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The Experienceless Experiencer
Courtney: James, I read your book and website. I keep tripping over the word “experiential.” You are saying that the goal is knowledge, not an experience. But to know IS an experience, isn’t it? I suppose the point is non-dual, actionless awareness does not “experience,” it merely observes. But since the self is all in all, AS the ego, it DOES experience, does it not? Indeed isn’t that the whole point of samsara, for the self to actualize its own limitless potential? And that being the case, in what sense is it meaningless? It seems to me that the meaning of the whole manifest creation is for brahman to experience, abundantly.
Or am I just splitting semantic hairs? I understand that enlightenment is knowledge of reality, not a “feeling.” And perhaps that was your main point.
James: Yes, the experience/knowledge issue is the key to liberation. It is very difficult to understand because everything that Courtney knows comes from experience. To an individual life is simply experience.
Knowledge is not an experience. Your name is Courtney. Is that an experience or is it knowledge? Courtney is not something that you experience. It is knowledge of who you are – as an experiencing entity. You, awareness, are not an experiencing entity. Experience does not touch you. This is why self-knowledge is liberation. It is freedom from experience. When awareness masquerading as Courtney – the experiencing entity – gets this, it “separates” from Courtney and returns to where it always is/was, as the non-experiencing witness. You are like the sun. You illumine everything that takes place on the earth – the world of experience – but none of what transpires here affects you. Contemplate this. See if it is not true.
As the ego it seems to experience. But the ego is not actually conscious. It is just reflected awareness. The moon does not have its own light although it provides enough light to reveal objects, albeit dimly. It is the self taking itself to be its reflection that constitutes ignorance and bondage. It feels like it is experiencing things, but it is not. Experience is an object to it. It is the non-involved subject.
The self has no potential to actualize. Samsara is simply a state of mind brought on by ignorance of one’s nature. It is meaningless to the self, not to the reflected self. You are looking at it from the standpoint of the reflected self. It is very meaningful to Courtney, the reflected self. What needs to be discovered is whether or not you are Courtney. Hint: Courtney is known to you, but you are not known to Courtney.
Liberation is discriminaton, knowing these two viewpoints and not confusing them. The confusion is seeming, not actual, therefore knowledge can destroy it. Liberation does not change experience. It changes your relationship to it. You cease experiencing from the standpoint of the ego and start “experiencing” from the standpoint of the self, which is an “experienceless experiencer.” It is very subtle. This is why contemplation is necessary.