Excerpt About Universal Concept

Discrimination of the Concrete Givens of Experience

The spiritual dimension of discriminating wisdom is the direct perception of the self-existing and real discrimination in the actual premises of experience. It is free from the influences of the past, uncreated by the individual mind. The discrimination is not of abstract ideas, like the ideas of democracy or achievement, but of the concrete givens of experience. It is like the perception of the wetness of water. We can experience the wetness, know precisely what it feels like, although we might not conceptualize it with a word. The quality of wetness exists in perception, whether we have a mental concept of it or not. This is clearly the case in infancy, before the development of conceptualization. To stay with this example, the discriminating perception of wetness does not disappear in self-realization; in fact, we experience it with a much greater vividness and precision than in the conventional dimension of experience, because of the complete intimacy and immediacy of the nondual consciousness. We can then give such discriminated perception a label, like “wetness” or any other word, and this label refers to an experiential or experience-near concept. It is the same with water itself, which is not a concept constructed by mind, but something that exists independent of our minds, already present and ready to be isolated by mind, although the word itself exists only in our minds and our speech. In this book, we will call such a perceived discriminated reality, like wetness or water, a “universal concept.”

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