Knowing and Gnosis

On a 900-mile-drive this weekend to and from Missouri to visit relatives, Pat read to us the first few chapters of Cynthia Bourgeault’s 2010 book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene. We are both hooked on this book and look forward to finishing it.

Bourgeault gets into the so-called Gnostic Gospels, and does so in a sensitive and scholarly way in my opinion. In one section she clearly describes her sense, built in part on the scholarship of others, of the meaning of gnosis — the word giving rise to the word gnostic in the Gnostic Gospels (including the Gospels of Mary Magdalene, Phillip, and Thomas). She spells out that from her perspective this gnosis is a deep inner knowing, a full experiential and intuitive knowing, an integral knowing (from Ken Wilber) if you please. It is not a set of secret intellectual concepts imparted to the initiated, as is sometimes assumed. And this true meaning of gnosis, this deep inner knowing, Bourgeault suggests, is the Knowing that was in and was imparted by Jesus in his teachings. This feels right to me.

I was excited by this insight, and I include her words, a few of my comments on same, and my diagram of Pathwork Lecture 127— Evolution’s Four Stages: 1. Automatic Reflexes, 2. Awareness, 3. Understanding, 4. Knowing in my Quotes from Other Sources on my website. (click here to open). For me, this all ties together how I have been experiencing the Pathwork lectures and my inner Knowing of late.

So this is my experience – that I do my work of meditation, daily review, reading the Lectures and other materials, etc., and then suddenly I get experiences of deeper knowing. These experiences of deeper knowing come out of nowhere and seem only indirectly connected to my personal development work, reading, and practices.  All pretty amazing. This Knowing does not come directly from the content or intellectual digestion or analysis of concepts imparted by the lectures, as moving as they are for me. Rather the Knowing arises all by itself, during meditation or during life, but seems dependent upon, though only indirectly connected to, my practices, including my devotional readings of the Pathwork lectures and other similar material. It is indirect in that this Knowing seems to come from my intuitive self, even my heart self. I can feel my heart energy as I write these words. Yes, this feels like Knowing and, if I dare say, gnosis in the way that Bourgeault defines the word.

The Bourgeault section quoted concludes with the sentences, “[Jesus] set his disciples upon the only known path to integral transformation: the slow and persistent overcoming of the ego through a lifelong practice of surrender and nonattachment. His gnosis is gradual, conscious, and sober.” To this I say, “Amen.” In part perhaps  it explains my wrestling with Jesus and my relationship with Jesus. This is gradual unfolding, a serious wrestling with Truth. At least this has been my experience thus far.