30 Days of Yogi Wisdom – Day 11 featuring Swami Vivekananda
“Spirit knowledge is the only thing that can destroy our miseries forever; any other knowledge removes wants only for a time. It is only with the knowledge of the Spirit that the root cause of want is destroyed forever; so helping a man spiritually is the highest help that can be given him.”
What stands out the most for me in Swami Vivekananda’s quote is the understanding that our ‘wants’ are what prevent us from being truly free. When we can move our mind’s focus from ‘want’ to ‘spirit knowledge’, only then can we be on the path to enlightenment. Also, recognizing that the greatest gift we can give is the gift of spirit realization is interesting to me; to see the value of faith as being higher than the value of anything else is a unique perspective and a huge revelation. To recognize that spirit knowledge is the only thing that will free us from our miseries is a huge gift, however the ownership of spirit knowledge seems challenging and perhaps a bit daunting.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually met anyone free from suffering. Even the gurus I have met in my studies and travels still expressed that they experienced a sense of misery on some level. What I do think I understand is perspective; how perhaps when our focus lies on spiritual awareness and knowledge we no longer feel as troubled by small obstacles. I sometimes play this game with myself where when I’m frustrated by something mundane like a rift at work or issues in my relationships, I focus my frustration on something much bigger in scope like how I’m going to prevent elephants from becoming extinct! By simply redirecting my focus and energy, I have the ability to see the pettiness in certain experiences of my suffering.
I wonder if the gurus like Swami Vivekananda ever feel fully satisfied by their experience of spirit knowledge. Like if they feel they’ve ever mastered it or if there is always more to experience and learn. In western culture, I often find myself unsatisfied by pursuing my ‘wants’ just as Swami Vivekananda suggests. I may covet a material possession or even knowledge on a topic but I often I find that when I purchase a possession or fully learn a topic, my joy is fleeting and I move on to the next ‘want’. Meditating on this quote brought me to a space of wondering if this is the case with spirit knowledge too.
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