The Art of War- Know Yourself

By S.A. Abraham

As ancient philosopher, military general and strategist Sun Tzu (4th Century B.C.) states in The Art of War;

  •      “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight...And, [one] who understands how to use both large and small forces will be victorious.”
  •      “If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will be defeated in every battle. If you know yourself but are ignorant about the enemy, your chances of victory or defeat are equal. If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you will not be in danger, and you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

These wise statements can readily be applied to the work of self-cultivation as they have much to do with developing discipline and self-knowledge; developing an awareness of the people and the world around us; as well as the importance of context and timing in our lives.

And the "enemy" it speaks of might be applied to an actual enemy or opponent, the lack of real truth and uncensored information, negative influences and environments, our own self-sabotaging ways, something as debilitating as poverty or oppression, or something as "mundane" as procrastination.

In practical terms, this would mean personal fulfillment; calmness and contentment; re-enforced principles and ethics; decisiveness and conviction of beliefs; openness to the lives and circumstances of others; arming oneself against evils and obstacles; finding great faith—and learning from and helping others.

  •      “Just as a gardener cultivates [a plot of land], keeping it free from weeds…, so must [people] tend the garden of their mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and the fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.” (James Allen in As A Man Thinketh)

And this conscious effort would be applied towards seeking self-knowledge; cultivating our principles and morals; learning discipline, mindfulness and loving-kindness; as well as understanding and practising our belief/faith systems. To do otherwise is likely to result in confusion and uncertainty about one’s own self and about life.

  •      “A wise [person] will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: …
  • Happy is the man that finds wisdom; and the man that gets understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold…
  • Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding”. (Book of Proverbs ch 1-4)

Taking action is the only way to get results; examining and challenging our own realities, thoughts, emotions, habits and beliefs is the only way we achieve personal growth; and regular practice is the only real way to improve our situation—physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually and spiritually—all of the things that constitute self-improvement and a fulfilled life.

Therefore, know yourself and put active and conscious effort towards the goals you wish to excel and succeed at.  

  •      “Ask and ye shall receive; seek and ye shall find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew ch.7)


S.A. Abraham writes from a world perspective, having lived, studied and worked in 3 Continents. For the new book and ebookThe Keys That Open, visit: The Keys That Open - Meditations on The Creator & the Way to Inner Peace and Empowerment is the new Book with great appeal to those interested in Personal Growth, Human Behaviour, Health and Wellbeing, Spirituality, Faith -v- Religion, Eastern Philosophies and History as well as Current Affairs.



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