We probably get to see only the surface of most people. After all, what we know about others is often based on what they choose to show us. Yet it may be that we know scarcely more about the depths and complexities of our own selves. Using principles of metaphysics and psychology, C.W.E. Johnson’s It’s About You! Know Your Self seeks to show who we are down to the core — then help us use this self-knowledge to follow our purpose in life.
Know Your Self is the first book of a trilogy by Johnson that hopes to translate the wordy metaphysical text Seth Material, by psychic Jane Roberts, into more easily understandable language. That collection of writing was supposedly channeled through Roberts by a deceased “energy personality essence” named Seth.
Of course, that idea is not for everyone.
Yet although this New Age idea of channeled knowledge was — and still is — somewhat outlandish to me, it would be a disservice not to recommend Johnson’s book. Regardless of your beliefs or non-beliefs, Johnson provides some valuable wisdom for living a purposeful life. And, of course, you can read his book and decide which parts resonate and which do not.
In some sections of Know Your Self, Johnson offers spiritual ideas similar to those of popular authors like Wayne Dyer. Johnson describes how Consciousness (another word for God) creates in order to expand and evolve itself. Each of us is therefore a “particular aspect of learning and growth within the medium of physicality,” and our purpose is to express our unique desires and abilities.
According to Johnson, we are more than the outer, physical self, or ego. We are also Consciousness itself, and we each have a capital-e Essence that communicates to our outer self by means of feelings, emotions, intuition, and inspiration. These feelings, he writes, guide us in knowing whether we have strayed from our original intent. And, Johnson posits, suffering comes from the idea that we are separate from Consciousness, as well as from our free will to act contrary to the principle of what he calls Divine Love.
Personally, I would like to believe that we are all expressions of Consciousness. It would make for a richer life experience than to think that there is no inherent purpose in life. I also like how Johnson believes that feelings have a purpose and that we cannot reasonably be happy or positive all of the time.
However, Johnson neglects to fully explain how we can distinguish between desires originating from the ego and desires that come from our higher, capital-s Self.
The very fact that the book differentiates between self and Self, mind and Mind, and so on, can be confusing, even frustration. With separate definitions marked only by capitalization, Johnson makes it that much more difficult for readers to absorb his material.
Instead, what I found most helpful in the book was the purpose of emotions, and how to use them to our advantage. Sometimes we mistrust our own feelings or see them as a nuisance. But as Johnson writes, “information encapsulated within an emotion provides the most precise documentation of what you are creating in the moment and how the creation may or may not be in line with your overall intent.”
The reason that we have emotions, Johnson writes, is to alert our conscious minds to subtle underlying beliefs that may or may not be in alignment with our true desires.
That part was great to read. But other aspects of the book left me skeptical. Whenever Johnson claims his ideas to be fact, for instance, I did not go along, such as when he writes that it is a “fact that Divine Love is an action, a quality underpinning all experiences, a state of being and becoming.”
Is that really a fact? Purporting it to be one may only make readers wary of the book.
And one particular idea in the text — that it does not require any great effort to bring desires into reality — also seemed naïve to me, especially in light of poverty and maltreatment across the globe.
Despite my critiques, however, Johnson does achieve his aim, as he puts it, “to make this metaphysical material more believable.” Again, his is not a book for everyone, but it may contain more wisdom than you’d expect.
It’s About You! Know Your Self
O-Books, June 2013
Paperback, 430 pages