Learning Versus Knowledge

The first problem for us is that we must learn. Not just acquire things or knowledge. We need clear eyes, not simply new sights to behold. In order to do that, Yogi Bhajan has given us an impeccable and grand discipline: a platform of practice on which we can test ourselves, heal ourselves, expand ourselves and gradually become Aquarian Teachers. That individual and group discipline produces the base of experience that becomes the wisdom within us, which gives strength and reality to our
consciousness and actions. Our practice and training must go beyond the mind while also training the mind.

Learning at this stage requires discipline, humility, vitality and courage. For the change is inside you. He explained this goal:

“I am just trying to make you change, because you want to change but you don’t change. I know you. It is very difficult for you to leave your habits. First, we create habits and then our habits create us.  Lots of people say, “We want to learn.” Not true! It is the last thing we want to do. Learning is as painful, as difficult, and as tragic as tragedy can be. Learning is training the subjective to read the objective. Learning is not about the object. Learning is not ‘Okay, I am going to do business.  I am going to reach the goal.’  That is objectivity. Learning is no such thing. Learning is first subjectivity and then objectivity. The problem is that no human has the nerves for it.

Forgive me for that. You are wonderful people, but you are bad students. That is just the way the Western mind is.  You want what you want. The first principle of the world is to deserve what you want, not to desire what you want.”

When we learn deeply it requires a real transformation: a transformation of thought, in the neurons, in the dance and intelligence of the trillions of cells in our body and in our capacity for intuition and subtlety. We want to learn, but it only happens with discipline and with the rhythm and regularity of applying that discipline. That change is painful.  We want it without “deserving it.” We want to build and decorate our spiritual house without having to lay and test the foundations. Because laying solid foundations means digging, which often uncovers old assumptions, perspectives and beliefs that we don’t want to face or confront.

An important part of this first problem of truly learning is avoidance. When something is painful, our negative mind protects us. We limit the feedback, advice and assessment that a teacher gives us or that our peers give us. We react against things that do not agree with our self-image and with the strategy and interests to which we have committed ourselves. Most of the time, we do not even know that we do this. We rationalize it. We slip into a quiet self-deception. We demonize the other. We form into cliques that only agree with us for their own reasons. It is normal human behavior, but it is not the standard of a good student, or a good teacher.

Yogi Bhajan put it this way:  “You are lying to yourself as a matter of habit…I know you.  I know you what you think, I know what your base is, I know what your projection is. I can understand your psyche. I understand the frequency and I can compute it in a second. If I start telling everybody what I know, anybody who sees me coming will cross to the other side of the road. Because nobody wants to know!”

For Transformation to fulfill its purpose we must each commit to the discipline of regular practice and to the discipline of communication that is direct, open and real. We must never isolate ourselves from each other. Part of the growth that happens during this stage is the dynamic interaction with other students and teachers in authentic conversations from the heart.

~excerpted from “Lifecycles & Lifestyles” – KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level 2

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