Re: PSYCH/PHIL: We ARE the Experience

Joy Williams (
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 02:37:47 -0800

At 05:34 AM 1/27/97 UT, David Musick wrote:
>Joy Williams wonders, "Just *what* is it that is having the experiences of
>the processes? Something is experiencing that, right?".
>It is a common belief that there is something or someone *having*
experiences. This belief is what gives rise to the ideas of "souls". Our
culture teaches us to believe that we are separate from our experiences,
that we are individuals *having* experiences. This is the main duality
our culture embraces, the split between mind and body, between the
experiencer and the experiences.

I really don't necessarily believe that we are separate from our
experiences, nor do I believe the "what" that is experiencing is is the experiencer and the experiencee.... Actually I don't
have "beliefs" per se....only intuitions of what I feel is real through my
subjective experience. However this "what" may be an integral part of
whatever else we are, but this doesn't mean that it ends when this temporal
body ceases to exist viably. I don't really agree that feeling there is a
"something" which is experiencing is duality either. The energy that is in
my body, just as all energy, doesn't dicontinue existence because my body
ceases to function....unless somehow this basic law of physics doesn't
apply to hman beings. And I do not see why some aspects of this "energy"
may not encompass parts of my consciousness as well.

>When I consider this duality, I see how deeply ingrained it is in our way
of looking at the world and in our habits of speech. I also see how
blatently flawed the duality is. To me, it seems obvious that there is no
such duality, but I do not know how to explain it convincingly.<

I don't really understand why you regard this as a duality. A Duality
would mean that there is a separation inherent constantly.....I regard this
energy, this "what" (or if you wish soul) as what infuses this corporeal
body with life. It is hardly separate. If it were you wouldn't I feel be
alive. Something happens when you die, though...something "vital" has left.

>There is no one experiencing anything; there are only experiences
themselves. Consciousness is an *experience*; our experience of selfhood
is an *experience*. We *are* our experiences; we are not something
*separate* from them.
>Do you want to know what you are? Behold yourself! That's what you are.
You are this. This Very Experience. You are right here, in all the
details of this very moment. Every feeling, every sensation, every
thought, every memory or impression; that is *you*! The *awareness* of the
world, of other people, of plants and animals and everything; that
*awareness* is you. Everything you encounter is within you, for you to
even be aware of it. The moving colors and sounds may come from an outside
source (an objective world), but the
sensations themselves become an intergral part of you as soon as you are
aware of them. You *are* that awareness; you *are* that sensation. If
it's experienced, then it is already part of you; for you *are* that

I understand what you are saying here, and agree with some aspects, though
not all. Though I have to remark that it seems to come dangerously close
to solipsism, (and please correct me if I've misunderstood you). The
danger here I could see if we follow that to it's extreme is that "if it's
experienced, then it is already part of you" is the concept that the victim
of a crime such as rape or whatever has that is already part of them. This
then can lead to essentially blaming the victim..."somewhere inside you you
wanted to be raped, or you needed that lesson". Interestingly enough a lot
of New Age thought, which definitely believes in a concept of soul, falls
into this trap as well. I don't necessarily think whatever it is that is
experiencing here is here for lessons or anything else except to experience
incarnate existence (unlike a lot of New Agers do), maybe it is, or maybe
it's incarnate just because it's fun.

>I know, I'm being redundant and repetitive and saying the same thing over
and over again; I'm just hoping that if I say it enough, in enough
different ways, it will sink in. It's such an obvious point, and so simple
to see, once you fully realize it. It's *amazing* how many people don't
notice the obvious, though. The *self* is this current moment of
experience, the shifting patterns of thought and sensation, of memory and
emotion. Some patterns change quickly, and others change slowly, but
nothing is permanent. <

It's really not a matter of not having realized this at one point or the
other, David, it's just that in my experience I don't see why this
awareness of the moment means that the "what" doesn't continue existence in
another form after leaving the body. I don't see a disparity or a
dichotomy of both possibilities existing at the same time. I know that
the self is the current moment of experience, etc, etc. And that doesn't
mean I believe that anything is permanent, including the what....for it to
be permanent it couldn't change nor all. But just because
i agree that nothing is permanent, doesn't mean that I say then or feel
that when we die, that's it, there's no more. The experiences I have had
counter that idea to a wild extent. I feel that this "whatever" because it
is a form of energy can neither be created nor destroyed, merely
transfomed. If any of you have any knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, then you
might have an understanding of where I'm coming from. This "what" that is
experiencing is very similar to me to the flame that is passed from one
candle to the next. The original flame is never really there, but the
energy of that flame flowed. Or another anaology would be a stream. You
can never place your foot in the same stream twice, because the water is
always different, the energy different etc....that doesn't mean that the
energy doesn't continue. Does anyone understand what i'm saying here?

>We are ephemeral, transient patterns, rising from other patterns and
flowing on to become something else. From moment to moment, experiencing
the reality that we are. We are this; This Very Moment.

No disagreement David with that. In fact from what I wrote above I think
you can see that I'm in complete agreement. I just don't think there is
permanent ending to that pattern.....nothing is permanent? Then that
includes endings. For me, btw, i look at death as an aspect of
transformation, one of the many transformations that the "what" goes
through. Though I would like to put it off as long as possible to savor
this experience, because frankly I love being corporeal, I do not regard
death as a permanent experience. Permanence implies, to me, no change,
which is from all indications, impossible. I think the only absolute that
I could probably name *is* change.