I’m pretty sure I own about 300 books, not counting my kids’ books. Most of my books at this point are non-fiction. I have books about yoga, spirituality, feng shui, cooking, energy healing, women’s health, parenting, psychology, counseling, metaphysics, mythology, butterflies, gardening, butterfly gardening, spirituality and gardening, physiology & psychology, spirituality and psychology, yoga and psychology, yoga and physiology… you get my drift. How many of these books have I read? A lot of them, but there are lots with the binding pretty much intact, waiting until I have the time to actually take them off the shelf and get acquainted. Why do I have all these books? Because I’ve been addicted to knowledge.
I remember reading once that humans are the only species that collects information just for the sake of having it. Until that point, I didn’t view my accumulation of knowledge as frivolous, but as essential. After all, the more I knew the more informed choices I’d be able to make, right? Well… maybe. As it turns out, I’ve found that the main impact of my thirst for knowledge was that there never seemed to be enough. Not enough time to gather more knowledge, and the more knowledge I accumulated, the more I realized I didn’t have and therefore the less I thought I knew.
One of the abstentions prescribed by yoga is non-greed (aparigraha). I came to recognize my “thirst for knowledge” as just another form of consumerism. As the unread books and yet-to-be-heard audiobooks began to accumulate I began to question my motives. Collecting more information was supposed to make me feel more competent, wiser, and therefore more in control. But I found myself feeling oppressed and overwhelmed by all these other people’s words, pronouncements, condemnations and conflicting points of view. I felt as if I had gone out to a buffet and eaten too much but was still putting more and more food on my plate because it all looked soooo good! Someone out there had to have the answer to this mystery of life!
As someone who has a hard time making decisions in the first place, more knowledge just added to the number of permutations I had to keep afloat in my brain. This had the effect of keeping me “in my head” and leading me to distrust or disregard my intuitive center, my inner knowing.
After a while I began to crave silence. I got tired of words. My husband always said that he didn’t think I would find out anything in all those books that I didn’t already know. But I enjoyed reading all those books, and I think I learned a lot from many magnificent authors. And after all that reading, though I think I’ve realized that what I really want is not going to be found in any of those books. It is not a fault of the books themselves, but of my use of them. I read to accumulate knowledge to fill a void that I perceive exists in my own inner knowing. I am searching outside for something that can’t be found outside – myself.
Working with the releasing techniques of The Sedona Method after the recent death of my friend has helped me to realize just how much I feel the need to understand and explain the twists and turns of life. I also realize that this craving, this need to know, to understand, to have it all make sense, will never be satisfied. What I really want is freedom, which is beyond knowledge.
So, I am formally releasing my need to know, (and the need to know what will happen when I fully release my need to know!). It may take a while, or it might be quick. We'll see. I’m also allowing for the possibility that there is a knowing beyond knowledge that is enough.