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Intoxication and Religious Experience

 
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 03:06 pm
@salima,
salima;93519 wrote:
so if a person is meditating and has a particular experience (one name for it being samadhi) and another person has taken drugs and has what when compared between the two people seems to be identical-havent they both had the same experience?


Hey Salima, how goes?

That's a good question that makes a fine point. I suppose my answer would be two-fold: [INDENT]1. How exactly might they know they even had the same experience? I'm not sure they would.

2. .... but assuming they did (one borne of a bio-chemical malfunction and the other of some spiritual realization or epiphany of thought), that "sensation" (since that's all we're talking about) could have many reasons, many correlations, many possible explanations. Since both might have produced the same, single-instant 'mind tingling' shall we then say they both have equal worth?
[/INDENT]I guess my point is this: Why would I short-circuit my head to try and get just the sensation of otherness or spiritual when I know I've used biology to attain that thrill - to cut to the quick?

In one case someone has their mental capacities about them, likely the emotional and mental foundation that spawned this reaction, without 'cheating biology' to get the tingle. I'll admit I've little experience in this area, so I hope you'll forgive any naivety, but this is how the issue occurs to me.

Thanks for replying - Be well

---------- Post added 09-25-2009 at 04:07 PM ----------

Krumple;93580 wrote:
What is a spiritual experience if not an intoxication of the soul?

ha ha, has anyone ever said that? If not, can I have the credit?


Awesome.... someone write that down
0 Replies
 
rhinogrey
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 03:14 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;92909 wrote:
(I know this is a very old thread, but it is something that has been on my mind.)

I was into recreational intoxicants when I was very much younger. I never took opiates of any kind, and never cocaine, but as for experiences with entheogens, I lost count. I definitely had real spiritual realisations through these. There is a phase you go through where you have hallucinations, intoxication, flights of ideas, and so on. But there is another stage appropriately called Clear Light. At this point I was completely taken by the realisation that everything in life was holy, life itself was holy, there was nothing lacking, nothing to be gained, nothing the matter anywhere. This manifested as being spellbound by nature - saplings, moss-covered boulders and the like (doesn't sound much when you write it....) Particular objects would seem to be extremely beautiful - for the first time, I really saw how beautiful nature was, it was like an artwork, very much like what Huxley wrote in Doors of Perception. It was also realisation of what a uniquely amazing thing it is to be a human. In fact it was a taste of self-realisation, of that I have no doubt.

This was a long time ago now, more than 30 years. And I realised then you couldn't stay in this state artificially. You always would come down and back into the normal mundane existence. So the question was, how to realise that state naturally? Because enough of it remained to know it was real, not just an induced fantasy. Subsequently I studied mysticism and learned to practise Buddhist meditation. (And to be honest, maybe I have a pre-disposition to mysticism which this all was tapping into.)

Of course, dharma completely forbids intoxicants, as it should; I would now not advocate going down that road and I have been a non-user of any such things since the 70's. But I still believe the entheogen experience is real. And maybe that is the reason for the stigma attached to them. It is normality protecting itself. They really did make me realise that the reality of many lives is basically habit and convention. Conventional existence really does have shallow roots, and I think there is a deep realisation of that which we are not allowed to acknowledge. A lot of what goes on in the world is built on that denial.

It doesn't matter any more. I have started to discover the inner truth of dharma and don't need anything further. But in a way it does validate what I saw back then; that state of mind is starting to become more real in everyday life. So I guess when it comes to 'sacred intoxicants', and subject to the above caveats, I have to vote 'Aye'.


I guess I'm where you were at thirty years ago.

I can't even count the amount of entheogens I've taken in the past two years

well, yes, I can, because I've got them all logged and journaled out Smile


Did you ever do any LSA-containing seeds? Those will keep you in a loopy headspace for a loooooong time if you take a heroic dose.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 07:19 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;93580 wrote:
What is a spiritual experience if not an intoxication of the soul?

ha ha, has anyone ever said that? If not, can I have the credit?


usually what they say is that life is intoxication for the soul...desires,etc and all the panoply of sensations it is exposed to, so much so that it forgets its true being and origin...but what you said is the way it seems.

that is why it is also said that everyone is a drunkard of one kind or another-either they are taking drugs or drinking or it is the drunken folly of chasing success,wealth, love, fame, etc...

---------- Post added 09-26-2009 at 07:14 AM ----------

Khethil;93627 wrote:
Hey Salima, how goes?

That's a good question that makes a fine point. I suppose my answer would be two-fold:[INDENT]1. How exactly might they know they even had the same experience? I'm not sure they would.

2. .... but assuming they did (one borne of a bio-chemical malfunction and the other of some spiritual realization or epiphany of thought), that "sensation" (since that's all we're talking about) could have many reasons, many correlations, many possible explanations. Since both might have produced the same, single-instant 'mind tingling' shall we then say they both have equal worth?
[/INDENT]I guess my point is this: Why would I short-circuit my head to try and get just the sensation of otherness or spiritual when I know I've used biology to attain that thrill - to cut to the quick?

In one case someone has their mental capacities about them, likely the emotional and mental foundation that spawned this reaction, without 'cheating biology' to get the tingle. I'll admit I've little experience in this area, so I hope you'll forgive any naivety, but this is how the issue occurs to me.

Thanks for replying - Be well


i am a little confused on what you are saying. both ways involve biology i would think, if there is a change in brain functioning that allows us to use our perceptions in areas we had formerly not been able to...so i dont see it as two different deals, one of which would be preferable to the other.

and a person who has the effect as a result of meditation-well let's say in my case, it came about without either meditation or drugs-go figure. i am sure that it can happen to anyone-that is how i see nde's which are brought about sometimes by trauma, even mental stress. so which people have their mental and emotional facilities intact? did i when it happened to me because i was not taking drugs? actually i know i did not...you would have to take my word for it. again, for all i know that was a prerequisite to the experience in my case.

are there only two ways of experiencing this? i.e. naturally or on drugs? i cant really answer that. what intrigues me is the question as to whether there is a purely mechanical method possible-like the brain probes they do that supposedly can produce something similar to an nde.

what i believe is that the main difference that does exist is not in the experience or the method that it takes to reach it, as far as the interpretation of the experience or the application of it to life. the difference is in the inherent mental and emotional state and experience of the person at the time of it, meaning prior to it as well, and of course from that point on what they do will affect their possible future process.

an analogy i like is that of a person who has been an alcoholic and then quits. from the time he became an alcoholic until he stopped his abuse, his emotional and mental growth has been at a standstill. if he started when he was 15 and quit when he was 40, he is only 15 years old in his head and heart though 40 years old. all the experience in his life has pretty much not done him any good. he has a really big mess to sort out in his head. so no matter how valuable the information is that he receives from having the experience of transcendence, it is not going to be worth much to him in practical terms. the main thing that it can do for him is give him a core belief system that will be infinitely far better than whatever one he held previously-one that will give him faith in life and his own worth though it may be continually shattered by experiences in his daily life for decades to come. it will be something that he can hold onto and motivate him to try and reconstruct his development correctly and unravel all the knots that formed in his thinking along the way while he was inebriated.

i guess what i am trying to say is that it is probably true that it is not a good thing if it happens before we are ready. but someone who is, or seems to be to society, a hopeless drunk may be as ready to handle the experience as someone who has been working diligently through a traditional or spiritual practice to try and reach it-one of my examples of what happens when someone who is not ready would be osho. the man is a jerk-a fake. but i know that he obviously had experiences that showed him the same thing i saw. he was never able to profit by it in a spiritual sense, and certainly not in an ethical or moral sense, which is what i would use to base my opinion on that his spiritual integrity must be at the bottom rung of the ladder.

if i somehow missed your question in there, could you restate it for me?
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Sep, 2009 08:29 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Actually this term 'biochemical malfunction' is necessarily pejorative, is it not? There has been a lot of studies done on this question, and it is not at all clear that the states that arise from entheogens can in any sense be regarded as a 'malfunction'. Does this amount to anything more than a prejudice? Is it not because there is a stigma attached to the idea - drugs, bad!

If you want some serious reading on this topic, which really ought not to be so easily dismissed on the basis of very little information, have a look atthis page from the Council on Spiritual Practises. It has links to books and papers which discuss the use of entheogens from many different cultures and times. Also this great essay by Erik Davis on the 'Tantra of Psychedelics' (certainly doesn't gild the lily, either).

And again, my experience was the same as many others from the 60's: some of us beat a path from Haight Ashbury to Rishikesh and Dharamsala to stabilise and validate the things we saw in those states. (Hence the rise of the "hippie metaphysics" of Frithjof Capra, et al. And from there to one of the tributaries of now mainstream modern culture.) And I still feel this would not have happened without those particular experiences.

Anyway as I said I am not trying to evangalise hallucinogens. But they can't be so easily dismissed.
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 12:17 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;93672 wrote:
Actually this term 'biochemical malfunction' is necessarily pejorative, is it not? There has been a lot of studies done on this question, and it is not at all clear that the states that arise from entheogens can in any sense be regarded as a 'malfunction'. Does this amount to anything more than a prejudice? Is it not because there is a stigma attached to the idea - drugs, bad!

And again, my experience was the same as many others from the 60's: some of us beat a path from Haight Ashbury to Rishikesh and Dharamsala to stabilise and validate the things we saw in those states. (Hence the rise of the "hippie metaphysics" of Frithjof Capra, et al. And from there to one of the tributaries of now mainstream modern culture.) And I still feel this would not have happened without those particular experiences.

Anyway as I said I am not trying to evangalise hallucinogens. But they can't be so easily dismissed.


i agree-and it is very difficult not to appear to be evangelising the use of drugs. and the effects they have that cause certain experiences may not be any malfunction at all, perhaps it is a correction of a malfunction...however, drugs are not 'bad' but can be dangerous and are also illegal.

at the same time, what started out as a psychotic episode for me, and which might have been medicated or shocked out of my system had i been in a hospital, was allowed to run its course and produce whatever happened that caused the experience i had. very few people would recommend the path i took either...well, maybe stanislov grof.

i dont know if anyone is capable of evaluating a person's readiness for these things either...this is of the utmost importance. but i simply cant see negating the use of drugs when it has in fact started so many people off on a different path. especially if it appears they are not going to follow any other means of pursuing it.

maybe the question is whether or not what we gain from these experiences is in fact valuable, or do we just imagine that it is. does it only make us feel comfortable and fuzzy warm? or does it truly make us a better person? does it somehow change the world and the course of history? if there were a way to measure the true value of gnosis or transcendence, samadhi (whatever you want to call it), then it could be balanced against the possible harm drugs can do and see what has more weight.

but i still see it as a part of the shift in consciousness and consider it to be a part of evolution of human beings. in other words, no matter what we do or how we do it, it is already happening and will continue regardless until it is complete. and for those who find the thought of spirituality distasteful or invalid, it doesnt matter. just consider it a process of natural selection. the brain is gradually being rewired to allow the use of certain faculties that prior to this would have resulted in an overload on the nervous system.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 12:53 am
@Didymos Thomas,
There is also something about being an outsider. Liminality - the idea of being outside normal social roles and places, 'betwixt and between', on the edge of normality. Looking back on it, I felt, like others in those days, that normality itself was llusory. This was the Sixties - it was the whole point of the Sixties. Many felt that nuclear war was likely, the Vietnam war was misguided, and that Western society was going to self-destruct. The Summer of Love, Woodstock, Sgt Peppers - they all appeared to be a helluva lot more interesting than a possible career in accountancy. But it all came crashing back to earth. Steely Dan's Kid Charlemagne: 'All those dayglo freaks who used to paint their face, they've joined the human race, some things will never change'. Still - it was great at the time. And I came out of it with something.:bigsmile:

---------- Post added 09-26-2009 at 05:09 PM ----------

salima;93519 wrote:
so if a person is meditating and has a particular experience (one name for it being samadhi) and another person has taken drugs and has what when compared between the two people seems to be identical-havent they both had the same experience?


Actually I hadn't noticed that before and it's a good question. I have been practising meditation for a long time, but nothing much ever happens. If I have samadhi, I don't seem to notice. Every so often one will become very quiet. Maybe that is it. Actually I think the kind of meditation practise I am engaged in is not about 'jhanas' or trance states. Whatever is going on with my practise is a good deal more subtle than that, but it is not about having experiences. There is a difference between experience and realisation, but that is a topic for another thread.

On the other hand in those esctatic states caused by entheogens are a great deal more vivid, obviously, but obviously this can easily be delusional. It often was. The whole Haight-Ashbury scene degenerated into blatant thrill seeking, drug addiction and sexual promiscuity in very short order. I have no illusions about that whatever.

Alduous Huxley, Doors of Perception, during his famous mescaline trip:

Quote:
I was sitting in my study, looking intently at a small glass vase. ... I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation-the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence.

"Is it agreeable?" somebody asked. (During this Part of the experiment, all conversations were recorded on a dictating machine, and it has been possible for me to refresh my memory of what was said.)

"Neither agreeable nor disagreeable," I answered. "it just is."

Istigkeit - wasn't that the word Meister Eckhart liked to use? "Is-ness." The Being of Platonic philosophy - except that Plato seems to have made the enormous, the grotesque mistake of separating Being from becoming and identifying it with the mathematical abstraction of the Idea. He could never, poor fellow, have seen a bunch of flowers shining with their own inner light and all but quivering under the pressure of the significance with which they were charged; could never have perceived that what rose and iris and carnation so intensely signified was nothing more, and nothing less, than what they were - a transience that was yet eternal life, a perpetual perishing that was at the same time pure Being, a bundle of minute, unique particulars in which, by some unspeakable and yet self-evident paradox, was to be seen the divine source of all existence.

I continued to look at the flowers, and in their living light I seemed to detect the qualitative equivalent of breathing - but of a breathing without returns to a starting point, with no recurrent ebbs but only a repeated flow from beauty to heightened beauty, from deeper to ever deeper meaning. Words like "grace" and "transfiguration" came to my mind, and this, of course, was what, among other things, they stood for. My eyes traveled from the rose to the carnation, and from that feathery incandescence to the smooth scrolls of sentient amethyst which were the iris. The Beatific Vision, Sat Chit Ananda, Being-Awareness-Bliss-for the first time I understood, not on the verbal level, not by inchoate hints or at a distance, but precisely and completely what those prodigious syllables referred to.

And then I remembered a passage I had read in one of Suzuki's essays. "What is the Dharma-Body of the Buddha?" ('"the Dharma-Body of the Buddha" is another way of saying Mind, Suchness, the Void, the Godhead.) The question is asked in a Zen monastery by an earnest and bewildered novice. And with the prompt irrelevance of one of the Marx Brothers, the Master answers, "The hedge at the bottom of the garden." "And the man who realizes this truth," the novice dubiously inquires, '"what, may I ask, is he?" Groucho gives him a whack over the shoulders with his staff and answers, "A golden-haired lion."

It had been, when I read it, only a vaguely pregnant piece of nonsense. Now it was all as clear as day, as evident as Euclid. Of course the Dharma-Body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden. At the same time, and no less obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I - or rather the blessed Not-I, released for a moment from my throttling embrace - cared to look at. The books, for example, with which my study walls were lined. Like the flowers, they glowed, when I looked at them, with brighter colors, a profounder significance. Red books, like rubies; emerald books; books bound in white jade; books of agate; of aquamarine, of yellow topaz; lapis lazuli books whose color was so intense, so intrinsically meaningful, that they seemed to be on the point of leaving the shelves to thrust themselves more insistently on my attention.


Picture yourself on a boat on a river....

---------- Post added 09-26-2009 at 06:30 PM ----------

I should acknowledge, very brave of you Salima. Sometimes a breakthrough requires a breakdown, or so I have heard it said, but nothing like that has ever happened to me and it must have taken a lot of courage to get through it.
0 Replies
 
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:40 am
@salima,
salima;93658 wrote:
... if i somehow missed your question in there, could you restate it for me?


Thanks for your reply Salima. No, I didn't have a question, I was replying to this message.

I think we just don't happen to agree here. I believe that altering our consciousness biologically amounts to a short-circuit and a malfunction - that those effects are our brains just being 'broke'. All you state could be true! As I said, I don't really know. - Thanks
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:34 am
@Khethil,
I can remember graffiti sprayed on a wall entering paddington station, years ago..Intoxication divine is everlasting...it conjured up so many thoughts.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 07:38 am
@Didymos Thomas,
in my own opinion, samadhi or bliss isnt ecstatic-it is very peaceful. but the euphoria when you come back and look at the world again...everything has changed, and yet it is all the same. your eyes see differently-the description above that jeeprs quoted is very good. it does wear off after a time, but you would be wandering around saying 'ohm the colors!' all day long if it didnt ... and you can go back to it in your memory and it is almost as vivid whenever you need to. some people can go back any time they want to, like my meditation teacher...now he got there by meditation alone. if he hadnt died, i probably would have been able to come a long way...or maybe not. who knows?

khethil-if my brain got broke, i am much happier this way! you should have seen it before, it was a mess!

---------- Post added 09-26-2009 at 07:10 PM ----------

now this is weird, i really meant to write oh! the colors, and now that i see what came out...well, i guess i wont change it...
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 07:44 am
@salima,
sounds like a good mantra...
0 Replies
 
NoOne phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 01:39 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;6195 wrote:
Religious experience is something that, by nature, cannot be proven to an individual who did not have said experience. .


I do not understand what you mean by "religious experience". I do understand experience with what men have called God. There are indeed tests provided in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures for such events. These tests are actually valid for any kind of sentient contact, because sentience itself has a function.

There is a distinction also made between knowing if you are a prophet, and being a prophet sent to do something.

One can be a prophet but never have the insanity to advertise it. It has to do with communication, what are called visions, which are not as spectacular as myth have them, but they are very important and can save you from your own stupidity, and learning that dreams are a language and are actually based on the principles of language.

What ever may be, may be. The tests all, however, involved the criteria of sentience. The human mind is used to effect behavior--will.

The measure of will is proportional to the length of time into the future you plan to execute and do execute a plan. Men find it hard to plan the next day, I know for a fact that what ever this God is, certainly not a myth, can and has effected plans spanning thousands of years. j.c.
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 02:15 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
I have decent knowledge of this subject, through personal experiences and research of the experiences of others. It seems to me that there are two main differences between a 'spiritual' or 'religious' experience induced by drugs, and an experience arrived at via meditation or other spiritual practices. These differences of course do not hold for all experiences, and of course I have no way of knowing for sure that they do or do not, because I can't get inside of the minds of everyone else...

1. Intent.

The intent of most users of psychedelics or other drugs is to experience pleasurable sensations from altering the amount of neurotransmitters in their brains. This includes euphoria, pleasurable body sensations, hilarity, enhanced experience of colors, enhanced tastes, etc. The spiritual experience that may occur as a result of using these drugs is usually an unintended consequence of their use. Of course not all people use these substances just for pursuing pleasurable sensations, or 'getting high'. These people would say that they are not consuming an 'intoxicant', but a psychedelic, which means mind-manifesting. Read Huxley's 'Doors of Perception'.

On the other hand, the intent of most practitioners of meditation and other spiritual practices is to achieve the 'spiritual experience', whatever it may be, which usually means to achieve a higher understanding. The buddhists might call this 'penetration', or 'one-pointedness' of mind. In this case, the pleasurable sensory effects that come along with the meditation are byproducts of attaining this heightened state of awareness, and are not the goal. When they do arise, they can be seen as being a distraction, or as a hindrance to reaching the goal.

2. Mental state.

While it is true that some people can maintain a clear, focused mind while under the influence of psychedelics, this seems to be the exception. Usually the psychedelic experience will include disorganized thinking, visual as well as mental hallucinations, confusion, and possibly anxiety, paranoia, or great fear. It can also include bliss, peace, and clear thinking. The point though, is that it is an emotional and mental roller coaster, that is very difficult to control.

Meditation, on the other hand, works to maintain focused thought. The meditative state of mind is quite different than that found by most users of psychedelics, in that it is quiet, focused, and maintained as such by the practitioner. Control of one's mind is found, and thoughts can appear and disappear easily, whereas thoughts in the psychedelic experience can take on a life of their own and become grand delusions. Meditation does not involve disorganized or confused thinking.

So, even if meditators and psychedelic users can achieve a similar sensory experience, the mental state is quite different. This allows the meditator to make sense of his experience, and to penetrate its meaning, and remember it with clarity. The psychedelic user though has difficulty finding the difference between knowledge and delusion, and after the experience has worn off, he will often be left confused, doubtful, not knowing what to make of the whole thing.

These differing goals and mental states make for quite a different 'spiritual experience', when integrating such an experience into one's life and attempting to reach deep, penetrative understanding. Obviously these two differences that I have observed in myself and others do not apply always, but I think they do apply to the majority of these experiences. There are also those who meditate simply to experience pleasurable sensations, and there are those who use psychedelics for strictly spiritual pursuits. The difference in mindset though, is quite obvious; and one mindset may be more useful than another, depending on the individual and his particular religious or cultural beliefs.
0 Replies
 
salima
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 07:17 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
hi pan-
i agree with your comments. phenomena of course do happen in meditation and the teacher will always advise the student to not consider that the goal. also, there are a lot of people who meditate for health reasons, to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, etc. sometimes they will be pulled onto a spiritual path without intention, too.

in fact i also had spiritual experiences doing hatha yoga-and what i would call occurrences of psychological healing. one doesnt have to have any faith in the process for it to be effective, either-just the determination to persevere, which for me at the time was due to desperation because i had so many physical problems. that was my only motivation in yoga, and of course it can be a very strong one.

and obviously, as far as i know, there are no bad side effects in meditation-though actually now that i remember it i had a few bad trips! whoa, forgot all about those until just now. this was in the beginning; at the time, my teacher got me through it. you know, bats and rats showing up, spooky dudes in robes whispering etc. yeah, in meditation! wouldnt happen any more.

jeeprs,
did you have any bad trips doing meditation? and as for my breakthrough, i wasnt being brave actually-i had no choice. i was on a sort of express train and there was no place to get off. no one in my life at the time could see me, so no one interfered. i was lucky, actually.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 07:55 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Never any 'bad trips' during meditation other than the fact that sitting still in a cross-legged position for an hour is painful and often seems pointless. (Sometimes this image of a speedometer comes up with blue on the left and red on the right, where red is discomfort, and the longer I sit, the further the dial is towards the red. At a certain point I have to stop). My whole struggle with meditation is leaving aside what your body and mind wants to keep doing all the time, and learning to be still. But realisations do arise. These are not really 'experiences' but realisations. If you read the Zen literature you will get some idea of the theory but it really cannot be conveyed in words.

It might be different for others. When you start out on meditation, you might have very profound or disturbing experiences. You are shining a light on hidden aspects of the mind, and many certainly do have experiences as a result. (This is why it is good to have a teacher). Also when you do ascend to one of the realms of realisation for the first time (i.e. 'bhumis') then you will usually experience something profound, or rather, the nature of your experience is thereafter changed. But as you know, in all the meditation schools, you are never encouraged to seek experiences or be fascinated by experiences, in Zen these are called 'makyo' or types of delusion, no matter how interesting or important they seem.

NoOne;93774 wrote:
I do not understand what you mean by "religious experience".


Perhaps a good foundational text on this question would be 'The Varieties of Religious Experience' by William James. Pubished in 1901, it is still a classic in the field.

Generally speaking, the idea of 'religious experience' is not much understood or encouraged by evangelical or modern Christianity, except for within prescribed bounds such as those understood by the Pentacostals and in conventional terms such as 'conversion' and 'being born again'.
NoOne phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 02:08 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;93812 wrote:
Never any 'bad trips' during meditation other than the fact that sitting still in a cross-legged position for an hour is painful and often seems pointless. (Sometimes this image of a speedometer comes up with blue on the left and red on the right, where red is discomfort, and the longer I sit, the further the dial is towards the red. At a certain point I have to stop). My whole struggle with meditation is leaving aside what your body and mind wants to keep doing all the time, and learning to be still. But realisations do arise. These are not really 'experiences' but realisations. If you read the Zen literature you will get some idea of the theory but it really cannot be conveyed in words.

It might be different for others. When you start out on meditation, you might have very profound or disturbing experiences. You are shining a light on hidden aspects of the mind, and many certainly do have experiences as a result. (This is why it is good to have a teacher). Also when you do ascend to one of the realms of realisation for the first time (i.e. 'bhumis') then you will usually experience something profound, or rather, the nature of your experience is thereafter changed. But as you know, in all the meditation schools, you are never encouraged to seek experiences or be fascinated by experiences, in Zen these are called 'makyo' or types of delusion, no matter how interesting or important they seem.



Perhaps a good foundational text on this question would be 'The Varieties of Religious Experience' by William James. Pubished in 1901, it is still a classic in the field.

Generally speaking, the idea of 'religious experience' is not much understood or encouraged by evangelical or modern Christianity, except for within prescribed bounds such as those understood by the Pentacostals and in conventional terms such as 'conversion' and 'being born again'.


I have the audio-book, I have the ebook. I have an unusually large libray. Quite frankly, James had no idea--and like most of mankind, quite incapable of distinguishing between fact and fiction.

One thing I, and a few others, have noticed, is that ratinality of a mind is reflected in how a person uses words. For example, A more rational person would say, "life's future" and a mystic "future lives". The propensity to invert adjectives, the use of anthropomorphisms, etc, are tell tell signs of mental dysfunction.

Does, for example, "experience" take the adjective "religious"? Or, again, is "Philosophy of this or that" a correct construction? If one does not now why one or more words may or may not be predicated of another, they cannot hope to know when they make a sentence or just a heap of words.

A parrot will use words in ways it is taught to use them, never realizing if they are ordered by principle or not.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 04:49 am
@Didymos Thomas,
I wonder why you think I might have suggested that book, and what your opinion might be about William James' overall contribution to our understanding of the 'varieties of religious experience'? Just a couple of sentences would do.

Also, was the phrase 'tell tell signs of mental dysfunction' a deliberate irony or a simple mistake? This in itself might be a tell tell sign. Or an indication of one's attitude to ratinality. Or simply because the Forum doesn't have spell check.
NoOne phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 06:11 am
@jeeprs,
I am on a stand-up puter at work, a factory--which means this is my 7th day without a break, and no, it does not have full access and no spell checking. I am sick with a cold, and typo's do happen. However, I have never been the greatest speller in the world. And when My machine goes down, I have to take off and fix it-- so I am time limited.

But if you like nit picking, you can start by working on the hanging threads of my cloths.

I believe, as Plato and Confucius, that one does not start the study of reality, or anything else, prior to the study of the conventions of the grammar one wishes to write in. If one does, one is likely to fail miserably at attaining to any understanding.

Most of my study is done at work. Much of the projects, ebooks and audiobooks I distribute freely, are done during work. I was the first to bring a computer onto the factory floor, actually beta testing for Microsoft in the earlier days. I made it possible for others to bring them in so they could study while working on their machines by demonstrating I could be the best, and still pursue my studies.

I had a college english teacher who wanted me to turn pro in writing when I was young, I told her that I would not have anything worth saying until my late 50's early 60's. Anyone can impress the mass man with gibberish, James included.
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 09:53 am
@Didymos Thomas,
That's all fascinating, NoOne, but what does it have to do with this thread?
0 Replies
 
Pangloss
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 11:30 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Well, if you're working on an autobiography, for which you already have a nice start on, judging by your last post, then it deserves its own thread. "Good luck", getting anyone to read it though. As for your posts in the threads created by others, you might want to try staying on topic.
0 Replies
 
 

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