Weekly Newsletter: The Liberating Power of Knowledge

By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness

I wrote the following for the 152nd issue of The Culture of Awareness Weekly Newsletter, which I offer for $11.11 a month.

Income from the newsletter helps me get by and allows me to write more free content, and you can subscribe via check/cash (learn more here) or PayPal (see the subscribe button at the bottom of this post).

Some spiritual teachers discourage the accumulation of knowledge, because in their eyes, it’s yet another way to feed the ego and distance ourselves from our higher consciousness. According to their philosophy, mental (or even spiritual) knowledge isn’t as valuable as direct experience, which we’ll only have when we empty the mind and give up the need to accumulate knowledge or anything else that feeds the mind. The more we mentally learn, the more we distance ourselves from spirit.

This perspective is understandable, because mind-centeredness is exactly what separates us from our greater awareness. Most genuine spiritual teachers are focused on helping their pupils find enlightenment, which we’ll never find in the mind, so they’ll naturally discourage anything that makes the journey more difficult.

I don’t think we should abandon knowledge, however, because like everything else, it has its place in life and in our spiritual evolution. While I appreciate how teachers try to enhance their pupils’ spiritual perception by encouraging them to abandon anything mental or external that can block them from it, I don’t think abandoning the world is required to find enlightenment. In fact, I think it could cause us to miss out on the uniqueness of this journey.

Knowledge might not elevate our consciousness by itself, but it’s still useful. Why would we want to abandon it when it’s taken us this far? We probably wouldn’t know the things we do if we hadn’t learned about them, and especially when it comes to spirituality, knowledge can liberate us. There’s a reason people say “knowledge is power”, and we can do a lot to fix the current state of our world if we know a lot about it.

If we don’t know about the awful things that are happening all over the world, then we’ll be too blissfully ignorant to do anything about them. Our spirituality should probably be the most important thing to us (besides our family, of course), but if we use it as an excuse to be ignorant about the current state of our world, we’ll fail to make any kind of change.

I don’t think we should reject knowledge in the name of spirituality, and I suppose it comes down to how much knowledge we want versus how much we want to elevate our consciousness. We can do both, but we have to employ some kind of balance between them so knowledge doesn’t overtake the spiritual journey.

It’ll be okay if the spiritual journey overtakes our drive for knowledge (which will eventually happen), and to cling to knowledge or anything else that keeps us in the mind when we’re ready to take the next step would be to hold ourselves back and cause unnecessary suffering. Once we’re ready to leave the mind for good, the best thing we can do is flow with the journey instead of clinging to the mind or the external world as a whole.

However, we enable much worse suffering to occur in the world when we focus more on our spirituality than learning things that could help us bring clean water and healthy food to poor villages who need it, stop the criminalization of homelessness, stop the arrests of innocent people for “crimes” that are hardly worth arrest, or anything else.

We have a lot to do and plenty to learn about, but we can’t solve any of the world’s issues if we’re unaware of them. We can’t answer to injustice if we don’t even know it’s happening, and if you’re more of a spiritual seeker than an activist, then feel free to discard this entire article. Not everyone is interested in directly changing the world, which is understandable, and some would rather focus on changing themselves in hopes that the world can change too.

We have to do what works for us, but the socially and spiritually aware have a responsibility to a) increase their awareness, and b) use it to make a change. We can’t do this if our focus is solely on enlightenment or emptying the mind, but we can make time for learning, activism and meditation if we dedicate ourselves to all three of them.

Knowledge is a good thing, and the external world doesn’t have to keep us from enlightenment. In order to truly evolve, we have to get the biggest, clearest picture of our existence that we can, and we’ll fail in this area if we turn our back on the world in favor of a higher state of consciousness.

This reality (and the knowledge that comes with it) is just as important as the higher realms, and I’m sure more spiritual seekers will understand this as we reach a point where our society can no longer continue on its current course and we’re forced to become socially aware and make a change.

I think it’s inevitable that humanity will come together to change the world, because we’ve done a lot of damage and our problems can only be solved together, as one people.

I envision a world where everyone can work hand-in-hand to transform our planet, and once the transformation is complete, we can learn to live with it and its sentient creatures instead of destroying them for personal gain.

It starts with each of us becoming aware and fighting for change, and we can do this while we explore our consciousness and learn new things about our existence, the higher realms and the off-world forces who’ve been hanging around since long before our recorded history. We don’t have to choose spiritual awareness over social, and we can bring it all together under the banner of simple awareness.

We’re aware, and we can use our awareness to change the world. So let’s learn what we can while we’re here, because this knowledge plays an important role in our societal transformation whether we realize it or not. Together with love, it’ll allow us to transform ourselves and the world around us as we grow into the next stage of our existence.

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for your thoughts but I had a hard time reading that piece to the point to be honest I couldn’t finish it. You really seem to not comprehend or need to find a proper master to help you. I have the feeling you have never had one.
    you do not have the basics comprehension. knowledge is not the goal but the tool to WISDOM which is the goal to attain. do you know the difference.
    You can not be relied upon if you charge money because you ASK for it. How could any student really know your loyalty is it to the heart and truth or is it the wallet

    Like

    • Hello David,

      You’re right – I don’t have a teacher or any kind of spiritual training, and I struggle with guidance from spiritual teachers because a lot of it discourages us from taking a path that’s unique to us. Most teachers have given a lot of great advice, but some of that advice can inhibit spiritual seekers from finding their own way, which I think is important.

      I know they help other people, but I really don’t see the need for a spiritual teacher. I read advice from various teachers (and sometimes write about it) for fun, but I don’t think we need someone to show the way for us. The very idea seems disempowering. Why should we have to rely on someone else for something we can only find in ourselves?

      I agree that our purpose is to gain wisdom rather than knowledge, but it doesn’t make knowledge any less valuable in my eyes. It’s a stepping stone to wisdom, like you said, so we don’t need to criticize or reject it. Like everything else, it plays its role in our evolution and to discount it (or anything really) would be to discount the bigger picture.

      And I can assure you that, after day in and day out of being dedicated to this work and the spiritual path, my loyalty is definitely in the heart and in spiritual evolution. I’m just taking a slightly different path than you, and an income is required if I want to keep writing free material every day. It’s not about money or getting rich, and I can assure you that this job hasn’t made me rich in the slightest – it’s about traveling the spiritual path, in whatever way works for me, and helping others along the way. I wouldn’t expect others to take my word as gospel, just like I don’t take any spiritual teachers’ words as gospel, but in the same way that I study teachers’ words for fun, I hope my words can help others who are looking for that extra little bit of help.

      Much love, and thanks for your thought-provoking critique. 🙂

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      • Thank you Wes for your response, I have a great respect for anyone that puts themselves out there like you have done, that alone gains my admiration.
        First let me apologize for assuming some things that I had made when reading your articles. I wrongly assumed that you where a much older wiser teacher because of the nature and body of your words and also because of some of my teachings that I erroneously applied to you. I will share them with you at your behest anytime. Others I will share now because they relate to our short discourse. I have been fortunate to be with some great true teachers. First you are right about not following others, simply, their path is of course not yours. also today it is very hard to find true masters/teachers. I am also one not to be listened to (backwards, contrary, windigo shaman) or called a windy. Most would not comprehend or recommend your going it alone. Like the master carpenter with the apprentice the apprentice learns quicker with help. As a windy I agree and support you assessment and direction. The teaching that was shared with me on this is simply, take your time it is not a quick journey don’t rush. Your journey and path is now longer and harder but that is the backward way. In time your comprehension of this will be much greater and fuller, where the student only has one source or point of view you will have a treasure of many that provides a great fullness. Also you have some other windy traits in you that I will share with you if you are interested.
        Also I gave you a kick under the user name mon eye mon arc not a really hard kick not as hard as this one that you responded to which is why I gave you my email address. to give you a kick from the shadows (anonymous) for me would be a know no. yes that is just a play on words but has deep meaning. If you do anything that you know is not with your spirit/ conscience you walk right off your path. Yes there is backward teaching with that and everything else that I am not going to go into unless you think its things you want to know about for yourself. I will ask of you one thing, to keep what I write to you about to yourself for a indeterminate amount of time. Or until you have fullness of it. A Windy is known as doctors for the healers I can share with you if that is part of your path but I have written too much already and further writing needs to be private. Windy’s break the rules but we have limits and I have passed that point. All the best on your journey, love and respect David

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      • Thanks so much for this response, David! I’d love to chat more in private (my email is brandynwes@hotmail.com), because the subject of listening to spiritual teachers vs. finding our own way has been pretty important to me lately. I’ll admit that I was a little harsh toward spiritual teachers in my previous reply, and despite my hesitations, I know that they do have a broader perspective on spirituality and enlightenment. I probably would benefit from reading and writing about their advice a little more often.

        But I’m also passionate about traveling a unique path, which, as you said, makes the journey a lot longer and potentially more difficult. I’m learning to be more open to spiritual teachers while discerning their advice and taking only what resonates or helps me along this journey (discarding things that seem unnecessarily strict, dogmatic, etc.)

        I’d also love to know more about Windys, and I look forward to chatting with you about them again some time soon.

        Thanks again! 🙂

        Like

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