Quotes from Franklin Merrell-Wolff

Franklin Merrell-Wolff

We are now ready to return to the Recognition of ten days ago. I say “Recognition” rather than “experience” for a very definite reason. Properly it was not a case of experiential knowledge, which is knowledge from the senses whether gross or subtle, nor knowledge from deduction, though both forms, particularly the latter, have helped in a subsidiary sense. It was an Awakening to a Knowledge which I can best represent by calling it Knowledge through Identity and thus the process — in so far as we can speak of process in this connection at all — is best expressed by the word "Recognition."

I had been sitting in a porch swing, reading as previously stated. Ahead of the sequence in the book, I turned to the section devoted to “Liberation,” as I seemed to feel an especial hunger for this. I covered the material quickly and it all seemed very clear and satisfactory. Then, as I sat afterward dwelling in thought upon the subject just read, suddenly it dawned upon me that a common mistake made in the higher meditation — i.e. meditation for Liberation — is the seeking for a subtle object of Recognition, in other words, something that could be experienced. Of course, I had long known the falseness of this position theoretically, yet had failed to recognize it. (Here is a subtle but very important distinction.) At once, I dropped expectation of having anything happen. Then, with eyes open and no sense stopped in functioning — hence no trance — I abstracted the subjective moment — the “I AM” or “Atman” element — from the totality of the objective consciousness manifold. Upon this I focused. Naturally, I found what, from the relative point of view is Darkness and Emptiness. But I Realized It as Absolute Light and Fullness and that I was That.

—From Pathways Through to Space in
Experience and Philosophy, pp. 5–6

Recognition of the SELF in its purity is Realization of Identity with absolute Emptiness, Darkness, and Silence, when viewed from the standpoint of relative consciousness. In point of fact this Emptiness is Absolute Fullness but, as such, never can be comprehended from the perspective of egoistic consciousness. In one sense it is the “thing-in-itself” of Kant. Relative consciousness deals with phenomena alone and can never reach beyond phenomena. But the phenomenal world rests upon the Real or Noumenal World. Thus it is that the Consciousness of the SELF or “pure apperceptive consciousness” sustains the whole universe or cosmos. But the latter is an outward projection. Behind the cosmos is the formless or Transcendental World. Within the cosmos is the domain of relative consciousness. From the latter standpoint the SELF appears as formless. Hence the approach — for from the relative point of view it seems like an approach — to the SELF from consciousness posited within the cosmos takes on the form of p rogressive negation of all identity with form until finally Identity in the Formless breaks forth as Recognition.

—From Pathways Through to Space in
Experience and Philosophy, p. 13

Actually the Transition is not so difficult. Yet a lot of hard work has been put forth in the wrong direction through defining the Search in terms of complexity. It is as simple as turning from the object of, to the subject to, all relative consciousness, plus the spontaneity of the SELF.

—From Pathways Through to Space in
Experience and Philosophy, p. 13

Only in the Silence can the SELF be known as It is, and this is not “knowing” in the subject-object sense.

—From Pathways Through to Space in
Experience and Philosophy, p. 23

There is one point that I wish to have understood very clearly. The initial Transformation did not just happen to me as something coming unexpectedly out of the blue… In point of fact, I have sought this Awakening for several years… the point I wish to make is that in the present case an individual was finally convinced of the validity of a search… He tried to find the Way, at times following others but in the end carving his own course… What one can do others also may do.

My final word on this particular subject is: I sought a Goal the existence of which I had become convinced was highly probable. I succeeded in finding this Goal, and now I KNOW, and can also say to all others: “IT IS ABSOLUTELY WORTH ANYTHING THAT IT MAY COST, AND IMMEASURABLY MORE.”

—From Pathways Through to Space in
Experience and Philosophy, p. 117

He is describing neti-neti:

And then, I finally reach this point where I find that I must be this “something” in some sense different from other people. I’m not the mind. I’m not the feelings. I’m not the body. That I see. But I surely am. I surely am an individual apart from others. Now, what you’ve gotten ahold of is a very difficult fellow. It’s your ego. He can sneak around and confuse you like the dickens. You can spend years trying to get behind him. And what you can do, you can get into an infinite regression. You look at your ego, all right here am I? It all of a sudden dawns upon you that that which is looking at the ego is really the “I.” So you stick that one out in front and you look at it again, but then you realize it couldn’t be because here’s the something that is observing it. At last it finally dawns that I am that which is never an object before consciousness. And mayhap at that moment in your analysis the heavens will open.

One time I went through this analysis was in 1937, and as I finished it somehow or other there was induced in me a state that was later identified as waking samadhi. It seemed like a great pillar of force surrounding me with apparently its center coalescing with the spine, and I would have estimated as it felt to be about six feet in diameter, and in that energies were rising and descending. And the body began to get stiff. It was difficult to walk over to the podium. I had been at the blackboard, and then I rested on the podium. The speech became lower in register. Maintaining function objectively was difficult without breaking the state. I saw that that whole audience was involved. You could see it in their faces, and so on. I described the state to them for a short time and when I felt there had been enough of it, because this would be rather strong for one that was green to it, I turned it off. Now, that was an easy thing to do. There’s just a little valve somewheres in one’s total psyche, I call the butterfly valve. You flip it as easily as you would move a finger, and the turn shifts your consciousness over in another way; and then all of this began running down like an engine with a flywheel on which the power turned off. And I had them, the students, give me a report on their experiences. Almost every student had an induction that night. The experiences were of a sort that compared well with those reported in Dr. Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness.

—From ‘Induction Talk’ (1970) on The Franklin Merrell-Wolff Fellowship.

(I’ve quoted this here so I can find it again in the future if I ever write about a similar experience of my own which occurred in 2001. —Freddie)


This page was first published on date unknown, last revised on August 1, 2020, and last republished on August 2, 2020.