The state of gnosis is defined as an arrival of total awareness, a direct and often sudden experience of reality, wholeness, some spiritual truth beyond typical conceptual understanding. Gnosis is an intense and total immersion in the unity of divine nature. Few could say they’ve ever had such an experience nor anything close to such complete knowing, a burst of non-dual presence, whether lasting one hour, one minute or even one second.
What if we’re all having that experience right now? What if this mystifying unveiling, the cataracts of modernity being stripped from our eyes, the complex system of global culture stopped in its tracks, the open wounds of racism, white supremacy, inequality and of highly discriminatory structures of social control exposed before us, not to mention the exhaustion of the idea of human supremacy over the natural world, reductive medicine, the agonies of earth, the collapse of the legacy energy system and even the specter of extinction appearing on the horizon are together generating a mass experience of wholeness?
What if we’re all standing on the threshold of our own personal breakthrough moment, wrestling with the sensations, feelings and barely comprehensible observations, realizing the full nature and impact of interdependence beyond any theories, contrived models or imagination? What if we’re taking our first steps into a deeply uncertain future already knowing far more than we realize?
Gnosis transports us into the heart of emergence, interdependence and universal relationship. All phenomena, including thoughts, feelings and sensations are all one and all now. We are standing against a tsunami of perpetual stillness, a continuous tidal wave of creative interdependent unfolding that has no beginning, no end, no center and no limits. Boundaries dissolve. There is no distinction between the inner and the outer universe. Ego is lost, subsumed in radical entanglement with everything. Is that not the experience of this moment? Despite our struggles to make sense, our separate identities become gauzy and indefinite. Even more importantly, much as we might wish to cling to hope as a lifeline to the future, what confidence can we muster in the face of such a muddled vision?
Spaciousness, however, abounds. Time slows down, awareness of all ‘events’ is acutely and vividly focused. We might well imagine such experiences are extremely rare. And they are. They can be unsettling. But this moment is unprecedented. Beyond the safe confines of our carefully constructed identities, unexplored capacities are emancipated. The familiar is upended. We are instantly seduced to tease, to assimilate, interpret and to act.
Gnosis is commonly a religious or mystical experience. It’s a spontaneous encounter with truth beyond comprehension. In modern culture, it’s not acknowledged nor is gnosis well understood or even regarded as a worthy pursuit except in mystical circles, as though the rituals of inquiry, the visionary pathways have been lost in antiquity. But that’s just the way we like it, isn’t it? We don’t have to think for ourselves. In fact, instead of piercing our accumulated filters of bias, bewilderment and fear, plenty of people seek refuge in nationalism and religious dogma, believing them to be bedrock values. But we are far beyond these now. We are wandering in primal terrain where such accessible anchors can only take us deeper into delusion. We are being challenged to rewrite the source code for human presence on the planet.
We are arrested, with no sign of easy or proximal solutions as we share this sensation of falling together. Loss and instability reign, the personal and collective parameters of normal are eroding without any replacement reality in sight. Even though corporate and political forces seek to take control in this vacuum, we have not yet stepped into the new. The point of gnosis, however, is to realize we already know. We must become our own sense makers. We cannot wait for someone else to decide for us.
In the midst of this transition, instead of confusion, fear and reactivity, we are on a mass unwitting collective and individual journey. There are few authentic leaders here, only pretenders. Our antipathy toward any kind of limit is on full display: a pandemic freely driven by its own intrinsic directives, climate change, economic disparity, the sophisticated wealth extraction of late-stage capitalism, a persistent and dispiriting assault on truth, the rise of theocratic fascism and environmental destruction are all stripping us to our raw essence. We can see the macro. Now it’s time to attend to the micro. It is our responsibility to seek guidance from within, to track the subtle and nuanced flows of feeling with focus and rigor and to respond in real time to the truth of our relationships and to the destructive nature of so many granular decisions of everyday life.
Who are we to become? We may have only a vague notion of how to process what is emerging, let alone what is beyond this moment. We do sense there’s no way to dissociate or avoid what is happening all around us and within us. All we truly know is the intensity. We have no choice but to be here and totally in it. Instead of resisting, going through familiar motions and attempting to reconstruct systemic collapse, suppose we were to let go and stand in the eye of the storm, watching all resistance dissolve as we sink deeper into the shifting currents of change?
Gnosis is an entirely different take on agency. The rules don’t conform to conventional physics. We are becoming the world as the world is becoming us—which has always been true, but only now becoming more visible. Complete interpenetration with no static outcomes is the new rule; we are enmeshed in an unpredictable eternally transformative process of inter and intra-active engagement with no logic to contemplate, no rules to apply; nowhere to go for advice.
Gnosis sees all events from a vastly greater perspective. Linear causation is not recognized as a prime directive except from the narrow view of a very limited array of events. From the perspective of gnosis, making significant decisions on such analysis is foolish and self-destructive. To sit still with all the feeling, confusion and not knowing of this unfolding drama is the current challenge. Now everything matters; the smallest stimuli, the smallest adjustments, how we make sense of our world, all matter more than ever. This will determine who we become.
We’re waking up from a narcissistic, self-destructive dream. Waking into gnosis cuts through the illusions, the complexity, the inertia, the havoc and tenacity of modern culture. We’re in the wilderness now. We’re being given a chance, perhaps a last chance, to find our way.