Saturday, February 18, 2006

4 Steps to Light

Has it ever happened to you that you meet a very educated person who’d believe, say, or do something so astoundingly stupid that you wondered: what dent did education make in this man or woman?

And then on other times, a child or a person seemingly not literate of words believed, said, or did something very profound? Especially the children – who are the most underestimated of wise saints.

Many of us may have had a similar experience. And so have I.

But why talk of what I saw in others? In myself too, I have often felt knowledge making no or little difference in the way I carry out my existence. And I know quite a few things. What on earth, then, makes a difference? And what is this difference anyway?

In my search for an answer, I have come across what seems like the key, or the door, or the first step – whatever our imagination entertains – to discovering an answer to this riddle.
There are four steps of… opening one’s mind, shall I say?

Nay! It’s not just the mind that leads us; the heart governs in its own ways. In fact, the beauty of this wisdom is this that it suggests that the heart must be tamed before the mind is to be educated.

The Four Stages of Enlightenment

  1. Awareness: To know that one knows nothing

  2. Training & cleansing of self: To prepare the heart’s intent, and to cleanse the self of desire

  3. Education: To gain what is known as “knowledge;” the pure understanding of the what, how, when, why, for/by whom, where in our circle of concern

  4. Wisdom: To judge between right and wrong; to make fair and right use of education so that education may attain what the heart knows our purpose is

The stages are as I learnt them, and the explanations are mine.

It seems that the modern education system spins around the third stage alone. The “awareness” – at least in my country where I have witnessed the “educational” system closely – is in the form of indoctrination at best.

These steps also explain why our emotional development (result of step 2) might be years behind our mental and physical development. Is that what makes this model so true?


  1. ....i agree! whats the use of all the knowledge without the emotional balance. thats how people become extremists and do stupid things causing all the pain in the world!

  2. One can only agree. Interestingly, having had this insight, I am beginning to see a lot of wisdom in otherwise not so literate people. Including children.

    I met someone recently. He found a large spider in a room and his education said, "kill it!" He said, "my heart is saying, don't kill the creature." I don't know how, but that touched a nerve in me. Only a heart can be so concerned about a little creature. And a well-developed heart only.

    I wonder what's wrong with the way we graduate into the adult life? Its' all so distorted?

  3. Hi Ramla,

    This is a nice post indeed. I must say I like your *4 likes*. I always believe in having your mind rule your body than your body ruling your mind! Well, this is my opinion.

    I agree with your point(s) 3 & 4 - Education (Knowledge) & Wisdom. I believe that the BASIC difference between Knowledge & Wisdom is... "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad!"