Is knowing an intellectual experience?
The experience of knowing has two dimensions to it. One is objective knowing, the other is subjective knowing. Objective knowing is intellectual. That’s what all of science goes on doing. It is intellectual knowing.
Intellect is enough to know the object. The object is outside – available to your eyes, available to experiments. You can dissect it, you can do whatsoever you want, all kinds of experimentation. It is available to the pure intellect. But your own being is not available to your intellect.
Your own being is available only in silence, not in intellectual activity, but in a silent awareness.
That is a totally different dimension and that is true knowing, knowing yourself. But that cannot be intellectual, because intellect is something that can only reach outwards; it has no way of reaching inwards.
You can see everything with your eyes, but you cannot see – with your eyes – your own eyes. In a mirror you can see, but those are not your eyes; that is only a reflection. Your intellect is capable of knowing everything that is outside, but you are behind the intellect and the intellect has no way to go there.
I am reminded… when Ford first made his cars they had no reverse gear. The very idea of the reverse gear had not happened. So even if you had gone only a few feet past your house and you had to come back to get something, you had to go around the whole city in order to come back. That was too tedious and stupid and a waste of time. So he added a reverse gear.
But as far as intellect is concerned, God is not a Ford. The intellect still has no reverse gear; it simply goes outwards. You can take it to the farthest stars, there is no problem; but it cannot reach within you, which is so close.
Albert Einstein, perhaps the most intelligent man who has explored the stars, died unhappy because he did not know himself. His unhappiness was: what is the point of knowing the whole world – knowing all about electrons and protons and neutrons and faraway galaxies – and not knowing about yourself, who you are?
Just before dying he said, ‘If I am born again I would rather be a plumber than be a physicist, so that I can have time enough to look within myself. This physics has been too much an involvement.”
With intellect you can know everything except yourself.
And if you depend only on intellect then you are going to deny your soul – that’s what atheists go on doing, that’s what communists go on doing. The reason is simply that they have made it a point that to be true something has to be intellectually proved. And the intellect has no way to prove consciousness.
Consciousness has to be discovered in a totally different way. Intellect is thinking, and consciousness is discovered in a state of no-thinking – in such utter silence that not even a single thought moves as a disturbance.
In that silence you discover your very being.
It is as vast as the sky.
And to know it is really to know something worthwhile; otherwise all your knowledge is garbage. It may be useful, utilitarian, but it is not going to help you transform your being. It cannot bring you to fulfillment, to contentment, to enlightenment, to a point where you can say, “I have come home.”
From The Path of the Mystic, Discourse #1
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