Knowledge and meditation

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There are different types of knowledge. The knowledge that most of us have is rational knowledge, derived from the logical region of the mind. We nearly always act from this part of the mind and assume that the highest and only form of knowledge is rational. In fact, intellectual knowledge is almost worshipped by people throughout the world, yet it is only relative knowledge derived from a limited number of facts and figures. From this we deduce theories, concepts and other ideas. This is the way we reason in scientific, technological and philosophical fields.

Each of us makes the mistake of assuming that logical answers are infallible. We are habituated to believing that logical answers are the only answers. We fail to realize the fallacy that because the facts from which we derive the answers are limited, so also the answers in turn must be inadequate. It is so easy to fall into the trap of believing that all the facts are in front of us, and hence the conclusion we reach through reasoning is absolutely correct. The natives of darkest .Africa a few centuries ago must have automatically assumed that all men were dark skinned, for they had never seen a person from another race. Then they saw the white skinned explorer, which destroyed their simple logical deduction.

Then they had to say that men were both dark and light skinned, but then they met yellow skinned men and again they had to update their rational thoughts on the skin colours. It is the same with scientific theories. They are always being changed in the light of new data that becomes available. When Newton expounded his theory of gravitation it became an almost infallible law. Even today in schools it is regarded as the truth, yet many years ago Einstein proved that it was incorrect. Newton's theory was shown to be wrong in the light of new information. This is continually happening, yet all of us tend to assume that rational deductions are infallible.

It is the same with everyday rational thinking; it is only correct in relation to the facts that we have in front of us. We make decisions all day in rational terms, but they are only true in a relative sense. For example, a man asks the way to the farm where Mr. Smith lives. We give directions with certainty and clarity, yet we are totally wrong, as the man eventually finds out. Tbe Smith family, unknown to us, moved to another part of the country one week before. Had we known this we could have given a more correct answer, but we did not and so our logical deduction was completely wrong. In a strange country far away, the inhabitants have an unusual method of giving directions. Their sense of logic is slightly different to other people in surrounding countries. Ask them where Mr. Smith's farmhouse is and they will reply something like the following: "You walk for half an hour down this road until you see a brown cow in the field; there you turn right and walk until you meet Mrs. Brown going for her early morning stroll. Keep on walking and the house that you want will be the one that you see when you hear an owl hooting good luck." The person has made the same journey himself once, and because of his particular form of reasoning he assumes that your experiences on the journey will be the same as his. You will have great trouble finding the house that you seek, let alone finding the cow in the first place. Yet this is a logical deduction, but in a severely limited sense. The man giving the directions is not aware of the fact that his experiences on the journey will be different from yours. Logical or rational knowledge is relative and can only give relative truth.

There is another form of knowledge that arises in the form of a feeling or an emotional response. We occasionally feel that something is true. It is not tangible in a mental sense but is a vague sense of knowing something. This is very often mistaken for intuitive knowledge.

The next type of knowledge is called transcendental knowledge, which is attained in states of meditation. It is known in the form of intuition or illumination. The difference in this type of knowledge is that it comes from a totality ofa situation. In other words, the whole arena of information is available and from this the answer is comprehended. In a sense it is like rational knowledge, but instead of a few facts, all the information is there to be utilized. This intuitive form of knowledge apprehends the totality of a situation; it sees the whole picture, nothing is missing. This comes from the superconscious realms of the mind during states of meditation. Rational knowledge is often warped by personal preferences and prejudices. Intuitive knowledge is independent of all personal traits and projections.

How is this possible? How are we able to contact deeper, intuitive knowledge during meditation? Any explanation is bound to be insufficient, but if you refer back to the picture we painted at the beginning of this topic regarding the infinite mind, a superficial understanding is possible. Normally we are aware only of our limited, personal and rational mind. This is the island rising above the sea. Yet beyond and deeper than this personal mind is the suprapersonal aspect of the mind, the seabed, from which all the islands arise. It is the realm of higher and more subtle vibrations that permeate the cosmos and existence. They are always present, yet during normal states of awareness they are not perceivable. During meditation a direct link is made between one's awareness and these higher domains of the mind. From this comes higher knowledge encompassing everything that needs to be known. Meditation allows the deeper significance and nature of life and existence to reveal itself.

We have attempted to show that it is possible to contact the deeper aspects of mind and find out about ourselves through meditation. Most of us spend our lives totally extroverted failing to realize that an ocean of bliss and knowledge exists within each of us, merely waiting to be discovered. It is always there and we are always in contact with these deeper aspects, but we don't know it. Our level of awareness is insufficient. The method to be aware and know this intimate link is meditation.

We have also tried to convey that meditation does not require you to change your present living habits in any drastic manner. All you need to do is to practise yoga with sincerity, regularity and aspiration.

One thing that we have not emphasized is that without effort nothing will be gained. Practice is essential.

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