On Knowing

Due to the BATGAP interview and SAND talk, this blog is attracting many new readers. Some are coming in search of concepts that can help them make a better story about enlightenment. This is natural for the mind to want to do, but we have to be a little careful not to buy into this too much.

As I mentioned in the opening of my SAND talk, the point of my work is to support those on the journey, offer a framework for research and place various teachings and texts into some relative context. If you instead use this blog so you can think you know what enlightenment is, you are misleading yourself. Until something is the direct experience, it can only ever be a story. If the subject is beyond the mind, this is even more so.

I say this from experience. I thought I had a good idea of what awakening was until it actually happened. It is never our concepts of it simply because our concepts can never meet it. Now I still use some of the same words, but there is a very different kind of knowing.

To put this in some context, there are three primary kinds of knowing:

1 – Knowing through Ideas or Concepts
This is knowing through the mind and intellect. The mind doesn’t like to have gaps in understanding, so it seeks explanations to cover them. In effect, it creates a story we use to explain what is not more deeply known. Such stories can serve us but can also become barriers if they’re held too tightly or believed too much. This style of knowing includes things we don’t know directly, like scientific theory, paradigms, procedures, and models like the one I use for stages on this site. It also can include things like religious beliefs.

2 – Knowing through Experience
This is knowing through direct experience. Much of our childhood learning is learning by doing. You can’t learn to ride a bike or ski by reading about it. This is the same for divinity – our beliefs hold nothing to the direct experience of it. However, for some things even experience is just a taste.

3 – Knowing through Being
This is knowing through what we are. We might place this in the category of knowing through experience but being is a deeper value, a deeper knowing. In some cases, our being may not be something we’re entirely conscious of. People often speak of quests of self-discovery, an effort to make it more conscious. That can be aided by experiences but who we are is not experienced. It is what is doing the experiencing. This becomes much more pronounced through stages of development in consciousness because we have distinct shifts in being that change our perspective of ourselves and the world.

Shifts in being have the effect of resetting both some of our concepts and the context for our experiences. Some kinds of experiences have to be reintegrated into this new context of being. For example, when we shift from being a me to being cosmic, much of our prior life has to be reprocessed into this new context. Even some of what we’ve directly experienced and held to be true now has to be re-examined. It may not still be true for us.

It’s important not to confuse these types or we make key mistakes. For example, holding concepts about what enlightenment is supposed to look like and how it’s supposed to show up can interfere with the actual process. Every single persons process will be unique subjectively. Similarly, our experiences of transcendent being can be identified with, also interfering with direct recognition. Experience is not being.

Another example is the opposite sex. We know what it is to be a man or a woman because we are that. But we don’t know what it is to be the other. We may read about why a man or woman behaves a certain way in Psychology Today. But this is just a concept. Such concepts may help us relate to the opposite sex but if unsuitable or applied poorly, they can have the opposite effect. We may have had experiences with the opposite sex that lead to stories we tell ourselves, like “men don’t feel” or that “women are too emotional”. But these are just concepts – we can’t experience what it’s like to be the opposite sex first-hand. Even if we have past life memories or empath gifts, we’re still experiencing other from who we are now. Experiences are always through the window of the experiencer, our current state of being.

A more distinct example would be a cow. When we try to understand what it is to be another kind of mammal, it’s very common to anthropomorphize. In other words, give them human traits we can relate to. Or we may objectify them and treat them like a chair, without emotions or sensation. But a cow experiences the world quite differently than we do. Their senses each have a different range, the brain processes information differently, and so forth. They also have a different sense of self or being, so place those experiences into a distinct context.

You may find descriptions on this web site you can relate to, like “Brahman is the world”. If you take meanings you’ve picked up elsewhere, like calling inner silence Brahman, you may build some lovely concepts about what this is. But Brahman is beyond the dynamics of consciousness. This means it is beyond experiencing. It cannot be known with concepts or with experiences. Only by being. And even there, the word is being stretched as Brahman is also beyond being.

Brahman figures prominently in some of the current articles because it’s the leading edge in my explorations. But this blog was started a few months after I woke up. Earlier articles don’t talk about Brahman at all. They go more into the stages of ego dis-identification, the rising divine, and so forth. This is why I added the Key Posts page on the tab above.

If you treat the ideas you find lightly, as an evolving model to support your journey, you’ll be better served by ideas. If you take this blog as some kind of truth, it will just take you into another dead end.

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5 Responses to On Knowing

  1. Suz says:

    Thanks, David.

  2. Davidya says:

    Your welcome! 🙂
    I recently posted…Sophia Panel DiscussionMy Profile

  3. Pingback: How We Know | Davidya.ca

  4. Amaryllis says:

    You make many useful points and distinctions in this post; thank you again.

  5. Davidya says:

    You’re welcome, Amaryllis
    Some of them were hard won. (laughs)

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