When we demand an experience of reality - as we all do, don’t we?- to experience it we must know it and the moment we recognise it we have already projected it and therefore it is not real because it is still within the field of thought and time.
We depend on experiences, on challenges, to keep us awake. If there were no conflicts within ourselves, no changes, no disturbances, we would all be fast asleep. So challenges are necessary for most of us; we think that without them our minds will become stupid and heavy, and therefore we depend on a challenge, an experience, to give us more excitement, more intensity, to make our minds sharper. But in fact this dependence on challenges and experiences to keep us awake, only makes our minds duller.
What do we mean by experience? Is there anything new or original in experience? Experience is a bundle of memories responding to a challenge and it can respond only according to its background, and the cleverer you are at interpreting the experience the more it responds. So you have to question not only the experience of another but your own experience. If you don’t recognize an experience it isn’t an experience at all. Every experience has already been experienced or you wouldn’t recognize it. You recognize an experience as being good, bad, beautiful, holy and so on according to your conditioning, and therefore the recognition of an experience must inevitably be old.
Experience nearly always forms a hardened centre in the mind, as the self, which is a deteriorating factor. Most of us are seeking experience. We may be tired of the worldly experiences of fame, notoriety, wealth, sex, and so on, but we all want greater, wider experience of some kind, especially those of us who are attempting to reach a so-called spiritual state. Being tired of worldly things, we want a more extensive, a wider, deeper experience; and to arrive at such an experience, we suppress, we control, we dominate ourselves, hoping thereby to achieve a full realization of God, or what you will. We think the pursuit of experience is the right way of life in order to attain greater vision, and I question whether that is so. Does this search for experience, which is really a demand for greater, fuller sensation, lead to reality? Or is it a factor which cripples the mind?
Experiencing is conditioned by experience, the past. Freedom is the emptying of the mind of experience. When the brain ceases to nourish itself through experience, memory and thought, when it dies to experiencing, then its activity is not selfcentred. It then has its nourishment from elsewhere. It is this nourishment that makes the mind religious. On waking this morning, beyond all meditation and thought and the delusions that feelings create, there was an intense bright light at the very centre of the brain and beyond the brain at the very centre of consciousness, of one’s being. It was a light that had no shadow nor was it set in any dimension. It was there without movement. With that light there was present that incalculable strength and beauty beyond thought and feeling.