I would like to be clear here about the BTDT types I referenced earlier. I'm not knocking experience, it's groovy. However, it doesn’t make a lick of difference if a person doesn’t take their knowledge of the things they have learned over time to the next level and live what they know. I might have read all about how to “Be Here Now” back in 1971 when the Hanuman Foundation first published the book entitled, “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass, but if all that I gleaned from reading that book is still sitting on a metaphorical shelf collecting dust then all I have is the knowledge of what I learned, not the wisdom gained from the experience of actually being "here now."
When someone to whom these ideas or concepts are new comes along often the BTDT is likely to make some jaded comment about how “most people just don’t get it” or dismiss folks entirely with some back-handed compliment about how young they are rather than listening to them. A potential problem is that since they don’t think they can learn anything from a fresh perspective they limit their own experience and without realizing it set themselves up for stagnation. The learning curve for this subject matter isn’t contingent upon the knowledge we have but rather on how it is implemented or not implemented. Starhawk, a popular pagan author and activist said,
"Wisdom and knowledge can best be understood together. Knowledge is learning, the power of the mind to understand and describe the universe. Wisdom is knowing how to apply knowledge and how not to apply it. Knowledge is knowing what to say; wisdom is knowing whether or not to say it. Knowledge gives answers; wisdom asks questions. Knowledge can be taught, wisdom grows from experience."
One of the best ways to expand ones knowledge of a thing is to broaden their perspective by sharing that knowledge with others in an open way. What I mean by that is to share it while being open to others who are also sharing their experiences. It isn't meant to be about who thought of it first, who has the best idea, who is "right" or who has been at it the longest. Spirituality, Religion, Self-help, it is all meant to be shared, it's the beginning of applying the knowledge and creating wisdom. Sharing it knowing that you will be both teacher and student and keeping an open mind and heart is one way to do that. Truth be told, there are a lot of ways to go about it, some that are to our benefit and some to our detriment, you choose.
When we have those epiphanies or come to a concept that is a revelation to us the general feeling is, “Wow, I feel like I’ve always known that, this book (or person etc.) just puts it so clearly!” We might say that it “resonates” with us and here is why, we already did know it, we already know all of it. Unfortunately, there sometimes seems to be a disconnection from that innate knowledge for too many reasons to name, the most obvious of which besides all the clamoring for first place being the separation through compartmentalization and the assumptive nature of labeling people. Separation has become a habit and is all too often based on preconceived notions, assumptions and misinformation coupled with ignoring the innate, ignoring what should be instinct.
Generally, people turn to spirituality and religion to understand themselves better and to live better. The best teachers then, are others who are doing the same thing. Often opportunities to learn from others are missed when folks alienate themselves by competing for titles and expertise or even simple bragging rights, claiming that a way to growth is theirs to sell. When someone new to a particular concept wants to discuss it and all they get are jaded responses from people who only want kudos for already knowing it, there is no forward progress. However, when they are welcomed by people who understand that we truly can all learn from one another, they learn. More often than not so do those for whom the concepts are not new, so long as they open themselves to a fresh perspective, a new experience.
Basic truths re-packaged are still basic truths. How we come to our own answers is by questioning those truths and the best part is that the questions change. The only constant in the universe is change but of course you already knew that. Now it’s time for people to change. Focusing on communication rather than confrontation is a good start. Being closed off to a fresh perspective to wade around only in your own ideas is tantamount to stagnating in your own answers and those are murky waters to be sure. Communication rather than confrontation is an important part of moving forward.
Acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, compassion, these are all easily said, not as easily done in the day to day mundane world. Perhaps people are afraid to live what they know because then they would be forced to become better people. That is not an easy path to go down in the world we have created for ourselves. The only way it will become easier is if we create a new one and communicating, thus creating the connection we seek, is a really good way to start. Moving forward from the distractions of who was first or who has BTDT the longest or all the other myriad of distractions out there and focusing instead on our correspondences online and in real life can shape a better world.