Q: What is your experience
A: There is no identification of a “your” or “my” in
it. I don’t see a gap between me and my
experience. I don’t see myself as “having” experience.
Being and experience are inseparable.
No, I mean is it nondual? Is it happy? Is it
better than mine?
Many people ask this. They look for a teacher
who they feel has more blissful experiences than
they do. Then they hang around, trying to get
the same for themselves. They interpret experience
in a personal way, and they are interested mainly
in the emotional or affective component.
Sometimes the teacher encourages this message.
But this comes from arrogance and a sense of
separation on the teacher’s part, from
thinking that he or she is different from or
better than the student. The age-old message
of self inquiry is not about emotions or feelings
or interpersonal comparisons, but about knowing
yourself. When one knows one’s self as
awareness, the basis for interpersonal comparison
Yes, I’ve heard this….
But if you, seeing yourself as a person, desire
more pleasant feelings, there are many ways to
proceed. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of sleep
and exercise, think good thoughts, and treat
people well. These are the things that grandmothers
tell their grand kids. It’s common sense
that still holds true.
Meditation helps as well. Two quick examples.
There is an emotional high and an expanded feeling
from doing chanting meditation. The feeling is
even greater if the chanting is in a tradition
where you feel attracted to the symbols and images.
Also, there is a heart-opening feeling from the
Buddhist metta meditation, where you direct the
wish for happiness and well being first to yourself,
and then to wider and wider groups of people
and beings, including all the sentient beings
in all universes everywhere. The benefits from
these meditations are tangible and immediate.
You always feel better, lighter, more open and
more loving afterwards. And the more you do them,
the less you do them for your own benefit, and
the longer the benefits last.
But what the ancient wisdom teachings talk
about is something else.
Yes, but I want my experience to be lastingly
blissful and nondual. Like yours and like the
satsang teachers I hear, and Ramana’s and
Part of the reason you have this requirement
is that you imagine others being separate but
in this same state. But this isn’t what
they say about themselves. It isn’t even
what they’re talking about. Ramana and
Nisargadatta – not only are they not talking
about emotional, phenomenal feelings states,
but they are also not personalizing experience.
The pointer given by all these teachings is not
personal. The pointer directs you to see through
the presumption of the separate person. The person
cannot withstand inquiry. So it is not the person’s
experience they are talking about.
Then what are they talking about? I thought
Ramana and Nisargadatta were talking about themselves.
Nisargadatta did speak later in his life of
the pain. This is a clue that he wasn’t
speaking about blissful feeling states….
Yeah, what about an experience of pain? Isn’t
that a case of suffering in experience?
Experience is the vast, edgeless clarity in
which things seem to arise. It possesses no point
of view or stake in things. Maybe it seems like
experience is “yours” – but
actually everything you can point to that feels
like “you” is an arising in experience.
What do you mean?
Look at your hand. … Now close your
eyes and allow your hand to rest on your knee. … It
probably seems like it’s your hand. But
everything you can say about it is based on a
thought, or image, a kinesthetic feeling, or
a belief. These thoughts and feelings aren’t
tied down to an owner. They are not located or
centered, but float free in awareness. There
is nothing about these feelings, and nothing
in awareness, that makes any of it “yours.” There
is no tie to a person. The person is not the
experiencer; the person is experienced.
How can I know that? It seems like I have a
definite stake in things. Because I want, what
did you say? – The “edge…”
Yes! Once I hear something like this, it feels
natural to want it for myself.
Yes it does. This is natural as long as you
take yourself to be a container of experience.
It seems to you that experience is something
that happens inside you, and that other people
have their own experiences inside them. But it
is the other way around. Your body, your mind,
and everything identifiable about you are experiencED,
witnessED. Body, mind, thoughts, values and memories
are all objects. The clarity is the light within
which they arise.
Wow! It’s like backwards. But is this
something I can see?
You’re seeing it now! Actually, all seeing
is it. You can’t possess it, because it
is the space within which you appear. It’s
like the airline passenger wanting to hold up
the plane, when the plane is holding up the passenger.
Ah, I felt a shift there…. But a moment
later, when I think about it a little, it doesn’t
seem like that to me.
Don’t try to reason it out. Stand farther
back for a moment and be open…. The person
is something you seem to observe as if from a
small distance. You aren’t actually the
skull, mind, body or memories of the person – those
are objects that are observed. You are what they
appear to – that global experience, that
openness, within which things seem to arise.
The body, the mind, even the entire person seems
to arise within this openness. The openness is
you, which is why it seems that “you” notice
But why aren’t all my experiences like
these close, direct ones you mention?
These seemingly close, direct experiences are
teaching metaphors for what is now and always
the case. All experience is always direct – there
is no partition or mediation, no veil, and no
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