Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Thought and Knowledge

Our language, and through our language, our hidden mechanisms of observing and imagining reality, tend towards permanence. We think in terms of things being steady, firm and unified. A rock is a rock. A single clear unit that stays, wherever it may come from and wherever it may go, it retains its unity and its completeness and separateness. And given that we see it as "rock" it retains its identity and we project it into the past and into the future. We stand before a rock and in our minds the rock, as it is, has a past that extends into the obscurity of unknown origins and a future that extends into the brightness of infinite possibility.
This way of observing, thinking and imagining, extends to all our concepts and ideas, including thought itself. And so, a "thought" becomes like a "rock". A thought becomes a single steady unified entity that stays and is complete. A "thought" has a past and a future, and it can be relied upon to manifest and emerge into the light when called upon. A mind may then be pictured as a large bag full of solid thoughts, thoughts that crowd each other, sometimes crash into each other and sometimes even come together to form a larger unit. To learn, in this visualization, is to augment the bag with additional "thoughts" – facts, ideas, theories, concepts, techniques and so on. A "wise man" then is one who owns a large bag of "thoughts". An ignorant man’s bag is nearly empty.
Following this path, in looking for a guide, we would look for the being with the bag that is heaviest and most full of these permanent and solid thoughts. Such a being would then be able to impart these single, complete and solid thoughts one at a time, as needed. As the student learns, another solid single thought would be given and the student’s bag would grow in time, filling itself with new permanent and complete thoughts. Eventually these would be passed on to another.
But thoughts may bubble sideways, they may encounter a corner and come out drenched in different colors, thoughts may one day turn soft and in their softness climb a hidden stairway and become that which they weren’t, they may break in two and then in two again, they may dance in a frenzy and collect into tiny beads of sweat along your forehead, they may drip from your chin, they may twist around your tongue to be spat onto your lover’s mouth, they may fill you with intense lust and lift your feet forward and out, and so they may break in three and one may travel out and one may hide and another may expand so far that you will lose sight of it and you may then ask: "Did I ever really know anything?"
Such playful and infinite bursts of energy cannot truly be contained, and not even the limits of our human language will prevent them from running away and finding new homes where they may rest for a while before continuing on their endless journey… our endless journey. As long as they are alive they will continue changing and moving and transforming.
A true wise man knows to not even attempt to enclose them, knows that any force that is inclined to wrestle them onto submission will produce only death and dust, and rocks… Any attempt to capture and enslave the raw energy of creation will only result in the warden becoming a slave to his own prison. In trying to make them permanent, the mind will lose its explosive burning life and be reduced to a quiet cemetery where old, tired ideas come to rest.

And yet we can learn.
And yet we can be taught.
And yet there is a Teaching.
And yet there are Teachers.

What is it then that a wise Being can pass onto us that will not trap us or enslave us but set us on fire, propelling us up and out into the vast unknown?
What is the Knowledge that is not a thought but makes all other thoughts dance?

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