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Dungeness
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I don't criticize personal subjective beliefs. I criticize people who make unfounded claims about objective reality, such as "God exists" and "God created the universe." But, what's the definition of "God". The white-robed figure of religious literature? A universal immanent entity? The whole of everything? Consciousness itself? Scientists don't try to define God. Neither do mystics. The latter only say "not this, not this". A modern mystic has used the term "Totality of Consciousness" but admits even that falls short. Even so, the mystics assert an underpinning reality exists whatever it's called, however ineffable. It did create the universe. And it's provable "objective reality", not subjective "fairy dust". It's simply not accurate to conflate the mystic with the religious fundamentalist who cites scripture blindly. And it's overreach to criticize statements such as "God exists", etc. as unfounded claims about "objective reality". They simply don't dovetail with a more personal definition of what that means. Mystics maintain proof can be found in consciousness itself. Following an inner, meditative practice, they speak only of what they've experienced within and other mystics have as well. Of course, conveying transcendent reality is not at all like describing an aardvark. The mystic can only speak vaguely, offer analogies, "tell a story". Its truth has to experienced inside, within consciousness. In my opinion, it's off the mark to dismiss/belittle/ignore what others have experienced in consciousness and you haven't. Dismissing it as solely "subjective" is pressing down on the scale with one's personal bias. It's a bit like a 5 year old, unable to sit still and helpless to tune out the distracting impulse stream running through his mind, who rejects an explanation that can't be scribbled down in crayon. As someone many decades older, I can guarantee I have an intimate understanding of the 5 year- old's mind and its impulses. I prefer crayon drawings too but realize you can't explain everything with them.
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*** No need for an AR-15 to kill a lot of people *** Bombs and speeding vehicles can kill too... but since a '96 ban on assault rifles in Australia, they haven't had a repeat tragedy. Listen to comedian Jim Jeffries' take: https://massappeal.com/australia-automatic-weapons-guns-ban/ P.S. It's ok... I'm pretty sure the "thoughts and prayers" mourning period has passed.
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Some of us have a hard time to detaching ourselves from the reality of daily life events. It is difficult to believe in illusions and experiences which part of the brain believes them to be reality and rewarding survival behaviors. Every time we awaken and recall a dream, we have no trouble detaching ourself. It was a dream, that's all. For some interval of time it was our reality...the only one we knew. But, awake,`we nod our head sagely and dismiss it as a chimera. A survival tactic. Ambient brain activity during rest. Some residue of the brain's sub-conscious. Dreams, even some intuitive thoughts, can seem nonsensical, bizarre, useless jumbles. Yet others are uncannily perceptive, revealing, even prophetic. What's experienced inside, whether dreams, faith, deep seated belief, can't really be pigeonholed "illusion" so facilely. On the other hand, the non-dream world our senses perceive is rife with it. That is until we "wake up" and see it for what it was. Why don't we see the truth. It seems so real, so solid. And others are supportive too. They see and hear the same thing. So we shake our heads and try to snap out of it. We cling to the "reality" we know.
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I'm also over the idea that we struggle along this spiritual journey and eventually merge with the ultimate God, Sat Purush, in Sach Khand and there we are just a drop in the ocean again. Boring. I feel the same and I'm no drumbeater for any path. To me any discipline that turns inward to understand consciousness itself is good. One mystic's story of "soul drops merging into the Ocean" did resonate with me though. He related "they kept telling me I was a little drop and I had to merge in the ocean with the other drops. To my young mind that was lose-lose. The ocean didn't gain anything with one more drop and I would lose what little bit of self I had! Then after years of dread one day I realized I had never left the ocean at all. I had simply contracted my awareness so I thought I was only a drop of it." So, I would infer that if you merge back and get bored, you can just pretend you're a little drop again....
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I'll bite. Who was this modern mystic, then? At least he seems sincere. Misled perhaps, deluded perhaps, and perhaps not ; perhaps genuinely "enlightened", perhaps not ; but at least someone with zero hypocrisy and zero charlatanry (basis that quote). The mystic is Ishwar Puri. I've heard several of his talks on YouTube. He's mentioned this promise several times in his talks.
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Some people believe in a God or a Master and with their beliefs and imagination create such kind of visions. Some people believe in aliens and ufos and then manifest them and those interactions seem very real to them. I agree totally. What you believe and imagine is there. From a recently quoted comic strip: "But then the night Always the night. So love everyone you're with... And laugh as much as you can."
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I ask these questions because I've spent many, many years talking to people who believe in God, and I've never met a single person who had a convincing story about an actual experience of God. Frankly, I'm not surprised because it's almost always hollow to talk about abstractions like God. Unsupported by experience of an inner reality, strong faith can still promote morality, foster the common good, and become the underpinning of caring, decent societies.Yet if existential questions remain unanswered, it's ultimately blind faith. The mystic however isn't satisfied and looks for answers and, most importantly, actual experience of a transcendental reality by pursuing an inner, meditative discipline. But they can only give hints of a reality that transcends phenomenology, ...tell stories, ...offer analogies. How can anyone convey what ultimate reality is? The mystic can only say "it's not this... not this". It's always rung true that you believe only what you've experienced yourself. Absent that, trying to convince yourself or others with anecdotes, esoteric descriptions, or intellectual debate always falls short. So does blind faith. That's why a modern mystic once said in effect "Don't believe anything blindly. If you can't confirm belief with actual experience, discard it unhesitatingly. Keep looking. If you find something better, come back and tell me. I'll follow it too." Mystics consistently posit we already have the answers to our own questions. We want to be fed what we already know, what will resonate with the truth that's already buried in our subconscious. Then when we experience it within, it becomes real.
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Brian, thanks. Beautiful.
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The 'self' is another mental construct that is assumed from the information 'stored' in the brain – such as a particular culture, nationality, sexual orientation, name, position in society and so on. I think there's arguable evidence that there's more to the 'self' than simply info stored in the brain. One particularly interesting study by a past life researcher, Dr. Banerjee, who cites the case of a young girl in Russia who suddenly begins to recite precise details, in Japanese no less, of places and events occurring in Japan although she had never been outside Russia. She was accompanied by Russian researchers to the actual site and details of her story were confirmed. Even dismissing supernatural explanations, it's typical of the many cases suggestive of a 'self' which transcends the brain. There are literally hundreds of similar cases. Were they all fake news? Machinations of publicity seekers? Children coached by parents? Pure coincidence? Or looking scientifically, was a damaged/diseased brain to blame? Did some unknown force permute the molecular reside to create a new memory? Or did some Japanese person's brain particles traveling via upper atmosphere winds make their way to Russia and waft down? The Russian Academy of Science actually did examine this case and theorized something remarkably similar. Of course, the little girl had to be alive and well to tell the tale. Had to have a moderately functioning brain to convey it too. Or maybe the supernaturalist has it right: 'self' has to just use the crude instrument of the brain in order to communicate to the challenged.
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I've given more thought to this subject than most people, so it's easier for me to see the flaws in thinking that tries to find an "out" from determinism. Can't be done. But, it's thinking that gets us into this mess in the first place :) The mystical approach steps outside and operates in an intuitive, timeless state that's not handcuffed by determinism. After all, what's the "Big Bang" but intellect's attempt to step outside the shackles of determinism, of causality. Postulate some ab initio force in time and space because there's no other option. Bang on the prison wall and wonder what's on the other side. Damn, musta been some big honkin' force to build these walls. Don't go all transcendental on me though. Make your little theories fit into the 8x10 cell of intellect. Otherwise, take the nutjob, fairy dust stuff and... "Guard, show 'em out!". You may hear laughter through the bars. P.S. I disavow any real knowledge or experience of things transcendental. Purely a deterministic spouting of opinion. But then you already knew that.
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Prisoner: Why am I here? Jailer: Because you're a scumbag who's done a foul deed. Prisoner: Me karma made me do it. Jailer: Yup, all you scumbags say that. Prisoner: Any chance of early parole? Jailer: I'll ask the warden. I'm looking to transfer the hell out too. One way or another... causative chain's gotta do its thing. Prisoner: You into rap, bro?
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If there's no outward characteristic, only a supposedly inward subjective essence, then enlightenment truly isn't good for anything. Each of us already possesses an inward subjective essence. It's called human consciousness. In my totally unenlightened opinion, you're right, to many enlightenment ain't gonna be much good if you can't score some street cred in the real world. But, I think that's the salient point, the truly enlightened don't claim to be anyone extraordinary.` They do however pursue the inward subjective essence of consciousness in an extraordinary way. However subjective, I consider enlightened awareness deeper, more focused on consciousness itself. Their own consciousness. The enlightened are very purposefully not chasing some trivial achievement, empty honor, shiny new toy. Not living tremulously moment-to-moment, battered 24x7 by the mind's drivel, awaiting the next betrayal or calamity or heartache. If it's so great, why don't the enlightened prove it... at least drop a hint, demo some magic for science. Make millions with their secrets. Sorry, it's always no dice. They'd crowd their life with things they want to avoid like the plague. Things they've curtailed or left behind. Nasty stuff... the puffery of ego, raging irrational anger, debilitating doubt, fear, greed, all the little habits we euphemize as "being human". The enlightened will insist on validating their beliefs inside and discarding what can't be experienced. No blind belief or worship of sacred text or incense laden ritual... neither do they prattle about the occult or ascended masters in the Himalayas. What the enlightened will discuss is inwardness, watching the mind and thoughts calmly, living in the present, feeling oneness with a precious presence within themselves. That's how they choose to spend their next moment. In awareness, looking "ordinary"...
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I can claim that there is a saber-toothed tiger in our back yard right now. You can't disprove it. To me the interesting dilemma is being safe from tigers -both real and imagined. If the former, you can run, bar the door, call 911. If the latter, who you gonna call. We're bombarded with the imaginary kind. A thousand worries and cares that harass us 24x7. They'll keep coming. Resistance is futile... you will be absorbed in their dystopian universe. Too bad we can't film them... low-budget horror flicks are hot. If there's a testable method for examining what goes on inside us and offers an escape hatch --even if it's initially unproven transcendent voodoo-- it could be worth examining. Just use common sense... and don't fork over any money. If it works, you can smile in subjective bliss.
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What kind of God simply creates, then does nothing further that affects the cosmos that was created? And how would someone know that God exists is there is no evidence of this in the creation? What blows my mind is that although the cosmos was created in a timeless moment, it can still be changed ab initio. At least mystics suggest that it can if I grok correctly. In other words, someone with enough mojo or right password can sneak behind the curtain, yank the levers, tweak the s/w, etc. to change the movie. It's as if the whole cosmos could be vulnerable to a master hacker. Caveat: of course, this analogy may be deceiving because it would seem to take time to happen. But who knows... they say love can do anything.
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He might easily stop this big bang stuff for a better one tomorrow. His only motivation is Love. "Ah, Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire! Would not we shatter it to bits-and then Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's Desire!" ** Fitzgerald's translation of Omar Khayyam If only we were more conspiratorial...
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Buddha warned specifically about not modifying this "petit voix" Hitler did when General von Stauffenberg's wife dared to tell him about what she had seen on the railway station. He just walked away and she was banned Hi 777, I'm intrigued. Can you clarify or cite a reference for the v. Stauffenberg railway incident... and how the petit voix got lost in translation between ear and brain?
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Hope is faith shorn of supernaturalism. Hope recognizes that almost always in everyday life the future can't be predicted with 100% accuracy. Yes, determinism rules. But often, if not usually, life is so complex some form of chaos theory comes into play, where small causes can have big effects. Being found when you're lost in a wilderness. Recovering after a dismal diagnosis. Feeling better even though depression seems like it will be with you forever. Finding a true love after many years of loneliness. Hope is realistic. Faith isn't. I'd agree that blind faith without some evidence is unsustainable but a hope that relies on chaos theory or probability quickly devolves to the same dead end. With only the bleak landscape of dire odds, no matter how rational or brave we think we are, how committed to hope and to infinitesimal chances, magical thinking will step in when we're at the end of our rope. We'll pray for help... from someone... or some power. We may anonymize it to remove any religious trappings but it will still be there. There are no "atheists" in the foxholes. In the meantime, we'll ignore the voice that warns us not to keep on following the same course: wasting our opportunities, going overboard in a thousand different ways, living in denial about our transient, fragile existence. Instead, we'll gladly chase a new miracle therapy, fantasize about windfalls, or plunge into escapist activities to forget about it all. Until we're reminded by a brush with bad health, financial disaster, old age, seeing death up close... In truth, none of us really want to hear the odds. Insanely, we go on doing the same things hoping for a different outcome. We live a lie and tell ourselves a vacation or a shiny new toy will pull us out of a funk. Of course, we'll always talk about the odds, try to have hope, but, after a few minutes, we'll go right on looking for yet another distraction. Shuffle along day after day. Put on the blinders. On the other hand, faith may be validating and affirmative in ways hope -at least reliance on chance or inchoate theory- likely will never be. I like to think of the Pentecostals mentioned in an earlier thread. Their faith is no longer "blind". It becomes a way to look into our selves and channel our inner strength rather than roll the dice outside. * To de-sermonize, just substitute "I" for "we" above which is what I intended.
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Rein in those little elves... they're hitting the eggnog hard and doing Ho's three at a time.
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I think the most engaging narrative would be Victor's own struggle with finding the truth. Possible scenes could include those depicting his fears, disappointments, frustations despite wealth and renewed hope of answers. All this would intersect with discussions with philosophers, scientists, religious fanatics, hustlers. At least one funny scene of a charlatan's failed argument imploding comes to mind. Victor might find moments of humor that parallel his own efforts. Dramatically, I think the most powerful denouement would be a moment of self discovery or sudden insight. For example, a bit corny (or maybe more) but a final scene could begin as he reads a passage from T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. He falls asleep and has a dream: DREAM SEQUENCE: He walks to an oasis. He slows and stops. The path beneath him has faded. Beginning and end melt into each other. He can't remember what he was looking for. A friend slips up unnoticed beside him. No words. The journey feels done. END DREAM SEQUENCE ** FADE OUT
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Why is it okay for the current fake mystic, who does not use his name and calls himself 777 on this blog to constantly preach to others as if he is all knowing? Even worse he thinks he has the right to judge Brian who is the owner of this blog. Such false humility combined with a judgmental attitude. Talk about cognitive dissonance! I agree...it's not ok. But that's only my flawed, hasty conclusion. Ten others agreeing with me won't cinch it either. It's beside the point. Even if millions were to agree with me, the truth is I've reacted is all. When I fly into a judgment my better angels try to nudge me immediately. What happens to us internally every moment is what's important and interesting. It determines if we listen to those voices, or if there'll be a reasonable, measured response, or a kneejerk, or a diatribe, or a vision of pounding the offender to a pulp. A whole spectrum of reactiveness. So a perception "they're wrong, preachy, or judgmental" says more about us than them. Ignore this if it's too preachy.
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So a true believing satsangi, which I definitely am not now, would have to accept that the horrendous murder of the Bermans was allowed to happen by the guru — perhaps with some theorizing that the Bermans had some sort of Bad Karma relationship with the killer. One intriguing mystical explanation of this mess is that our true essence is the contracted consciousness of God. This so-called destiny of good and evil events was already set in "no-time", a kind of singular "Big Bang" when God decided to individuate his consciousness into some poor shlub and send him to this physical playpen for a set of fixed adventures. Of course to make it real, he had to lobotomize his all-knowing consciousness as I noted. What kind of adventure would it be if the shlub knew how the machinery ran behind the curtain and how it'd all end... that the murder and mayhem were part of the puppet show just so it'd look and sound downright scary and real. But, a coded instruction was implanted into said shlub so if he tired of the playpen , he could seek a guru to show him the way home. In reality, little shlubby "you" becomes big "You" again when consciousness is restored. "You" implanted "you" with a way tp get the hell outta Dodge at the appointed hour. "You" punk'd himself for a little fun. So, stay with me now... "You" are that "radiant form" too. It's just a little talisman to remind of your real self, the one who sees all, knows all, does all,. Even eerier, besides that "radiant form", "You" project a physical guru to help with the journey home, namely, the long, hard road to undo that "consciousness lobotomy". Hey, it could be,... just sayin'. Real mystics please weigh in. Most of these ideas resonate with me but then I always felt I was a little crazy shlub, never living up to my true potential.
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Do you ever feel that you are especially close to God? I think a subtler approach to ferreting out the religious-y minded is needed. A mystic's joke I heard recently should do nicely: Atheist is hiking through the woods. Bear begins chasing him... He gets a whiff of hungry breath bear breath closing in. Atheist cries out: "Lord, help me!" Booming voice: "You want MY help". Atheist: "I know, I know, Lord, it's too late for me. But, but... could you just make the bear religious?" Booming voice: "Done!" Just then the bear knocks him down and prepares to nosh. But suddenly, he shuts his jaw demurely, folds his paws and looks heavenward.. and lo, it's a miracle, the bear prays: "Lord, for this meal I'm about to receive, I thank you!". Now, laughing involuntarily at this, is a "yes" for as we all know, there are no atheists in the foxholes.
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Why do we need to put effort into being happy? Why this striving to become something other than what we are right now, in this moment. Hm, growing up, I remember loving roller-coasters. Still remember fondly that big, scary one outside Houston. If you're satisfied with roller-coaster rides, and the thrill 'n chills make up for the nausea, the vertigo, the screaming idiots two cars back, then why not. No effort, no striving. Sheer happiness. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Other kinds of rides... not so much. But, in my opinion, if we like the "ride", we should embrace those moments. All that's needed is to live in the present and be happy. But all the while we can listen for that resonance: are we happy? Is it still fun? Has there been a subtle shift? Then, when the pull fades or beckons you to move on -- up or down or sideways -- you'll automatically respond.
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I heard a mystic suggest that you will never stop thoughts. It's chasing thoughts in a futile attempt to stop them that drives you crazy :). " LOVE can. Ask your 12 year old having a crush. How's that song about 12 year-old's go... oh yeah. "And they called it puppy love... Oh, I guess they'll never know." No, seriously, you're right. I believe the mystical practice can transcend thought. The oblique point I was making was that the notional idea that we can "stop" thought by mental effort is mistaken. The same mystic explains that "thought" is the heartbeat of the mind. It goes on 24x7 in the mind. It "stops" only when we die. Mental effort per se will fail and leave you "bored".
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I also love that life is a mystery and sitting still and stopping thoughts is just so very boring! I heard a mystic suggest that you will never stop thoughts. It's chasing thoughts in a futile attempt to stop them that drives you crazy :).
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