For a moment ego popped in and I began to think that perhaps the length of time one had studied might be some kind of “badge of honor” where those who had studied for many years might have a deeper understanding of the Course.
But it's not a badge of “honor.” If anything, it's a badge of “learning.” The Course is a curriculum, a mind training program. Its half-million words contain the Text and the Manual for Teachers, which both support the 365 daily Lessons. There can be no doubt: One must study the Course and learn from it. Both of those take time. So, yes! The length of time one has studied and learned might be a good measure of one's understanding of Course principles.
However, there seems to be another part of the story that's not often discussed. Sgt. Schultz from the old Hogan's Heroes TV show proclaimed “I know nothing!” every time he feared punishment from his commanding officer for failing to report the shenanigans Hogan and his heroes foisted upon the prison camp.
But I've got to admit: I, too, know nothing, in spite of all that study and learning.
For knowledge, as Lesson 138 points out “…is beyond the goals we seek to teach within the framework of this course. Ours are teaching goals to be attained through learning how to reach them, what they are, and what they offer you. Decisions are the outcome of your learning, for they rest on what you have accepted as the truth of what you are and what your needs must be.”
The Foreword to the Course says, "Knowledge is not the motivation for learning this course. Peace is.” Chapter 13.II reminds that “Knowledge is far beyond your individual concern. You, who are part of it and all of it, need only realize that it is of the Father, not of you.”
Chapter 3.V repeats the message: “To know is to be certain. Uncertainty merely means that you do not know. Knowledge is power because it is certain, and certainty is strength. Perception is merely temporary. It is an attribute of the space-time belief and is therefore subject to fear or love. Misperceptions produce fear, and true perceptions produce love. Neither produces certainty because all perception varies. That is why it is not knowledge."
"True perception is the basis for knowledge, but knowing is the affirmation of truth. All your difficulties ultimately stem from the fact that you do not recognize or know yourselves, each other, or God. To recognize means to "know again," implying that you knew before. You can see in many ways because perception involves different interpretations, and this means that it is not whole. The miracle is a way of perceiving, not of knowing. It is the right answer to a question, and you do not ask questions at all when you know."
You do not ask questions at all when you know. What could be more clear? Knowledge is absolute certainty. So it's for that reason I say, “I KNOW nothing.” However, as we move into Part II of the Workbook the focus becomes one of gaining direct experience with our Creator rather than learning. There's a wide difference between learning and direct experience.
For anyone working to increase their direct experience with God and the Holy Spirit, Robert Perry at the Circle of Atonement has an excellent article he titled “Open Mind Meditation.” Check it out. It doesn't appear that it will lead us to knowledge, but it can open minds to the more profound direct experience that leads us into true perception and the Happy Dream spoken of in Chapter 18.VI.
What say you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.