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Self-Knowledge Does Not Feel Like Anything
Isaac: Also, I wanted to follow up on our little talk about whether or not self-knowledge felt like anything. Upon thinking about it more, I don't really believe that self-knowledge is an experience. However, is it wrong to think that it will affect my experience as far as reducing agitation in the mind and reducing the overall pressure of likes/dislikes? In James’ book he describes knowing who you are being “the end of suffering.” I had taken that to mean either the reduction of agitation, likes/dislikes, fears etc. due to understanding or just knowing that those things have nothing to do with me, and therefore agitation/fear/feeling of inadequacy is reduced. Can you please clear this up for me?
~ Thanks a million and lots of love, Isaac
Sundari: You have concluded correctly. Self-knowledge does not feel like anything, as it is not an experience, although as you correctly point out, it is the reduction in the overall pressure of likes/dislikes that does feel like something and is an experience. As you well know, desire is painful and the reason everyone seeks so hard to rid oneself of it is for this reason, not to gain the object per se. Gaining the object gives one a temporary feel-good fix which never lasts.
Gaining the knowledge that this is futile, as all objects are inert, definitely feels good and, yes, this is the release from existential pain that Ramji talks about. When you know that all the objects are you, you give up desiring them. You can then have contact with them happily, not for happiness. The pain comes from seeking desperately to have the objects to complete you in the vain hope that the completion will be permanent, which it never is. When this knowledge is firm, all agitation/fear/feeling of inadequacy is permanently removed, not just reduced. If it still does arise it is probably related to parabdha karma working itself out or the knowledge that you are whole and complete is not yet firm.
~ Om and prem, Sundari