Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Nameless
Being Beyond the Nameless Reality
Even consciousness, which is not exactly a concept, can be shed. At some point, usually without anticipating it, one realizes that one is perceiving the Nameless Reality as external to oneself. One becomes aware that one is beyond the Nameless, and the world that it supports, as an unknowable mystery. The Nonconceptual Reality, which is the ground of the world of concepts, is experienced here as not absolutely real. In fact, it is experienced as a radiance, ephemeral and insubstantial, in relation to and emanating from an unfathomable Absolute. One realizes that one’s most absolute nature, which turns out to be the underlying nature of all of existence, transcends not only the mind, but consciousness itself. One is the beyond, beyond whatever can be experienced or perceived. Absence is seen as an incomplete glimpse into the Absolute. One is the ultimate subject, which cannot be an object of perception, and hence is unknown and unknowable. The Absolute is not aware of itself, but awareness of everything else proceeds from it, while what characterizes consciousness is that it is conscious of itself.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 468
Functioning and the Nameless
The relation of the Personal Essence to this nonconceptual reality is again seen in functioning. Functioning in this realm is like that in the state of Absence, in the sense that it is not related to a doer or a center. However, there is no duality, no differentiation between the presence of Nameless Reality and functioning. The experience is of the ultimate reality, which is everything and beyond everything, and is seen to be the source of functioning, without functioning being any different from the presence of the Nameless Reality. One is the Nameless all, without the mind saying so. One is the functioning, without the mind saying that one is functioning. The Reality is functioning, and functioning is the Reality.
In other words, the Nonconceptual Reality is what functions, without functioning being perceived as separate in any way from the presence of Reality. There is no conceptualization whatsoever, so there is no differentiation between functioning and what functions. It is as if when the hand moves it is not your hand, but the hand of the true Reality, which is nothing but the true Reality. The Nameless Reality is you, is the hand, and is the movement of the hand. This condition is expressed in a famous Zen Koan: A Zen master, Joshu, was approached by a disciple. The disciple asked the master to teach him the essence of Zen. The master asked: "Have you had your breakfast?" The disciple answered affirmatively. The master said: "Then go wash your bowl."
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 466
Presence and Absence
These considerations of the perception of duality and subtle conceptualization, amongst others, precipitate spontaneously the ultimate reality, the truly nonconceptual truth. Here, words will not say anything positive. Nonconceptual Reality is how things are. It is direct perception of reality without the involvement of the mind. It is both presence and absence, but also neither. It is neither self nor no-self, nor the absence of both self and no-self. It is both being and nonbeing and neither. It is everything and it is nothing. Whenever there is negation or affirmation there is conceptualization, and the true reality is gone. And hence we call reality as it is the Nameless; it cannot be named.
Pearl Beyond Price, pg. 465
As the nonconceptual, which I call the Nameless because there is no name for it, I know, and I know that I know. But I don’t know what I know. This level of knowing does not involve recognition of things. In the Absolute I don’t know, and I don’t know that I don’t know. The Nameless is “I know.” I know that I know, but I don’t know what I know, because there is nothing there to know. It is just consciousness knowing itself. It is just the bare minimum of awareness of existence, which is pure consciousness. We call it nonconceptual because there are no concepts there. The moment there are concepts, you know something. The moment you say, “I know this,” you have created a concept or become aware of a concept. You have put something in a category, delineated it as something. But the nonconceptual is not a something.
In the nonconceptual, there is no sense of space and time. When the nonconceptual is experiencing the nonconceptual, it doesn’t have form, shape, color, location, or size. It is prior to time and space. To have shape and size and color you need the concept of space. The only thing left is quality, and the quality is simply consciousness. You almost cannot even call it quality; it’s not exactly that. It’s as if you’re aware, and you know you’re aware, but you’re not aware of anything in particular. You are simply aware of the awareness itself, conscious of the consciousness itself. You don’t know whether it’s inside or outside. There is no concept of inside or outside. There is no concept of someone being there, being aware.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 322
The Nameless Reality Realized Beyond Mind
The Nonconceptual Nameless Reality is the same as Nondifferentiated Pure Being, but realized beyond mind. The Absolute is the same as the Nameless Reality, but now realized beyond consciousness. This means it is the nature of all existence, it is all existence, it is everything and it is beyond everything. Hence it is the ultimate nature of all differentiated aspects of Being. There can be perception of differentiation, which here means difference and variety, but not separation. There is absolute oneness of all that appears to perception; however, it is not conceived of as oneness, since there is no conceptualization. There is unity as the nature and essence of all. To understand how functioning occurs, or is perceived, at this level, is to understand functioning that transcends the individual. We alluded to this in discussing functioning from the perspective of the dimensions of Absence, the Nameless and the Absolute; the totality of existence functions in unity, as a oneness of existence. However, this is difficult to understand since functioning has so far been equated with the mode of operation of the Personal Essence, which is an individuated and distinct—although not separate—presence.