What does it mean to be self-aware, to be self-knowing?
I associate self-awareness and self-knowledge with ‘emotional intelligence’ - one’s capacity to be aware of one’s own (or another’s) emotional and cognitive states, one’s conditioning.
I was recently looking through some early-ish writings of Krishnamurti’s (The World Within, written around the same time he composed Commentaries on Living), and I was struck by how often he talks about the importance of self-awareness and self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge is not based on any formula; but through constant awareness of our thoughts and feelings, of actions and reactions, and of all the opposites that lie within us, comes self-knowledge.
That is, self-awareness with respect to any and all habitual thinking and feeling that arises in relationship, society, politics and religion. Another word for these habits of thought and feeling is of course ‘conditioning’.
K also talks a lot about ‘thinking-feeling through’ every thought and feeling that arises:
To think-out, feel-out, there must be self-awareness, and this awareness is cut short through judgement… As each thought-feeling arises, follow it out, think-feel it out… Thus with each thought-feeling, when extensively thought out, felt out, awareness becomes expansive, inclusive.
So self-awareness is a matter of ‘moving with’, or ‘living through’ (from the inside as it were), our thoughts and feelings (our conditioning) as they arise: to unearth them, expose them, and perhaps dissolve them in the light of awareness.