My journey into spirituality started with books – and if memory serves me right, the one that started it all was Conversations with God by Neal Donald Walsh. While I have returned to those pages many times over the years, there have, of course, been numerous books along the way – ranging from Doreen Virtue’s angel books to Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Interspersed with these more spiritual, esoteric and woo-woo tomes have been books on philosophy and psychotherapy – ranging from Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, Ursula K. Guin’s magnificent translation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, and Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.
Over the years, I have gone from a mad quest for more books and knowledge to being much more discerning about what I read and slowing down the pace at which I read spiritual/psychology books. Because each of the books that I read offers up a different facet, a different perspective on the meaning of life and living, of spirituality, of the universe and our place and role in it. Through all these words and all the different perspectives, the one big thing I have learnt is this:The difference between knowledge and wisdom is the difference between consuming and applying. Click To Tweet
The difference between knowledge and wisdom
Each book, article, quote, podcast that we consume offers us some bit of knowledge. When we find a piece that resonates with us, it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole in search of more information. As we go down that path, we are bound to find a network of tunnels that will send us running after even more knowledge on a variety of connected topics.
Gaining all of this knowledge is what I equate to consuming. And like consuming, it’s very easy to go overboard, to want more and more and more. All of that consuming only arms us with fancy quotes and snippets of information that can make us appear intelligent, but the consumption and regurgitation of words does not make us wise or spiritually awake.
Equally, we can find a wide variety of ideas and perspectives, some contradictory and some that simply stop resonating with us. But when we are stuck in consuming knowledge, those non-resonant bits start to attack our beliefs like termites. This is when confusion and contradiction come in to rule the roost.
What makes a strong foundation is pivoting from knowledge seeking to wisdom seeking.
True wisdom comes from the application of knowledge – the stopping and thinking and soaking in and questioning of everything that you read and hear and consume. Of doing the work of understanding if this piece of knowledge resonates with you, taking the time to work with it if you feel so called, and to then deciding if you want to build your spiritual house on its foundation. It’s equally important, I have found, to understand why a certain piece of knowledge does not resonate with you. Here, in this simple yet difficult pivot, is where true growth, spiritual awakening, and wisdom lies.
Understanding this difference between knowledge and wisdom is one of the reasons why I made a conscious decision to not share my spiritual reading list on the bookshelf. Because that list of books would help you to gain mere knowledge. It’s the books that are dog-eared and underlined, falling apart at the seams from notes and use, that form the core of your wisdom. And those, I believe, cannot be shared in a pithy list, because they would be different for everyone.
But, I digress. The point here is this:Mine your knowledge to find the nuggets of wisdom that will inform your life, your outlook, and your beliefs. Your life will be richer and sweeter for it! Click To Tweet