Know or Not

Know or Not

I’ve written before about the distinction between Belief and Experience. As I’ve noted, much of the debate in the modern world is about what we believe. Do you believe in God or not, for example. Many who describe themselves as Atheists or “non-believers” don’t actually recognize that this is a belief too, a belief in not believing what those other people believe. If it was not a belief, they would not feel compelled to defend it.

This subject came up again in a discussion and I framed it a bit differently. I thought it useful to share that.

Really the only 2 valid positions are agnostic and gnostic. In the first, you don’t know because it’s not yet been experienced or discovered. In the second, you know because it has been.

You can certainly hold a conceptual position as an agnostic that you’re dubious. It’s healthy to have a bit of skepticism. In fact, it’s fundamental to the scientific method. (although many so-called skeptics hold a firm position) There are good reasons to question what the experts, preachers, and gurus tell you. Knowledge comes from experience not belief.

This, though, is not to say we should not have beliefs. Some beliefs, like things are going to be fine, are quite healthy. But it’s also healthy to be conscious of our active beliefs and see if they still serve.

The bigger issue is when those concepts and beliefs become fixed and are held as barriers to what is arising. The mind tends to screen out what it does not believe. This can get in the way of discovery, experience and of growth. The deeper hazard of fixed beliefs is that they become part of our self-concept. We identify those pesky “I am” statements as part of who we are. I am this sex, this party, this citizen, this religion, this role, this job, and so forth. And then we feel it’s personal and must be defended. This is the foundation of much conflict, suffering, and war.

Eventually, experience will always win out. No matter how staunch an atheist, one day they’ll have an unmistakable experience of the divine. Perhaps not until their death bed, but it will come. Same with the theists – no matter what your expectations of the divine, they’re likely to be confronted. Divinity is much grander than any religion. Whatever your strongly held beliefs, you will be forced to reconcile that with reality. This is also true of the awakening process.

Always much easier to not know and leave the options open. To keep an open mind. Of course that’s easier said than done. Everyone seems to have an opinion. Don’t you agree? (and there’s one right there)

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  1. Rose Rosetree

    Davidya, my opinion is that what you wrote is logical and sweet. And really as though you have been kissed by the Divine in a way that causes you to radiate such a serene love. (a.k.a. Direct experience)

    What is left out of your two options? IMO, it is human pain, agony, feelings of separation from the Divine, and so many other emotions that can keep a person from either logic or sweetness. Or caring about knowing or not knowing, so great is the pain. And so numerous are the distractions.

  2. Rose Rosetree

    That written, I have a question back for you. Do you think it is even worth initiating a discussion about opinions unless the person is a knower or a truster? Or else thoroughly logical?

    For those who are more feeling-based than logic-based, and who have not had experience of the Divine that has been noticed… any conversation will just make that infinitely finite kind of hurt ache more than ever.

  3. Thanks, Rose. I have indeed been kissed by the Divine. 😉

    And it’s true. I was addressing those that argue for and against belief in God, suggesting their logical position is flawed if it’s not based on experience. It’s really about have you experienced or not? If not, then a little less posturing would be good.

    What you suggest is not really another option. It’s more that this debate leaves out the experience of many. Abstract concepts are pretty meaningless if your life isn’t working well. It was not my intention to be ivory tower or elitist but some of this discussion is.

  4. And you’re right. One of the issues of a blog like this where I describe exalted states of consciousness, rapturous bliss, and a direct relationship with the divine is that some will find their lives lacking even more.

    But this is also why I talk about means. How to get there. I feel it’s important to be open and honest and recognize what we’re capable of. At some times in the past, such teaching was given in secret only to the qualified.

    But now in our age, many are waking outside of a tradition. They may need a little perspective and support. And certainly a broader vision of what is unfolding. I can’t do that without the full picture.

  5. I can also note that the content of this blog doesn’t really appeal to the feeling-based much. There are snippets here and there perhaps. But the detail drives most away quickly. 😉

    I can also note that someone with the gift of teaching, such as yourself, naturally can speak to students on their own level. That gift is not one of mine. Rather I am the messenger, sharing observations on the road home (per this blogs tagline) 😉

  6. There is also one other detail worth noting. While we may have big, flashy, memorable experiences, much of the divine that touches us is gentle and subtle. Such things don’t make strong memories and are thus easily forgotten.

    It’s so easy to forget that we’ve all been touched by the divine, we all forget our dramas and suffering every night when the ego goes to sleep with the mind, and we all touch source for a moment every time we change states of consciousness – falling asleep, waking up, and at the start and end of dreams. This stuff really isn’t far away.

    The big thing is just making this all a lot more conscious. Eventually it is always with us so cannot be forgotten.

  7. Rose Rosetree

    Never, ever elitist or ivory towerish, Davidya. Not in this article nor in any of yours I have read.

    You have your slice of experience as the magnificent teacher you are. It is great how simply you make these important, felt, experienced concepts accessible. So far ahead of mainstream human consciousness. Even beyond the experience of many others (like me) who have crossed the threshold into Enlightenment yet don’t experience anything nearly this large.

  8. Rose Rosetree

    I especially relish this part of your latest comments, Davidya:

    “we’ve all been touched by the divine, we all forget our dramas and suffering ever night when the ego goes to sleep with the mind, and we all touch source for a moment every time we change states of consciousness – falling asleep, waking up, and at the start and end of dreams.”

    What a light you shine in the world through this blog! Thanks yet again.

  9. Thanks, Rose. It has been a curious aspect of this unfolding – why this grand a vision. And one I have been actively shown, not just driven by curiosity. I have a better sense of that now as well. This version of my training for a much longer term project, beyond this lifetime.

    Life is such a journey…

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