A Cognitive Shift

A:  I was wondering, what is daily life like for you, and how does it differ now from before when you didn’t assimilate self-knowledge?  I’m trying to get my head around what the difference is between me now, and if I understood the truth of things.

V:  The difference is a cognitive shift, a change of perspective. Incorrect beliefs you have about yourself are replaced with correct knowledge about yourself.  In other words, the way you think about yourself changes from an incorrect belief to correct knowledge.  This change in thinking, when properly assimilated, gives you peace of mind.

A:  In my very limited understanding so far everything being experienced right now is an ever changing movement almost, whilst there is no movement at all because it’s all the same stuff, it apparently shifts. That includes any feeling of me, the body, these thoughts, memories, dream words, dream versions of me, everything. The thing is, if the feeling of ‘me’ isn’t me, will there ever be a feeling of a true me?  Or a sensation, a knowing or something? Or is any feeling of ‘me’ only ever going to be a dream ‘me’, which isn’t the truth of things?

V:  You will simply understand what your true nature is.  Again, this is a cognitive shift, a shift in thinking.  It is not a feeling because knowledge in and of itself does not feel like anything.  However, knowledge can change how you feel.  If you have a negative, limiting belief about yourself you will feel bad.  But if you remove that belief with the correct knowledge that you will feel good.

A:  …if awareness can never be experienced, or is always experienced, but isn’t the experience, and it knows itself, I feel a bit cut off from it as me,

V: I don’t really care for the word awareness when describing the nature of reality.  It’s a loaded word because its meaning varies widely depending on which teacher is using it.  I think the definition of awareness you are using is confusing and that it’s making you feel cut off from your true nature.  Let’s set the word awareness aside for a moment and re-frame the question as, “What am I and can I experience myself?”  To answer that, look at experience itself.  This may sound silly but can there be experience if experience itself doesn’t exist?  Can you have a non-existent experience?  No. So experience depends on existence itself to exist.  Is existence, the fact that something is rather than isn’t, a particular experience?  No.  It is the essence of every experience.  And you are that existence.  So you are not any particular experience.  However, EVERY experience points to you indirectly because each experience exists.

Furthermore, you cannot have an experience that is unknown.  For an experience to be known, it depends on ‘light’ to be ‘revealed’ or ‘illuminated.’  What is the ‘light’ that makes it possible to know your experiences?  The ‘light’ is you.  You are what ‘shines’ on the experiences, making it possible for them to be known by the mind.  So are you any particular experience?  No.  You are that which illuminates experience.  Again, while you are not any particular experience, EVERY experience points to you indirectly because it is illuminated.

By the way, existence and ‘light’ are not two separate things.  They are the exact same thing.  You are self-luminous existence.  But this doesn’t mean you are a conscious light bulb.  ‘Light’ is just a metaphor.

A:  I’m not there in deep sleep, so what’s the purpose of inquiry?

V:  Part of the purpose of inquiry is to prove that you ARE there in deep sleep.  Inquiry shows you that you–as Ted Schmidt puts it–are never not there.

A:  Is it an inquiry into the truth that has nothing to do with A or anything here?  If so does awareness remember itself in inquiry?  I think you’ll say awareness never forgot itself.  So what am I doing?

V:  As I said, I don’t care for the word awareness when describing the nature of reality, so I am going to use the word existence (sat in Sanskrit) again.  Existence is the self-luminous essence of everything.  It is you.

Existence does not forget that it is existence.  It is free of the mind and therefore free of ignorance.  So it is only A that forgets she is existence.  And it is A that needs to do inquiry to remember that she is existence.

A:  Is A or the notion of a separate individual the sacrifice, so to speak?

V:  You could say that.  But the word “sacrifice” indicates giving up something valuable. The notion of a separate individual is not valuable because it is limiting.  It is a source of suffering. We should be happy to get rid of it.

A:  I feel like A and if A is an object and awareness cannot be experienced, what am I doing?

V:  You are figuring out that you are not really A.

A:  …I’m always going to act from A!

V:  Not if you understand that you are not A.

A:  I’m not sure what I’m asking, I guess I’m just wondering, your day, how is it different now?

Kind Regards,


V:  I used to not know what my true is.  Now I do.  That’s the only difference.  The practical result of this knowledge is a peace that grows deeper over time (assuming I keep the implications of that knowledge in mind.)

All my best,


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