Thursday, 18 May 2017

The Ultimate Truth

The Ultimate Truth is that there is experience and an experiencer. There is nothing beyond that, and even this apparent duality is an act of mind. When merged together, the experience and the experiencer are reduced to just Experiencing, a dynamic Presence.

Why am I so certain?

Well, that's big claim, big words - ultimate and truth. Perhaps I'm making some mistake, something so big and profound cannot be so simple - an ordinary everyday experience. Can it be?

But that's what it is. One cannot deny that there is nothing, which means - there is something, an obvious fact, that's what I call Presence. Now all that remains is to find out the nature of Presence. One can do that by just observation - a direct experience of what is. So what do we see? We see something, something exists, and we immediately call it as an experience. Without going into what kind of experience it is, we can simply say that there is an experience. We do this by not analyzing the contents of the experience, of what is. Instead we synthesize it. So we arrive at an undeniable statement - there is experience.

Now the immediate question arises - what is it that is witnessing the existence? What knows it? or in other words - what is it that is experiencing? And not so surprisingly, we find an experiencer. We immediately identify it as "I" or the Self, the consciousness. There are two - the experience and the experiencer.

This is an undeniable observation. Let's deny that there is any experience. Well, the act of denial itself is an experience, so the denial itself proves it. Now lets deny that there is any experiencer. Again, that raises the question - who or what is denying this? And we are necessarily left with an experiencer. This fact of there being the two, is so solid that even denying it establishes it firmly. What can be more solid than this? Its a direct observation, needs no assumptions, needs no theories, needs no logic. It passes all criteria of the truth - self-evident, logical, repeatable, consistent and so on.

It is the most certain of knowledge, and hence can be as well called as the truth. But why is it the ultimate? Is it possible that there can be more beyond merely an experience and an experiencer?

Well, that's a good question. A seeker always double checks. So lets check it out. If you say there is this thing called "X" that underlies all experience, it immediately gives rise to a question - how do we know that? To know X, we must experience it, but as soon as we do that it becomes an experience. It can not be anything else. So we are again left with an experience, doesn't matter of what kind.

Lets see what can be beyond the experiencer. If you say that there is this thing called "Y" that lies beyond the experiencer, then we can question it - what or who is experiencing that Y. And then the Y itself becomes a new experiencer, and the original experiencer is reduced to an experience. But, again, we are left with a experiencer ultimately.

So we see that no matter what you do, you are ultimately left with two - the experience and the experiencer. And that's why its the Ultimate Truth. There is nothing beyond that, there can be nothing beyond that, it is an impossibility. Try proving, disproving or twisting this fact in any way you can, and you will find that it elegantly re-establishes itself, not as a mere truth, but as the ultimate truth.

Experience, Experiencer and the Mind

Wait, there is a third thing here. What knows that there are two? If there is just experience and the experiencer, these two are busy with the act of experiencing, and there is no way to even arrive at a statement about these two unless there is a third thing that is catching them in the act of experiencing. This third thing is the Mind. But only apparently, it can be experienced, and hence falls into the category of experiences. The mind is an experience that conveys the knowledge of both the experience and the experiencer to the experiencer itself.

So, its not really a separate third thing that is independent of the experience. Mind can be experienced, and hence is not experiencer itself, but is a part of the experience. So we are again left with the two - the ultimate two.

So the mind is just a shadow of the experiencer, that separates itself from the experiencer and acts as a middleman stating that there are two. It is the holder of the knowledge, this knowledge and all knowledge. The experiencer experiences the knowledge also. So the mind is certainly not an experiencer. Many people make this mistake that its the mind that experiences, no it only organizes the experiences. Organized experience is knowledge. Knowledge appears as a structured memory. Knowledge is then experienced by the experiencer.

There are no two

So we can reduce the mind, the third thing into an experience and then we are left with two things. Right? No actually...

Take a look, observe carefully. What remains when the mind is reduced to an experience? All we are left with is Presence - the happening known as Experiencing. Its a dynamic something, and is not really dynamic, it is changing stillness. Yes, hard to put it in words. There is no mind there to codify it in words. So we merely say that there is suchness, or the Presence is present. Its intensely conscious, but empty and eternally flowing.

But how to reduce the mind to an experience? Wouldn't that mean that the mind reduces itself to an experience? Yes, that is right. All you (the mind) needs to do is get out of the way, silence itself. How is that achieved? Its done by stopping the tendency of the mind to divide what is, into two - the experience and the experiencer. It divides Presence into two by flipping attention from the experience to the experiencer back and forth. This switch of the attention creates the illusion of three - experience on the one side, experiencer on the other and the "invisible" mind in the middle. Once this dividing act of the mind is stopped via will or intention, only Experiencing remains.

When the activity of the mind is stopped, the experience and the experiencer merge. They become one. The mind is still present, but the experience is not separated from the experiencer. There is no experiencer there, and there is no knowledge of two too. So how do we know about the state of oneness?

So actually, the mind, the holder of knowledge, cannot really say anything about the oneness, and the most accurate thing it can say is that - there are no two. That's the most it can say. And that's the story behind the word - Nondualism or Advaita.


So is the ultimate truth ultimately false then? There are no two, just one?

No, its still the ultimate truth. The mind cannot know the oneness. It merely concludes the oneness. When there is no experiencer, what can witness the oneness? You see, its impossible. As soon as you say that the oneness is being experienced, an experiencer is implied, which means the oneness is now divided into two - experience of it and experiencer of it. No matter what these two remain. Oneness is beyond knowledge, so all one can say about oneness is - "I do not know". Or even better - remain silent. Because you know but you do not know.

The two imply that the oneness is being divided into two by this third thing - the mind. So practically and strictly speaking, we are always left with three. There cannot be the two without the third, so we see the importance of the mind here. The mind is the agency that provides us with this ultimate truth of two. Without it - there is no knowledge, there is just experiencing. It can be as well called as undivided oneness or wholeness.

So what convinces the mind of the oneness even when it cannot know it? Logical deduction. There are many ways to arrive at oneness. One way is as described above - to reduce the dividing acts of the mind into an experience. The mind blowing thing is - the mind is still present there but it knows without any doubt that in its absence, all that would remain will be oneness. Other way is to just look. Observe that the experience and the experiencer always appear together. You cannot have an experience without an experiencer and cannot have an experiencer without an experience. This suggests that they are just one thing, seen as two separate things, thanks to the mind.

Its the mind that divides, and its the mind that unites. It is paradoxical, but that's how it is. Mind cannot know the oneness, but mind can conclude that there can be nothing but oneness. A seeker's mind sees right through these paradoxes and is filled with wonder and mystery. A seeker on the path of knowledge chooses to call it as not-two, the best and most accurate description of what is.

Foundation of Knowledge

So now you know the answer to the question - "what is the ultimate truth?". You can show it off to your friends and argue about it, think on it, contemplate it. However, this simple observation, simple truth, is not merely a matter of answering a random single question or is not merely a passing curiosity, it actually forms the whole foundation of all knowledge.

Now, that's mind blowing. All the knowledge there is, is based on this simple truth. But hows that possible? When you say that there are only two, all you need to know is the nature of these two, and the result is - you know everything that can be known.

How to know the experience and the experiencer? That's the obvious question, and the answer is - by direct observation. All you need is a working mind. Observe, question it and know. It is that simple.

How much can you know? Depends on how much you are willing to dig into. If you go on digging, there is no end, however the essence of it all can be known in minutes. You don't really need to know everything to the last detail. The experiencer is simple enough to know. It has some strikingly awesome characteristics. It is very obvious and directly accessible, right here, right now. The experience part is more involved, it is almost infinite, but essentially it can be reduced to simple facts, that are, again, very obvious and can be confirmed right here right now.

When you really start going into the details, you will find this astonishing thing - the mind. It will be revealed to you as an infinite creation, a collection of structures and patterns, and it will be seen as the Universal Mind, of which the human minds are tiny parts. The physical universe will be reduced to a speck of dust, one among countless universes, all just parts of the Universal Mind. And now, as you can imagine, gaining all that knowledge becomes a tedious task. The good news is, all that is not worth knowing, those are details and details of details. A seeker is mostly concerned with essence and goes into details only when absolutely needed.

This is how we start on the path of knowledge. We start at home, the oneness, the not-two, and when we finish the journey, we again find ourselves at home, although armed with a ton of knowledge. This blog has already gone into depths of the experience and the experiencer. However, in coming articles, we will move into it more systematically. It will be essentially a rewrite of old stuff, but I'll try to make it more concise and comprehensible.

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