When asked to recall our most unforgettable experiences, we often bring up something that marked a turning point in our life. It could be something that brings a smile, or something we’d rather forget. Other times the experiences that mean the most to us would appear silly or meaningless if we tried to talk about them to someone else. There are two fascinating things that happen concerning experience, but we rarely think about either of them.  

1. Our experiences begin to define us and help make up the personality we identify as ‘self.’

2. The experiences we think we’re having are the result of limited perception.

Let’s clarify the second statement. Because we perceive our world through our senses and emotions and our brain filters out much of what we perceive, it’s impossible for truth and objective reality to exist in the material world. For example, research demonstrates that our eyes take in roughly half of the visual information available to us. The temporal lobes of the brain then edit and modify the visual information. The remaining portion of what we think we see is a construct made up of what the brain expected to see colored by what the emotions want to see.

It’s no surprise that ten eyewitnesses to an event tell ten different versions of what happened. The most misleading part of this process is the last step when the brain convinces us these altered images are real, and we integrate them into our personality. We must also consider that over time, every perceived experience shifts and fades. If those ten eyewitnesses were asked to recall the experience 10, 20 or 30 years later, some of them will have forgotten it and the others may give such different reports it no longer sounds like the same incident.

If these points were being made in a logic class we would conclude: If experience is not objective reality, then a personality that’s constructed with experience cannot be real. And in fact, this is what spiritual sages have been trying to tell us for centuries.

There is one experience that is real. It doesn’t come through the senses, it’s not filtered by either the brain or the emotions and it doesn’t contribute to the personality. This experience is incomparable and truly unforgettable because it’s the experience of the Self, the real you. As the ancient Kena Upanishad relates, the Self can only be experienced when we let go of the body’s limitations, drop our preconceived notions, attachments and aversions and connect with the One Mind we share with All That Is:

The ignorant think the Self can be known

By the intellect, but the illumined

Knows he is beyond the duality

Of the knower and the known.

The Self is realized in a higher state

Of consciousness when you have

Broken through

The wrong identification

That you are the body,

Subject to birth and death.

When Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” he understood that truth was not something that could be experienced in this world. Instead, he was describing his own experience of Self. He had taken on his true identity and he was never captive to the body’s perceptions again. He told his followers they too could have this unforgettable experience if they would, “Light the lamp within you…Knock on yourself as upon a door and walk upon yourself as a straight road” because “If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you.” (John 8:32, Dialogue of the Savior, Gospel of Thomas)

To learn more about science and spirituality, download sample chapters of our book The Beginning of Fearlessness: Quantum Prodigal Son, or sign up for a free video eCourse “Obstacles to Spiritual Growth” we invite you to visit http://www.thebeginningoffearlessness.com