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We all must get to the place where we ask ourselves this question.
As Krishnamurti said, "The word is not the thing."
Neither is the thought. Or the belief.
Whether or not there is "the thing" beyond our thoughts, beliefs, or words is something each of us must seriously explore. But we must arrive at the place... and in my experience it is painful to get there... where we acknowledge that our beliefs have been conveniently manufactured and employed by our minds to comfort ourselves.
Only then, perhaps, can we approach what is real.