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First-Hand Enlightenment

Consider the following statement:

“The world is just maya—it’s all an illusion.”

It’s one thing to remind yourself of this concept and to appreciate it on an abstract level.

It’s another thing to see through the illusion and to speak about it from first-hand experience.

Somebody, sometime, did have that first-hand experience and did put it into those words.

You might repeat those words with a feeling of authority because they are ancient and widely accepted, or because you heard them from a source that you trust.

But tradition and consensus don’t substitute for first-hand experience of the level of perception from which the statement is made as a descriptive observation.

The point of this cautionary tale is that the truth of one level of consciousness may not operate on another level. Attempting to mix the aspects of different levels—in this case, the level of the intellect and the level of cosmic consciousness—can be, at best, ineffective and confusing.

Because if the world is all an illusion, why does your knee hurt so much when you bang it into the corner of the table? And as you rebound in pain, does it help to tell yourself that your knee, the table, and your pain are all just an illusion?

If you answer “no”, then I appreciate your honesty.

If you answer “yes”, then you have seen through the illusion. In fact, you won’t have to tell yourself anything when knee meets table corner.

And it will still hurt. But it won’t be your pain.

—JC

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