Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The reality of Experience - How to Look 2015

Where to begin - Part I here

The Reality Of Experience 

The fact of the matter though, is that everything you have already seen and experienced seems real. In the matrix movie, Neo was trapped inside a simulated world at the beginning, much like the brain in the vat scenario.

However, even if we necessarily accept that the ultimate bounds of reality are beyond the sphere of human experience, the real life experience of sitting here reading this is certainly not illusory. It is happening right now, and it is alive and direct in the most intimate sense of real. Clearly, this is undeniable and therefore we cannot in any way reject any occurrent phenomena that appear in our experience. 

It is also matter of fact that an aspect of experience cannot be changed either. It is a truism to say we cannot change the appearance of experience, or any particular phenomenon that occurs within experience. The sky is blue because it appears that way to us  - unless you are colour blind. Even then, it appears in a particular way, and you certainly have no control over how it appears in your experience. 

Obviously then, this means seeing no self does not mean that any quality of your experience can suddenly change. You do not obtain x ray vision, insta-bliss, or anything like that. The qualities of experience are what they are, as such, and that will not change after you have realised no self. 
What does happen upon seeing no self is that you will get an insight in to the world that is like an earthquake to the foundations upon which your world was based. Your world view will shatter and fall apart and even five years on, I find myself grateful and still in awe of what happened.

In this sense then, looking is not about thinking things away, forming new beliefs or models about the world, or denial of any aspect of it. It is actually the search for truth derived from your own direct experience. Nothing more.

This also means that nothing can dissolve away since every quality of experience is real. Basically you can't destroy the self or think it away since it doesn't exist to start with. You can certainly see that what gives rise to the illusion of being a self, must be completely real – i.e. thoughts, suffering, happiness etc. All the qualities of experience are completely real, including the voice that says “Of course I exist”.

We need to be crystal clear on this. 

We are not going to deny any aspect of experience or else we are doing this process all wrong. Living in denial is inherently dishonest and is the antithesis of honest enquiry. 

However, we need to be sure that our concepts relate to a real life phenomenon. Take the “Of course I exist” claim. If we substitute the word 'I' for 'unicorns', we know that there is no such phenomenon. It doesn't matter if we say “Unicorns must exist, it must be true” a hundred times, that doesn't mean that the statement is true. 
The way to prove there are unicorns is to look for evidence in real life. If we experience the phenomenon of a unicorn then we can know whether that statement is actually true or false.

What we discover is that when we question the existence of the self, we quite often justify the statement “Of course I exist” with, perhaps, a number of reasons or just a gut intuition that you do. 
We don't ever come across the phenomenon of a self but we come across the phenomena of  reasons about “why I must exist” and often an uncomfortable feeling when this is directly questioned (you may not necessarily get an uncomfortable feeling but it has been widely reported). 

If you can see that this is actually what is happening in real life, then that means you are starting to look honestly at what is arising in your direct experience.

Logic Vs. Looking >


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