Why experience is greater than knowledge
Spirituality begins the moment we become curious.
- Total Shares
Every day, we benefit from the knowledge of others. We use smartphones and GPS systems created by engineers. We eat food cultivated by farmers. We drive on roads and bridges that others have built and maintain. To thrive in modern society, we have to rely on others’ knowledge and expertise. When it comes to spirituality, however, a different modality applies. In spirituality, it is impossible to derive benefit from another person’s knowledge and experience. In spirituality, all will have to learn and experience for themselves.
We may study scriptures; we may listen to the wise words of various gurus. But words, though sometimes charming and inspiring, are yet powerless to transform us. They cannot make us experience the true state, embodied in the revered personalities of the past. If such is our aim, we must adopt a practical approach. Knowing about great truths will not help us. We must experience those truths for ourselves.
Until we experience something, it is natural to have doubts. But doubt should lead to curiosity. Instead, many of us repress our doubts out of shame or fear, replacing them with belief systems. Spirituality begins in the moment that we become curious. It begins when we face our doubts with courage. It is for those adventurous souls who declare, “Never mind what others may say — let me discover the truth for myself!” That is the attitude of a true seeker. For such seekers, Heartfulness is waiting. The message of Heartfulness is clear: experience is greater than knowledge. A practical path, its methods facilitate an infinite voyage of inner discovery.
Heartfulness consists of four main practices: relaxation, meditation, cleaning, and prayer. The relaxation technique prepares us for deep meditation, or samadhi. A relaxed body helps the mind to become calm as well. Then, meditation gains greater potential.
In Heartfulness meditation, we gently rest our thought on the divine light that is present in the heart. Through this process, we move from thinking about the divine light to actually feeling it. It is through feeling that even deeper truths are revealed to us. Can we ever know divinity? The Upanishads answer this question by saying, neti neti, or “not this, not this.” Truly, the divine defies comprehension and comparison. It cannot be known with the mind. However, it can certainly be felt. And with what do we feel it? Can we feel it with our kidneys or our toes? Can we feel it with our elbows or our knees? The heart is the organ of feeling. It is the place that we feel things. So it is with the heart that we feel this godly presence, which then reflects itself in the mind in the form of inspired thoughts. This is one of the reasons that we meditate on the heart.
The Heartfulness cleaning method unburdens us. It releases us from our daily accumulation of stress and from the emotional wounds of the past. In some traditions, people seek purity through ritualistic bathing, but that only cleans the body. The Heartfulness cleaning method purifies our very consciousness, including our thought patterns and subconscious emotions. This leaves us feeling refreshed, joyful, and light.
Prayer is common to most traditions. It is how we connect to our Source, and move further into a state of humility and receptivity. Prayer further resolves into an ongoing state of prayerfulness. Prayerfulness eventually dissolves into meditative togetherness with our source.
However, as potent as these practices are, they would not have much effect without yogic transmission, or pranahuti. Yogic transmission is a special feature of Heartfulness. Through it, a trainer can direct a flow of the very subtlest thing, the essence of divine energy, into a seeker's heart. This results in an immediate and tangible experience of the divine — an experience that keeps evolving as we become more refined. Just as people do not notice the presence of air until there is a breeze, most people tend not to notice the divine presence, even though it surrounds and infuses them at all times. Transmission is that breeze. It is the movement of divine energy toward us and within us. When it reaches our hearts, we become enlivened as never before. To receive yogic transmission is a life-changing experience. When we meditate along with a Heartfulness trainer, who ensures that we receive yogic transmission, we soon experience higher states of consciousness. Spiritual literature is filled with descriptions of such states. With yogic transmission, anyone can experience them. We need not perform austerities or set out for the jungles or mountains. Such opportunities are indeed rare in the history of spirituality.
Yet, just like anything else, transmission is not to be believed, but experienced. The best way to test transmission is to meditate first on your own. Then meditate with a Heartfulness trainer from whom you receive transmission. By comparing the two experiences, you will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of yogic transmission against meditation on its own. I invite you to try it and arrive at your own conclusion.