Knowledge or Awareness?
deMello reminds us, “There is a difference between knowledge and awareness, between information and awareness”. This is a challenge to us all. In today’s world we have access to so much information that we can loose sight of awareness, of experience. The difference is easy to understand, just think about reading books and manuals about how to play golf or how to learn to swim. We could become knowledgeable experts without ever having done it, without ever being able to do it.
I learned to swim quite late in life. Even then, I missed the first class. At the second class, my fellow swimmers-to-be all jumped into the pool, walked a few feet away from the side and pushed themselves so they floated back to the side. ‘Did you learn all that last week”, I asked genuinely. I had expected it would take us a few weeks before getting into the water. Once you swim, or play golf or any other skill, you then become aware of what this ‘swimming’, this thing, is. That’s awareness. Of course, if you continue to practice and to progress, you will soon become aware that what you thought was swimming wasn’t, it was just splashing about in the water. This is what the circles of life, the returning to the beginning, is of which many Eastern philosophies talk. But that is for another day.
“Step by step”, deMello assures us, “let whatever happens happen. Real change will come when it is brought about, not by your ego, but by reality. Awareness releases reality to change you”.
Of course, we can easily fall into the trap of setting ‘Awareness’ as our target. That’s our ego again, never misses an opportunity to hijack the moment. Next, we will be thinking that we can’t be happy until we are ‘aware’. deMello warns us that our attitude should be, “I want to be aware. I want to be in touch with whatever is and let whatever happens happen; If I’m awake, fine and if I’m asleep, fine”
We so easily fall back into pursuing happiness, awareness. “The moment you make a goal out of it and attempt to get it, you’re seeking ego glorification, ego promotion”. You don’t change yourself. “Change takes place through you, in you”, deMello tells us and admits, “That’s about the most adequate way I can express it. You see change take place in you, through you, in your awareness, it happens. You didn’t do it.” In awareness, “you keep your softness, your subtleness, your gentleness, your openness, your flexibility and you don’t press, change occurs”.
So my friends keep going back to deMello’s 4 Steps to Wisdom, but don’t pursue it, let it happen.