When my Brother and I were small, we would often play at cowboys. Sometimes we were on the same side, and sometimes we were sworn enemies. One of the things my Mother always talked about, well into my Brother and my middle age, was how we would argue over imaginary horses.
We would argue over who's was fastest, who's was strongest, who's was smartest, and all the rest of it. Sometimes it would even come to blows! "You insulted my horse ", "Them's fighin' words." It's incredible how much trouble can be caused by two boys arguing over imaginary horses! We, in "non-duality" circles can be no less destructive and, dare I say, "childish " in defense of our verbal and written "descriptions " of "enlightenment ", awareness, the Absolute, or perhaps worse, spiritual experiences.
We are waves in the same ocean, if I may use a tired old metaphor, but waves just the same, some tall, and some shorter. No judgment, just appearances anyway. The point being, each "wave " is part of the unlimited potential unfolding. Each will have a slightly "different " view, when expressed in words, or even thought. The Oneness, the Love, is only "actively " present when it is silently, wordlessly present in the heart. So we are all liars!
We all look at the same "object ", but we see it out of "different " windows. "By golly, the view is different from here, you must be wrong!" All this talk about "authentic " experiences, as opposed to, I guess "inauthentic " experiences, or authentic "awakening " opposed to "continuing to sleep ", orwhatever is the opposite of awakening, is simply judging one experience against another. To argue over the differing experiences may be something for philosophers and academics to entertain themselves with, but if we seek realization, we need to go beyond even the division of "authentic ", and "inauthentic ". The moment we take a position, we invite it's opposite.
I never tire of hearing of "others " spiritual experiences. Like I said, It's like seeing out of a different window, and perhaps getting a different "take " on the always present view. One of the things that pushed me away from the organized church, was it's tendency to want to "limit " the spirit. Oh,spiritual experiences were fine, as long as they did not contradict church doctrine or someone's interpretation of the Bible. This "denial " of the active, present movement of the Holy Spirit , and it's ability to continue to create, continue to inform and incarnate, is a denial of all that the Christ stood for. When we allow our minds to commandeer a personal understanding or awakening "experience ", and it becomes a doctrine, or position where we say, "this must be your experience as well, or it is not an "authentic" experience, we deny the possibility of movement to the spirit, which is freedom itself.
To argue, or even give much philosophical discussion to "other's " awakening, or other's spiritual "experiences ", is like arguing over the qualities of an imaginary horse; it's all made up in the first place, and you can keep changing your story as you go along. The only horse worth talking about is areal one. But in the spiritual realm, where do you, and even more important, how do you seek the real deal? Well, the Bible says, you can tell a tree by it's fruits. Now, I realize that I just questioned interpretations from the Bible in the last paragraph, but this is quite a good tool for discernment. "I " think that Love is at the heart of understanding. This is most defiantly a position on my part, as this is how "I " talk about what "I " see out of my window. I can not see out your window, or know your view, but I "know " what you are looking at. "I " can imagine what you see, just as "I " imagine what "I " see, but neither will be the "truth ". Perhaps what I report, or some other "reporter " tells you will resonate with you. If so, this is fine. But if a teacher, guru, or spiritual leader tells you that you must have a particular kind of "experience ", or in other words, he has a faster, smarter, stronger horse,then you need to look at two things; Is there Love here? Do you see the honesty and integrity of Love?, and are you free to work out your own struggle as a "wave " becoming aware that your horse is imaginary.
It's the teachers that continue to argue the qualities of the horse, instead of enjoying the tales of the views from all the windows, that will take up a position at one window only, and tell you that their view, and their horse is the best. But we must let them do this. It's not worth troubling over imaginary horses.