When I awoke today, I remembered a time last year when I stood under the bowers of an apple-laden tree. I was in awe of this beautiful tree and all her gifts. Step by step, carefully treading over the uneven ground, I walked all around her. I was looking for the rosiest of apples - ah, so many to choose from, but only one perfect for me...
To me, the apple is an ancient symbol of knowledge and immortality - yet the symbol of temptation too. However, I think of this temptation not as something subversive, as with Eve in the Bible's creation story, but rather our inherent need or desire to be fulfilled. As such, the pursuit of fulfillment drives us forward in several ways. It propels us ever onwards as we seek love in our lives, towards a place of value and a sense of purpose in what we do. It also engenders a sense of altruism in our hearts where we learn that to love and be of service to others is actually the finest way of coming to love ourselves.
Then we come to the pursuit of knowledge in terms of learning. We learn knowledge and skills throughout our lives in so many ways. We learn from our experiences, our families, relationships, our schools, colleges, universities and from life itself. However, what we 'know' all too often defines who we are in the eyes of others. If I am a doctor, a nurse, a taxi driver, teacher or shop assistant, people will tend to ascribe an understanding or place a value upon me based on what I am seen as through society's mind; you will not have a true understanding of me - who I really am inside. So, your knowledge, if you follow the collective mind, will place me in a box. It will label me and make it hard for me to escape from this 'box' if I want to. I will be who you expect me to be. How many of us know this experience as that ancient apple calls us once more, echoing our heart's desire to try to escape the limitations of a life which no longer helps us to express our true nature and gifts in the world? You see, knowledge lures us with a promise of greater things, but greater still is the desire of the heart to be fulfilled.
I have experienced being in a 'box' a number of times in my lif
The Pursuit of Knowledge
e. Each time, it has required Houdini type skills to escape. To be able to begin that process each time, I have needed to see that one, I am in a box again, and two, that becasue things in my external and internal worlds are not working, I have to get out! My life therefore, has taught me that the pursuit of knowledge can indeed open doors but if we are not careful, it can put you right back in a box again!! We can also find ourselves repeating old patterns, not only in our material life, but our spiritual lives too.
Knowledge is such a precious gift, and can indeed make immense and positive changes to our lives and world. But knowledge always has a tag of caution attached, for life is a cycle ... ever evolving and changing, and we are part of that process. To be able to use our wisdom for the highest and best within our own lives, we need to go back to our hearts and marry our knowledge with the compassion of the heart and the knowing of the soul. If we can do this, then we will not only be fulfilled in all we do - ready to change as life changes around us, but we will be free to share our gifts with others, neither coveting or envious of another.
If we can all grasp that apple of knowledge and look within it - we would find a star - the light of the spirit which lives within us. Inspired and alight with desire for a bright new world, we can set out upon a path of outer adventure and inner peace. What a wonderful adventure it would be! Not only that, if we decided to share this adventure with a passion for creating a beautiful, caring world, then together we would be on the road to making that dream a reality.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw ...
'… if you have an apple and I have an apple, and we swap apples — we each end up with only one apple. But if you and I have an idea and we swap ideas — we each end up with two ideas...'
For me, the gift of sharing knowledge, underpinned with wisdom, holds the key to happiness. It is like a marriage of heaven and earth, solid, yet full of wonder at what might be achieved if we all were motivated by love.
With all my love, Elaine
May 6th 2012
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