In a discussion forum with several experienced and awake people, we explored the nature of cognition. This is what I derived from the results.
Cognitions are a specific form of experience characterized by a sense of knowingness or download. Full cognitions are a flow of complete knowledge of the object, one that remains for review later. The data can be far greater than can be digested initially. Some contain so much data, it would take lifetimes to explore. But the core understanding is complete.
They are often full sensorial experiences like a massive 3D animation but with all senses. Lesser ones may have a reduced sensory range.
As an example, when we experience an apple, we see the apple from a certain angle and may gain information about smell, texture, and so forth. But if we were to cognize the apple, the experience would include all knowledge about the apple. This includes it’s history, it’s nature, and it’s purpose. Plus, the memory of the experience remains complete and can be browsed to explore other aspects at any time – the other side of the apple, it’s core, etc. etc.
There is an apparent spectrum to just how ‘cognitory’ an experience is.
1) The purest is a full Vedic cognition. Direct experience of reality as described in ancient texts. They have a quality of total understating of whole swaths of reality.
2) Similar but secondary cognitions on aspects of reality. Equivalent to stuff in secondary literature. Fills in gaps in the understanding. Often massive amounts of data.
3) Full sensory feeds or downloads. What some call Ritam experiences, finest relative where detailed knowledge of something is unfolded. Total experiences but more localized than the above. Still immersive.
4) Full sensory intuitions. Knowingness with multimedia. Solutions to large issues, outflows of music, architecture, words, etc. Non-immersive flow.
5) regular intuition, knowingness.
Some of these experiences may come as if siddhis or special abilities, such as the ability to see the insides of the body or distant objects. Some have the quality of the muse bringing gifts, like a complete symphony.
The lower ones sometimes don’t make memory impressions so have to be immediately written down or they are forgotten. The more true cognitions open a door to absolute memory so are never forgotten and can be explored in other ways at a later date.
As one person noted, while they may sound like flash, they are profound but ordinary experiences. Some get them regularly.
It is not necessary to be awake to have higher cognitions but they do appear to require a good degree of pure awareness and a clear intellect. I note they appear to require what one described as a joining of the upper 2 chakras, sometimes experienced as a white flash that absorbs everything.
They of course arise from grace but knowledge can require an outlook that asks “why?” even in the height of a profound experience. The best example I can think of is the Mellen-Thomas near death experience where he gets a tour of the universe. When he described how he was heading towards the light and he started asking questions – that was exactly it. There is a built-in questioner that arises even in those spontaneous moments. What comes out are answers.
For others without the questioner, different things are expressed in the flow. Each of us comes in with a unique skill set and a nervous system that reflects a certain perspective of reality. Some of us are born healers or organizers or teachers or salespeople. When those talents are developed, they can seem like superpowers to other people but normal to ourselves. Amusingly, that’s one of the challenges we have in finding our talents – we don’t recognize them as they’re normal to us. But we’ll find things we can do that others have a much harder time with.
Another interesting point arose during the discussion. There is the understanding that if you listen to Vedic chanting on the ritam level, you can share the full experience that the original cognizer had. In other words, a way to share profound experiences. However, there’s not enough information in a Vedic chant to encode an entire experience. Especially a cognition. It’s more that it puts one in resonance with the experience and thus opens the door to the data of the Veda itself. A pattern that’s like a key. A memory jogger. You grok or connect, that little Aha light goes off and you open to a bigger flow. The chanting triggers the memory already there within you. The Smriti value. And the knowledge unfolds from the Veda itself. In remembering, we unfold that which is rolled up. The space that is dormant.
We tend to associate Veda with ritam but it’s more that ritam is a means of expressing Veda. Veda is much deeper and more fundamental. It is the structure, the inherent geometry, the intelligence built into everything. It is the beat of loves flow.