Friday, July 25, 2014

Three kinds of knowing

St. Augustine teaches about three kinds of knowing. The first is bodily, perceiving images as the eye sees and perceives images. The second is mental but still admits of images of bodily things. The third is in the interior mind, which knows without image or likeness, and this knowledge resembles the angels. The highest ranks of the angels are threefold. One master says the soul does not know itself except by likeness, but angels know themselves and God without likeness. 

Just reside in sensation and rest there. See what happens. 
You don't know what will happen, so just rest there and sense. 

Something will come.

—The author.

 I am quite familiar with the first and the second kind of knowing that Meister Eckhart speaks about here. But I know so little about the third kind. And I don't even know how to approach it. It is easy to approach through the eyes, and the ears, and even touch and taste and smell. These physical things are given; so much so that I ignore them most of the time. And the mind — well, the mind. This is all I actually know; I think about everything far too much.

The interior mind is a completely different form of Being. It is the essence, a child born of the inward flow of the divine into Being, which receives it and is fed by it. Close reading of Meister Eckhart's material will reveal that this interior mind is actually a part of God, born of God. It's essentially indistinguishable from God in its growth, its purity, and the depth of its love and intelligence; yet it is starved in me.

I can know myself, and know God, without likeness. The energy makes this possible; and beginning with sensation, with the organic sense of being, already, there is no likeness. Sensation does not create analogies or construct images; it is incapable of worshiping idols, because it can't construct them, or even imagine them. This is an enormous thing; because so few understand it, so few appreciate it. Imagine — a part of the self that doesn't create images or formulate concepts! What is that? It's a mystery. There is no way to nail this down or pin it out on a specimen board like an insect, where it can be inspected and analyzed. The only vehicle for examination here is immediate, within Presence.

 Perhaps everything about inner work is the cultivation of the interior mind, the mind of the soul. An intelligence can awaken in the body: it is a different intelligence than the confused jumble of premises that my ordinary being operates from. If I see my ordinary being for what it is, this confusion — which has no morality or real intelligence — becomes obvious. Yet there is a living Presence within that does have morality and intelligence: and it can only grow and be present within the part that sees.


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