WHEN WE KNOW, WE CANNOT UN-KNOW

When We Know, We Cannot Un-know

When we know – or recognise – the true nature of our being, which is pure awareness, a challenging problem arises. It is extremely difficult to talk to people who don’t know. It is also difficult to talk to people who believe that they do know, as we all know in different ways.

Hearing or reading teachings on the nature of mind is not the same as personal experience resulting from personal enquiry. Organised teachings are not the same as raw, painful experience: remembering that the first noble truth is the recognition of suffering. Teachings are only a travel brochure! If people have not experienced the rawness of life, then they cannot empathise, can they? If they cannot empathise, then they cannot have compassion. This is merely (as Chogyam Trungpa would say) grandmother’s compassion – to sweeten and win over.

Even when we know or experience the nature of mind – empty essence – we still have the rawness of life to deal with. The closer we look, the more we come into contact with the basis of our karmic makeup. Mine is doubt. Even if we actually meet someone who knows the essence of mind (such as a genuine spiritual teacher), their karmic makeup will be different from ours, so they can only generalise. They know, but in their way.

Dogma is a set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. Dogmatic people are inclined to lay down principles as undeniably true, but without having insight into another’s understanding, these principles are ineffective, and we are back to a grandmother’s approach of feeling good for a while.

So it turns out that silence is golden as, in silence, lies pure awareness.


“Speech is silver, Silence is golden
– or rather,
Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.”

Thomas Carlyle

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