Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

Freeze or Flow?

My current question and focus of reflection:

Do I want to live in the world of concepts or do I want to live in the world of direct experience?


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Making Space to See the Purity of Your Being


  1. Wonderfully provocative question. Thanks.

  2. Concepts involve the world of probabilities and their myriad of tentacles that extend to the past present and future.
    Direct experience involves the present and can only take place in the now, engaging all your senses, external and internal ones which transcend concepts.
    Good question thank you.

  3. Currently I choose to live in a world of love and positive being so is that direct experience? I think so

    • Suzie,

      I’m not sure if you are asking for a response to this question. It sounds like you are satisfied with your own answer! From my perspective, it depends on whether the love is tainted by attachment, possessiveness, and so on. Love, compassion, joy are positive mental states that even on a relative level can bring us much closer to the essence of mind. When we are in the essence of mind they arise naturally.

  4. My answer would be two more questions:
    What day is it?
    What time is it?

    I’m admitting I vacillate regularly between those two. You must dwell in Concept Land in order to write, but if you don’t also live in Real World, you won’t have much worth writing about.

    • Mike,

      This is another interesting point for reflection. Must we dwell in Concept Land to write? I’ve noticed that at least some percentage of my writing just flows from within out onto the page. I don’t necessarily “think” about it a lot. But when I do, I am dwelling in the land of concepts. This is a question I would like to reflect upon more. Thanks for the stimulation.

      • Well, yes – to me you must. I think the mere act of writing requires a pause to reflect and separate from experiencing. I know what you mean about the flow, however. Sometimes the magic just works. That is a real thrill.

  5. I love this question, Sandra, as you might imagine. If we live in the world of concepts, are we really living? We are a step (or more) away from the actual experience of life. We are living in our heads, thinking about things and not experiencing them. This is not alive.

    But when it comes to direct experience, we need to be prepared. If we abandon all concepts and just experience life directly, no problem. But the mind likes to get involved. We think about what we are experiencing and have feelings and reactions about it. So we need to navigate this carefully.

    The only place of pure freedom is in direct experience. And maybe the next question is: what is it that direct experience arises in? Living in the place of absolute fullness where all questions fall away.

    • Beautifully articulated, Gail. This is exactly where this questions leads me. I agree -> as long as we are living in the world of concepts, we are one step away for the experience of life. And not only that, we tend to get more and more embroiled in a fabricated version of reality so that our whole life becomes a concept.

      I have no doubt that I want to live in the world of direct experience. I find asking the question is a powerful way to move in that direction.

      Thank you for your elegant exposition.

  6. Experience – always.

  7. You’ve given me some food for thought here Sandra.

    I have to admit. I get trapped in concepts more often than I would like. I need more experience. You’ve inspired me to go out and have an experience today. Thank you.

  8. By the way, love this new layout. Very minimalist.

  9. Thanks for your positive feedback. I love it too!

  10. Look at the depth of thinking and reflection your simple question inspired! I especially appreciated MIkey’s and Gail’s responses. Our brains are wonderful because they can create, understand, and communicate concepts. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it. But we can get so seduced by that ability that we lose touch with our direct experience. We begin to live in a world of concepts, and as questioned before, is that really living? I lived so much of my life “in my head,” so I have come to deeply seek out and revere direct experience. But there is a balance in my life that seems healthy. For me, I want both.

    • Remarkable people leave comments here, including you. So I’m not surprised, but I am always awed! It’s interesting, sometimes my shortest posts spark the most thoughtful responses. I always learn so much and am so grateful to those who leave comments.

      I see where you are going in terms of balance. I want to explore this more and share more what is meant by direct experience. Though I’m not qualified, I can share some quotes. It seems it’s possible to live in the world via direct experience without the added labeling and concepts. It doesn’t mean being in a coma! We still have all the intelligence. But it’s not easy to grasp this, at least not for me. Thanks for sharing your view. I really do appreciate it.

  11. What if it’s all an illusion … all a creation of our perceptions. Then, a direct experience is nothing more than the concept we choose to live at the moment. I recently watched a program which suggested that color doesn’t really exist … that it’s all a product of our brain. So, if that’s true, then there may not be a difference between concept and experience. If we close our eyes and meditate … and in that meditation we conceptualize an experience … our body reacts … our breathing changes. Was it only a concept or did we just experience something?

    Wonderful thought-provoking post!

    • And you offer equally provocative questions! There’s a lot to think about here. For one, I’m myself am exploring what the idea of “illusion” really means. Is direct experience and a concept the same? Now there’s another question to ponder. Thanks for stimulating us.

  12. To be honest, I’m not so sure.

  13. I’m a fan of living out experiences, tempered with the lens of concepts.

    • Hi J. D.,

      I appreciate your view on balancing experience and concepts.

      I will probably be writing more at some point about what I mean by “living in the world of direct experience.” Briefly, I can say it means experiencing the world directly without concepts. That probably is a little different than living out experiences and it would be without the lens of concepts.

      Of course, I’m not saying this is easily done!

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