So, what is this knowing path, or way? How does it contrast with the devotional, or love way, or path?
This path I have often called direct knowing. This is knowing, not knowing about. This knowing is of the Formless without form, form being no longer a veil between you and Grace, the Supreme Being. In the devotional way, form is a means to the Formless, while being a veil also. This is as though the Formless teases us through form, playing with us, of course playfully. So in the knowing way, Spirit is absolutely nonconceptual, imageless, and unwordable. This Mystery is referred to by Thomas Merton, I forget which work, where he speaks of that at the core of any person, impenetrable. We cannot know this essence, he says. He speaks of respecting that in everyone. The Quakers, or Society of Friends, speak of this essence, or Mystery, as "that of God in everyone." Many Christians speak of this as the Imago Dei, or Latin for "the image of God" in everyone. Hindus speak of this as "Atman," the one Self, while Buddhist speak of it in varied ways, such as, Buddha, Buddha Nature, and Dharmakaya. I disagree with Merton, for he is speaking of you as a person not being able to access that core Mystery in the other. Since, however, this is not the self, or person, but the Self of every being, we can know it directly, some might say intuitively. This knowing is more a felt-sense or felt-knowing, not emotional essentially. One could ask, "How do you know?" The only responses could be silence or "I don't known how I know." This, see, is neither he, she, or it, yet appears as all these.
You appeared to shift from the Supreme Being to this essence in everyone?
Yes, we cannot separate what appears the two. To use a crude analogy, a piece of God is implanted in every being, some have referred to this as the divine spark. So, to know God in any being, that is to know God before and outside every being. Hence, in the love path, to express love to any being, this is to love God. Likewise, as I shared the early experience with the Divine when I was age nine; through Jesus, I came to know God, for God was in Jesus and Jesus in God. Yet, again, this is true of each being. I have known God through any being I have encountered, true in differing degrees, but, none the less, God. One writer in the Christian Scripture has, "In Whom we live, move, and have our existence." Your every breath is the breathing of God.
How do I come to this directing knowing, beyond form?
By subtraction. One way ~ and different ways are not exclusive of each other necessarily ~ is to engage the way of love, and, with time, form melts. Form dissolves in the power of the Formless. One way you sense this, is the form is no longer working for you. This is the summons to let the form release, to relax into the space without form. In this way you will have a transitional period, likely, where the form is working somewhat and not working somewhat. This can be frustrating. This is transitional.
A second way is through intentional use of the mind to transcend the mind, for all form is represented in the mind. This is often referred to as self-inquiry. Many guides provide guidance in this simple practice. It is an ancient mode of demonstrating that what you call yourself, or "I," is not at all, it is relative, a sheath of the Absolute, the Real.
Can you give an example in your own experience?
When I began meditating, I used varied means of form, including mantras, visualizations, and scriptures. I came upon a cassette taping of a teacher. He guided in an exercise of self-inquiry. I followed his instructions. I lay myself on the floor, relaxed, and let arise in succession the different things others or I could say I am; such as, "I am a man." Then, I would say inwardly, "I am not a man, I am." As I did this with different identities, I felt a release, an unburdening of identity, like layers falling off an onion. Later, many years later, I learned of releasing even the sense "I am." I learned, later, that even the sense "I," which is a subtle sense, more subtle than "I am," and one can feel in the body after releasing "I am," that this is still not the Absolute, the Formless. I came to see this sense of "Iness" is the gate, so to speak, separating form and the Formless. See, form is internal as well as external, immaterial as well as material. Even the sense "I am" or "I" is a form, though subtle.
What came next, after this realization?
No one goes there, no one can go to the One. I mean, there is nothing there, but this Nothing is totally-pervasively present. This is no-thing. One utilizes the capacity of mind to transcend the sense of "I," which is still an object, though subtle, then one cannot say anything, the mind drops, the object "I" returns to its Source. The Self does not think about the Self, God does not think about God. The Self is, God is. The Self is Being, so Be-ing, as God is Being, so Be-ing. So, we apply words, like "God," "Love," "Truth," "That," ... but these are pointers, as some Buddhists say, "A finger pointing to the Moon."
I am confused about this, is this beyond the sense of "I" both us and God? Are we identified with God.
In the silence of not-knowing, there is no identity to be identified with or apart from. In the East, we hear this phrase, "Neti, Neti," usually translated, "Not this, not that." This is like saying, "Yes and no." Again, the mind arrogates itself to make final claims about matters beyond its limits. Better simply to live from the heart, keep returning to the heart. The heart knows. As long as in the body, we need to honor the body and the sense of being a person. This human journey is a gift. Wearing the identity person is what we are blessed with. Knowing we are not a person, knowing the Beloved, is truth. Persons have different theories about your question, and I could venture into exploring them with you, but I prefer not to theorize so about God. I prefer simply to inspire others to love God as they best understand God, and honor the Beloved in every being. Why talk about what cannot be talked? When I talk about God, I am not talking God, no one can. We talk around a circle whose circumference is everywhere, in every place, yet we cannot talk It. I, likewise, can talk about you, but not talk you.
Jesus said, "I and the Father are one."
Yes, he is recorded as saying that. And many have said that shows he is God, and Jesus only among humans. Yet, "one" does not necessarily mean the same. Elsewhere, Jesus is shown to differentiate himself from God. Yet, again, what does it matter, essentially. Better you ask, "Who am I?," not "Who was Jesus?" If you ask, "Who was Jesus?" and "Who am I?," either question will lead you home, to the same silence.
May Peace go with you!
*Brian Wilcox. 'A Beautiful Arrangement'. Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.