BE-NESS, BEING and NON-BEING by Andrew Rooke.

‘Be-Ness’, What Does That Mean? What do we mean by ‘Be-Ness’? Why is it supremely important in any discussion of spiritual development? True knowledge is ‘Being’ a thing or state, rather than just talking about what it might be like.  ‘Be-ness’ – Artists, Poets and Mystics speak of it as the highest experience of knowing. Philosophers and religious teachers try to give it names like ‘Samadhi’, ‘Moksha’, ‘Enlightenment’, ‘The Kingdom of the Father’, etc… but they are only vague indicators of what they have experienced or what it must be like in Reality.

Intellectual discussion is always restricted to talking about something and therefore can never provide true knowledge of it. You will never own it if you just talk about it without trying to ‘Be’ it.

For example: you can talk about what it must be like to be in love, but you never really know unless you are, or have been, in love. The same if you talk about being a parent, selfless, kind, generous, tolerant, spiritual, enlightened, etc unless you ‘Be’ it, you cannot know what it is truly like.

‘Be-ness’ is the source of our own true knowledge. If we remove the barriers to Be-ness within ourselves then we grow closer to it. Such true knowledge is like the sun ever-shining in the sky, but down here on the ground there are a lot of clouds in the way and we have to remove them if we want to glimpse and bathe in the warmth of the sun of true knowing.

‘Gnosis’, The True Knowing: This is, true ‘Gnosis’:  meaning ‘Knowledge’ or ‘Knowers’. All traditions from around the world are united in having such a body of knowledge of higher truths surpassing faith and even reason which can have a transformative effect on those who study and ‘become’ it. This is not ordinary scientific knowledge but an inner initiation enabling one’s spiritual advancement requiring discipline and ethical development of a very high order, with the aim of transcendence. The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, said this knowledge is something within each individual that he or she must find by their own efforts. He said that he was not a teacher but a midwife to men’s souls. Each man or woman must give birth to his/her own spiritual children. This is not something easily described in words, or successfully written down in books.

Plato: On True Knowing: As Plato, Socrates famous student, says in his Seventh Letter:

“…There is so much at least I can affirm with confidence about any who have written or propose to write on these questions; that is the questions of highest philosophy and of the highest concern. Pretending to knowledge of the problems with which I am concerned whether they claim to have learned from me or from others or to have made their own discoveries for themselves it is impossible in my opinion that they can have learned anything at all about the subject. There is no writing of mine about these matters nor will there ever be one.

For this knowledge, is not something that can put into words like other sciences but after long continued intercourse between teacher and pupil and joint pursuit of the subject, suddenly, like light flashing forth when a fire is kindled, it is born in the soul and straight away nourishes itself…”

Be-Ness: The Cosmic Dimension: Let’s look at the broader picture of Be-Ness. At the cosmic dimension we are told in many traditions that there is an underlying Reality which is behind, and supports, what we see of the manifest universe. This universal ‘Be-Ness’ is indescribable in words as it is beyond manifestation and therefore, we have no analogy to be able to describe it. It forms the animating force of all that we see, but remains apart from its creation.

Perhaps a feeble analogy could be the human body formed of trillions of cells animated by our consciousness which remains indescribable and incomprehensible to each cell, yet is the vital force animating the human body and intimately enmeshed in its destiny.

Be-Ness: Ultimate Reality Supporting Our Reality: Another way of looking at it is that it is a little bit like when you go swimming at the beach that there is the reality above the water which is readily seen, the ocean that supports you as you swim along, and another reality below the waves for those brave enough to duck-dive under the water.

The ‘water’ in our analogy is the:

‘Ain Soph’ or ‘Without Bounds’ or‘Ancient of Days’ of Judaism,

‘God’ of Christianity,

‘All’ or ‘Absolute’ of Western philosophy,

‘Sat’ (Truth), ‘Tat’ (That), or ‘Parabrahman’ (Beyond Brahman, the Universal Self or Spirit) of Indian Vedantic philosophy.

Being, Non-Being and Be-Ness: Let’s look at a technical definition of universal ‘Be-Ness’:

Being and Nonbeing; Be-ness:

Equivalent to the Sanskrit Sat, Asat, and Tat. Asat is “a philosophical term meaning ‘non-being,’ or rather non-be-ness. The ‘incomprehensible nothingness.’

Sat, the immutable, eternal, ever-present, and the one real ‘Be-ness’ (not Being) is spoken of as being born of Asat, and Asat begotten by ‘Sat.’ The unreal, or Prakriti, objective nature regarded as an illusion. Nature, or the illusive shadow of its one true essence”.

So, Asat, or nonbeing is used both to denote that which precedes Being, and out of which Being is born — or vice versa; and to denote the illusory world in contrast with the essential or fundamental cosmic self.

Sat, (or Asat) corresponds very largely with the Absolute of ordinary European philosophy,

Whereas, Be-ness, or nonbeing corresponds with the extremely metaphysical Vedic and Vedantic Tat and Parabrahman.

Understanding Be-Ness in Human Terms: Art, Poetry, Music, Mystical Experience: But how can we understand such profound concepts in human terms? Perhaps it is best to look to poets, artists, musicians, and mystics to describe their experience of Be-Ness animating their art or mystical experience. They often say that this is not an intellectual endeavour but rather we need to relax and flow with our inner connection to Be-Ness to have some experience ourselves of its power. If this is the case then a beautiful scene, artwork, music, or silent meditation is going to teach us more about the power behind our being than any intellectual means of understanding. However, for most of us this is a difficult/impossible endeavour in its fullness amidst the stresses and demands of modern life. So, let’s make an attempt to understand Be-Ness in terms of what we know from esoteric philosophy of the Inner Constitution of Man, our connection to the Absolute, and pathways to a personal experience of Be-ness.

The Inner Constitution of Humanity: The Necessity of Strengthening the Bridge to the Higher Self:

ATMAN: is not really a principle but stands apart from the Man whose seven principles are represented as follows:

7th: AURIC EGG: Blue.

6th: BUDDHI (Compassion): Yellow.

5th: MANAS (Mind): THE UPPER MIND (The Compassionate Mind): represented as a triangle with its apex pointing upwards, coloured Indigo-Blue.

                                   – THE LOWER MIND (The Desire Mine): represented by a triangle with its apex pointing downwards, coloured Green.

4th: KAMA (Desire): represented as a five-pointed star with its ‘horns’ pointed upwards, embracing the LOWER MANAS, coloured in Red.

3rd: LINGA SARIRA (Astral Body): coloured Violet as the vehicle of PRANA (Vitality – Life Force) (Orange), and partaking of KAMA (Red) and occasionally of the AURIC ENVELOPE (Blue).

2nd: PRANA (Vitality): Life, coloured orange, the hue of the ascetic’s robe.

1st: STUHULA SARIRA (Physical Body): the Physical Body of Man, represented by the mayavic contour of the large five-pointed star within the AURIC EGG.

The ATAHKARANA (Bridge of Consciousness) is the narrow Green line connecting the Lower and Higher Minds.

All the principles or elements of the human constitution interblend and interact as one composite entity –a Human Being.

Antahkarana: Bridge of Consciousness: Theosophical teachers speak of a connecting bridge or pathway between the divine and human egos of each person which they called by the ancient Sanskrit name: Antahkarana (sometimes known as Antaskarana) meaning ‘interior sense organ.’When we aspire to spiritual thoughts, a dynamic current of energy is emitted from our familiar lower consciousness towards the higher aspects of our being – like engineers building a span of a bridge.

Our upward aspirations stimulate an influx of spiritual energy from our Higher Self downwards, completing the span of the bridge for whatever time we can hold the inspiration.

In her book, Voice of the Silence, theosophical teacher, HP Blavatsky, speaks of this bridge of consciousness as a ‘highway of sensations’ between the personal and impersonal selves. She refers to it as the arena of the battle for mastery over the Lower Self.

Paradoxically, we build the bridge only that it may dissolve away. The ‘battlefield’ is engulfed, and the bridge withdrawn into the Higher Self at the times of spiritual initiation for the worthy few, such as at the time of the Solstice we celebrate as Christmas.

For most of us the bridge is completely dissolved at our death, parting in the middle, the efflux retreating into the Personal Mind (the Lower Manas) and the influx withdrawing into its source in the Higher Mind (Higher Manas) – and the Manas becomes One, its dregs sloughing off as the ‘Desire Body’ (Kama Rupa).

During our lives, it is clearly our duty to initiate the building and pave the spans of our bridge with high aspiration so our Higher Self can respond with the help our efforts warrant.

Great teachers have provided ethical injunctions and teachings throughout the ages to encourage our spiritual aspirations which form our individual Antahkarana or Path.

Like the Sun compassionately providing the means of life and warmth for its myriad family of lesser beings in our solar system, the Higher Self patiently watches and encourages us to walk our own rainbow bridge to the stars.

 “There is a light within a man of light, and it lights up the whole world. If he does not shine, he is in darkness” – from the Gospel of Thomas 38.4 – 10 in the Nag Hammadi Library-121.

But how can we find a pathway to strengthening the Antahkara, bridge of the mind to a higher consciousness of ‘Be-Ness”?

Pathways to Be-Ness:

  • This is not an intellectual endeavour but rather we need to relax and flow with our inner connection to be-ness to have some experience ourselves of its power. If this is the case then a beautiful scene, artwork, music, or silent meditation is going to teach us more about the power behind our being than any intellectual means of understanding.
  • At the opposite extreme, Science, Religion, and Philosophy can be pathways to Be-Ness and Truth. They have elements of the Truth within but each can’t express it without unless we combine them in our understanding.
  • Be-ness is found through spiritual growth, suffering, etc. a gradual awakening to knowledge, of an intuitive, inward connection to Truth. In this process there is an important role for conscience as our guide to what we feel is right.
  • Plato instructs us that Duty, Righteousness, Justice and Goodness are pathways to the Absolute. Especially the combination of Duty and Goodness. To examine in our lives what is important to us and how to act in the future.
  • Learning by ‘super-rational’ means other than the intellect. Truth perceived directly usually in the Silence. Awareness of being alive, awareness of Being, what is happening right Now, in the moment without reliance on the mind.
  • Surrender, allow yourself ‘to be’. Rational thought is not the only way to learn but ‘living’ is just as important. For example, we can get more out of a book through the experiences we have in between picking the same book up and look at it differently and with more depth of understanding because we combine what we read with what we understand from our own life.

The Importance of Repeating the Name of Divinity: According to Bhakti Yoga practitioner and teacher, Krishna Das, the repetition of the Name of Divinity strikes a deep resonance with the godlike source of strength within oneself so we should practice this constantly no matter how we feel.

The power of the name is not exclusively in us, but is the vibrationary form of the Divine which connects us all. We are effectively calling out to the Higher Self by calling the Name, extricating ourselves from the trivialities of life, emotions, false beliefs, and so the mirror of our hearts is polished.

In this way, even though we may be depressed and anxious, we see what is reflected in that mirror differently and we start to see changes in ourselves. We start to act differently. The constant nagging self-critical inner voice starts to fade in the harmony of repeating the name.

Bhakti Yoga, based on chanting or repeating the Name of Divinity is said to be the most suitable form of spiritual practice for the majority of people during the present Kali Yuga age with its many stresses and diversions from the pursuit of spiritual knowledge which requires much study, time, and inner effort not freely available to most people. Chanting the divine names is a simple path suitable for the present-day context. It has no ‘binding’ rules and regulations. Nama Kirtan (chanting the Divine names) can be done by anybody, anytime and anywhere.

The Paramitas of Buddhism: Our present task, is to make ourselves fit vehicles for the Masters of Wisdom’s work in the world and to do this without attachment to the results of our efforts. This forms the basis of all spiritual initiation, which is really self-initiation, or, preparing ourselves for the 6th race consciousness.

This can be summarized simply as living the 6 Perfections or ‘Paramitas’ (trans. ‘Other Shore’ – and the methods of reaching this other shore) of Buddhism, ie: Spiritual growth is essentially converting our life experience into opportunities for letting the Inner God at the core of us shine in this world. All systems of spiritual initiation to attain this goal are basically putting what the Buddhist’s call ‘The Paramitas’ or ‘Perfections’ into action in the reality of daily life.

These spiritual qualities are the enumerated and called by different names in the world’s mystery traditions but they can be boiled down to six qualities:

Generosity; Ethical Discipline; Patience; Joyous Perseverance; Meditative Stabilization; Wisdom. 

Why should we develop these particular qualities along the Path of spiritual learning?

“To achieve the aims of others for spiritual understanding you must first help them with material goods as they won’t appreciate spirituality if they have an empty stomach! Since no benefit will come from Generosity accompanied by harmfulness towards living beings, you need Ethical Discipline, which has great purpose for others; this is the state of desisting from harm to others and the causes of harm. To bring this to its full development, you need Patience that disregards the harm done to you. You need to develop the ability to fix your mind on your ideals so you need to develop Meditative Stabilization. Calmness and single-mindedness in the service of others lead to Wisdom. None of this is attainable by laziness, so you need Joyous Perseverance in pursuit of wisdom through service to others and so this quality is the basis of the other Perfections.”

[These comments are based on Tibetan spiritual teacher Tsong-Kha-Pa, from his Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment]

The Coming Sixth Root-Race: A Closer Relationship to Be-Ness: Indeed the 6th Root-Race will be as compared with our own 5th far in advance, spiritually, intellectually, psychically, and even physically; and the attainment by mankind of Adeptship or Mahatmaship will be notably easier than is the case at present.

With the advent of each Root-Race a new cosmic element comes into proportionate manifestation, and a new physical sense apparatus appears: thus, humanity in the 6th Root-Race will develop what is meant by a sixth sense; ie. Intuition the pathway to a sense of Be-Ness.

Be-Ness as A Daily Routine: On the absolute importance of strengthening the bridge to Higher Consciousness, or a sense of ‘Be-Ness’, as a daily routine, theosophical teacher, G de Purucker, gives the following timely advice:

“I cannot weigh too heavily, therefore, the utmost and most urgent need of cultivating the Spiritual Nature by aspiring upwards towards it and by yearning towards it, and by living the life in accordance with the mandates received from within, and by letting no single day pass without some inner spiritual exercise of the personal man yearning upwards to ‘fix’, as it were, the attention of the Spiritual Nature upon and in the personal man or personality. This is sublimely beautiful, comforting, and strengthening exercise: the daily aspiration, the daily yearning, to live from day to day an even better and increasingly higher life; for the result of such true and genuine Yoga will finally result, and perhaps far more quickly than the student will realize, in making such a man/woman more or less fully ensouled, thus completely saving him/her from the possibility of ‘soul loss’.

Indeed, chelaship (chela = a serious spiritual student) is just this and nothing more, when all is said. A chela (spiritual student) is greater exactly in proportion as he/she is more ensouled; so that chelas are more ensouled than the average man/woman, the Mahatman (Master of Wisdom) is more ensouled than are their chelas, and the Buddhas more ensouled than even the Mahatmas are.

It may be said finally, that when a man/woman is completely and fully ensouled, he/she is then an incarnate god, a human god, a god-man, or man-god, and enjoys to the full the vast powers, attributes, functions, insight, love, vision, and wisdom, of the god within him/her” – from G de Purucker: Esoteric Teaching, Vol.9, page 51-52.

HP Blavatsky on Be-Ness: In, The Secret Doctrine, universal life is called “the rootless root”, and “the causeless cause” — it is “‘BE-NESS’, rather than Being” Mme. Blavatsky wrote:

It is this one radical cause that awakens at the dawn of manifestation — not in a haphazard way, but following universal Laws patterned on preceding worlds.

In this eternal, imperishable background, periodically appear and disappear numberless universes, say the ancient sages, called the “sparks of eternity.”

It is this One Universal Life Force which is the omnipresent Reality throughout the cosmos.

If you wish to contact the author, please email, andrewrooke@hotmail.com