ‘ face’ you had before you was born.