David Bohm Inner Explorer: Beyond Word and Concept

By David Schrum January 18, 2014

An explorer with many facets, David Bohm is noted as a physicist, philosopher, and developer of the dialogue process. As he communicated with ease using the concepts relevant to each area, he is often understood by those who work within these boundaries, quite intellectually, as a man of concepts, which certainly he was. Yet there is also David Bohm, the spiritual explorer.

Spirituality is by its nature difficult to discuss, because it reaches beyond the manifested order, hence beyond the embrace of concepts and words. According to Bohm “spirit means that which is nonmanifest, but which moves the manifest.” In considering David Bohm as a spiritual explorer, it is important to note that he himself did not divide matter and spirit but considered the material order and the order of mind to be a unitary field, in which “mind grows out of matter and matter contains the essence of mind”, with no real separation of domains.

In an interview with Rene Weber, which considers ‘spirit’ and spiritual matters, Bohm points out that his notion of the implicate order is itself a kind of bridge. While the idea ‘implicate order’ is expressed in terms of ordinary language as an intellectual concept, its implication points beyond. The purpose of this bridge, Bohm indicates,is to cross, to leave behind idea and word and to go beyond. Bohm then shifts to a metaphor more precise: the implicate order is a pier that takes us out into the ocean and provides a platform from which to dive into its depths. He concludes by pointing out that remaining with ‘implicate order’ as merely an intellectual concept makes of it an obstacle, the situation then being that of a person who remains on the pier and fails to dive into the depths—who fails in this way to act. For Bohm spirituality was not about belief or holding to any content: it was about pure act, that is, action which is free of all that.