Excerpts About Not Knowing
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 100 • discuss »
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 103 • discuss »
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 98 • discuss »
Diamond Heart Book III, p. 163 • discuss »
Knowing the answer to “Who am I?” happens only in the moment. The answer has nothing to do with the past. If the past determines the answer now, then it is obviously not a correct answer, since the past no longer exists. To really answer the question requires that we see that we don’t know, and also that we don’t know how to find out. Is it possible to let yourself see that you don’t know the answer and don’t know how to find it, and still let the question burn in you? “Who am I?” “Who am I?”
Can we allow ourselves to see that we don’t know? If we assume we know, then we stop the inquiry. If we assume we know how to go about it, we assume we know what the answer is, that we know what we are looking for. Perhaps not knowing is the real knowing. If you allow yourself to see that you don’t really know and you don’t know how to know, something can happen. Maybe this is your first chance of really knowing something. Assuming that you know and assuming that you know what to do are barriers to true knowing. When you finally know that you don’t know, you finally have absolute knowledge. Complete ignorance is what will bring true knowledge.
Diamond Heart Book III, p. 29 • discuss »
The most important insight needed for a student to move from the deficient lack of support to the actual state of support is the recognition that the feeling of helplessness, of not knowing what to do to be oneself, is not an actual deficiency, nor a personal failing. It is rather, the recognition of a fundamental truth about the self, which is that we cannot do anything in order to be, for to be is not an activity. We can come to this understanding only through the cessation of intentional inner activity. At this point, not to know what to do is a matter of recognizing the natural state of affairs, for since there is nothing that we can do to be, then it is natural that we cannot know what to do. There is nothing to know because such knowledge is impossible. Nobody knows what to do to be, and the sooner we recognize this, the easier is our work on self-realization. In fact, feeling that we don’t know what to do to be ourselves is the beginning of the insight that we don’t need to do anything. This fundamental insight underlies many advanced spiritual practices, such as those of surrender and “nondoing” meditation. We can arrive at this insight by exploring the question of support for identity, but it is another matter to remember and practice it. When we truly learn this fundamental truth, then we have become wise; for self-realization is now an effortless relaxation into the nature of who we are, and this is the presence of Being. Nothing more need be done; the transformation is a matter now of spontaneous unfoldment.
The Point of Existence, p. 256 • discuss »
Inquiry begins by looking at our present experience, but it is a looking that must embody openness. Instead of taking our perceived discrimination as final, inquiry says, “I know what I see, but I acknowledge that I do not know whether what I see is all.” You cannot begin to inquire into a perception if you think you know all there is to know about it. The moment you think that you know, the door to inquiry closes. So inquiry begins from a not-knowing, from recognizing and observing something in yourself that you do not understand. This lack of comprehension is not a resignation to ignorance but an acknowledgment of ignorance that has implicit in it an openness to know, an openness to comprehend, an openness to find out what is going on in your direct experience. This openness in inquiry reflects the openness of true nature. Without this openness, which is a fundamental characteristic of true nature, inquiry will not work. The core of inquiry has to be an openness to what is present in experience, to what you know of that experience and what you do not know. It is openness to seeing things as they are, openness for them to change and for the change to reveal more of what is present.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 17 • discuss »
This demonstrates another reason to have a healthy respect and appreciation for not-knowing: Not-knowing is the entry to the adventure of discovery. In time, you may recognize that not-knowing is the way Being opens up to its own mysteriousness. In fact, this not-knowing is the direct expression of the Mystery itself. What does “mystery” mean? When you say, “There is mystery” or “I experience mystery,” you are experiencing not-knowing in a palpable form. Mystery is the essence of Being itself, which manifests in inquiry as an openness that appears as a not-knowing. Entering into that openness of not knowing is the work we do in the Diamond Approach. We question one thing after another—everything we know about ourselves and about reality. And every time we recognize that we don’t know, a new kind of knowledge is revealed.
We need to remember that basic knowingness is the field of Being as it manifests in our soul. Inquiry is a dynamic stream that meanders according to its knowingness of what it does and doesn’t know as it flows through the field of the soul. This field, however, exists within a larger field of not-knowing—a boundless field of mystery and the ground of all of our experience, perception, and knowledge. The not-knowing of inquiry is like a spring bubbling up in the stream of knowing from the underlying ground of Being’s mystery, indicating the undiscovered treasure that lies beneath.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 102 • discuss »
This place of not knowing is different than the not knowing we encounter in inquiry when we have a new experience or one we’ve had before but have not investigated. The latter is the kind of not knowing that we need to move through many times on our inner journey. We need to first recognize through our inquiry that we don’t know something before we can begin to know it. So, for example, we cannot recognize our essential presence before realizing that we don’t know what essential presence is. Because if we continue to believe that we know it, we will never find out what it actually is. So inquiry always requires letting ourselves experience that “I don’t really know what this is . . . I don’t know what is happening right now . . . I don’t know who I am.” It is possible for us to be in that place and still be aware because the nonconceptual awareness is there. But that doesn’t mean that we are aware of the nonconceptual dimension directly. The nonconceptual is supporting that process, but our conceptual, cognitive mind is still present—it just hasn’t yet grasped something. It doesn’t know, but it knows that it doesn’t know. In contrast, in the nonconceptual you don’t know and you don’t know that you don’t know. There is no knowing, where before there was not knowing. So we could say that there are three different kinds of not knowing:
1. “I don’t know, and I don’t know that I don’t know.” This is pure ignorance and darkness, for I believe I know many things. The knowing mind is present.
2. “I don’t know, and I know that I don’t know.” This is awakening to my condition.
3. “I don’t know, and I don’t know that I don’t know.” This is pure realization, light, no darkness, but the knowing mind is absent.
The Unfolding Now, p. 200 • discuss »