The Birth of Experience

The birth of experience goes on all life long. Giving birth to oneself never stops. William James writes of the twice born. The scriptures speak of being born again of the spirit and circumcision of the heart. These are radical changes of state, radical changes of life. But birth of experience also goes on in smaller ways throughout a day or week or year, often barely noticed. Sometimes, it might seem as if experience is in search of an experiencer, one to experience it, dwell with it, grow with it, for it is possible to have new experiences which do not result in growth. Michael Eigen

But to grow seems to me not to arise from the experiencer seeking growth. It arises as an unfolding from the whole that is the direct experience that is other than the one that is separate. The one seeking growth is a creation of thinking that is a fragment of the whole that has been developed and grasped on to as something permanent. In attention to the perception and conception of “the one”, experience is fragmented, distorted and constructed.

As Rodney Smith writes, “We cannot leave any part of us behind. We have to take the whole of the mind, or we get a splintered consciousness that will endlessly attempt to work its way out of division by means of further subdivision. Furthermore, we cannot bring ourselves along in the process because to do so is to maintain the idea that we are different from the observed mind. And finally, we cannot strategize our way to freedom. Freedom is not of our making. We have to surrender control to forces other than our own.”

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