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Basic Knowledge

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Basic Knowledge

For Most of Us, Most of the Time, Basic Knowledge is Determined and Distorted by Our Ordinary Knowledge

We have seen that in a fundamental way, experience is basic knowledge, which is the expression of the innate discriminating wisdom of Being. We have also learned that we can be aware of this innate discriminating wisdom of Being in a distorted way or a pure way. When our awareness is distorted, we live inside ordinary experience. When it is pure—liberated from ordinary knowledge—we experience the discriminating wisdom of basic knowledge as
a display of luminosity and presence. But for most of us, most of the time, basic knowledge is determined and distorted by our ordinary knowledge. As human beings, we naturally want to free basic knowledge, for this means freeing our experience. That is our liberation. Freeing basic knowledge means freeing Being to manifest itself in whatever form its intelligence guides it to. Our Being is then spontaneous, free, and truly responsive to the particular situation instead of being held captive by the demands of our past, especially the constraints imposed by our conditioning. Our liberation is a matter of releasing basic knowledge from the distorting and limiting influence of ordinary knowledge, so that experience becomes the pure, direct display of the discriminating wisdom.

A New Kind of Knowledge

We see here that by encountering essential experience, we begin to have a new kind of knowledge that we didn’t anticipate when we were within the restricted boundaries of ordinary knowledge. If we were to go along in our inquiry thinking that ordinary knowledge is the only knowledge there is, we wouldn’t find out about this new kind of knowledge, which I call basic knowledge. And even now our mind may simply want to create a category called basic knowledge in which to deposit certain kinds of experiences such as essential ones. This is once again treating basic knowledge as if it were a new kind of ordinary knowledge. The fact that this is a different kind of knowledge, one that cannot be stored and manipulated by the mind, has very profound implications for inquiry, as we shall see. Not only is basic knowledge “live” in the sense of existing only in the present, and thus unstorable like random access memory (RAM) on a computer, but it is also “live” unlike any computer knowledge, in the sense of being self-aware and self-knowing. One of the most important things we learn when we start to experience Essence is that the presence knows itself, but the presence and the knowingness of the presence are completely indistinguishable; they are not two things. This is similar to the way water is wet, yet the wetness is not separable from the water.

Basic Knowledge Gradually Loses its Purity, Becoming Contaminated with Ordinary Knowledge

Linking categorical concepts, thinking then develops more abstract concepts, such as evolution, thermodynamics, communism, and so on. They are abstract because they are further removed from basic knowledge. This activity of abstraction has no limit, and can develop to amazing degrees of abstraction and complexity. We end up with an increasing accumulation of concepts, of various degrees of abstraction, and an amazing network of connections and interrelations. This accumulation is normally called knowledge, but we refer to it in our work as “ordinary knowledge,” differentiating it from basic knowledge. It is important to not forget that basic
knowledge is the origin of ordinary knowledge. The latter is in fact a subset of basic knowledge, for it consists of mental forms, which are nothing but a certain type of noetic form. But ordinary knowledge is a special subset that becomes influential in the development of basic knowledge. The mind begins to not only directly know but to relate what it knows to its memories andordinary knowledge. Basic knowledge gradually loses its purity, becoming increasingly contaminated with ordinary knowledge. The individual mind does not only relate and associate memories and concepts to immediate perceptions and experiences, but in time begins to experience and perceive through its ordinary knowledge.

Basic Knowledge is a Dimension of True Nature and Not Limited to the Individual Soul

The mind that knows is pure presence itself, which knows its own differentiations. It is the knowing of Being, the knowing of true existence, differentiated into the knowing of beings and existents. It knows through the soul, for it needs to be localized for there to be discriminated knowledge of forms. It provides the soul with her knowing faculty, with her mind and intellect, just as the dimension of divine love provides her with her heart and feelings. This means that it is not an individual soul that knows, although that is how things appear. When we know the boundless dimension of pure presence, which is the dimension of pure basic knowledge, we recognize that it is basic knowledge that knows. Basic knowledge is a dimension of true nature, and not limited to the individual soul. It operates through the soul; for the soul is its organ of perception, similar to how the eye is the organ of seeing for the body but it is not exactly the eye that sees.

Basic Knowledge is Discriminated Information that is Happening in the Moment Inclusive of the Observer and the Observed

Basic knowledge means experience right now, the direct knowingness of your experience this moment. It is discriminated information that is happening in the moment inclusive of the observer and the observed. But then you have thoughts about this arising information, reflection on it, and a framework through which you look at it, and that is what we call ordinary knowledge.
Inquiry helps you see how ordinary knowledge is affecting your direct experience now. To be liberated from ordinary knowledge means that you feel what you are experiencing right now freshly, without this overlay of old information. The moment you are consciously in touch with basic knowledge, you realize that nothing can escape it. No concept exists outside of it because any concept is ultimately basic knowledge—even God. What is God? Basic knowledge. What is the Absolute? Basic knowledge. Basic knowledge has many qualities, many levels, many refinements, and many ways of manifesting itself. The point is that in any experience, there is knowingness, and if you eliminate the dichotomy of observer and observed, you see that this knowingness is the same thing as the known, which is the same thing as the knowledge. This is a different way of defining knowledge than the ordinary way of defining it. This knowledge is a more direct, immediate, and experienced knowledge, and yet it is still knowledge that includes the discrimination and recognition of the meaning of the experience.

Differentiation is Inherent in Manifest Reality and it Ontologically Precedes the Dimension of Basic Knowledge

In recognizing that pure awareness is nonconceptual, we discover new and surprising truths about Reality. We see that our being is fundamentally beyond mind, beyond discriminating knowing. We see that, since nonconceptual awareness is the ground of all manifestation, Reality is independent of our minds, and manifestation is not the creation of our thoughts. Without manifestation there would be no awareness, and since awareness is ultimately nonconceptual, the forms in manifestation are not conceptual either. This is a radical discovery. It illuminates the Reality beyond our individual minds, revealing that the differentiation in manifestation is beyond mind. We do not need discriminating knowing to perceive differentiation. Differentiation is inherent in manifest reality, and it ontologically precedes the dimension of basic knowledge, the nous dimension. The basic knowledge of pure presence simply adds discrimination to the already present differentiation of forms in manifest reality.

Ordinary Knowledge is Carried by Thoughts Whereas Basic Knowledge is Carried by Perception

To put it succinctly, ordinary knowledge is carried by thoughts whereas basic knowledge is carried by perception. Ordinary knowledge cannot be separated from thoughts, and basic knowledge cannot be separated from perception. Inquiry is the action of the optimizing thrust of Being’s intelligent dynamism that opens up basic knowledge, liberating it from the cramping influence of ordinary knowledge. When basic knowledge is liberated from the filter of ordinary knowledge, it reveals itself as the discriminating awareness of Being, the wisdom of discrimination. In other words, we recognize that this inherent discrimination is the source of discrimination in basic knowledge, and hence in ordinary knowledge. Basic knowledge spans the distance between the wisdom of discrimination —one of the fundamental characteristics of true nature—and conventional experience, which is basic knowledge filtered through ordinary knowledge. From this perspective, it is possible to see inquiry as a vehicle that takes us from conventional experience to enlightened perception, through the understanding that transforms basic knowledge back to its source, the wisdom of discrimination.

Seeing that All Phenomena – Inner and Outer – are Knowledge

Basic knowledge spans the distance between the wisdom of discrimination —one of the fundamental characteristics of true nature—and conventional experience, which is basic knowledge filtered through ordinary knowledge. From this perspective, it is possible to see inquiry as a vehicle that takes us from conventional experience to enlightened perception, through the understanding that transforms basic knowledge back to its source, the wisdom of discrimination. Remembering that another characteristic of true nature or reality is its unity, we see another important fact about basic knowledge. Not only is our inner experience knowledge, and not only is our experience of external phenomena knowledge, but all phenomena—inner and outer—are knowledge. The wisdom of pervasiveness, of unity, eliminates the boundaries that separate percepts in basic knowledge, revealing them only as the lines of demarcation that allow discrimination. We then see that all of reality, the whole universe, is
knowledge.

The Flow of Basic Knowledge Follows the Pattern of the Logos

The experience of the logos is then not only the flow of all objects and phenomena, but the flow of knowledge. Just as we saw in chapter 18 that on the dimension of pure presence all manifest objects are noetic forms, we see here that they are dynamic and flowing noetic forms. The manifestation and evolution of the world is the flow of basic knowledge, knowing inseparable from dynamic unfoldment. And since this flow is orderly and patterned, the flow of knowledge is orderly and harmonious. In other words, the flow of basic knowledge follows the pattern of the logos. The Greeks equated logos with reason, because the logos has an order, or a rule, that steers its unfoldment. Reason is originally the order of the logos, the principle or principles that order its pattern. In other words, the flow of basic knowledge is reasonable, makes perfect sense. We may refer to this as basic reason, differentiating it from ordinary reason, in correspondence with ordinary and basic knowledge.

The Movement Toward More Lumination in Basic Knowledge

The optimizing thrust of Being is an inherent, dynamic intelligence in basic knowledge that, when left to its own without our interference, will tend to create more luminosity in its knowingness. So the optimizing thrust is a movement toward more lumination in basic knowledge, and inquiry is an expression of this movement, this intelligent dynamism. When basic knowledge frees itself from the influence of ordinary knowledge, it becomes more luminous and begins to experience itself more immediately and more intimately. In that process, it will also come to know itself as presence, as beingness. When inquiry is open and open ended, it discloses the knowledge that is always available within experience. Knowledge is available all around us all of the time, in total abundance. If we allow ourselves to be open to it, this knowledge will manifest more and more knowledge, more qualities that we can call new knowledge. Whole new dimensions are part of this new knowledge. We are a total richness of knowledge.

When We Inquire We are Inquiring into Basic Knowledge

So how are inquiry and understanding related to basic knowledge? When we inquire, what we are actually inquiring into is basic knowledge. Basic knowledge is never static; it is always moving. Now you are sad, now you are angry, now your knee hurts, now there is a thought, now there is an image. It is always moving and changing. This is the nature of basic knowledge.
And because basic knowledge is a presence of self-awareness and self-knowingness, inquiry, then, is actually basic knowledge inquiring into basic knowledge. What happens in inquiry is that basic knowledge is inquiring into itself, and through this inquiry is liberating itself from the influences of a subset of itself, which is ordinary knowledge.

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