Read The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness by Peter Ralston Online

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Over decades of martial arts and meditation practice, Peter Ralston discovered a curious and paradoxical fact: that true awareness arises from a state of not-knowing. Even the most sincere investigation of self and spirit, he says, is often sabotaged by our tendency to grab too quickly for answers and ideas as we retreat to the safety of the known. This "Hitchhiker’s GuideOver decades of martial arts and meditation practice, Peter Ralston discovered a curious and paradoxical fact: that true awareness arises from a state of not-knowing. Even the most sincere investigation of self and spirit, he says, is often sabotaged by our tendency to grab too quickly for answers and ideas as we retreat to the safety of the known. This "Hitchhiker’s Guide to Awareness" provides helpful guideposts along an experiential journey for those Western minds predisposed to wandering off to old habits, cherished presumptions, and a stubbornly solid sense of self. With ease and clarity Ralston teaches readers how to become aware of the background patterns that they are usually too busy, stressed, or distracted to notice. The Book of Not Knowing points out the ways people get stuck in their lives and offers readers a way to make fresh choices about every aspect of their lives, from a place of awareness instead of autopilot.From the Trade Paperback edition....

Title : The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness
Author :
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ISBN : 9781583942970
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 600 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Book of Not Knowing: Exploring the True Nature of Self, Mind, and Consciousness Reviews

  • Todd
    2018-11-21 19:11

    The Book of Not Knowing is one of the most important books that I own. In fact, if I were stranded on a desert island and could only have 3 books this would be the one I most definitely would not want to be without. No one interested in understanding the nature of who they really are, should be without this practical text. I have come to view this book as having my own personal Zen Master on call. The Book of Not Knowing has been described by some reviewers as the bible of consciousness and that may be more than just marketing hyperbole. Ralston’s work is culled from his years as a martial arts practioner and student of Zen Buddhism and it is as profound as the koan itself, but a hell of a lot more accessible.As a student of things spiritual I have become dismayed to learn that what I think of as being “spiritual” is really just another layer of affectation that I have added to my sense of self. This book is providing me valuable guidance and insight into why I do this and helps me to explore a way of stripping these layers away to get at what is really, real. This is after all, the point of metaphysics to begin with. Who am I really behind this phenomenon that I experience as me?Ralston identifies my problem rather succinctly early on. “When we know something intellectually, but fail to experience what’s right in front of us, we are only fractionally engaged with the world around us.” One of my favorite philosophers from my freshman year in college, Arthur Schopenhauer rather flatly advised that this myopia redolent among armchair intellectuals, such as me, is due to our tendency to think the limits of our knowledge to be the limits of the world. I have taken great solace in being a self educated expert. I have lost my beginner’s mind to paraphrase another great Zen Roshi.Peter Ralston writes in a plain and interesting style. But, his subject is deceptively simple. I have found myself, after several pages behind me, realizing that my assumptions and attitudes have tripped me up. Thus this book is one to be studied and used as a guide for meditation as well as life beyond the cushion. Unlike a lot of new age and post modern offerings in spirituality available today, The Book of Not Knowing is not one that you read from cover to cover moving on to the next month’s selection in the Metaphysical Book of the Month Club. In no small way this is life’s curriculum. It is to be struggled with much in the same way the aspirant does with the koan.Zen can be summed up quite nicely in pithy little statements that many of us have read.Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.After ecstasy, the laundry.When I am hungry, I eat. When I am tired, I sleep.Knowledge or pride in possessing knowledge seems to be the barrier to my enlightenment…whatever the hell that is. It sure isn’t turning out to be what I thought it was going to be. If I really can say that I know anything at all it is that I have made a mess out of finding enlightenment. I love to complicate things. Yet enlightenment is found not in the extraordinary, but the ordinary; not in possession of special knowledge, but in the day to day activities of living. Enlightenment is turning out to be quite unexpectedly ordinary.The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates is reported to have visited the Oracle at Delphi. The mouth piece for the god Apollo supposedly prophesied that of all Athenians, Socrates alone was truly wise. In the impish, self deprecating matter that Plato has depicted his beloved teacher, Socrates suggested that if he was the only one who was truly wise it was because he alone understood that he knew nothing.Socrates identifies for me the first step to what Ralston (and Zen masters) refer to as “not knowing.” In order to get to this rather incomprehensible and seemingly nonsensical place I must find a way to get past the beliefs and assumptions that I rely on to navigate the world as I currently understand it.A Christian may quote the proverb that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. I see this as a theistic observation of the same principle at work. The problem is that this not knowing sounds a lot like willful ignorance to most of us. Many Christians even get accused of committing intellectual suicide (and some do), but what the sages are trying to cure us of is our assumptions.I have always preferred to operate from the belief that knowledge is power. Sometimes it is. Knowing how to cook keeps me from starving to death. Knowledge can be useful for survival but my tenacity in equating it with the “truth” (Ralston) prevents me from being open to the possibility of discovery (Ralston). It is the state of not knowing that allows us the openness which leads to the true authenticity that I play out, the genuine experience of the moment which allows for the intuitive leaps in creativity and clarity of vision that makes up enlightenment (Ralston.)

  • Fernando
    2018-11-30 15:56

    The book of returning to the simple state of nothingness. This is a direct guide to your true nature of existing, from nothing, to the whole essence of just being. The term not knowing is a start to understanding the world we live in by simply and effortlessly just living. Ralston explains step by step the profundity of how our community, thinking, reasoning and everything we know externally, determines our reality. Returning to a state of complete joy and fulfillment is what every human being is in search for, and here Ralston tells us that this state we are in search of is located deep within our conscious mind, we just need to learn how to let go of all our perceptions and begin to contemplate how not knowing is the beginning of it all."Knowing” can be useful, but learning not to know creates a powerful openness that is inconceivable until it is experienced."

  • Natasha
    2018-11-19 17:03

    I am loving this book. It's easy to read and yet sort of exhausting; mindfulness requires so much energy, somehow. This book brings me peace and I like its format, laid out like scripture chapters and verses; a nice replacement for those of us who have left organised religion.

  • Giorgi Bazerashvili
    2018-11-15 20:10

    This is the book that everyone should read! And I mean it literally, EVERYONE. This is the most no-bullshit guide to reaching highest states of consciousness that I've ever read.You will have to read it multiple times to wrap your mind around the concepts that are being spoken in this book. But just reading the book won't be enough. You'll know why after reading it.Read this book and you'll know what you should do in order to understand things that are beyond your mind, beyond survival, and beyond your self.

  • Bryan June
    2018-11-18 16:54

    The format of this book is laid out in such an accessible way for such an unaccessible subject matter. Ralston gives the reader plenty of time to come to terms with the topic and argument of understanding for each chapter and even outlines helpful meditation and contemplation exercises to drive the points home. Though I found it to be often repetitive, it seems it's the author's style to repeat any argument or idea several times in several different ways to clarify to the best of his ability a subject extremely difficult to communicate. I recommend it for anyone looking to deepen their understanding consciousness from a different perspective. I will have to reread this book multiple times (As he, of course, highly recommends in his later chapters) in order to comprehend every aspect more fully.

  • Scott Ford
    2018-11-14 23:55

    The Tibetan concept of Skandah, which means 'groupings', is a framework that explains how a person generates his or her individuality, or ego. And from a Buddhist perspective, fixation on ego is at the heart of suffering. The highly abstract theory of Skandah is unintentionally made far more accessible, in my opinion, by Peter Ralston's The Book of Not Knowing. While Ralston never ties the ideas in his book directly to Skandah, his detailed, step-by-step approach in guiding the reader through the process of recognizing and addressing the complications of 'self' greatly clarify the Tibetan Buddhist concept. Don't be put off by the 581 pages of The Book of Not Knowing. Ralston's writing is very conversational, and the pages fly by. Highly recommended.

  • Alex
    2018-11-26 20:01

    This isn't a book to read. It's a book to study.It's easy to glide over the contents, it's interesting stuff. But the goal of the book isn't to give yet another map or belief around what self, mind and consciousness are. It's to directly challenge your beliefs on them, and open the door towards directly experiencing them.The deeper you go into the contents, the more the depth of the contents becomes apparent. As another reviewer stated, if I was only allowed one book on a desert island, this would be it.

  • Peter Felix
    2018-12-06 19:17

    The most important book I own. This book will tear everyones beliefs apart or at least make you question them to see if there is any TRUTH behind them. This book is for open minded individuals. This book is Dogma free. This book will scare the shit out of you. Will also help you understand your self and mind . You do care about yourself and mind right? right???? right?? What is more important than you?!

  • Pat Edwards
    2018-12-12 16:51

    A book I will return to frequently. Ralston's perspective on the concepts of self are beyond thought provoking and into mind altering.It may be a challenge for beginners in self-exploration, but worth the effort.

  • Andrew
    2018-12-11 16:55

    This book is one that not only questions your "Belief" systems...but also takes you down further into the understanding of "Self" and "Being"...

  • A De
    2018-11-28 20:57

    very nice book on SELF; it might be difficult if you haven't read other Prof Ralston's books and it contains many exercises that take quite a bit of time but well worth it

  • Tom
    2018-12-06 18:02

    A book to ponder over again and again.

  • Stephen Harper
    2018-11-16 19:05

    Most important book I've read to date

  • Frank Moffatt
    2018-11-27 18:13

    Amazing book - certainly not a book to begin your spiritual journey, but once you are comfortably situated on the path this book will open more and more doors!

  • James Fisher
    2018-12-13 21:52

    this is one I have recently read, and will be "currently reading" for a long time...;-)

  • Mark Russell
    2018-12-11 17:03

    Great reference for ontology & contemplation