“The selfish spirit is content with being the mere borrower. It appropriates others thoughts or idea, without ever crediting such idea to the rightful owner, or the desire so to credit it, it will always remain a borrower. But people to borrow from will not always be at hand.
“There must come a time, in this life or another, when such a spirit will be left entirely to its own resources. It will then find itself poor. It will be crippled by the habit o borrowing. This habit prevents the chemical assimilation of the new element, or, in other words, original or individually shaded idea. You have simply taken others property, and passed it off as your own. You have not been a manufacturer, only a receiver of others manufactures. … By doing that, you hurt thereby the power of making your own peculiar shade of individual light.” ~Prentice Mulford
Mr. Mulford is talking more about social behavior than spiritual, but what he says is applicable to the spiritual. In this case, being a borrower of truth and knowledge rather than learning it from direct experience limits our spiritual growth in several ways.
While we would like to believe that preachers, ministers and spiritual gurus all speak and teach truth, such is not the case. In fact, there are far more of them teaching falsehoods then there are teaching truth.
In some cases, they are aware that what they teach isn’t the truth. They teach it anyway because it is what the masses want to hear.
Others are not intentionally lying. They are telling what they believe to be true, but it is just someone’s opinion that was passed on to them. Or it is knowledge they found in books without knowing that those books are allegory, not literal truth.
Not quite false knowledge, but incomplete knowledge is also limiting. The most prevalent version of this is regarding meditation. First, there are many variation of meditation today. Few of them truly aid spiritual growth. The ones that do are not taught by the large commercial meditation schools. The main thing, however, is that meditation is helpful only with other spiritual disciplines. By itself, it isn’t doing much except help governments turn people into sheep. Which explains why so many of them now promote meditation.
Incomplete knowledge is also found in books. Even the best of holy books do not contain complete teachings. This is intentional. The great spiritual teachers and prophets knew that it would be dangerous to let the materialistic types learn such things. So the books are also limited and mostly written in allegory.
Then there are the new self-appointed gurus who are not themselves advanced spiritual students. They are merely good writers who are in it for the money. They gather spiritual information from several books and the outer (limited) teachings of spiritual schools, then reword t and write books that sell very well because they have simplified what was complicated. Few understand that the simplified version is very incomplete.
In the rare cases where the borrower of knowledge does manage to get the complete truth, his method of obtaining it will inevitable result in a false interpretation. That is because you are trying to understand it with the brain-mind rather than the soul. Spiritual knowledge can never be completely understood by the mind. That is the function of the soul.
Spiritual knowledge can only be gained effectively by the direct method. This doesn’t mean reading books or listening to gurus. Those things can help you find a way to awaken the soul, but it is the awakened soul that must connect with the Universal Soul and directly gain all knowledge. The best way to awaken the soul is with the light of the spiritual sun. That is especially true now that we are receiving spiritual light from the promised Sun of Righteousness.