Our education fills us up with external knowledge, leaving us ignorant of ourselves

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Our knowledge is, in some areas, pretty detailed as well and it’s quite amazing, the extent to which human intelligence has gone and created this knowledge and other human beings have absorbed it and are putting it to use. Now, having known this much, is it not strange, what you read in newspapers?

“Man quarreling with man, nation quarreling with nation, husband quarreling with wife, neighbor quarreling with neighbor, man quarreling with himself!”

When we find nobody else to engage, we are busy fighting ourselves. And we know so much. We know so much. Yet basics of life — jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, small happenings in our environment seem to shake us up. Does that happen or not? One piece of news regarding the market, or regarding the changing company policies, or regarding the changing environment within the organization and suddenly we feel as if the ground under our feet is slipping. Is that not so? And we have so much of knowledge. All of us. And there are people who have much more knowledge than us. The thing is, their situation too is just the same.

Why is knowledge, why is all our progress not helping us lead more secure and composed inner lives? You know, you look at an illiterate man, then you look at somebody who could not go beyond class tenth, then you look at somebody who has done his B.Tech, and then at a post doctorate, and do observe, are they really, internally, any different?

It is equally probable that all of them might be suspicious of their wife, authoritarian towards their kids, aggressive towards their neighbor, jealous of their colleague; is it not equally likely? By doing a PhD, does the probability that you will be worried decreases?

Chances are, it increases. So why is our knowledge not helping us be peaceful? Ultimately we have to live with ourselves, right? Why is our knowledge not helping us, simply be more centered?

So this brings us to the question — What kind of knowledge do we have?

The knowledge that we have all pertains to something external. We know about this, we know about that, we know about cooling technologies, all kind of electronics, optics, the world, Mars, other galaxies, we have collected so much knowledge about them but our education, in schools and colleges, and our training, as professionals in corporate, simply does not touch upon ourselves.

Our education and training is such that, it never asks us to turn within with the result that even the most knowledgeable man, is actually so infantile, and immature. He may be forty years of age, he might be earning a lot, but in his psyche, he is still a baby; somebody who can have a nervous breakdown any time. Somebody who just can’t get along with his wife. Somebody who just can’t stop himself from competing, he competes with everybody. And he says that he is in a leadership position. He says, he is leading X number of people.

The fault does not lie with this man, the fault lies with the way we have been brought up, educated, and continuously trained.

So, full of knowledge about this and that, but largely ignorant of the self. Unfortunately, nobody lives with his knowledge. You live with that feeling in your mind. Don’t we? You know when you are not alright. And nobody wants to feel not alright. We all have experienced that, have we not?

That’s the story with every walk of life. We talk about so many things, don’t we? But do we really talk about the Real? Not that we want to hide. But there has been something in the way we have come up that we have become experts in remaining engrossed in the trivial. But when it comes to the Real, we become a little tongue tied. Don’t we?

Parents and kids, how authentic is their conversation? I need not talk about bosses and subordinates; that is not even supposed to be authentic. But what if, even a husband-wife conversation is rarely genuine? Rarely Real? Yes, we can talk about the furniture, we can talk about what is happening in the neighbor’s house, we can talk about the new restaurant down the road but do we really talk about that which matters? That, which matters. That which really keeps us off-center. Do we ever talk about it?

Our jealousy, competitiveness, greed, possessiveness, sense of hatred, do we ever talk about them?

Think of all the people you have been in touch with since years, and think of whether you have had a single genuine conversation with them. It is amusing, and at the same time, horrifying. Even the ability to look at each other directly in the eye! Have you seen people, who just really don’t want to have any eye contact? And it’s not their fault. It’s nobody’s fault. But somebody needs to do something about it. It’s a worthy cause, right? A few people must take it up. Should they not?

It’s a surprise to see how much we are really afraid of intimacy. Because ostensibly we all say that we want intimacy, we want closeness with somebody. But when intimacy really beckons or knocks on our door, we retract. We don’t have the guts to embrace it. You must have seen such people, they are so insecure they can’t let anybody come close. Because somebody coming close is a threat to their entire mental structure. They’ll have to accommodate him, their structure will need to change. That structure, by the way, is also called as ego.

There is no other real definition of growth than the dissolution of the ego; dissolution of the structure that encapsulates your growth. Embrace intimacy. Meet life. Meet the real you.

Acharya Prashant regularly writes at prashantadvait.com and to connect closely with his teachings watch his YouTube videos at Official YouTube Channel or visit his website.

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Author and Vedanta Teacher | acharyaprashant.org