A Letter to Neale: What ‘non-awareness’ means

We apparently struck a chord with our narrative here last week about “non-awareness.” In that Bulletin we spoke about persons who find themselves set-in-concrete about How Things Are because of the handed-down beliefs of their ancestors and/or predecessors. We spoke about how difficult (if not impossible) it would be for such a person to even begin to consider the ideas of The New Spirituality --- ideas such as those found in Conversations with God that I believe are one pathway that can lead to The Holy Experience.

I said here last week that “the only way that such a person could step into an experience not covered by the data of their culture, tradition, religion, environment, etc., (we all know life-long Republicans or Democrats, Conservatives or Liberals, who belong to that persuasion because their families did!) would be for that person to be Nonaware of the dogma or doctrine emerging from the data. Or at least Non-Aware that it meant anything.”

This drew some emailed response --- and I would like to share two of the messages we received, and comment upon them here...

Reader question:
Dear Neale, In your article, "Becoming Aware of Non-Awareness," you write  that the only way a person can step out of the experience of his/her culture is to be non-aware of it or non-aware of its import.  Actually, in postmodern theory - in order to be unbiased by your perspective - it is important to be very aware of it.  We all stand somewhere and we are often unconscious of it.  We can never be totally aware of every aspect of it.  The key to be able to enter into someone else's world view without bias, according to post modern theory - is to be super aware of your own bias, not - non aware of it.  

Perhaps what you are saying is that before you can adopt the stance of non-awareness, you have to be skilled at being supremely aware.

Anyway - I teach post modern interpretation of literature - and I have found that when we discuss where we start when we read, what biases we already project into the text, how the text subconsciously clues us due to the way culture has conditioned us - and then we decide to read from a totally different perspective outside of our culture - we become more aware of our biases.

Reading texts is the same as reading life.  And for me, the post-modern stance of being supremely aware of our biases is the only way that I can see outside of them.

Am I understanding what you are saying correctly?

 Barbara Rosenthal

Neale Responds:

Dear Barbara --- Thanks for your letter. I agree that your post-modern model of humans can best approach the world of thoughts and beliefs. We do, indeed, benefit enormously from looking deeply at our own biases and beliefs.

The point I was hoping to make in the book The Holy Experience is that not only do we need to look at and be familiar with our own beliefs by gathering all the data we can about them, but we need, as well, to be able to free ourselves from the dogma and doctrines behind them.

Of course, we can’t free ourselves from something if we do not know what we are freeing ourselves from. As you point out, “We all stand somewhere and we are often unconscious of it.” So the first thing we have to do is be conscious of where we stand now. Or, as my writing put it, “We can’t be meandering about our world bumping into things, as it were; breaking lots of glass and stepping on the shards. We have to know what’s out there, and where and how we fit in.”

I hoped I conveyed this when I said, with regard to our own belief: “...we have to know it, but we have to have none of it matter—except when it does.” I then said that “Non-Awareness allows us to use the data that we have gathered about Life and Self and God, without having the data use us.” So I think that we are saying the same thing, Barbara --- and perhaps this week’s article, above, gets my thoughts across a bit more clearly. I hope so. Sincere thanks for your reflections, which I found to be far more articulate than mine! 

Hugs & Love, 


Dear Neale...I have written to you a couple of times and I don't expect a response, but I understand that you do read the emails.  You invite comments on the Weekly Bulletins (thank you very much for them, by the way!) I am an absolute believer in all that you have brought forward in CWG and I read the latest about Non-Awareness and I discussed it with Peter, who is somewhat of a skeptic, but is prepared to believe that "there are more things in heaven and earth..." 

Anyway, we have developed a view where we say that the beliefs that we grew up with about 'how things are' were believed by us as truth because there was no need to challenge them -- and now we are able to consider (Peter) and believe (me) that there are infinite other possibilities to awareness and existence -- so not to be constrained by limiting beliefs....practicing Non-Awareness seems to me to be saying just that --- or have we misunderstood?

Thankfully - Anney

Neale Responds:

Dear Anney --- You’ve understood perfectly, Anney. The idea I was hoping to get across was not that we should be somehow blissfully unaware of our beliefs, but that we should we very much aware of them...and also very much aware of how meaningless they are. That is, we should consider them as simply ideas held in the mind, not Truth Written In Stone. Then, we can approach other ideas --- perhaps even new ideas that we have never heard or seriously considered before --- with an “open mind”, weighing them against our own prior ideas, and giving Old Ideas and New Ideas equal value. This, as opposed to seeing new ideas as “just some wacky thing someone said,” and old ideas as “The Foundation of My Life.” You see?

So Unawareness is about being unaware of the “importance” of the old ideas we’ve been given by others (parents, school, culture, etc.), realizing that this sense of importance is something that we, ourselves, have attached to those told ideas...for no better reason than that others have told us to. That is, our old ideas about things do not hold any more importance intrinsically than new ideas. When we become “unaware” that these old ideas are “really important!”, we enlarge the possibility of our expansion into full awareness of what really IS “important.”

The book The Only Thing That Matters discusses fully what “really is important.” You may find it wonderfully beneficial reading. Of course, it is filled with lots of new ideas about that, and you may have to be “unaware” of the “importance” and “truthfulness” of your old ideas in order to embrace the new ideas found in this book.

I wish you good reading.



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