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Knowledge Is the Essence of Experience
John: Last night I was out of the flat and the thought came to me, “I’m not there. So is there any noise? There is no noise because I’m not there to hear it. So there is actually no noise. The apparatus called John creates noise.” I had an image of the empty flat.
Then this morning when I was meditating the thought came: “I am not in the flat, ever. The body called John is in the flat but the flat is in my awareness, in me.” I had a realization that other places are in my awareness too now though the body isn’t in them. Places are always in my awareness whether John is in them or not.
Tan: That is correct. The whole world arises in you. The world depends on you, awareness.
Now you shift back and forth between saying “the places are in my awareness” and “in me.” Saying that these places arise in “my awareness” is mistaking reflected awareness (the subtle body) as yourself. Saying they arise “in me” is direct knowledge of you as awareness.
Who is aware of “your awareness”?
Is there another awareness standing behind “your awareness” being aware of it?
No, it is always you, awareness, in which all things arise and fall back into.
John: I saw quite clearly that noise cannot harm me any more than a fire burning in a mirror can harm the mirror. This might sound very simple, and it might be something you could read any time in a Vedanta book, but the fact is I saw it very clearly, very visually, a fire burning in a mirror and not harming it.
Tan: This is a nice image. Self-knowledge is very simple.
John: In the meditation I was very absorbed in this experience, and the meditation went on for longer than usual. It certainly seemed very significant. I also realized that I didn’t make this happen, it just happened.
Tan: Knowledge is the fragrance, the essence, of experience. “I am free of the world, I cannot be harmed” is self-knowledge. A discrete experience of freedom or invincibility comes and goes but the knowledge “I am free and invincible” does not because it refers to me, awareness, which is always free and invincible.
In addition, as you said, it is correct, you did not make this experience happen. Isvara did.
And you cannot be absorbed in it. Your subtle body was pretty empty of any thought and therefore it may have seemed as if the doer disappeared and was “absorbed” by the experience. But you cannot be absorbed in an experience. Experience arises in you – and disappears. You are the awareness that sees the arising and disappearing.