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.


  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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