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Experience is the Reflection of Knowledge & Belief

TAKE YOUR STAND in this present moment of awareness. Be aware of what is happening—and let it be. In your own direct experience, right now, you realize yourself as this aware space—relaxed and at ease. This is a direct realization. Your essential nature is pure intelligence—now you know yourself in your own direct experience.

It is common in spiritual circles for people to become aware of the fact that they are aware. You may have experienced this yourself. It can be quite a revelation to realize yourself as this presence of awareness—peaceful, relaxed and at ease. You may have experienced a deep sense of connection, unity and harmony. "Everything is perfect as it is! I have no problems! I do not need anything. I am complete—here and now!"

This realization is not uncommon—becoming aware of being aware. In many cases people will interpret the recognition of awareness as an experience.

There may have been three or four days of peace and well-being. A natural relaxation response happens in the mind and body. Maybe it lasted for a few minutes, a few hours, a few days—or weeks and months for some people. The experience ended and you were back in the mind. And you felt, "I lost it! I had it for a while and now it is gone!"

This is why it is critical to understand the nature of knowledge and experience. You transcend what you have understood! You must understand your own mind. The mind must understand itself. You must thoroughly understand the nature of knowledge and experience! Is this clear! If you do not understand your own mind you will be stuck in the illusory world of mind! Stuck in the dream world of knowledge and belief. Stuck in the dream of experience—longing for one experience, and running away from another!

To be absolutely free you must have complete Self-Knowledge. You must have a complete understanding of yourself. You must realize your absolute nature of awareness—timeless, changeless and formless. And you must understand your relative nature of mind—in time, always changing, and in form. You are the absolute and you are the relative.

There is nothing apart from you! Everything is yourself!

Without fully understanding your own mind, without fully understanding the nature of knowledge and belief you will continue to fear and desire experience. Your experience is the reflection of your knowledge and belief!

If you do not understand your own mind then every time an uncomfortable experience arises you will try to run away from it: "Okay, how did I get away from this last time? Did I meditate? Did I focus or concentrate? Did I pray to God? Was I aware of being aware? What did I do? What do I do now?"

Do you realize you are trying to run away from your own experience? Your own mind is trying to run away from itself!

Now do you realize the importance of understanding the nature of experience, knowledge and belief—for yourself?

You can read about the nutritional value of peanuts on the back of the container, but you experience the nutritional value by eating the peanuts. If you do not eat the peanuts you will not experience the benefit. You can read about the thirst quenching power of water, but your thirst is quenched by drinking the water. If you do not drink the water your thirst will not be quenched. It is helpful to know about the beneficial value of food and water, but you experience the benefits by eating and drinking.

This present moment of aware presence is pure intelligence and our anchor to reality. Now we let the mind and body relax and let everything be as it is.

Now we are all aware. We can be aware of everything that is happening. As you become aware of what is happening now, you may notice that you are experiencing a movement of your own mind. And it becomes more obvious that all experience is a movement of your own mind.

As you begin to question the reality of your experience, you realize in this present moment, here and now, it is impossible to experience a problem. In this present moment all is well. I will talk about my own direct experience and I hope you apply what you are reading to yourself—so this is of tremendous benefit to you.

I can drink the water and eat the peanuts, and I will experience the benefit. When you drink the water and eat the peanuts, you experience the benefit. Apply what you are reading here to yourself and see if it is true. It is up to you.

It may become more obvious to you that all experience is the movement of your own mind.

You can begin to observe the thought-stories and the emotional-stories playing in your mind and their affect on the body. You can begin to question the truth of your experience. You can question the truth of what you believe you know. You question the reality of the thought-stories and emotional-stories. You question the fundamental truth of your experience. Is this really happening? What is happening now? Is this real?

This present moment of aware presence is the fundamental truth of my reality. What is this movement of mind and emotion? Is it real? What is the truth of my experience? As you continue questioning, it becomes more obvious that what you believed and experienced as suffering in the past was a movement of mind. Now you realize: "There is no such thing as suffering. It does not exist! It was a projection of my own mind!" And the whole story of suffering revolved around an imaginary self-image that I believed myself to be. This imaginary self-image has no existence apart from the thought-story!

Now you realize that thought-stories and emotional-stories had become very compelling and seductive especially when they affected the body. In reference to some thoughts it is easy to say: "Well, that is just a silly thought." But when emotions and physical sensations of the body are involved, thought-stories become more compelling and seductive. And you say: "Well, the other stories are not true, but this is no story—this is real! I can feel it in my stomach and chest. My whole body feels it, so it must be true!" And you begin to question those stories. You begin to question all your experiences. You question everything you believe you know and experience. And you ask: "Is this true?"

Now you realize that your experience is a reflection of your knowledge and belief. You experience what you believe you know. This applies to all experience—this is comprehensive and all inclusive. There are no exceptions. Discover this for yourself. It is up to you. When you discover this for yourself you experience the benefits. If you do not drink the water and eat the peanuts you will not benefit.

So you question your own experience and ask: "What do I know with absolute certainty? What is real? What is true?" You question the experiences that were most problematic to you. It is up to you. Question what troubles you most. This is very practical. Whatever your issue is you can question and ask: "What is real about this experience? What do I believe? What do I know?" You question your experience and you question what you believe you know. What do I know and what do I experience?

You can only experience what you believe you know. You experience what you believe is real and true. This is the nature of experience. If you believe Santa Claus is real, as I did at six years old—I experienced Santa Claus. "There is Santa Claus. You cannot tell me there is no such thing as Santa Claus; I am experiencing him—I know he is real!"

Whatever you are experiencing here now is a reflection of what you believe you know.

Now you question your knowledge. By questioning your knowledge you change your experience. You ask: "Is Santa Claus real?" You ask your older brother or sister, your older friends, and you say to your parents: "I need to know the truth. Is Santa Claus real?" And they say: "You know what, Santa Claus is a myth. There is no Santa Claus." And you say: "I knew it!" Now you are free of that myth. You no longer believe in Santa Claus so you cannot experience Santa Claus as you did in the past.

Now when you see Santa Claus you still experience him—but you know he is not real. You do not have to ban Santa Claus from your home. Santa Claus is welcome. "Come and go as you please, Santa. But let me pull your beard!"

By questioning what you believe you know and questioning your experience you may realize your innate freedom beyond belief. You may realize there is no such thing as suffering; no such thing as seeking; no such thing as awakening; no such thing as enlightenment. There is no independent 'me'. There is no independent ego apart from the play of mind.

And of course the central character in the play of mind is you! The play is all about you. You do not care about anyone else. Admit it. You are obsessed with yourself. This is the nature of the human experience. We are completely caught up in our self image—who we believe we are and what we take ourselves to be. So we question: "What is the reality of who I am? What is the reality of my knowledge and experience? What do I know? What do I experience?"

Now we are grounded in this present moment of reality. This is our anchor to the truth. We take our stand in this present moment of pure intelligence. This aware presence is watching the show, witnessing the movement of mind. There is awareness here now. We are all aware now. And through this awareness is a movement of mind. This play of mind can be questioned.

Now we are firmly grounded in this fundamental truth. This is the truth of who I am—this present moment of aware presence. This witnessing presence is the truth of who I am. And it becomes more obvious that everything else is a movement of mind. All knowledge and experience is a movement of mind. This is all inclusive. There are no exceptions. Everything you know and experience is a movement of mind. Your experience is a reflection of what you believe is real and true. When the thought-stories are believed to be real and true they are experienced as real and true. You cannot lie to yourself. You cannot trick yourself.

If you believe in Santa Claus you will experience him as real and true. If you do not believe in Santa Claus you cannot experience him as real and true. You cannot fool yourself. You experience what you believe. When you question your beliefs and you no longer believe in Santa Claus, you cannot experience Santa Claus as real any more. You cannot do it.

If you believe you are a separate ego, you will experience yourself as a separate ego. If you do not believe you are a separate ego, you cannot experience yourself as a separate ego. You experience what you believe you know.

Who is suffering? Who is seeking? Who wants to be enlightened? Who am I?

Being grounded in this present moment of pure intelligence it becomes more obvious that each moment of experience is a movement of mind. By questioning the reality of what we believe we know, there is a natural change in experience.

You can no longer believe in self-centered thought-stories. You can no longer believe in the existence of a separate ego—no matter how deep you feel it! Your whole body may feel contracted—stomach churning, neck muscles tense, cheeks flush—but you can no longer believe in the emotional-stories. You can no longer believe in the existence of a separate ego—past, present or future. You cannot believe in the reality of mental or emotional states.

Do you realize how deep this goes? In any given moment you have no way to know what your mental, emotional or physical state is apart from your conditioning and beliefs. You have no other way to know. Mentally, emotionally and physically you are experiencing what you believe you know is real and true.

At any given point in time I have no way of knowing what my mental, emotional or physical state is apart from my conditioning. I have no other way to know. I realize my experience is the reflection of the conditioning by my parents, family, friends, teachers, culture and society. They defined, described, programmed and conditioned every aspect of how I experience myself—and I believed them. So this is how I experience myself and the world!

I experience what I believe I know to be real and true. I have no other way to experience. All experience is a reflection of knowledge and belief. When I question what I believe I know about who I am—the self-center falls apart. It is obvious I have no way to know who I am. I have no way to know what my mental, emotional or physical states are at any given point in time. I have no way to know anything at all. All knowledge is conditioning.

Salvatore: If you experience a happy thought arise how do you reconcile that with not knowing what your mental or emotional states are?

Stephen: There is no such thing as a happy thought apart from my knowledge and belief in a happy thought. This is comprehensive and all inclusive. There is no such thing as a happy thought—unless I believe I know there is a happy thought which is different from a sad thought.

Salvatore: Does this have to do with labels?

Stephen: Experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief! Experience is a function of mind. The mind is the process of labeling, defining, describing, categorizing and judging—all programmed and conditioned. There is no other way to experience. My parents, family, friends, teachers, culture and society told me what a happy thought is—otherwise, how would I know it?

Salvatore: 'Happy' is just a name perhaps?

Stephen: Prior to the mind, prior to cognition, prior to knowledge and belief—there is no experience! There is no knowledge or experience prior to the mind. Do you see how deep this goes? This is comprehensive and all inclusive. A patient under anesthesia has no knowledge or experience of the surgeon's incision because the cognitive faculty is asleep. You could cut off your leg with a chain saw—prior to cognition there is no experience! There are no exceptions to this. Right now your digestive system is turning food into flesh. This miraculous process is a function of pure intelligence and is happening prior to cognition so you cannot experience it.

Now you realize that all experience—even a simple happy thought—is a reflection of knowledge and belief. Nothing exists apart from the movement of mind. Belief and knowledge are at the root of all experience. The experience of a happy thought is the reflection of knowledge and belief in a happy thought. Prior to knowledge and belief there is no such thing as a happy thought or a sad thought. Pure intelligence, your own natural state of perfection, is prior to good and evil; prior to the mind; prior to cognition!

This realization cuts to the root of all suffering. It is impossible to suffer unless my mind believes in suffering and someone who can suffer. There is no happiness or sadness until my mind believes it knows happiness and sadness. Experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief. You experience what you believe you know is real and true. This applies to every moment of experience—even now!

Prior to knowledge and belief there is no separate person. You experience yourself as a person in a body because your mind was programmed and conditioned to believe you are a person in a body. Prior to the conditioned mind there is no experience of being a separate person in a separate body. When the knowledge and belief of being a separate person is questioned and found to be false, you can no longer believe in the experience of being a separate person.

Now you shine as this aware presence—this pure intelligence—here and now!

From this new perspective you realize there is no way to know what is happening—all knowledge is conditioned. Now, you are beyond the mind, absolutely free of all knowledge and belief! Santa Claus is free to come into your home and you are no longer fooled. You have seen through the false belief in Santa Claus at the root of your experience.

Happy and sad thoughts are free to come through. You know there is no happy or sad thought apart from belief. You realize the experience of mental, emotional and physical states are a reflection of knowledge and belief. Now you are beyond knowledge and belief—absolutely free.

Prior to the mind there is pure intelligence. Prior to knowledge and belief there is pure consciousness. It is pure perception without the knowledge of experience.

The fundamental truth of what I am—this pure intelligence here and now—cannot be known or experienced. I am prior to the mind. I am prior to labeling, defining categorizing and judging. I am prior to cognition; prior to experience; prior to knowledge and belief.

This natural perfection that we are right now is nameless, timeless, and formless. It cannot be pointed to. Which way would you point? It cannot suffer. What is aware of suffering? It cannot be happy. What is aware of happiness? What is aware right now?

This aware presence that we are has no way to experience apart from knowledge and belief. So you ask: "Is there any such thing as happiness or sadness apart from my programming and conditioning?" As a two-year-old child you have no way to know happiness from sadness. You do not know, and you do not care! There is no one to care! You are pure consciousness—pure intelligence!

Salvatore: That sounds conceptual. What is your experience?

Stephen: All experience, including mine, is the reflection of the knowledge I was conditioned to believe. I have questioned my knowledge and beliefs, and realized that all my knowledge is false—and yet experience continues to happen. Now I realize that my world of experience is a projection of my own conditioned mind, and there is no world apart from my own mind. The world is my mind. I experience the world as both real and illusory. The experience of my world is like a lucid dream—real and unreal.

Santa Claus is welcome to come into my world. I know Santa Claus is not real, and yet I still experience Santa Claus and I can pull his beard. The metaphor of Santa Claus applies to all experience.

Everything is happening naturally and spontaneously. Happy thoughts flow through. Sad thoughts flow through. I know they have no reality apart from my belief. I do not need to change sad thoughts into happy thoughts. I do not believe in happiness or sadness—they are not real! All mental, emotional and physical states are a reflection of knowledge and belief. I know nothing. I believe nothing. Therefore mental, emotional and physical states have no reality in my world of experience.

Salvatore: So happy and sad thoughts flow through and you are aware of them. You just do not give them any meaning.

Stephen: Listen up! There is no such thing as happiness or sadness! And there is no one who gives anything any meaning!

Salvatore: Okay, okay.

Nadia: You never get identified?

Stephen: There is no such thing as identification! There is no one who gets identified! Experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief. This applies to all experience!

Nadia: It appears to me that I experience identification.

Stephen: Yes, it appears so. You can question your experience. I know there is no such thing as identification. Identification is a movement of mind. Identification is not real. Experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief. This is comprehensive and all inclusive. What do you believe? What do you know?

If you experience separation and identification, then there is belief in separation and identification—because experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief. I do not believe in separation and identification, therefore I cannot experience it as real. Nor can I experience Santa Claus as real!

Nadia: You have no knowledge or beliefs like that anymore?

Stephen: Experience is an impersonal process. All of my experiences are the reflection of my knowledge and beliefs. My experience and your experience are a reflection of the same process. There is no way to experience anything apart from this process. I experience everything—I believe nothing. My experience is like a lucid dream. Reality and illusion are the same.

Nadia: Ahh.

Stephen: You are aware of your experience, and your experience is a reflection of your knowledge and belief—all a process of mind.

There is tremendous power in coming back to this present moment of reality—our anchor to the truth. This is pure intelligence. There is awareness here now—this you know with absolute certainty. This present moment of aware presence is the truth of what I am. I am this. This is the truth because it cannot be denied. It is not a product of mind. There is awareness here now. Come back to this fundamental truth that you are.

There is pure intelligence here now—that I am. From this truth you watch your experience. Pure intelligence is what you are. And you begin to watch what is happening. If you are interested in enlightenment, watch the process of mind and you will notice something. This presence of awareness is here now—simply present and aware. You are grounded in this fundamental truth, now become fully aware of your experience.

When you experience identification and separation, question it: "What is identification? What is separation?" Being grounded in this truth it becomes obvious that identification and separation are a movement of mind. Discover for yourself—what is identified as what? What is separate from what?

You may discover separation and identification are a movement of mind. Separation and identification never happened. You realize this in your own experience. You can no longer believe in the idea of separation. You can no longer believe in the idea of identification. Those ideas are no longer real for you. You questioned the ideas of separation and identification and found them to be erroneous beliefs.

You realize all knowledge and experience is a movement of mind. My knowledge and experience is a product of my conditioning. And there was a lot of spiritual conditioning—ideas about identification, separation, ego, suffering, seeking and enlightenment—all conditioned beliefs!

Now we take our stand in this present moment and we are grounded in reality—this pure intelligence here and now. This is the fundamental truth that I know with absolute certainty. There is awareness here now. This is the truth of what I am.

And you realize there is no such thing as identification. There is no such thing as suffering. There is no me, no you, no us, no them—apart from the movement of mind. There is no Santa Claus! When the mind believes it knows Santa Claus is real, it experiences Santa Claus as real!

To experience identification, you must believe in identification. You cannot experience something you do not believe in. How do you cut the root of belief? By questioning: "Is this real? Is this true? How do I know this is real? How do I know this is true?" The ideas you have about yourself begin to fall. They cannot stand up to a simple investigation. And what becomes more obvious is the fundamental truth the spiritual traditions are pointing to—this present moment of natural perfection is the truth of what I am—and nothing else!

Now I am present and aware, here and now. This is the truth of what I am. Everything else is illusion. Everything else is Santa Claus. My experience is my reality and my illusion. Illusion and reality are the same—a movement of mind. There is no difference between reality and illusion. When Santa Claus walks into the room, I experience what I believe about him. When I believe he is real—it is not illusion! "Santa Claus is right here! This is my reality!"

There is no objective reality out there somewhere. Experience is subjective. There is no reality or illusion apart from the process of mind. Your experience is a reflection of what you believe you know—and there is no other experience!

This applies to all experience—whether you experience laughing or crying; floating out-of-the-body or in the body; communicating with the dead or a friend; traveling through the astral planes or in your car; sitting in a theater or on the toilet—experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief. What do you know? What do you believe?

There is no need to run away from or long after experience! There is no need to ban Santa Claus from your home, or force him to stay. Santa Claus is not real! Let him be!

Santa Claus represents all experience. Happiness and sadness—every moment of experience—even now! Santa Claus is welcome because you know he has no reality apart from your belief.

In the past the habit was to run away from the sad experience and grasp onto the happy experience. Now you realize the importance of understanding that experience is the reflection of knowledge and belief—all experience! There is no sadness or happiness apart from your knowledge and belief. There are no mental or emotional states apart from your knowledge and belief.

Mental and emotional states are not real to me. Mental and emotional states have no existence apart from my belief! I do not believe in happiness or sadness! My experience is a reflection of the knowledge that I was conditioned and programmed to believe. I realize I was programmed by idiots, morons and mental defectives—my parents, family, friends, teachers, culture and society!

When Santa Claus appears I know he is both real and unreal. Real because I am experiencing him in the moment—I cannot deny an experience is happening! Unreal because I know that my experience is a reflection of my knowledge and beliefs that were programmed by idiots, morons and mental defectives!

My experience is both real and illusory.

There is no objective reality out there. Whatever your mind believes is real and true is experienced as real and true! This is the importance of understanding the nature of experience, knowledge and belief. This is the importance of understanding the nature of your own mind because your mind is your experience and knowledge. Your mind is your world of experience.

Until you understand the nature of knowledge and belief—your own mind—you will continue to run away from unpleasant experiences, and grasp onto the pleasant. But when you understand your mind is running away from its own self-created states, you realize there is no need to run, there is no need to hide—it is all your own mind!

Beyond the mind is absolute peace independent of experience. Now you know all experience is a movement of your own mind!

Hector: Everything?

Stephen: Find out for yourself! Can you find any experience apart from knowledge and belief? I already ate the peanuts and drank the water—if I may be so bold. I know for myself. I am not interested in theories. Discover the nature of experience for yourself. It is possible to be completely free of suffering, seeking, and enlightenment. They do not exist! All experience is a movement of mind.

Moment to moment, thoughts, emotions and sensations have no meaning, value or purpose apart from my belief and knowledge. My world of experience is my own mind!

Do you realize this is absolute freedom? Knowing the reality of myself as this present moment of pure intelligence, what can bother me apart from my own mind?

My mind has deconstructed itself. I have no way to know anything absolutely. All knowledge is relative. I have no way to know what happiness or sadness is apart from my programming, and I do not have faith in my programmers!

Now I am simply present and aware. The programming continues to function, but it does not matter anymore. Nothing needs to change. Everything is seen and known as an experience—the reflection of knowledge and belief. There is a natural flow of experience. Moment to moment as each experience arises you know: "This is my own mind—the world of experience is myself!"

Now you realize that nothing exists apart from yourself. I am everything that exists. Do you realize this now? My absolute nature is this aware presence—timeless, changeless and formless. My relative nature is mind—the natural and spontaneous flow of mental, emotional and physical states. Everything is myself. This is comprehensive and all inclusive. There are no exceptions. The universe is myself. What do I need to change? I am all that is! I am happiness and I am sadness. I am everything. It is all me.

Hector: So there is no preference.

Stephen: Preferences are your own mind. The experience of a preference is the reflection of knowledge and belief—this is good, that is bad. Preferences are happening naturally and spontaneously by no one and to no one. Preferences are your programming. You will experience preferences. All experience is a reflection of knowledge and belief. There is no need to change your experience. Experience is a mirror of what you believe is real and true.

Hector: Even if I have an experience of no-self? I cannot find any independent self and everything seems to be the same—is that just another experience based on my programming?

Stephen: Find out for yourself. This is the value of drinking the water and eating the peanuts yourself. Otherwise it is a theory. Investigate your own experience.

Realizing that every moment of your experience — even now — is a reflection of your own knowledge and belief is a powerful realization. Your world of experience is your own mind!

Take your stand in this present moment of awareness. Be aware of what is happening—and let it be. This present moment of natural perfection is your anchor to the truth. I am pure intelligence! This is absolute freedom beyond all experience. This is the benefit of Self-Knowledge—absolute peace independent of knowledge and experience. Now you know yourself directly!

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  Thank you - J.L. & A.K.G. & B.G.