The Paradox Of Knowing

March 2, 2010

paradox of knowing

The spiritual healing journey is a paradoxical experience, for it is from within our brokenness that we encounter the seeds of healing. It is from that state which is less than whole that we must nurture  those fragile insights gleaned from our process. With gentleness and care, we must tend to our healing until we become a flourishing garden of  inner peace and joy. Whatever the source of our inspiration, whether we have a teacher or accumulate knowledge from books, it is by our own effort in putting the teachings into practice, that  spiritual awareness becomes established .  Most of us think we know if we are making progress by the results of our relationships with ourselves and others. Yet when the sages teach that all is a mere appearance, that this body and world that we identify with are not real, how does one know if we are deluding ourselves into thinking that we are making headway on the spiritual healing journey?  How can one know with the limitations of the mind, whether we are creating another ego trip of spiritual concepts?

A student approached the sage Nisargadatta Maharaj and said that scientists have discovered that it is only by observing the reactions of atomic particles that change happens. That it is the very act of observing that causes a change in that which is observed. The sage replied “…The observer is also changing. What is being observed brings about a change in the observer, and unless that change is brought about in the observer, the observer cannot observe the object; therefore, one can never get to the depth of spirituality.”

This is the paradox of the spiritual healing journey. While we see ourselves as individuals, living from the place of relative truth,  we create more concepts of limitation, of individual consciousness, unable to experience the greater truth of oneness, of absolute reality.

Nisargadatta Maharaj said about this kind of experience on the spiritual path, “…You are only scratching the surface. It can’t do you any good at all. What you hear must enter you like an arrow and hit something deep within you. There must be an internal reaction; without the reaction what you hear won’t do you any good. You should know it when the arrow reaches its mark.”

The sage seems to be saying that it is only from a place of transformation that we can become transformed, or else we are only creating more delusion when we try to understand the spiritual journey from our limited perception. He had also said, “Whatever the experiencer feels or thinks is all in the consciousness , and is not real. ” So how does one know, how does transformation take place ? It is by spiritual practice that we wake up. In the practice of meditation, a seeker comes to recognize the center point of Consciousness which is constant. From that place, one observes the movement of consciousness. In relating with the world,  the seeker stays focused on the center point so as not to be derailed by the movements of consciousness as actions are performed in the world. The seeker focuses on “I Am” which is that constant still center. Everything else is ever changing in this play of consciousness, a play of light and shadow which the sages tell us is the cause of all our suffering because we perceive them to be real and lasting.

The sage Nisargadatta Maharaj consoles us by saying, “Spiritual effort is easy as it is difficult…One who holds on to the Master’s words, “I am the self-luminous reality,” will find it easy.” That is the beauty of the spiritual healing journey, it is easy and difficult, paradoxical in that we can only heal from a place of recognizing that we are already whole and perfect.

Related post: Start Making Sense

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About Spiritual Healing
03.20.10 at 10:26 am


1 Mark 03.03.10 at 10:48 am

This is an excellent lesson. Thanks for sharing. You have provided much to think about.

2 Miruh 03.03.10 at 9:57 pm

Hello Mark,

I agree with you, there is much to contemplate with these teachings from the great sage. Contemplation is a spiritual practice that opens a doorway to the divine, that further illumines that which is being contemplated.

I am glad that you are inspired by these words.

Deep peace to you!

3 Lisa (mommymystic) 03.04.10 at 5:10 pm

Miruh, thank you for sharing these quotes and your own insights. This is something I wonder about often – how to know when we are making progress? And as a meditation teacher too, how to help others not fall into the trap of ‘spiritual concepts’ (or spiritual materialiasm, as Chogyam Trungpa used to call it)? I love this,
“What you hear must enter you like an arrow and hit something deep within you. There must be an internal reaction; without the reaction what you hear won’t do you any good. You should know it when the arrow reaches its mark.”
I will remember this arrow image. I know that I have a tendency to get trapped in analysis, in my mind. But I also know this feeling of the arrow hitting its mark, of knowing beyond words or thought. Thx for the reminder. Hope you are well. -Lisa

4 mergingpoint 03.05.10 at 12:26 am

As Nisargadatta Maharaj points it out, it has to hit right within. When the change happens with the observer, the perception changes with the observed. Same sun, tree, birds, people and situations but you come to realize something else that makes you feel a part of everything, thereby resulting in the oneness.
shravanam(listening), mananam(contemplating), nidhidhyasanam(applying) is the way of the scriptures
Thankyou so much for sharing The Great Sages wisdom.

5 Alexys Fairfield 03.05.10 at 10:22 am

Hi Miruh,

Knowing IS a paradox, but wanting to know is half the battle. If we could measure what we knew yesterday and compare it to what we know today, we would be amazed at our progress. Unfortunately many people don’t realize that they are unfolding by the millisecond, but we are.

Thank you for this spiritual prompt. May the blessings abound. 😀

6 Miruh 03.06.10 at 12:02 am

Hello Lisa,

Sometimes I look back at where I was so many years ago when I started this journey and though I am a different person today much more aware than I was, for me, I cannot say that I am making progress.
As you say, remembering the arrow image, going beyond all concepts and holding on to the state of “I Am” that the sages tell us we are, is like crossing a chasm in one leap. We keep doing it over again until we are totally established there.

I enjoyed reading your thoughts, it is wonderful to have these kinds of discussions on the blogosphere.

Deep peace to you!

7 Miruh 03.06.10 at 12:13 am

Hello Merging Point,

“shravanam(listening), mananam(contemplating), nidhidhyasanam(applying) is the way of the scriptures”

I love the sound of these words. The beauty of the spiritual journey is to be in the company of others who are also engaged in these practices.
I remember my first meditation retreat and having the experience you describe when I went outside and saw the trees and the birds.
Thanks for the beautiful reminder!


8 Miruh 03.06.10 at 12:22 am

Hello Alexys,

I am reminded of something I read, “Those who know, don’t know. Those who don’t k now, know.” It is a conundrum, you think you know, but if you know that you don’t know…

Seize every millisecond! 😀

9 Nicole 03.07.10 at 7:13 pm

And the funny thing about healing is that it goes on and on. We are constantly being tested in this human form to recognize that truth in everything we experience. Coming back to center to meditate is sage advice Miruh. And something I personally foget to do during the times that I am feeling really good.

I love the way you write about the journey. Thank you for urging me to contemplate … and meditate …

10 Aurora 03.08.10 at 11:17 am

Good Monday morning to you, Miruh.
This reflects what I have found true over the last 2 years.
When you do what works effectively, when you are open to Spirit and act consciously, when loving clarity comes from your willingness to be open to receiving, when your actions (little or big) follow through on your intent, then you KNOW.
It is a gradual process, one of many layers. Thankfully, there is always more to learn, more to become, more *Light* to radiate.

11 Miruh 03.08.10 at 10:05 pm

Hello Nicole,

Yes, it is said that as long as we are in this human form, we have work to do; our own healing and helping others along the way.

I agree it is in those times when things are going well that we need to establish a practice so that we are grounded and able to embrace all that life brings.

Thanks for your kind words, I write for myself first, to clarify my thoughts and reflections. When others get something from it too, I feel grateful for the opportunity to share.

Love and blessings to you!

12 Miruh 03.08.10 at 10:11 pm

Hello Aurora,

Your words reflect the joy of living consciously, “Thankfully, there is always more to learn, more to become, more *Light* to radiate.” A far different experience that those who live with the TGIF attitude.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your wise words.

Deep peace to you!

13 Fateh Singh 03.09.10 at 8:39 am

Great lesson.

The conscious knowing of oneness doesn’t get you any closer to true knowing — spiritual practice begins to take shape and develop through feeling and experiencing openness and oneness in meditation (individually, in groups, and with GOD).

The light of self-illumination dawns on the one who falls in love with “I Am I Am” openness, the harmonious vibration that exists in every thought, every word spoken, and the power of each moment. Heal thyself, and you heal those around you; contemplate with reverence and inner silence your observations, and you transform in the sacred space those whom you would elevate.

As my teachers said recently (when asked about a clarification on the pronunciation of a mantra);

“Your love will overcome all technical difficulties”.

Burn through the fires of karma through trial and error, or nurture yourself, constantly sending yourself love and vibrate through the fire unscathed because you and the fire, light, water, earth, air are one.

Thank you for sharing.


14 Miruh 03.09.10 at 9:47 pm

Hello FS,


““Your love will overcome all technical difficulties”.
This quote reminds me of a story I read, the gist of it is that some students were walking on water repeating a mantra, but turned back running towards their master, because they didn’t remember the right pronunciation.

I like this, “The light of self-illumination dawns on the one who falls in love with “I Am I Am” openness…”
I agree, constant practice of feeling and experiencing the “I Am” in all is a meditation on love, inherent in all of existence. When we begin to have this kind of perception then we are in the Presence, of knowing itself.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your wise words.


15 Dorian 03.10.10 at 6:47 pm

the funny thing about science is that no matter how they try they’ll only be able to support or refute findings and never discover absolute truth… to find the answers we must look within for spiritual healing

16 Miruh 03.12.10 at 11:56 am

Hello Dorian,


I agree, science supports only what is supported by measurements and empirical data. How can that which is not observable by the senses come under the radar of scientific scrutiny. Only the laboratory of the inner world will give us evidence of our spiritual existence.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

Deep peace to you!

17 Manu Namasivayam 06.08.10 at 9:27 pm

A comprehensive non-commercial site exclusively for the articles related to Nisargadatta Maharaj. Books, Photos, Videos, and others.
Visit : Nisargadatta Maharaj

Manu Namasivayam

18 Miruh 06.09.10 at 10:45 pm

Hello Manu,

Thanks for mentioning the site. I took a quick peek. Will have to come back and check it out further, a great resource.


19 Doug Hagens 01.27.11 at 3:54 pm

Some of the fog is lifting for me. Knowing is more important than any any knowledge there may be. Experiencing is more important than any event. And being IAM is more important that being anything.

I will be looking for those internal reactions from arrows that enter my being like light beams and so recognize the IAM state in a more complete way.

20 Miruh 02.10.11 at 10:32 am

Hello Doug,


True, experience of the self comes from being, no matter how much we do or know, it all comes down to resting in beingness.

“I will be looking for those internal reactions…” Who will be looking? The one who is looking is the light beam. 😀

Thanks for stopping by.


21 Doug Hagens 02.10.11 at 2:45 pm


Yes, perspective makes a big difference. Last week I was at the beach soaking in the ocean and the deep quiet of the land when IAM tells me “Now that you see the infinity in nature, see it in yourself.” As I did, it seemed about the same as what I was seeing outside except now I felt it inside me. Nothing changed except the perspective and a lot of wonderful feeling surfacing.

Now that I know everything is inside, I look forward to the awareness of being the universe — not just having it within me. I think this would be like being the light that shines! What a joyful experience this must be!!


22 Miruh 02.14.11 at 8:13 pm

Hello Doug,

What you describe sounds like an experience of oneness of the witnessing state of Awareness itself. The one field of consciousness where the “field and the knower of the field” are one. To be established in this place where there is no longer inner and outer just beingness is the path to freedom. The challenge is to live in this world of form, and to be able to hold this awareness at all times. This is the practice, the moment to moment embodying of Consciousness.


23 Doug Hagens 02.14.11 at 11:32 pm

I’m going to think about that one!!

24 Doug Hagens 03.02.11 at 2:31 pm

Hello Miruh

It occurred to me today that both fear and love propagate the same way. I think they are the same thing! Both are forms of energy. One with low frequency; the other high. They are neither good or bad. But maybe something more wonderful than either. The concept strikes a joyful chord in me. It feels like a major unifying awareness of some sort. Do you have any comments?

25 Doug Hagens 03.09.11 at 8:03 pm

This energy that is neither one or another is what I feel sometimes when I look at the ocean all around me on the bluff. Where I see the horizon forever in all directions. It’s the same energy too I feel when I feel deep love for something, someone or anything.

I think from this energy comes all energies including what are called good and bad.


26 Doug Hagens 03.15.11 at 10:41 pm


It feels like what has happened is that when we put boxes around Infinity and Love what resulted was the creation and experience of good and bad.

Reality has not changed. Nothing has really changed but the duality of our perception has colored and created a reality that doesn’t really exist — in exchange for a lot of pain, suffering, despair, and a perceived separation from our source and true being.

If this is so and I think it is, then then I wish to mourn the passing of this dreary and false reality for one that brings light into my being. It was a good friend, but it is time to move on.

Perhaps the service will include incense, flowers and a few sacred words.


27 Doug Hagens 03.16.11 at 7:43 pm

The sacred words might be along this line . . .

“All living things have the same loving consciousness expressed in an infinite number of ways. But my friends are those in whom I experience joyful energies. I wish to mourn those who were once friends (a.k.a. energies, frequencies and rhythms) and are no more

PS Thanks for providing this medium. It helps me to so heal myself.

28 Miruh 03.17.11 at 1:47 pm

Hello Doug,

Following the thread of your insights is refreshing!

Re: “both fear and love propagate the same way…” I saw a documentary with the scientist David Suzuki. He said something to the effect that this existence is made up of particles that are in constant motion held together by a force of attraction which he calls love.

The sages tell us the same thing. There is one Self which is the nature of bliss absolute. When we are aligned to unity consciousness we experience all as love. When we are in a dualistic mode of a separate self, we experience fear.

“The concept strikes a joyful chord in me. It feels like a major unifying awareness of some sort.” That is the experience of unity consciousness.


29 Miruh 03.17.11 at 2:02 pm

Hello Doug,

Re: “I think from this energy comes all energies including what are called good and bad.”

It is said that the one consciousness has taken form as sentient and insentient beings and all that is.

The mind judges; good, bad, etc. We have learned this behavior in adopting an ego. When needs are met and suffering is alleviated then judgment begins to set in. It is the human condition.

Spiritual practice is unlearning habitual mind sets. Everything just is until we label it. Because of impermanence, pain is natural. It is suffering that is attached to pain by our labeling of good and bad.

Thanks for sharing your insights.

Deep peace to you!

30 Miruh 03.17.11 at 2:07 pm

Hello Doug,

“then I wish to mourn the passing of this dreary and false reality for one that brings light into my being. It was a good friend, but it is time to move on.

Perhaps the service will include incense, flowers and a few sacred words.”

It is a ritual that is practiced daily by some. A reminder of what is true and real in life.

I like this ritual when it is performed mindfully.


31 Miruh 03.17.11 at 2:14 pm

Hello Doug,

“The sacred words might be along this line . . .”

These are strong words that are a reminder of the nature of reality and enhanced by ritual to bear witness to your commitment to your true nature: Truth, Beauty and Auspiciousness!


32 Doug Hagens 03.17.11 at 10:58 pm


Everyday it seems I’m pulling together and feeling new things. It is part of a healing process for me I know . . .

It feels very much like a game of Hide and Go Seek where we have to figure out who we are after we’re hidden ourselves. The experience we have chosen has been one of delight, adventure, love and mystery and endless suffering.

It is a time to be whole.
A time to be one
A time to heal

And to participate in those energies that need to remembered and to pull in rhythms that join together what has been wrought — to knit the wounds created by separation in so many ways for so long.

And be very quiet to feel the full moon overhead.


33 Miruh 03.18.11 at 10:37 pm

Hello Doug,

I agree, “And be very quiet to feel the full moon overhead.” In Silence there is fullness, the noisy mind put up those boxes you have been mentioning. Even though one is in silence the mind can be chattering away.

May you have a quiet mind to feel the full moon tomorrow!

34 Doug Hagens 03.18.11 at 10:57 pm

Hello Miruh,

Some things (things of stillness) move me so, I don’t even want to think. Like the ocean, the moon, the shadows of trees that embrace as I go down the road. And a special one is the sunrise at Macchu Picchu. I feel the light that drenches is what I am, where I come from and where I will go. It takes my breath away.

35 Doug Hagens 03.19.11 at 10:51 pm

Hello Miruh

Your words are always true and kind. I’d like to give something in return. The only thing I can think of is a video mediation of sorts called “The Moment” I made. It may be one of those things meant only for me; I’m not sure.


36 Doug Hagens 03.20.11 at 8:21 pm

Helllo Miruh,

I discovered what “listening with my heart” is today. It’s what I do when I want to feel being one with of the ocean, the land, and the trees.

It’s a way of being open, very open to whatever is out there.

It’s away of seeing beyond the form (the waves, the wind, the endless horizon) sometimes with my eyes closed, with breathing it in and being one with it.

I practiced it throughout the day today. I included everything going around me including work, freeway traffic and the chattering of my mind. I looked at all of this as I would looking at the ocean. I think I’m on to something!


37 Miruh 03.22.11 at 10:50 pm

Hello Doug,

The video is awesome. You have a poetic soul. Your words and images speak to the heart of Awareness of All That Is, Being, Presence, each moment. You chose my favorite scene from the movie, Shall We Dance – Don’t move until you feel it.

The spiritual healing journey is not so much about saying prayers and doing spiritual practices but the acknowledgment of the slender thread, the “rhythm” that connects every thing we experience in life.
Your video speaks to that quality of stillness that pulsates along the slender thread that holds all of this life together. Watching the images connects me to that experience.

Well done, thanks for sharing such beauty.

38 Miruh 03.22.11 at 11:06 pm

Hello Doug,

“I discovered what “listening with my heart” is today.”

I think that you have again discovered today, what you do naturally. Your words speak of someone who experiences life with an open heart. Of course there are moments of forgetfulness, as when driving along the freeway when someone cuts you off.

“I looked at all of this as I would looking at the ocean. ” This though, may be new to you, to become aware of the phenomenon of unity consciousness. It is an ecstatic experience isn’t it? To remain constantly immersed in that experience is a challenge to functioning in the world. Here is a link to a post with a poem by Hafiz about this.

You are definitely on to something, the practice of unity consciousness.


39 Doug Hagens 05.22.11 at 11:10 am

Hello Miruh

I am most happy to have an excuse to share a question with you. Last week it became apparent there is but one center of being for all things which I would call That Which Is. The picture I have of this is a million suns shining through me (and every living thing).

This puts a new slant on things. Why on green earth do I need to be ascended when I (and everyone) already is (someplace)? When I think of those million suns, it doesn’t need to be ascended anywhere!

If I think too hard about this, I think I’m going to get confused! May you share any words you may have.


40 Miruh 05.23.11 at 8:18 pm

Hello Doug,

Happy to hear from you!

I like this image, “…a million suns shining through me (and every living thing).”
To me, having had this experience, is to have “ascended” to move beyond the egoic confines of fear and grasping, which facilitates being in Presence.

When we get even a glimpse of that state, we know that “ascension” is a metaphor, not an external event. The shifting of inner tectonic plates and the destruction of structures in our lives that no longer serve us, is indeed a transforming event that can raise havoc in our own and the lives of others.

We really do not know all of the mystery of this life, but my experience of inner transformation makes me suspect that “Rapture” is a literal interpretation of a personal internal event, that we will all experience in some form at some time on the journey. The reference to those that will be left behind are to those who continue to live in the world of ego constructs.

Why wait to be beamed up somewhere else when we can have the experience of a “million suns,” right here, right now?

May it be so!

41 Doug Hagens 05.23.11 at 10:29 pm


42 Doug Hagens 06.04.11 at 7:51 am

Hello Miruh!

I always wondered why when I touch rock especially grainy rock, walk down a pebbly path going crunch crunch or gently place my finger tips in the crooks and crannies of an Oak tree, something special happens.

I feel there’s something in the very molecules of the rock, the dirt, the rough textures that when we touch, we touch that which we always have been.

So today I looked at my feelings closely to get a bead on what’s going on.

First I had the same feeling whenever I visit one of the places of my sister or grandmother lived in. It’s a loving feeling. It was the same energy here.

There was also a feeling of “myself feeling” — being at home with myself. A relaxed and comfy feeling. Like bring around people who love you.

Then it felt like I was being carried to the heart of the Earth by roots going very deep. My gut felt something like an elevator was dropping and my soul was stopping at the bottom floor.

Then I experienced one of those Aha moments that Wind, Earth, Waters and Sun to be part of my blood as well as with Mother Earth, which for a moment I am one in. In her love and devotion beats my heart also.

A most remarkable thing is that somehow within the physical is a shortcut to dimensions off the heart as if they are resonating together in a special way. It feels like a wonderful tool and awareness is unfolding.

Do you have any thoughts or feeling about any of this stuff? Or something else!


43 Miruh 06.15.11 at 10:54 pm

Hello Doug,

Sorry I am just getting back to you. I have been away from the computer, actually communing with volcanic rocks and Manzanitas on one of the Gulf Islands. It is no co-incidence that the topic is about the very same thing I have been experiencing. 😀

I love your articulate poetic description of the experience.

Yeah, it beats me what that is about. I do have this theory that when we come into contact with beings with no egos like babies and enlightened masters, we allow ourselves to feel so much love in our hearts. I do believe that when there is nothing in the way, no one judging us, or us defending our existence, we just experience who we are: Pure love. The same thing happens when we are in nature, watching the sunset, touching the earth. It is one of the mysteries of life, a gift to us to partake in communion with spirit which we are, whenever we wish. It is always there, right here in each one of us and in the world around us, we only need to say yes to life, to love.

Thanks for your uplifting words and sharing the beauty.


44 Doug Hagens 06.17.11 at 3:20 pm

It is always a delight to hear whatever you may have to say!

Thinking about babies and enlightened masters, I think my sister may be one of the same ilk. Although she has not much time to live with cancer, when she’s in the hospital with staff or at home with the hospice, everyone finds her stories so inescapably delightful that most of the time everyone is bursting with laughter even though she may be in physical pain.

45 Miruh 06.18.11 at 10:07 am

Hello Doug,

Your sister must be an inspiration to all who touches her life. It is always uplifting to learn about the dying process and how bravely and gracefully some people go through the experience. You are blessed to have her in your life. And when she is not in the physical world, you will still have her beautiful spirit to connect to.

A rain of blessings for you and your family at this time!

46 Doug Hagens 06.20.11 at 9:17 am

She is an inspiration and a joy. And she maintains a high level of awareness even when assaulted physically and mentally — especially fascinated and curious about the drug induced layers of reality moving and merging in and out.

This may sounds terrible, I know, but for me it means she’s still there and she knows she’s there. So it makes me very happy.

Thank you for your kind note.


47 Doug Hagens 08.10.11 at 8:57 am

Hello Miruh,

I finished making a video LISTENING TO MY HEART for myself to help guide me. I included many family pictures. I think you will like it.

48 Doug 09.24.11 at 9:09 am

Hello Miruh,

I want to share this video with you. I call it ALIEN LOVE.

I hope you like it.

49 Doug 01.28.12 at 9:43 am

How are you my friend?

50 Doug Hagens 05.31.12 at 3:06 pm

Hello Miruh

It seems when I think of impossible things and things that make my heart soar, my thoughts gravitate to you!! (sounds like a line in a B Movie!) This video is one such thing. May you enjoy it.


51 Doug Hagens 06.03.12 at 11:55 pm

Hello Miruh

Your world must have wondrous layers and lots of interesting threads. Picking up on feelings. Maybe like what dogs see with their noses.

I think you might like this one — JOINING HANDS

Your friend

52 Doug Hagens 06.10.12 at 9:39 pm

Dear Miruh

I believe this may fit you nature well. It’s called en pointe.
May you enjoy.


53 Doug Hagens 06.22.12 at 10:08 am

Dear Miruh

Tell me if you would what you think/feel about this video ROCK! I especially appreciate your comments. You’re the only one who does!

I think you will like it. Very lively.


54 Doug Hagens 06.29.12 at 1:14 pm

Dear Miruh

I do wish that your vacation continues to be restful and fun too. This video, Quan Yin, comes from a special place in my heart. I hope you will enjoy it.


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