It is odd what importance we give to the printed word, to so-called sacred books. The scholars, as the laymen, are gramophones; they go on repeating, however often the records may be changed. They are concerned with knowledge, and not with experiencing. Knowledge is an impediment to experiencing. But knowledge is a safe haven, the preserve of a few; and as the ignorant are impressed by knowledge, the knower is respected and honoured. Knowledge is an addiction, as drink; knowledge does not bring understanding. Knowledge can be taught, but not wisdom; there must be freedom from knowledge for the coming of wisdom. Knowledge is not the coin for the purchase of wisdom; but the man who has entered the refuge of knowledge does not venture out, for the word feeds his thought and he is gratified with thinking. Thinking is an impediment to experiencing; and there is no wisdom without experiencing. Knowledge, idea, belief, stand in the way of wisdom.
An occupied mind is not free, spontaneous, and only in spontaneity can there be discovery. An occupied mind is self-enclosing; it is unapproachable, not vulnerable, and therein lies its security. Thought, by its very structure, is self-isolating; it cannot be made vulnerable. Thought cannot be spontaneous, it can never be free. Thought is the continuation of the past, and that which continues cannot be free. There is freedom only in ending.
An occupied mind creates what it is working on. It can turn out the bullock cart or the jet plane. We can think we are stupid, and we are stupid. We can think we are God, and we are our own conception: 'I am That.'
'But surely it is better to be occupied with the things of God than with the things of the world, is it not?'
What we think, we are; but it is the understanding of the process of thought that is important.
Commentaries on Living Series I
Chapter 66 `Cessation of Thought'