It takes at the very minimum 13 years to obtain any sort of higher education certificate anywhere in the world, and this only if a person pursues a less stellar two-year degree option, as opposed to the standard fare four-year degree option. If a person wants to go the whole hog on a Baccalaureate or Undergraduate Degree, there is a minimum requirement of 15 years of education.
A person who spends 15 years obtaining a Baccalaureate Degree is considered merely a professionally qualified person, not an expert in his or her discipline. If this person were to seek to become more of an expert, an additional year or two of learning in a Masters’ Program is required. Given 2-year programs tend to generate better focus on knowledge than one-year programs, we have in total 17 years of learning required to be regarded as having some intermediate expertise in any discipline. If highest level of expertise is desired, an additional 3 to 5 years of learning is necessary for a minimum of 20 years of education to arrive at highest level of expertise.
I have a PhD in Business & Management with concentration in Finance that took 22 years to complete.
I can say for a fact I have learnt more from my research work post PhD than I did in course of the PhD program itself.
The PhD provided me with a good foundation and tools needed for exploration of knowledge in my discipline, tools valuable for exploration of knowledge across disciplines. Knowledge I did not have at completion of my PhD, some of which I now have probably is of greater importance or consequence than all I thought I knew at timing of being hooded by my Dissertation Supervisor at the December 2005 Commencement Ceremony of the University of Maryland, College Park USA.
It takes time to master anything meaningful because if knowledge is not to be mere head knowledge, acquisition of knowledge must occur at some manageable rate which facilitates logical progression. We use what we learn in Elementary School in High School. Knowledge gained in High School becomes useful in College, and on and on. Whenever acquisition of knowledge is meaningful and practical, it generates progression in knowledge with applications of what already is known utilized for generation or mastery of new knowledge.
People sometimes give up on pursuit of spirituality because they come to the conclusion it is not working. They read the Bible and nothing special happens. They try other forms of spirituality and nothing seems to change. But perhaps they give up too quickly because they assume arrival at enlightenment must happen quickly if God really cares. It is safe to see from the foregoing, however, that if God really is repository of knowledge, and we are to progress in that knowledge, knowledge must be progressive for arrival at enlightenment. Enlightenment must be the goal not the process. Progression in knowledge is the process, with spiritual enlightenment and awareness outcome of the process.
If enlightenment that occurs within context of professional disciplines takes upwards of 20 years, we cannot expect spiritual enlightenment to have properties of magic — instantaneous and gratifying. Spiritual enlightenment must be outcome of progression in knowledge.
I read the Bible diligently from 1990 to 2010. There were days I felt I had received some personal enlightenment. Nothing deep seated or lasting really, more like I learnt something I did not know prior to that day’s reading.
Most days, my reading of the Bible was no more than a spiritual habit, something I was committed to which at the time did not seem to yield any specific spiritual benefit other than I was becoming more familiar with contents of the Bible and attempting to live in consonance with that knowledge(aha). But living in consonance with knowledge gleaned from the Bible is not spiritual enlightenment, it is obedience or cognitive consistency. On this the Bible, in fact Jesus Himself concurs readily (John 14:21).
Why then the Bible?
Suppose as already is implicit in this write up God really does exist and desires to be known of man. If God has to reveal Himself to every generation from beginning to the end, God neither would be effective nor efficient in enabling us arrive at knowledge of who He is.
Suppose, however, knowledge of God is recorded in every generation until some critical mass is achieved. Now we can progress in knowledge of what already is known by reading and God can focus on provision of spiritual enlightenment — with enlightenment arriving whenever our knowledge reaches critical mass and we are found to be trustworthy of the spark of life to be entrusted to us by God.
Now I realize passive progression in knowledge is necessary for arrival at spiritual enlightenment because while God needs to trust us, He cannot trust us if we do not have a good conception of who He is, with conception derived from what already He has revealed about Himself. He also cannot trust us if we do not demonstrate cognitive consistency relative to what we have learned about who He is and what He finds to be pleasing.
Progression in knowledge and cognitive consistency, no matter how passive it may seem is key if we are to arrive at spiritual enlightenment.
Starting in 2010, things changed. It was as if the Bible came alive, the words jumping off the page, my spirit somehow now connected to the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Since 2010, my reading of the Bible has ceased to be habit. Rather, I have the reality of fellowship with the Spirit of Jesus Christ — the Holy Spirit. I am not talking voices here as some are wont to think when they think of spirituality. I am talking spirit connected with Spirit — the true reality we must desire to experience if in fact we are spiritual beings and not just flesh and blood. This exactly is what the Bible is designed for, the goal of faith in Jesus Christ (John 5:39–40; Galatians 4:19).
The Bible is the source of knowledge for a pursuit of spirituality within context of Christianity. Connection and fellowship with Jesus Christ, who Himself is the source of enlightenment, is objective of progression in knowledge of the Bible.
But enlightenment must bring with it the spark of life else it is of no practical relevance for daily living.
Enlightenment that does not bring with it the spark of life — the spark that brings peacefulness, serenity, and joy of living along with it — is not worth waiting for.
If it takes us at least 20 years to master a professional discipline, we must be patient in our pursuit of spirituality, equivalently, in pursuit of the spark of life that ignites our spirits and brings us into fellowship with the Spirit who created this universe in which we live.
In so far as Christian faith is concerned, Jesus Himself is the Way (the process, with the Bible as revelation of Jesus Christ part of the process), the Truth (the knowledge we need, again with the Bible playing a part), and the Life (the enlightenment and spark of life) we seek (John 14:6).
The Bible helps with the process (the Way) and arrival at knowledge of who God is (the Truth). The Bible cannot, however, give the last thing — Life. Life of God is domiciled in Jesus Christ not the Bible.
In this one regard and in light of its importance for readers who are Christians, I explicitly provide support for the statement above from the Bible itself.
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (1John 5:11, NIV).
The statement above is unequivocal. For Christians, the Bible only serves to get us to Jesus Christ who is the source of the life we need or seek.
If the Life of God is not in the Bible, the written word of God per Christian belief, the Life of God cannot be domiciled in any congregation of worshipers to read from the Bible.
If individual reading cannot by itself independent of Jesus Christ produce the Life of God, neither can any congregational reading of the Bible.
The God of the Bible has made it this way so neither the rich, nor the powerful, nor the cunning, nor those who love sin can hijack the Life of God for profit.
I can trust a God who makes provisions for protection of the Life that must be available to anyone so long as the price, which is only spiritual, is paid — price anyone willing to exert the spiritual effort can afford to pay.
I know I have connected with the Life that is in Jesus Christ because I see the fruit of peacefulness, joy, serenity, and love in my life and because of spiritual reality of fellowship with God’s Spirit. Without evidence of the fruit, however, I would have to question authenticity of any spiritual fellowship I were to experience.
Regardless whether you turn out to be wrong, you will not confide your deepest secrets to someone you do not trust.
If God really does exist, we cannot expect any less, that is must expect He will not allow us connect with His Spirit at a deep level of fellowship or intimacy if there exists a good probability we will not be faithful in our relationship with Him.
If we want to connect with God at deepest levels imaginable, we must trust Him and stick with the process, and allow Him time to progress us to levels of fellowship and intimacy we desire. Within context of Christian faith, we can know God as much as we desire yet never exhaust knowledge of Him (Isaiah 55:8–9).
Patience is doing what is right while waiting for an objective that does not lie entirely within our control to materialize.
Arrival at the spark of life that is essence of pursuit of spirituality requires exercise of and odes of patience. Endurance till the end is key for success.