When I was in India recently one of our guides remarked that in addition to his knowledge of the place we were visiting he and his family were astrologers. It was not long before people were quietly approaching him and asking for their palms to be read. And there was the usual response – ‘amazing how he knows...’ etc.
It’s hard to deny ways of satisfying the curiosity we all have about our future and ourselves. Whatever you believe about the realism of this kind of knowledge, the curiosity is insatiable - and can easily become addictive.
But there is a more reliable kind of knowledge – one that the desert teachers said is more important to our spiritual journey even than the power to work miracles. Self-knowledge is not a merely rational, measurable form of knowing. It is more than psychological awareness or information about ourselves. It does not arise from the egocentric curiosity or fascination we have with ourselves. We are not an object of our self-knowledge. It is pure and undivided subjectivity. It is a transformative kind of knowing moving us rapidly along the spectrum of our development. And changes the worlds we inhabit along the way.
Meditation – the quintessential ‘way of unknowing’ – yields this kind of knowledge that we find in the deepest centre of our consciousness (the infinite space of the human heart). As we journey into this deep centre a process of integration and transformation unfolds. The spiritual knowledge that flows from this does not sit in some secret or esoteric plane. It pervades every level of our life, our emotions, work, relationships and belief systems. The ego becomes no longer the sun around which we revolve but a useful, though minor, satellite around a true, universal centre.
The particular and the universal, the big picture and the detailed one, the local and the global find their true relation. We know – in self-knowledge – not only who we are but also what we are supposed to do.
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