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Radical Nonconceptuality

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about Radical Nonconceptuality

Both the Dimensions of Radical Nonconceptuality and the Precognitive Structures Lack Conceptual Knowing

So far, I have differentiated between conventional nonconceptuality, which is immediate experience, feelings, and actions rather than mental content, and radical nonconceptuality, which is experience with no knowing at all. This absence of knowing and cognition characterizes both the pure awareness and absolute dimensions of true nature. Pure awareness is the empty lucidity of all experience and perception, the luminosity of true nature, and the absolute is the transparency before luminosity, the unobstructedness of nonbeing. Because these dimensions—the primordial awareness and its source, which is the essence of awareness, the absolute emptiness and mystery—are radically nonconceptual, they expose and dissolve all kinds of concepts. They are very useful in seeing representational constructs, conceptual constructs, and the conceptualization and reification of experience. And they also help us begin to recognize the presence and influence of primitive and precognitive structures. Both the dimensions of radical nonconceptuality and the precognitive structures lack conceptual knowing. Neither functions via representations. Because these nonconceptual dimensions don’t have conceptual knowing, they expose and challenge our primitive structures.

Pure Awareness Shows that “Nonconceptual” does not Simply Mean not Mental

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.

The Move from Radical Nonconceptuality to Total Nonconceptuality

For now, it is enough for us to know that nonconceptuality can go beyond what we usually experience as nonconceptual, whether that is the conventional sense of the nonconceptual as direct experience or the nondual sense of it as the transcendence of concepts. This going beyond nonconceptuality is not a negation of anything. Even to say “going beyond” is not an exact description but rather an approximation of the situation, because there is no “going” and no “beyond.” The move from radical nonconceptuality to total nonconceptuality is one of greater inclusion. Because it is not patterned or bound by polarity, total nonconceptuality is open to all the possibilities of experience—conceptual, nonconceptual, and otherwise. Freedom comes not by eliminating concepts but by becoming master of them, so that what we are is not patterned by them in any fixed manner. As our freedom becomes unconditional, we are able to experience and utilize concepts and no concepts with comfort and ease, with a simplicity that is beyond the need for fixation and an openness that refuses to be limited. 

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