Excerpt About Essential Experience

The New Kind of Knowledge that Comes from Essential Experience

We see here that by encountering essential experience, we begin to have a new kind of knowledge that we didn’t anticipate when we were within the restricted boundaries of ordinary knowledge. If we were to go along in our inquiry thinking that ordinary knowledge is the only knowledge there is, we wouldn’t find out about this new kind of knowledge, which I call basic knowledge. And even now our mind may simply want to create a category called basic knowledge in which to deposit certain kinds of experiences such as essential ones. This is once again treating basic knowledge as if it were a new kind of ordinary knowledge. The fact that this is a different kind of knowledge, one that cannot be stored and manipulated by the mind, has very profound implications for inquiry, as we shall see. Not only is basic knowledge “live” in the sense of existing only in the present, and thus unstorable like random access memory (RAM) on a computer, but it is also “live” unlike any computer knowledge, in the sense of being self-aware and self-knowing. One of the most important things we learn when we start to experience Essence is that the presence knows itself, but the presence and the knowingness of the presence are completely indistinguishable; they are not two things. This is similar to the way water is wet, yet the wetness is not separable from the water. Our essence has the capacity to know itself completely and directly, independent of what we have known in the past. The knowingness is inherent in the essence itself, in such a way that it not only is aware of itself as existing, but is also aware of the quality and characteristics of this existence. This is an expression of the discriminating awareness, one of the five major characteristics of true nature.

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