“Do you know?”

Hippies

One of my favorite parts of the amazing book, "Be Here Now" by Ram Das, is where he talks about the general feeling of the community of seekers in the US during the 60's, and those who had gone to India to look for answers. He described everyone walking around, glancing at each other, catching eyes, and asking silently, "Do you know?" All the seekers were looking for someone who, "knew."

By the end of the book, Ram Das does a great job of pointing out (in a somewhat obfuscated way) that we all know.

The thing that we all know is what we really are. We all have as much access to the complete mystery of being as it is possible to have. No single being is more being than any other. The frustrating thing about what we really are is that it is true mystery. It is not something that can be stated in language, because language is inherently dualistic, and you are not that. Because of this, the truth of you is not something that can be known in the ordinary sense. Language stems from the ways our brains work. We map out the reality we encounter. We classify and categorize raw reality into a shorthand that we can more conveniently handle and manipulate. Anything that can be known, can also be stated. The mystery of you, not being containable by language, cannot be said.

This puts us in a bit of a bind. As humans, we are used to being able to "map the territory" and share that map with our fellows through the use of words. We learn, and we benefit from the life experiences of others in this manner. We pass on what we have discovered. Unfortunately, when it comes to what we actually are, this method falls short.

So, when someone asks us, "Do you know?", the best possible answer we can give is, "Yes, I know just as you know, but we can't talk about it." Those of us who don't know that we know are left with shrugging our shoulders and saying, "No, I don't know, I was hoping you did." So it goes.

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  1. Viking Queen
    3 years ago

    So true, Travis! Good to receive another post from you! I used to be over-awed by groups of people who are supposed to 'know'. And they all used to look a little like the couple on the front of the photograph. A little while ago I came to realise that they had as much clue as I did… nothing! And yet also 'everything'. If we are consciousness, then we know everything and nothing, we just know 'what is' Wow doesn't that take the stress away?!!! When I was a teacher, I used to be constantly amazed how inherently wise some children can be. In fact I kept a small book of wise sayings. On the other hand, I am often amazed just how ignorant some elderly adults can be? Who says wisdom necessarily comes with age? We create our own discontent from trying to categorise everything into rigid structures instead of just letting it all be.


    • Travis
      3 years ago

      I agree, Viking Queen! It is such a relief. Great point about children. Seeing the world plainly has a tremendous wisdom to it, a wisdom we 'adults' are usually conditioned away from noticing. Good times. 😉