Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Mystical Knowing
Basic Knowledge is the Source of Mystical Experience, Intuitive Perceptions and Mysterious Revelations
The question of the status of mystical knowing is clarified when we appreciate basic knowledge. Becoming aware of what is called mystical knowledge is the opposite operation from the development of discursive knowledge. Basic knowledge is being and discrimination at the same time. Discursive knowledge develops by emphasizing the discrimination aspect of basic knowledge, while mystical knowledge emphasizes the direct feel and touch of basic knowledge. It focuses on its Being side. In reality, basic knowledge is gnosis—the common word for direct knowledge of Reality—especially when it is not patterned by ordinary knowledge. Gnosis can possess degrees of discrimination, depending on how much we focus on the discriminating outlines in the field of knowledge. The less we focus on these demarcations and the more we are immersed in the direct feel of the field, the more that gnosis will be mysterious, intuitive, even vague and indiscernible. Gnosis can be divested of its discriminating characteristics such that only a bare minimum remains; this involves deep, direct experience, usually without the capacity to say much about it. This movement toward knowledge without discrimination goes as far as total mystery, where we are touched deeply, totally immersed in the depth of awareness with no content, or even with no sense of awareness. We see here how basic knowledge is the source of mystical experience, intuitive perceptions, mysterious revelations, and how by emphasizing the basic textures and forms of the field of knowledge, at the expense of its discriminating demarcations, we can become convinced that mystical or spiritual experience is inherently beyond recognition, beyond mind, and beyond discrimination. The fact is that the more we are disinterested in discrimination in our direct experience, the more our spiritual experience will appear in the form of inexpressible revelations, perceptions beyond description, and experiences that transcend mind and reason.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 60
Mystical Knowing Disappears in the Radical Nonconceptuality of the Dimension of Nonconceptual Awareness
Nonconceptual awareness, pure awareness, shows that “nonconceptual” does not simply mean not mental. What people conventionally refer to as nonconceptual is the range of experience beyond the thinking mind—something either felt or experienced immediately. Pure awareness reveals a more radical kind of nonconceptuality, one that is not any direct experience or feeling state but direct experience that doesn’t have any kind of knowing in it. Both cognitive knowing and direct mystical knowing disappear in the radical nonconceptuality of this dimension.
Runaway Realization, pg. 191
The Most Fundamental Mystical Experience
This is the most fundamental mystical experience. In contrast to other spiritual experiences, such as an inner experience of Essence or the sense of grace descending onto you, the mystical experience is the recognition and experience that everything, with nothing excluded, is a loving, conscious presence. This consciousness can be experienced at different levels and
dimensions like other essential qualities, but its central characteristic is an aliveness, a reality, a truth, a profundity. When you have this mystical experience of seeing the loving nature of theuniverse, you see that what will bring about peace on earth is not politics. You see that there is no way to bring true harmony to the world except through seeing the harmony that is already there. You see that external harmony has to be an expression of inner harmony; otherwise, it will never manifest because one’s view of the world would remain a projection of the inner delusions of separateness and conflict. Basically, everyone has this projection and is at odds with it, trying to change it or improve it, fighting with it inside one’s mind, making little changes here and there, but not fundamentally resolving it. If you really recognize the inner nature of reality—that it is loving, that it is joyous, that it is abundant—you will live from that recognition and you will act so as to bring about in others the same recognition.
Facets of Unity, pg. 57
The Possibility of Recognizing the Ground that Unifies Mystical Perception with Rational Thought
We see here how basic knowledge is the source of mystical experience, intuitive perceptions, mysterious revelations, and how by emphasizing the basic textures and forms of the field of knowledge, at the expense of its discriminating demarcations, we can become convinced that mystical or spiritual experience is inherently beyond recognition, beyond mind, and beyond discrimination. The fact is that the more we are disinterested in discrimination in our direct experience, the more our spiritual experience will appear in the form of inexpressible revelations, perceptions beyond description, and experiences that transcend mind and reason. This approach to mystical knowledge is inevitable to the extent that we remain under the sway
of our normal discursive mind and its abstract knowledge; then our only access to gnosis is by setting this mind aside, and with it cognitive discrimination. Recognizing how thought, reason, and logic on the one hand, and mystical revelations and spiritual transcendence on the other, are both related to basic knowledge can help us move toward a new integration of knowledge. We have the possibility of recognizing the ground that unifies mystical perception with rational thought, a unification that is not simply an addition or sequential application, but a coemergent operation. Some Greek philosophy and Christian philosophy in the West, and various Eastern philosophers, have appreciated this unified nature of the various dimensions of consciousness composing our soul. Yet it is clear that modern thought has developed in the context of emphasizing abstract thought as increasingly removed from direct experience, allowing new heights in the abstracted operation of reason. The integration of this thought with a return to attention on basic knowledge, on the understanding of actual present experience of self and world, will take this understanding of unity to a higher level of integration on the evolutionary spiral.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 61
The Separation of Rational/Representational Knowing from Spiritual/Mystical Knowing
Being is more fundamental than the thinking mind and more fundamental than feelings and emotions. It is the ground of all manifestation. And we can focus our knowing on this dimension, rather than on manifestation, the content of normal experience and perception. When we do that we find we are presence. As presence, I am because I am. Before we go into the subtle question of identity, whether presence is an “I” (which is discussed in The Point of Existence), the point we are emphasizing here is that presence is known by presence. In this dimension, being and knowing are one, not yet differentiated. From the perspective of a culture whose perspective is dominated by the dissociation of self, world, and Being, this unity of knowing and being seems like a novel idea. The dissociation of Being from the self or soul has separated rational/representational knowing from spiritual/mystical knowing. The articulation of rational thought characterizes our logical and discursive knowing, which relies primarily on thinking; and spiritual knowing is now thought of as involving nonrational, direct experience. In our modern understanding, what we think of as knowing is only knowing that relies on the discursive rational mind; we have largely forgotten that direct and mystical experience is also knowing, or gnosis. Gnosis is knowing by being, by identifying with what we know. This kind of knowing has for the most part in modern culture been relegated to religious and spiritual teachings. And since consciousness is the very faculty of knowing, the only way we can truly know it is through gnosis. We can only know consciousness purely by being it, by identifying consciousness with consciousness. This is the experience of presence, which we know by being the presence
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 34
When You Experience the Oneness and Unity of Existence You are on the Level of the Mystical
The perception that Being constitutes the totality of everything is what is generally called a mystical experience. Before this, you may have spiritual experiences, but when you experience the oneness and the unity of existence, you are on the level of the mystical. In the dimension of Living Daylight, you experience that everything is made out of love. When you look around you,everything might appear, for example, to be made out of a pink and sweet diamond-like taffy substance, and be pervaded with a wonder, a beauty, and a sweetness. So the experience of boundlessness that arises as we move into the formless dimensions becomes the deepest level of truth that we perceive. On the level of the Supreme (the dimension of Pure Presence or Pure Being), for example, you realize that everything is a translucent Beingness. You see that it is not as though translucent Beingness is in everything or that everything exists in it, but that everything is the translucence. It is inside things, outside things, and in between them. There is no place that is not translucent Beingness. On this level of the Supreme, there is no separation between what we call appearance and reality, the form and the meaning. They are all one thing; there is a unity.