The ultimate issue is always about what we know and do not know. When we think that we know a lot, we don’t leave much room for learning and growth.
The more we know, the more we don’t know.
When we are proficient in our study of the laws — be it the laws of the Talmud or Koran or the laws of mathematics or physics — we know what can or should be done. We are content with the explanations that are given to us. It doesn’t take long before that passive acceptance of what we have been taught becomes intellectual conceit. Then, we think our knowledge is the only truth.
Openmindedness is an essential aspect of humility. To be humble, we must recognize the limits of what we know.
Not knowing is an asset — it invites new awareness.
Pretending to know when we don’t know is the primary architect of personal illusion. Genuine ignorance is never a problem. When you don’t know, you can learn. You are teachable. But when you don’t know and think that you do know, you are not teachable. You have established a block to learning.
Letting go of those blocks is what the spiritual path is all about. It is not about learning so much as it is about removing the blocks to learning. Learning when we want to learn is never very hard. A motivated learner learns without great effort.
So the major lesson for all of us is to stop pretending to know what we do not know. That pretense keeps our ignorance in place. And ours is not the ignorance of innocence, but the ignorance of experience. It is the conscious refusal to give up pretense and admit that we don’t have the slightest idea of what we are talking about.
When we admit that we do not know and indicate our desire to learn, teachers spontaneously appear to help us. Life gloriously hears our call and provides us with the most intricate and beautiful opportunities to expand our consciousness. The prayers of the one who cries out in honesty and humility are responded to fully. The universe mobilizes to our simple cry for help.
But the one who pretends to know is a stranger to such assistance. Thinking he knows, he does not attract those who can help him in his ignorance. And so he closes his heart and continues his pretense until he is in so much pain that he drops his facade and cries out for assistance.
Those who knock on the door will find that it is opened to them. Those who stand at the door too proud to knock will not be heard, but that is their own choice.
God does not withhold love or truth from anyone. But only those who have open hearts and minds will experience it. Our job is not to discover love or find the truth, but merely to remove the barriers that keep both from us. When our hearts and minds are open, all the gifts of God can be entrusted to us.
# # #