Our quest for knowledge and the risks we face

words & photo by Brian Thompson.

The quest for knowledge can soon become like any other desire — unquenchable. It can be like any other addiction, only providing temporary satisfaction before it soon needs another fresh taste.

I speak from experience. I’m a self-admitted knowledge junkie, especially when I’m on a mission to make a particular discovery or learn a new skill. This is especially true for areas of personal development, self-help and spiritual exploration. If we’re not careful, the quest will never end.

I think of the many musicians and entrepreneurs I’ve met and worked with who have become so completely overwhelmed by all of their endless self-education on marketing know-how, internet logistics and business metrics, that they become virtually paralyzed by all of it, not truly knowing how to use any of it at all. The practical purpose and application of what they've acquired escapes them.

There’s a threshold that's reached when all of the books, manuals, videos, interviews, reviews and tutorials just need to be finally put down. We don't always need to “know” more than what we currently do, sometimes the discoveries we crave to realize just need space in our minds to unfold naturally, without any additional pressure of new knowledge to confuse things with.

We need to be patient in the process of our ongoing understandings. True knowledge cannot be forced, it can only be earned.

We need to marinate in what we’ve already absorbed. We need time to roll things around in our minds, to turn them upside down and inside out. We need to test out new ideas and see how they fit.

The thing is, I think we all know when we already know enough, we’re just too scared to put it to use. Because... what if it doesn’t work? What if we fail? We psyche ourselves out. So, we keep searching to avoid the failure we fear. But if we ignore our intuition, then once the threshold of knowledge is crossed, each search will only distract you from realizing the truth you already hold within.

Don’t risk becoming the biggest threat to your own realization.

The continual quest for more becomes a colossal waste of time when the fruit of your current knowledge spoils as it sits unused.

True wisdom can only be found when the search for new knowledge is called off, and the undeniable reality of whatever knowledge you already possess is given the chance to unfold effortlessly, without any resistance or distraction.

You need to create your own discoveries and not just rely upon the work that others have done before you. In doing so, you may even break new ground.

The thirst for knowledge can become an obstacle of attachment just as anything else can be. We need to understand this, so we don’t become stuck in the despair of its empty materialism.

There will come a time when the books will no longer benefit you and you'll need to simply put into practice whatever it is you’ve already learned. Has that time already come?

True knowledge can only be found in the first-hand doing and experiencing. Only through practice and experimentation will we reveal the understanding, skills, awareness and self-realizations we seek.