There is reason to be skeptical of all experience.
During that vipassana retreat, I remember one day there was an account of certain experiences that signal the experience of jhana. It was the appearance of a minor hallucination, possibly light, or something else. After having heard that, as I meditated a persistent light came into view just as I appeared to deepen my meditation. Haha. Just the mind creating what it needs to call itself "special". At other times, I felt that I had a more direct experience of the three characteristics in phenomena, concurrently I felt blissful and happy at that new knowledge.
In my opinion, it's the same with just about everything. If your mind is flexible enough it will meet your expectations within certain limitations. So, I have a mind filled with ideas about what the results of self-inquiry are, the way of talking about those results, etc. Upon doing self-inquiry I find something quite similar.
But, it's important also to notice that it's true that Advaita recognizes that this is the case. Many Advaita texts say... all of this is mind-made, an illusion (greater than what I just suggested). Ramana says don't attend to self-limiting thoughts, the not-self, only attend to the Self. Advaita has a pattern of saying, think that you're Brahman and you're Brahman, think that you're a jiva and you're a jiva. Think that you live and die and you live and die. Perhaps there is something more magical in it. I've yet to see it. Perhaps that's because the world my mind has created is too quick to wring out the magic with reason and doubt. Or maybe it's because Advaita isn't magical. The apparent world, mind, and body, are merely concepts maintained in the mind. "I" is a baseless concept, apparently arising from and indicative of the Self, but one that is freely and intensely associated and attached to things that it isn't. It's a knot between Self and the apparent world. And it seems it's the knot tying a rope that's strangling me to death. That can be taken literally to an extent, identification with body means life and death.
Why wouldn't it be magical? I guess, what is better for me to ask is does it need to be magical? If I knew of the magic, I might try to use it. But, who would I use it for? Same old guy, myself, who hasn't had his fill. More happiness, sex, relationship, connection, intelligence, entertainment, knowledge, fame, fortune... etc. Ultimately, I prefer the life I live now because the satisfaction and happiness I know is free and independent. And so, I prefer the world I know now. It is the reason I return to meditation and self-inquiry (and maybe psychedelics too). So, for me, I prefer Advaita be simple. The simplicity is the unreality of the apparent world as known in the fact that it is wholly maintained by concept. Would it vanish if I enquired more vigorously? I don't know. I suspect not. There is relief in knowing that I am not what I think I am. That knowledge only seems to come when I turn away from the concepts that maintain this world.
Edited by Guy1298, 26 January 2023 - 03:05 AM.