To Know Or Not To Know

Kevin: Almost eight billion body-minds on earth, an equal number of view-points. In our little Garden( there are around 40 view-points, each experiencing life somewhat differently from the other. This difference delivers to us the richness of existence; imagine chili con carne with just meat, no salt, no herbs, no spices: no thank you.

Our variety of view-points is in keeping with our apparent separateness. Each one of us has to fend for her/himself. So it follows that whether talking about food or cars, relationships, or non-duality and Awareness, as we are, we are going to view matters differently.

Our lives flow in a river of approximations. Science pokes out as islands of relative facts/truth here and there…knowing the river could deepen at any moment and subsume those islands too. Nisargadatta said “All knowledge is ignorance”. I agree with his statement. Ultimately.

I believe enlightenment is not exempt from personal perspective. One person’s description of Awareness, their felt experience, is unlikely to mirror precisely, another’s. Though due to the paucity of words one may be faced with agreement. Consciousness is beyond human understanding or experience. Any experience means duality. And oneness cannot experience oneness. If we claim ‘to know’ Consciousness then by definition, we do not. Advaita, Not Two. Who would could know what?

But we want to be Home, or close to it at least and I believe this is what we are doing, however subtly you cut it. And there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s the best use of an apparent human life, that I can think of. Though here, as we are, can we truly claim to experience what it is we are seeking?

Advaita, religion generally, the goal is to bring about a better mind, to take us as close as is humanly possible to the Love, Truth, Beauty of our Source, and expose us, if only to a trace, of its fugitive and hopefully transformative benevolence.

Just one view-point.


Kevin Harlow

By Kevin Harlow



  1. Thank you Kevin.

    The gift of sharing viewpoints, not to be right or wrong, but as an invitation to look again with fresh eyes.

    In so called “seeking” does our true nature change?
    Do we add, or do we remove…

    Maybe to look at awakening as an examining of the mental images that thinking presents to us as reality, and then to discover what IS (unfiltered by the thinking mind).

    Maybe to call it a recalibration of our sense of self, from being a busy lonely eddy whirlpool, struggling to survive, trying hard to keep its shape and purpose, to the relaxing realization that my true nature is water (as a mental image).

    At the root of suffering is the unexamined belief in personal doership, the idea that I make independent decisions on my own; the sense that “me” is one of 8 Billion “other” busy being busy to survive/improve circumstances.

    At the core of awakening is maybe the exploration of the nature of mind – our only instrument. Only to get clear about the “Who am I”… based on simple and effortless exploration, here and now.

    What am I, experientially, without asking the thinking mind for help? Who am I, what am I?

    Playful, lovingly, without the greed of wanting anything different than this moment.

    Thinking can only bring us to the edge of our me-bubble, for the rest we need faith, trust, bravery, or whatever the word may be.

    Without this trusting/humbling human heart-to-heart connection we might be indefinitely impressed and intimidated by our own thinking and feeling activity.

    Does the caterpillar die (psychologically) to become the butterfly?

    It is priceless to be be connected with truth lovers; I wasn’t able to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, even though what I was longing for IS always here and now.

    Peace ✌️

  2. Thank you for this insightful essay, Kevin.
    Like all of us in this community, I’m trying to “get home.” And yet, I want to cross that threshold and still enjoy the beauty and diversity of living on this planet. I don’t know if that’s “dual” motivations, priorities, or if it’s possible. Blake said, “Eternity loves the productions of time.” I don’t know, but I hope so.
    I’ve read Rilke for many years, and he’s often anguished by what I would call a “threshold state.” I find myself at the threshold much of the time. Sure, people can say, “But Bill, you’re there right now. You just have to realize it.” My experience is that I have to prepare, then be invited; I have no control over when I cross over.

    1. “Any expectation implies the absence of what is expected”.

      “I’m trying to ‘get home'” is the separate-self; not a problem, just another invitation to examine “me”.

      Mind is a tool, not a hangout.

  3. Kevin, thank you for this. I think your understanding is great. I just want to comment about one statement, which is often made as part of nonduality: “If we claim ‘to know’ Consciousness then by definition, we do not.”

    It depends on exactly what our “claim to know” means. We may have an incorrect understanding of nonduality that convinces us that our mind knowing something is the goal, or is self-realization. Of course, it is not, since the mind is not the true and unchanging self. No matter what the mind knows, it has nothing to do with actual spiritual attainment.

    However, if we know who we are, and identify as that formless, infinitely intelligent awareness, then we can genuinely make the claim to know Consciousness, because we are That. Full and pure Awareness is self-evident.

    And even if we are not yet self-realized, yet we claim on a philosophical basis that we are Consciousness, we are still in a real sense correct, even without the actual spiritual attainment.

    It’s good to be kind with ourself, and open-minded about others.

  4. Who out there can overcome one’s own severe body pain mixed with being responsible for the total care 24 hours a day of an incontinent, bedridden , very old family member and with no help ever from another human being, staying in the same situation in the sane apt. for 10 years and knowing it is for the rest of their Life, ne we going outside except every other day into the Sun and Air for only two hours at most?

  5. The surrender of freedom in sacrifice to another person – a crazily demanding one-for their total care, all day for Life, and that person being extremely ill and mentally excitable so every word must be thought out very carefully ot else risk a terrible argument…is when one learns to retreat inwardly for sanity.

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