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The Limitation of Experience



Many of us go through existence presupposing things and assuming so many things because of the way we were taught (i.e., because of the way we absorbed patterns from others).  We need to question more.  We need to question things deeply, wisely, and passionately.  There is a real art to questioning.  One can easily fabricate superficial questions that are not of great meaning and depth.  However, asking essential (fundamental) questions concerning the very essence of life and existence…. is not what a lot of people engage in.  Many are caught in a rut, and their lack of significant questions keeps them in that rut.  Often, when such people ask questions, the questions are a mere reflection of the limitation that they exist in (and “as”).  To be trapped in a morass and just remain there — without ever realizing that one is trapped — is a sad thing; such may be the lot of many.

We take for granted that experience and knowledge — which is the accumulation of patterns over sequential time — is the one and only modus operandi that all of us must function in (and “as”) in order to succeed and prosper.  Few of us ever really question as to whether there is an additional alternative.  Many who evolved to realize that there is value in quietness and silence have (for the most part, unfortunatly) made this so-called silence into another form of “experience.”  Along these lines, people (for the most part) practice methodologies — given to them by others — to attain so-called quietness or silence.  However, it may be that any methodology or practice devised to achieve silence — via following procedures — is erroneous, if sequential patterns (no matter what they are) cannot, when practiced, produce what is truly beyond time and sequential paradigms.  It may be that calculated causes and effects cannot produce what is beyond mere “cause and effect.”

Experiencing things often is a good, prudent thing.  The truly wise mind, however, also goes beyond mere experience, doing so without any effort or methodology.  (Engaging in experiencing is largely habitual, and one does not always have to depend upon habits.  Deep intelligence doesn’t always merely remain as habits.)  Experiencing things (in the ordinary way) involves recognition, reaction, labeling, interpretation, categorization, and (often) opinion-making.  Experiencing, for so many, involves the repetitive recognition of patterns via stored (old) memory.  If this takes place (ceaselessly), as it does in so many, then the “old,” the “past,” dictates current consciousness; there can be no renewal nor alive freshness in a mind merely bound to the old past in such a way.  Often, on the other hand, the wise mind newly (i.e., without dependence on the “old”) perceives (without psychological space between an observer and what is seen).  Oftentimes, one can sagaciously look without mere separation, recognition, labeling, and reaction.  Oftentimes, for example, one can joyfully walk where there are beautiful flowers, being fully aware of them just by simply (effortlessly) looking (and deeply seeing their shape and color), but one need not necessarily label them as being beautiful, need not codify them as being flowers, need not see them from a “center” that is separate, nor classify them as being of a certain species.  

The intelligent mind that questions fundamentally and prudently often functions as “experiencing” and “labeling” precisely, accurately, and compassionately; such a mind also often effortlessly goes beyond mere experiencing.  Sequential, fragmentary patterns, for such a mind, fade into the background and there is a wholeness beyond the fabrications of man, beyond mere acquisition, and beyond mere causality.  (This may sound esoteric or exotic, but it is really very simple, involving real integrity.)  There is real bliss when psychological fragmentation and piecemeal acquisition ends; ironically, those stuck only in the sequential patterns of experience remain there to often contend with inevitable monotony and boredom.  One can try to escape the superficial in so many ways, by so many different experiences.  However, one cannot escape the superficial via endlessly more of the superficial.  


[Note:  The photo is of a Softshell Turtle.  Their shells are soft and rubbery; they are very aquatic; they have pointed heads, are quite flat, and they are very elusive.]

Softshell Turtle. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016

Softshell Turtle. Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2016

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My Blog primarily consists of close-up nature photos (that I've taken locally) combined with original holistic-truth oriented prose and/or poetry involving mindfulness/awareness. I love nature and I love understanding the whole (not merely the parts and the details). I'm a retired teacher of the multiply handicapped. I have a number of interesting hobbies, such as fossil collecting, sport-kite flying, 3D and 2D close-up photography, holography, and pets. Most of all, I am into holistic self-awareness, spontaneous insight, unconventional observation/direct perception, mindfulness, meditation, world peace, non-fragmentation, population control, vegetarianism, and green energy. To follow my unique Blog of "Nature Photos and Mindfulness Sayings" and for RSS feeds to my new posts, please access at: (On my regular Blog posting pages, for additional information and to follow, simply click on the "tack icon" at the upper right corner... or, on my profile page, you can click on the "Thomas Peace" icon.) Stay mindful, understanding, and caring!...

20 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. There are times I wish there was a “LOVE” button instead of a “Like” button. Your words are encouraging… to move beyond and to question deeply. I find this a lonely place many times, but every so often I meet another person who feels this same, experiencing the “real bliss” you speak of. Oh, and I love that your prose often challenges my vocabulary – I had to look up sagacious! Thank you for such an inspiring post this morning, Tom.


  2. This really struck home and is something I sincerely needed to hear today. It often is about widening the container (structures of consciousness-psychological and spiritual). To live and feel deeply in the present moment does not always feel like bliss. Someone recently told me that to have lived long enough means to walk the earth with a perpetually broken heart…broken open for yourself and the world. What you wrote is wise. Thank you Tom.


      • I agree with much of what you say. Poetry and photography interest me because both play with time and space. To know that, you need to be able to step outside it in a way. I am curious to know if you see any of that sense of the timeless in my words. I do not think I do it justice, and being embedded in a materialistic, scientific paradigm can make it more difficult to stay the course.

      • Maria, your poetry is very beautiful… and beauty certainly has a timeless, immortal element! Beauty is eternal, and we humans each need to go beyond the isolated sense of self that so many of us have (and “are”)… because there is no profound beauty in an isolated, separate self. 🙂

  3. Tom, I was reading your words (thank you) and came across this phrase in the second paragraph – “We take for granted that experience and knowledge — which is the accumulation of patterns over sequential time.” It seems to me that the shift from knowledge to wisdom, or perception, comes when we move from “sequential time” to “continued existence.” Away from linearity, and strict historical progression (this follows that and thus and so) and toward a spatial awareness. This aids in breaking endless pattern repetition and allows connections and understandings that may not be possible within that rigidity.


    • Thank you, Rich! 🙂 Yes, going beyond endless pattern repetition to an understanding that transcends the (rather) mechanical patterns is important. “Continued existence” is still within the realm of measurement, by the way, so we have to be careful with that. Away from linearity and domino effect progression is a good thing!


  4. So true, Tom. I for one only appreciate the beauty of flower, never think of deeper questions. I’m thankful you are here to remind us. Thank you for your inspiring post!


  5. Often it’s hard to shut down the mind and simply experience. I would guess most other animals don’t analyze things quite so much as we humans tend to do.


  6. Very interesting read Tom! I recognize what you’re saying. Once on a late evening in my student days i realized how little i knew.. and immediately following that, there was the experience of opening up, of seeing the old habitual patterns and seeing they were not what was/is really here. And this has happened a lot after this ‘initial’ opening up(initial being that this time i was just very conscious of it).

    And i agree with the freshness of the experience of an open mind being very simple. It’s all the exra layers of labels and mental judgements which keep us from seeing what is really here.. thank you for this early morning wake up. It is very pleasant indeed!


  7. So good that you may perceive something of it, Pieter! 🙂 Our knowledge is helpful at times but, yes, we overuse it when it is not necessary or warranted. It is a tool — knowledge is — and is not necessarily our essence, as so many take it to be. To use the tool box’s contents is important… but it is also very important to go beyond the tool box and its contents!


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