Step Four

Step 4. I Want What I Think I Know.

You want what you think you know, and this is what constitutes the basis of your understanding of yourself and your world. In fact, this constitutes the basis of your whole identity. You will find, however, upon honest examination that your understanding is based upon assumptions primarily, and these assumptions have not been founded upon your experience to a very great degree, if at all.

Today in your three brief practice periods, in which you devote your total attention to examining your assumptions, think about the things you really think you know, including things that you have not thought to question before—things that you think you know. Today’s exercise, then, carries forth from the previous steps where you begin to see the difference between what you think you know and real Knowledge itself and the relationship between what you think of as Knowledge and your own assumptions, beliefs and hopes for things.

Therefore, in each practice session it is very essential for you to think about the things you think you know. When you realize they are based primarily upon your assumptions, you will realize how weak is your foundation in the world. Understanding this may be upsetting and disconcerting, but it is absolutely essential for you to give you the impetus and the desire to discover your true foundation in the world.

Practice 4:
Three 10-minute practice periods.

Here you will find the entire book free for download

Here you will find pointers for getting started if this is your first encounter with this practice: Taking the Steps to Knowledge

November 9, 2012 Round One: When doing this Step, I became more acutely aware of the difference between what I now realize are assumptions and what is coming from Knowledge. However, having realized that most of what I think I believe is actually only based on assumptions, it is difficult to distinguish that from what actually is, what is real and true.

June 28, 2014 Round Two: I felt fuzzy at first when I contemplated this Step again. It is humbling to realize how much I really still do not know. I must know more than the first time, surely! But sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes I feel more confused and unsure about what is Knowledge and what is my own assumptions, beliefs, and hopes for things than ever.

First practice – during these ten minutes I thought about the things I hope for. Something happened just last week that had me soaring high on wings of delight and hope because it seemed that a long cherished dream was about to come true. We (my husband and I) were driving along the road out in the Russian countryside looking for a place to camp and my mind was filled with thoughts about finding my house in the country. This has been something I have wanted for years and years, with it becoming more focused over the past four or five. I have begun actually searching for a place, thinking about what I want, where I would like it to be, what it needs to have, saving money, going out and looking, etc. Nothing has transpired so far.

This time, we stopped by a secluded lake in the forest and got out of the car to look around. Literally ten minutes later another car drove up and a couple got out. The woman walked towards me, we greeted each other, and after a few preliminaries, she asked me if I was interested in buying a house and plot of land by the lake in a nearby village, and named a very reasonable price. We stopped by to look at it the next day, and so many things fit precisely what we are looking for. It is not ideal though (what ever is) and there are some other problems, but still, it is the closest I have come to finding my dream spot in the country. I have also come up with an ingenious way of how I am going to pay for it without taking out a bank loan and going into debt. Now I ask myself this – is this the doings of Knowledge or is this just me wanting what I think I know. I think I know I would like living here, I think I know I could overcome all the difficulties, I think I know it is worth pursuing, but is it? Perhaps it will be a big mistake and I will regret it if I see it through. A bit illogical, yes. When I put all this by my husband, he said, yes, well you know what they say, and spouted a Russian saying, which loosely translates as “it’s the devil’s work.” He was implying my drawing dark forces with my constant thoughts.

Second practice – while thinking more about how to distinguish Knowledge from my assumptions, beliefs and hopes, I opened Secrets of Heaven at random to p. 246 and read: “It is, of course, understood that beginning students will always attempt to use Knowledge to get more of what they want. This is understood. And yet it does not work very well, for Knowledge has its own purpose and its own expression. It is God within you. Yet it is God with a specific Plan.”

Armed with this information I am going to pursue my dream but with the full acceptance that things may not turn out as I am hoping. I am very open to the situation taking a different turn and leading me somewhere else. I accept the possibility that my house in the country may not be part of the specific Plan, so I will not want what I think I know, but will go with the flow and wait to see what happens.

Third practice – my foundation in the world is weak. I am quite willing to accept this. I think I am putting too much effort into trying to fathom what this Step is saying, so the point is alluding me. My true foundation in the world in based on Knowledge, which is constant, permanent, and solid, it is not going anywhere, because it comes from God. All I need to do is recognize Knowledge for what it is and sweep away all the extraneous things that only put a veil over Knowledge, hiding it from my comprehension. I don’t think I want to analyze this anymore, I will let it be, let it go, and trust that clarity will dawn for the very reason that I am seeking it.

June 19, 2018 Round Three: This Step calls for making the distinction, seeing the difference, between what I think I know and real Knowledge. It continues on from the last Step. I am to realize the extent my thinking is based on my assumptions and how weak my foundation is in the world. I think I get this, or I am getting it, at least. I realize that most of my thinking is based on my assumptions, but they are becoming fewer and fewer. I feel that now most of my thinking is anchored in real Knowledge, on the things I know that are not based on empirical truth, tangible facts, but on what I know at a deeper level, on the spaces in between, on the Presence that exists between people and not on what they actually do together. I am feeling this with Volodya. My feelings for him are not based on what he does (he is doing great things), but on the space (energy) between us - it is off and we vibrate at different energy levels, hence the discomfort and imbalance.

First 10-min practice. What do I think I know? (4.07-4.17) Sitting on bench in the garden, sun not reached the treetops yet. Clear and warm.

I don’t want what I think I know, I want the Truth. My assumptions are mainly based on what I think others think of me, but I don’t necessarily want what I think they think of me, I know I cannot really know what they think of me, and it doesn’t really matter. What I think I know either stands the test of time, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, then I know it is based on my assumptions and has a weak foundation. The things based on a true foundation stand the test of time.

Focusing on the space between me and the wooden wall while contemplating.

Second 10-min practice - 11.39-11.59 - on bench.

No new insights - I only don’t want what I assume.

Third 10-min practice - 19.45 - 19.55 - bench after tea, tired, my mind was no longer working. Sasha disturbed my concentration by coming out and talking to me, distracting me. I realized I don’t really understand this Step and what it is asking. Decided to stay with it another day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

My first 10-min practice coincided with my journaling this morning between 4.15 and 4.45. 
Sometimes Steps tell me things about myself that are not true. I don’t want what I think I know and I don’t operate at this level, so it doesn’t constitute the basis of my understanding of myself. At least I don’t think so - hah! I am supposed to devote my total attention to my assumptions in the practice periods, it is essential to think about the things I think I know. I thought at first I was being asked to do two different things, but I guess they are basically the same. But I don’t have any assumptions any more - I recognize them immediately as assumptions, that they may be or may not be the truth, so I am open to how things will go. I do not see anything set in stone.

One assumption - I think I brought Solange and Steve together because I was the one who knew both of them first and introduced them. Would they have met otherwise? Maybe yes, maybe no. I want to think I was the link, the stepping stone between them, but this is only an assumption.

I guess this is the point of the Step - recognizing these instances, but not coming to any conclusions. I guess I can look at everything else in my life in the same way. I assume I was meant to come to Russia, I assume I was meant to meet Sasha, etc. etc. I want what I think I know in these instances - but was it Knowledge leading me? How can I know? So yes, all is based on my assumptions and somewhere along the way Knowledge may appear, but there is no guarantee. So with this insight, my life is very flimsy, has a weak foundation. But still I live and manage in life, so it can’t be that bad. Or am I managing and actually accomplishing something and feeling joy and happiness because I really am with Knowledge, and it is not all wishful thinking? My experience shows me that something is working despite all the odds. That is all I have to go on. Is this the Truth? It is freeing to know though that my conception of myself and my world is based on my assumptions and wanting what I think I know.

The morning is the best time for me to contemplate. My mind is open and free and able to absorb new insights and understanding.

I tried to be in Stillness as we traveled to Gorbatka today to try and re-register the utilities for our plot in my name. Some success, but it is draining being out in the world and having to deal with people in offices and rules and regulations. I realize how lucky I am to be living in such a stress-free environment in the village. I came back to my haven with such a sense of joy and gratitude - for the sun, the cold water, the peace, the beauty. I am not spoiled, I am just very lucky. But I have worked for it and I deserve it.

Is this wanting what I think I know? I will think about that another time.


  1. oh, my, Alisa, is this ever familiar. Thank you for the depth and honesty of your exploration and for sharing it.


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