Patanjali placed, in the beginning of the 1st chapter of his sutras, great importance on mind. On types of thought, which is great. Really it is. The thing that stood out for me, here, was the surprising fact that he said that knowledge is the right sort or the incorrect type.
I am being a bit facetious here. Because, of course, knowledge is either right or wrong. However, sometimes we come to a truth, or even just something that we are told, and we take it to heart. Patanjali gets very specific about what is and isn't right knowledge, which I personally am not interested in, as I found that it just kept one in the area of obsessing about things.
Why does right, or wrong, knowledge matter?
It's an interesting facet of human life that we all love to be right. But, in an authentic and growth spiritual journey, and even in everyday life, it stops mattering whether one is perceived to be wrong or right. Whether one is believed, or not.
It doesn't just have to be about ego, or saying that we are 'standing for truth'. And, whose truth are you, in fact, standing for? For me, it became about it not being my business what other people thought and believed of me. Whether it was from wrong knowledge, or correct. Because I simply stopped wanting to exert control over others. It was as basic as that.
I am not talking about human decency. I am talking about imposing myself onto others. And, I have seen over and over, that this is a common 'trap' to fall into with spirituality. We each have our own story of our own life, and we each must follow our own Path. And that includes out belief system, based usually, on what we believe to be right and/or wrong knowledge.
in a true spiritual odyssey, our belief systems and thought processes will change as we grow
How can we perceive right knowledge?
Ah. The crux of the matter. How, indeed.
If I am told something about someone else, and I know from personal experience that the person in question would never say or do what they are accused of, then I always say that they would never do or say that. Whatever the gossip was. Even if I am not too keen on the accused. This is one very human way that I have managed the whole gossip and so-called truth, thing.
There is another way. Which I lived by before getting immersed into the whole yoga-ashram-dogma thing. That really screwed with my head. Because it was always relating to thoughts. Which is not what correct knowledge is about.
And I then went on to learn more about correct knowledge, and my original ways of realising truth were added to, with my studies in deep Maori spirituality. Now this had nothing to do with what and how we think. Not at all.
How can we perceive right knowledge?
Patnajali, I am quite sure from reading all of his sutras, absolutely personally knew all of the deeper states of Being, and how to get there. But I do find it difficult to believe some of the translations of his works, and in particular, about right and wrong knowledge. A great Soul like himself, I feel, would have known that truth is understood in it's entirety through the third eye: The Eye Of The Soul.
complete truth and understanding is a function of The Third Eye; The Eye Of The Soul
However, having an active third eye is journey that we undertake. It is there, but we need to journey to it.
What else can we use instead, to perceive right and wrong knowledge? The answer lies in our bodies and feelings. They are always communicating to us, yet we do not always realise this.
- our feelings come from our gut. They 'travel' to our minds and become thoughts. Thoughts really can mess with correct knowledge, for our human-ness gets in the way, with our own ideas and concepts.
- our gut also gets warm when things are good, correct.
- our skin is a major source of information, for it also 'talks' to us. You know the feeling of when your skin crawls, or grows cold: acknowledge those skin reactions, for they are trying to tell you, in these cases, that something is not right.
- our heart knows truth. This is not something that can be easily explained. We all have these sensations, of knowing, with absolute certainty, that something is either right or wrong.
- another little used source of knowledge, with people, is behaviour. We all have our own behaviour patterns. I know people whose eyes go wide when they lie, for example. But this is not true for other people.
Why is it important to distinguish with types of knowledge? It is for two reasons, in particular:
- a matter of integrity. Without this, we truly cannot go into the deeper aspects of spirituality.
- a spiritual aspirant must, at some stage, learn to rely entirely on themselves. Again, without this, the spiritual growth stops.