Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom
Excerpts about True Knowledge
Even True Knowledge Based on Our Experience is Composed of Concepts
So our work has to do with inquiry into the very consciousness and perceptivity of our experience. We need to rely more and more on our own immediate, direct knowledge. However, even true knowledge based on our own experience is composed of concepts, labels, ideas, images, and so on. So it exists only as a memory. For instance, you work on yourself and you have the experience of being an ocean of consciousness. This is a true, direct knowledge of your consciousness. But the next moment, it is just memory, an image, concept, idea, impression from the past. It is true knowledge in that you got it directly, but it immediately becomes ordinary knowledge, old knowledge. If you keep thinking that who you are is an ocean of consciousness, this will disconnect you from your immediate experience, even though the statement is both true and experientially derived. These concepts, labels, and ideas that come from our direct and true knowledge have to be taken as symbols or pointers to the realities that they refer to. They are not the truth. If you talk about your experience of being an ocean of consciousness, the recounting of that experience is not the truth. It is truth only if it is the immediate experience of essential reality now.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, pg. 72
Realizing How Much You Do Not Know
The fact is that true knowledge just opens up more questions. It just shows you more and more that you do not know. When you have the next insight, you have just found out something, but at that same instant you realize how much more you do not know. And it should continue that way – seeing how much more you do not know, until finally, you realize you do not know anything. When you finally see that that you know absolutely nothing then maybe it is possible to be innocent.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 151
True Knowledge Frees Us from the Need for Comfort
True knowledge does not give us comfort. In fact, it frees us from the need for comfort. It does not make us more secure and cozy; it makes us more and more insecure. True knowledge causes us to lose our ground more and more because the ground we are standing on is fake. This Work is not an easy thing from the perspective of the dead world. It is very difficult and frightening. It is terrifying. It looks impossible because we look at it from the perspective of the mind; from that perspective it is not possible. But it is possible because the true reality is there. That’s what makes it possible. It is not because our mind thinks it is possible or not. Its possibility is its reality. It is what is; that’s why it is possible to perceive it. From the perspective of the mind, how can we allow ourselves not to know? It seems impossible, terrifying. How can we be willing to not know, to leave ourselves alone, to not even assume that we exist or do not exist? How can we not assume that we are human beings or not human beings? How can we not assume that this is my body or not my body? How is it possible to not assume that there are people? To not assume there is good or bad? It is terrifying. All these assumptions that we make indicate that we believe that we know. These assumptions are the darkness; they are the veils. This is the staleness, the darkness that obscures the freshness. Reality is so fresh it cannot be approached through the mind. The mind will have to dissolve, thin away, because reality is like a sun of ice, a radiant sun of ice. It radiates coolness, freshness, crystalline clarity. There is no place for coziness, familiarity, comfort of the usual kind. No hiding, covering this corner or that corner, with dust here, a little old thing saved over there—none of that. Our Work reveals the perception and understanding that we are freshness, we are innocence. We are an unknowableness.
Diamond Heart Book Four, pg. 151
True Knowledge is Not an Accumulation
I’m saying all this to give a little hint of the kind of depth our inquiry can reach, to give a taste of what it is we are really doing. This gives us a sense of where we are going so that we do not delude ourselves with believing that we know where we are going, and we do not delude ourselves in pursuing things that we already know, that we already have planned and mapped. This is the true function of knowledge. True knowledge is not an accumulation. When true knowledge arises, it might answer your questions, but at the same time it will open up a thousand others. Understanding is a continual process of opening up more and more questions. When you have absolute knowledge, it is one huge, infinite question. You do not know something; you are just staring at reality. Knowledge is not to close something, to end something, or to come to conclusions. The true function of the mind is not to come to conclusions, and true knowledge is not comprised of conclusions. True knowledge is the opening of questions. In the dead world, we want knowledge that will silence our questions. We want our questions to be answered for good; we want to have no more questions. The fact is that true knowledge just opens up more questions. It just shows you more and more that you do not know. When you have the next insight, you have just found out something, but at that same instant you realize how much more you do not know. And it should continue that way—seeing how much more you do not know, until finally, you realize you do not know anything. When you finally see that you know absolutely nothing, then maybe it is possible to be innocent.