Knowledge: the journey of becoming ‘the best you can be’ nearly always begins with knowledge. Knowledge is like a map that shows you the way. However, it should be noted that just as a map does not offer you the experience of the place you’re visiting, it merely helps you to reach the destination, in the same way knowledge alone is not enough to help you fulfill your potential – it cannot free you from those patterns and habits that enslave you and still hold you hostage – much more depth is needed to achieve that. When we immerse ourselves in knowledge, opening our minds to the unlimited possibilities, only then can we see what we need to do next….
Understanding: when we delve deeper into the dark, deep waters of knowledge we come to see that understanding is actually a three-dimensional affair (see: the three aspects of consciousness). In other words, things are not always as they appear. We often at this stage have to let go of what we think we know in order to discover the ‘truth’ about a given situation. Understanding enables us to join up the dots and see the picture more clearly. The more understanding we have, the more we realise that what we know means very little; it’s what we do with what we know that really counts….
Application: the action phase in every cycle is always the most potent and dynamic and on this journey of enough this is equally true. Up to this point we have gathered knowledge – having dived into its depths we have then gained understanding – but this would all be self-indulgent without actually doing something! We have to cross the bridge from ‘knowing to doing’ and when we do that often ‘enough’ we are gifted with amazing insight, mental freedom, stability, confidence and joy. This is the point on our journey when we need to develop a healthy obsession for doing the right things because the more we do that the more our destination is guaranteed….
Realisation: when we have practised any uplifting endeavour enough we reach a point of realisation; a point where we can say we really understand what is on offer – the richness of life’s Majesty. Every positive activity has a point of realisation and it is at this point that we become one with what we are practising. In other words, we are now sitting inside that activity looking out on the world, embraced by the benefits of our practice. Realisation always leads to change; this is not a change that is easily surrendered because it has often taken time, practice and patience to get there. There is then a whole new level of knowledge that is available to us once the stage of realisation has been achieved….
You will notice that in the diagram the arrows go both ways. This is because at each stage it is possible to go in the other direction. And so, for example, our application can fall away and we can again sit comfortably in the idea that knowledge is enough. Or, we begin to taste the fruits of realisation and find we need to return to application to maintain our sense of awakening – you will find as you go further that this is a natural relationship between application and realisation. You may also find, when you are at the point of knowledge that you have a sense of realisation, but at that stage it is merely conceptual, it is not based on actual experience. What this means is that the premise and the language have been understood, but they have not yet become yours; a deeper understanding, which leads to application is needed for that to follow.
So you can see the cycle can work both ways but the meanings/ interpretations are different subject to which way we are going around the cycle.