Peter Ralston Pdf The Book of Not Knowing

Peter Ralston Æ 3 free read

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. Ralston P 2010 The Book of Not Knowing Exploring the True Nature of Self Mind and Consciousness Berkeley CA North Atlantic Books Paperback 581 pp 2495 ISBN 978 1 55643 857 8Reviewed by Nicholas E Brink PhD Clinical PsychologistWho am I What is the self What is consciousness Peter Ralston explores these uestions and other related uestions but he recognized that he cannot provide answers to these uestions because the real answers can only come from a person s personal experiences Thus this book does not attempt to provide answers but expands upon these uestions and provides a contemplative avenue for readers to experience their own answers A person s conceptual self or self concept likely includes misconceptions inherent in the teachings of our cultural institutions of family schools and religion teachings of beliefs and concepts that have not been validated through personal experience thus they limit our reality The true self is that part of the self that has found the answers to who am I or What is the self through personal experiences With this clear distinction between our self concept of the beliefs that have not been validated through experience and the experienced true self chapters six through twenty examines in considerable detail how we have learned these self concepts These self concepts though often false are deeply defended layer upon layer in a snow balling manner in order to protect our self concept or self image This protection of the self is a life long pursuit based on the drive to survive When you are asked who you are you most likely offer a list of these learned concepts that you have come to believe even though you have not personally experienced their truth so do not know of their truth Not Knowing in the book s title arises in several different domains Any honest learning experience begins from the state of not knowing the answer In our journey towards the truth when we are told by our cultural institutions what we are supposed to believe these beliefs have not been experienced so do not begin with not knowing Also in Ralston s journey to find the truth through the experiences gained in the process of contemplation what is experienced or perceived is only a flash in the moment that is surrounded by not knowing The honest or truthful contemplative experience that comes from this flash in the moment can provide us with enlightened insights insight that comes without interpretation interpretation that would come from our pre conceived and likely limiting and false self beliefs Before Ralston begins to describe the process and outcome of contemplation he describes the nature of the conceptions that we have carried with us in our made belief world many of which are false and limit us as we move into our new ways of being and of experiencing the world If we could clarify and put into a big pile all that is our self concept self image and self identity what would be left over We certainly insist that we are than these concepts But can we clearly distinguish what is our self independent of any of these conceptual components pg 174 components that have not been personally experienced Ralston presents a number of dynamics in this process of learning the concepts held by a person that define the self One dynamic is the use of imagination of imagining something that isn t present but gives direction in one s life such as imagining that you are going to do poorly on a test or some other life event Negative beliefs produce negative experiences which reinforce the negative beliefs a growing circle of layers of negativity In a parallel manner positive believes produce positive experiences that are again self reinforcing We also invent ideas or ways of thinking that reinforce a belief We can blame ourselves or blame others when things do not work out blame that reinforces our beliefs and patterns of thinking Also our interpretations of what we perceive are derived from our beliefs interpretations that can reinforce our misconceptions Again these misconceptions are created layer upon layer with and misconceptions One basic misconception in our culture is our aversion to not knowing a misconception because not knowing is an important beginning and motivator in searching for and experiencing true beliefs Though we do not know the outcome of some event in our aversion to not knowing we create from what we think we know the outcome of the event thus reinforcing our believed misconception Ralston identifies three levels of these beliefs pp 356 357 first those that are consciously adopted so can be faced to provide new truthful insights and personal change because they are conscious Second there are those beliefs that are programmed within us many subconscious and learned at a young age through repetition intimidation and experience beliefs that are taken for granted in the act of growing up and living life Third are the assumptions that are unconscious and function as simple fact The first level are those beliefs that we have consciously adopted include the conceptions we list when describing ourselves the beliefs that have come to us from our cultural institutions of family schools and religion To give a personal example I d like to relate one of my powerful personal insights that uncovered a limiting or false belief Early in my life when in elementary school I was labeled as dyslexic a continued problem especially in my spelling and writing with may letter reversals and the other typical mistakes of someone who is dyslexic This problem snowballed layer upon layer leading me to believe that I was less intelligent than others and giving me a sense diminishing self confidence The school s definition of dyslexia was believed as true and a limiting problem but with some then unrecognized positive side effects But when in school I also had an unusual drive to succeed as evident in my reaction to when I first heard of the three levels of a college education ie a bachelor s degree followed by a master s degree and then a PhD or doctor s degree When my 10th grade English teacher described these college degrees I immediately set my goal upon getting a PhD even though I had the self image of having a learning disability and found my limited success in school a real struggle I felt I had to work much harder than others to pass but something inside of me said I had to prove I could do it Only many years after I graduated with a PhD in psychology after thirteen years in college did I discover from a comment made by a friend that a person who is left handed and dyslexic looks at the world in a different way outside the box and is likely right brained and creative a newer and positive side of dyslexia I found new freedom with this flash of insight when I recognized that I was uite creative in my thinking With this insight I have found a new love and enjoyment in writing and reading especially with the publication of my first journal article and the many that have followed This experience brought about an explosion in my life of writing that greatly changed my image of who I am and my personal beliefs If I would have had this attitude when in school I feel I would have enjoyed learning rather than experiencing it as such a struggle My dyslexia now is much less of a problem especially while writing using a computer word processor with its spelling and grammar checks My seventh book is in press and soon to be released This insight provided a major change in my life but with my continued interest and openness in life and a continued search for deeper understanding of myself I have had many other insights and changes Another major one brought to an end my identity as a Christian with a new identity of valuing and venerating the Earth and its way of sustaining life through the interdependency of all that is of the Earth of Gaia This insight came about from my ecstatic or shamanic trance experiences a deep form of the altered state of contemplation I now find it impossible to feel superior to or above the spirits that have become my guides through the experiences of ecstatic trance the bear the eagle the coyote a snake suirrel mouse honey bee and even a mountain path to name a few Each spirit guide that I have come to value has taught me through my ecstatic experiences something in how to live in oneness with the Earth Other insights have come from facing the subconscious beliefs that were learned through programming and the deeper unconscious beliefs that became part of me as the basic assumptions of life Again drawing from the personal experience of overcoming my dyslexia I was programmed to highly value education My struggle to get my PhD came from the semi conscious value of the importance of an education a value that rose above my belief that I was less intelligent than others thus I pushed ahead in my struggle at UCLA This programmed value to succeed came out of a basic assumption for survival Ralston considers this drive to survive as a basic assumption that underlies most all of our beliefs and conceptions This is an example of the layering of beliefs and concepts of the conceptual self beginning with the drive to survive that led to my valuing of an education that led to my struggle to get my PhD a series of insights that came to me over several years around 30 years ago when I was in my 50s The conseuences of our false beliefs or misconceptions are recognized in a sense of emptiness self doubt feeling trapped suffering and struggle Identifying facing and contemplating these benchmarks of our false beliefs can open the door to understanding the nature of our conceptual self to bring about insight Ralston also adds to his list of benchmarks several other specific emotions the emotions of fear anger desire and pain Our job is to uncover everything that dominates our personal experience and awareness and to transform it piece by piece to what is real and true pg 554 While holding these concepts and emotions in a state of contemplation with the intent to find the belief that caused them we can find greater understanding and insight into our problems A special state of deep contemplation is necessary to bring to consciousness those beliefs that we hold that are semiconscious and unconscious beliefs that we learned through programming or as basic assumptions Ralston describes contemplation as a deep and focused uestioning Before entering a state of contemplation we need to prepare ourselves with a sense of presence clarity and possibility When in the state of contemplation we need to hold our experienced emotion with intention openness focus and uestioning or wondering Ralston also mentions The connection between the assumption and its influence on our lives needs to be clearly seen But like being in a maze it may be easily seen by backing up far enough to see it as part of a whole pattern pg 387 Over the last 50 plus years as a psychologist I have used clinical hypnosis and analytic hypnotherapy and for the last ten years ecstatic or shamanic trance each for this same purpose of uncovering our false beliefs and misconceptions Ralston s description of contemplation uite accurately describes the process of trance induction for both hypnosis and ecstatic trance along with using hypnotic age regression for backing up to see it as part of the whole pattern Ecstatic trance is induced by rapid stimulation to the nervous system through drumming or rattling which distracts a person from conscious thinking and aids in bringing about the state of not knowing I recognize that soul retrieval one techniue of ecstatic trance is again an alternative way to describe backing up to uncovering of those early programmed beliefs and assumptions that are semi conscious or unconscious With regard to not knowing while contemplating with openness and wondering what comes to the person comes from not knowing what to expect While in a state of hypnotic or ecstatic trance what comes to the person is generally metaphoric or dreamlike experiences the meaning of which are initially not understood or not known Only while holding the metaphoric experiences in mind over time while not knowing their meanings does a person open him or herself to the meanings and insights of these experiences These metaphoric experiences have many levels of meaning and they need to be held in continued openness and not knowing to discover their many layers of meaning As an example of not knowing in the context of a metaphoric experience while using ecstatic trance I had three recent experiences with my spirit guide the coyote Previously the coyote the trickster has always laughed at me and challenged me in some way But in these three experiences he was unexpectedly supportive and at my side which led me to wonder what he was trying to tell me Then in the next experience he beckoned me to follow him to the water s edge and we dove in I found myself as a fish able to breathe underwater but as I swam near the surface I could see the light coming from a ball of light above the surface of the water the sun but I knew nothing of the sun or the world above the water As a human I really knew nothing of or experienced what life is like under water and as a fish nothing of what life is like above the water An initial interpretation of this metaphoric experience is that I am missing something in my limited knowledge of the truth in my life above the water that I might find in my experience under water but I am wondering specifically of what the coyote is telling me about this limited knowledge I expect that this experience andor my following experiences with ecstatic trance I will find new insight into some misconception that comes from my conceptual self The metaphors of ecstatic trance leave me wondering in not knowing The use and understanding of using hypnosis and ecstatic trance in this way is the topic of my soon to be released book Applying the Constructivist Approach to Cognitive Therapy Resolving the Unconscious Past Brink in press Peter Ralston s transpersonal approach to contemplation for understanding the true nature of the self and uncovering the many limiting misconceptions that each of us hold is a valuable avenue to follow to find enlightenment Coming from a Zen meditation perspective his way of describing the purpose of and what to expect from contemplation greatly added to my understanding of why I failed over the years to find enlightenment in my limited practice of Zen meditation My introductory experience with Zen meditation was to focusing on my breathing in order to remain and experience what comes to me in the moment From Ralston I now recognize that what would have come to me would have come from not knowing not knowing what to expect while in the moment Though in preparation for Zen meditation very little is said or explained Ralston s explanation makes much sense of what to expect from Zen meditation Also Ralston s description of the conceptual self provides an important and useful roadmap for uncovering and overcoming the cultural limitations and misconceptions that we have learned from a young age Rather than a book that was written to impart conceptual knowledge and information I think the word roadmap well describes the intent of The Book of Not Knowing a roadmap for self discovery and understanding the meaning of the true self REFERENCEBrink N E in press Applying the Constructivist Approach to Cognitive Therapy Resolving the Unconscious Past New York NY Routledge

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The Book of Not Knowing

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 uickly for answers and ideas as we retreat to. 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 allKnowing can be useful but learning not to know creates a powerful openness that is inconceivable until it is experienced

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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 editio. 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 fully

10 thoughts on “The Book of Not Knowing

  1. says:

    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

  2. says:

    This is the book that everyone should read And I mean it literally EVERYONE This is the most no bullshit guide to reaching highest s

  3. says:

    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

  4. says:

    Ralston P 2010 The Book of Not Knowing Exploring the True Nature of Self Mind and Consciousness Berkeley CA North Atlantic Books Paperback 581 pp 2495 ISBN 978 1 55643 857 8Reviewed by Nicholas E Brink PhD Clinical

  5. says:

    No words can describe the experience I've had while reading this book It's simple and most complicated book at the same time Peter does a great job to explain indefinable subjects in plain words maybe that's why

  6. says:

    I am loving this book It's easy to read and yet sort of exhausting; mindfulness reuires 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

  7. says:

    “It’s not difficult to think of a child’s imaginative play as a conceptual activity but we don’t usually consider that everyt

  8. says:

    I did the audio book Apparently every sentence in the book is numbered like in the bible or a book of scripture for easier referencing or uoting The chapterParagraph numbers read aloud in an audio book serve no indexing purpose That was jarring and irritating and took much away from the listening pleasure one could have had from the book Also it is too much of the same thing over and over again and after a wh

  9. says:

    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

  10. says:

    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 accessible in my opinion by Peter Ralst

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