He who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not is a student.
He who knows and knows not that he knows is an artist.
He who knows and knows that he knows is a teacher.
Once upon a time, I would've called myself an apologist ... certainly I valued, or was taught I should value, logic, reason, proof, absolutes. The "real" stuff.
I was taught that imagination is silly at best, and dangerous at worse ... I was taught to be suspicious of emotion ... that feelings are weaknesses, things to be suppressed, controlled, ignored.
For a very long time, I lived this out, as I thought it was good and right and true. I believed I was to defend what I believed ... that to debate and argue were noble ... that someone was right, and someone was wrong, and it was a fight, and I was to win.
The world was neatly divided into shades of black and white ... grey was nonsense. Colors were frivolous. There was one right way to see a thing (*any* thing), and I must not only find it, but defend it to the hilt (amazing, it seems to me now, that I ever managed to become an artist...!).
And so did many conversations, and relationships, fall by the wayside. My victories were hollow. But I was too busy defending what I thought I needed to believe, to notice. I was too busy scoring points, and gathering trophies -- at least in my mind.
This is, I believe, one level of awareness ... but not, I imagine, the highest, deepest, truest, nor most satisfying, level of awareness.
According to the quote above, I was then a fool ... and blind to my own foolishness. I then moved into the student phase, when a shattering series of experiences rocked my world, and demonstrated, in shocking reality, that I didn't know what I thought I knew ... I merely knew how to parrot what others taught me I should believe and know. I believe I've moved into the artist's phase ... but then, since the hallmark of this phase is that I don't know that I know, how do I know...?!? ;)
Another thing I don't know, is whether I will ever move into the teacher phase. That would certainly be presumptuous...! And I don't think I can rely upon the fact that every single, stinkin' "personality test" I've ever taken tells me that I, an unschooler, am a teacher...! That's akin to telling an atheist that they'd make a great priest! (well, come to think of it ...)
What I find is, without my intentional/conscious choosing, I have morphed from apologist to mystic. Oh sure, I'm still drawn into explaining what I believe and why, and can always come up with all manner of proof (including proof-texts, LOL!), but unless and until the one I'm speaking to has their own confirming experience with the Spirit, then I'm just manufacturing one who becomes as I once was -- one who can parrot what I've been taught, but haven't birthed that experience within me.
I find that I am drawn to the mystics from all religious (or lack of religious) backgrounds. I find that I have more in common with a mystic of another religion, than I do with an apologist of Christianity. Interesting that this has happened to me, without my forethought or planning. I have come to value experience over everything else ... I believe we are here to experience life, and live the abundant life. And as I read the Bible, I find that it is filled with people having experiential encounters with the Living God ... it is a collection of books about experiences. It teaches me, above all else, to have my OWN experience with the Living God -- and never, never EVER to settle for a vicarious experience, merely read second-hand, through the accounts of others.
I've been reading about the lives and experiences of many mystics, throughout history. I'm currently reading about a 20th century mystic, who was much misunderstood (LOL ~ the VERY hallmark of mysticism!). In the next few days, I'd like to share a few insights from this mystic, that are not only profoundly impacting me, but are putting words to some of my deepest thoughts and inner-glimmers.
May we all become a mystic -- one who encounters and experiences the Living God!