The Knower: Journey to the Center of our Existence
Questions and Answers
You recently introduced the concept of the knower into the teaching. What is so significant about this concept? What does it bring to our practice that was lacking before?
Words are not just concepts but loving messengers of meaning. Since we changed the term ‘observer’ to ‘knower’, suddenly many things have become revealed from within. It is like the wrong word, or a term which is not fully accurate, is blocking the possibility of reaching deeper understanding. We still keep the word ‘observer’ but only when referring to the false outer knower, or the outer essence-me lost in external attention. Not only is the term ‘knower’ beautiful, it is also astonishingly accurate. Knowing is the very substance of our center of intelligence, beyond thinking, paying attention, or observing.
In addition, the understanding of the two faces of the knower has been revealed, and so have various subtle dynamics within the essential me, such as the process of self-absorption. Furthermore, with the concept of the knower, we transcended the flawed differentiation between conscious me and the observer. This distinction is still present, but only between conscious me and the outer knower, where conscious me represents the bare attention of the inner knower.
While the term ‘observer’ emphasized certain functions, the term ‘knower’ points more to our identity, to our existence, to the very substance of consciousness. Now that we know that all the dimensions of pure me are actually secondary centers of the inner knower, we can transform our relationship with the knower, meeting it clearly as our primary identity. The knower is who you are. It is the true answer to the question ‘Who am I?’ If your knower remains unawakened, no matter what your spiritual realization is, you remain ignorant.
The doorway to the knower is your very ordinary sense of me. It is by changing your relationship with this me, by beginning to honor it, appreciate it, and love it, that this very me becomes the king of your consciousness, the center of all – the knower.
Over the past months, I have been working with awakening and embodying conscious me (in the context of cultivating the other centers of essential me as well).
Now that there has been a shift from conscious me and the observer to the inner and outer knower, how should my practice change? Is there a certain new focus that I should bring, and if so, what should it be?
Practically speaking, there is not much change or difference. However, incorporating the concepts of the inner and outer knower allows you to deepen your relationship with conscious me as the bare attention of the inner knower, and to better understand the outer knower. The concept of the inner knower is obviously new, and what we used to call the awakened observer represented only one facet of the knower, the outer knower. Of course we were working with the inner knower before as well, as without activating him, there is no spiritual practice at all. We were pointing to the inner knower indirectly through the concept of pure attention. The inner knower is more than pure attention, he is the one who is using it. So those students who have issues with getting in touch with pure attention actually have an issue of getting in touch with the inner knower.
The inner knower is also more than conscious me. Now, you are not just experiencing conscious me as the non-active state of the primary center of essence-me, that which underlies the observer. You are relating to it as the primary center of your intelligence, the inner knower.
Then, having the concepts of the inner and outer knower allows you to bring more understanding-sensitivity into the practice of self-absorption.
So the answer is both. There is not much practical difference, but there is a significant difference, one which has subtle but it has far reaching consequences.
Is the new term ‘conscious me’ any different from the old concept of ‘conscious me’, in terms of practicing to awaken and embody it?
The new term conscious me not only points to a center of our identity but also to the center of our intelligence, the inner intelligence that exists behind pure attention (while the outer knower is the center of outer conceptual and reflective intelligence). The main difference between our previous and present work with conscious me is that we emphasize self-absorption in the outer knower as the main tool to enter the conscious me more deeply. Without this self-absorption, conscious me can never be embodied properly. The thing is that the inner knower must go through the outer knower to reach deep into himself. But who is getting self-absorbed in the outer knower? It is the inner knower, of course.
Are the terms ‘conscious me’ and ‘conscious inner knower’ synonymous? Or do they point to different realizations?
A good question. While from a certain perspective they can be seen as synonyms, from another perspective they are not the same. Conscious me is the bare attention of the inner knower through which he becomes the conscious inner knower. Here, for the first time the inner knower acquires an actual identity, a center of existence. But the conscious inner knower is more than its bare attention, is more than conscious me. The conscious inner knower also has the dynamic dimension pure attention that allows him to activate and embody all the other centers of the soul. Who embodies pure me of consciousness? Who embodies pure me of the heart? It is the inner knower. How can he do this without leaving his seat of pure subjectivity in conscious me? He simply can. He can be in many places at the same time, but his home-base is conscious me.
What is the difference between the knower and the soul? In which way does the knowledge of the inner knower help us to connect to the soul?
The inner knower is the soul. By connecting to the inner knower you connect to your soul. There is no other soul than the inner knower.
If the inner knower is the most important aspect of our reality, why do we begin our work with awakening pure consciousness? Does this not distract us from our primary goal?
The inner knower cannot awaken to itself fully happen unless we first open the space of transcendence, which is the function of awakening of pure consciousness. Pure me of consciousness is a secondary center of the inner knower, and without it, the inner knower is too tied to the observer and cannot properly awaken his pure subjectivity. To realize the inner knower, we need many ingredients, one of which is a connection to the transcendent I am.
So we do work with the inner knower from the start of the path, meaning the inner knower is working on realizing himself. But we must additionally open the energetic space in the head, to create the room for the knower to embrace his pure subjectivity. This space is opened both horizontally, by awakening of pure me of consciousness and vertically, through awakening of pure conscious me and fundamental me. Within that space of transcendence and absence, the inner knower can fully transcend the dimension of the observer and realize his own light as conscious me.
Regarding the deeper stages of self-absorption, I noticed that whereas before, one penetrated the depths of essence-me and immanent samadhi through the self-absorption of the observer (what is now the outer knower), now things are different.
So, it is actually the self-absorption of the inner knower (rather than the outer knower) that enables us to penetrate the depth of essence-me and actually assume its identity.
Is that correct?
Yes, that is correct. However, especially in the initial stages, you still need to go through the outer knower. Here, the inner knower is very dependent on the outer knower and needs the former’s surrender to deepen his own samadhi. At this stage, self-absorption still refers primarily to the outer knower, while self-absorption in the inner knower is more of a by-product, as well as an additional ingredient. However, from the realization of fundamental knower onwards, it is indeed the self-absorption of the inner knower that comes to be emphasized, as the tool through which it penetrates the core of essence-me and fully assumes its identity, what we call ‘essence-samadhi.
I believe that one of the key factors in progressing my practice is to master pure attention. However, I can’t say that at this point I have sufficiently done so.
In which practical way does the recent revelation of the inner knower facilitate and accelerate the mastering of pure attention and my practice as a whole?
To get in touch with pure attention you need to get in touch with the inner knower. The inner knower is the subject to pure attention is also existentially deeper than pure attention. How do you get in touch with the inner knower? Ask yourself: Why are you on the path? What are you doing here? Who is on the path? Who is seeking your deeper self? Who is self-remembering? If you do not know, it is time to wake up.
Your teaching speaks of an awakening sequence starting from the observer, then moving to the inner knower and conscious me. My own experience has been one of a sudden awakening to awareness, and only then moving to the observer and inner knower.
Have you actually seen cases of students beginning their awakening from the observer, or is it more common to start from a sudden awakening to a different dimension of pure subjectivity?
I think this subject was touched upon in the first article. The path begins with the inner knower awakening to pure subjectivity, but not to his own pure subjectivity. Here, the inner knower is present as the one who recognizes, for instance awareness or pure consciousness, but he is still has no bare attention of his own.
At this point, any new student of this teaching is doing a two-fold practice: awakening pure me of consciousness and awakening the centers of essential me. From my observations, as a result, students are transforming much more quickly since the direct work with the knower has been incorporated. This is because previously, the outer knower could not be integrated and thus kept pulling them away from properly embodying their inner self.
You say that awakening of pure consciousness should be the first step on the path. I had always puzzled about how pure consciousness me could help conscious me enter a state of vertical surrender, when it is fundamental me which is essential me’s gate to the absolute.
However, from reaching a recent transcription I understood that pure conscious me accesses absence through an upper tan t’ien, as does pure me of consciousness in the central channel.
As this upper tan t’ien is a gate to absence, does it mean grace or transmission is also required to access pure conscious me?
I am not sure if I have understood your question. The initial role of pure me of consciousness is to open the headspace energetically on the horizontal level. If one would work only with essential me, there would be too much presence and concentration of attention, which would prevent us from reaching vertical surrender on the level of essential me as well. The second role of pure me of consciousness is to open the space of vertical absence through its own vertical surrender (while following the way of pure me of being and heart).
We are still not fully clear about the interconnection between the central and essential channels of surrender. But one thing is certain: that the central channel has to first establish the platform of transcendence before the essential channel can become fully open. In other words, the secondary centers of the inner knower in the central channel must reach unity with the transcendent I am (absolute state, divine state and absolute consciousness) before the knower can surrender vertically. And even in the essential channel, the secondary centers of knower (pure conscious me and fundamental me) need to be first established.
As you know, there two tan t’ien in the essential channel, on the level of pure conscious me and on the level of fundamental me. The upper essential tan t’ien, of pure conscious me, cannot be fully open unless the lower essential tan t’ien, of fundamental me, is open. It is the fundamental me that leads to way to absence.
The question of whether one can reach absence through one’s practice or needs the intervention of grace cannot be answered simply. To experience pure conscious me is relatively easy. In fact, it is easier to experience pure conscious me than conscious me, which is why it is common to forget conscious me in pure conscious me. However, if this teaching would not point to these states of realization both conceptually and energetically, it is unlikely that anyone would ever experience them. This is already a type of grace. I personally doubt than any human being has ever experienced fundamental me or pure conscious me before. These dimensions of realization were closed to humanity until now.
So in a sense is all grace. Grace does not descend from above or outside us, but from the within of the inner knower, that has somehow come to awaken to himself through me personally.
In a recent talk, you said something to the effect that fundamental me could be called ‘grace’. Does this mean that all we can do from our side is cooperate through practice and preparation to be ripe enough for the grace of fundamental me to be available to us?
The matter of grace is a tricky one. We tend to have a linear relationship with grace, seeing it as a help coming from external source to intervene in the areas that we have no control of. But grace is both coming from without and from within. This can particularly be understood as the dimension of immanent I am becomes more illuminated. By going deeper into our core-individuality, we come closer to the source of our own spiritual power and creative evolutionary force. But this is not in contradiction to the fact that ‘external’ grace is also needed to open different doorways within. That external grace does not come from the heavens, but from the human teacher who has entered his own immanency.
From reading the article on the knower, it did not appear that pure me of the heart is required for the knower’s evolution. Does this mean pure me of the heart could be by-passed entirely in the full evolution of the knower?
No, this is not the case. When the singularity of the knower is realized, all his secondary centers become irrelevant on some level. But without first awakening these centers, the knower could not realize himself. He needs the space of our holistic pure subjectivity before he can enter the seat of his immanency. The other thing to remember that all the dimensions of pure me, the secondary centers of the knower, are needed for him to exist in creation as a complete, multilayered being. The knower does not just live in singularity, he lives in multidimensionality. Each secondary center of the knower has its purpose and links him to different realms of the inner world.
Would it be correct to say the transparent outer knower is equivalent to seeing through the 3rd eye of Shiva?
Yes, the transparent knower is the third eye of Shiva. The translucent knower is the supreme eye of the immanent I am.
In immanent samadhi, does the inner knower fully disappear and get assimilated into immanent I am or does it still remain a dynamic aspect of it?
There is no difference. When we say that something ‘disappears,’ we assume that the lower dissolves in the higher. But the knower is not lower than immanent I am – it belongs to immanent I am. Without the knower, immanent I am would remain unconscious forever. In immanent samadhi, the knower fully merges with immanent I am and takes over her identity. He becomes immanent I am.
Living as the Inner Knower in the Midst of the Collective Me
Question and Answers
Is wanting to live in seclusion wrong? Does it necessarily indicate a certain type of escapism?
Living alone is an internal quality, rather than an external situation. On the outside, you live within a creation that contains many other beings and life forms. Minimizing one’s connection with the collective me is the way of the wise, but how much it can be minimized depends on many elements. Escapism means that not only does one want to be left alone but that one has a fear of connecting to others, and fear is never a good thing. Furthermore, connecting to other humans is an important life lesson, and an opportunity to develop social skills and become more emotionally complete. But if one is an emotionally and spiritually mature adult, there is truly not much to gain through human interactions, other than on a physical and practical level.
If you want to check whether your choice not to connect with others is an expression of escapism, you need to test how you feel when connecting to people. If you feel free and comfortable but just prefer to be alone, this may be a constructive choice. Because we are emotional beings, we will enjoy having human connections to a certain extent, if they are based on the soul and the inner knower. Naturally such connections are rare, but because they are rare they are also more precious.
You speak of a crossing point between observer and inner knower as being like a divide between two species. Is that the only crossing point? Are there other points in our evolution where we become existentially different to those who have not reached that point yet?
There are many points in our evolution as the observer that indicate that we have evolved beyond other people, but they are all still happening within the realm of the collective me. There have been many brilliant humans on this planet that rebelled against the collective lethargy in the hope of waking humanity up. But paradoxically, they too were part of that very collective me. The collective me has some capacity to evolve and change while remaining imprisoned in the collective mind. Those who truly moved beyond the collective me very likely did not want to change society, and hence they have remained anonymous and unknown.
To answer your question directly, there are no other such points. The invisible bridge between the observer and the inner knower is the only bridge there is between the false me and the real me. To cross the bridge is the highest celebration in the dimension of creation.
How is romantic love actually experienced from an identity based in pure subjectivity, or between two souls?
It is experienced from the place of calmness and internal independence.
Where does the excitement and thrill of romantic love really come from? It comes from desperation. One desperate human being longs to transcend his desperation by losing himself in another. But he cannot do it, because the other is doing exactly the same thing.
Romantic love is based on a sexual connection. This is something that people tend to forget. Can you fall in love with someone who is extremely unattractive or, for instance, very old? You cannot, because the sexual attraction is not there, and evolutionarily speaking, there is no prospect of having healthy babies with that person. This is the cruelty of the romantic love: that only those are relatively attractive are favored. Romantic love is one the greatest illusions in society. It is an illusion that may indeed be worth experiencing, because connecting to the opposite sex is, on deeper level, an important context within which to mature emotionally. But such maturation cannot reach fruition unless you first of all fall in love with yourself, and become light unto yourself.
Is it possible to be in harmonious connection with someone who is on a different path? For instance, if my boyfriend is Buddhist, can I still be with him and form constructive relationship?
You have called Buddhism ‘a different path’, but how many paths are there? And what is the path really? Past spiritual traditions have mostly been designed to fit the spiritual insincerity and lack of intelligence of the collective me. So when you see our path as just one of many other paths, you are actually making a serious error of judgment. There is only one path, and our teaching is striving to give that one path a proper conceptual and practical structure.
Seeing this, we would not actually consider Buddhist adepts to be on the real spiritual path. They may think they are, but this is because they have a significant lack of insight and knowledge. Buddhism has been taken over by the collective me; it is simply one of the many expressions of the collective mind. So a Buddhist is no different than the regular collective me. He is just a human monkey who thinks he is spiritual, a ‘spiritual monkey’.
Why do we use the term ‘spiritual monkey’ here? Firstly, such a spiritual ‘search’ is not based on the inner knower but on the observer that wants to reach the illusion of transcendence. Secondly, it is not based on genuine longing to remember our pure subjectivity and awaken the light of me. These two factors indicate that, in spite of the fact that Buddhist seekers might appear sincere, they are actually insincere. Anyone who is sincere would not agree under any circumstances to get stuck on the Buddhist path, which after all is a spiritual system that is not geared towards the realization of the soul. To follow such this direction amounts to agreeing to sell one’s soul. One might think that the original Buddhism was based on a genuine intention to awaken our pure nature, and was only later corrupted by its followers and imitators. This is however untrue. Insincerity and the betrayal of our soul stand at the very root of Buddhism, just as they do Advaita.
So the spiritual monkey is an even more corrupted version of the regular human monkey, because it has lost innocence and developed a arrogant pretention of knowing truth. Furthermore, the kind of spirituality created by the spiritual monkeys deludes not only its followers, but also those seekers who have a genuine intention but a lack intelligence and sensitivity to see through all this falsehood. Do you really think that living in self-denial by rejecting one’s me in the name of reaching Nirvana is a valid spiritual path? It is based on preposterous and false assumptions. Not only is Buddhism not the proper path, but it is a path that leads away from the essence of your true self, in the opposite direction to our pure subjectivity. It is a crime against our spiritual purpose.
Coming back to your question, the answer is similar to the general question of whether it is possible to form a relationship with any member of the collective me. It is possible. However, it is generally safer to connect to the non-spiritual people, as they do not bring in this additional factor of spiritual ego and arrogance. If your partner follows the Buddhist path, he or she may sooner or later try to influence you with the Buddhist ideas, and this can be quite annoying and often the opposite of spiritually supportive. You might think that it is better to be in a relationship with someone from the collective me that is in the habit of meditating. But in truth, it is usually better to spend time with regular people because they are more innocent.
Is it correct to see the collective me as an enemy? Is it not my own weakness that is the enemy, while the collective me is just what it is?
It is your enemy as long as you are bound by it. You are emerging from the collective me like a lotus flower from the mud. If you don’t have enough force to climb up to the light, the mud will suffocate you spiritually, pulling you into its murky underworld.
For someone with an inner knower, what is the difference between living a natural human life in response to one’s desires and needs, and remaining part of the collective me?
You can connect to the collective me on one level, while not connecting on another level. There is a lot of beauty in people and some of them are genuinely lovely. This is not in contradiction that you can have a real connection only with someone who has become an individual. As you learn to look deeper into other people, you will realize that they cannot be taken seriously because they live in complete dream, where the dreamer of that dream has no self. This is the realm of the observer. They are nothing but a fragmented observer that is linked to an emotional body, and their rudimentary sense of me is entirely based on mental self-reference.
But to answer your question, to see if you are simply fulfilling your natural desires or whether you are in part still possessed by the collective me, you need to check the place from which you are engaging in human experience. Put simply, if the human psychological self is all that you are, this means that you are entirely the collective me. If you connect to the human world from your pure subjectivity, you are relating to the human dimension from the soul. The complication is that if the outer knower is not integrated and not surrendered, you might experience a certain split within yourself where the belief system of the outer knower is still locked in the past self, based on its subconscious conditioning. This is why it is so important to verify that the outer knower is truly in a state of surrender, and that your human consciousness is fully internalized.
Many students seem to appreciate the human articles, which deal with various psychological issues or how to live in society. This is all very important, hence why we have addressed these issues on numerous occasions. But there is also something suspicious when students are overly excited by these matters, because it suggests that they are too attached to their human selves and personalities. For instance, the first knower article that conceptually clarified the dimension of essential me is thousands of times more important. But students fail to appreciate its tremendous value, and this is disappointing. It is not the art of living in society that will save you, but the inner knowledge of pure subjectivity. Unless you fully get that, you are still spiritually immature; you are still overly connected to the collective me inside you.
How can one tell when one is fully separated from the collective me?
First, by living in complete devotion, self-recognition and embodiment of one’s pure subjectivity. Then by verifying that the outer knower is fully in surrender to the inner knower. To fully separate your true self from the collective me is to realize the complete self-love and the bliss of being alone.
There is no self-love in the collective me because of the complete absence of the inner knower. Only the inner knower can love himself. The observer (which is the false outer knower) has no internal life, other than being in some instances psychologically introverted. As we know, it does have a sense of me, but its sense of me is entirely externalized and has no connection to its own subjectivity. The observer wants to be happy and experience love, but always through loving what is outside of it, or receiving love from external source. The observer is nothing without the feedback from the outer world.
Is it the goal to become entirely free of the collective me, or there is an aspect of us that always remains part of it?
Internally, nothing remains part of it. Externally, your personality operates in the context of the collective mind, but if the outer knower is surrendered, your personality becomes transparent. It lives in two worlds, but its roots are in the soul.
Is there a danger in connecting to other people? Such as being disturbed energetically due to their low level of consciousness?
Yes, there is. Even more so if you connect to people who are overly mental or live in constant emotional agitation. Especially, when you are not fully established in your pure subjectivity, such energetic exchange can cause you to regress spiritually. This is why at the beginning, one has to be exceedingly selective and careful about who one is connecting to. If you have no other choice, you need to make sure that you strengthen your light and close your mind from opening too much to the other person’s personality. Many people are harmless because their observer has developed more harmoniously and has more gentle quality, but the observer of most people is corrupted and damaged.
The need to exercise caution in connecting to people should not be confused with fear of connecting. Many so-called spiritual people imagine themselves to be very influenced by connecting others, through their energies or thoughts. This is mostly just fear and imagination. What they think is the negative influence of others is actually that of their own mind; they are projecting things that aren’t really there. You need to live in reality, not in imagination, and clearly recognize if the disturbance you experience is really from an outer source. Perhaps what is disturbing you is the collective me inside you? This is most often the case.
Before you can feel if you are disturbed, you need to fully get in touch with your pure subjectivity, as any energetic disturbance will adversely affect your experience of your true self. In fact, there are two kinds of disturbances: one is disturbing your light, and the other is disturbing you on the human level. The difficulty here is that if the human part of your consciousness is energetically disturbed, it might also disturb the quality of your pure subjectivity, particularly if that disturbance goes too deep.
You need to exercise discrimination and wisdom in connecting to the world, while living free from fear. Even when facing disturbances coming from the other people, you need to see it as an opportunity to grow stronger, to empower your light and to learn the art of transparency, where nothing can touch you because it has nothing to stick to. This transparency is one of the signs of having moved beyond the collective me. You are no longer affected by the low frequency of the subconscious realm. This what the collective me really is: an entirely subconscious reality that has strong ties to the underworld of universal subconsciousness.
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