Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about Noetic Form
Characteristics of Noetic Forms
These implicit perfections can and do manifest in a differentiated and explicit way in the inner experience of the soul. In other words, the soul can experience her essence in one of these differentiated qualities. Alternately stated, essence can manifest itself within as these perfect spiritual qualities, when the fundamental ground and nondifferentiated presence of the soul transforms a region of its field into this particular quality. The form that appears may have a shape but it might not; it may be bounded and limited or boundless and infinite. But it will have recognizable characteristics in all the dimensions of the Riemannian manifold of the soul. In other words, these noetic forms will be presence characterized not only by the three spatial dimensions, but also by color, texture, taste, smell, sound, viscosity, luminosity, density, and affect. They are noetic forms because each possesses a distinguishing cognitive component, which we call a universal concept. These forms are universal concepts, in that they are not personal or cultural ones constructed by individual minds. They are the spontaneous manifestations of true nature itself, and they can be recognized because true nature possesses inherent basic knowingness that it gives to the soul. (See Diamond Heart, Book 4, chapter 16.)
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 134
Essential Aspects are Noetic Forms
In our work here one way we address this vicious circle of reification and reactivity is to work on the qualities of the soul, the essential aspects. So far we have talked about the noetic forms of manifestation on the level of physical reality. Another realm of discriminated manifestation which exists independent of personal concepts is the realm of noetic forms which we call essential aspects. The aspects are universal concepts in that their form of manifestation is independent of the personal mind of the person who experiences them. For example, when you experience Essential Compassion, and I experience Essential Compassion, we experience the same thing.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 330
Experiencing Noetic Form as Having the Nature of Thought
On the dimension of pure presence we can experience each noetic form as having the nature of thought. That was the basis of calling the dimension of pure presence universal or divine mind; all objects are thoughts in God’s mind. The logos is a dynamic flowing presence full of knowledge, so these divine thoughts do not simply exist; they move and flow. In other words, we can experience the logos as thinking, as the reasonable flow of concepts and thoughts. Each concept is an object in our world, but they all flow in a rational (reflecting the order of the logos, reason) pattern.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 365
Noetic Form of Soul
One noetic form in the Universal Mind is the human being, the soul of the human being. So one of the concepts or noetic forms of the Universal Mind is soul. Now that soul, that noetic form of soul, one of the universal concepts that truly exists, is different from all other concepts in the sense that it has the capacity to think and conceptualize and create its reality and determine its own perception of things. A rock cannot do that, but the soul can. The soul also has the capacity to shut off awareness of the rest of the Universal Mind, and focus on one part of it, like the physical. A whole viewpoint develops based on that orientation towards physical reality.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 337
Noetic Forms End Up in the Mind as Separate Objects
The obvious result is that the individual mind ends up with a collection of disconnected concepts, memories of discrete elements and objects. Noetic forms that were initially inseparable components of an infinite pattern, constituting the oneness of Being, end up in the mind as separate objects, composing a dismembered world. The discreteness actually exists only in the individual mind, never in the field of Reality itself. Furthermore, the mind uses these discrete units to view this field, a lens that when finally established gives the mind the impression that basic knowledge is composed of discrete entities.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 319
Physical Reality as it Actually Exists is the Existence of Noetic Form
Physical reality as it actually exists is the existence of noetic form. A door is a noetic form, a bird is a noetic form, and a human being is a noetic form, in the sense that they truly exist. These forms are not determined by what we call them or how we perceive them; they actually exist, independent of our beliefs. On the level of oneness, they do not exist separate from everything else, but are part of everything else. A noetic form can be differentiated because it has its own intrinsic pattern that is discriminatable, not because my own personal mind defines the difference between one form and another. I cannot change the differentiations; I can only recognize them. Definitions might change, in that we might call a hill a hill only if it is a certain size. Another culture might call what we call a hill, a mountain. Here we are talking about perception, not naming. So a noetic form has to do with an objective perception in the differentiated realm. This table has a glass of water and a notebook on it. Someone could look at the whole thing and call it a table, and someone else could say, “There’s a table, and there’s a notebook.” But they’re perceiving the same thing. The first person is seeing the notebook as part of the table, but they can see that this is black, and this is brown. This discrimination has to do with actual perception, not labels.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 326
Pure Presence is the Noetic Dimension of True Nature
Pure presence is the cognitive, more precisely the noetic, dimension of true nature, which makes knowing possible. For all knowing is ultimately the knowing of Being, the knowing of isness. We recognize the source of knowability in the fact that all forms, objects, and processes, are noetic. We do not mean here a vague "mystical" kind of knowing, intuitive and impressionistic, but rather the discriminating exact recognition of the form, its qualities, properties and functions, its components and systems, and so on. We see here the possibility for the precise knowledge of objective science.
The Inner Journey Home, pg. 314
Something Discriminated that Truly Exists
So what we call a noetic form is what we call a discriminated something that truly exists, that truly appears to perception. Physical reality is discriminated in universal concepts—a rock, or the hill over there, are universal concepts. It’s not just that I personally see it as a hill. Someone else cannot validly say, “That’s not a hill; that’s an ocean.” The discrimination doesn’t depend upon my personal experience. It is actually what truly exists, what exists as a differentiated existence. This is a noetic form. We also call this kind of discriminated form a universal concept, in that it can be universally perceived. We call these forms concepts because from the perspective of the nonconceptual, the forms in which Being manifests actually appear as ideas. This is the perception that some traditions call the “Divine Mind.” Those aware of this perception might be heard to say such things as “We are all just ideas in God’s mind.” When you are perceiving the existence or manifestation of noetic forms from beyond these forms, they appear as a kind of ideas. Physical reality as it actually exists is the existence of noetic form. A door is a noetic form, a bird is a noetic form, and a human being is a noetic form, in the sense that they truly exist. These forms are not determined by what we call them or how we perceive them; they actually exist, independent of our beliefs. On the level of oneness, they do not exist separate from everything else, but are part of everything else. A noetic form can be differentiated because it has its own intrinsic pattern that is discriminatable, not because my own personal mind defines the difference between one form and another. I cannot change the differentiations; I can only recognize them.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 325
This Fundamental Ground of the Soul is Aware of Differentiation in a Mirror-like Fashion
We have seen that this fundamental ground of the soul is aware of differentiation in a mirror-like fashion, but also that this differentiation appears within it as formations within a field. We have also seen that this ground possesses the capacity to cognize these formations, as noetic forms with recognizable characteristics. Some of these formations are simply presence itself with recognizable qualities. In other words, the noetic forms constitute all manifestations within the soul, but there is a special class of these forms, pure forms in the sense they are the differentiated manifestations of implicit qualities inherent in the nondifferentiated ground. These forms are not images, thoughts, emotions, sensations, movements, or any category familiar in our ordinary experience. They are purely spiritual forms, essential noetic forms.