The Garden Of Unknowing
extract from the book: the transparency of things
Contemplating the Nature of Experience by Robert Spirahttp://www.amazon.com/The-Transparency-Things-Rupert-Spira/dp/0955829054
The abstract concepts of the mind cannot apprehend Reality although
they are an expression of it.
Duality, the subject/object polarization, is inherent in the concepts
of the mind. For instance, when we speak of the ‘body’ we refer to
an object, which in turn implies a subject. If we explore this object
we discover that it is non-existent as such and is in fact only a
However, a ‘sensation’ is still an object and further exploration
reveals that it is in fact made of ‘sensing,’ of ‘mind stuff,’ rather than
However, ‘sensing’ in turn is discovered to be made of ‘knowing.’ And
if we explore ‘knowing’ we find that it is made of Consciousness.
If we explore Consciousness we find that it has no objective qualities.
And yet it is what we most intimately know ourselves to be. It is
what we refer to as ‘I.’
And if we explore ‘I’ we find it is made of…
The abstract concepts of the mind collapse here. They cannot go any
further. There is no adequate name for that into which the mind dissolves.
We are taken to the utmost simplicity of direct experience.
This de-objectification is the process of apparent involution through
which That-Which-Cannot-Be-Named withdraws its projection of
the mind, body and world, and rediscovers that it is the sole substance
of the seamless totality of experience.
That-Which-Cannot-Be-Named, the Absolute Emptiness into which
the mind collapses, then projects itself, within itself, back along the
2 same path of apparent objectification, to recreate the appearance of
the mind, body and world.
That-Which-Cannot-Be-Named, and yet which is sometimes referred
to as ‘I,’ Consciousness, Being, Knowingness, takes the shape of
thinking, sensing or perceiving in order to appear as a mind, a body
or a world.
This is the process of apparent evolution through which That-
Which-Cannot-Be-Named gives birth to a mind, a body and a world,
without ever becoming anything other than itself.
This process of evolution and involution is the dance of Oneness,
That-Which-Cannot-Be-Named taking shape and dissolving, vibrating
in every nuance of experience and dissolving itself into itself,
transparent, open, empty and luminous.
Mind attempts to describe the modulations of this emptiness manifesting
itself as the fullness of experience and this fullness recognising
itself as emptiness, knowing all the time that in doing so it is
holding a candle to the wind.
Mind describes the names and forms through which That-Which-
Cannot-Be-Named refracts itself, in order to make itself appear
as two, as many, in order to make Consciousness/Being appear as
Consciousness and Being.
And using the same names and forms, mind describes the apparent
process through which That-Which-Cannot-Be-Named discovers
that it never becomes anything, that it is always only itself and itself
Each statement that is made here is provisionally true in relation to
one statement but false in relation to another. However, it is never
The purpose of every statement is to indicate the falsity of the previous
one, only to await its own imminent demise.
Each is an agent of Truth, but never true.
Mind, in the broadest sense of the word*, is made of concepts and
appearances. It never frames or grasps Reality itself.
However, by speaking in this way, mind is being used to create evocations
rather than descriptions of the experience of Consciousness
These evocations are temporary expressions of That-Which-Cannot-
Be-Named, like flowers blossoming for a moment, shedding the
perfume of their origin on the Garden of Unknowing.
*The word ‘mind’ is used in two ways in this book. The first, as in this
sentence, includes (a) thinking and imagining, (b) sensing (referring to
bodily sensations) and (c) perceiving (referring to seeing, hearing, tasting,
smelling and touching, through which the world is ‘known’). In this
case the body and the world are understood to be projections of the mind.
The second refers only to thinking and imagining. In most cases the latter
meaning is intended, but occasionally mind is referred to in its broader