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March 21, 2009

Comments

Perhaps life is a spiritual experience and saying so is redundant sort of like saying the sun is sunny?

tucson, nicely said. Yes, there's just experience. Call it spiritual, or call it life. Same thing.

If you are talking about the emotional high connected to what we think of as god, then you could be right, but how would you explain seeing someone walk through your living room but they weren't really there or come and sit on your bed for a moment or give you some wisdom, but physically, you know, it wasn't a real voice? Hallucinations maybe? But if they don't happen regularly? Delusions? If the wisdom turns out to be true, how do we explain it? I think that there are things we cannot explain and they seem uncontrolled by us which is when we label them spiritual. I have known those who travel outside the body and can really go somewhere that they see something, even talk to someone. Illusion?

When something appears to come from outside of us and is unexplainable by logic, we want a label and use spiritual experience. As Tucson said above, maybe all of life is spirit and we just don't see it most of the time.

Rain, there certainly is the mysterious side to life, experiences that make us go "Wow!" or "Huh?" My point in this post is that all of those occur while we're alive, experiencing this world bodily, through a physical brain, which is subject to confusion.

Some actual examples...

(1) I take LSD, or mescaline, or some other psychedelic while in college. I see walls melting, colors everywhere, a sensation of oneness with other people and the cosmos. Real or unreal? I ingested a physical substance that caused a change in consciousness.

(2) I'm sitting in a Santa Clara HIgh School assembly, where I worked as a teacher's aide for a while after graduating from college. A hypnotist is on stage. He hypnotizes a girl student and tells her to go out in the audience and find Paul Newman. She walks around, stands right in front of me, then takes several steps into the second row of bleachers and hugs me. Wow! I felt great. I'm Paul Newman! But only to her. Illusion or reality?

(3) I had a colonosocopy recently, which entailed getting an intravenous sedative. I was warned that it might make me forget things the rest of the day. But I felt completely normal. I went home and did some stuff on my to-do list, including asking for a vegetarian meal at an upcoming meeting of the Salem City Club that I wanted to attend.

A few days later I "remembered" that I hadn't made the meal request and left a message with the City Club coordinator. She returned the call saying, "Your voice was familiar. You already had made the request." I'd completely forgotten that. The rest of my post-sedated day was clear, but that memory had been erased. What else do I think I know, but really don't, even though the sense of knowing is absolutely real?

Like you said, we give labels to things and believe that we've defined reality. But we have no way of knowing whether what we know can be trusted. Experiencing is real; what is experienced may not be, in any sort of objective sense.

no spiritual experience is just another version of the mind/brain problem.

a radio is recieving input. a radio is required to recieve the input put, the information can still be accurate however it is transduced. Is the radio experiencing itself or the signal ?

I don't think the "experience" conumdrum proves atheism.

gopi krishna says it's like a worm at the bottom of an ocean being made able to and experience the sunlite world of the surface.

it keeps on increasing in waves...

i Often wonder if i would be seeker if i hadn't taken LSD or listened to the Beatles.
I hope to take it again so i can experience it with a more mature and advanced prospective.

The trick is to get the experience without LSD. That's why meditation disciplines prohibit intoxicants. And that's what i want to know is real or not.

A girl walks through your living room but you know that no person was actually there. What would you call that experience if you had it?

The paranormal is what cannot be explained and hence people call it spiritual. It doesn't require years of training to see that person either. It is that some see it and some, sitting right beside them, do not. Is it simple awareness or something more?

If you were the one who did not, if you think that person lied or hallucinated, then you discard what they say they saw; but what if you respect them, their maturity, then what do you call it?


It is possible that such events are not spiritual but energy awareness. We just need words is all and spiritual is what many use, instead of energy or emotional, when we cannot explain something by logic.

To say it doesn't exist though just means you don't experience it and not really different than fundamentalists who demand you believe what they believe. I think you can leave it mystery and satisfy the possibility it doesn't exist. I have just known too many good people, who were not into metaphysics, who did see things that weren't there... or were they?

Rain asks: "A girl walks through your living room but you know that no person was actually there. What would you call that experience if you had it?"

Answer: An hallucination.

"It doesn't require years of training to see that person either. It is that some see it and some, sitting right beside them, do not. Is it simple awareness or something more?"

Answer: Neither. It is simply an hallucinaton. Why is that so difficult for some folks to accept?

"If you were the one who did not, if you think that person lied or hallucinated, then you discard what they say they saw"

-- No, I would not "discard" that in their experience, they saw something.

"but what if you respect them, their maturity, then what do you call it?"

-- Again, an hallucination.

"It is possible that such events are not spiritual but energy awareness."

-- Both "spiritual" and "energy awareness" are just different words.

"To say it doesn't exist though just means you don't experience it"

-- No. It means that ONLY one person is actually perceiving and experiencing something... and that is something that everyone else does NOT perceive. Therefore that is known as an hallucination.

"and not really different than fundamentalists who demand you believe what they believe."

-- No. This is faulty reasaoning. Fundamentalism and belief are far different in comparison, than all the people who simply did not experience the hallucination that the one single solitary individual presumably experienced.

"I have just known too many good people, who were not into metaphysics, who did see things that weren't there... or were they?"

-- Just because someone sees something that other people do not see, does not make that an illusion... but also similarly, just because somone sees something, that does not mean that what they see actually exists, especially if others who are present do not see it.

It is not a wise idea to try to blur the lines between hallucination and reality.

Brian, your first comment... how does that tie in with, 'preaching the gospel of spiritual independence'?

Incidentally, I like the photo, but much prefer the previous heading- less institutional looking.

When you know all you need to know about something (like say spiritual phenomena) and there is no room for you to learn more, you are a fundamentalist whatever you call yourself otherwise!

Catherine, I'm not sure what you mean by "first comment." Is it when I say there is only experience?

This makes sense to me. But, hey, I'm me. Isn't that "spiritual independence," me or you saying what seems true to us at the moment and then letting others respond to that saying?

Rain, I don't anyone (certainly not me) who feels they know all there is to know about anything, including what people call spiritual phenomena. When blog visitors like tucson and tAo (and me) have been saying is just the opposite.

Namely, that when someone claims to have seen dead people, or communicated with departed souls, or otherwise have had a "spiritual" experience, we need to be careful about taking that claim on face value.

Because there can be other explanations for such experiences. Like I said in a previous comment, the brain is capable of conjuring up all sorts of sensations, memories, and such that seem absolutely real to the person having them, but which turn out to be solely in the mind of the beholder.

So your comment is right on. We need to always consider that there is more to learn. My point is this post simply is that whatever learning we do, so long as we are alive as a human body, that learning will take place within physicality.

Except what is physical? Since some would say time doesn't exist, perhaps everything is happening at the same time from the past to the future, which might mean some of what is labeled a ghost is someone real but in a different time zone. I am not saying what it is as I don't know but what I do believe is that what we think is physical and all there is-- it's not.

None of this has to be mystical or even non-scientific. It just means we can't measure it yet. I don't see ghosts, don't want to see them but have talked to those clearly who had delusions and those who saw 'something.' When you talk to people awhile about their experience, you do get a grasp on which is which. The question is are we open to exploring what might be or have we made up our minds what is?

Everything is not explained by flesh and blood. A few generations back, my ancestors would have never guessed atoms existed. Our assumptions about reality would have been quite different than science would tell us today. It's an ongoing process. Personally I think the paranormal and quantum physics are closer together than some might think and it does not take a belief in god to think that way. It doesn't even mean we live on after our body dies. It's just the 'physical' world isn't as simple as it looks.

"what is physical?"

-- Well in case you don't know, most importantly its your brain and human body which makes it possible for you to wonder or speculate upon such abstractions, and communicate your confusion or question to others.

"Since some would say time doesn't exist"

-- So what? "some would say" all manner of things.

"but what I do believe is that what we think is physical and all there is-- it's not."

-- It IS all there is... until something more comes along.

"None of this has to be mystical or even non-scientific. It just means we can't measure it yet."

-- Thats a rationalization.

"I [...] have talked to those clearly who had delusions and those who saw 'something.'"

-- How do you know that they "saw something"? Just because they said so? LOL

"When you talk to people awhile about their experience, you do get a grasp on which is which."

-- People say all kinds of crap, and they also continue for "awhile" saying all kinds of crap.

"The question is are we open to exploring what might be or have we made up our minds what is?"

-- But you seem like you have made up your mind towards a belief in the supernatural.

"Everything is not explained by flesh and blood."

-- You miss the fact that if you did not have this "flesh and blood", then you would not even be here to explain anything, or to say "Everything is not explained".

"A few generations back, my ancestors would have never guessed atoms existed."

-- Do atoms exist? How do you know that? And what are they?

"Our assumptions about reality would have been quite different"

-- That is an assumption as well.

"the 'physical' world isn't as simple as it looks."

-- Are you sure? How do you really know that "the 'physical' world isn't as simple as it looks"?

Rain is stretching her perception and Tao is shutting his down.

Rain is willing to grasp at realities beyond physics and Tao is encrusted in his intellectual reasoning to the point where the straight jacket has tightened its straps around any notion of hope whatsoever, suffocating the very life blood out of unconditional perception.

As painful as the sorrowful rational state of oblivion might be, it still remains in absolute denial of any light and love.

ashy, you have such a narrow understanding. Along with a strong judgmental streak. Do you really think that only people who have spiritual beliefs just like yours experience light and love?

If so, you're wrong, wrong, wrong. Light and love can't be restricted within dogmatic bounds. Atheists and religious believers have light and love in equal measure. So do Buddhists and Christians, Taoists and Muslims, scientists and yogis.

I'd encourage you to look upon life, and reality, more broadly.

Thus saith this very Zarathustra who denies his very own awakening

easy come easy go, till one opens the doors to that perception you readily toss overboard, you have not an iota of credibility by which to preach from your soapbox of self indoctrinated denial.

Rain is stretching her perception and Tao is shutting his down.

-- How very typical of you Ashy. I have to say that your "perception" of me and my "perception" is extremely limited, if not completely closed "down". You haven't got a clue as to the point I was making.

"Tao is encrusted in his intellectual reasoning to the point where the straight jacket has tightened its straps around any notion of hope whatsoever, suffocating the very life blood out of unconditional perception."

-- Again Ashy, you know nothing whatsoever about my "perception"... and you also seem to be lacking basic reasoning. Perhaps your reasoning is just very clouded by mistaken judgements, personal bias, and rigid dogma. Its actually quite hilarious to me that YOU would talk of "unconditional perception", about which you yourself obviously have no direct experience or any insight, nor do you know what is the nature of my own view.

"As painful as the sorrowful rational state of oblivion might be, it still remains in absolute denial of any light and love."

-- Just mere words, signifying nothing. You must think that you and only you have a monopoly on spiritual "light and love". And yet not even one of your previous comments has embodied any such "light and love".

"you [Brian] have not an iota of credibility by which to preach from your soapbox of self indoctrinated denial."

-- Ashy, YOU are the one who has "not an iota of credibility". Moreover, your continued lame attitude and all of the content of all of your comments in this forum can be described in one word: avidya (nescience)

Its high time that you grow up and stop being a juvenile internet troll.

We love you Ashy. You can have all the community and attention you like from Brian's Blog that you don't get from sant mat. Make any comment you like. People will acknowledge. You will have the good communication here that you don't get from fellow satsangis and that you crave so much. I personally enjoy the alliteration, assonance, cliche and mixed metaphors and the vibey venomous viperish vim.

Tucson, give Ashy a recipe or something. He needs a present. Maybe tAo, an invitation to do the Can Can on stage in Speedo and body paint. from me, I'm gently throwing you a big ball of light- get ready, I'm sending it....now!

The cartoon continues amongst the circus clowns, keep spinning your yarns, you getting more ludicrous by the day.

Especially High Priestess Catherine the Great. (Is that Ms Wason by any chance?)

The difference between you and me is that I admit freely that I don't know, tAo. I am open to what is there. Paranormal? Who knows. Dust to dust? Maybe. I agree that it might all be just whatever we see. What though this all came from is Brian saying 'spiritual experiences don't exist' which is a dogmatic statement (intended to stir up conversation) about what is or is not real based on 'his' experiences.

If I was a fundamentalist, in any region, I would know and that would be that, end of discussion and no openness to what someone else might experience. If they saw a ghost, I'd say it was a delusion. If they said they did out of body travel, I'd say they were lying or hallucinating. That's how it is when you know it all already.

Rain, a clarification. Headlines, or blog titles, can't tell the whole story. They're intended to grab the reader in, not be a complete exposition.

"Spiritual experiences don't exist," as I explained in the post, refers to a certain meaning of "spiritual." Non-physical. Since every person who has a spiritual experience, and can tell us about it, is alive as a physical body, experiencing reality through a physical brain, it's impossible to have a spiritual experience -- if this is taken to be something beyond the body.

Consider seeing a ghost. How does someone see an entity in a room? That entity must somehow resonate with the brain's sensing capacity (or, some would say, imagining capacity).

This is all that I'm saying: that a "spiritual" experience occurs through some sort of physical mechanism, because that is what we are: physical beings. There are many layers to physicality, including energy, quantum phenomena, and so on.

So materiality isn't always crude, or limited by time and space (as non-local quantum connections demonstrate). There is plenty of room in physicality for all sorts of mystery, perhaps including ESP, clairvoyance, and other phenomena of that sort.

My call was simply to describe things as we experience them, and not immediately label them "spiritual" or "mystical," which often puts them into some sort of other-worldly realm divorced from everyday experience, and outside of explanation, discussion, and questioning.

ashy, you must realize this, but I'll say it anyway: Whatever spiritual practice you follow has left you without a sense of humor, self-absorbed, highly critical of others, and fabulously judgmental.

You are a marvelous walking, talking, commenting advertisement for churchlessness, for which this blog thanks you. Meaning, if other blog visitors are anything like me, they read your comments and think, "Whatever ashy has gotten from his or her religiosity, I sure don't want it."

So how come you limiting your spirituality to physicality, you got it all ass about face

you standing on the tip of the iceberg and pretend to know the entirety of it without a clue

Yet you proclaim like the proclamation of Zeus that it don't exist

You're a fraud man, sooner you realize that much the better for you and all that lap up your extrapolated fraudulence.

Rain,
You said: "The difference between you and me is that I admit freely that I don't know, tAo."

-- You are apparently not too familiar with me Rain. I haven't claimed to "know" anything. So where is this "difference"? You are making assumptions about me.

"I am open to what is there."

-- And what is there?

"I agree that it might all be just whatever we see."

-- Well I didn't say that ("it might all be just whatever we see"), so you can not be agreeing with me.

"What [...] this all came from is Brian saying 'spiritual experiences don't exist' which is a dogmatic statement"

-- No it isn't. If "spiritual experiences" exist, then where are they? Please show how (or where) they actually exist. These are just thoughts, ideas in your mind. And if they exist, then what exactly IS a "spiritual experience"?

"If I was a fundamentalist, in any region, I would know and that would be that, end of discussion and no openness to what someone else might experience. [...] I'd say it was a delusion. [...] I'd say they were lying or hallucinating. That's how it is when you know it all already."

-- Well, that may be your way of thinking. But if you are trying to imply that I am a fundamentalist, then that is another mistaken and incorrect assumption. I do claim to "know it all already", and also I don't have any beliefs to be a fundamentalist about. Perhaps it is because you are unaware of my own personal orientation, view, and experience... which fyi, is very much along the lines of dzogchen.

So I would have to agree with what Brian said: "simply to describe things as we experience them, and not immediately label them "spiritual" or "mystical," which often puts them into some sort of other-worldly realm divorced from everyday experience, and outside of explanation, discussion, and questioning."


Typo Correction:

Rain said: "If I was a fundamentalist, in any region, I would know and that would be that, end of discussion and no openness to what someone else might experience. [...] I'd say it was a delusion. [...] I'd say they were lying or hallucinating. That's how it is when you know it all already."

-- Well, that may be your way of thinking. But if you are trying to imply that I am a fundamentalist, then that is another mistaken and incorrect assumption. I do NOT claim to "know it all already", and also I do NOT have any beliefs to be a fundamentalist about. Perhaps it is because you are unaware of my own personal orientation, view, and experience... which (fyi) is quite different than what you are implying, and is much more along the lines of dzogchen.


"you limiting your spirituality to physicality, you got it all ass about face [...] You're a fraud man, sooner you realize that much the better for you and all that lap up your extrapolated fraudulence."

-- Do I sense a TROLL here? Do I smell a TROLL here? ...Yes, I smell the unmistakeable foul stench of an internet-blog TROLL.

Not to mention a blatant RS satsangi HYPOCRITE, who ignores and violates his/her guru's orders which strictly prohibits all initiated RS satsangis from discussing or debating about anything related to Santmat on the internet.

Robert had trouble posting a comment, so he emailed it to me. Here it is:

To all,

I notice that the one who made so many defining statements and judgments in his notes above is the same one who stated: "...I [= "tAo"] don't claim to know anything." (Cf. his note to "David" on 3/18/09 @ 3:47 AM, on Brian's 3/13/09 essay.)

Robert Paul Howard

The man is under siege his brain is getting all froze up, he's looking for RS hypocrite trolls around every bush and under every tree

perhaps his ego is just getting its just deserts for once, self same infatuated self idolizing fraud that he is.

Yes, that is correct Robert, in the comment that you referred to, I said (quote):

"I don't "tout" any such thing. And I don't claim to know anything."

My view is all about dzogchen - about immediate awareness and instant presence - not about knowing or knowledge or about effort... nor about "defining" or "judgements".

However, regarding your statement: "so many defining statements and judgments in his notes above" -- What exactly are you referring to when you say "defining statements and judgments" ???

With all due respect Robert, you are way too vague and ambiguous. Either put up, or shut up. I can not respond to something if you can not be specific about what it is.

Catherine,

Thanks but sorry, I just ain't one of those Speedo type of guys... and being as I'm actually a real hard-core Pagan dance naked around the fire wild sex orgy bad-ass biker dude kinda guy, I'd rather watch, or better yet participate with, a party of hot sexy biker babes....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nyIvmH2cV0

Now that's the kinda Old Time Religion that I'm into.

[*readers please note: no uptight sexually repressed judgemental RS cult satsangi type chicks need apply]

Took me a few minutes of watching before I realized that motorcycles also were shown in the video.

Dear Brian,
I dont mind having so called spiritual experiences.
My question is are those experiences experiencing
me and know that I am experiencing them.
Did I say that OK?
Regards to all
Obed

I see i must have prompted this article. I made it clear in what i wrote before what i meant by "spiritual experiences". To reiterate, i meant Out of Body Experiences and psychic phenomena. Also Near Death Experiences. That is all i meant by that. It is up to you what to think of those experiences, whether they are confined to the brain or not. There does, however, appear to be some tiny objective evidence which suggests those experiences are real and not just in people's own heads.

Hi David,
There is no doubt that people who experience OBE's or NDE's have a tranformative experience.The problem for myself is is this information coming from an outside source or is it from within.
From my own experiences it is from within but then I have not died and come back again.So I cannot be a judge of NDE's.Still there are similarities like the tunnel and the light.
I still would hesitate to elevate these things to the level of the divine.
Best regards
Obed

Tao,

Biker girls in video, WOW...............

My wednesday morning is uplifted.

Thanks,
Roger

David, you weren't the only inspiration for this post -- but maybe partly. Yes, if there is objective evidence that something is real, this shows that likely it isn't only in someone's subjective head.

But this puts the "something" into the realm of science, of shared reality. So there really isn't any distinction between spiritual and material -- just between unreal and real.

What exactly is this 'objective evidence' you postulate at, two atoms or particles colliding, or something far more subtle than that?

Like I said, no chance of anybody finding anything irrefutable, real or unequivocally true on here, just a whole array of subjective incorrigible analytical reasoning going round and round in circles till perhaps the cows come home.

Perhaps it finds some value for those still grappling with the calculating ferocity of the unquenchable intellectual mind, but sooner or later it will have to cease, and become still, and then know that I am God.

Oh Who said spiritual experiences don't exist. They do.. definitely.. !

I want to share the experience of my close relative. A wonderful guy, a very devoted satsangi who will die for a glimpse of his Guru 'babaji'. He tried to convince me for so long that I have been wasting my life by not finding any Guru. He used to sit for meditation for hours ( 2, 3, 4, 5, sometimes 8 hours) and sometimes used to cry loud during meditation. Whenever confronted, he always said that we don't have any idea and that a disciple is like a begger who needs to beg from his guru. He was experiencing lot of things. He saw 'babaji's' visions and babaji telling him so many things. After having all these experiences and making his life upside down, he ended up in the emergency and it was declared that he is having severe delusions. Believe me (one more belief to add to your list) three weeks of anti-maniac medicines, fixed all those out of body experiences!! He was regretful and promised that he will live in present moment and he did it for 2 years, but now those fellow satsangis are flying like eagle around dead meat and trying to tell him that nothing is wrong, you are just fine and HE will take care you.. He is in the grip of cult again!! Very soon, out of body experiences will start!

Once again Robert is having problems posting a comment. (If anyone else is getting a red "X" after entering the anti-spam letters, let me know via an email.) Here it is, via Brian:

To all,

It is further interesting to me that the guy who hides behind the pseudonym "tAo" says he is: "not about knowing or knowledge or about effort... nor about 'defining' or 'judgements,'" yet he still proclaims: "Robert, you are way too vague and ambiguous. Either put up, or shut up." This not only presents his opinions as if they were something he "knows," or "defines" - as well as his "judgment" of/on me - but also shows his desire/effort to order me about.

As usual, there is no "due respect" in his "immediate awareness and instant presence." He further appears to be utterly incompetent at seeing his other "defining statements and judgments" in his own previous commentary notes above in this very commentary line.

Do the rest of you have this same incapacity regarding him too?

This is not much of a good display for one who says he is: "all about dzogchen." His behavior speaks ill of dzogchen. I fear that the judgment of "ashy" about him (above) may just be entirely correct.

Robert Paul Howard

Robert, i agree with you.

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