Marshall Vian Summers explains the three stages of knowing something and taking action.

Recorded on March 16th, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado.

Transcript: Said very simply, and this is an oversimplification, but there are three stages of knowing.

One is recognizing the sign or the impulse. The sign may be on the outside; the impulse may be on the inside. You recognize something that really stands out; it’s not ordinary. It’s not your usual thing to recognize.

Many people experience this. They have moments of recognition, but they don’t go any further with it.

Next is to contemplate the sign or impulse, unless action is required in the moment. Your car’s going off the road as we just recently had in this huge storm in Colorado. People’s cars went everywhere. “Oh, my car’s going off the road. I can’t stop and contemplate this. I’ve got to go into action immediately.”

And the third is acting on the sign or the impulse, which may be something that’s needed very shortly or immediately, if not immediately, shortly, or subsequently.

We have this beautiful quote by Wang-Yang-Ming. He was an early 16th century teacher of The Way of Knowledge:

There is no Knowledge which does not lead to action. If one knows but does not act, then one really does not know.

So until we take this thing that you’ve recognized and have been contemplating to action, then it’s not yet really Knowledge because it’s what you do in the end that really matters.

I say three things—there’s what you do, there’s what you serve and why you serve—in the end are the three things that really matter. Awareness that does not lead to action is still circulating in your mind. It has not come into reality yet to be fully effective there.