This is a dream, maya, illusion... Everything is Self, one, consciousness, God...
The regular statements go on, all pointing to the same knowledge and state or experience (or even non-experience come to that), and most listeners are perfectly content to accept these. After all, they were repeated by the great masters and gurus throughout spiritual history, so why doubt them?
“Enlightenment is to be ‘at one’ with everything”. That’s another commonly accepted phrase, and is perhaps the go-to, if hypothetical response for the lay-person if asked the question as to what Enlightenment is?
So what is solipsism?
Solipsism is the philosophical concept that since only what is experienced by this mind and senses can be known to be real, this is taken as evidence that it IS all that is real. And as such anything that cannot be known or experienced here and now does not exist. I am alone in this self-made reality.
And do note that the above is not an insight nor spiritual realisation, and it doesn’t claim to be. It’s an idea adopted as fact.
So why do I mention it?
Because when the experience of enlightenment, aka Self-realisation etc. is described by one truly living it, in simple to understand language which cannot be misunderstood by those listening (as opposed to the usual vague and general terms often bandied about), it can indeed sound like solipsism. And this is perhaps inevitable since that is the fact. It DOES sound LIKE solipsism. While it’s true that not everyone’s path and perspective is the same, and therefore to some the dream analogy which lends itself to this view is not totally accurate, to many it is indeed the way they experience this place. So, the question is are they solipsists?
Actually, not at all! Because, as described above, solipsism is a mental concept adopted as a fact. Enlightenment (or whichever term one prefers) is a living experience of BEING ‘This’.
But what is ‘This’?
‘This’ is all that occurs. Whatever is presented and appears in this physical (and non-physical come to that) environment is This. And since I have realised there is no separation here, between what I am and what I experience, it’s all ‘me’. I am This and This is me. There is no room for anything else. Only ‘I’ am. Hence we have the expression ‘Everything is Self’.
But again, what Self? What IS Self?
Self, in the sense of the Higher Self as it’s sometimes referred, is the one Mind or Being behind it all, and it is what one unites with in the same experience known as God-realisation. One literally realises (and becomes as a living experience) the single consciousness in which everything occurs. But just to be clear, it’s not something ELSE that one finds. It’s the very presence that has been looking out of their eyes their entire life. Nothing new emerges. It’s what falls away that makes the difference and that’s - what was until that point - the undeniable identification with being the thinking mind and body as oneself. I still have a personal mind and body, but I see everything as a projection of ‘my’ deeper self (or perhaps that should be Self?). I am alone, as God is alone.
But does that make me a solipsist? If you believe the above realisation to be fabrication; a fanciful elaboration of an impossible philosophical concept, then you would have to say so.
But to the one living it, it’s quite different.