The word “know” as a transitive verb is defined by Merriam-Webster (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/know) as:
- To perceive directly; have direct cognition of; to have understanding of; to recognize the nature of (aka discern)
- Or alternatively: to recognize as being the same as something previously known; to be acquainted or familiar with; to have experience of
- Or as a deeper revelation: to be aware of the truth or factuality of; be convinced or certain of; to have a practical understanding of
In Henry Gariepy’s book, Wisdom to Live By, when speaking of the book of Proverbs in the Bible, he states that to know wisdom “means more than satisfying intellectual curiosity. It involves experiencing the truth of the proverb.” And that to understand wisdom is to recognize that “to know” is more than head knowledge” but an “enlightened understanding.”
So, where am I going with this? Back to some metaphors and forward to new awareness.
I can gain knowledge of just about anything, and that knowledge becomes integrated with everything else I have learned. An “Ah-Ha!” moment will occur when a situation requires a new solution, and the learned knowledge sparks some creativity or joins two disparate thoughts to form a new creation…a new knowledge.
This can be likened to skipping stones on a pond. As the stone initially hits the water, it creates a ripple at the point of contact. The next skip does the same and this pattern is repeated until the stone finally loses its momentum due to surface friction and sinks into the pond. Each ripple created expands outward from point of contact. Sooner or later, two rippling circles with impact each other creating a new set of ripples.
Skipping through knowledge and eventually coming up with an “Ah-Ha” moment is like this. Knowledge gained is retained and when two pieces of knowledge impact each other, new knowledge (awareness) is created. I can then do something with that new knowledge, perhaps even something that has not been done or thought of before.
However, just focusing on the skipping ripples belies the point of final entry. Where the stone loses forward motion and dives into the depths of the pond. There is something to be said about diving deep. To take one (or two) points of knowledge and dive deeper. To get to the point of really Knowing.
And that’s the point. I spend my life focusing on skipping stones and points of knowledge, joining them helter-skelter to come up with creative ways of changing my perspective. However, I miss the opportunities that come about by sitting back and dwelling on a point of knowledge or moment of awareness. I succumb to life’s harried pace and miss those golden opportunities to: Just. Be. Still. And. Ponder.
Skipping denies the greater “Ah-Ha” moments. It is hard to learn a musical instrument if I am just skipping through the lessons instead of investing myself in digging into each session. I miss out on new awareness if I merely touch new knowledge without diving in with full mind, body, and spirit.
And yet, there is value in both views. Some of the greatest strides forward take disparate nuggets of wisdom and join them into something never before dreamed. And thus, a new knowledgebase and wisdom is gained.
There is also great value in diving deep…so deep that the rest of world seems to disappear. And new deep knowledge breaks free due to that greater understanding.
It’s that balance: of being able to skip stones but also take moments to sink into the pond. I (we?) must “merely” discover when each path is to be travelled. Perhaps discerning when two conjoining ripples touch each other we realize that diving deeper at that point will not only bring new surface knowledge to route but also bring a deeper sense of what to do with that awareness.
Then again, maybe we are merely the rock thrower preparing the pond for others to investigate…