There is a difference between knowledge and knowing. One is the amassing of information, simply an intellectual understanding; and the other is a knowledge which is experience, knowing, a living realization. One is the accumulation of dead facts, the other is the understanding of living truth. There is a great difference between the two – the difference between earth and sky, darkness and light.
In fact, intellectual knowledge is not knowledge at all: it is the illusion of knowledge. Can a blind man know the light? This is intellectual knowledge. This illusion of knowledge conceals ignorance, but it is merely a disguise. In the maze of its words and in the smokescreen of its thoughts, ignorance is forgotten.
But to forget ignorance is more deadly than ignorance itself. Where ignorance is visible, there comes a desire to rise above it. Where ignorance is invisible, it is impossible to free oneself from it.
The so-called wise men are destroyed in their ignorance.
Knowledge – the true knowledge – does not come from outside. Be aware that what comes from outside is not knowledge, it is information. Be careful not to fall into the illusion of knowledge, for whatever comes from the outside forms an additional layer over the self.
Knowledge awakens from within. It does not come, it awakens. And for this to take place we have to peel away the layers covering the self, not add to them.
Knowledge is not acquired, it is discovered. Acquired knowledge is information, discovered knowledge is experience. Life has to be forced to fit the shape of acquired knowledge. But the fit cannot be exact, and so a conflict arises between that knowledge and life.
Our behavior naturally shapes itself to conform with discovered knowledge; it is impossible to run counter to true knowledge. Such a thing has not yet happened on this earth.
I am reminded of a story. Two sages were traveling along the hazardous paths of a thick forest. Their relationship was that of father and son. The son was in front and the father behind. The path was lonely and frightening. Suddenly they heard the roar of a lion. The father said to the son, “Hide behind me, there is danger ahead.” The son laughed and continued to walk in the lead. Again his father warned him. Suddenly, the lion was facing them. Death was imminent. The son said, “Since I am not the body, where is the danger? Isn’t this what you always preach?” The father ran away, shouting, “Mad boy, keep away from the lion!” but the son continued to walk ahead, laughing.
Excerpted From Seeds Of Wisdom CH: 2