Living in the “Home” of All Knowledge
“Down between the grapevine trellises, which gave her always a still, ordered feeling…there the experience would happen. Mary would be watching the dew slip down the clover stems… and around her would steal a sense of innumerable bright events, of tingling and unattempted possibilities; there would be a sense…of billows coming and going…. As she grew older, Mary began to know the billowing sense…. It came up inside her, she was uplifted with it…there were times when she could discern within it, dimly, the shapes of specific knowledge—all the knowledge in the world….” (Mary Austin, Earth Horizon)
One intriguing phenomenon reported by those who have had glimpses of enlightenment is the experience of direct knowledge of reality that comes from within consciousness, as distinct from our usual modes of learning through the senses and intellectual concepts. The writer Mary Austin, writing above about herself in the third person, had such glimpses throughout her life.
Another person expresses this phenomenon of direct knowledge:
The gate was opened to me that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at a university…. For I saw and knew the being of all beings…. I saw in myself…the external and visible world…. And…the whole working essence….-Jacob Boehme
Jacob Boehme wrote in the 17th century, but there are also accounts from our time. The bestselling author Anita Moorjani writes about her near-death experience: “…there are no words that can come close to describing its depth and the amount of knowledge that came flooding through…. You’re left with a sense of awe over everything you experienced in those blindingly lucid moments. Life has taken on a different meaning….”
How is this possible? To do justice to this topic would require volumes, drawing from modern physics, ancient traditions, and contemporary accounts. I highly recommend The Supreme Awakening by Craig Pearson, who covers these areas with fascinating insight and examples.
But for now, we can summarize: human beings have the potential to directly experience, within the silent depths of their awareness, a field of pure knowledge.
The invisible, unmanifest field of pure knowledge is like the blueprint for all of creation. This field is also called the “home of all the laws of nature” and the field of “total knowledge.”
It has been proposed by a number of physicists that the unmanifest field of natural law that underlies material creation—the unified field—is one and the same field of creative intelligence that we humans may experience in the silent depths of our own awareness. (See links for brief videos by physicist Dr. John Hagelin under References, below.)
Think of this field like a blueprint for a house, containing all the instructions for how to build the house. Or a tiny apple seed with all the information for growth of the tree: trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit. And consider our DNA, holding all the instructions for building and rebuilding the entire body.
Deep within human consciousness is a pure field of creative intelligence, one and the same source of energy and intelligence that guides our lives, and all of life. A perspective held and cherished by many spiritual traditions is that, as humans, we have the capacity to directly experience this source of creativity and intelligence within the silent depths of our awareness.
And this field of pure knowledge does not only hold abstract knowledge, like a huge cosmic encyclopedia. Even more importantly, it guides us in a life-supporting direction.
I remember a discussion with my father, a Protestant minister, about how—in experiencing this field of pure consciousness in our meditation—we are not simply experiencing refreshing silence. We also gain life-supporting guidance. The field of Being, we discussed, is not just a silent void. It contains the intelligence of nature that guides our growth.
My father brought up a phrase of his that I have always liked—“spiritual radar”—the quiet subtle sense that guides our life in a life-supporting direction. He reminded me that this is what Socrates called the “inner voice,” which—as long as he heeded it—guided his life perfectly. My father said the same was true with following the promptings of his own “spiritual radar.”
I shared a phrase with my dad that Maharishi sometimes used—the “cosmic computer.” The field of pure knowledge is like a cosmic computer that contains all information, all knowledge, of the universe.
And the great thing about a computer is that in order for us to have a question answered, or to solve a problem, we do not need to know the innumerable bits and pieces of knowledge that the computer ‘knows.’ We ask a question, and the computer does the computing and gives us an answer.
In a similar way to a computer, the field of pure knowledge contains vast information—the innumerable laws of nature that uphold the evolution of the universe, from the tiniest subatomic particle to the innumerable galaxies, and all individual lives in between.
In the process of making choices in our lives, we cannot possibly take into account all the laws of nature with our intellects. Nonetheless, the more we transcend, the more we reap the life-supporting influence of this “cosmic computer.”
As my dad and I talked about these things, he returned to his analogy of the radar. The clearer we are, the more we can sense our “spiritual radar.” If there is static in the radar system—like the stress and fatigue in our nervous system, creating dullness and chaos in our awareness—then we do not sense these quiet inner promptings. (See the chapter by my father and myself in A Symphony of Silence.)
Meditators have described experiences in which this field of total knowledge is experienced, giving rise to transformative direction. Here is one account by a TM practitioner:
During a very challenging period in my life when I had to make some difficult decisions, I was sitting in meditation. All of a sudden, my awareness dropped into utter…. It’s hard to find words. I dropped out of all mental activity and into limitlessness. I was immersed in, I myself WAS, absolute, intensely concentrated joy, love, freedom. I experienced a warm wave of total acceptance and mercy and love. And I simply, directly experienced – difficult to describe, but a phrase that fits is – a field of pure knowledge. That is, I was directly immersed in truths of life, the NATURE of life: love, freedom, bliss, all possibilities. It was self-evident that this was Reality. It felt more real than any other experience.
The experience only lasted a few minutes, but it was powerfully transformative. After meditation, I was filled with profound joy, compassion, acceptance. My confusion had dissolved and it was clear to me what direction I should take in my life. And it was so obvious to me now that we are meant to be joyful, not to stay stuck in suffering and just accept being weighted down by negativity. It was clear to me that what we put our attention on grows stronger. Also, that the source of fulfillment was not to be found in a restless search outside of myself. These were not just concepts or ‘positive thoughts’, but simple, direct knowledge.
In this day and age, it is easy to feel overwhelmed with the complexities of life and baffling choices to make. We need a way to become quietly attuned to our “spiritual radar,” giving us direction that is nourishing for us and all.
Further, as women, in all our various roles, we want to help guide others – we want to help guide humanity at this challenging time– in directions that are life-supporting. To do this, we need ourselves to be in touch with the home of all the laws of nature. And amazingly enough, experiencing this is the simplest thing in the world.
The Vedic teaching is “Knowledge is structured in consciousness.” To gain life-supporting guidance, all that we need to do is to directly experience the source of creative intelligence within the silent depths of our consciousness: our very Self.
Self-realization has been emphasized throughout the ages. In every generation, there has been an emphasis on realizing the Self…. It is realizing the home of all the laws of nature, and that is within yourself…. That eternal seed of wisdom of life in the transcendental area of consciousness…Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Mary Austin, Earth Horizon, pp 153-154
Anita Moorjani, Dying to Be Me, pp 71-73
Craig Pearson, The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time—And How You Can Cultivate Them. http://www.mumpress.com/books/other-authors/1tsa.html
Dr. John Hagelin, Is Consciousness the Unified Field? (Six minute video) http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/wp/videos/is-consciousness-the-unified-field-john-hagelin-sand-2011/
Rev. Roger Wm. Johnson, PhD and Cynthia E. Johnson, “Silence is the Universal Refuge,” Ch VII, from A Symphony of Silence by George Ellis. http://www.mumpress.com/books/other-authors/asos.html
About the Author
Cynthia Johnson is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and is a mother, wife and writer. She is a contributor to the book A Symphony of Silence: An Enlightened Vision (1st and 2nd editions) by George Ellis.