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Knowing (Direct Knowing)

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Knowing (Direct Knowing)?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Knowing (Direct Knowing)

Experience of Knowing and Being as a Single Phenomenon

In self-realization we experience ourselves as Presence where Presence is both Being and knowingness. Here, the cognitive act and being are the same experience... The reason we experience knowing and being as a single phenomenon is that Presence is the Presence of consciousness, pure consciousness more fundamental than the content of mind... experiencing the direct truth and reality of our consciousness requires no object.

Not-Knowing is the Entry to the Adventure of Discovery

This demonstrates another reason to have a healthy respect and appreciation for not-knowing: Not-knowing is the entry to the adventure of discovery. In time, you may recognize that not-knowing is the way Being opens up to its own mysteriousness. In fact, this not-knowing is the direct expression of the Mystery itself. What does “mystery” mean? When you say, “There is mystery” or “I experience mystery,” you are experiencing not-knowing in a palpable form. Mystery is the essence of Being itself, which manifests in inquiry as an openness that appears as a not-knowing. Entering into that openness of not-knowing is the work we do in the Diamond Approach. We question one thing after another—everything we know about ourselves and about reality. And every time we recognize that we don’t know, a new kind of knowledge is revealed. We need to remember that basic knowingness is the field of Being as it manifests in our soul. Inquiry is a dynamic stream that meanders according to its knowingness of what it does and doesn’t know as it flows through the field of the soul. This field, however, exists within a larger field of not-knowing—a boundless field of mystery and the ground of all of our experience, perception, and knowledge. The not-knowing of inquiry is like a spring bubbling up in the stream of knowing from the underlying ground of Being’s mystery, indicating the undiscovered treasure that lies beneath.

Not-Knowing Underlies All Knowing

One corollary of the fact that not-knowing underlies all knowing is the recognition that knowing is not something we must have. Knowing is a transitory phenomenon. Something arises and you know it; the experience of knowing it at that moment is what matters. What is important for your liberation is not that you’ve just gotten a piece of knowledge, which you can store in your brain in order to increase the amount of knowledge you have. What matters is the direct experience of the luminosity. And this direct experience of the luminosity needs and requires the ground of not-knowing.

Recognizing a New Way of Knowing

By going from relative to essential truth, we travel to another dimension and recognize a new way of knowing. If we continue in this dimension (the second journey), we find out that the new way of knowing is not that new. Basic knowledge always underlies our ongoing experience, but we could not see it before, because of the usual dualities in our mind between the observer and the observed. We usually think, “The knowingness is in me as I observe my body,” instead of recognizing that there is knowingness that is itself the body. The moment you recognize Essence, it is possible to transcend that duality. In knowing Essence, we begin to recognize basic knowledge, and we embark on a journey into a new way of knowing, a direct and immediate knowing. When we are aware of our presence by being present, there is a new knowledge, and we call this knowledge Essence. At that point, we have the opportunity to begin expanding our inquiry into the nature of all of our experience. We recognize that not only is self-knowing intrinsic to essential presence, but this way of knowing is fundamental to our soul, the consciousness that is the ground of all our experience. We recognize that the soul herself has presence. And how does the soul know herself? How does she experience herself? She experiences herself the same way that Essence experiences itself—through the direct awareness and direct contact with her very presence. In this presence, various things manifest. Sometimes an essential quality manifests, sometimes a feeling or a sensation, an image or a thought.

The Discerning Capacity that Discriminates the Immediacy of What We are Experiencing

This brings us back to the discerning and knowing capacity of presence itself—the higher intellect, essential nous, or what we call “diamond guidance”—which reveals that freedom has other meanings and other horizons. The thing that we need to understand about this discerning capacity is that it discriminates not only our knowledge and the content of our mind but also our direct experience. It discriminates the immediacy of what we are experiencing by discerning, seeing, and revealing what is there. It can extract the meaning and the implications of the experience, which in any experience of true nature are countless and varied. When I say “higher intellect” or “divine mind,” many people misunderstand and consider these to be mental faculties. But the heart is vital to this kind of creative discrimination. The functioning of this capacity actually happens through the unity of mind and heart because without love, there would be no compassion or sensitivity to the mind’s discernment. The creative discrimination of presence is activated by the participation of the heart. This discrimination arises according to true, deep, existential need and only when we have the right orientation—a loving desire to know the truth. As I said before, this capacity of presence to discriminate experience transforms life into a process of discovery and revelation. This presence is not our mind, is not our feelings, is not our body, although it makes use of all of these; it is its own truth.

The Knowing of Being is by Identity

The experience of the Personal Essence is independent from memories. This is because the Personal Essence, with its sense of being a person, is neither an image nor a feeling dependent on an image. It is independent from the mind and its structures, and hence it is independent from the memories of one’s personal history. It is direct perceptual recognition of a state of Being, in the here and now. It is direct and immediate knowing of one’s true personhood, that is inseparable from being the person. This kind of knowing is characteristic of Being in general. The usual kind of knowing is through inference. The knowing of Being is by identity. One knows oneself because one is oneself. It is knowing by being what is known. So it is an immediate, direct, and existential knowing, in which there is no duality of subject and object. So the recognition that Personal Essence is oneself as a person is a definite, clear, profound and unassailable knowingness. There is confidence and certainty. One experiences oneself as a human being, as an ongoing-personal beingness. One is real for one exists absolutely, irrespective of the past and of the environment. One is an ongoing sense-of-beingness that is made out of alive consciousness, consciousness that is a palpable presence and not merely the capacity to be conscious. To be is not just to know in one’s mind that one is. To be is to be Being, as existence, and as a substantial presence that is experienced as concretely as physical reality. So to be the Personal Essence is to be a substantial presence, a fullness, a compact consciousness that feels personal.

To Indirectly Know Ourselves Means that We do Not Know Ourselves as Presence

Representations are the stuff of ordinary knowledge, which means the identity ends up being part of ordinary knowledge, not basic knowledge. This means the soul will know herself through representational knowledge. Representational knowledge, especially through memories, is bound to be an indirect knowing. To indirectly know ourselves means, by definition, that we do not know ourselves as presence; to know ourselves as presence is nothing but to know ourselves directly and immediately. The hallmark of our essential presence is immediacy and directness. The development of the ego sense of identity means the loss of this immediacy, which is again a dissociation of the soul from her essential ground. Furthermore, the overall self-representation, with all of its underlying ego structures, patterns the soul by impressing her field with the content of her history. The past ends up determining the forms the soul experiences in herself, conditioning her dynamic creativity to flow in largely predetermined grooves. This again means the soul’s experience of herself is not immediately in the present, but mediated through past experience. This is both a mediation through the past, and a direct loss of the immediacy of the experience of the present moment. Essential presence is both an immediacy of consciousness and a completely present centered consciousness of oneself. This again dissociates the soul’s experience from her essential ground of presence.

What We Know is Through Words and Concepts that We Acquired from the Past

We kill the world, we kill our lives, we kill our perception by believing that we know. I’m just analyzing it to help you see that we do not really know, not directly, not in an immediate way. What we know is through words and concepts that we acquired from the past. The meanings and connotations of words has a lot to do with what your mother and father believed. The world you see, you are seeing through your mother’s and father’s eyes. You are not really seeing through fresh eyes. You are seeing through your mother’s eyes, and the eyes of the mother of your mother, and the mother of that mother. It goes back to the beginning. But if we can look innocently, purely, directly, then we might see whether we know or not. And the moment we say we know it, the moment we say, “I know who I am,” or we say, “I know what life is, I know what death is, I know what a table is, I know what this world is about,” we put a big barrier on our perception. The barrier is your words, your knowledge, your mind, your past, your experience, and what you know is no longer the world.

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