We could say that experience is "that which is happening." As Terence McKenna liked to describe it, experience includes "those events which are undergoing the formality of actually occurring."
According to Webster, our word "experience" comes from the Latin root experientia, meaning: trial, proof, experiment. However, we should be mindful of recently popular perspectives when we consider the meaning connected with these words. Common twentieth-century perspectives of "trial, proof, and experimentation" emphasized experience in a very one-dimensional way--it emphasized the part of experience easily available to outward observation and measurement. The twentieth-century philosophy of science ignored a very large part of experience--its inward aspects. Because the inward aspects of experience aren't easily examined under a microscope, they were considered irrelevant.
Of course, just because something is hard to quantify doesn't mean that it's irrelevant. The truth is that without the inward aspects of experience we would never be able to observe the measurements so highly valued by twentieth-century science. That which is happening includes everything going on, inwardly and all around us. Like Alan Watts told us, "every inside has an outside." One simply does not exist in the absence of the other.
Our insides and our outsides go together--of course. But what are the dynamics at work in this relationship? Everything that happens is an expression of creative energy.
the Stars shine
All events and experiences are composed of energy. Energy moving in various patterns and frequencies is essential to everything in creation. Everything that happens is a manifestation of energy. Energy and creativity are inseparable.
Energy constantly moves. Our laws of thermodynamics tell us that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed in form. Inside and around us, energy and creativity are in motion. We are participants in that movement.
What is the language of the sky?
How do the trees tell of their dreams?
We have tamed our ears too well to know.
Yet, the wild rhythms of the Earth still beat all around us
And within our pounding hearts a resonance can be found
That so thoroughly forgotten is not lost--only hidden
Its song surrounds the lyric of everything we do
Experience is not just something happening to us--its movement is inclusive of everything we are. Most essentially, what we are is that creative energy. This energy forms the basis of everything that touches us, and everything we feel. It is the foundation of everything that happens, including all consciousness. Our awareness and attention are among it's myriad manifestations. Wherever our attention is focused, creativity and energy are augmented. Because of this relationship, the use of attention is a creative act.
Experience is an organic process. Experience is something that grows and develops. Through our participation we nurture its movement. Like a farmer, everyone gives energy and encouragement to certain aspects of his or her experience.
Just as the farmer doesn't make his plants grow by his intent alone--he works collaboratively with sun, soil, rain, and the plants themselves to produce his crop. The farmer is a participant in a process. The farmer does not control the weather, the climate, the geology--he works with them. In a similar way, we are working collaboratively with the rest of experience to develop the fruits of our own lives.
When we truly behold any beauty
When that beauty touches us in our very depths
Not just when we see it--but when we recognize it
There is a communion--a connection
Between what is most essential and perfect
Both in the object and in the observer
When we recognize beauty, we have a natural response
We cannot recognize beauty--commune with beauty
Without our lifeforce being stirred
That awakening, though momentary
Causes a radiation of appreciation
A movement of love
For at least one moment
We know how deeply we are blessed
Our recognition, our communion, our appreciation,
Our ecstatic radiance--Is a blessing in return.