How We Know

How We Know

I wrote before on 3 forms of knowing – through ideas, through experience, and through being. I’ve also talked about how our dominant sense can inform our experiences.

But there’s another way we might distinguish styles of knowing. We can call them Head, Heart, and Gut.

The first is knowing through the mind and intellect, through concepts and that screen of experience. The Gyani.

The second is knowing through the heart, through fine feelings & intuition. The Bhakti. This includes emotions but we’re talking about knowing or understanding. Reactive emotions and purification triggers are not means of knowing.

The third is the gut or hara, knowing through the body, through action and doing and perception. This is the Karma Yogi and likely the Hatha too.

As I’m visual and conceptual, the language I use on the blog comes out of that. It will attract people who can relate to that. People more into the art of doing and feeling will tend to ignore conceptual noise. In fact, they won’t be spending much time at a computer.

Most of us will touch all the major paths on our journey. The awakening heart, for example, will create a a Bhakti even of a deep Gyani.

From my perspective, everything is knowable because we are it. But how you will come to know it varies widely. It may be nothing like I describe here but will bring equal or greater wisdom. We’re all here to have a distinctive experience of the whole so we should never expect “like that.”

The only limitation I’m aware of is that “everyone can realize but not everyone can cognize“. There is a specific style of experience designed to enliven laws of nature that not everyone is built for, just like not everyone is a healer.

The more we step into the deeper values of our being, the more is available to be known. Together, we enliven all these unique facets, making it alive in consciousness and more accessible to those without the same talent.

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  1. Geoff Toane

    I feel that the statement, “everything is knowable ” could be a little confusing. Do you mean everything as all the truth or everything as in all of Being or all of the phenomenal world.

  2. Michael

    Hi David!
    I would add that the gut is also (if opened to a certain degree) very capable of getting intuitive and deep knowings/feelings (we often say we had a gut feeling/knowing).

  3. Hi Geoff!
    All of the above actually. Whatever we put our attention on can unfold it’s intelligence when we are it. As the articles notes though, How we know it varies. And that variability can shift the emphasis of what is known.

    A feeling seer will not describe things like an intellectual seer. And a hearing Karma yogi will be different again.

    I don’t tend to use the word “truth” much because it’s so relative. When who we are changes, even our highest truths may be revised. One reality but many perspectives.

  4. Connor

    Hi David,

    This is useful information; I’ve often found it hard to relate to some spiritual teachers’ modes of expression and this seems a good way of diagnosing why. Do you think that visual-conceptuals are underrepresented in the spiritual community or do you think they might just be less inclined towards becoming spiritual teachers?

    And as a more tangentially related question, do you think the koshas and layers are good concepts to use in somewhat filtering your experience of the progression of your practice and for guiding your expectations of it, or do you think these concepts become more useful after the experiences of them have been realised?

    Thanks for your posts, they’re fascinating and very helpful.

  5. Hi Conner

    Yes, part of finding a teacher is finding one we resonate with and also who speaks our language.

    I know some other visual-conceptuals but probably because of my orientation. If we use a model like Myers-Briggs, a similar style of personality is only about 1-2% of the population. So they’d be a smaller portion of the teaching population too.

    The koshas can be a useful model for putting experiences in some context. Some use a simpler “3 worlds” model (physical, astral, divine) but I found the koshas better.

    I’d be very careful about judging your progress based on experiences. Experiences don’t mean a lot. People can have lots of flashy stuff and be a long ways from shifting or have nothing and wake up clearly.

    From a kosha perspective, awakening happens 4 layers below the mind.

    Expectations are always problematic because they create a wall to seeing. This is why people talk of just allowing what is here to be as it is. Then it can be seen.

    A strong mind makes that harder but I’ve found if you satisfy the mind, then it lets go more easily.

    One of the keys to waking up is letting go of control. This isn’t something we do, it’s something we stop doing. (laughs) Trying to figure it out in advance is a way the mind uses to feel it’s in control. This is why some speak of giving up all concepts.

    But really, it’s not the concepts that are the issue because even the idea “I have no concepts” is a concept that is an equal barrier. The issue is identifying with the concepts, believing them.

    Rather, see them as a working model, an idea to be revised when better info comes along. Hold them loosely so they don’t hold you. 🙂

    Thanks, and thanks for commenting.

    1. Connor

      Interesting. A model of the progression of awareness can only limit a practitioner to the extent the it interferes with their practice of effortless awareness, because when a belief or framework is held in lively awareness, the truth value or accuracy of it becomes unimportant. And you can’t control your future conditioning by modifying your expectations, because all expectations are themselves interfering forms of conditioning.

      Don’t worry, I don’t dogmatically think experience x means I’m at point y on model z, or anything. The mind just wanders after answers, as you say, in between meditation sessions spent shaking around while this dense stuff loosens.

      Thanks again.

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