Two statements appeared this week in an exchange over social media.
The first statement (by a twentieth-century Eastern guru) concerns the fixed contraction of the ego-mind. The second statement (from an aspiring seeker perhaps, who attempts to identify with the guru’s remark), is about something quite different, the limitations of knowledge.
It is these kinds of exchanges, the ones that simply miss the mark and where no one really seems to be listening to either themselves or others, that make us condemn social media and internet, and the kind of superficial, misguided interactions that may take place there. Yet, the internet, like casual conversation and social interaction, is no more guilty or prone to misunderstandings, confusion, and lack of attention than any other interactive milieu. Let us respect the internet for the marvelous opportunity it gives us for communication. May we, in time, learn to honor the sacred opportunity to speak and listen to a global network of souls and seekers that the internet grants us.
And so, let’s attempt to clarify the confusion of this social media exchange:
Stage One: A state of ignorance.
We learn as we look at others. We observe. We take in and we learn in order to increase our knowledge of the world. Being ignorant is unwise and dangerous. We need to find out, to discover. So through healthy curiosity, we ask, we act, we learn.
Stage Two: We begin to find limitations in knowledge.
We begin to seek past the usual acceptable conformist answers. “Yes, but what is a love… a sunset… a leaf?” We want to know something beyond what we have found out. We sense there is a field of wisdom beyond knowledge.
Stage Three: We enter the field of wisdom and knowledge begins to fade until we are willing to accept its fundamental uselessness.
We discover a new intention, a fresh impulse, to grow in wisdom.
Stage Four: We penetrate wisdom or allow it to penetrate us.
There is a seemingly inexhaustible supply within. As we tap into it, revelations, insights, and breakthroughs deliver us to the further shore of psycho-spiritual understanding.
So, this is the natural order of human growth and development:
- Pursuing knowledge.
- Questioning knowledge.
- Discovering wisdom.
- Deepening understanding
The process yields one more important experience and result: gratitude.
What may overwhelm us on occasion throughout this deepening process of revelation is that we have been given the opportunity and the profound blessing to grow in self-revelation, self-understanding, and ultimate self-realization.