Experience

Custom is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared I the past. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation.

Nothing can ever be present to the mind but an image or perception, and that the senses are only the inlets, through which these images are conveyed, without being able to produce any immediate intercourse between the mind and the object... The mind has never anything present to it but the perceptions, and cannot possibly reach any experience of their connection with objects. The supposition of such a connection is, therefore, without any foundation in reasoning.

A large amount of physical pain and suffering is caused by one’s thoughts and behaviors. The desire for food causes people to overeat and consume food that is harmful to their health. Envy, anger, and honor-seeking lead to diseases of the heart, high blood pressure, nervous tension and excessive stress. Moreover, even when you pain is basically caused by physical symptoms, your mental attitude towards the pain can greatly increase or decrease the actual amount of suffering you experience. The pain you suffer from illnesses and injuries is frequently more psychological than physical. A person who learns to master a calm and serene attitude towards life trains himself to tolerate physical pain and the actual suffering is greatly lessened.

We should utilize every experience as a tool for elevation. Even when someone acts in a condescending manner towards us, we can view the situation in a positive manner and grow from the experience. When we suffer emotionally from a situation, we create the negative attitudes ourselves and hence the emotional suffering is our own creation.

Experience is not what happens to a man. It is what a man does with what happens to him.

Experience teaches only the teachable.

From their own experience or from the recorded experience of others (history), men learn only what their passions and their metaphysical prejudices allow them to learn.

Knowing the truth carries with it an extraordinary responsibility. Meeting that responsibility can be your most rewarding experience.

My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind - without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos.

Nature... is frugal in her operations and will not be at the expense of a particular instinct to give us that knowledge which experience and habit will soon produce. Reproduced sights and contacts tied together with the present sensation in the unity of a thing with a name, these are complex objective stuff out of which my actually perceived table is made. Infants must go through a long education of the eye and ear before they can perceive the realities which adults perceive. Every perception is an acquired perception.

Fear breeds lack of experience, lack of experience breeds ignorance, ignorance breeds more fear. It is a vicious cycle.

I have often seen individuals who simply outgrow a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and strong life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it.

We deem those happy who, from the experience of life, have learned to bear its ills, without being overcome by them. A father may turn his back on his child, brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies, husbands may desert their wives, wives their husbands. But a mother’s love endures through all; in good repute, in bad repute, in the face of the world’s condemnation, a mother still loves on and still hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways, and repent; still she remembers the infant smiles that once filled her bosom with rapture, the merry laugh, the joyful shout of his childhood, the opening promise of his youth; and she can never be brought to think him all unworthy.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Many people know so little about what is beyond their short range of experience. They look within themselves - and find nothing! Therefore they conclude that there is nothing outside themselves.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Faith alone defends.

Experience, it is said, makes a man wise. that is very silly talk. If there were nothing beyond experience it would simply drive him mad.

The experience of another is not valid for the understanding of reality. But the organized religions throughout the world are based on the experience of another and, therefore, are not liberating man but only binding him to a particular pattern that sets man against man. Each one of us has to start anew, afresh, for what we are, the world is. The world is not different from you and me. This little world of our problems, extended, becomes the world and the problems of the world.

Life is based on limitation and compromise. The fact that we forget the meaning of life is the meaning of life. Being in a state of partial awareness allows experience and life to progress. God, as an omniscient being, is not an “experiencing being” because his or her experience is not new. If You were going to start a universe, what would Your options be? You could choose to remain totally stagnant, but that wouldn’t amount to a true universe. You’d need entities that experience it, entities that are fragile and temporary and not omniscient. That’s who we are and why we’re here.

Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.