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February 22, 2010

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yes, i too am not (as you have said), "at all interested in reading airy-fairy notions that weren't grounded in at least a semblance of what science knows about how the brain and mind work"

...grounded in this actual present moment of my own conscious sensory perception and real living physical bodily existence.

so all the abstract mental metaphysical notions and mystical philosophy are basically useless, and worse, even obscuring.


Tao opiniates:" ALL the abstract mental metaphysical notions and mystical philosophy are basically useless, and worse, even obscuring."

However, philo 101 suggests that this judgment cannot be "grounded in this actual present moment of my own conscious sensory perception and real living physical bodily existence."

So how does he justify this knowledge? Why does Tao allows himself to do (make ungrounded affirmation) what he refuses to others ...

Brian, you write: "at all interested in reading airy-fairy notions that weren't grounded in at least a semblance of what science knows about how the brain and mind work"
I must say that in my opinion this statement easily applies to many metaphors and narratives Tucson has 'spontaneously' offered on this site, just before jumping on this motorcycle for a cool ride ... (I could digg up the best examples here but I'm not very interested in entering in any argument; you disagree about my characterization of some of Tucson's past comments no problem we will it leave to that ...) It is not because the stream of consiousness, which is like a small island on the surface of the constitution of our mind, 'ignores' underlying necessities and processes intrinsic to its unfolding and the formation of the latter, that our behavior, like posting messages or just writing, is 'spontaneous' ... 'just happens from nowhere' ...

I am glad Brian that you are wising up a bit ...

the elephant, what I wrote in this post isn't much different from what I've written in the past about the importance of understanding neuroscience. It just hit me more deeply after pondering the implications of the Scientific American article.

I've always wanted my spirituality to be grounded in science. For me, this produces the most satisfying "non-dual" view of life, one which doesn't denigrate the physical at the expense of the spiritual.

What I really find fascinating is the unending prattle about matter versus spirit. This stuff gets boring pretty fast.

Nobody knows "thing one" about reality. And if there is someone who actually does know something about reality, it sure as shit won't help me. But then again - I do not need any help.

the elephant said: "philo 101 suggests that this judgment cannot be "grounded in this actual present moment..."

-- what "judgement"?? what philosophy?? you are making some odd assumptions here.

the elephant said: "So how does he justify this knowledge?"

-- what "knowledge" are you referring to?? there was no "knowledge" indicated. i had simply offered my own personal opinion. i said: "the abstract mental metaphysical notions and mystical philosophy are basically useless, and worse, even obscuring." and that happens to be how i see it. moreover, you don't have to agree with me.

the elephant said: "Why does Tao allows himself to do (make ungrounded affirmation) what he refuses to others"

-- it's not "ungrounded". it's simply my own opinion and my own practical experience and view. and also, i don't "refuse" anything to others. i have not denied anyone their own opinion. so once again elephant, you are wrong on all points.

Dear Blogger Brian,

I have read your article with interest. But I fail to understand that how your spirituality can be physical. It is something like asking the videos on your TV screen to be physical. Spiritual realms are composed of light and sound only. Even one can not comprehend them while being in physical form.

Human mind can not conceive beyond it. But human mind can always think much beyond it.

I am sorry if I have misunderstood you some where.

with regards,

rakesh, no one, repeat, NO one, has ever had a spiritual experience outside of their body/brain. Every person, repeat, EVERY person, has had a supposedly spiritual experience while in a physical form.

The reason: if you are not in a physical form, you're dead. And then you can't have an experience -- at least not one anyone else can know about (and probably no experience at all, but it's impossible to be sure of that).

So when you say that it is possible to experience spiritual realms outside of a physical form, that is purely a belief. No one has ever done that. You have never done that. It is impossible to do that so long as one is alive in a human body.

If you want to believe otherwise, that's up to you. Just recognize that you hold a religious belief, just as Christians do when they believe that "Jesus saves."

Tell me: do you have a body? Are you alive? Have you ever not had a body while you are alive? You will answer, Yes, Yes, and No.

So it is impossible that you have ever had an experience while not in a human form. It also is impossible that any guru, any mystic, or anyone else has ever had an experience while not in a human form.

I am sorry if you have misunderstood me somewhere, but this is pretty clear. I hope you come to understand the truth one day.

Dear Blogger Brian,

I am surprised to read your response. All I was trying to say was that it is the astral form and not the physical form which has inner spiritual experiences.

with regards,

rakesh, why would you be surprised to read my responses? This is a churchless blog, not a "believe whatever religious people say" blog.

You made a religious claim: that people, such as a guru, or Jesus, or whoever, are able to have experiences that occur outside of the body/brain.

You just repeated that claim. You say that people have "astral forms" that are separable from the body/brain and have their own experiences -- which, though, somehow are remembered by the body/brain person.

I understand what your religion teaches. Sant Mat holds that in addition to the body/brain, humans have astral, causal, and spirit forms.

But there is no proof of this. I wish there was, because I'd like to live on after I die in one of those forms. But wishing, believing, and liking isn't the same as reality.

Rakesh, if you say "I believe in the astral form," I won't challenge you. But when you state something as a fact that is only an opinion, on this churchless blog you will be challenged.

Where is the proof? Where is the evidence that any human being, at any time, any where, in the history of the world, has experienced higher regions of reality via his or her astral form that is distinct from the body/brain?

I just deleted several comments from someone who apparently was a Muslim and simply repeated Islamic dogma. You are fond of simply repeating Sant Mat dogma.

That's OK in moderation, but you really need to say things in your own words, from your own experience, knowledge, and opinons. That would be more honest and conducive to open conversations with others.

Dear Blogger Brian,

Experiments on physics can be done in physics laboratory only. We can discuss and share our experiences only by coming on the same platform.

To be frank, my platform is abysmally low and yours is at pinnacled height.

Hope someday we will come on the same platform but then we will have nothing to share and discuss,

With best regards,

raskesh, I disagree: Over and over I say on this blog, "I don't know." However, you frequently claim that you do know. So you are the one claiming elevated spiritual knowledge, not me.

I'm just saying that if you claim to know that it is possible to experience higher realms of existence outside of a body/brain, you should provide some convincing evidence of this.

If you can't, then join me on the humble ground of "I don't know." There's plenty of room here for those who are willing to admit how little they/we know about the mysteries of the cosmos.

Brian you are obviously the one that is pitifully incapable of realizing reality or simply realizing who you are.

Rakesh has told you in no uncertain terms that there are spiritual realities which you remain blind to and just because you remain blind to them you insist that others remain blind to them also.

Your emphatic blindness does not by its own definition determine that all people are blind just because you so happen to be or choose to be so.

So rather than declare with your abject and forthright miserable blind non free thought how emphatically blind you choose to be, it would serve you a whole lot better to simply flick the switch and try appreciate, or try at least to see the light.

I wonder if it is possible for the spiritual to be physical?

It seems there is a separation between what we can know, i.e. physical science, and what we can believe, anything. But anything does not mean everything ultimately exists. Perhaps our instrumentation reaches a sufficiently finely grained resolution, but even then such thinking suggests spirituality is inherently material.

An alternative way of thinking is that the spiritual is an entirely different realm. However, under this way of thinking, the existence of a spiritual realm could never be proven or disproven, since we exist in an independent physical realm. Thus, if this thinking of an independent realm is correct, it would be impossible for humans inhabiting a physical realm to experience or perceive such a spiritual realm, since it goes against (i.e. is illogical) to the very initial premise of this branch of thinking.

As such I do not know how these realms can be conflated as many try to do, unless they are of the first branch of thinking, i.e. inherent materiality however finely grained.

Thus, I personally tend to the second branch of thinking and as such doubt that anyone has or can penetrate into a spiritual realm even if it exists. My own belief is that the spiritual realm does not exist, that instead it is a natural yet illusory evolutionary idea or abstract construct created by the human brain - but this of course is the age old debate as to where the materialists are wrong.

However, I have a separate question which may move this forward more concretely.

Are the intangibles in our everyday reality, for example an emotion such as love, a spiritual manifestation or a physical one?

It is the all-conquering power of love which seems to suggest some sort of noble higher origin, yet could it in fact be merely another emotion that has its origin in the human mind that is a by-product of material evolution, i.e. the human brain. This is a question Tony, aka Jap raised a while back and its key imo. Ppl cannot or will not believe that love could be reduced to a series of chemical reactions induced by genetic evolutionary factors, and even many of those that do say its possible, ascribe the origins of such an emotion to a nobler transcendental source that supposedly transcends our base material world.

And this is where I don’t know if it does, and i don’t how one were to prove it does. You could go within like the mystics do, but you would be going within the mind, a creation of the brain. Instead, it may be that one day science can and will isolate the chemical reactions for love and indeed propose a sound theory as to why such an emotion may have arisen and indeed how it could have arisen, i.e. a beneficial evolutionary trait.

Note i am not decrying love, precisely the opposite, i am saying if we set aside the emotion and ask where it comes from are we not also addressing the spiritual question?

That is, if ultimately love is explained physically, then much like Darwin's Theory of Evolution gave many ppl an alternative explanation for the complexity of life's creation, this would seem to add another layer of support to the atheistic worldview.

nama-less, what are you talking about? Am I supposed to believe whatever someone tells me about supposed "spiritual realities"?

Am I supposed to believe Christian dogma, Islamic dogma, Hindu dogma -- each and every claim by someone or some religion that purports to know what lies beyond the physical, even though there is no demonstrable evidence of this claim?

I'm not that gullible. I feel nicely connected to reality. I'm happy, energized by life. I appreciate the mystery of the cosmos while being engaged with here and now reality. I can see just fine, and don't want blind faith to obscure my vision.

On the other hand, if the brain (and mind) is a by-product of evolution, and since the brain has evolved to a level that enables greater knowledge - then the more general question is: does evolution in fact tend towards greater knowledge or awareness?

I guess the definition of 'knowledge' is all important here, but still it does seem that the development of the human brain is tending towards greater knowledge and/or more self-awareness.

As science has progressed do we not know more about the universe, but also have we not become more self-aware of ourselves and indeed questioned our existence in it? That is, it seems only once our human brains developed to a certain point that our minds developed consciousness and with it self-consciousness.

Perhaps it is indeed evolution that tends towards greater self-awareness, which is what the mystics seem to have always proclaimed as the ultimate goal, i.e. self-realization.

f;ck me, some very interesting stuff, i will need to think about this more and check my reasoning here, but my wee pip is starting to smoke.

George, you raise an interesting question: how is it possible that mystics (and others) are able to supposedly experience "spiritual" realms by some means -- astral form, soul, pure awareness -- completely distinct from the body/brain, yet are able to have memories of that experience encoded in the physical body/brain?

This relates to a fundamental philosophical, religious, spiritual, and mystical problem. If reality is dualistic -- matter and spirit, body and soul -- then how do the two realms interrelate? How can a ghost make a noise? How can the soul influence the body? How can mystical experiences be recalled by a physical brain?

Traditional religious believers don't like to ponder this because it strikes at the heart of their dualistic belief system. And because the evidence definitely points to one reality, not two. That's why we call this a "universe." It is interconnected, not split into many parts.

One final point is that perhaps mystics do not have the power to articulate what they know intuitively.

Apart from the experential aspect, where its well documented that the supposed experiences they have are far too rich for words to convey - but instead i am talking about whether there is a logically intellectual underpinning to their traditions that can be better conveyed.

Perhaps, contrary to Ashy#s assertion that such cyber space ramblings are meaningless - there is in fact a way for their teaching to be more accepted and understood.

I am not saying that what they know (intuitively or otherwise) is correct, but perhaps its also their inability to communicate in the precise language and logic of the times that fails to get their message accross. In fact, is this not what they always say about the mystics who are castigated in their life and worshipped by future generations?

Perhaps its precisely because they cant really convey what self-realization means because its not been broken down in a more structured clear and scientific manner. Perhaps those few that understand the message do so on a more instictive level, but dont have the means to describe it either.

By calling something science of the soul, this is perhaps what they were trying to do in communicate in a scientific language, but perhaps they dont really have that ability - certainly its not a science in the everyday meaning of the word unless their is objectivity to their evidence - which there is not and there is no getting around that and they can stand on there head - but i think they are trying to communicate a different meaning, which is why they are possibly misunderstood.

But as with so much of their stuff its this vague metaphor, which needs to be interpreted or refined more clearly in terms of some sort of evolutionary theory of knowledge. I wonder if a logical positivist type philosophy could not be created here, but I suppose it would require an interpretation of their teaching.

Anyway thats it for me, sorry for the waffle, am thinking outloud, would be interesting to hear what some others think.

"All I was trying to say was that it is the astral form and not the physical form which has inner spiritual experiences."
Posted by: rakesh bhasin | February 24, 2010 at 04:08 AM

-- what astral form rakesh? where is the proof of any so-called astral form? you seem to expect people to blindly believe this stuff like you do. just to say, "it is the astral form and not the physical form which has inner spiritual experiences", well that does not make it so. you think that a mere statement such as this should be accepted without any question. that may be how you think, but it doesn't work that way.

this is a good example of an idea, an assumption, a mere belief that you hold that has no evidence to support it. it not something that can be verified objectively. but you assume that everyone should accept this simply because you say it. for a geologist, you certainly don't have a very logical or rational mind. you like to present these ideas as facts, but without any evidence to support them.

like Brian said, you are a very much a believer. but not everyone believes as blindly as you do. how do you know there is any so-called "astral form"? how do you know that anything can be experienced beyond the neurology of the physical brain?? how could anything be experienced without a brain?? you seem to think that all this spiritual stuff exists beyond the physical brain. but there is no proof of that, because any and all experiences you may have, are only happening while you have a living physical brain. you will not know if your consciousness, or an astral form, or soul, exists apart from the brain until you are dead. and yoummay not knw even than, because you may not even exist at all after your brain dies.

so don't you see how ridiculous is your statement about astral forms existing beyond the physical, and that astral forms have spiritual experiences?? if everything that you experience and feel and perceive all depends upon you having an alive functioning brain, then how could you experience anything without a physical brain? you have never, in your entire life, experienced anything without having a functioning brain. so it is irrational and illogical to believe that one can perceive or experience anything - either physical, astral, or spiritual - without having a brain, or outside of and beyond the brain. any experience you have, is because you are alive as a physical body and brain. it is an illusion to think that you can exist apart from your brain. it is an irrational belief. you may still choose to believe that, but you should not go around expecting others to believe that.

as Brian has so rightly pointed out: "This is a churchless blog, not a "believe whatever religious people say" blog."


and yes, your claim is a religious claim... that people are able to have experiences that occur outside of a body and brain. and that humans have astral, causal, and spiritual forms. but there simply is no proof of this. you should simply say that YOU believe in astral forms, but don't act as if your belief is an undeniable fact, and then expect others to automatically believe that as well.

you obviously like to parrot and repeat sant mat dogma. but simply saying those things does not make them real. you have accepted the dogma without question. well thats fine as long as you acknowledge that it is only your opinion and your belief. but you should expect everyone else to accept it blindly like you do.

and i agree with Brian... you really do need to say things from your own experience, your own knowledge, and stated as being your own personal opinons, and not act as if what you say is fact whnn you have no evidence to support it.


typo correction for the comment:
Posted by: tAo | February 24, 2010 at 01:43 PM

rakesh, you obviously like to parrot and repeat sant mat dogma. but simply saying those things does not make them real. you have accepted the dogma without question. well thats fine as long as you acknowledge that it is only your opinion and your belief. but you should NOT expect everyone else to accept it blindly like you do.

and i agree with Brian... you really do need to say things from your own experience, your own knowledge, and stated as being your own personal opinons, and not act as if what you say is fact when you have no evidence to support it.

nama-less,

You are obviously the one that is pitifully incapable of realizing that "reality" is not mere beliefs, and that "realizing who you are" is not a matter of subscribing to dogma.

Brian has told you in no uncertain terms that the supposed "spiritual realities" which you apparently believe in, have no evidence to support them, and just because you believe in them, you have no basis to insist that others believe in them also.

Your emphatic rant does not by its own definition determine that all people must believe, just because you so happen to think that way or choose to believe.

So rather than declare with your abject and forthright miserable blind non free thought how emphatically dogmatic you remain, it would serve you a whole lot better to try to be more rational, and not so fanatically religious.

...and if all else fails, try taking a triple-dose of a strong laxative, because you are indeed quite full of it.


Dear Blogger Brian,

Meditation is the only way to concentrate your consciousness at some designated center in the body and then pass through that portal. Your connection with your body is not snapped and you tend to comeback within seconds initially and in due course of time the duration increases. Lower centers in the body can be reached much more easily and within lesser period of time. If eye center is difficult to reach, one can try with navel center which is easier and quick. But realms will be different. In any case, do not try at your own. Kindly consult an adept of that center.

When you come back in your physical body, you will remember the things in some what similar manner as a night dream. But in this case you will be able to repeat it at your will, though that takes time.

With best regards,

rakesh, you continue to repeat familiar dogma, which may or may not be true. As I noted before, it'd be more useful and interesting if you'd speak more personally.

What do you believe? What have you experienced?

You are good at promulgating the Sant Mat teachings, but I'm well aware of what they are. What I don't know is how Rakesh Bhasin feels about these teachings, and to what extent Rakesh Bhasin has been able to achieve what he speaks of.

Rakesh said:

"Meditation is the only way to concentrate your consciousness at some designated center in the body and then pass through that portal.:

-- what says that meditation "is the only way"?? aren't you being a bit narrow-minded again? why do you say its "the only way"? you don't know that for sure. and as a matter of fact, there are other ways besides meditation.

"Your connection with your body is not snapped and you tend to comeback within seconds initially and in due course of time the duration increases."

-- but you are still alive and experiencing through your brain. and thats the point. you are not ever beyond or outside your brain. without a brain, you don't perceive or experience anything.

"Lower centers in the body can be reached much more easily and within lesser period of time. If eye center is difficult to reach, one can try with navel center which is easier and quick. But realms will be different. In any case, do not try at your own. Kindly consult an adept of that center."

-- Rakesh, this is all nothing but more and more dogma that you are repeating. its not coming from your own experience.

"When you come back in your physical body, you will remember the things in some what similar manner as a night dream."

-- no, you are never actually out of your body. so there is no such "come back in your physical body". you are always experiencing everything via your brain. you apparently do not understand this very basic fact. you have no consciouness or perception without a brain, or outside your brain. why is that so hard for you to grasp?


Dear Blogeer Brian,

Kindly note

"...and if all else fails, try taking a triple-dose of a strong laxative, because you are indeed quite full of it".

Am I supposed to express this kind of experiences.

with regards,

rakesh, why are you addressing your comment to me? I don't understand what you're trying to say, or what your question is.

Dear Blogger Brian,

You are custodian of this blog and such comments are appearing here.

I am being asked to comment from my personal experience. Take it lightly, am I supposed to express the way , I have pointed out in my above comment!!!

with regards,

I've never heard a good argument for the existence of anything like "pure awareness" - it seems clear that awareness is always "of" something - the existence of objects seems to be what separates consciousness from unconsciousness. There can be a state devoid of thought, devoid of memory, devoid of sights and sounds, devoid of self-identification...but as long as the brain is conscious, there is awareness of our breathing, or our heart beating, or electrical activity in our nervous system, etc...the absence of thought and of the sensation of "self" may make it feel like "pure awareness," but there is always some sort of object, no matter how subtle...otherwise, we're just unconscious, or dead. Right?

I meant to add -- even in the state of mind that feels like "pure consciousness," I've also never heard a good argument that that state is equivalent to the "creative principle of the universe", or "God," etc., rather than simply one state of consciousness -- albeit a cleaner, less concept-ridden one -- among many other potential states of consciousness.

Monodon, I say, yes, you're right. See some previous blog posts of mine:
http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2010/02/brains-dark-energy-casts-doubt-on-pure-awareness.html

http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2011/10/unmediated-experience-doesnt-exist.html

http://hinessight.blogs.com/church_of_the_churchless/2008/04/can-awareness-b.html

And you're also right that no matter what consciousness is, assuming "is" has any meaning in this regard given that consciousness is how our "is'ness" manifests, concluding that it is identical to the ultimate reality of the cosmos is a really far stretch.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation organization, was encouraging his students to perform scientific measures on meditation as far back as 1959. His response to complaints that this was somehow a negative thing:

Spiritual and Material Values

"Every experience has its level of physiology, and so unbounded awareness has its own level of physiology which can be measured. Every aspect of life is integrated and connected with every other phase. When we talk of scientific measurements, it does not take away from the spiritual experience. We are not responsible for those times when spiritual experience was thought of as metaphysical. Everything is physical. Consciousness is the product of the functioning of the brain. Talking of scientific measurements is no damage to that wholeness of life which is present everywhere and which begins to be lived when the physiology is taking on a particular form. This is our understanding about spirituality: it is not on the level of faith --it is on the level of blood and bone and flesh and activity. It is measurable."

-Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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