Not knowing is true knowledge

A conversation between Justme and Michaela

From the tao te ching

Verse 71:
Not knowing is true knowledge
Presuming to know is a disease
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move towards health
The Master is her own physician,
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.

M: Often I have heard you say not knowing means “everything must be met and seen for the first time”. What does that really mean?  Let’s start to do this right now, in this conversation. You are going to meet me now for the first time. How does that work for you?

J: So lets start with what we are told. There is only now, there is no past and there is no future. This is what we are told. Now forget about what we are told and go back to what we perhaps ‘know’. We know that we have a past and a future and when we look at all our troubles and lack and limitation we know that lack and limitation only takes place when we look for something in the future or fear (or something similar like regrets etc) something in the past. If we ask ourselves what do I need right now (this very moment) right now this exact moment – then the answer always comes back saying nothing- we need nothing right NOW!

Therefore using our experience of this we can say ‘all my concepts about life are based on what I think I know and they are based on past accumulations or future fears and expectations’ – none of these things are based on reality on on my thoughts about reality. I now know this and can meet the person place or thing for the very first time- if I forget to do this dosent ultimately change this truth but will cause insecurity and lack because I am participating in unreality and therefore because it has no substance it will have to cause error.

So I am ready to meet you.

M: It sounds to me there is a lot of “forgetting” to do, before I can meet you without any preconceived notions. How to do this for real ? What you are saying is – move into the NOW whenever you meet someone. OK, I am in the NOW,  I am in this moment, I know intellectually there is no past or future,  but in reality I have not “ forgotten” what I know, as the mental engrams have not been eradicated. I am just in a balanced and relatively open-minded state. What happens next ?

J: If you read my answer you would see there is no forgetting to do! It is remembering, thats all. Remember when you feel pressure or have worries that when you look at where these worries etc come from, you will see they are based in the past or the future. That is not forgetting that is remembering or being present and aware ! When you remember to be aware and see that all trouble is based in something in the future or the past then you KNOW not through power or might but through experience that it is so, you didnt take on a new belief, you understand through experience. So the truth is ‘ Nothing exists in the future or the past all error and lack and limitation is when I believe this to be untrue ‘

If a person can look at their experiences and see if the above is true then experience is the perfect master and a person will soon understand this to be true. When they understand this and experience it to be true they understand they can never do anything else but meet a person or thing for the very first time!

They might think they can and also experience error because they forget this truth but that does not mean it is not true and as soon as they remember, all previous beliefs are seen to be unreal and unimportant.

‘All past and future is not real and therefore is the cause or error , to remember this immediately frees one from the error.’

M: So what you are saying is really what is stated in the quote from the tao te ching above.

Presuming to know is a disease
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move towards health

First I must understand that all I believe to know is based on “knowledge”, from a different context. It is what I have learned from experiences in the past and it is no longer applicable and I need to fully embrace that this is actually true. But as you say – when I am in presence, I realise that indeed there is no past and no future, so anything that has happened before this moment – or will happen thereafter, is at this point is nothing but projecting mind-activity.  This is true regarding my opinions about you, as well as my beliefs. OK, I think I follow you so far.

But I have a question now: How does this being “open-minded” change the quality of the  interaction from what it was before ? If I do not rely on the content of my mind to navigate the experience, what else is there to guide me through the exchange ?

J: We as human beings are at different degrees of density. We can vary as human beings and also at different times are density is at different levels. Firstly we must understand there is two facets to our lives. 1 the spiritual being which is our true nature. 2, The human being or mind, ego etc.

When we talk like I am now it is from the 2nd description, which is ultimately a shadow and bears no substance.

So as spiritual beings we navigate between the spiritual dimension and the lower gross human level. We can bring the spiritual truth into a situation (so to speak , actually we do nothing) from time to time and we ‘feel’ when this is true. It may happen only in certain situations or once in a lifetime depending on whether we are completed engrossed in the 2nd state or whether we can from time to time allow our spiritual dimension to be seen.

By understanding the above even a little bit it provides freedom from the mind which is our biggest problem (hell is here because we chose it to be here) , when we have freedom of mind we can allow the truth to come trough. When we hear truth and feel truth we feel connected which in turn allows us to rise higher and away from the gross imagined state called ego or my mind.

We just need to remember !

When you expect nothing and do not look for guidance but meet it/the person for the first time what ever happens happens .

M: I would argue that practice does not hurt either, like observing the movement of the ego. The more I do that, the funnier it gets. My ego is actually a great source of entertainment to me. In it’s defence, I have to say it does actually comply with many of the realities of living a life suspended upside down (by being quiet and non-reactive most of the time). But it would not understand how it could meet and see you for the first time. We have had so many previous debates and arguments. The ego can only deal with the known and cannot imagine otherwise.

So to change the old habit, it has to be quiet for a moment and move aside. Then I look at your words and soon something else is coming in. It does not really matter if your words are written out of ego or not, because if I care to listen, I will find that truth is always there. It is just a matter of actually being receptive to it and “read between the lines”, which is not an intellectual process.

To say it differently, words convey an intellectual message but there  is always much more information resonating. Its a little bit like ultrasound – when I am attuned to the frequency, I am able to perceive the information.

So it is really a matter of “listening” to each other. What does that mean to you ?

J: I was getting ready to disagree with you but I cant.

Thats it. We are ego and we cant go anywhere but when we know this it releases us and frees us. Then we can listen. When we listen we hear because its like listening for the first time- no baggage.

Says the ego to the ego.

M: I get it. So to meet someone for the first time means to “listen” to them beyond what has been said.

And in this context, what does the remainder of the verse mean  ?

The Master is her own physician,
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole.

J: Sees that she knows nothing..and that second she is free and the miracle takes place.

M: Does that work for you or are we missing something ?

J: It works for me but we are so full of ego we forget. When we remember and move out of the way, well I suspect you said that ‘did it work for you ‘ comment with sarcasm but it did and does…

You have your mind made up about me Michaela yet you know nothing of me.

M: No, it was not sarcasm. But I think we are missing something. If I had made up my mind about you, I probably would no longer be talking to you. The strange thing is that communicating this way helped  me to listen to you. So I am very much used to meeting you for the first time. And I hear you.

So how about you ? Have you made up your mind about me ?

J: Depends what way I am ‘feeling’ at any given time. That’s why it all doesn’t really matter.

M: What you ‘feel’ may be the accurate information though.  The question however is – are you ‘hearing’ me or are you ‘hearing’ yourself ? I think that matters a great deal…

J: Well if I approach you with the knowledge I don’t know then the outcome should be real.

M: Exactly. If you approach me “not knowing”, but in complete openness (open-minded and open-hearted), the outcome will be real. “Without knowing”, we don’t control what is happening – until the ego comes back in, with all the baggage. And from that day on we (egos) just argue and try to control each other.  So why is that ?

J: The thing that does that, is called simply, habit. We have been projected upon and gathered baggage and it is that which we are comfortable with most. When habit comes in, we have to have stability in what we know and we forget that what we know has no substance. We ignore this fact and use our prejudice to form opinion no matter how subtle and it is difficult to approach one another without coming from a starting point which has no reality and has no prejudice. We get off to a bad start so to speak or in-between we forget and once again resume our prejudiced view- which starts from ‘I know’.

M: Yes, and what is creeping in is fear.  What would happen if I no longer have control over my life ( as if one ever had control anyway). What are the consequences of opening up, those are the concerns. “Not knowing” is not an intellectual void. To cease judging is just a part of it. But what “not knowing” really is, is that unprotected openness. And in this space giving is receiving. It is an dynamic exchange, without control.

“Not knowing” means perceiving with the senses, not with the intellect. It needs courage and practice. In such an exchange one is unprotected and there is a certain rawness to it. You are clearly mad, but since you insisted we never speak to each other, we actually may have a chance of figuring this out.

Open-minded, open-hearted. That’s the end of all fear. And that’s what enlightenment is all about.

The Master is her own physician,

She has healed herself of all knowing.

Thus she is truly whole.

J: Some concluding wisdom…

“Become at ease with the state of ‘not knowing.’ This takes you beyond mind because the mind is always trying to conclude and interpret. It is afraid of not knowing.

“So, when you can be at ease with not knowing, you have already gone beyond the mind. A deeper knowing that is non-conceptual then arises out of that state.

“Artistic creation, sports, dance, teaching, counseling — mastery in any field of endeavor implies that the thinking mind is either no longer involved at all or at least is taking second place.”

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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3 Responses to Not knowing is true knowledge

  1. fatima says:

    Love this blog. Good to see old friends.

    love, Fatima

  2. doreen says:

    “We can bring the spiritual truth into a situation (so to speak , actually we do nothing) from time to time and we ‘feel’ when this is true.”

    I resonate with this line!

    with Love,

  3. Judy Opfell says:

    I recently took a long trip to my hometown in NH. I was afraid that I could not drive it alone, but noone wanted to go with me. I was afraid to go until a big heron flew over my head..(symbol of my mother)…I considered it a sign, (there are no herons around here) so I set out alone the next day. I was heading to a HS party and staying at a friends for 2 days. When I left the friends, I did not know where I was going- did not know….and it felt OK not knowing. First I impulsively drove up through the White Mts, my heart happy with them and then back to my hometown, parking behind the house I grew up in. Many awful things happened there- you don’t want to know what. I sat there in meditation for some time (it was night now) and a thought came to call a very unpopular, considered nutsy, eccentric childhood friend. He was thrilled that I called..and with onstar, I set out to find his place in the woods. We talked and ate a little corn on the cob and then he took me for a walk to see his gravel pit and stump dump in the full moonlight. Then he offered me a ride in his unrestored mustang convertible….ok. it ran tho. We drove up a mountain road, then up a dirt road and stopped by a waterfall and got out to sit on some granite rocks. Well, the full pure moonlight pouring on the white water was a sight I’ll never forget! ecstacy might begin to describe it. He told me that his father once saved my fathers life and other things I had not known.
    Be at ease with not knowing and see what might be revealed to you!

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