« "Seven Types of Atheism" is intellectually dishonest | Main | Three comments show absurdity of "karmic blaming" »

November 13, 2018

Comments

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

Linear extrapolation of the past is extremely limited. Because different laws are operating under different conditions. The available data do not conclusively support a single big bang.

The idea that the universe is nothing is misleading. A better metaphor is pulling a ball on a bungee cord in outer space. The other end of the bungee cord is anchored to a huge mass, say a tall pole on a space station. On the end of the pole is a spring loaded extension. So long as the cord is tight, the extension is extended. But when the bungee died is slack, the hook that anchors it to the pole retracts. We pull the ball and fly out with our jetpack away from the pole, until the bungee cord is so tight that it prevents us from flying any further. Then we release the ball. It flies towards the poll, the bungee cord slackens, the hook on the pole extension is pulled in by the spring before the path of the ball so that the ball flies past the poll freely and begins to stretch the bungee cord again in the opposite direction, until the cord is again so tight the ball can fly no further out. It then is pulled back again towards the center, with enough momentum to fly past that center once more. In the vacuum of space the ball flies back and forth endlessly this way, at least until the tensile strength of the bungee cord breaks down from flexion.

Inflation and contraction, potential stored, released, stored and released. The net energy is almost zero. It is zero plus the original potential that started the process.. The formula balances the equation. But the initial energy /mass potential that became movement, source and energy, though that amount never changes, moving from positive to negative and back again, is something.

Thanks for reviewing this here, Brian. Enjoyed reading this post.

I look forward to your further blog posts on the rest of the book (given that this bit about God was no doubt only of peripheral interest to Hawking, and probably isn't anywhere close to the central focus of the book).


It seems to be a to difficult but so simple for normal 100 level IQ persons
One has to go out of the time_space bow

So there is no beginning, isn't it
There is only the " existence " and it does many/myriads of nice tricks

One is making some Tim_space ( like any programmer can do on a IBM 5000QUBIT computer
the one that can mine all crypto coins in a nano second

Next He or She goes in , like we do swimming or say holodeck

Next : ENJOY IT

HE/SHE is YOU

Please leave the box
( you can also stop your thinking to see it, . . for free )

777


Love is all there is

777

Clever play of words, nothing cannot create everything, now when you cannot explain unlimited energy in atom since zillions of years, hide behind laws of nature to be fool innocent people who don't have sound Physics acumen. These atheists are paid trolls of some organisation to be fool innocent people of developed and developing world, so that these paid trolls along with politicians and capitalists rule over the innocent common people

@Vinny

No, I think they can't stand that they not exist really

This computer within 5 yrs will tell how things are
which is "signifying nothing"
but if any Love was produces by these creatures,
THAT will exist for ever and participate

Everything ( they ) else will be quantum_dust

777

So, help an old Lady to cross the road
THAT will be remembered

For me, the question "Is there a God?" is the least interesting big question one can ask.

Take a a good, hard look at existence. What does it even matter if there is a god of any sort? Would God make life better, more meaningful, more hopeful?

If God exists, its presence did nothing to prevent abject human agony. At best, it is an impotent fuck-up. At worst, it is a sadistic monster.

Does the "oneness" definition of God make things better? Does being told that you are God in disguise make life wonderful?

Everything about "God" is worthless. The concept of "God" is worthless, the devotion to "God" is worthless...and if God exists, it is entirely worthless.

But I may be the only one here who just doesn't care. God or no God—it doesn't even matter.


Hi JB:

You wrote:
"Everything about "God" is worthless. The concept of "God" is worthless, the devotion to "God" is worthless...and if God exists, it is entirely worthless."

These are three separate notions.

The concept of a nation, a corporation, and God all have no corporeal existence, but their exist as agreed human social systems. You may stop production of cars in Italy but Fiat the corporation still exists. The CEO may die, the corporation still exists. It is a conceptual social reality.

And there are very hard laws, duties and rights that the corporation holds, by human agreement. And as a result, human beings benefit from this concept.

The concept of God is of the same principle. And to those who hold it, as similar to those who are members of a corporation, there are benefits and costs, as well as responsibilities and freedoms that accrue.

Those who are members find there is a great deal of value in that concept.

Devotion to God, in the practices of prayer and meditation, actually have been proven to be very healthy. There is a lot of hard scientific evidence. Deep mediation can even change our DNA. And all meditation has its roots in spiritual practice.

So Devotion to God has a value for many people.

Now, if God actually exists, as all powerful and as creator, then all created things gain their value from God, as the author of all things.

So what you write is really a matter of belief, as is true of the above.

"To me....God has a value / has no value"..Or "To those who think like me..."

But to say God has no value at all, well, that can only be defined by one's own system of value.

I'll break it down: If "God" exists, then we know that unimaginable agony can coexist alongside "God". If God and agony coexist now, then it seems reasonable that they always have and always will.

God's existence would has no bearing on the greatest of human concerns—suffering.

So yes, vís-a-vís the greatest human concern, God's existence is of no consequence.

This is why I could care less.

@ Brian - hello! You really are clutching at straws now quoting and reviewing Stephen Hawkings loool.

I’ve read that book too. Nothing new under the sun mate!


Does the "oneness" definition of God make things better? Does being told that you are God in disguise make life wonderful?

Conceptually it doesn't. Experientially though, the mystic
offers a path to see/verify it within consciousness itself. If
you realize in actuality that you are "God in disguise" and
not just parrot it, you'd also know your essence is beyond
time/space and suffering. A game. A mirage created to
to feel real.

One that when you wake up, you sigh with relief that it
was just a dream. You're part of the way home. Better
yet, you might even ask yourself "what the hell was I
thinking to create this mess" ;)

See, this is one of the things I despise about religion. No, suffering is not a game or mirage.

"Mysticism" employs mumbo jumbo to dodge one question, only to open up ten more, all the while hoping you don't notice the sleight of hand.

Religion/mysticism have no answer to the ineradicable reality of suffering. The best they have is "all will be well".

Of course, they can't tell you how or why " all will be well" precisely because they can't tell you how/why things went unwell that doesn't ultimately betray their version of reality.

I'll let you in on something. Nothing went awry. This is reality. Suffering is reality.

Suffering is an unavoidable product of sentience; of being conscious. As long as there are conscious beings, there will be horrific misery. There is simply no way around it.

There is no "going home". This it it.


Thus where is the need for God, if the laws of nature are sufficient to understand the universe? (This understanding is incomplete, and likely always will be; however, science is by far our best means of comprehending the cosmos, since religion does a terrible job with this.)

There's no conflict between mysticism and science. Science is
always the best path to study phenomena. Mysticism on the
hand explores consciousness itself and a disciple for greater
understanding of it. Perhaps Hawking was thinking of religious
fantasies based on blind faith.


Religious people typically term this something God. Scientific people typically term this something the laws of nature that allow things to come from nothing. Either way, we're left with mystery, awe, the grand design of the universe

Mysticism looks at the laws of consciousness, of being, of the
"is-ness" imputed to "God" by the religious in the above quote.
It examines the existential questions "who am I", "where did I
come from", "why am I here". These are the questions science
doesn't answer.

Science and mysticism are complementary. Each sheds light on
ways to understand and improve life. Both offer disciplines to fill
us with awe at the mystery and grand design of the universe.


See, this is one of the things I despise about religion. No, suffering is not a game or mirage.

No, suffering is very real. The terror of a nightmare is real
too until you wake up. How can you know at death what
is felt? Effectively, life could be just a larger dream from
which you've awoken.


"Mysticism" employs mumbo jumbo to dodge one question, only to open up ten more, all the while hoping you don't notice the sleight of hand.

Why would you think mysticism could provide answers for
existential questions about issues beyond time/space in
dialogue. It's a practice to be followed, for years or
decades usually. The answers have to be experiential.
You can only characterize them as "mumbo jumbo" out
of ignorance or unfounded conjecture borne of your own
prejudice.

Hi JB
You wrote
"There is no "going home". This it it."

How do you know?

Is your anti-theism based on some evidence, some failed result of attempting to duplicate spiritual experience?

Spiritual experience informs all evidence based statements about God.

Without that experience you can either claim you hold your conclusive belief in no God based on your worldly observations and conjecture, or you may claim you have no experience with spiritual practice upon which to draw any conclusion and therefore hold no belief either way.

Or am I missing some other hidden source of information upon which you have based your conclusions?

@JB.
y'r right

It is what Y wish to be

777

What I enjoy about scientists like S. Hawkins – and others such as Brian Cox, Dawkins, Sagan, Harris. Attenborough etc. - is how their childlike sense of discovery and wonder comes across in their books and T.V. Programmes – and how they ably convey this to their readers/ viewers.

Sadly, the sense of wonder we may have had as children is often lost, being replaced by how we are taught (and easily accept) safe and secure concepts of life thus rendering life (nature) somewhat flat and unrelated to us. It seems that we fail to see the vibrancy of everyday, ordinary life around us as it is veiled by a fog of incessant thinking.

Perhaps to compensate for the loss of wonder is one reason for the invention of God's and supernatural beliefs. Maybe our opinions and beliefs are little more than attempts to defend and maintain insecure and vulnerable ego's - our illusory 'self' structures.


Quote JB:
“Take a a good, hard look at existence. What does it even matter if there is a god of any sort? Would God make life better, more meaningful, more hopeful? --- If God exists, its presence did nothing to prevent abject human agony. At best, it is an impotent fuck-up. At worst, it is a sadistic monster.”


I appreciate the raw sincerity of what you feel and what you say.


“If God exists, its presence did nothing to prevent abject human agony. At best, it is an impotent fuck-up. At worst, it is a sadistic monster … If God and agony coexist now, then it seems reasonable that they always have and always will … God's existence would has no bearing on the greatest of human concerns—suffering.”


While appreciating the sincerity of your feelings, may I gently point out an error in your reasoning, as it appears to me?

(Incidentally: I amn’t trying to convert you to theism at all, merely pointing out what appears to be an error in how you’ve spelt out your reasoning here.)


True, God and suffering coexist. (Assuming, for the sake of argument, that God does exist.) But to conclude from that that, therefore, God and suffering must always coexist, is surely an unwarranted leap, an entirely unwarranted conclusion?

Eastern religions clearly show how “realizing” God through meditation and through the Grace of God can lead to not just happiness but actually bliss, and not just transient happiness but actually eternal bliss. Isn’t that the exact opposite of what you seem to have concluded, apparently without any basis?

For that matter, the more simplistic Western religions also -- or at least, not so much Western religions (since all three major versions actually did originate in the East) but the Abrahamic religions -- teach that by acting in consonance with the Will of God, you can ensure some measure of happiness for yourself in this world, and eternal bliss in the afterlife. (At least, Christianity and Islam do say this; Judaism doesn’t say much about an afterlife at all.)

The conclusion from this would be that if God were to exist, then if you acted in consonance with what that implies (that is, if you, per Eastern religions, “realize” God, or else if you, per Abrahamic faiths, lead your life in consonance with God’s Will), then you at least, if not all of humanity, will be assured of some measure of happiness here, and eternal bliss hereafter.

Isn’t that the exact opposite of what you seem to be concluding (that because God and suffering coexist now, they must necessarily coexist always)? The inescapable conclusion seems to be: If there is a God, then that is A Very Important Thing for us, because it could mean the difference between continuing to wallow in misery and suffering, and a life of happiness plus an eternity of bliss.


And you know what: it does not matter at all, for the purposes of this discussion, if God happens to be a sadistic ogre (as a literal reading of the Bible clearly indicates). Hell no! If anything, that is all the more reason to ascertain and to heed this ogre’s wishes and commandments; else he will fry your ass, and fry it good. He will rain locusts on you, and turn the water in your rivers to blood, and snuff out the life of your first-born son.

To say that God is inconsequential because God is not benignant, that is patently absurd. Actually this is a bit like a child petulantly saying about his father: “My father hates me, my father is bad, so I don’t care about him!” If the father is really and truly an asshole, then the child had better take very good heed indeed of his father, else that big bad asshole will make the child’s already miserable life a great deal more miserable!

Whatever else God is, inconsequential he isn’t! (If at all he exists, that is.)


Sure, we can doubt what these religions say. We can, and we do.

Sure, we can doubt the very existence of a God. We can, and we do.

But that doubt, that refusal to accept God-ideas without evidence, is very different from the refreshingly novel (yet apparently erroneous) line you are taking here, that whether God exists or no is a matter of no consequence at all.

As I’ve tried to show here, whether God exists would seem to be a truly, overwhelmingly momentous issue.

Indeed, the ubiquitous suffering you clearly see all around, that makes this question all the more important, not less! (Because in the backdrop of ubiquitous suffering, the prospect of relief from this otherwise inescapable suffering, whether in this life or the next, takes on that much greater urgency.)


"Suffering is an unavoidable product of sentience; of being conscious. As long as there are conscious beings, there will be horrific misery. There is simply no way around it."


Again, raw sincere sentiments, whose urgency is very movingly conveyed. This resonates very closely. (Although like I said, I don't see that the conclusion you draw from this -- about the importance of a God, should he exist -- is reasonable.)

Actually what you say reminds me of the Buddha's Sutras. The first of those, as you may be aware, begins with that pithy yet sledgehammer observation: "Life is suffering".

(Qualification: I am not tyring to convert you to Buddhism! Those words of the Buddha seemed apposite in this context, that's all.)


AR: "But to conclude from that that, therefore, God and suffering must always coexist, is surely an unwarranted leap, an entirely unwarranted conclusion?"

Not according to the tenets of religion (East and West):

1.) There is nothing that exists outside of or apart from "God". The phenomenon of suffering is not foreign to "God" but must be an an aspect of the very fabric of Being.

2.) God is described as immutable, birthless, and deathless.

The particulars of suffering are always changing, just as the particulars of any experience. But suffering, as a principle, is unchanging.

AR: "Eastern religions clearly show how “realizing” God through meditation and through the Grace of God can lead to not just happiness but actually bliss, and not just transient happiness but actually eternal bliss. Isn’t that the exact opposite of what you seem to have concluded, apparently without any basis?"

Eastern religions don't show this, they claim this. This is an immense distinction.

Yet even this claim isn't consistent with other larger claims (as shown above) and an irreconcilable contradiction ensues. Religion isn't even internally consistent with its fantastical claims. This is the reason for appeals to paradox, unknowability, ineffability, and the like. This is meant obfuscate the glaring contradiction that inheres at the very heart of religion.


H
JB
You wrote
"Yet even this claim isn't consistent with other larger claims (as shown above) and an irreconcilable contradiction ensues. Religion isn't even internally consistent with its fantastical claims. This is the reason for appeals to paradox, unknowability, ineffability, and the like. This is meant obfuscate the glaring contradiction that inheres at the very heart of religion."

I don't agree in conclusion, because there are other reasons for the paradox, but I must acknowledge the elegance of expression and truthfulness of your statement.

It brings to mind the process of cognitive dissonance, trying to find a way to explain two apparently contradictory ideas by inventing some reason, often supernatural. But it's still an invention.

Now this is how science also works, except the invented conjecture must be run through several other subject matter experts to assure that it accounts for all the available data, and then boiled down into at least one if not several testable hypotheses.

Where those two last stages are unavailable you get dogma, which can be found in both Theism and Atheism.

As Dungeness points out, meditation (and any form of worship) are means to also test hypotheses, less formal but which can undergo objective scritiny by similar subject matter experts, such as a group of cloistered nuns or monks discussing their inner experiences in deep prayer.

Spence: "As Dungeness points out, meditation (and any form of worship) are means to also test hypotheses..."

I think that there is a general assumption that long term meditation confirms religious/mystical claims. This is a pervasive misconception.

I have personally found this to be entirely untrue. I have been meditating for more than 10 years, and my meditation has never confirmed or even suggested the veracity of any of religion's metaphysical claims. Granted, my meditation has never been about worship.

There is an author that I have corresponded with on numerous occasions over the years, who has been meditating now for over 50 years. Incidentally, he has come to the same understanding of existence: futility, meaninglessness, and the ultimate inescapability of suffering. His meditation has only clarified and galvanized his understanding.

Hi JB

You wrote:

"I think that there is a general assumption that long term meditation confirms religious/mystical claims. This is a pervasive misconception."

I don't think most non-meditators assume this. I would suggest that from what I've read here many think it's all just illusion.

I do know several long term meditators who have had varying degrees of internal experience, myself included.

Yes, there are folks who get nothing from the practice. And it makes sense that they would judge the reality of such experiences (at least as believable subjective experiences) on the basis of their own experience. We all do that, myself included.

But what this means is that unless you have generated internal spiritual experience, you will view the world as one in which such things don't happen.

My take is that "mystical experience" and "spiritual experience" are happening all around us, and within us but they are not supernatural. They are simply part of this reality we don't normally perceive. When I see through solid objects on occasion, and see instead fields of energy (which helped me get a good grade in high school physics - not because I understood the math of electromagnetism) I have come to realize that this heightened awareness has to do with how the brain processes visual stimuli. It can add all kinds of things, some of which are very accurate. And it takes away things that are actually perceived by the senses but filtered before you "see" it. However, that all depends upon the sensitivity of one's perception. And that is also a mechanical and chemical result...it's influenced by how "clean" our body, mind and thoughts are. Therefore such mundane things as diet, environment, personal behavior, etc.. all influence how clean and sensitive that recording plate actually is, and therefore what you will see there.

The mind is very interesting. What you focus on expands. When you have a small pain physically, one you can ignore when you are busy, that same pain can become quite acute when, late at night, there is nothing to focus on. It draws your attention. Similarly Shabd, the divine "Spirit" can do the same. So these things that are very light sensations in the background can, under quiet and clean circumstances, pull in our attention and become full on HD experiences, and even places to explore, even other beings to meet.

I have found the writings of mystics to be quite useful as a guide to interpreting what I've experienced, and as points to keep in mind to improve my practice.

Because I'm actively experiencing these things as a result of mediation, I don't view ancient writings as something to believe in, but only a report of someone's experience and their personal interpretation of it. Like a scientists' journal.

"Spirit" and "God" to me are just human terms to describe something internal, within, connected to human experience, that could not be explained any other way. And which bear out under testing as repeatable, reliable experiences independent of thinking, desire, emotion etc..Just like other experiences of either the body or the world around us.

Spence: "And which bear out under testing as repeatable, reliable experiences..."

Even if so, what relation do these experiences have to the grandiose metaphysical claims of religion—the twin claims of everlasting survival and infinite bliss?

So, let's get down to the basics:

Have your meditation experiences confirmed these twin claims to you?

Has your meditation practice impressed upon you, with an unquestionable certainty, that eternal bliss is in your future?

""". The particulars of suffering are always changing, just as the particulars of any experience. But suffering, as a principle, is unchanging. """"

What do you prefer

A planet were when people can only learn by experiencing
what the did to others before
without any "addons" . . . . . and THAT IS IT

Or, . . . like on earth : where at the same time other people are in the position to help and express Love
and ALSO learn and then can explain some to the willing

God never punishes
It's the universal balance the prime Law ( like gravity but etheric) that find it 's way and places the right people
in the right circumstances, eventual cruel but justified
always in the best learning circumstances

As Spencer said/suggested
Go in your self for complaints, . . . . YOU did design this way which is perfect


777


777, your views are abhorrent. They make me glad I'm an atheist rather than a narrow-minded religious believer. You believe that Stephen Hawking and other disabled people suffer because of what they did to others in a previous life.

This is absurd and utterly lacking in compassion. How can you live your life with such hatred and disdain for others?

Sure, I understand the (mistaken) belief that karma carries over from past lives. I used to believe in this lie myself. But now I've become a much more caring person, because I've given up this false belief. You still hold on to it.

Consider what harm you are doing to yourself and others by looking on people in this way -- as suffering because they caused suffering to others, no matter how much good they are doing in the world, as was the case with Stephen Hawking and countless others.

Your religious views have been the basis for horrible discrimination in India against "untouchables" and other low caste people. Yet you keep spewing them on this blog today. Grow up. Stop the hatred. Show some genuine love for others rather than just blathering about it in your comments.

Hi Brian
We agree on this point. To try to explain why terrible things happen only makes sense in a physics way, not a moral way.

Karma may be real. I believe it. Cause and effect, and whatever brought us here started long ago.

So what? It doesn't make it right. It's very bad. It is all cruelty. Life is not fair.
Not at all.

What does it matter what happened in the past?

We are all the same. We are soul. If our shoes get wet in the rain we should go to prison? That's Karma.

It is completely unfair. It's not arbitrary, but we are all innocent.

So, given this is so, how can we help each other?

If God deserves all the blame, but our own happiness comes from within ourselves, at the source, then we can't blame anyone.

Stephan Hawking puts us all to shame, including God.

If one man could be said to have raised his middle finger with full justification to God saying "Fuck you God. Let me show you what it means to live this limited life," Stephen Hawking is that man.

As Brian has deftly illustrated, religion does an appallingly poor job at describing the origin of suffering.

There is nothing mysterious or incomprehensible about the origin of suffering. It's overtly obvious why we suffer.

Religion gets the origin dead wrong. And because religion gets the origin wrong, they are likewise dead wrong with their empty promises and about the prospects of being free of the intrinsic misery of being alive.

Once one is familiar with the cause and origin of suffering, there is no longer any pretense about being free from it.

In a sense, religion marks humankind's stark inability to come to terms with the ineliminable reality of suffering. We will do anything but admit this. Even the mast majority of atheists don't want to admit this.

I don’t think we should comment on why someone suffers as did stephen Hawkins - he certainly never gave up. That’s a magnificent trait - and many of us - myself included could learn a great deal from him.

However my earlier comments where about his thoughts on God - and I really hope he is with Him now- was that he could have kept an open mind . It’s all happened and it was a crying shame to lose him.

Regardless
There is sanctuary from this.
There is a path to happiness.
More than one.
One light, many windows.
And it is within ourselves.

Now I understand why Sant Mat was so appealing to me. There is the belief that Kal the Negative Power is the ruler of this physical world and universe. So yes, JB there is an evil being who is keeping us trapped here.

There is also a higher power and a spiritual region called Sach Khand which is beyond the control of the negative power. Atheists don't believe in a spirit or soul, but I am hoping that there is such and the stronger we make our spirit/soul the easier it will be to escape and go beyond Kal's region when we die.

I also think that this "God" that religious people believe in is actually Kal, the Negative Power. Just my thoughts, after 50 plus years in following my own intuition and searching for answers.


II have been meditating for more than 10 years, and my meditation has never confirmed or even suggested the veracity of any of religion's metaphysical claims. Granted, my meditation has never been about worship.

@JB I'm certainly no one to give advice about meditation
or much of anything else but I hope you meditate with a
teacher/guide. One of the things that occurs to me is that
mystics consistently say the risks of not doing so are quite
formidable. It's not some sinister ruse by frauds to create
dependency or dis-empower you either.

We want to stand on our feet and affirm our inner strength
to overcome obstacles. But you need to turn to others for
help against an enemy of this power. At least that's been
my experience.

If you've been meditating for so long, you've seen the
immense strength and tenacity of our own mind. It
simply wears you down until you blame the "tool".
Perhaps its greatest trick is to make you forget to
ask for help. The struggle can go on for decades.

The benefits of meditation are well documented. But
if the practice tends to create a depressive sense of
hopelessness or betrayal or impotency in the face of
so much pain, then something's amiss. If meditation
doesn't mitigate our own pain -psychic or otherwise-
what good is it? In my opinion, it's a clear signal to seek
the help of a teacher/guide.

I'm sorry if this comes across as patronizing or some
kind of unwanted psycho-babble. It's not meant to
be that.

All the best.

Dungeness, JB can respond to you on his own, but your comment does come across as patronizing and psycho-babble to me. You seem to believe that there is only one kind of meditation, your kind. This is absurd.

Most mindfulness sorts of meditation, which are extremely common, don't have anything to do with mystical mumbo-jumbo, negative powers, and other supernatural stuff. I've been enjoying several sorts of guided meditations via iPhone apps, and I've never heard anyone advise that they should have a teacher before meditating.

Also, Buddhism (for example) doesn't teach that meditation eliminates suffering, pain, distress, and such. What it aims at is lessening the reactivity that causes us to feel sad about our sadness, pain about our pain, etc. Suffering is an inexorable part of life. Meditation doesn't do away with it. That's why your comment sounds so patronizing to me.

You are judging someone whom you don't even know, layering on to this person your own views about meditation, which are decidedly out of the mainstream.


You are judging someone whom you don't even know, layering on to this person your own views about meditation, which are decidedly out of the mainstream.

You could be right Brian. But whatever our practice of
mindfulness, if it magnifies a depressive sense of life's
pain rather than a more positive outlook (and I agree
that was my judgment about the tenor of many of the
comments I saw), I think it was worth reaching out.

Hey, I did apologize in advance for my psycho-babble
too. Forgive me :)

Dungeness: "But if the practice tends to create a depressive sense of hopelessness or betrayal or impotency in the face of so much pain, then something's amiss. If meditation
doesn't mitigate our own pain -psychic or otherwise- what good is it?"

Meditation has not created a depressive state for me. Meditation has allowed me greater acceptance of the pain and suffering of life. There is less resistance of the inevitable.

An apropos metaphor is that of a rat stuck in the bottom of an empty trash can. It is doomed. Desperately clawing the side of the can is entirely futile. It only claws because it doesn't know it is doomed.

Meditation has allowed me to stop mentally clawing...at least part of the time. There is something to be said for that. I guess you could say that it has diminished the lamentation over suffering.

Hi JB
You asked
"Even if so, what relation do these experiences have to the grandiose metaphysical claims of religion—the twin claims of everlasting survival and infinite bliss?

So, let's get down to the basics:

Have your meditation experiences confirmed these twin claims to you?

Has your meditation practice impressed upon you, with an unquestionable certainty, that eternal bliss is in your future?"

Great questions.
Meditation has actually removed impressions, not made them.

And as those scales drop the view gets much more expansive, until it seems its endless and unmoving, and every moment is the same one moment. Like being part of" mother earth " I can't distinguish me from time whole. Still, I'm a point of attention, and then the whole.

Nothing here is a stable or broad or wonderful as that place.

Eternal? When you go beyond time and look back at time I guess from this place and brain you could call that eternal. It's an instant, but much longer than all measurable history of this creation.

But because I'm leaving behind all of "me" I can't say "I" will survive physical death. Who knows? But I will be there, because I'm there now and never left. But I think "I" won't survive, because it never comes with me when I go there.

And that incredible experience makes very little impression on this mind. So I'm fine with it dying.


@ JB I hope you find peace I just read a few of your posts and they touched me.

I became numb with suffering and I myself find it hard to pull through - however I have no answers but to say some how the will to survive pulls us through.

And I hope you do succeed in whatever you desire.

All the best

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...