The atheist is one who denies the existence of a Supreme Being, and the theist is one who asserts the existence of a Supreme Being.
The atheist is one who does not believe in the existence of GOD, and the theist is one who believes that GOD exists.
Both the atheist and theist are caught up in their beliefs and ideas, and their assertions are born out of their ego and not from direct experience. Of course, we could also say that their assertions and beliefs are born out of their inexperience.
GOD is not an idea. Ultimately, the existence of GOD is not proven or disproven by an empirical process. Certainly, by an empirical process one can establish the probability or improbability of the existence of GOD, but the PROOF ultimately lies with direct experience.
Now, most people will say that our direct experience is any experience that we have with our senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, or smelling). If something cannot be seen, heard, tasted, touched or smelled we will conclude that there is no ‘hard evidence.’ Of course, there are many other ways by which we ‘prove’ to ourselves (or others) that something is real or unreal. These other ‘ways’ include (but are not limited to) inference and knowledge conveyed to us by others (whom we trust).
What do we really mean by ‘direct experience?’ If we perceive something through our mind, which is separate from our self, can this be called ‘direct’ experience? If you ask your beloved if he or she loves you, and your beloved replies, “I think so,” you will not be very happy. You want to be certain of that love; ABSOLUTELY certain, and certainly you will not be content with a ‘guesstimate’ or even a so-called ‘educated guess.’ The fact is, you cannot rely on their mind or your mind for the answer or proof. The ‘direct experience’ that you seek is somewhere beyond the mind.
If we experience something through our mind, then it is an indirect experience. Mind, in this case, includes our intellect and senses. Then how will we discern the Truth, and who or what does this ‘discerning?’
Certainly, intellect is attributed with the capacity of discernment, but the ordinary intellect (BUDDHI) is subjectively identified with the mind and senses; hence, its power of discernment is not totally reliable, and is often very unreliable.
There is a higher intellect (Medha and Prajna) which is connected to Divine Wisdom (the wisdom of Consciousness that emanates from the Pure Self, PURUSH), which the living self (Jivatman) is in possession of. This higher power of discernment is cultivated by the practice of spiritual discipline in the form of YOGA. Unless one begins by laying the foundation, it is impossible to cultivate this higher power of discernment.
The foundation of Yoga is Non-Violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Good Character (as it pertains to sexuality), and non-greediness (controlling one’s desire for more and more things, money, pleasure, excitement, appreciation, personal recognition, fame, EVERYTHING).
With this foundation permanently in place, one begins to purify the senses, mind, and intellect and begins to experience directly the wisdom of Consciousness. In other words, one’s conscious Self perceives (through consciousness itself) the elements of mind, intellect, senses, and the body, and realizes intuitively that one’s conscious Self is distinct from all of this.
‘Intuitively’ simply means one’s understanding emanates directly from one’s consciousness and not from the mind and intellect. It is fair to say that most people are ‘mental’ and are not really conscious, because they live through their mind. They are so much caught up in their mental machinery that they have become living automaton robots. It is extremely difficult for them to perceive that they are other than the mind. Most people think they are the mind, because that is what they are always doing: THINKING. For them, even intuition is just another form of thinking, which is why they won’t understand even a particle of this article.
The mind (including the intellect) is only a part of our being. If we deny that ‘presence’ within us that observes the mind, it is denied only because we are in our ego. In other words, the awareness that we are conscious beings distinct from the mind is obscured due to the presence of ego in the mind. Ego is naturally present, but it doesn’t belong in the mind (or I should say, it is our natural duty as human beings to remove our ego from the mind, because that will make us very happy once it is removed).
The ‘presence’ within us that observes the mind is our conscious Self. When we are conscious of that conscious Self we are self-conscious (in the pure sense), which means we are observing the mind from the perspective of our pure ego. Still, this is indirect perception.
When we are looking down, we might see our reflection in the puddle of water and think we have seen our own self. But to really see where we have come from, we have to lift up our gaze and look to the sun, moon, and the stars and then we will realize that we are just star dust. When we remove the dust, we realize our Essence.
To have the direct experience we have to stop seeing things through our ego. When we finally purify our inner being with the Light of Wisdom, our pure consciousness stands clear of all the adjuncts of ego, intellect, mind, senses and body. We directly experience our Essence, and that essence is the Supreme Consciousness (PARAMATMAN) that pervades our being (pure consciousness, ATMAN).
In that State of Being,
in that state of Ultimate Being,
in that Original and Final Being,
there is neither atheist or theist,
neither day or night,
neither young or old,
neither white or black, this or that.
There is only . . .