I am reading Alberto Villoldo’s book The Four Winds, and was surprised to see this in the preface:
Every mystic tradition, from the Jewish cabala to the Upanishads of the Hindus, recognizes the existence of things that can be known but not told. There are certain qualities of sense experience that seem to defy description.
There are of course experiences it is difficult for us to describe, but that has little to do with what the mystics talk about. To make that connection is misleading.
What the mystics talk about is not within the realm of content of experience, it is simply a realization that there is no I with an Other. And this realization is independent of the content of experience. The content can be mundane, everyday experiences. It can be pain. Joy. Bliss. Dullness. Extraordinary visions. It doesn’t matter.
And that is exactly why it is difficult, not to say impossible, to talk about. Not because it is an unusual or ephemeral or fuzzy experience. But because it is free from any particular content of experience, so also free from what words can describe. Words differentiate and split the world, and this realization is all of it awakening to itself, free from all differentiation yet also containing all differentiation.
(The realization itself may be independent, in certain ways, of the content of experiences. At the same time, the content of experience can appear to lead up to a shift into this realization. And the realization is also reflected in the content of experience: the thoughts creating a sense of I and Other are seen as just thoughts, and there is a reorganization of the human self that typically follows such a realization, even if it is just a taste or glimpse.)