Beyond the Language of Seeking and Knowing

M: Too much analysis leads you nowhere. There is in you the core of being which is beyond analysis, beyond the mind. You can know it in action only. Express it in daily life and its light will grow ever brighter. The legitimate function of the mind is to tell you what is not. But if you want positive knowledge, you must go beyond the mind.

Q: In all the universe is there one single thing of value?

M: Yes, the power of love.

~from “I Am That”, Nisargadatta Maharaj

How many of us within the spiritual arena are either seeking to become knowers, in order to enhance and confirm, or modify and re-invent, our personal sense of self, or else already imagine ourselves to be knowers? Perhaps both orientations are more like aspects of one consciousness seeking to confirm various conditional projections of self-existence by expressing itself, alternately, as seeker or knower?

In reality, the process of awakening to the fundamental truth of our being has never really been about knowing, but actually quite the reverse. We’ve had it backwards! As  Nisargadatta  Maharaj notes: “To know that you do not know, that is true knowledge.” Furthermore, in our search to acquire knowledge, we may amass a vast library of information, but will our collection bring us any closer to real liberation from the fundamental afflictions that continue to insert themselves in the way we actually live and relate?

As it is, those seekers who are just commencing their journey on the so-called “Spiritual Path” will typically try to discover which practice or association best serves their quest for spiritual development. However, if they are fortunate, they may find out sooner, rather than later, that there is actually no such thing as “spiritual development”.

Our Spirit doesn’t need to develop, there is no progressive hierarchy of advancement — that is just a human concept that doesn’t apply in Reality. Spirit is Itself the changeless reality, our True Self. The formless consciousness which morphs into its many personas can add or subtract nothing from Spirit, which is pure Love and Wisdom, beyond our human comprehension.

That being the case, one might then question why we are here, if not to get enlightened (as most of the preachers claim). Well, Spirit does make use of the physical opportunity, but the motive is somewhat less idealistic and actually more “down to earth”, so to speak. That is, the reason Spirit incarnates a portion of its Light Energy in this density might very well entail something as simple as choosing to have fun in human form, to experience and enjoy the human possibility in whatever way it happens to manifest.

Of course, from the human point of view, this quicksilver life may not necessarily seem like much fun, but that’s because we do not see the bigger picture while we are here. In terms of “why”, we will never be able to comprehend the reason as long as we are operating at this slower vibrational frequency, because in physical form we are simply not configured to be able to access Universal Knowledge. However, far from being a drawback, that is actually a big part of the fun — being able to experience the Unknown, rather than having all the answers. In the Unknown, we do not know how the movie is going to play out, which creates a lot more interest than if we knew everything already.

Our mission then (if one can even call it that) is simply to be ourselves — it is no more complicated than that. Source wants to experience itself in every possible way, and each of us constitutes one of those ways, just as we are. It’s fine if we want to imagine that we are here for some special duty, but that is just the human mind adding some importance to itself, in order to confirm its worth. We don’t have to do that, however, since we are already a perfect expression of Source Energy, just as we are.

Remember, we are being lived. Just letting that recognition in helps to release the chronic sense of mental complication. With that understanding, we can stop worrying and enjoy each moment that we are blessed with as the gift that it is, because if there is any reason to be here, that probably qualifies as the most essential — that, and discarding any conditions we have placed on love.

Fortunately, life will continue to reflect us back to ourselves again and again until an inescapable arrow of truth pierces something deep within us. When the arrow reaches its mark at the heart, the ancient conflict that’s been festering there is shattered to pieces. The artificial contraction we’ve imposed on Love is loosened and eventually dissolves. It becomes obsolete when the dialectics of ephemeral self-images, vanity’s endless feed-back loop, runs out of steam, along with all the effort to keep it operational. The Unknown is no longer feared and avoided by resort to futile strategies of knowing, but welcomed as our true sanctuary and default position. The closed fist opens.

In the meantime, humans are social beings, wanting above all to love and be loved, and so communication will persist. However, is there a language of wonder, of astonishment, of love and selflessness, of curiosity and discovery, which does not merely resurrect and reinforce the seeker/knower dilemma? What songs are there to share that will express the natural state, the original communion of innocence and genuine compassion, prior to the absorbing adventure of consciousness dividing itself into pretenses of ignorance and knowledge, prior to the schemes of self-interest that produce and maintain the sense of estrangement, the games of rejection and separation so prevalent in our relationships?

For such a language to flourish in a relational environment, a mutuality of commitment to truth must be present, beyond self-based motives and facades of seeker/knower. Where there is a willingness to relentlessly question one’s own motivation and self-images, to sincerely investigate the wounded and contracted elements that obscure the spontaneous free expression of our true nature, then that language will reflect a genuine humility and integrity, and in such humble soulfulness reveal the heart of the truly divine relationship that is the inherent birthright of us all.

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn
is just to love, and be loved, in return.”

~Nature Boy


See also:

About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have a number of blog sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: Essays on the Conscious Process: Compiled Poetry and Prosetry: Verses and ramblings on life as it is: Verses and Variations on the Investigation of Mind Nature: Verses on the Play of Consciousness: Poetic Fiction, Fable, Fantabulation: Poems of the Mountain Hermit: Love Poems from The Book of Yes: Autobiographical Fragments, Memories, Stories, and Tall Tales: Ancient and modern spiritual texts, creatively refreshed: Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: Thank You!
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15 Responses to Beyond the Language of Seeking and Knowing

  1. Christopher says:

    Beautiful. Thanks Bob.

  2. Rana says:

    Great insight. Thank you!

  3. Daryll says:

    Interestingly insightful. It is only in a state of solitude one can find God or self. Love is a distraction when not applied to God or self. To be alone and focus on the solitary quiet will open the world to you. People are a distraction and most like the distraction because most dont want to face themselves. Because than you must face the facts of what you could be doing better. Like pray more, speak kinder, dont get angry with others, love yourself more than another. I say all these because these are my weaknesses but I wish to face them and better myself. I have lost the fear to look within because I know I the best company I could have. While we long to be social and active with others by me not craving the attention or a need for others to be around I attract a calmer sort of person. There calmness than helps both of us to achieve a blissful state of being and get us closer to the Holy spirit if that is your concern or goal.

  4. Bob OHearn says:

    “If you negate all that is not the absolute reality then what is left is directly understood to be the real and this real turns out to include every ‘thing’ you negated but now resurrected as unutterable mystery. Things become meanings not knowledge. Alienation of ‘a knower’ becomes intimacy. Certainly this body will fall away, a hair falls off the arm of this body but the body does not grieve. In unknowing awareness appearance has crossed the horizon line of birth and death.”

    ~ Traktung Khepa Rinpoche

  5. Bob OHearn says:

    Q: Words are needed for communication.

    Nisargadatta Maharaj: For exchange of information — yes. But real communication between people is not verbal. For establishing and maintaining relationship, affectionate awareness expressed in direct action is required. Not what you say, but what you do is what matters. Words are made by the mind and are meaningful only on the level of the mind. The word ‘bread’: neither can you eat nor live by it; it merely conveys an idea. It acquires meaning only with the actual eating. In the same sense am I telling you that the Normal State is not verbal. I may say it is wise love expressed in action, but these words convey little, unless you experience them in their fullness and beauty.
    Words have their limited usefulness, but we put no limits to them and bring ourselves to the brink of disaster. Our noble ideas are finely balanced by ignoble actions. We talk of God, Truth and Love, but instead of direct experience we have definitions. Instead of enlarging and deepening action we chisel our definitions. And we imagine that we know what we can define!

    Q: How can one convey experience except through words?

    M: Experience cannot be conveyed through words. It comes with action. A man who is intense in his experience will radiate confidence and courage. Others too will act and gain experience born out of action. Verbal teaching has its use, it prepares the mind for voiding itself of its accumulations.
    A level of mental maturity is reached when nothing external is of any value and the heart is ready to relinquish all. Then the real has a chance and it grasps it. Delays, if any, are caused by the mind being unwilling to see or to discard.
    So many words you have learnt, so many you have spoken. You know everything, but you do not know yourself. For the self is not known through words — only direct insight will reveal it. Look within, search within.

    Q: It is very difficult to abandon words. Our mental life is one continuous stream of words.

    M: It is not a matter of easy, or difficult. You have no alternative. Either you try or you don’t. It is up to you.

    Q: I have tried many times and failed.

    M: Try again. If you keep on trying, something may happen. But if you don’t, you are stuck. You may know all the right words, quote the scriptures, be brilliant in your discussions and yet remain a bag of bones. Or you may be inconspicuous and humble, an insignificant person altogether, yet glowing with loving kindness and deep wisdom.

  6. Bob OHearn says:

    “Language is only a medium for communicating one’s thoughts to another. It is called in only after thoughts arise; other thoughts arise after the ‘I-thought’ rises; the ‘I-thought’ is the root of all conversation. When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.
    Silence is ever-speaking; it is a perennial flow of language; it is interrupted by speaking. These words obstruct that mute language. There is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electric energy. Similarly also, silence is the eternal flow of language, obstructed by words.”

    ~Ramana Maharshi

  7. Bob OHearn says:

    It’s better to know that we don’t know than to think that we know.

    ~Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche

  8. Bob OHearn says:

    “All the philosophical theories that exist have been created by the mistaken dualistic minds of human beings. In the realm of philosophy, that which today is considered true, may tomorrow be proved to be false. No one can guarantee a philosophy’s validity. Because of this, any intellectual way of seeing whatever is always partial and relative. The fact is that there is no truth to seek or to confirm logically; rather what one needs to do is to discover just how much the mind continually limits itself in a condition of dualism.

    Dualism is the real root of our suffering and of all our conflicts. All our concepts and beliefs, no matter how profound they may seem, are like nets which trap us in dualism. When we discover our limits we have to try to overcome them, untying ourselves from whatever type of religious, political or social conviction may condition us. We have to abandon such concepts as ‘enlightenment’, ‘the nature of the mind’, and so on, until we are no longer satisfied by a merely intellectual knowledge, and until we no longer neglect to integrate our knowledge with our actual existence.”

    “But it can happen that a phrase intended to indicate a state beyond concepts just becomes another concept in itself, in the same way that if you ask a person their name and they reply that they have no name, you will then perhaps mistakenly call them ‘No name’.”


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