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Direct Experience of You Is Direct Knowledge of You
If reality is non-dual existence as the Upanishads claim, then ultimately there is no difference between experience and knowledge. For instance, if you see a tree you know the tree. If this is true, then why do dualists get so irritated when we say that moksa is self-knowledge? Because this fact negates doership.
Doership is the belief “I am an agent endowed with instruments of action.” When you think you are a doer, you believe that the world in which you are acting is other than you. You think that by acting you can get something that you don’t have. But when you go for a particular result you don’t know that the result you want is you. Why is the result you? Because you don’t want the object for its own sake, you want it for the happiness it brings. And you don’t know that the happiness you feel when you get the object is just you experiencing you. So when you begin seeking enlightenment you are told that it is an experience that you don’t have. And you do a lot of actions to get it. But you never get it, because you already have it. You “have” it because you are it.
After many years usually, you hear that instead of seeking experience you should be seeking knowledge because you are what you seek. And this irritates you because it is very hard to accept the fact that you have been barking up the wrong tree. You have built an identity based on your spiritual actions. Accepting this fact does not mean that you cease to be a doer. It means that you convert the desire for experience into a desire for knowledge and that you do the actions that remove obstacles to the appreciation of yourself as non-dual existence/consciousness.
In this way you discover that you have always been experiencing you, and you can never make a big story about that discovery, because you didn’t gain anything at all, you simply lost ignorance. So direct experience of you is not a discrete experience of you. Direct experience is direct knowledge of you. People are easily misled by the direct experience argument because first and foremost they are doers, not inquirers, and secondly because they believe that knowledge is “merely intellectual.” All knowledge is intellectual because it takes place in the intellect. The statement that you need direct experience of the self for moksa is purely an intellectual conclusion. Is it actually knowledge? It passes for knowledge, but when you look at it in light of the teachings of Vedanta it is not knowledge. It is based on the idea that reality is a duality.