Developing Clarity and Discernment
Certainly, becoming aware of what you think and why you think what you think is directly connected to how you see what you see and what you value. If you are taught to think in a certain way, then you will only see certain things that are associated with that, and this will help determine what you value.
Much of your prior education was devoted to this, but We are beginning now a new education, a fundamental education. This represents your second great education in life. Your first education was to learn to become a functional human being so you could participate within the world. But this is only a first stage. The second great stage in education is the reclamation and the expression of Knowledge, the great knowing Mind that lives within you. Each of these forms of education is very complete, but they are only indirectly related.
Your first education to become a functional human being, to become socially integrated, to become socially determined and to become socially interactive is not aimed at you becoming a man or a woman of Knowledge. Instead, it is aimed at you becoming a productive member of society. Everything you have learned about the history and the meaning of human existence primarily has been aimed to produce this result. This is an education you have gained living in isolation in the world, and as a result your education has mostly been focused upon human interests, human activities, human history and human ideals.
Yet your second great education in life is the reclamation and the expression of Knowledge. This is when your spiritual emergence begins. This is what it really means to become reborn. It is like a new beginning. And just like when you began life as a small child, you start out very uncertain, very shaky in your foundation, and you enter a brave new world with new influences and new things to consider. You are not leaving your life. You are not going anywhere. But you are penetrating the whole other part of life, which you are not encouraged to learn about in your prior education.
Part of your second great education is learning a greater discernment and a greater perception. To develop this discernment and perception, you must become aware of things that you were not aware of before. You must become responsive to things within yourself and in your environment that you were not encouraged to see or interact with previously.
While your first great stage of education did not hold as a goal for you to become a man or a woman of Knowledge, it is true that your second stage of education does require that you have become socially integrated and developed, but only to a certain degree. For if you could not function in the world, then Knowledge could not work through you. If you do not know how to get along with people at all, then Knowledge could not exert its beneficial presence within your relationships. If you could not accomplish anything in human society, then how could Knowledge contribute through you within that society?
In other words, you need a certain foundation in order to begin the great study and reclamation of Knowledge. You need a certain foundation to have a spiritual emergence occur within your life. This does not mean that you are totally socially integrated or that you accept all social mandates or that you get along with everyone wonderfully or that you believe in all of the great ideals of your society. Not at all. But it does mean that you are capable of participating, that you are able to participate and that you are competent to communicate and interact with others.
Within yourself, you may be a great rebel against the very fabric of society as it is manifested today, but it is important as far as Knowledge is concerned that you are able to participate within that society. If you were completely alienated, if you could not express yourself, then the possibility for the great Spirit to work through you would be very limited.
Here Knowledge uses all things you have learned before to focus your life in a new direction. Here Knowledge does not destroy what you have learned but gives it a greater employment and a greater focus. This demonstrates one of the great laws of life — that the Creator does not destroy, but instead re-employs.
The whole idea that the Creator would punish you for your sins is utterly ridiculous and has no validity in reality. That is the creation of religious institutions in order to engender obedience and conformity in its followers. The Creator re-employs; the Creator does not destroy. Whatever you have created in life, however full of error, however misapplied your efforts may have been, Knowledge will show you a way to use what you have learned in a new and constructive way.
Therefore, Knowledge will take what you have learned in terms of discernment, in terms of perception, and build upon that. It will build upon your accomplishments rather than deny them. It will validate what you have achieved thus far rather than discourage you. Though you may need to take an entirely different tack in life, though you will be venturing into an entirely new kind of living, you will use what you have gained thus far, for nothing will be wasted.
Here your life becomes really validated as it finds a greater application and a greater meaning. Here your past will be used to create a future of greater proportions and greater benefit. Here the shadows that have hung over you will be cast aside as the real content of your life finds new expression, meaning and value. Here you will begin to see the world in a new way. Here you will gain a greater discernment of what you are looking at and what you are interacting with.
The man or the woman of Knowledge is always looking. Whereas everyone else is always judging, the man or woman of Knowledge is always looking. They want to see because real seeing is connected with real Knowing. You will more often see and then know rather than know and then see, but they do both go together.
To really know the meaning and purpose of your life, you must get high enough up the mountain so that you can see the panorama of your experience. Otherwise, you will just have beliefs, and beliefs are removed from reality. The best thing a belief can do is help you to interpret reality, but the belief is not reality itself.
Many people have never gone beyond their beliefs. They have never found Knowledge in a real and substantial way, and so they do not see that there is life beyond their beliefs. There are even people who think that life is belief — whatever you believe is what you will live and experience. But this is only valid at the level of perception.
There is actually a reality beyond your beliefs. It is this reality that you must find and become engaged with. Here beliefs are like the glasses that you wear. They either help you see or they do not. They are either the right prescription for you or they are not. And over time, your perception will change.
Therefore, your ideas and beliefs need to be flexible and adaptable. They are only temporary expediencies to help you see and to help you know. You cannot live without belief because you have a mind that thinks, that needs beliefs to organize its thoughts and to become stable. But belief, when it is directed by Knowledge, is very different from belief that is directed only by the mind.
For example, you can believe in something very firmly and be very identified with your belief, but your Being may have nothing to do with it. For example, people will become married to another person because of what they believe about that person, but their Being is not getting married. People walk down the aisle and make their vows and commit all of their resources to a relationship in which their Being has absolutely no involvement whatsoever. Though this sounds crazy, it happens all the time.
That is just trying to live life without Knowledge. That is trying to make commitments without Knowledge. That is trying to govern what you believe without Knowledge.
But with Knowledge as the foundation, belief becomes then a tool of perception, a means of greater discernment. Here your ideas change, not simply because change is important but because you need to be able to see — you need to be able to use your ideas and your beliefs to see more clearly, to know more clearly, to be able to discern what you are dealing with in the world.
It could be said that all human error is the result of poor discernment. And poor discernment is the result of not being engaged with Knowledge sufficiently. For Knowledge will reorganize your ideas and will redirect your perception. As I have said, it will not destroy what you have learned but will give it a new focus and a new relevancy.
Here it seems like you are starting out for the first time. You will feel like a rank beginner, but at the same time you will be drawing upon everything you have learned thus far. But it will be different. You will feel different. The experience will be different. What you see will be different. What you will sense, what you will know will be different.
The first great stage of your education taught you what to see and what to look for and what to value. But in the second great stage of your education, in the reclamation of Knowledge, you will learn to see and value something entirely new and something far more meaningful. But the fact that you have learned how to see, that you are capable of seeing, is the result of the first stage of your education. This now is being brought into a greater arena of life and given a greater employment.
It is a remarkable thing how little people see. You will find this in your own experience as you come to realize how little you have seen. People are literally unaware of great things happening in their lives. They are unaware that they are making critical mistakes. They are unaware of great opportunities. They are unaware that there are important alternatives to what they are seeing and what they are believing. They are unaware that they are violating Knowledge in many of their engagements and associations, and yet they feel all the discomforts that are the result of this. And rather than going to the source of the discomfort, they seek for more pleasure, or they take pills, or they try to reinforce old ideas, or they try to lose themselves in constant outer activity.
It is remarkable that people do not see, but it is also tragic. Human suffering in all of its manifestations that you see throughout the world, much of it is the result of not seeing and not knowing and not being able to respond appropriately to what is happening in life.
Certainly, there is suffering that is the result of a lack of food, a lack of medicine, a lack of the basic necessities of life. But beyond this, the great psychological suffering that you see is the result of a lack of discernment, which in turn is the result of a lack of Knowledge. Knowledge has not been allowed to emerge sufficiently within these individuals, as they have not been able to adapt to the changing circumstances of their lives.
What is real seeing? Real seeing is seeing what is there. It is not just seeing what you want to see. It is not just seeing what you like. It is not just seeing what you are afraid of. It is not just seeing according to the prevailing attitudes and beliefs in your mind. It is being able to see through the mind. Here the mind is either a window or a wall. It is either a maze that is impenetrable or it becomes a refined telescope.
It is possible for you to see what is really there, to have a direct experience. We call this direct experience when you see what is really there. For a moment you are clicked out of your own thoughts and preoccupations long enough to have a direct experience of something outside yourself. This is very important. This reconnects you with the world. It reconnects you with other people. And it reconnects you with the changing circumstances of your life and gives you an opportunity to gain a different vantage point from which to see and to act.
The most effective way of developing direct experience, and as a result gaining a new perspective and greater discernment, is becoming a student of Knowledge. Why? Because when you engage with Knowledge, you engage in life as it is actually happening at this moment within you. You engage with the Source of the life force within yourself, which is directly engaged or connected to the larger events that are happening in the world.
This takes you out of your self-preoccupation. This takes you out of your obsessions with yourself and your particular interests. This frees you from the restraints in your own mental environment and from the mental environment of your culture as a whole. This brings you out of yourself, out of your mind, and into life as it is really happening.
Now life itself will sometimes dump cold water on you, and you will find yourself in a situation to which you will have to respond. These situations are almost always redemptive, but they can be very difficult and very costly. Why become aware and awake only under great adversity when the opportunity is there for you every day? Why wait until your problems become so severe and so demanding that you must respond to them in a state of emergency, usually at great cost to yourself? Why wait until catastrophe comes when it could have been avoided at the outset?
Real seeing and real knowing go together. One can follow the other, but they always go together. Out of this comes effective action, dynamic action. Out of this comes revitalization of your body and greater health as a result.
Knowledge only sees what is important to see. As you learn to see with Knowledge, you learn to penetrate the surface of things, the manifestations of things. You learn to penetrate the prevailing attitudes and beliefs under which you have labored all these years, and you gain discernment. What is discernment again but seeing what is really there, discerning what is important to discern?
Perception, then, can either simply be a mechanism for projecting the prevailing attitudes in your mind and using them to attempt to understand life around you, or perception can become a means of engaging with life as it really is. The former promotes and deepens self-obsession and self-absorption. The latter brings you into life, into a dynamic engagement.
You have already suffered self-obsession and all of its debilitating effects. If that is not enough to convince you, simply look at life around you. Human beings, so gifted and so intelligent, are living under such dismal psychological and physical conditions.
You can blame life. You can blame the government. You can blame your parents. You can blame whatever you want to blame. But the responsibility is yours ultimately, for you are the one who can change what you see. You are the one who can find out what you know. You cannot change what you know because you cannot change Knowledge, but you can enable Knowledge to reveal itself to you and to show you how to engage with life in a truly effective and meaningful way. Let Us talk about this.