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Does Self-Knowledge Change Experience?
Carl: The question I have pivots on what is meant by “experiencing.” Your use of the word seems to entail sensation, and I was wondering if you have a broader concept that includes thoughts and decisions… e.g. self-knowledge is a decision or conclusion that I am whole, complete and limitless… that this conclusion is in fact an experience!! I wonder what you thought of this.
Ram: I think it is correct. True, sensation and emotion is experience, but the most essential experiences take place in the heart/mind. The personality is driven by what is written “in the heart,” not by what happens outside in the sensate world. So the gaining of self-knowledge, while it only lasts a moment experientially, has tremendous implications experience-wise – if the value of the knowledge is appreciated and it becomes “firm” – that is, not subject to change. But even if it is subject to change, i.e. one slips back into samsaric thinking, it can be regained with relatively little effort. This is why inquiry and a simple dharmic lifestyle is recommended after enlightenment – to firm up the knowledge. When this understanding is no longer subject to change there is a huge change experience-wise. The whole weight of habitual patterns is lifted and endless possibilities appear – along with unbridled confidence.