I want to use the metaphor of a movie camera (the old type) - containing a reel of film to explain, in conceptual terms (because how else can something be explained?) the mechanics of experience.

Photo courtesy filmgeek

The point at which the unexposed film becomes exposed to the data from the lense is our now.
This now is a constant point - the unexposed film is continuously passing that point of exposure - changing from unexposed to exposed - changing from the unknown into the known.
Our awareness of now is created at that moment - at the threshold of change - it exists, if you like, as a realisation of the contrast between the unknown and the known.

By reviewing the exposed footage (our experiences - in memory) we conceptualise time. We presume that this footage represents the past - only because of this conceptualisation - and we deduce a future from this - unaware that our concept of time is purely a deduction, a presumption.
Whereas in reality - there is only the now - the point of exposure - where the unknown changes into the known.
That unknown is pure potential - potential experience - consciousness.
It is possible for the mind (the lense) to look into that unknown - by focusing the point of experience on itself - by observing experience as it changes from potential to actuality.

However - for most of the time, life has a quality of "double-exposure" to it.
Not quite the new experience it should be.
That is because we literally are looking at all of the new experiences through the reference of the old - we experience the present - the unknown, veiled with a filter of conceptual thought - the known.

How can any evaluation deduced from experience (conceptualisation) be in any way valid in trying to put the unknown in any context whatsoever?
We cannot measure the unknown by the known - it cannot have a context that we could possibly understand from the perspective of the known. Therefore it cannot have a context - other than its own, known only to itself.

We can make guesses as to the context - desire for experience, for life, for love - for lessons - but, still - they are all subject to our own perspective.

Now - having explained the mechanics of this process - in a totally conceptual, metaphorical way - let's look a bit closer at the reality - our being.

We constantly refer to the known - it is our library of experience - we identify with that known - but it is quite clear that the root of our identity is in the unknown.
Without the potential experience - there would be no experience.

Photo courtesy abgoodwin

Rather than being "film" - potential experience, consciousness is flooding into us, like light from an inner sun, it again experiences the known, the only just known, the long known, by experiencing our conceptual mind. However the experience itself is happening in the only place it can happen - the now - where potential experience is becoming actual.

Like flowing water and ice - it is all essentially water - but the fresh water, constantly bubbles up from a distant, eternal spring and the mind turns it into a progressively expanding glacier - that we experience slowly sliding away from us - into what we imagine is our past.

Photo courtesy geography-site

However that is the only place a past exists - in that glacier of the known - likewise its presumptive projection - the future.
Our real "future" - exists as pure potential.

Why is it so critical that we establish, for ourselves, individually - the root of our identity?

Let me make a critical distinction here - hopefully readers will see that this is all practical, not theoretical - and can be experienced, observed for themselves with suitable attention.
What we commonly mistake for "the experience" - is really "the experienced."
We confuse the subject (the experiencer - true identity of awareness itself) with the object (the detail of the experience) - although both are simultaneous and co-dependent.

To realise, unequivocally, beyond doubt - that true identity is the experience of awareness itself - fundamentally the potential for experience - will allow us to become progressively detached from identifying - ie. putting extravagent value, on the completely diverse range of "experienced" (objects of experience) - that make our individual journeys so distinctive and uniquely colourful.

When we look at the "experienced" - we find that there lies the cause for all separation - starting with the fact that all of the "experienced" involves an individual and completely autonomous "physical" body - and that is just the start.
All of our values (including the base value of identity) all of our beliefs, concepts, paradigms - everything - in toto - exist in the "experienced" - the known.
Many values we will find in common - we can share - but so many others, divide us - because we have attached our identity to them, and not where it belongs.

This is not belittling the experience of individuality at all - in fact it puts it in higher relief than ever before - as we begin to understand how bizarre, how intricate, how cosmically humorous, the nature of this reality actually is.
It does not belittle the experience at all - it magnifies it to its true proportion - it allows us a true sense of perspective - at last - a common perspective - shared, experienced at the base level of human life.
Simply by observing and understanding the significance of the observation.
Observing the unknown become the known.
By complete acceptance of our own being - we can allow the glacier to softly slide aside for a while.
Obviously the unknown is beyond categories of thought - and applies equally to the believer, the non-believer (I didn't say what the belief or non-belief was - there are potentially an infinite amount) - the milkman, the millionaire, princes, paupers - across the whole spectrum.

Simply by honestly observing the nature of experience - in oneself.

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