Mystics know what is not known to all the rest. Mystics, in particular, know that Grace is not at all obliged to bring to a person the experience of identification of his Consciousness with the Consciousness of God. This is recognized even without what must be experienced in Advaita. I, for example, am not sure that the phrase “You are That” must necessarily be interpreted in the sense of non-duality and identification. If you take into account that the teaching of the Advaita was invented by a philosopher who tried to separate the truthful from the illusory, and the existing from the non-existing, then these doubts are well-founded. If the identify of the individual soul and Brahman is not introduced, then a person becomes a part of the world, which is entirely illusory, and then there isn’t any point in philosophizing; there isn’t any point in any actions, and no sense at all. Everything is an illusion, we are part of it, and we are finished with that. In Indian philosophy, there were such claims, have no doubt. But creating a new philosophy does not yet mean knowing the Truth.
That individual Consciousness has the same nature as the Consciousness of the Creator is known by mystics upon attainment of a certain level of development of perception and awareness. As soon as Consciousness begins to manifest itself fairly strongly in the being of a mystic, then his nature begins to open up to him. And the fact that this unchangeable and eternal light, never disappearing, is the gift of God to every person is discovered rather quickly.
The energy of Consciousness is never spent, it does not wane and does not disappear. It’s another matter that with great exhaustion, we lose the ability to guide it, and then it does not work to concentrate attention or divide it in order to become aware of oneself. This is not the problems of Consciousness, but the manifestation of the tiredness of our bodies which it supports. The light of Consciousness is always within us, but it may be manifested to a greater or lesser degree – depending on the level of our awareness.
But since in the individual Consciousness, there is no center anyway, its maximum manifestation is sensed as the fullness of presence, with attention, which fills all the bodies simultaneously – to various degrees, and everything that occurs inside and outside a person immediately ends up in the field of attention, and essentially in the field of Consciousness. Approximately the same thing may be said about the Presence of God in our world. It is poured out everywhere, represented everywhere with identical force and does not wane from interaction with it. Only for that reasons do mystics – and in general all people – have the possibility of direct interaction with God, which is in fact carried out through contact with His Presence. The presence of God, however, is not God Himself, just as individual Consciousness is not at all yet a person, although the most important component of him. And what is more – the energy of the Divine Presence differs in its quality from the energy of an individual Consciousness of a person; therefore to speak of their identity, alas, cannot be done. Here you cannot fit “you are that” even if you will very much want it. Or must lie for simplicity.
More than 20 years ago, I had an experience in which I saw the entire world surrounding me filled with Consciousness. This was an enchanting spectacle – to see Consciousness in everything, even in the smallest pebble, even in the finest grain of sand. Now I know that back then I saw energy filling the world, but then I could understand what was opened up to me only in the framework of the experience and notions I had. The interpretation of experience is a rather difficult matter, and therefore you cannot elevate an experience like that to an absolute, building entire systems on it, as if explaining the construction of the world. Any transcendental experience may be incorrectly interpreted at the outset, exactly because your level of being does not enable you to see the whole picture, and seeing a small piece of it, it is practically impossible to come to a true understanding. Thus much false knowledge appears, or if you like, distorted interpretations of the Truth. When enjoying certain glimpses, which seem to you something that convey higher Truth, don’t dwell on them. Strive toward direct experience of the Truth, and then your understanding will be more or less objective. But even here, it can always happen that the new facet of the Truth that has opened up to you will change your perceptions of previous experience, and that is normal. Those who elevate some of their experiences of the beyond into a certain final truth are always mistaken, extrapolating the whole picture from several pieces of the mosaic. And they can only extrapolate from those notions that they have; this is how descriptions of Reality of a Christian, Buddhist or Hindu bent in fact arise, in which Truth is trimmed from the outset, and then is even tailored to the “correct” notions.