« Here's a message from Sheena for RSSB devotees | Main | Forbes story about Singh brothers and RSSB guru shows danger of "honor cultures" »

September 28, 2018

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

You can find higher guidance within yourself.
You can find bliss and happiness and a deeper understanding within yourself.
We are all connected to this creation. We are not separate at all.
But we are unaware of what binds us together. We are often blinded by emotion and critical thinking to our deepest, most humane sentiments that are right there in the unconscious.

Whether those mechanisms are purely biological, psychological or "spiritual" / Unconscious means little. That's almost an arbitrary distinction. We can't know, we don't know.
But more is there for us to discover within ourselves.
And that is a foundation of stability, deep within, that we carry with us everywhere we go.
So the practice of strengthening our own connection to what is deep within us is actually much more inspiring than a sermon about a distant God somewhere.

It building our own power and strength, or more accurately, opening that door and developing the latent power within us. That power is love.

The values of right and wrong we can deepen by looking deep within ourselves, by putting aside our culture-bound notions. That is the practice of meditation. Then we discover we are part of a much larger "whole" where the most wonderful thing about us has no sex, no age, no culture at all. And that, everyone has within them. Just buried there.

Perhaps it is built into our physical construction. What a magnificent thing. It's buried treasure, the finest treasure. A treasure that carries you through any worldly difficulty. A treasure that inspires you to be generous, because it is endless. And a treasure that brings to you a system of values of inclusion and love.

Because these clothes of flesh are not the inner core, that has no flesh at all. That inner core everyone has access to, and we share the commonality of that connection.

Doesn't require religion to discover it. Might require a good teacher to help you find it.

If this is the product of evolution, it is also our next destination in the development of the species.

"...the increasing trend toward loss of religious faith that is occurring in modern societies is not leading to a generalized loss of morality or to an alienated feeling of purposelessness and meaninglessness."

I agree that morality has absolutely nothing to do with religious beliefs. Ethical behavior informed by the idea of karmic repercussions, heavenly rewards, or because one believes they are commanded to do so by their God, simply does not constitute morality. It may appear outwardly "right" (ethical) but would be inwardly self-motivated and self-directed, which tends to be antithetical to genuine morality. Ethical behavior is often conflated with morality, even though they are entirely different. Genuine morality (defined as other-directed behavior as opposed to self-directed behavior) is exceptionally rare. I would say that morality (beyond familial relations) is virtually impossible for those subscribing to traditional religious beliefs. Religious belief is fundamentally self-serving and, don't get me wrong, that is its evolutionary function.

Meaning and purpose are an entirely different matter. If you don't believe in anything supernatural and believe that consciousness is entirely extinguished at death, you should have the courage to admit that there is no ultimate meaning or purpose for the phenomenon we know as life. Our individual purposes and meanings do not in any way point to some larger meaning/ purpose. When meaning/purpose are invoked vís-a-vís life itself, it is this larger ultimate mode that is being speculated about. Abandoning supernatural beliefs (including an immaterial basis of consciousness) involves abandoning ultimate meaning/purpose. You cannot gave it both ways. You can still write a poem with meaning or fire up the lawnmower with the purpose of mowing your lawn, but your life (and life in general) does not mean anything and has no purpose.


I have one more thing to add about "the increasing trend toward loss of religious faith that is occurring in modern societies."

I think that religion tends to persist in our modern society even in the absence of traditional religious observation. The penchant for religious thinking persists even when religious myths are finally no longer tenable. While religious observation is waning, one sees the traits of religious belief being transferred to the arena of politics. Political belief is increasingly filling the void left by the waning of traditional religious belief.

Politics is now the religion of choice, as it is characterized by emotional appeals, tribalism, rote conformity, uncritical allegiance/loyalty, blind belief, ignorance of facts/evidence, and science denial. As republicanism/conservatism has been traditionally associated with religious belief, one would expect to see these traits exhibited to a far greater degree on the political right. And this is exactly what one observes.

Hi JB
You wrote
"Abandoning supernatural beliefs (including an immaterial basis of consciousness) involves abandoning ultimate meaning/purpose. You cannot gave it both ways."

I beg to differ. I believe that in those moments when you have given up on your notions, the real and eternal purpose comes to you from within.. A purpose as old as creation, and with a continuity that will outlast us all...

You can depend on it. You may lose faith. You may forget, you may dispair.

But that laser light, that resounding bell of Truth is always there pointing the way, clearing up confusion, teaching you right and wrong, in your gut, in your heart, in your dreams.... When you put aside notions, it had a chance to be heard.

Indeed if you leave off imaginary notions, you find it.

It's built in. We're hardwired with it.
You can't escape if for long.

It's you. At the core...
It's you.

That blog made me believe in God more.

I read it and it was like a smoker seeing a give up smoking advert and searching for the box of cigarettes and a lighter.

I waa orphan here very young in this life - I’d rather not be an orphan in the afterlife too.

Thank you for posting that Brian.

Personal view point that person who wrote that book will believe in God at his end of days as will we all. I mean whilst we are still in the human body. Beautiful. To die not empty.

Arjuna, I don't think the author is going to change his mind when he is near death. He wrote the book after his wife, Karin, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. Here's some excerpts from the Introduction:
---------------------
"But I wondered how sure I was in my nonbelief. At the time, I was more equivocal about religion and spirituality than Karin, who was less conflicted in her nonbelief.

...While I was pretty sure I didn't believe in an anthropomorphic biblical God, I remained somewhat open to the idea that there might be deeper religious truths. I was partial to the idea of some level of purpose inherent in the universe and felt reassured in thinking that the universe might be guided by some form of abstract form of intentional higher power.

...In retrospect, I realize that I was experiencing cognitive dissonance -- the mental discomfort of holding inconsistent, contradictory beliefs. This internal conflict led to a preoccupation with formulating a more coherent, solidly substantiated worldview. I engaged in several years of intense reflection, reading, discussing, researching, and writing: this book is the culmination of that process.

@ Brian - my parents died of cancer whilst I was very young - I was not an adult then - so could not comprehend the feelings I was I was going through then. And other brothers and sisters died in bad circumstances. So I know pain.

It would create in “me” a wall -a barrier.

The walls we put up stop us from seeing out I guess and nothing of good comes back in. Walls from other people , walls from God so we become asthiests etc.

My point was if I was going through extreme pain in the end I would believe.

I appreciate he experienced his wife’s pain. We experience other people’s death but ain’t going to experience our own as it’s a joiurney in a way.

The author is lucky as he loved and no doubt has moved on to another love. My walls prevented me from letting the loves of my life in. So you become a machine.

In conclusion - I am only learning to let go of that wall brick by brick - I believe in a few others and God (not sure what that power looks like yet). However - I have seen athiests in bad states before death through disease and the encouraging thing is they believe in the end. Too late but they believe. Maybe not too late in the Gods eyes. The author will too in my opinion and it will give him peace. It’s so encouraging when viewed like that.

But he hasn’t reached that wall yet and I hope he doesn’t for decades to come.

I define an atheist as Gods best warriors (to be) here earth. I’m rather envious of them for that will worship him more than the likes of me.

Take care.

Arjuna wrote: "It's so encouraging when viewed like that."

I don't doubt that it may be encouraging, but just because something is encouraging does not make it factual. This is one of the many distinctions between faith and reason. It is patently false to contend that atheists are invariably transformed into fervent believers on their deathbeds.

But you have deftly illustrated the point that religion performs the function of providing a sense of encouragement to those that are inclined towards belief. Being cognitive animals, we tend to need a psychological underpinning for our bio-programmed survival drive. Our biological instinct is not enough. It is not enough to survive for the sake of survival; to survive for our small personal meanings and purposes (meanings and purposes that will entirely vanish along with us upon our deaths, mind you).

Our lives have meaning and purpose but not Meaning and Purpose, and this is what we dream up. We have needed an overarching, ultimate reason for survival—the denouement of a divine plan; the flowering of an intentional creation; the realization that we are not merely miserable domesticated apes, but rather are "God" pretending not to be "not God" for the ecstatic suprise of discovering that we are "God", wherein we live forever curling our toes in orgasmic bliss and drenched in an all-suffusing blinding light of love.

It really doesn't matter how ridiculous it is. In some ways it seems that the more ridiculous the belief, the more believers it will attract. As long as it is encouraging...and weaves our inconsequential lives into an imagined fabric of ultimate meaning. That is the function.

@ JB beautiful response if I may say so.

I am not much a man of debate but action - I guess we will all find out one day. Hoping it’s sonething glorious and nice awaiting us as opposed to nothingness or demons awaiting for us on the other side of the bed whilst our loved ones think we died peacfully.

Best wishes

Arjuna

@ 777 thank you !

I’m trying to explain what I have seen with my own eyes that these athiests are due for one hell (pardon the pun) of a ride with entities who are going to have a field day with them. And are probably having fun with them now.

God bless

@ 777 - I stand true that every atheist will believe In God at death.

The mere sight of them at death - they open the person who is going to die - his hearing and sight! But yet they use the very intellectual they were big headed about in their lives and shut it down or when they do try to speak it doesn’t make sense.

But what do I know lol.

JB, great comment. Yes, just because a belief is comforting doesn't make it true. That said, most people need a bit of fantasy in their lives. That's one reason movies, novels, gaming, virtual reality, and such, are so popular.

But in these instances, people know that while they are immersed in the fantasy it seems real (a good movie does this for a few hours), with a bit of reflection one knows that it is a creative bit of fiction.

This describes religion, and other comforting belief systems. Their danger is that they become so appealing, people forget there is no demonstrable reality behind them, other than the minds of those who dreamed up the religion, mystical teaching, or whatever.

So that's my problem with religion. It distracts us from the reality right in front of us, while leading people into fantasy worlds that they become unable to recognize as acts of creative fiction. We see this reflectied in so many comments on my Church of the Churchless posts.

It reminds me somewhat of avid fans of superheroes and those into cosplay, where people dress up as a fictional character. Believers in religion, or supernatural fantasies in general, aren't just content with enjoying their fantasies in private -- they also want to bring those fantasies into a public sphere, and try to convince other people that their fantasies are real.

Wouldn't it be bizarre if, say, someone dressed in a Wonder Woman costume kept proclaiming, "You've got to believe in Wonder Woman! She's real, not a fantasy!" Likely this person would be viewed as having some sort of mental illness.

But if someone keeps proclaiming that God is real, and there are hidden heavens that they know about, yet which there is no evidence of their existence, in many cultures this person is valued as a faithful religious believer, not someone afflicted with a delusion.

@ Brian - how come you are deleting 777 comments???

Back in August I said that "777" was going to be on a month-long time-out from commenting because he's ignored repeated requests to stop or tone down his preachiness, and incoherent comments that have nothing to do with the post he's commenting on. I said at that time that I'd delete 777's comments as soon as I could during September, and I've been doing just that. Come October, in a few days, 777 will have another chance to show that he can be a respectful commenter.

Brian wrote: "Wouldn't it be bizarre if, say, someone dressed in a Wonder Woman costume kept proclaiming, "You've got to believe in Wonder Woman! She's real, not a fantasy!" Likely this person would be viewed as having some sort of mental illness."

I've often asked believers to take a particular religion and imagine what it would be like if these beliefs had not been institutionalized and spread like a contagion throughout civilization, but rather were proclaimed by one single person.

Take Christianity as an example. Imagine none of the teachings of Christinaity existed and one person started uttering statements like: "There is a male creator God who has a son, whom he sent down to killed by being nailed to a piece of wood so that humanity could be forgiven for a disease passed down from a woman who listen to a talking snake with wings and ate a piece of fruit from the wrong magical tree."

This person would be considered to have a mental illness with psychotic features. Yet there are literally millions of people that believe this. Thus, beliefs that would clearly be categorized as mental illness when exhibited by one person, are categorized as religion when they are embraced by millions. It's just a numbers game. Religion is culturally sanctioned mental illness.

Fill in the blank with Judaism, Hindusim, Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism, or any of the sub-cults (Kabbalah, Sufism, Gnosticism, Vedanta, etc). The result is the same.

@ Brian - fair enough it is your blog and hopefully 777 will be fine.

@ 777 - I like you and looking forward to hearing from you! Please don’t get banned again. God bless

JB, I've had very similar thoughts. In fact, only yesterday. Yes, culture plays a huge role in religious belief, as does the mass nature of religious delusions/illusions. Like you said, every religion would seem bizarre and unbelievable if a single person dreamed up the tenets of that religion.

Arjuna said: "I guess we will all find out one day."

I don't think we will find out. Finding out what happens after death presumes that there will be something after death to experience what happens. We will not be present for our death save for the very first moments of slipping away, provided we are conscious when we die. For one to observe the "transition" between life and death (nothingness) would require a underlying constancy of consciousness throught the entirety of the event.

This is the ultimate cruel rub. We will never know for sure. We will never be able to say "Oh, so this is what happens" because we'll already be gone as its happening.

Atheists do tend to have a kind of arrogant egotistical attitude. Also the ex-satsangis have this bossy, all knowing, superior attitude. It seems like they have closed down their creative, imaginative, instinctual minds.

They seem to think they are more intelligent than religious or spiritual people who believe in something else other than this materialistic world. I think this world is illusory, after all each person's brain is projecting and creating their own reality. We all live in our own little bubble.

So long as some of us have internal experiences that recur consistently, there will be explanations.

If these experiences are attended with insight, happiness, peace, they will have great meaning for the person experiencing them.

To claim all that is false is just ignorance.

But to claim it is supernatural, or hallucination is also ignorance.

Whatever it is it is built into the human frame, the healthy and functioning human frame, at least for some of us.

The fact that the details are found in spiritual writings of the Word and the Light down through the ages give confirmation to those of us who have experienced these things repeatedly since early childhood that they are truthful, insofar as they are recurring and deeply detailed experiences.

Therefore we should be cautious to discount them. The world cannot be constrained to just what we already see. There is room for personal exploration and discovery, and much room for scientific discovery.

It is best to acknowledge they are personal subjective experiences, which have value to the person who experiences them.

Also, as far as the subjective experiences of general awe, humility, thankfulness, and tearful sense of love and worship for that something greater, these experiences, connected to worship and meditation have been proven scientifically to be healthy.

Again, nothing supernatural, but something built into us that we experience and which is part of the human construction. For some it happens naturally, for others through practice. And for some like myself who have had the experiences recur at nearly yearly intervals, the additional practice only makes that experience more accessible under the control of the will.

It's there, inside, even if, like all human experiences, it passes through a mental filter of symbol making. The symbols may be just symbols, but they are placed there to represent something real that has entered the perceptual field. Especially so when attended with experiences of waves of peace and happiness on a recurring basis.

As for spiritual regions, why not call them subjective inner regions?

Their reliable constancy and repeatability makes them real to the person who has access to them.

So no supernatural or hallucinatory attributions need to be made, especially when the practice that has opened up these experiences has proven to be healthy for the brain.

So long as those experiences persist among some through different times and cultures, religion will have fuel. But so should biology.

Jen, what you say isn't true. Science gives us knowledge of a shared, objective, intersubjective reality. So does everyday experience. If we all lived in our own bubble, stop lights wouldn't be able to manage traffic, since at an intersection everybody would see the color of light -- red, yellow, green -- their own subjective bubble led them to observe.

Spence wrote: "Whatever it is it is built into the human frame, the healthy and functioning human frame, at least for some of us. The fact that the details are found in spiritual writings of the Word and the Light down through the ages give confirmation to those of us who have experienced these things repeatedly since early childhood that they are truthful..."

I think you are right that these experiences are "built in". The capacity for "mystical" experiences are "built into the human frame" as much as the capacity for any psychological experience is built into the human frame. I don't think anyone is disputing that these experiences occur. It is true that they occur, yet one must question whether they are truthful in terms of the interpretations typically ascribed to them.

All manner of human emotional experiences have repeatedly occurred throughout the ages and all have been documented since the birth of written language. That they have repeatedly occured and have been written about cannot be construed as constituting evidence attesting to their truthfulness.

I think these experiences certainly can be healthy, yet they can also be unhealthy as evidenced by all of the mystic-gurus that become abusive and exploitative. The experience of seemingly becoming "one" with the universe apparently has different effects on different people. For some, the ego apparently expands to the size of the universe.

Speaking more about mystical experience: these consist of intensely positive emotions coupled with a sense of ultimate existential unity, the "rightness" of everything, and an underlying impression love and benevolence embracing everything. I think that the impressions are secondary to and derive from the immediate emotional state. Simply put, the world appears perfect because you feel so damn good. This is analogous to the experience of falling in love with a person, where the world itself seems to become brighter and more beautiful. This is a well-known and documented experience of people falling in love. The positive emotion seems to generate an attendant change in perception. Of course the world hasn't changed from what it was before, it just feels different.

If you have ever read any case histories of people experiencing extreme negative emotions, there is often an attendant alteration of their perception. The world becomes disjointed, everything seems "wrong", and everything seems imbued with doom or malevolence. For some, these experiences repeatedly occur.

The point is, the emotional state seems to inform the perception. I think it would be as wrong to assert that mystical experience provides a true window into the essence of existence any more than the diametrically opposed emotional state. The positive experience is certainly healthier, as it is conducive to survival, but I think it would be wrong to call it truthful.

Hi Brian,

"If we all lived in our own bubble, stop lights wouldn't be able to manage traffic, since at an intersection everybody would see the color of light -- red, yellow, green -- their own subjective bubble led them to observe."

Hmmm... some people are colour blind ;)



The point is, the emotional state seems to inform the perception. I think it would be as wrong to assert that mystical experience provides a true window into the essence of existence any more than the diametrically opposed emotional state. The positive experience is certainly healthier, as it is conducive to survival, but I think it would be wrong to call it truthful.

I believe you're reversing causative direction. An emotional state
doesn't inform mystical perception. In fact, emotion inhibits it.
Every higher mystic discipline sets aside emotion to enhance inner
perception. Successfully attained, that perception has proven to
induce healthier physical and emotional states.

Mystic awareness is truthful in its essence. Outside phenomena
isn't. The latter is an illusion which gives rise to a "truthful"
experience. But phenomenal objects are transient and ultimately
unreal. In that regard, a mystic's "inner region" and a child's
nightmare bogeyman are the same.

Hi JB
You wrote
"The experience of seemingly becoming "one" with the universe apparently has different effects on different people. For some, the ego apparently expands to the size of the universe."

LOL... You've got truth there!

As for trying to conjecture about the experience of being one with everthing or feeling disconnected from everything, there are different levels of that. It's not the same explanation. You suggest it all depends upon how we feel. Actually for me the practice of meditation involves putting feelings aside. Especially feelings based on specific events or moods. I can feel very sad because of recent personal events, or anxious and fearful due to stress, or excited about some significant praise I may have received.

In meditation all that is placed aside. There is a calming release from all those emotions. We are shedding the flawed persona we carefully wear, rebuild, protect, parade about, much as an actor sheds their role when they leave the stage. Then even the opinions held by that persona don't really matter at all. The opinions of our opponents are just as valid, and all of them baggage which we set aside. We take all that off. We are undressing.

If there were ever a perfect way to experience suicide, where we could leave all this pain for a completely different life, even a different body, even a different personality, without causing harm to anyone, even ourselves, it would be through meditation.

And in that calm darkness, another door opens and a whole separate set of experiences takes place. The ecstacy there cannot be described.

So is that out of body? Is it Extra Sensory?

Maybe not in an objective way. And yet it is far more than mere imagination.

You have to experience it to understand that, like sub atomic physics, there is a different set of rules, experiences, and a different life there.

Columbus thought America was India. He tried to understand America from his pre-conceived notions.

But someone who sets aside the illusion of India will actually learn more about America when they go there. And with that open mind they can venture inland, beyond the shore to travel amongst the various lands.

It's better to be there, than guess about it. Especially when we all have the means to travel there built into us.

Indeed whatever that is is entirely built into each of us.

@ JB - none of us have died so it is very presumptuous of you to know what happens after the big event lol. I merely suggested the possibilities.

@ Jen - hope you are well? And I agree with you totally.

@ Brian - please stop using science as the be it of all in terms of knowledge! Even a few scientists are now coming around to help face there is something there. And a few leading ones are eveni studying how some people who the medical profession have given no help - have healed themselves through entering various states of of mind or mediations. So please stop! Or let’s see you report their findings on your blog- bet you won’t lol.

@ Spence - hello - and hope you are well! Well argued above 😀

I think meditation, do meditation gives us hope about death.
We are leaving the body. The limbs go numb. We can't feel them anymore. Result? We are floating, we are free of this heavy sack, few of pain, and weightless?
We are leaving the mind. All those thoughts, we calm down, then we leave them.

And what is left? Absolute bliss, love, light.

If that is where we go when Thr physical body goes, it's great!

And if that is how the story ends. We'll if it's going to end anyway, that 's a victory.

Oops autospell.. Sorry.. Should read
"We are floating, we are free of this heavy sack, free of pain, and weightless! We fly, we soar through the stars...."

@ Spencer -thank you for your last blog entry on mediation that brought me peace just reading it!

@ Jen - awesome ! That made me laugh and think of an artist friend who is colour blind.

Ie your response to Brian above - ref traffic lights lol.

Brilliant. Stay well Jen and believe in yourself. Much love and best wishes .

Regards

Arjuna

Hi Arjuna, nice to hear from you.

Thanks for your kind words. You have a good heart :)

Cheers,
Jen


I think meditation, do meditation gives us hope about death.
We are leaving the body... We are leaving the mind. All those
thoughts, we calm down, then we leave them.

Beautiful!

Still, I always go into wimp mode without the presence of a
friend, a protector beside me, one that's been there a long
time. I remain just a kid crying in the dark.


I think meditation, do meditation gives us hope about death.
We are leaving the body... We are leaving the mind. All those
thoughts, we calm down, then we leave them.

Beautiful!

Still, I always go into wimp mode without the presence of a
friend, a protector beside me, one that's been there a long
time. I remain just a kid crying in the dark.

Spence, you mention among other states, "calm" and "ecstasy". These are psychological/emotional states (i.e., feelings). So, ironically, the attempt to "put feelings aside" engenders a specific set of feelings. You may wish to refer to them as a "separate set of experiences" if that terminology works better.

Hi JB
You wrote
"Spence, you mention among other states, "calm" and "ecstasy". These are psychological/emotional states (i.e., feelings). So, ironically, the attempt to "put feelings aside" engenders a specific set of feelings. You may wish to refer to them as a "separate set of experiences" if that terminology works better."

The brain is extremely complex and the actual locus of conscious brain activity remains a mystery. There is no center of consciousness detectable in the brain. Maybe it isn't there.

What this means is that to suggest causality in brain states is at best conjecture. As Pribram discovered in his holonomic model, you can see the function of the varies centers of the brain, however what causes them to function is complex.

He, with several other researchers, demonstrated, and this has become standard textbook fact, that an emotional state, a memory, a thought can indeed affect how your senses operate. The neurons of touch in your skin actually alter depending on whom you perceive the person is who is touching you!

Your visual cortex, long before the information gets to your higher brain, actually alters, based on whether or not it recognizes (before you see it in your higher conscious brain) an image.

Signals, specifically the finer dendrites, fire in both directions.

Even in the limbic system! Higher brain functions from the frontal cortex influence how the lymbic system functions.

Therefore not simply feelings but thoughts and a variety of different brain activity, including memory and other internal stimuli can alter experiences. It happens all the time.

Our daily normal wakeful state is a highly reactive one where emotions influence thinking and perception most of the time and generally without our conscious awareness of it. And adjusting those, lowering the signal from those can increase the sensitivity of the rest of the brain to what is there, but which in our normal wakeful state, we are not aware of. Why? Because the dynamic you suggest, 'feelings cause experiences' , is what is happening most of the time. And when those emotions are put aside we become aware of real perceptions that were too fine to experience under the stormy sea of emotion that is the general wakeful state.

What we experience in meditation, physically, is something there that is covered over by normal brain activity.

It is only experienced because of the attention of the entire brain to that specialized state which, one by one, turns down the other functions. But it does this in a unique way. When a drug is taken, neuron receptors are covered over preventing the normal functioning of those neurons, which is anesthetic.

But in meditation, those neurons simply reduce their firing rate, attenuated by their dendritic controls. The brain simply calls down, not by forced reduction of functionality, as from drugs, but by simply slowing down, through conscious practice. So healthy!

Rather than creating some imaginary experience, meditation is quite the opposite, the reduction of brain activity naturally, through gentle focus.

All that is perceived is what is there after reducing, removing other activity, including emotional activity, as well as reducing the input from the other senses.

A visible proof are the brain wave patterns of long term deep meditators. They are specific and unlike any other brain waves.

So that is actually not like emotion, or imagination. And as it turns out it is very healthy for the brain. The cortex of long term meditators is about ten years younger than their chronological age.


More recent research has shown that even among new meditators, persistent effort alters our DNA, in a healthy way!

Normally strands of DNA tend to break as we age. But in meditators b the strands repair themselves and stress longer!


We are dealing with something of its own, like Quantum mechanics.

And its healthy effects, though subtle, are amazing.

A healthier brain is only one of the benefits. Meditation also had been shown to improve the functioning of the brain in complex cognitive tasks. The long term mediator can understand and utilize reality better because of that practice.

On a relative basis, meditation is indeed putting aside emotion and thought.

I understand your desire to explain things in terms of classical mechanics.

But in this realm science has shown that other dynamics are at work.

Hi 777
You wrote
"May I repeat for some hours
the importance of a helper who is already there

No 'mind' can arrive at the pure center of ALL
and shout "I DID IT"
That argument would throw him back in the dark
Nobody can conquer God - We have to submit"

Maharaji used to say that we like to claim we are not under the grip of the mind, but in 99 percent of the cases we are operating in the grip of the mind when we say this.

It is appropriate to share your experiences, but not to denigrate anyone else 's.

Our submission must be to truth, and our awareness of our own fallibility is our only protection here from our worst enemy, the illusions of our own mind.

We must live with that and through that to function here. So therefore we all have feet of clay and can be deceived.

Our Master may be perfect. But we are not. Let's never forget that. At this level it is impossible for the human mind to distinguish.

Your experience in no way invalidates anyone else's, including Brian's.

Brian is placing truth above himself. Submitting to Truth is what science is all about, however flawed its functioning, because it is also a human function.

So when we submit to Master within that can only be our tiny perception of truth. It can't be different, for Truth is only One in the final analysis.

Therefore we should embrace objective fact as well as internal subjective truths. But they are connected if they are Truth.

Finally, as painful as this is, we should acknowledge that we do not perceive objective truth. We perceive our image of it, our representation of it. And that can be wrong.

777, if you believe you cannot be wrong, what distinguishes your brand of truth?

May I humbly suggest, by accepting each person's truth as their sacred belief, and your own as limited to the personal needs and limitations of yourself.

What your Master gives you is custom built for you. But that is never to circumvent your efforts to see truth as it is, beyond our biases. Master teaches we have them, we are operating under those biases "99%" of the time. That's what he meant.

So our opinions today should change tomorrow, as we grow. And we should allow that process to happen. Master also taught me this, and I honor it as His sacred teachings. Here I paraphrase..

'Does anyone ever think they are wrong? It is the hallmark of every adult to give up a sacred opinion when facts prove otherwise. That's why our critics are our best friends. We should listen to them, for our own improvement, our own benefit.'

@ 777 welcome back - good to see you writing.

Take it easy and speak soon.

Spence: "Rather than creating some imaginary experience, meditation is quite the opposite, the reduction of brain activity naturally"

I agree with you that the experience is brought about by a modulation in brain activity, whether it is through "reduction" or by some other neurobiological mechanism. Modulating brain activity can result in the experience of "calm" and "bliss" feelings. This state of feeling maximally calm and blissful tends to engender an broad interpretative response. This leads one to proclaim, among other things, that "Reality is fundmentally calm and blissful."

Spence: "What we experience in meditation..."

Remember, mediation is an experience. It brings about an experience. It cannot be divorced from experience. One cannot claim (as some curiously have) that it is not about experience.

The experience is primary, the interpretive frame is secondary.

This is coming from someone that has experienced these primary experiences in meditation but was careful not to misconstrue this experience as being applicable to existence as a whole. I understand the propensity to do just this, but it is a mistake.

Also, beyond meditative experiences, the so called " spontaneous mystical experiences" of ordinary individuals is especially supportive of what I am saying.

Hi JB
Thanks for your comments.
I restricted mine to just those experiences generated in deep meditation because that is a much more controlled, and well-researched state of mind.
When someone says they see Jesus in the clouds, floating down on a UFO, that is also mind at work, but in a whole other context.

The Saints and sages of the past, including Plato's Socrates, promoted putting aside the senses and thoughts, including the corrupting influence of emotion, to better experience and understand reality.

And modern research supports the fact that there are indeed practices that improve our capacity to function cognitively, such as numerous forms of meditation.

It is, as you say, all experience. And our interpretations can be culture-bound.

For example, feeling the limbs of the body go numb, and then some pain, and then that disappears as we maintain our concentration. You might call that "death" but that might just be a metaphor for the experience of no more proprioception.

Osho also discusses death of the ego. When you begin to watch your thoughts fade away, and all there is is the darkness, you might think "I've died"...certainly to whatever that train of thoughts were that you are no longer aware of. First you became the observer, then they faded away.

One particular experience I love is to see gas clouds in space. When that happens in meditation, when I realize "I'm here! Wow..Space...Gas Clouds!" I'm thrilled.

But if I'm too thrilled, it goes away. So emotional reactions are not at all what takes you there, and they can take you back.

That experience has been fairly regular, and more so with each passing year of practice.

The explanations can be many. But to say it's all imagination is really not substantiated at all.

It's better I think to look at this just as experience.

It is not beyond possibility that the brain has implanted deeply into it all sorts of memories and impressions from the entire universe. Why not? But witnessing it we can just say "I frame no hypothesis...but there are the stars!"

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...