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LATEST DIALOGUES The Wonder of Unknowing

Beyond science and non-dualism
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We usually describe the world in terms of trees, mountains, rivers, clouds, cars, houses, people, and so on.

But a chemist could say: “No, this is not how things truly are! The world is basically composed of molecules which are ceaselessly combining one with another at random”.

However a physicist would reply: “Not at all! Reality is actually made up of intermingling fields of energy/matter where the dance of waves/particles takes place ceaselessly”.

Who is right? Who is wrong?

All of them are clearly mere conceptual descriptions that can just supply a relative view of reality.

We do not actually live in ‘reality’, but rather in a description of it, that is like a ‘bubble’ of concepts and words all around us, which in time builds up a fictitious view of ourselves and the world.

Even non-dualism (as any other -ism without exception) is just a conceptual description of reality, that hopelessly tries to point to the unknowable ‘Whatever it is’: in so far as it becomes an ideology that relies on words and thoughts, it is unable to enjoy the taste of Being.

So we live in concepts without realizing it.

We blindly believe that reality is just as our thought represents it.

Science gives us an ‘objective’ description of the material world that, to some extent, can be very useful for the improvement of humankind, however relative and incomplete it is.

Non-duality – as far as it still relies on words and thoughts – is just another conceptual description of reality, though its understanding of non-separation can dispel a huge amount of suffering in one’s life.

Neither of them is more or less right, and both are useful.

But as long as we rely merely on them, we remain trapped in the net of concepts.

Just as the fisherman’s net can catch only fishes, but not the water that passes through it and even supports it, so the thinking mind can grasp only concepts, but not the awareness that perceives it as an object: the ‘water of awareness’ can never be detected by the net of the thinking mind.

Indeed, awareness is a paradoxical mystery: on the one hand its evidence is undeniable for the very fact that we are aware of objects, but on the other hand it is unknowable, just as the existence of the eye is undeniable for the very fact that we can see objects, though it always remains invisible, outside the picture.

However, even ‘awareness’ is just a concept: through it, we are ultimately confronted with the unknown ‘bottom line’ of any human knowledge.

No understanding whatsoever can touch the unknowable Source of everything.

What if any idea about who I am, including even the idea of ‘consciousness’, totally collapses?

What if any idea about reality, including even the idea of ‘non duality’, totally collapses?

What if even these very words you are reading now lose any meaning whatsoever and fall away?

What remains when every attempt to understand or to know reality reveals its utter futility?

Then, out of frustration, the thinking mind cannot help saying “I don’t know” and finally quits.

But when that “I don’t know” plunges off the head into the heart, the philosopher dies and the mystic is born.

It is not a process in time. It is a singularity where all the known collapses and disappears.

It is a timeless explosion of pure wonder and awe that blows away everything else.

And what remains is a wild, free, spontaneous, and utterly unknowable aliveness, within the glowing darkness of the Mystery that we ultimately are.

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Mauro Bergonzi has been teaching Religions and Philosophies of India at the Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale” since 1985. He is also a member of I.A.A.P. (International Association for Analytical Psychology) and of C.I.P.A. (Centro Italiano di Psicologia Analitica). He is author of academic essays and articles on Oriental Philosophies, Comparative Religion, Psychology of Mysticism and Transpersonal Psychology. Since 1970, he has practiced meditation (mainly within Buddhist, Taoist and Vedānta traditions), always preserving a non-confessional and non-dogmatic approach. After a natural and spontaneous fading out of both seeking and the seeker, only a radical non dualism prevailed in him. In this respect, his long-standing familiarity with the teachings of Nisargadatta Maharaj, Jiddu Krishnamurti and Tony Parsons was crucial. In the last ten years, he has been invited to give regular sat-sang in Italy. A survey of the non dual communication occurring in these meetings has been published in the book Il sorriso segreto dell’essere (Mondadori).

6 Responses to “The Wonder of Unknowing”

  1. September 03, 2016 at 4:53 pm, Rogelio said:

    WoW…A wonderful heartfelt article…Knowing or Understanding knowing only Knowing…”A timeless explosion of pure wonder and awe”…Thanks for posting…I A(nama-rupa)M !!!

  2. September 04, 2016 at 4:38 am, Mischa said:

    “No understanding whatsoever can touch the unknowable Source of everything.”

    I would say:
    No concept or thinking whatsoever can touch the unknowable Source of everything.
    Because, as the wonderful article says:
    “when that ‘I don’t know’ plunges off the head into the heart, the philosopher dies and the mystic is born” IS understanding, as this realization (not of the mind) STANDS UNDER the conceptual non-reality, and reality is revealed as it is, ungraspable by the mind as it is.

    • September 15, 2016 at 4:50 am, Don said:

      > Wonderfully said. A perfect synopsis.

  3. September 15, 2016 at 9:09 am, dougrek said:

    Really well done. Thank you.

  4. October 26, 2016 at 4:23 pm, Alberto said:

    Sorry, but I find it short-sighted and thus misleading. Of course awareness or consciousness cannot be known: it is one’s own nature. The eye cannot see itself. When we speak about these things we have to use concepts, which are necessarily within duality, but when understanding arises it is not conceptual. So consciousness, as an idea, collapses as idea, but not the reality behind it, which is directly intuited – by consciousness itself. Same thing about non-duality. Concepts are not only necessary, but may be pointers to what is real. There is no need to summon mysticism; universal intuition does it. If the author knew enough about advaita Vedanta, he would not make such blunders.

  5. June 26, 2017 at 9:13 pm, Joseph said:

    Really thoughtful way to express the object of our existence. My heart burst with the thought of letting go the philosopher within and to embrace the mystic. What joy will be that day.

    The message you leave is one of deep insight and I appreciate you sharing it here.

    One thing I could humbly add is the realm of experience might still be felt but outside the mind or thought. The water may be experienced as part of the whole with even a sense from the molecules themselves or our energetic connection to the electrons even if as if a net I only know and catch fish in consciousness.

    I hope my path as the mystic reveals the unknowable as water and fish combined as the perspective widens beyond my humble local perspective of two eyes and conscious brain.

    That is blessing of living a non-dual experience as opposed to thinking about one perhaps?

    Both are perfectly okay.

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