Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Nirmala - Knowing and Not Knowing

There are two kinds of knowing. One kind is the knowing from the past, which includes everything we have
read or been told. We have all invested a lot of time and energy into trying to collect enough knowledge so
that we will feel safe. We want such a solid knowing that no matter what life throws at us we will feel like we know what to do. That is the kind of knowing that I’m suggesting is often useless because life is always
throwing something at you that is beyond your knowing.

There is another kind of knowing, which is much simpler and wiser, and that is the knowing of the
moment—the Heart’s knowing. There is a part of you that just knows. This knowing in the moment is
present to what is actually coming at you from life. It’s not a knowing beforehand but a knowing that arises
to meet what is actually happening in the moment. It is just present to whatever is happening without the
rigidity or preconceptions of the other kind of knowing. As soon as something new arises, it is present to
that, and the past knowing becomes irrelevant. Whatever you knew a moment ago is no longer any good in
this new moment. For example, anyone you think you know—you don’t know them now. You might have
many memories and ideas of what they are like, but to know them now you have to be really present to
them now and have noticed that they have changed—because they have.

Being this present, rather than making you foolish, makes you wide awake and intelligent. You are
present enough to know what is happening right now because you aren’t holding on to a preconceived idea
of what is happening. Another way of saying this is that you trust the source of knowing more than what you
know. If you trust what you already know, it will endlessly lead you astray. That’s when you find yourself
walking into furniture because you didn’t notice that someone moved it since you were last there.
The source of knowing is giving you everything you need to know right now. It may or may not be what
you want to know or be similar to what you knew yesterday, but everything you need to know for this
moment is right here. I’m not suggesting that the other kind of knowing is bad and that the best spiritual
practice of all is a frontal lobotomy. I’m only suggesting that you trust this fresh, alive knowing that shows
up in each moment more than what you know from the past. The only thing you can really know is what is
true right now in this moment.

Most moments are pretty ordinary; so this wonderful, alive knowing is often very ordinary and not
always profound. Sometimes it is profound, but that doesn’t do you any good when, in the next moment,
you have to balance your checkbook. Then, you have to surrender again to what is true in this moment,
which may be that three plus four equals seven. If you’re busy thinking “it’s all One anyway, so I’ll just put
down one,” you’ll get in trouble with the bank.

The truth is that 99% of the time, you act out of this innate knowing: your body breathes out of this
innate knowing. This innate wisdom doesn’t ignore your memories and other knowledge; it just doesn’t give
them validity when the truth of the moment is in contradiction to them. When they are applicable, like the
memory of how to get home when you are driving home, this innate wisdom draws on them.
One reason we turn away from this deeper knowing is that it feels like not knowing. When you are just
here without any preconceptions or pre-conclusions, the experience feels like not knowing. In every
moment, you step back into now, which is a place of not knowing, and then the knowing rises up to meet it.
Right now, this innate wisdom is keeping you breathing, it is keeping the blood circulating throughout your
whole body, it is keeping every cell in your body doing what it needs to do. These are simple knowings, but
they are actually very profound. How does our body know how to do all of this?
So, which will you trust? Will you put your trust in all of your ideas and what you think you know or in
that which has been running your life all along, which has always been enlightened—so enlightened that it
blinks your eyes when they need to blink? Your wisest moments have been when you have been present to
what was happening. When you are present to what is true, what to do becomes obvious. However, this
requires trust because knowing doesn’t show up until the moment, itself, shows up—they arrive together.
You trust by just giving your attention to what is rather than to your ideas about what should be or what you
would like to have happen or to trying to figure out what you will say and do ahead of time, which we do in
hopes that there won’t be any surprises.

The good news is that even before you trust this deeper knowing, it has been working perfectly all
along. The difference is that when you trust it, when you surrender to it, you don’t suffer anymore. When,
instead, you pay attention to your ideas about how things should be or how you want things to happen, this
innate wisdom still gets you where you need to be, but because you are so busy with your ideas about it, you
suffer. The good news is that this innate wisdom is not something you add or something you do or
something you need to master, it is who you are.

from "Nothing Personal"

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