If we are serious about investigating the world around us, we need a proper understanding of what knowledge is in the first place: a product of the interaction between reality—the external world—and our minds—the internal world. We give undue focus to the former and neglect the latter. If we do not focus on the world within us, we will have distorted views of reality. The fact is that on a day-to-day level, most of us turn a blind eye to the mysteries of the mind and consciousness. We fail to give due attention to the instrument which defines who we are and what the world around us looks and feels like. A focus on the world within can effectuate change in the outer world, and eventually even on a collective level.

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The New Testament
Christian scripture

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Elaine Pagels
Historian of religion

“So this gnosis is self-knowledge; you could call it insight. It's a question of knowing who you really are, not at the ordinary level of your name and your social class or your position, but knowing yourself at a deep level. The secret of gnosis is that when you know yourself at that level you will also come to know God, because you will discover that the divine is within you.”

The New Testament
Christian scripture

“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?"

C.S. Lewis
Christian theologian and writer

"If there was a controlling power outside the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts inside the universe — no more than the architect of a house could actually be a wall or staircase or fireplace in that house. The only way in which we could expect it to show itself would be inside ourselves as an influence or a command trying to get us to behave in a certain way. And that is just what we do find inside ourselves."

Hindu poet

"Not in temple, nor in mosque, not in Kaaba, nor Kailas, but here right within you am I. "

Baha'i leader

“This other and inner reality is called the heavenly body, the ethereal form which corresponds to this body. This is the conscious reality which discovers the inner meaning of things, for the outer body of man does not discover anything. The inner ethereal reality grasps the mysteries of existence, discovers scientific truths and indicates their technical application. It discovers electricity, produces the telegraph, the telephone and opens the door to the world of arts[...]What then is that power which penetrates the realities of existence and which is not to be found in the animal? It is the inner reality which comprehends things, throws light upon the mysteries of life and being, discovers the heavenly Kingdom, unseals the mysteries of God and differentiates man from the brute. Of this there can be no doubt.”

Swami Vivekananda
Hindu monk

“All the knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind; the infinite library of the universe is in your own mind. The external world is simply the suggestion, the occasion, which sets you to studying your own mind; but the object of your study is always your own mind."

Eknath Easwaran
Indian author and translator

"Since consciousness is the field of all human activity, outward as well as inner—experience, action, imagination, knowledge, love—a science of consciousness holds out the promise of central principles that unify all of life. ‘By knowing one piece of gold,’ the Upanishads observed, ‘all things made out of gold are known: they differ only in name and form, while the stuff of which all are made is gold.’ And they asked, ‘What is that one by knowing which we can know the nature of everything else?’ They found the answer in consciousness. Its study was called brahmavidya, which means both ‘the supreme science’ and ‘the science of the Supreme.’"

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master

“That everything is included within your mind is the essence of mind. To experience this is to have religious feeling. Even though waves arise, the essence of your mind is pure; it is just like clearwater with a few waves. Actually water always has waves. Waves are the practice of the water. To speak of waves apart from water or water apart from waves is a delusion. Water and waves are one. Big mind and small mind are one.”

Shunryu Suzuki
Zen master

"When you listen to some statement, you hear it as a kind of echo of yourself.  You are actually listening to your own opinion.  If it agrees with your opinion you may accept it, but if it does not, you will reject it."

In the Buddha's Words
Collection of Buddhist texts

1. “I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that is so unwieldy as an undeveloped mind. An undeveloped mind is truly unwieldy.

2. “I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that is so wieldy as a developed mind. A developed mind is truly wieldy.

3. “I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that leads to such great harm as an undeveloped mind. An undeveloped mind leads to great harm.

4. “I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that leads to such great benefit as a developed mind. A developed mind leads to great benefit.

9. “I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that when undeveloped and uncultivated entails such great suffering as the mind. The mind when undeveloped and uncultivated entails great suffering.

10. “I do not perceive even one other thing, O monks, that when developed and cultivated entails such great happiness as the mind. The mind when developed and cultivated entails great happiness.”

Lieh Tzu
Daoist sage

“Our emotions are the result of our beliefs. They have nothing to do with what is really out there. If we believe one thing, then certain emotions will follow. If we believe some other thing, we will experience different emotions.”

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage

"When I talk about having good hearing, I don’t mean just listening, but listening to yourself. When I talk about good eyesight, I don’t mean just looking, but looking at yourself. The fact is that those who do not see themselves but who see others, who fail to get a grasp of themselves but who grasp others, take possession of what others have but fail to possess themselves. They are attracted to what others enjoy but fail to find enjoyment in themselves."

Lao Tzu
Daoist sage

“Those who know others are perceptive
those who know themselves are wise
those who conquer others are forceful
those who conquer themselves are strong
those who know contentment are wealthy
those who strive hard are resolved
those who don’t lose their place endure
those who aren’t affected by death live long"

Founder of Confucianism

“The Master said, ‘When you meet someone better than yourself, turn your thoughts to becoming his equal. When you meet someone not as good as you are, look within and examine your own self."

Ralph Waldo Emerson
American philosopher
Art & Literature

“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”

Aldous Huxley
British-American writer
Art & Literature

“We live together, we act on, and react to, one another, but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves.”

Gustav Meyrink
Austrian novelist
Art & Literature

“I had read the book right to the end and was still holding it in my hands, and yet I felt as if I had been searching through my brain and not leafing through a book! Everything the voice had said to me I had carried within myself all my life, only it had been obscured and forgotten, had kept itself hidden from my thoughts until this day.”

E.O. Wilson
American biologist
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“All knowledge that the world has ever received comes from the mind. It’s all in the mind, as the ancient adage goes. All that is or could ever be known is experience, and all experience is known in the form of mind. Therefore, to know the nature or ultimate reality of anything that is known, it is first necessary to know the nature of mind. Genes make the brain, minds make reality. Until the mind knows its own essential nature, it cannot be sure that anything it knows or experiences is absolutely true rather than simply a reflection of its own limitations. Everything that we know and can ever know about existence is created there (in the mind).”

Jeffrey J. Kripal
Historian of religions
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Consciousness is not only the ground of all comparative grounds…It is also the ground of all science, all rationalism, all reductionism, all religious experience, indeed all human knowledge and experience. Moreover, as far as we can tell at the moment, this…is entirely sui generis. It is its own thing. We know of nothing else like it in the universe, and anything we would know later we would only know in, through, and because of this same consciousness. Many today, of course, want to claim the exact opposite, namely that consciousness is not its own thing, is reducible to warm wet tissue and brainhood. But to this day no one has come even close to showing how this might work. Probably because it doesn’t."

Vaclav Havel
Former President of Czechoslovakia
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Consciousness precedes being, and not the other way around, as Marxists claim. For this reason, the salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human modesty, in human responsibility. Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better.”

Abraham Maslow
American Psychologist 1908-1970
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Each person’s inner nature is in part unique to himself and in part species-wide."

Erich Fromm
The Art of Loving Social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, philosopher 1900-1980
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“The most important step in learning concentration is to learn to be alone with oneself without reading, listening to the radio, smoking or drinking. Indeed, to be able to concentrate means to be able to be alone with oneself—and this ability is precisely a condition for the ability to love."

Sufi mystic and poet

“The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are.”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture

"It is He who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what emerges from it and what descends from the heaven and what ascends therein; and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah, of what you do, is Seeing." (57:4)

Sutta Nipata
Buddhist text

"Just as a mother would protect with her life her own son, her only son, so one should cultivate an unbounded mind towards all beings, and loving-kindness towards all the world. One should cultivate an unbounded mind, above and below and across, without obstruction, without enmity, without rivalry. Standing, or going, or seated, or lying down, as long as one is free from drowsiness, one should practice this mindfulness. This, they say, is the holy state here."

Paramhansa Yogananda
Hindu monk and guru

“The goal of yoga science is to calm the mind, that without distortion it may hear the infallible counsel of the Inner Voice.”

The Dhammapada
Buddhist scripture

“To cease from evil, to do good, and to purify the mind yourself, this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.”

Maya Angelou
American poet
Art & Literature

“Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.”

The Bhagavad Gita
Hindu scripture

“Renouncing wholeheartedly all selfish desires and expectations, use your will to control the senses. Little by little, through patience and repeated effort, the mind will become stilled in the Self. Wherever the mind wanders, restless and diffuse in its search for satisfaction without, lead it within; train it to rest in the Self. Abiding joy comes to those who till the mind. Freeing themselves from the taint of self-will, with their consciousness unified, they become one with Brahman."

The New Testament
Christian scripture

“The kingdom of God is within you.”  (Luke 17:21)