« Science lacks the blind conviction of the zealot | Main | Space may be created by the interaction of individual quanta of gravity »

May 31, 2022


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

Ramana :
To know God, you have to BE HIM


That's what RSSB meditation does, when there is Love too
Not when there is pride, . . not in a 1000 years

I can see following this particular blog there will be a lot of comments devoted to 'self' justifications. And is this the crux of the matter, justifying, or rather protecting, precious beliefs and opinion that the ego, the self structure has heavily invested in in order to maintain its illusory position?

We do seem to spend a great deal of energy maintaining a ‘me’ (an ‘I’, a ‘self’ – or ego) that is a mere mental construct. The ‘me’ has to maintain itself, has to be right and to do this it searches for certainty, often through some belief structure or formula that appears to give credence to help maintain the separate self illusion.

And, one of the ways it does this is to form conclusions and opinions where it feels it has triumphed or settled an issue (as far as the ‘me’ is concerned). There are many things that we do not really know so the 'me', the 'ego self’ resorts to beliefs and opinions - rather than investigate.

What amazes me is that we do not seem to be aware of this process that the mind – the ‘me’ engages in, seeing that it is often the cause of much disharmony and conflict – both individually and collectively.

@Ron E
You wrote a fabulous interpretation
"We do seem to spend a great deal of energy"
contemplation helps a little tiny bit but it's proper meditation with Love
which helps seeing this , long before the spiritual effects


@ 777

How did you come to love your wife 777?
Did you went to a school or followed a practice?
Why do not all have that love for her as you do?

Nothing wrong with love.
Nothing wrong with loving your wife.

Replace "wife" for other things and persons and ... there you have it.

and 777

When our friend had his epiphany that remained with him uittil his death, love got hold of him, in such a way that he had to express it as he could not contain it in the beginning.

He wrote many poems and songs as have done many others before him and asked me to typewrite them but onder one condition ... he made me solemn promise him not to show them to others, not even my partner and after I had finished the work to delete everything on the computer ... and ...not to make a copy for myself.

After a while he found ways to contain its power and never spoke again about it..

What is the point 777?!

What he had inside was enough for him and there was no need to put it before others, discuss it with them ....after all what had others to do with what was his?!

He understood why mystics of all ages, keep silent about what is so near and dear to them, so that not worse thing could befall them by opening up their treasure box.

Over time I have become weary of people that use the word "love" ...in dutch .. te pas en te onpass.

Let me just put it on record that while absolutely, in this particular instance I do think Spence to have been mistaken, and more importantly I found him resolutely refusing to engage squarely, as Brian observes; but I greatly respect and value Spence's experiences, and also his generally well-read and reasonable take on other matters, as well as him as a person.

Those of us who do see worth in the whole mysticism business --- worth both in terms of the possibility of actually arriving at some kind of understanding that so far eludes us, as well as in terms of how the exercise agrees with us --- must necessarily be drawn to the observation points that look promising. And experiences that stand out, as Spence's do, those must necessarily then be a point of interest to us, and also in a sense a source of inspiration (Of course, as long as we don't have reason to dismiss some particular claims of such experiences as either fraudulent or else deluded. That last assessment is necessarily subjective, and in my subjective assessment Spence's experiences do continue to draw me --- even as I insist on maintaining my [constructively] skeptical stance about what they amount to and what their larger implications might be.)

So that, Spence, if you're reading this, all of your comments are greatly appreciated, and especially the ones about all of your experiences that you've been blest with; and obviously it is fine to disagree about our respective positions as far as specific issues, why not; but your refusal to, at times, engage squarely, that I'm afraid does sometimes give one pause.

@ AR

Hahaha ......I had that attraction also when I was still lost in the movie on the screen .. but when I woke up, it was all gone and with it the attraction, for many other things, explanations of the universe, what experts in whatever field had to offer .... realizing that i was not born to consume what was not mine. ... and ...that there is no end to what can be consumed .

Deprogramming myself is not always that simple but coffee does help and a walk in the forest. Before yesterday I had an encounter with a bird, that was searching food on the path I was on. Normally they fly away, but this one remained. I could watch the little creature at a distance of one meter untill bypasser made him fly away.


What I forgot AR ..... Do enjoy the attraction and the movie as long as it is there because when it is gone it has gone..

These are not things one should wish for oneself let alone for another but when ever they do come, there is no way back.

Hi Brian Ji
You wrote
"But in the comments section (I'm thinking of exchanges between Appreciative Reader and Spence Tepper, for example), the religious or mystically-minded person is seeking to defend their personal perspective or experience."

"They want to continue to feel good about their religious or mystical beliefs. So they engage in all sorts of "word salad" techniques in which all kinds of things are said, except for a saying that directly addresses the challenge directed at them by the scientifically-minded person."

Sorry but you have still missed the mark. Anyone's personal experience does not need defense nor should anyone be attacking it. It's their personal experience. And clearly you haven't read my comments. They are largely invisible to you, or seems.

Discussing the example of the Transgender, who has a very real experience others reject because it isn't part of their world isn't word salad.

Anyone willing to share their observations and experiences sincerely should be welcome here
Their experience is legitimately theirs, if reported sincerely.

So long as they can be scrutinized objectively. But never dismissed. But that scrutiny must include a willingness to explore, in order to avoid dismissing things out of hand that we do not yet understand and haven't taken the time to investigate.

I have written right here on several occasions that these inner experiences can be biologically based, and even physiologically based, but for some strange reason you ignore this statement over and over again, rather than acknowledge it.

Instead of acknowldging that truth in my comments you dismiss them, then go on to make the very same comments for itself, as if we are in opposition about that. We are not.

What you are doing is attempting to dismiss experiences ad moon-existent, false and wrog that are not yet fully investigated by science
But scientist would simultaneously accept them as truthful statements of experience that warrants further investigation.

The fact such experiences of light and sound are reported anecdotally through the centuries from different cultures and times doesn't make them spiritual. But it does support their existence as part of the human experience. And worthy of study as such. Subjective experiences are worthy of study. That are real to the people who experience them. That has been my point repeatedly, Brian Ji.

A point that you have repeatedly missed.

You are attempting to make those experiences and reports of them go away as if they simply don't exist and are lies, and no one ever actually experienced them. That is way overreach and entirely unsupported. Instead these should be accepted as honest reports of experience.

Not as supernatural. I've also written about this repeatedly.

I believe Everton is part of this reality, so investigating experience is all part and parcel of reality and worthy of investigation.

I'm surprised those statements didn't resonate with you, Brian Ji

When you can acknowldge my comments of interest in actual scientific investigation, then you can claim your statements are reflecting mine fairly.

Until then it is a mystery why you would deny my scientific interest in such experiences. That denial has led you to make false statements of my own comments.

Fortunately anyone can read them to see that I have a deeper interest in taking a scientific approach than you do on the subject of reported inner experience. This is so largely because I accept they exist. I have no alternative in that regard. I do not have the luxury you do to pretend they don't exist. And therefore they warrant investigation.

All meditation research is an indirect measure that something unique and healthy is happening inside when people engage in meditation practice. It's not all superstition.

That deserves more investigation, including the subjective reports of experience from practitioners.

You are right to decry statements that are not backed in truth, and reference.

But you are wrong to indulge in the same, especially when it results in a publicly false depiction of my position.

I asked you specifically to leave some blog space for a survey of individuals experience and biographics specifically in response to your claim that mediation experiences of light and sound are non-existent among everyone you know.

Here again your approach is to attack rather than participate in a more objective approach.

It's completely unnecessary, Brian Ji.

This is what concerns me about consumers of science who have no interest in investigation, in actual science, even when invited to engage in real science. They dismiss what is unknown rather than find excitement in learning a little more about the unknown reality that awaits exploration... The very foundation of science.

Here, AR and Brian Ji
Let me simplify this...
Does God exist?
God is a human concept for the unknown reality in this creation.
Therefore, as a human concept, no, God doesn't exist. That concept can be as individual as each sentient being. It's a product of the brain, not a supernatural being.

Is there an unknown reality in this creation?
Yes. Science proves that every day. Every new discovery was unknown until it was discovered.

Is there some supernatural existence that has no connection to this physical world?

That is a matter of belief. And since the human brain is so very bad at conjecture, such conjecture is likely to be false.

All that science can do is detect and measure this physical creation and all things connected to it.

But science proves reality beyond most forms of human ignorance, so it is very trustworthy. From that perspective there is only this physical reality, but this physical reality is mostly unknown.

Does that help?


That was arousal of all chakras together, at least N° 2 up to 6
see the photos!

Love is the feeling of need to help a being . . . . . up to
To be One with another Being

Yes "te pas" , Random, . . It starts with helping an oldie cross the road
even grant longer life to an insect

Each Soul is God entirely,. . not a drop


@ 777

the way you speak about love etc is nothing you could possible have learned from the one in Beas nor of the mystics he had books and poems published.for his followers to read. ... but ...yes, many of his followers know better.

They all, without any exceptie promote to not brag about inner experiences etc.

Helping an old lady has nothing to do with it.

Hey, Spence.

As far as your the first of your two comments here, the first I'll largely let pass, because it's essentially a repetition of the discussion we've already had in the other thread, and in any case that comment's addressed to Brian, not me. But I'd just like to touch on one thing here: You accuse Brian of having glossed over your comments on that thread and missed your point, but I'm afraid that's not true at all. I mean, that threads's still very much there, as are our comments there, for anyone to go check. If you would disengage mentally for a bit, and then with a fresh perspective revisit that thread, then what we're referring to as your side-stepping and your refusal to engage squarely, will surely become evident to you. I mean it's plain as day, and no one can possibly miss this, unless they were wilfully keeping their eyes shut. But not to beat this to death, we've done enough that already there in that thread; just, I wanted to correct your claim that Brian was misrepresenting your comments there.

As far as your second comment, that you address to both Brian and me, well, what you've said there seems largely reasonable, but I'm afraid it's representative of the kind of side-stepping I'd mentioned in the other thread. You throw in a host of reasonable-sounding non sequiturs that have nothing at all to do with anything, that we hadn't been even discussing in the other thread, and that, largely speaking, no one's questioning, and to that extent all of that is an out and out irrelevancy. And further, and in yet another display of the sort of thing I was talking about, here's this gem that you innocuously throw in in the midst of all of those words:

"Is there some supernatural existence that has no connection to this physical world? (...) That is a matter of belief. And since the human brain is so very bad at conjecture, such conjecture is likely to be false."

Seriously, do you not see how utterly nonsensical is this POV, and how the mode of your slipping this in in the midst of otherwise reasonable-sounding irrelevancies, comes across simply as a sleight of hand?

To address what you're saying there in those three sentences, now that I've identified that astonishing POV from where you'd hidden in the middle of your comment: You're clearly saying here that whether there is a supernatural or not is a matter of belief, which is fair enough, because everything is that. Then you're suddenly launching off into loco-land, and effectively claiming that in as much as our human brain can only indirectly and imperfectly apprehend reality, therefore all kinds of belief are, you seem to imply, equivalent. Lovely sleight of hand, Spence. Did you think I would not see through that subterfuge? But what I still don't get, is why on earth you descend to these shenanigans.

To return to that astonishing POV you try to argue there, let's just see do some argumentum ad absurdum off of it. Is the Sun basically a ball of butter floating in the sky? Ah man, all reality is beyond our understanding, who knows, man, what the sun really is, and what butter really is, it well might be. Is the moon made of cheese? Same answer. Might the universe wink shut tomorrow morning, and everything suddenly stop still. Same thing. In a sense you're right of course, I mean in the sense that science isn't 100% certain about ANYTHING; but to therefore literally remain uncertain about things, that is to totally not understand the essence of what science means, despite a familiarity with the many of the techniques of science. It is, in effect, a cargo cult understanding of science. -------------------And in any case, you're highly selective about how you apply this uncertainty thing. When you bend down to tie your shoelaces, you don't know, not 100%, that you won't find that your shoelaces are actually tiny poisonous snakes, that'll bite you. So will you now throw away all of your shoes that have laces in them? When you open your fridge to get a beer, or whatever, then do you, well, not do it, because who knows, that may open up a wormhole leading right inside a black hole? We don't 100% know that may not happen. It's all a question of belief, right? And all beliefs are conjectures, and us humans are so bad at beliefs and conjectures, yadda yadda yadda yadda. These are all absurdities, all of these, because the whole point was to do an argumentum ad absurdum, but they do, I think, clearly illustrate the absurdity of the position you're arguing for here, in that gem you've slipped in in between generally reasonable observations.

Anyhoo. I keep saying I'll desist from thrashing this poor much-beaten equine, and then repeatedly I find myself unable to keep away from compulsively commenting again. But this time I think I really will, desist I mean to say. I've said all I wanted to, and way more than I needed to. I'm satisfied that you're utterly wrong, in this specific instance. It's clear to me that you find yourself unable to squarely discuss this, for whatever reason. And finally, should you really want to engage with this in earnest, well, in that case, first of all, all of this is clearly laid out already in that other thread, and does not need any fresh input from me; and second of all this is a matter we've already, in the past, discussed this and ended that discussion with your agreeing to my POV, so it isn't clear to me why we're doing this dance all over again.

Apologies, Spence, if any of what I've said (in the other thread) has come across as less than cordial. My esteem for you as a person stays intact, but there doesn't seem much point to going over this again and again and again like this. More than enough said, for now, as far as I'm concerned.

Thank U UM, . . . Good points


@ AR

Dad taught us at early age that everything that comes out of the mouth of "false" people, must by necessity be false, no matter how well formulated.

He was not interested in any achievement of those that came to visit; there was no way one could impress him.

What matters is what people are and not what they do / say

If dishonest people speak about honesty, it is dishonest
If those without love speak about love, it is loveless
if those without humbleness speak about humility it is pride
If those without meekness speak of meekness it is egocentricity.

Those that have these qualities, need not even be aware of having them and it is a pleasure to be around these people and they are great teachers without speaking up.

Helping an old lady has nothing to do with it.
I m sorry, really, U didn"t grep that
did you grep about the musquito?
It happens when you see he's The Lord too
Love can't be explained, - We can hear IT

Also hear Bullah Shah, Rumi, Tabriz, Mirabai bragging
or was it IN-Theos-ism
It's better to hear a positive here between all these lines
so all the time
This is over 500 positice comment chez Brian


@ 777

Our mother, peace be upon her soul if she had one, used to teach us that books are written for those that do not need them.

A person on the level of the people you named, might appreciate what they wrote.
I am not at the level of a Rumi.

To read books of these mystics is as if a child of six thinks or is made to believe that he can and should read say Einsteins theory.

If you are on their level, so be it.
To use the words of Huzur:
If I was not indoctrinated by my education to ingest what belongs to its culture, I would have never known about god nor have had any interest in such an concept.

Like there are people that have nightmares, there are people that have all sorts of other experiences be it NDE's or like my friend or forced experiences by ingesting Psylocibine , LSD etc. They have to cope with them as being part of their life. There is no reason that their experiences should have meaning for others.

I do understand why I came to be interested in spirituality in the past. If it would cross my path these days I would not give it a moment of thought.

To drink coffee I do not need almost everything I have learned during my life.

And ... Yes I did love the many encounters, correspondence etc with Huzur but I would have done so also if I was not TOLD he was ....for you to fill the gaps.

"@ AR

Dad taught us at early age that everything that comes out of the mouth of "false" people, must by necessity be false, no matter how well formulated."

..........Hang on, hang on, there, um. I didn't want to revisit this, but let me make this very clear, that I hadn't intended any broader criticism than exactly what I'd said, in that thread and in this one. I most certainly don't think of anyone ---- okay, let me not mince words, let me just speak plainly here ---- I most certainly don't think of Spence as "false", or dishonest, or generally disingenuous, most assuredly not.

My criticism was very specific, and related only to the persistent sidestepping and strawmanning in that thread. That's disingenuity, absolutely, and it remains there clearly documented, the portions he sidestepped, and that he can go back to and engage with any time he wants; but that disingenuity is limited specifically to that very narrow arena. I guess it's maybe a cognitive dissonance thing, and, I have to say, I don't get it, at all. But there's no reason at all to generalize this in the slightest beyond that very narrow scope.

But hey, overall I appreciate your broad point, um, absolutely, about faux-goodness, and how that often hides exactly the opposite of the goodness that's pretended to. In general terms, and without referring to any specific person, that's a very wise observation, indeed. And maybe that's all you yourself meant to convey, but I just wanted to make sure there's no misunderstanding about my position over any of this. In fact in retrospect I'm starting to regret having even gotten into that discussion in that thread at all ---- but then again, that's kind of what we're here for, to try to arrive at greater clarity, by talking things over, than we might be able to by ourselves. Well, whatever. The best-case ending to all of this would be if Spence could revisit that thread, and clearly face and admit to what he's so resolutely refusing to even engage with; but that's his call, and, barring that, and if we must leave that unresolved, then let's just move on beyond all of that now.

Hi AR:
You wrote
"You're clearly saying here that whether there is a supernatural or not is a matter of belief, which is fair enough, because everything is that. Then you're suddenly launching off into loco-land, and effectively claiming that in as much as our human brain can only indirectly and imperfectly apprehend reality, therefore all kinds of belief are, you seem to imply, equivalent. Lovely sleight of hand, Spence. Did you think I would not see through that subterfuge? But what I still don't get, is why on earth you descend to these shenanigans."

Hm. Yes, I may not have been clear on this. Certainly didn't mean to change horses here.

You wrote:
""You're clearly saying here that whether there is a supernatural or not is a matter of belief, "

Not exactly. What I'm saying is that what the mind conceives of is a conception of the mind. So the concept of Gravity is a concept. Gravity may be a bit more or or less than that.

There is the concept of the supernatural. And then there are very real natural events we just don't know about yet. So our experience of these things, being one dimensional and not fully vetted by scientific inquiry, can be rather inaccurate or exaggerated. Hence people's notions about God to help them understand the weather, etc. Something real may be there but the explanations can be very far from real.

Personal honesty and testing of any kind goes a long way to help those conceptual explanations to become more reality based.

Therefore, thanks to the principles of science, our notions can be more accurate or less accurate.

Since God is an explanation for the unknown, one day we may label that with another word or a whole other explanation for what was experienced.

From that perspective God may exist, but as far as the human mind, all we wind up with is a concept, not a real God. And our concept can become a more accurate reflection of our experience. But if it isn't based in anything that can be tested, we can use the word 'God' to mean practically anything. And generally people label what they believe or what they experience with the word "God". Personally, I prefer the term "Unknown". It's more accurate from a scientific perspective.

So, no, all explanations are not equally valid.

I wrote above that science tells us more about reality. Everything labelled supernatural could just be a part of reality we don't know about yet, not apart of some other non-physical realm.

Since I'm a scientist by training, I believe that whatever we experience in meditation must have corrollates in the physical body.

When I see the stars in space, that might be some connection to them, or some form of communication between the stars and my brain, or some ancient memories build into our genetics.

Look at Gravity. Huge planets billions of miles apart with nothing detectable between them, yet they are connected somehow and pull on each other with gigantic forces. These forces can only be measured by there effect. Of themselves, there is zero detection of them.

That inspires me to believe that this physical creation can contain all sorts of invisible things we have no understanding about yet.

And that inspires interest in exploration, investigation, discovery, disclosure, peer review, theory and hypothesis testing, replication and scrutiny with the purpose, not to dismiss others' experience, but to find a true and accurate explanation.

Hey, Spence.

I follow everything you say, but I don't understand what conclusion we're supposed to draw. Is it any of these?

1) Working in science is the equivalent of sound and light mysticism, because both are noble pursuits.
2) Scientists should not dismiss mysticism. They're depriving themselves.
3) The discipline of science is similar to sound and light mysticism; therefore, scientists should be interested in mysticism and practice it.
4) Some have given up on sound and light mysticism. Big mistake, especially those interested in science, because mysticism is the ultimate science.
5) Mysticism makes scientists better at science.
6) A scientist without mysticism is no scientist at all.
7) I'm a scientist and a mystic. I know what's real. Mysticism is real. Mystic transport is real. Mystical realms are real.

Then, what action do you want readers to take?

Hi again AR:

As for our prior thread, it very much bears on this one.
My distinction between Consumers of Scientific Information Vs Scientists, or the Scientific Perspective.

They are worlds apart.
Certainly consumers of scientific information are more discriminating than those who form beliefs that feel good.....Unless they are selecting their scientific information to support their own pre-conceived beliefs. This is the danger of claiming a scientific view without actually any interest in testing one's own beliefs.

So, the consumer of science points to their chosen scientific data and says "see, this proves what I believe. And the fact there is no contrary data proves all other beliefs are wrong."

If you say "Well, let's test that statement: A, the science you picked doesn't actually measure what you claimed it did. B. there are indeed studies supporting alternatives, C. How do you test your claim?"

And when they come up empty, well, I don't think they can claim to be viewing the world scientifically at all. This is where you and I disagree.

The scientific perspective is one of exploration, investigation, discovery...Yes, a consumer of science can adopt a scientific perspective even in their review of literature. But to do that would require the rigor of reading and acknowledging texts that say the exact opposite of what they believe. Yes, that's part of background research every scientist must complete.

Lacking the discipline of science, I think it is at least innacurate and at most self-congratulatory to claim a scientific perspective without a willingness to explore what we don't yet know...to acknowledge first and foremost with these three magnificent words "I don't know" and then..

Consumer of science adds these three "I don't care."
Scientist adds these three "Hm, that would be quite new. Let's explore this one."

@ AR

I know, I know AR about your good intentions, and just focusing on what is said and not to use what is said as a verdict of the person that said it.

But I am cut from other wood then you AR and was trained on two different and superficial seen opposite ways.

Grandma would said time and again ... you can see their faces Um but you cannot look inside their heads. And on the other hand dad telling us not to hear upon the words but to look at their faces, in order to see what a person was up to. or to read between the lines or to look at the collateral information instead of focusing upon what another person wants you to see.

So what people write here as such is no issue for me .... what matters is what they are actually doing with what the write.


Hi Umami!
You've done a nice job reflecting my sentiments.
I can refine on this a bit.
Yes, I do believe that true mystics and scientists have similar qualities.
And yes, I've known some great scientists in physics, rocket design and chemistry (having been raised in Southern California) who were practicing mystics.

Both mystics and scientists have an admiration for reality, a passion for reality in all it's splendor, surprise, and complexity above any explanation. No mystic I've ever known holds a blind belief in God. They have developed for themselves an understanding of something greater and sublime within themselves.

Yes, I think that sums it up. So as a scientist one can't wait to get back to the exploration, the lab, the archeological dig, etc and true a mystic can't wait to get back to their meditation practice.
Differences are around collection of data, peer review, theory and hypothesis testing.

Those who meditate are testing and trying new stuff in their practice all the time, just like athletes professionals in every field. they have their "practice" because they are constantly learning and trying.

But mystics don't share their experiences much. You can read Um's comments to see the sort of personal attacks that result.

For me, it hardly matters. It's important to share my voice. the world is so full of darkness, why not add some light?

and when someone says "I don't believe this because no one has every claimed to have seen it" I'm the guy who does. Now they can say "I don't care you are full of shit"...which reveals that their opinion wasn't based on actual evidence at all. It's just what they want to believe.

This is problematic for me because as a Jew with most of my family murdered in the Holocaust, I get how people, even a whole "scientific" and "progressive society" can completely deny the humanity and existence, and the human rights of anyone they choose.

So, that just means I am encouraged to use my voice.

And, as a good scientist, withering criticism sometimes hits the mark, and I learn something, revise my thinking.

Happens daily, but only when I share what's going on. So that is crucial to any form of peer review.

Umami you asked what the take away was.
Hm, I don't think speaking to my experience is headed in a direction of 'do this" or "do that"...


Follow your passion.
Give no shits about others' reaction.
Don't apologize for what you love. Be happy because of that love!
God Damn It! Follow Your Passion!

@ Spence

>> But mystics don't share their experiences much. You can read Um's comments to see the sort of personal attacks that result.<<

Hahaha ... it is that you wrote it otherwise i would not believe my eyes.

@ Spence

>> Follow your passion.
Give no shits about others' reaction.
Don't apologize for what you love. Be happy because of that love!
God Damn It! Follow Your Passion!<<

These words of you make me think of the Irish protestant Orangists when they parade through the Catholic neighborhoods .

Watch the movements of their legs and their outward pointed feed.

They too, give a shit about others and do simple what they want whenever the want and where the want

It is selfserving self promoting at the cost of others.

Hahahaha and you dear to suggest yourself to be a mystic .
Shame on you.

Derek lin's treinstation of the 24th chapter of the Tao te ching says.

Those who are on tiptoes cannot stand [1]
Those who stradle cannot walk[2]
Those who flaunt themselves are not clear
those who presume themselves are not distinguished
those who praise themselves have no merit
those who boast about themselves do not last

Those with the Tao call such leftover food or tumors
They despise thrm
Thus, those who posses the Tao do not engage in them[3]

[1] To stand on tiptoes is to raise oneself above others. This is an effective metaphor for arrogance because we know from everyday experience that it is not possible to stand that way for long. Similarly, an arrogant persons's facade of superiority cannot last.

[2 To straddle is to strike an exaggerated pose. This represents pomposity - a pretentious display of the egoi. Just as we cannot walk while straddling, so too can we not make any progress in life when we are too busy projecting a boastful sens of self-importance

[3] a common fallacy in the philosophical study of the tao is the idea that because everything is relative and the tao encompasses all, there are no "good" or "bad" things in the tao. This chapter points out that the true tao cultivators regard arrogance ase useless, harmful and despicable. Although it is no less part of the tao than any other human trait, arrogance simply isn't something that can uplift and spire most of us.

arrogance simply isn't something that can uplift and spire most of us.
arrogance simply isn't something that can uplift and spire most of us.
arrogance simply isn't something that can uplift and spire most of us.

"But mystics don't share their experiences much. You can read Um's comments to see the sort of personal attacks that result."


Well, the truth is, I'm a little uncomfortable with it myself. If you have a copy of Die to Live, there's a chapter called "Protecting the Treasure." MCS cautions strongly against sharing inner experiences, because the relationship between Master and disciple is personal and supposed to be private. "This is an individual relationship of the soul with the Father. It's nobody else's business." (Q 85). That's why I bristled months ago when you admonished um for lack of devotion. It seemed like an overstep.

I don't mean to tell you what to do. Perhaps you have a special arrangement. It's none of my business either. The exchange was a little harsh, and I wanted to clear the air.

Hi Umami!
There are very important reasons to consolidate what one is given internally and remain absolutely silent. On those matters we agree entirely. But keep in mind it isn't a vow, and there are reasons for this.

However, a scientist doesn't keep secrets at all. Their path is absolute disclosure, even at risk of public humiliation. It's not even a risk but a certainty. Still, science requires it. Full disclosure and examination. And I also believe it to be very healthy. We should all be quite forthcoming about things in order to determine their veracity. And to establish the legitimacy of our experience. This is crucial so A. we help build an environment where people can share who and what they are openly, in an environment of helpfulness and equality. And B we can respect each other without having to hide who we are, warts and all.

Inner experiences could very well be physiologically based, genetically based, biochemically based. That doesn't lessen their beauty or the gift they are to those who witness them. They are not necessarily symbolic of spirituality or morality. They are just experiences. Let's crave becoming kinder and gentler human beings. That is a metric of spiritual development!

But to avoid investigating and exploring on any level just hinders progress.

So, my life's decisions may not be guided by the rules you hold as sacred. And I honor that. I hold the right to live by a different set of rules. That, it seems to me, is the point of Church of the Churchless. How odd that the "ex" satsangis insist on following the rules of Sant Mat when it suits them, and shaming others who don't.

The rules we should live by are the truths that we each discover within ourselves, hold dear and once you realize who you are, then you just have go go there. Follow your passion.

So to really believe that the Path of the Masters is indeed the Science of the Soul, we must follow the requirements of science. That means there will be disclosure. There must be. At least among those brave enough, compelled enough to provide that information. It can be done in confidence also. In medical research patient names are hidden all the time.

And I would even advocate for more. Hence my request to Brian Ji to establish a place here, like the Shoah project for Holocaust Survivors, where the narrative of Satsangi, "ex" satsangi, believer, atheist, mystics of all proclivities can share their story in as much detail as they like, and also some key biographics, so that we can summarize and understand better the variety of meditation experience, their impact on one's life, and one's well being. That can be done in a blind survey quite easily.

But the dialogue to get there may require some disclosure, as we have here.

When does following the rules become censorship? When people can't tolerate someone's personal experience for any reason. And that is precisely the time to give that experience voice and legitimacy as a personal experience.

Hi Um
Reading your comments raises several questions. But mostly, what does this guy hold sacred? What is Um passionate about? What does Um love more than himself?

It would help me understand your actions a little better if you would accept these questions sincerely, as they are intended, and offer your best answers.



Loved this piece. Everyone wants to be someone else's Messiah but it really comes down to trying to prove to yourself you're right by convincing or controlling others or drawing others along in your 'jubilence'. Most of us are just arrogant and dumb and should ... well you said it best::

🌿 "... nothing can be said about it other than Nothing can be said about it. So religious believers and mystics should, to put it bluntly, just shut the fuck up. 

Enjoy your supposed religious or mystical experience, but don't burden the rest of humanity with bullshit about how marvelous your revelation is..." 🌿

Amen, Brian. Religion, spiritualism, and “mysticism” is mostly bullshit.

Good for you for seeing beyond most of the hypocrisy clothed as self-righteousness.

I’m surprised that anyone has an interest in spirituality considering the gross hypocrisy and self-righteousness that most religions and sects offer. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

If you find yourself condemning anyone for sharing their personal experience that is on you, not them.

Their disclose has nothing to do with you at all.

But by condemning others, calling them loco or telling them to shut the fuck up simply for having a different experience you are making something personal.

You are doing what Religions do, what politics does to demonize innocent people simply for having different lives.

Ooops, you fell into the same trap of those you accuse. It happens. Forgive yourself. But don't do it again.

Spence, I'm free to say shut the fuck up as often as I want, to whoever I want. If you thought I was talking about you, that's your problem, not mine. In fact, I wasn't thinking of you specifically, though I do find your endless preachiness annoying, since you are always claiming to know more about spirituality and all things godly than anyone else who comments on this blog due to your absolutely AMAZING inner experiences which, in your own mind at least, are second to none.

If you find yourself condemning others why not yet to understand them first?

And then, most importantly, try to see if they can understand you?

I think a gentler, respectful approach might work better to facilitate such a dialogue.

Becuse your experience and theirs are both legitimate experiences.

They may never be in agreement, but at least they can be understood with respect.

Brian Ji
I suggest that each of us believes we are right.

I don't have a monopoly on that.

But I've been wrong so many times that part of what keeps me confident is a respectful dialogue with those who disagree.... Because occasionally I get what they are saying.

And once in a rare while, they get what I'm saying. Not that they agree, but they don't misunderstand or misstate my position.

And I manage to avoid mangling theirs.

Just a thought.

And one more point, Brian Ji
No inner experience can hold a candle to one single act of compassion.

Inner experiences are biological events. Interesting, but of no intrinsic value.

Spirituality is seeing that all human beings are in the same family.

Every Atheist who knows anything about genetics knows this is true. Religious people may choose to believe it.

But an Atheist who knows about biology and genetics absolutely knows this is true.

Therefore an inclusive Atheism includes all spirituality and religion, because these are attempts to understand reality, and crowned with science completes the picture.

Atheism isn't opposed to religion. It is the natural development of religion, which was at core an effort to understand reality, to make some culture bound explanation. Now we have better explanations. And discovering more all the time.

@ Spence

@ Spence

Those lost in the movie, have all sorts of reaction, each to his own unique variety of humanity.

Once waking up in the cinema one only sees humans sitting all around mesmerized by what they see .. mesmerized by what they create in their own mind in reaction to what they see on the screen.

>> And I would even advocate for more. Hence my request to Brian Ji to establish a place here, like the Shoah project for Holocaust Survivors, .....<<

Reading these words, one wonders what goes on in the mind of the writer.

Things, facts etc are just what they are
mostly not how they are seen
let alone how they are presented

@ Spence

Making yourself seen as an victim that needs to commemorate as in the Shoah Memorial are you also demanding for a "Neurenberg Tribunal" for your critics?

Hi Um
You asked
"Making yourself seen as an victim that needs to commemorate as in the Shoah Memorial are you also demanding for a "Neurenberg Tribunal" for your critics?"

Quite the opposite, Um.
I think it is best to discuss concepts and avoid personal negative remarks.

This is not a principle I've adhered to 100% of the time, but I strive to.

That is why, I chose to learn more about who you are in my questions above. I can't say I really understand your motive to make personal attacks. You don't always do that. Sometimes you share philosophy I agree with, and sometimes philosophy or interpretation that I view differently.

But perhaps if I learned more about you I would understand.

There does seem to be a theme at Church of the Churchless of having been burned badly in a religous organization, and so we see personal attacks on individuals expressing any respect for religion, spirituality and mysticism (the three are not the same) , combined with some decent arguments for science over religion.

So rather than continue sharing my own experiences and views I really would prefer learning more about those folks who have enmity, not merely disagreement, with religion, spirituality, and mysticism. And a few who have found it helpful to them and a positive experience.

Unfortunately at this point I'm not sure that can be done adequately unless folks actually share as Brian Ji and I have done, our personal experiences.

Again, I think it would be great to see all sorts of different narratives and some basic metrics to see what happened, how folks felt about it, and how it has affected them.

This could be done blinded so no one need feel they are disclosing something that is otherwise private.

It would be informative at the least. But it might also help explain things.

You see, Um, you seem in awe of the unknown mystery of my Internal experience.

But I'm in awe of the unknown Um experience! ;)

"But by condemning others, calling them loco or telling them to shut the fuck up simply for having a different experience you are making something personal."

..........This is getting utterly, utterly weird.

Look, Spence, as you may or may not have noticed, I'd withdrawn from the discussion, leaving all of those loose balls you'd left bouncing away, un-hooked-out-the-stadium. Because I wasn't liking the direction this discussion was taking, towards a place not so much of constructive criticism of ideas, that one might learn from, but of what amounts to context-free preaching, and of people objecting thereto, with potential personal hurt thrown in as collateral damage. Not something I want a part of. Hence I was happy to withdraw, to maybe join some other discussion some other day; and the meantime quietly lurking.

But that "loco" reference, clearly that was a reference to my post, because I don't think anyone else has used that word, not in these two threads. And again, while you're free to disagree with me obviously, but I totally don't get this propensity for wild strawmanning. Honest direct discussion is what I can relate with; and, if some subject does not draw one, or is somehow painful to one, then refusal to engage I can understand as well; but this constant twisting people's words to mean something other than they've been saying, and then attacking that twisted version of what people say, that kind of thing is something I simply can't wrap my head around. You've been doing that in the other thread, and in this one as well, desperately juggling away in order to not have to address my straightforward single-point argument, even as you keep up the appearance of engagement; and now, here you are, repeating that same weird performance with this "loco" reference, I've no clue why.

I most certainly did not call you "loco" for "having a different experience"; and, if you would only have seen what I'd actually said rather than reading into my words something else altogether, then you'd have seen that I was doing exactly the opposite of "making (it) personal". (And again, while I'm happy to leave Brian and you to discuss out your differences, and stay out of it myself, obviously; but your reference to "calling people loco" clearly points back to me; which is why I've come back to type out this response.)

I didn't call you loco for having different kinds of experiences. On the contrary, more than once in these very threads, the present one and the previous, I've directly expressed appreciation for your remarkable experiences. What I described as "descending into loco-land", is the argument that you'd slipped in in a comment, your argument, partly spelt out and partly left implied, that because anything we think and say about the supernatural is a matter of belief; and because beliefs per se are essentially fallible, and because fallibility is an essential part of science and of a scientific worldview; therefore the scientific worldview on the supernatural (that it simply doesn't exist, it is fictive, it is delusion ---- albeit, sure, it can be the object of research for those so inclined, but by and large the reasonable scientific worldview treats it as unreal, in fact that 's what it's actually defined as) is questionable. That POV that you'd presented, or at least implied, is what I'd termed "loco"; and objected both to that POV, and also the manner in which it had been slipped in. [And please don't start strawmanning me yet again by bringing in the argument that science is rooted in research. That is something I agree with, and you well know that. What I'm talking about is simply my core argument, both in the other thread, as well as in our past long-drawn discussion; and that, this past week, you've been assiduously sidestepping.]

For the last time, then: I can't, and won't try to, speak for anyone else, obviously; but, speaking for myself, and myself alone, I most certainly don't dismiss your experiences, exactly the opposite (albeit I take it with a healthy pinch of salt/ constructive skepticism). I most certainly don't think you're "loco" for having had those experiences (albeit, to be fair, in the past we've discussed different explanations for those experiences, and neural mis-firing is one of those discussed, but that's merely one amongst many, because clearly that is one possibility, and that option isn't the one I necessarily favor). Please don't keep misrepresenting me like this.

*withdraws resolutely from a discussion that's now getting distinctly uncomfortable, neither very enlightening nor particularly enjoyable*

@ Spence

>>You see, Um, you seem in awe of the unknown mystery of my Internal experience.<<

Your experiences are part of the movie. If one wakes up in the cinema they lose their meaning.

@ Spence

To finalize

>>> ......this constant twisting people's words to mean something other than they've been saying, and then attacking that twisted version of what people say, .....<<<

The stage is all yours.

Hi Um
You wrote:

"Your experiences are part of the movie. If one wakes up in the cinema they lose their meaning."

So, are you saying you have woken up? And what does that look like to you?

is that every hour of the day? Or just once in a while? Or one moment of epiphany?
Is it a conceptual notion or some other reality you are referring to?
Is it how you view society and other people?
Or how you have viewed your own life?
Was there a before-woke time for you and then a woke-event and now a woke life?

Is your woke existence any different functionally?
How do you rate your happiness before and after Woke? Are you happier?
Did your relationships with others around you change?
Were you alone in your pre-wokeness or was there some significant other? Did your wokeness change your relationship? For the better? How so?
Or is there a partner with you now, a woke partner? To be your partner through all this?
Or if not, are your non-woke family / friends / partner understanding of your change? Or? What was the journey for you?

Or is the knowledge or meaning or understanding more valuable to you than mere happiness?
Please tell me more about this. Help me to be a better student, Um.

You will need to take the risk that I will respect and honor what you are saying. Does being woke include that willingness?

@ Spence

One a person wakes up in the movie, he just wakes up in the cinema and sees that those next to him are mesmerized by the movie.

That is all there is to say

>> Help me to be a better student, Um.<<

If I would ask anybody in my family such a question, they would think that the devil himself had taken possesion of me.

hahahaha .... oh, oh Spence.

Hi Um
You wrote
"If I would ask anybody in my family such a question, they would think that the devil himself had taken possesion of me."

Very curious!
Why would your family members respond in that way?

How different is the role of student to what they normally see in you?

And what exactly is the Um your family perceives?

Would love to hear your thoughts on the earlier questions as well.

A couple more come to mind.

How does your family view education and personal development?

How do you view it?

In Jewish families it's huge. You don't get to leave the dinner table unless you can make a compelling argument for any of the ten commandments, or a good case against them. Either position is fine so long as it is well thought out and articulated.

Other families value industry, competancy in business.

In our family it was whatever captured our interest. One of my dad's favorite lessons was "Do what you love, don't worry about money. The money will follow. You may not be rich but you will make a decent living."

He also said "As you go through life, let this be your goal. Keep your eye upon the bagel and not upon the hole."

What values were held in esteem in your family?

@ Spence

Given what I have posted here in the past, you might be able to answer most if not all your questions..

I deleted the rest ... hahaha

Hi Um
Yes I've reviewed your comments in detail but I honestly am still seeing a disconnect that I'm afraid requires some clarification on your part.

Naturally I can only share my understanding from what I've read, hence my interest in your explanations. I'm not good at guesswork, and prefer information. If you can supply it I would be most grateful.

When you refer to your experiences in childhood they are consistently along two themes.

1. The people you knew were filled with love, integrity and honesty.

2. But everyone else was a charlatan, a cheat and a scoundrel, and not to be trusted. Even education or career ambition were all false and negative things.

2. Anything anyone states about philosophy is salesmanship, but the sacred texts you reference are sources of truth, especially when they talk about the false thinking of other people.

3. Truth and wisdom are largely separate from people, living in the dream, so when anyone shares a thought they are foolish for doing so.

This only raises more questions.

But they are much the same as I've raised.

1. What do you hold as truth?
Not about how false other people are. That would be 'what do you hold as false.' No. I can see clearly some of the things you hold as false. But not what you actually believe IN. What is your truth that you have found?

If you eliminate the false there must be a truth at some point, right? What is yours? Or do you think there is only false and no actual truth? Not sure that even makes sense, but I guess it might.

2. You cite the Tao and you site Sant Mat literature as your sources of truth.

Are you a practicing Satsangi or Taoist?

What is your practice?

If you review your own comments you will see only answers on the negative to such questions, but no affirmation of your actual belief. This is why I inferred you to be a Nihilist. That's fine if it's true, but that can only be determined by your own report. Interested as I am in Truth, I would rather take that from your own description, which I have not found, or may have missed.

Please enlighten.

@ Spence

Rejoice in your own truth Spence.
As an onlooker you are free to experience a painting as you deem fit.

Yes, I am an nihilist, in the sense I do miss all the things you are so proud of.

Go on spreading your wings as a peacock so that many can find pleasures in the colors but doing so stop the ears for the sound that the beast creatres ... hahaha

GSD just canceled his trip to the US because he’s really sick and he’s dying. It will be interesting to see who replaces him.

Recently I’ve become very interested in the study of cults and cult leaders. Cult members and cult leaders seem to believe that they’re so incredibly unique. Yet, there are thousands of cults with similar unique special status belief systems. Just spend a day researching cults on YouTube and you’ll start to see the absurd commonalities among cult leaders and their followers.

I do prefer the scientific method in this regard. Peace is equilibrium. Anything beyond that is a warning that something is a little off kilter. We’re all human—we get angry and sad and excited, but when you feel depressed or anxious for a long period of time or start having delusions of grandeur, that’s your emotional gage telling you something isn’t TRUE.

I haven't read or seen that anywhere that he's dying. I guess in reality we're all dying at some point, but still I didn't see or hear anything regarding this.

Hi Sonya
There are mystics in every geography, and some of them share what they have found.

Some are Christian. Some are Jewish. Some are Atheists. Some are Satsangis.

There is no lack because it is part and parcel of the human experience, and always a few around who know it. They interpret it in their own way, in the context of their culture, time and experience.

And as Um might opine, along with them many who are wannabees.

Whatever there is an original there are going to be photocopies.

For the initiates of Baba Ji, he is in them and will never leave them.

For the rest, we can raise our own sensitivity through the practices you mention, balance and peace, and we will find them if that is what we need.

There has never been and never will be a time when they are not here.

Hi Sonya
You wrote
"I do prefer the scientific method in this regard. Peace is equilibrium."

Any practice that gives us lasting peace and equilibrium is worth our time and attention, imho.

I believe Saints live in all geographies, all cultures. There are Satsangi saints, and Christian saints, Muslim saints and Atheist saints, black saints, brown and white saints.

There is no risk to those who already follow one, because he is inside of them.

And for those seeking to know one, it's just a matter of getting our own radar turned on. Peace and equilibrium can do that, I believe.


I've enjoyed your contributions here. Thank you. There is something solid when people share the context of what they think /believe, as opposed to trite evasive put-downs. The doughnut, as opposed to the hole. It is nice to get to know someone through their thinking. We all do quite a bit of thinking to wade through this world. You have gotten me to ask myself, am I focused on the emptiness that people get themselves entangled in, or the doughnut that gives meaning to it all. Isn't it the hole which drives us in search of the doughnut.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

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

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.


Post a comment

Your Information

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


  • 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.