Start With Experience

There’s something fundamental in my work. Every implication in life stems from this one understanding. And it is summed up like this: What is experience telling you? It’s something so obvious, it often goes unnoticed. 

Here’s a clue. Experience isn’t telling you about a material world. Experience isn’t telling you what sort of thinking you have. Experience isn’t telling you about your state of mind. Oh, and by ‘experience’, I mean emotions, feelings, sensations, perceptions, memories, imaginings… 

Does that sound radical? Here are two really simple questions, to show how ordinary it is: Have you ever known yourself without experience? (No. It’s not possible.) Have you ever experienced anything, without knowing yourself, this body and mind, in the world? (Often. In dreams, for example.) 

Experience is suggesting that you come and go within it. That every idea of your body, mind and world are within experience. Not the other way around. This is why the experience of the world, other people, your own mind and body feel so real. And why it is so easy to mistake the world, person, mind or body as the reality, rather than the experience. In other words, you are what is experienced. 

If experience hurts, then it hurts. There is no need to re-frame it as a positive, see it as neutral, or dismiss it as just thinking. All these activities are a resistance of experience. There is no need to resist experience. The opposite of resisting experience is not a passive acceptance. It is a gentle inquiry into experience. Rather than turn away from the hurt with medication, technique or distraction, look right to the heart of it. Who is it that is hurting? There is no person separate from the hurting. However hard you look. 

And more, deep within the heart of every experience, we find simply the knowing of it. Without the knowing, there is no experience. This knowing illuminates all experience, knows all experience. Knows experience as itself. 

Start with experience. The rest will follow.

With Love,

Person on ladder reaching for the clouds

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