Knowledge and Experience
I grapple with the big questions of life: Why is there something instead of nothing? Who am I? Why am I here? How do I contribute to the world? The answers are constantly being informed and reformed. I have no wish to tell others what to believe. In fact I look to challenge my own beliefs and am less concerned with belief but rather fascinated with experience. What do I experience and how does that inform the structure I build my life upon, the lens I view life through, the actions I take?
It is my desire that this structure be magnificent, as such it is never complete though I yearn for its stability. I want the lens clearer more powerful even as it widens in scope. What do I experience moment by moment? How can I experience more and more deeply? How can I use this to serve life, my own, those I touch, and by extension the world?
And what of mystery? Where does it fit, what is its place? There is a mysterious element to life that cannot be denied, that informs all of creativity. How do I embrace it even as I seek true understanding?
Challenge belief. Open to experience. Embrace mystery. Move from deep understanding.
Belief can be a beautiful thing, an anchor when feeling unmoored; a pole star orienting when all around is confusion. It can also harden, stop serious consideration, limit wonder and astonishment. We long to be sure, to have clarity but clarity is not a final destination. What pulses is alive and what is alive is never stagnant. Growth is both beautiful and painful. One cannot be truly known, experienced without the other. Such is the nature of duality. There is what we know in some intellectual capacity, and then there is what we experience; truly authentically experience moment by moment.
Knowledge and experience go hand in hand; a mutual feedback loop one informing and expanding the other. Knowledge, jnana in Sanskrit, experience vijnana; knowledge permits recognition of what is already occurring in experience. Experience drives one to know more. Thus a mutual feedback loop that pulses and continually grows. It’s said, ‘map is not territory’. One can read all about a place, its land mass, mountains, oceans and individual roads but until feet have been placed upon the land and senses taken in the environment, it can never be truly known. Just as experience alone may fill the senses but miss so much of what is available because without prior knowledge ‘a thing unknown may as well not exist’. Guides are needed.
Belief is another thing altogether. There is an element of mystery inherent in belief requiring no proof nor experience, nothing but our agreement. A beautiful, glorious, obscure, puzzling truth that is unknowable except by revelation. Divine revelation, that which is experienced in the full state of grace. Know and experience the depths of self say the great masters of consciousness. Live life from this experience. All humans instinctively yearn for this. It is the desire set up at birth. Experience of this sort brings a specialized knowledge; immanent knowledge revealed in states of transcendental experience. Mystery brought to light.
Developing a meditation practice that naturally sets the framework for experience of that knowledge, mystical in nature to occur, is the hallmark of the non-dual Śaiva-Tantric teachings. In that, knowledge and experience of every possible sort is heightened, deepened and expanded. I am less concerned with belief but rather fascinated with experience. What do I experience in the deepest source of self? How can I increase and heighten my sensitivity so that I may experience more in myself and life?
Experience then must be digested in order for true understanding to blossom. Understanding is an A HA! moment, a ‘form of ecstasy’ says Carl Sagan. It is light, the light of expansion, of knowledge and experience. I’m still asking the big questions. I find intriguing answers that fit my framework and speak to my heart but still beg further examination, study and experience in the laboratory of my own body-mind. I invite you to do the same.
Bring the Light!