To 'over-know'

“We get trapped in the world of knowing. We busy ourselves collecting more worldly knowledge, and focus on the matrix of the rational mind instead of opening into our deeper wisdom. And then the very tool we’re trying to use to escape becomes our trap, because with knowing there’s always still a “knower” and a “that which is known.”

Ram Dass, always polishing my mirror !

Although I still fall into the ‘knowledge trap’ I can now sense the frontier between knowing too much and knowing just enough. Jnana marga, the path of knowledge is, alongside Bhakti and Karma, a path to liberation (Moksha). Through Jnana Yoga the seeker acquires knowledge on his/her true nature, on the functioning of his/her own mind so that he/she can transcend it. Svadhyaya, Patanjali’s 4th Niyamas, encourages the yogi to study him/herself as well as sacred scriptures to attain wisdom.

I , and probably many of us, was raised and educated in a way that promotes knowledge of the mind. We tend to assess someone’s intelligence by ranking their performance, by counting their diploma and therefore by creating competitions between individuals that do not have the same skills and talents.

By training our children to absorb so much knowledge we reinforce the identification with their mind and lead them to think that success is not about being good but being better than someone else. We teach our children to dominate, to see an adversary in everyone - we use intellectual knowledge as a weapon that increases inequalities.

Whether it is through experience or through books i deeply love learning. I often find myself in a nerd-transe , head sucked inside a book (those who know me, know). But I do tend to over-learn, with my head. I am not saying here that I know too much, but rather, that my head knows too much. Anything done without moderation, the best of things (even yoga !) can turn against you and exacerbate your habits and negative aspects. I realised how I sometimes over-feed my brain with other people’s words and opinions ; so much that I end up suffocating my own words. The more I learn from someone else, the less I search within myself. When my head becomes too full my heart and my intuition have no chance to expresse themselves; I forget the sound of my own voice , I lose the essence of me.

It is necessary to study the Masters and learn about the world we live in; but not if it suppresses your ability to sense and feel life. Ultimately, the answers you are looking for cannot be found outside of yourself. Jnana Yoga is simply a tool to find your way back, not to a space where answers are found, but where questions are dissolved.

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