‘Know How’ and ‘Know That’ in spiritual context
In a spiritual context, the distinction between “knowing how” and “knowing that” can be understood as the difference between experiential knowledge and intellectual knowledge.
Experiential knowledge, or “knowing how,” refers to the direct experience of spiritual truths and practices. It involves actually experiencing the wisdom and love of the divine in one’s life. For example, a meditator who has “knowing how” in meditation has experienced the inner peace and stillness that can come from the practice. They have a direct, personal experience of the benefits of meditation, and can therefore testify to its efficacy.
Intellectual knowledge, or “knowing that,” refers to the acquisition of information and beliefs about spiritual principles. This type of knowledge can be obtained through reading or listening to Swami’s discourses, reading Sathya Sai Vahinis, listening to talks, participating in retreats or attending study circle sessions at Atlanta Sai Center. For example, someone who has “knowing that” about karma understands the concept of cause and effect in the spiritual realm and may believe in the principle, but their understanding is limited to their intellect and may not necessarily be connected to their personal experience.
While both types of knowledge have value, “knowing how” is often considered more important in spiritual contexts. This is because spiritual growth is not just about acquiring information, but about transforming one’s consciousness and experiencing a deeper connection to the divine. Without this direct experience, the knowledge remains just a set of beliefs or ideas, which may be subject to doubt and lack of conviction.
For example, consider the difference between someone who has read about the power of forgiveness and someone who has actually practiced forgiveness in their life. The first person has “knowing that” knowledge about the benefits of forgiveness, but the second person has “knowing how” knowledge, having experienced the release of negative emotions and the peace that comes from forgiving others. The second person is much more likely to incorporate forgiveness into their daily life, as they have a direct experience of its transformative power.
Similarly, someone who has “knowing that” knowledge about the power of positive affirmations may understand the concept and believe in it, but they may not see the results they desire until they actually practice affirmations regularly and experience the benefits for themselves. This type of “knowing how” knowledge comes from putting spiritual principles into practice in one’s life, not just understanding them intellectually.
In conclusion, “knowing how” and “knowing that” both have their place in spiritual growth, but experiential knowledge is often considered more valuable in this context. The goal of spiritual practice is not just to acquire information, but to transform one’s consciousness and have direct experiences of spiritual truths. By incorporating spiritual practices into our daily life, individuals can develop “knowing how” knowledge and deepen their connection to the divine.
Om Sai Ram!