Home > Reflections and Insights A Through Z > Knowledge and Experience of Self

Knowledge and Experience of Self

This is the eleventh post in a series, where each Monday (if possible) I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during everyday life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.

This week is a little break from the norm, as this piece is written by my good friend and Masonic brother, Baruti KMT-Sisouvong. Baruti is truly one of the most enlightened, yet humble, people that I have ever met (he has even met Oprah), and his insights have never failed to inspire me, so I jumped at the chance to have him write a guest piece, because I know that his words will surely uplift and inspire others.

Used with permission from Flickr Creative Commons (Via Photo Pin.com). Artist: Sigfrid Lundberg

K = Knowledge and Experience of Self is the Greatest Gift One can give to one’s self, Family, Friends, Community, and the World.

In our very material society, there seems little consideration given to the underlying unity of all diversity. In a world that prizes the “toys” of the physical world the non-physical substrate, or self, is most often ignored. Unfortunately, the very act of ignoring this fundamental aspect of being a human, as articulated by philosophers, mystics, and sages throughout recorded human history, takes us further away from the very knowledge and experience which may prove of great benefit to all concerned.

In many of the texts and traditions of the many life-systems and/or religions the world over, and throughout time, we learn of an underlying or over-arching “something” which seems to be guiding the ship of human existence. Much like the rudder of an enormous sea worthy vessel, this “something” is unseen when we examine the surface of life alone; yet, this guiding force is ever-present. A simple dive below surface reality to the depths thereof reveals the silent and active presence of this “something.” Some traditions refer to this “something” as “The Source of All,” “God,” “The Field,” “The Force,” etc. In the grand scheme of things, the names employed to designate this “something” matters little. What seems to matter most is that this “something” has predominated human awareness and conscious activity from, seemingly, time immemorial.

As we consider this same “something” in relation to ourselves, it may dawn on us that the life each of us leads is based upon: 1) our knowledge, or lack thereof, of our self, 2) the world within which we find our self, and 3) how best to interact within and move through said world. In considering these three elements of lived reality, a few questions may arise. For example: “How have I come to be in this place?”, “In what ways am I creating my lived reality?”, “Am I making a contribution to others?, If so, what is it?”, “What is my experience of Life?” “Am I having a good time, overall?”  “If not, do I have the capacity to change my experience?” “If so, where do I begin?” Seeking to answer such questions, and many, many more like them will surely lead one to the doorstep of a new beginning. I submit to you, that seeking knowledge and experience of Self is a good place to begin your journey of conscious betterment.

Practically speaking, the question then arises “How does one gain knowledge of Self so as to imbue all that one thinks, speaks, and does with said knowledge?” There are many methods. Some are: deep study of the essence of modern and ancient teachings, prayer, the inner or sacred aspect of many martial arts, walking in a place where one is conscious of and absorbs the beauty of the One responsible for that into which humans are born, etc. In short, to reach that “something,” one may engage any activity which leads one to a space of no thought, thus allowing them to know the same and act from this fundamental basis. For my wife and I, we meditate. Specifically, we employ the ancient technique of transcending the relative world so as to experience the underlying unity of all physical phenomena; in some teachings it is, sometimes, referred to as “seeing the face of God.” As for our chosen technique, in this modern age, it is called “Transcendental Meditation” or TM for brevity.

While I cannot say, I have seen an actual “face” of the Divine, what I am able to report is that as I continue to experience the place, or space, of no thought and no sound, which has now become an ever-present presence, life is lived with great effect.  In short, since learning this particular technique from a Certified Teacher of Transcendental Meditation on 25 April 2008, my life has become better in innumerable ways. My thinking is clearer, my speech is more precise, and the ability to see into the essence of a situation is almost instantaneous, and many of my desires are fulfilled before they can be fully visualized or vocalized. Strange? Perhaps. Yet, since my wife has had similar experiences, these things have become commonplace for both of us. Additionally, I am more mindful of my thoughts and their effect on my speech and actions, and life’s serendipitous moments have increased to almost seem constant. In short, as a result of consistently transcending the relative world to experience the deepest aspect of my being, that “something,” I bring to all activity the knowledge and experience of Self.  With the knowledge and experience that there is something more and that this “something” is that underlying unity pervading all diversity, and is nothing but my self, for me, life becomes more spontaneously purposeful; in essence a greatly enhanced lived reality. Despite appearances to the contrary, each human has that spark, that Light, that “something” within; we must simply seek, locate, and employ It. The knowledge and experience of this “something” as existing within me and YOU has been a most profound reward of my/our seeking and is worthy of sharing; it may be said to be a Gift which will return dividends beyond measure.

Practical Tip: In my experience, bringing knowledge and experience of Self to all one does, will make all that one produces that much better; thus making the world a better place, simply because you have sought, gained, and, perhaps most importantly, gifted to others the “Knowledge and experience of Self.”

Baruti KMT-Sisouvong

–Baruti KMT-Sisouvong, 32°, is a Ph.D Candidate in Vedic Science and an active Freemason in Clinton Lodge #15, A.F. & A.M and Woodrow Morris Lodge, U.D., A.F. & A.M. He resides with his wife, Mina, also a graduate student in Vedic Science, in Southeast Iowa. Follow him on Twitter: @RadScholar.

***PLEASE NOTE: Baruti, is in the process of raising money to pay for a once in a lifetime opportunity to embark on the TTC (Teacher Training Course for Transcendental Meditation) course. His wife, Mina, embarked on the women’s training course a few weeks ago, as long as the neccessary funds are raised, he will be embarking on the men’s course on August 20. If you would like to donate to Baruti’s cause, please click on the following link, and donate what you can.***


Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!

Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)

  1. August 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    I like what you said about Transcendental Meditation. It sounds great!

  2. August 6, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Hello Teri,

    Thanks for your kindness. For my wife and I, Transcendental Meditation has been great and we look forward to sharing the knowledge and experience upon completion of the course. Again, thank you!

  3. Chris
    August 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I would like to comment on your last paragraph, “While I cannot say, I have seen an actual “face” of the Divine.” If we assume that the Divine is ineffable, a face-to-face sighting, so to speak, would be indescribable and indeed incomprehensible to the human experience. Instead, it would seem that we understand the Divine in terms that are not conceptually limiting. It fascinates me that this relates to the Pāli Canon’s ten unanswerable questions, and the concept may be roughly summarized thus: we may understand the Divine in terms of what it is not–and must avoid limiting language describing what it “is.”

    Thank you for your insightful blog.

  4. August 14, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Hello Chris,

    Thank you for your keen post. I had not heard of Pāli Canon’s ten unanswerable questions until your introduction. Thank You. I will surely investigate them.

    In the end, it seems, a good litmus test for having such deep experiences could be how one chooses to live their life thereafter. While experiences as those had by women and men engaging a spiritual walk may be difficult to explain via the words of the language as situated within the culture of the experiencer, I suspect a conscious choice is made to simply “live it” due to the inherent limitations of language — as you rightly highlight. Fundamentally, this may be the greatest Gift one can give to not only one’s self but the world. For, as one’s friends see the change in the one having had the experience, they too may seek to experience the same and may also come to know the deep truth which the person under observation now lives.

    Here, I am reflecting on two things (the second actually a poem): Firstly, my parents often reminded me, as a child and young adult, that people may not hear what you say or even understand the same, particularly so, should they speak a different language; yet one’s actions carry the deep intent of the actor – me. Specifically, they would intone, “Actions speak louder than words.” Something which has served me well to this day. Secondly,

    Out eyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
    there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
    doesn’t make any sense.

    From Essential Rumi
    by Coleman Barks
    p. 36

    With Rumi’s passage, as related to your insight (nice word by the way, “in sight.” But I digress.), that as one has an experience of the Divine, the duality of “me and you” or “us and them” withers on the vine of a previous way of thinking, seeing, and being within the world. Again, it seems that one abandons limiting perspectives and simply lives the new experience “in the now.”

    Again, thanks for sharing.

  5. Chris
    August 14, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    To direct you to my sources of “in sight” on this concept of negative theology (which also alludes to understanding by experience–or witnessing the Divine through experience), I draw from Maimonides’ work Moreh Nevukhim, specifically this chapter:

    Also, the previously mentioned Pāli Canon is similar in concept (but not related in a literary or historic sense) to the fourteen unanswerable questions, from Mahayana.

    It will always fascinate me how esoteric thinkers on all sides of the globe and throughout many centuries will arrive at such similar conclusions.

  6. August 14, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    “It will always fascinate me how esoteric thinkers on all sides of the globe and throughout many centuries will arrive at such similar conclusions.” This, I believe, is a key component of walking the Path; as what some refer to as The All, Pure Consciousness, Numinous, etc. is beyond space, time, or, as we discussed earlier, words, yet may be experienced by all who seek the same.

    Often, I have a vision of arriving in a “sacred place” after many failed attempts only to have those assembled there smile knowingly and welcome me sans fanfare; for they too had a similar experience and, due to their similar journey, see not the point of asking “How did you come to be here?” preferring instead to simply live the expansive experience and share the same with present and future travelers. This seems, to me, to be one of the beautiful aspects of good or great art, architecture, music, prose, etc. as it serves as a pointer toward the “ineffable” for current and successive generations to consider and, ideally, move within for the experience of the same. And, as more have such experiences in successive generations, the presence of and attraction toward “the ineffable” is assured to ever be extant.

    Thanks for the link. Looks like a new title will be added to our library. Thankfully, my wife is of a like mind and spirit.

    This is a truly worthwhile exchange. Thank you.

  7. August 16, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Really glad I found you and love what you have talked of here. I practice a Christian Meditation and i am part of a weekly group who meditate together. I too have found it transformative in so many ways. I also note that when I fall of my practice life also tends to tumble over a little. I also love Chris’s reply about seeing the face of God. Thanks

    • August 22, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      I think meditation, no matter the spiritual tradition/path, is immensely beneficial! I also find, that when I lapse out of my set practice schedule, I seem a bit disjointed. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  1. August 13, 2012 at 6:33 AM

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