Some of us can cite beautiful citations from holy books or even know by heart the story of Buddha. Can this knowledge bring spiritual well being? Let’s explore this.
Knowledge is basically an accumulation of information. The nature of the mind is that it is always looking to accumulate things. When we accumulate knowledge, we can proudly say that we “know”. We can have interesting conversations and debates with other people. We are excited to continuously learn, it’s a beautiful thing.
Having said that, the spiritual path is somehow different. Spiritual well being is not rooted in knowledge; it is your experience as it is really happening from within. What does that mean? You can be sitting down, having a conversation with someone about what Buddha has said to his disciples, feel good for a few moments but still you know the burden that is waiting for you once you leave this conversation. Your wife, your boss or your troublesome child is waiting for you and you know you can’t escape them! In this situation, we can say that what is happening in the background, behind your wishes for well being and your knowledge about well being is your true experience. You might try to hide that experience with beautiful thoughts, drugs or work but it will never last. Sooner or later you will fall down and experience sadness or whatever emotion you have been bottling inside of you.
To answer the question: Can knowledge bring me spiritual well being? I would say that knowledge can be a great introduction to it but by itself it would never bring you to it. Curiosity and the yearning have certainly their place on the spiritual path. But the real yearning, beneath the one to learn is the one of liberation. Knowledge doesn’t liberate you for too long. In the long run it can actually get you further and further away from the spiritual path.
So if you are in a place where you are trying to feel better by learning more, you’re still in a good place. There’s never a “bad” place to be. You have a desire, that’s for sure. You want more. Imagine how it would be if you can experience what you actually know. Imagine if you can make that feeling of liberation last for minutes, hours and days at a time. Imagine how it would be to actually know from within.
How will it be if you’re in touch with a constant “knowing”, a moment to moment “knowing”, always there in your experience no matter what impossible situation is happening in your life?