Self-knowledge – as gnosis or ma’rifa’

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In Holistic Education I have suggested HERE that the three ways we come to know are Creativity, Criticality, and Caring. These three correspond to Arts, Sciences and Humanities and in our expression to I, WE and IT voices. In each of the three we can reflect the spiritual or not. Each of the three ways can be to the good or it’s opposite. In other words all ways can lead the individual to the spiritual or to the opposite. Each can be a portal to or from the spiritual if we have the sensibility and at-one-ness.

Spiritual knowing is called Gnosis in Christianity or ma’rifa, or irfan, in Sufism.

Gnosis signifies a knowledge or insight into man’s real nature as Divine, leading to the deliverance of the Divine spark within man from the constraints of earthly existence.

This reasonably well sums up the spiritual life, or mysticism, or spirituality in our ‘One Garden: interfaith as interspiritual living’ groups.

IRFAN Definition of Sufism by William C Chittick gnosis

‘One of the terms used in the classical texts to designate what I call “Sufism” is ma’rifa (or irfan), a term that literally means ‘knowledge’ or ‘recognition’.  

However, the term connotes a special, deeper knowledge of things that can only be achieved by personal transformation, and hence it is often translated as ‘gnosis’.  The goal and fruit of this type of knowledge is commonly explained by citing the Prophet’s saying, “He who knows (arifa) himself knows his Lord”

As the hadith suggests this sort of knowledge demands a simultaneous acquisition of both self-knowledge and God-knowledge.  The text tell us repeatedly that it cannot be found in books.  

Rather, it is already present in the heart, but it is hidden deep beneath the dross of ignorance, forgetfulness, outwardly oriented activity, and rational articulation.  Access to this knowledge comes only by following the path that leads to human perfection.’  

p39  ‘Sufism’ William C Chittick.  

To learn more about Chittick and his writings see HERE

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Pointer – Is awareness (only) personal, or is it our eternal soul?

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Dr. Peter Adamson  writes HERE about Avicenna that the most famous of his thought experiments;  is the so-called ‘flying man’ thought experiment, devised by the most influential philosopher of the Islamic world, Avicenna (in Arabic, Ibn Sīnā, who lived from 980 to 1037 CE). Imagine, he says, that a person is created by God in mid-air, in good condition but with his sight veiled and his limbs outstretched so that he is touching nothing, not even his own body. This person has no memories, having only just been created. Will his mind be a blank, devoid as it is of past or present sensory experience? No, says Avicenna. He will be aware of his own existence…….

….is Avicenna right that the ‘flying man’ would be self-aware? Well, it’s important to realise that Avicenna does not attempt to argue that the flying man would know that he exists. Rather, he takes it as obvious. In one version, he even tells readers that we should imagine ourselves being so created. If we put ourselves in the flying man’s dangling shoes, we should just see that we would be self-aware. Indeed, this turns out to be a fundamental idea in Avicenna’s philosophy. He thinks that we are all always self-aware, even when we’re asleep or focusing hard on something other than ourselves. Paradoxically, we’re often not aware of being self-aware: it is the non-interruptive background music of human psychology, something we notice only when our attention is called to it, a pre-reflective awareness of self. The flying man thought experiment is itself one way to call attention to this self-awareness: Avicenna calls it a tanbīh, meaning a ‘pointer’ to something. -0-

My, Roger’s, sense is that our personal awareness is limited but ceases to be limited proportionate to how far we lose our egoic self and come to rest as Awareness which, since it is not composed cannot de-compose, must therefore be eternal. As Nondual teachings including Advaita Vedanta teach take away everything, arms legs, status, personality, qualities etc what is left of you or me? Answer = Awareness.

See Prof Deikman’s ‘I = Awareness HERE http://www.deikman.com/awareness.html

 

 

 

 

 

AWARENESS – Ken Wilber’s view

 

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AWARENESS – Ken Wilber’s view

Enjoy 3 breaths after each section and frequently through your week

POINTER INSIGHT: There is only awareness.  We are aware even when we say we aren’t aware.

COMMENTARY: Many spiritual teachers use the term Awareness quite often as a synonym for consciousness. I reserve consciousness to mean ‘not in a coma’.  Ken Wilber plumps for awareness where he says; The one thing that we always are already aware of is….awareness itself.  We already have basic awareness in the form of the capacity to witness whatever arises.  As an old Zen master used to say, “you hear the birds?  You see the sun?  Who is not enlightened?  None of us can even imagine a state where basic awareness is not because we would still be aware of the imagining.  Even in dreams we are aware.  Moreover, these traditions maintain, there are not two different types of awareness, enlightened versus ignorant.  There is only awareness.  And this awareness, exactly and precisely as it is, without correction or modification at all, is itself Spirit, since there is nowhere that Spirit is not.  – One Taste: p. 130

KEN RELAYS THE INSTRUCTIONS: recognize awareness, recognize the Witness, recognize the Self, and abide as that.  

Any attempt to get awareness is totally beside the point.  “But I still don’t see the Spirit!”  “You are aware of your not seeing Spirit, and that awareness is itself Spirit!”   You can practice mindfulness, because there is forgetfulness; but you cannot practice awareness, because there is only awareness. -0- One Taste: p. 130

Enjoy 3 breaths

PRACTICE/s FOR THE WEEK: Smile more, take time out for three conscious breaths, give a helping hand.  

BREATH-MANTRA: In-breath; “Awareness” –  Outbreath; “No boundaries.”

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IF YOU DO WANT TO  READ MORE: Read the June chapter in Ken Wilber’s One Taste: Daily Reflections on Integral Spirituality .

Have you ever been so moved by a spiritual teacher that you smelled the perfume of humility?

YouTube Notes

A clip from the documentary work-in-progress “Praying With My Legs,” about the life, thought and transformative legacy of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Here three monks recall an extraordinary meeting they’d had with Heschel some 40 years earlier.

For more info, please see the film’s website: http://www.prayingwithmylegs.com, where you can sign up for the film’s mailing list for updates.

You can also become a fan of the film’s Facebook Page. Just go to: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Praying… and click on “Like.”

If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the film, you can do so at: https://www.nyfa.org/ArtistDirectory/…
Thanks!

 

It’s a big day when you realize I = Awareness

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It’s a Big Day when you realize I = Awareness

“You are primal awareness. Life is only primal awareness. Between two thoughts or two perceptions you are. You know moments in your life when a thought completely disappears into silence, but still you are.” (The Ease of Being, 13) – http://www.nonduality.com/klein.htm

Jean Klein was Francis Lucille’s teacher who was Rupert Spira‘s teacher.

Compare to Professor Deikman’s article ‘I = Awareness’ which is HERE 

Arthur J. Deikman, 1 Department of Psychiatry, University of California.