Mystics. Take my word for it.

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posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 05:45 PM
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1.

What makes a mystic? It is as simple as calling oneself a mystic. It is that easy. No one else can confirm nor corroborate their mystical claims, for every claim hinges on the promise that a certain type of subjective mystical experience has indeed been had, and the only one who can verify or interpret this experience is the one person who has had them – the mystic. We only know he is a mystic because he calls himself a mystic. Self-proclaimed. Self-appointed. Others can only take their word for it.

But simply taking someone’s word for it necessarily doesn’t hold any applicable weight in the real world, for any criminal could get away with any crime as long as his ability to lie was convincing enough. Yet, in spiritual matters, taking someone’s word for it is the going rate of membership to a mystic’s circle, for all we can do to believe one has experienced a union with god or the divine or some noumenal substrate, is to take their word for it. Every cult and every religion, it seems, begins in this way – a mystic with an interesting story.

Even though we can probably reduce most mystical experiences to physiology and pathology, we should give the mystic the benefit of the doubt. No one can rationally deny their experience, for doing so would be to deny what their experience is: their physical existence and what their body is feeling during those moments, which is the only thing we ever discuss regarding the mystical notion of experience; and life would be almost unbearable if we were to believe that every mystic was simply a liar. In the end, like all lore, the mystic’s interpretation of his experience, his truth or lies, are inconsequential and a mere game of sophistry if he cannot produce anything of it, and like everyone else, the mystic will have to prove his worth through action and deeds. If he can put forward a meaningful existence on the basis of his experience, we should be there for him. If not, and his actions and deeds amounts to no more than seeking altered states of consciousness, we can see the failure of his mysticism.

However, we should be careful not to lie to ourselves most of all, and every self-governing spirit must try her best to validate and rationalize every discourse that seeks entry into her personal structure of beliefs. The fact that there are as many perspectives as there are human beings proves that there is an undercurrent of perspectivism in spiritual matters, and one can even find comfort in knowing that there will always be a variety at the spiritual buffet. We should encourage a difference in perspectives and the imagination it comes from, but that in no way implies every perspective is valid. Every allegation of truth must be proven in order to be called truth. One does not hold truth if he cannot prove that he does. Once a mystic claims that he possesses truth, he makes the mistake of trying to make his subjective experience objective – the first contradiction in a long list of them.

Mystics see the senses, reason, the body, and the objects within the world as hurdles to spiritual truth, and in so doing, rhetorically denounce these heuristic principles as unnecessary or evil. Thereby they limit their capacity as human beings. This immediately removes the correspondence of truth and how it pertains to reality, and all rationalizing, experiment and logic are conveniently removed in favour of "feeling". If a cross-legged mystic were to assert that while he meditated, he was actually in a supernatural, supersensual, immaterial realm, we could only ever take his word for it. But, by sensing reality at full waking capacity, including the parts and faculties of the body the mystic denounces, our common senses and our reason, we might notice that the meditating mystic would still be sitting before us as long as his sophistry hasn’t convinced us otherwise, and his claim would be falsified the moment he spoke his contradiction. You are not in a supernatural realm or state because you simply haven’t gone anywhere.

What is supernatural is the mystic himself, insofar as he attempts to go against nature. The way he contorts his body in unnatural ways; the way he unnaturally relies on entheogens, exhaustion, dizziness, disease, near-death, injury, mortification of the flesh, and prayer for his mystical experience ; the way he manipulates his sleeping hours and circadian rhythms—these sorts of ways to experience life are seemingly beyond nature and unnatural, or at least operating at a limited capacity both bodily and spiritually, and likely the result of pathology, the typical behaviour of disease. Most mystics are found in the hospital. It is an attack on normal everyday experience, an indicator of boredom or maladhy. Turning off the reason, and the senses, and in any way inhibiting the regular function of the human being so as to experience “reality” can be achieved with a bottle of whiskey or a stroke or lobotomy. In the same way, the mystical experience is nothing supernatural, but is the result of modifying the regular bodily processes, and is not an apprehension of anything but those bodily modifications. Altered states of consciousness are only ever altered states of body. This, of course, occurs within the very same reality where the mystic performs his bodily modifications, the same reality the mystic contradicts himself by saying is false. If this reality is false, so is his claims to truth.

Because the mystic cannot defend his claims with reason or experiment, and every contradiction is exposed as sophistry, the mystic can only rely on romanticism and rhetoric to convince. Why he wishes to convince others of his subjective experience is unclear, but in order to do so he relies too heavily on the pathos of classic rhetoric. The logos and ethos of his claims is always in doubt, hence the reliance of heavily emotive discussion, metaphor and religious analogy. For anyone unaware of the ins and outs of rhetoric and language, this saturation of pathos becomes a comfortable feeding ground for the gullible, on which the mystic can prey on. When the mystic claims he is beyond the religions, he contradicts himself by applying the exact same methodology, rhetoric and ritualistic behaviour as priests of all denominations.

Why then do the mystics even bother coming out of their caves? Why do they return to the false reality? And why do they attempt to convince us by using everything they have alleged is false? What he truly wants is to become the godhead of his own religion. He seeks lucrative employment as a guru. He seeks fame. He seeks spiritual authority, for that’s how he sees himself – above others, and others, beneath him. They seek to be atop a caste system – them pure, others un-pure. But, as we can see by conversing with them, looking at them, reasoning with their claims, they are simply someone with an slightly interesting story, but about as mediocre as every other religious narrative. They cannot be judged by their actions because they refuse to act, and when they do, its because they have to and have no other choice, proving their “transcendence” is useless outside their own imagination, and a chance at a meaningful life is squandered. Take my word for it.




posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 06:08 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism

1 can understand your points shared Aphorisim.
Its basically a request from those who label themselves mystics to provide efficient enough data to verify to observers what they share from their perceptions...
To 1 if mystics can produce data related to observable reality on whatever Awareness level their mind states can sense-perceive that can begin to be a step in a direction of verifying for the observer their ability level possessed.

Patience is recommended for some instances not all incase the perception isn't within correct time loop barrier-
Afterwards maybe the data shared within more Metaphysical can be appreciated...

NAMASTE*******



posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 06:19 PM
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It seems to me that you have noticed that many people that claim to be spiritual and enlightened are way too centered on their ego for them to be plausible according to your values of what being a mystic is and should be.

I agree with your opinion. Not that it's the truth, because it still a subjective opinion.

I feel enlightened and mystic to a degree but i never feel the need to compare and view my spirituality to be optimal...in doing so, I wouldn't be enlightened in the first place. At least that's the way I feel...

Yet, am I modest about it because of the way my ego gets flattered in acting modest in the first place?
We can all blind ourselves by our own world, our own truth of what this reality really is.



posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 06:47 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism

My opinion is that most "mystics" are much more emotionally and environmentally sensitive.

You can be born to it, or learn it readily enough..if you can stomach it.

If I told you that there are folks that can see and taste your emotional outbursts, and there by hear your inner thoughts would that be distasteful.....or disturbing?

I guess the real question for folks that don't get people connected to the "mystical" is how can one bury the harm they see daily from consciousness....some of us just can't so it's either learn to flow with it and understand and cause change...most positive.

Seeing things "mystical" clearly is in my family honestly, it drove one family member crazy. And I admit sometimes it makes social interaction difficult. Sometimes the weird just blurts out, it's like a cup that's too full.....normally to positively impact whomever is the target.

Anyway, I don't call or consider myself a mystic. But I won't lie and say I don't see currents. The worst is hearing someone say something only to reply and find the person was only thinking it....that is very awkward and uncomfortable for most people including myself.

Much happiness in this existence, slide.

Cheers!

As far as why we come out the cave.....sensitive folks that have a desire to help folks around them should be welcome anywhere....at least always on my door stoop, some time the mental health pro's do not understand the spiritual/deep mental health issues... And peace internally is delayed.
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posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 06:48 PM
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originally posted by: theMediator
...i never feel the need to compare and view my spirituality to be optimal...

By what measure do you compare?

It's your spirituality for a reason.


originally posted by: theMediator
...in doing so, I wouldn't be enlightened in the first place.

Who proved that?



posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 08:18 PM
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originally posted by: Aphorism
What makes a mystic? It is as simple as calling oneself a mystic. It is that easy. No one else can confirm nor corroborate their mystical claims, for every claim hinges on the promise that a certain type of subjective mystical experience has indeed been had, and the only one who can verify or interpret this experience is the one person who has had them – the mystic. We only know he is a mystic because he calls himself a mystic. Self-proclaimed. Self-appointed. Others can only take their word for it.


Ahoy there, worthy foe! Thanks for making this thread. I'll tackle the OP piecemeal, if you don't mind. First, I'll refute your opening paragraph.

An important part of what makes a mystic a mystic is a lifestyle of mystical practices, such as meditation. Long term meditation leads to drastic changes in the human brain that science can detect:

www.washingtonpost.com...


Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds

Brain research is beginning to produce concrete evidence for something that Buddhist practitioners of meditation have maintained for centuries: Mental discipline and meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness.

Those transformed states have traditionally been understood in transcendent terms, as something outside the world of physical measurement and objective evaluation. But over the past few years, researchers at the University of Wisconsin working with Tibetan monks have been able to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination. And they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense.

"What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before," said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior.


There is a big difference between a mystic who practices meditation full-time and a phony who sells snake-oil full-time. Science can detect it.

What's more, comparative mysticism scholarship has a lot to say about what mystics are and what they do. It's a better way to learn about it than through tabloids, Hollywood, comic books, and the New-Age section of the bookstore.

There is something about the state of consciousness that Buddhists call Buddha-nature that leaves its mark in a mystic. Enlightenment unfolds in a psychological pattern that can be detected in the biographies of mystics. That's another important part of being a mystic.

And it leaves a mark on their philosophies, and this mark can be detected throughout the mystical traditions of the world. Read The Perennial Philosophy by Huxley. It shows that,

"All mystics come from the same country and speak the same language"

-St. Martin of Tours

So, to summarize, it is NOT as simple as calling oneself a mystic. Their brains are different, and the psychological pattern of mystical development is the same the world over throughout history. That's why the minds of mystics are off the charts and in independent harmony.

"In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge, date back some 2500 years or more... the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts.

Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God).

To Western ideology, the thought has remained a stranger... in spite of those true lovers who, as they look into each other's eyes, become aware that their thought and their joy are numerically one, not merely similar or identical..."

-Erwin Schrödinger

"The I That Is God" as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists (1984) edited by Ken Wilber

OK, I think i'll leave it here and refute another paragraph in a bit.

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posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 09:36 PM
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originally posted by: Aphorism

Mystics see the senses, reason, the body, and the objects within the world as hurdles to spiritual truth, and in so doing, rhetorically denounce these heuristic principles as unnecessary or evil.


Could you provide us with an example of a mystic who believes all that? I certainly don't. The body and the world are vital for spiritual progress. I love them very much. I learn from them everyday. I don't damn anything in the world or anyone. I am not ashamed or afraid of any truth.


If a cross-legged mystic were to assert that while he meditated, he was actually in a supernatural, supersensual, immaterial realm, we could only ever take his word for it.


You could use science to know that something unusual is going on, as I showed in my opening post. Unless you undergo the same discipline, your brain won't be able to verify his empirical claims directly. Your brain won't be off the charts.

This is what I and others like Sam Harris have tried so hard to explain. If you want to test the empirical claims of mysics, you should really become a mystic yourself. Then you could see if there is a metaphysical realm beyond the usual states of consciousness.

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posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 10:08 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism


What is supernatural is the mystic himself, insofar as he attempts to go against nature. The way he contorts his body in unnatural ways; the way he unnaturally relies on entheogens, exhaustion, dizziness, disease, near-death, injury, mortification of the flesh, and prayer for his mystical experience ; the way he manipulates his sleeping hours and circadian rhythms—these sorts of ways to experience life are seemingly beyond nature and unnatural, or at least operating at a limited capacity both bodily and spiritually, and likely the result of pathology, the typical behaviour of disease. Most mystics are found in the hospital.


It is true that there are several different ways of eliciting mystical experiences, and there are risks. Many mystics gamble, lose, and drown.

"The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight."

-Joseph Campbell

I certainly don't think everyone can or should practice mysticism. Mysticism is the art of union with reality, and reality can be a real bitch. There is a stage of mystical development referred to as the dark night of the soul. It hurts.

You think mysticism is unnatural. You are entitled to your opinion. But without it, you wouldn't be here.

Meditate on It: Could ancient campfire rituals have separated us from Neanderthals?


A couple hundred-thousand years ago—sometime after our hominid ancestors had controlled fire, but long before they were telling ghost stories—early humans huddled around campfires to meditate and partake in shamanistic rituals. Today, when we slow down for a yellow light, recognize a dollar sign or do anything, really, that involves working memory, we have these ancient brainstorming sessions to thank.

That's the somewhat controversial connection psychologist Matt J. Rossano is making. Ritualistic gatherings sharpened mental focus, he argues. Over time, this focus strengthened the mind's ability to connect symbols and meanings, eventually causing gene mutations that favored the enhanced memory we now possess.

"We have decent evidence that shamanistic rituals may go very deep into history, and that these rituals might have had positive psychological effects," says Rossano of Southeastern Louisiana University, whose theory appears in the February Cambridge Archaeological Journal.


Our human brains wouldn't be as powerful as they are without ancient and beneficial mystical practices.

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posted on Jul, 7 2014 @ 10:30 PM
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a reply to: Aphorism


Why then do the mystics even bother coming out of their caves? Why do they return to the false reality? And why do they attempt to convince us by using everything they have alleged is false? What he truly wants is to become the godhead of his own religion. He seeks lucrative employment as a guru. He seeks fame. He seeks spiritual authority, for that’s how he sees himself – above others, and others, beneath him. They seek to be atop a caste system – them pure, others un-pure. But, as we can see by conversing with them, looking at them, reasoning with their claims, they are simply someone with an slightly interesting story, but about as mediocre as every other religious narrative. They cannot be judged by their actions because they refuse to act, and when they do, its because they have to and have no other choice, proving their “transcendence” is useless outside their own imagination, and a chance at a meaningful life is squandered. Take my word for it.


Most of your OP has been rendered moot, except for this last paragraph.

Some mystics actually don't bother coming 'out of their caves'. In monomyth terms, that is called the refusal of the return.

Some mystics do come out, and since mystics come in all walks of life the reasons why vary. I don't earn money being a mystic, and I don't seek to be the Godhead of my own religion. I came out because I have more to learn and to do. None of it involves exploiting mysticism or people. I think you would find that to be the case with genuine mystics, if your prejudice wasn't standing in the way.

Through science, you would also find that phony mystics have ordinary brains that are not off the charts, because they've been spending all their time raking in money instead of meditating.

There, I think that pretty much takes care of your OP. I might pick the bones a bit, here and there. If I missed something that you think is relevant, let me know. Thanks again, worthy foe.

“All men, at one time or another, have fallen in love with the veiled Isis whom they call Truth. With most, this has been a passing passion: they have early seen its hopelessness and turned to more practical things. But others remain all their lives the devout lovers of reality: though the manner of their love, the vision which they make to themselves of the beloved object varies enormously.

Some see Truth as Dante saw Beatrice: an adorable yet intangible figure, found in this world yet revealing the next. To others she seems rather an evil but an irresistible enchantress: enticing, demanding payment and betraying her lover at the last. Some have seen her in a test tube, and some in a poet’s dream: some before the altar, others in the slime. The extreme pragmatists have even sought her in the kitchen; declaring that she may best be recognized by her utility.

Last stage of all, the philosophic sceptic has comforted an unsuccessful courtship by assuring himself that his mistress is not really there.”

― Evelyn Underhill, Mysticism: A Study in the Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness

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posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 01:38 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule

Thank you for picking up the challenge.


An important part of what makes a mystic a mystic is a lifestyle of mystical practices, such as meditation. Long term meditation leads to drastic changes in the human brain that science can detect:


Neuroplasticity has been around for quite some time. Any activity can lead to drastic changes in the human brain, not just meditation. Whatever one is doing, one is changing his neural network. When one spends time sitting and meditating, that is what they are getting better at. If one wants to get better at sitting and meditating then naturally that is what one must do. If they were to do the same with professional basketball players and untrained volunteers, of course the gamma wave activity of the professionals will show a different pattern. Every trained mind is different than an untrained mind, no matter what activity we are discussing. No religious interpretation is necessary.

From the same scientist:



Neuroplasticity is a term that is used to describe the brain changes that occur in response to experience. There are many different mechanisms of neuroplasticity ranging from the growth of new connections to the creation of new neurons. When the framework of neuroplasticity is applied to meditation, we suggest that the mental training of meditation is fundamentally no different than other forms of skill acquisition that can induce plastic changes in the brain


Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

In other words, neuroplasticity applied to meditation is fundamentally no different than neuroplasticity applied to skateboarding. In the experiment with the Tibetan monks, the participants are required to focus on compassion. The neurons change according to this experience, according to focussing on compassion, not in practicing compassion nor being compassionate, only contemplating it. This is where meditators excel in regards to compassion: in sitting, closing the eyes, and contemplating it.

I have nowhere said there is no value in meditation. There is value in any form of bodily exercise. One can be passionate about a variety of bodily endeavours and the results will show. Nonetheless, the only apparent change is bodily. This supports my claim that any mystical practice is a bodily modification, and not a mystical one.

I agree that an important part of the “mystical lifestyle” is “mystical practices” and rituals. But these rituals are not practiced for the sake of performing rituals. For the mystic, these meditative methods and bodily deprivations are performed to achieve a mystical experience. For the soccer-mom, they are performed for relaxation. This is why a soccer mom doesn’t claim herself a mystic, despite the use of “mystical practices”. If these mystical practices are performed in a way to achieve mystical experiences, then a hallucinogenic drug-addict might be a better mystic in terms of sheer volume of said experiences. The only difference is that the addict does not call himself a mystic, nor does he deny the source of his experiences. The mystic archetype is no different than the addict archetype.


There is something about the state of consciousness that Buddhists call Buddha-nature that leaves its mark in a mystic. Enlightenment unfolds in a psychological pattern that can be detected in the biographies of mystics. That's another important part of being a mystic.

So, to summarize, it is NOT as simple as calling oneself a mystic. Their brains are different, and the psychological pattern of mystical development is the same the world over throughout history. That's why the minds of mystics are off the charts.


Everyone’s brain is different.

Anything can be detected in a story and within lore. It might be easy to find similarities in the stories of mystics because all mystics claim the same things and in the same manner, namely, that they are a mystic and have had mystical experiences. Of course, the differences are conveniently left out. We can only take their word for it.

What’s worse is that others might call someone else a mystic, for instance Joseph Campbell, who had mentioned he was not a mystic. This amounts to slander.


Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: DEUS FACTUS SUM (I have become God).


They have had a mystical experience and made allegations. What they say however, is contradicted by the fact that they have not become God. We can confirm this by observation and experiment. This is the theme of my argument. This renders their assertions quite meaningless, if not dishonest. It would seem that this contradictory mentality and dishonesty is rampant within the mystic archetype.



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 01:42 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule


Could you provide us with an example of a mystic who believes all that? I certainly don't. The body and the world are vital for spiritual progress. I love them very much. I don't damn anything in the world or anyone. I am not ashamed or afraid of any truth.


"First of all, carefully excite in yourself an habitual affectionate will in all things to imitate Jesus Christ. If anything agreeable offers itself to your senses, yet does not at the same time tend purely to the honor and glory of God, renounce it and separate yourself from it for the love of Christ, who all his life long had no other taste or wish than to do the will of his Father whom he called his meat and nourishment. For example, you take satisfaction in HEARING of things in which the glory of God bears no part. Deny yourself this satisfaction, mortify your wish to listen. You take pleasure in SEEING objects which do not raise your mind to God: refuse yourself this pleasure, and turn away your eyes. The same with conversations and all other things. Act similarly, so far as you are able, with all the operations of the senses, striving to make yourself free from their yokes."To enjoy the taste of all things, have no taste for anything."
"To know all things, learn to know nothing.
"To possess all things, resolve to possess nothing.
"To be all things, be willing to be nothing.
"To get to where you have no taste for anything, go through whatever experiences you have no taste for.
"To learn to know nothing, go whither you are ignorant.
"To reach what you possess not, go whithersoever you own nothing.
"To be what you are not, experience what you are not."

Saint John of the Cross – The Complete Works

“The soul finds no terms, no means, no comparison whereby to render the sublimity of the wisdom and the delicacy of the spiritual feeling with which she is filled…. We receive this mystical knowledge of God clothed in none of the kinds of images, in none of the sensible representations, which our mind makes use of in other circumstances. Accordingly in this knowledge, since the senses and the imagination are not employed, we get neither form nor impression, nor can we give any account or furnish any likeness, although the mysterious and sweet-tasting wisdom comes home so clearly to the inmost parts of our soul. Fancy a man seeing a certain kind of thing for the first time in his life. He can understand it, use and enjoy it, but he cannot apply a name to it, nor communicate any idea of it, even though all the while it be a mere thing of sense. How much greater will be his powerlessness when it goes beyond the senses! This is the peculiarity of the divine language. The more infused, intimate, spiritual, and supersensible it is, the more does it exceed the senses, both inner and outer, and impose silence upon them….

Saint John of the Cross – The Dark Night of the Soul

"Authentic spirituality, then, can no longer be mythic, imaginal, mythological, or mythopoetic: it must be based on falsifiable evidence. In other words, it must be, at its core, a series of direct mystical, transcendental, meditative, contemplative, or yogic experiences—not sensory and not mental, but transsensual, transmental, transpersonal, transcendental consciousness—data seen not merely with the eye of flesh or with the eye of mind, but with the eye of contemplation."

Ken Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul

“In the orison of union, the soul is fully awake as regards God, but wholly asleep as regards things of this world and in respect of herself. During the short time the union lasts, she is as it were deprived of every feeling, and even if she would, she could not think of any single thing. Thus she needs to employ no artifice in order to arrest the use of her understanding: it remains so stricken with inactivity that she neither knows what she loves, nor in what manner she loves, nor what she wills. In short, she is utterly dead to the things of the world and lives solely in God”

“But how, you will repeat, CAN one have such certainty in respect to what one does not see? This question, I am powerless to answer. These are secrets of God's omnipotence which it does not appertain to me to penetrate. All that I know is that I tell the truth; and I shall never believe that any soul who does not possess this certainty has ever been really united to God.”

Teresa of Ávila – The Complete Works

“You want to create a spirituality in your own image - an armchair spirituality that is trapped in the body, in the senses, in the concrete, in death. A spirituality devoid of spiritual practices, mystical practices, and honor.”

BlueMule



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 01:50 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule


You think mysticism is unnatural. You are entitled to your opinion. But without it, you wouldn't be here.

Meditate on It: Could ancient campfire rituals have separated us from Neanderthals?


The rest of your article:


Rossano's theory might not hold well in some scientific circles. For starters, most researchers doubt that a genetic mutation separated humans from Neanderthals. They think humans simply became better at expressing the cognitive abilities they had always possessed.

Evolutionary biologist Richard Klein of Stanford University does believe that a genetic mutation caused the human-Neanderthal rift about 50,000 years ago. But Klein thinks that this mutation occurred rapidly and randomly—not gradually and as a result of the environment, as Rossano suggests.

"There was a radical change in behavior," he says. "It's not true that it built up gradually."

Klein also doubts that meditation is the cause of the mutation. Rossano's argument is based on a flawed notion of evolution called the Baldwin effect, says Klein, which strays from the traditional Darwinian theory that mutations are basically random.

Other scientists are more open to the idea that an environmental factor such as meditation could have caused a genetic mutation, says cognitive archaeologist Frederick Coolidge of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
But even if the Baldwin effect did play a role, early humans likely harbored a greater cognitive potential than Neanderthals to begin with, he says.

"I don't think sitting in groups staring into a fire would have enhanced everyone," says Coolidge. "There was a background of mutations [in humans] that the environment had not yet selected for, and they became selected for because of these rituals."



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 02:25 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule




Mysticism in the widest sense is every guidance to the immediate consciousness of that to which neither perception nor conception, thus in general no knowledge extends. The mystic is thus opposed to the philosopher by the fact that he begins from within, while the philosopher begins from without. The mystic starts from his inner, positive, individual experience, in which he finds himself to be the eternal and only being, &c. But nothing of this is communicable except the assertions which one has to accept upon his word; consequently he cannot convince. The philosopher, on the other hand, starts from what is common to all, from the objective phenomenon which lies before all, and from the facts of consciousness as they are present in all.


Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation




The damnation of this earth as a realm where nothing is possible to man but pain, disaster and defeat, a realm inferior to another, “higher,” reality; the damnation of all values, enjoyment, achievement and success on earth as a proof of depravity; the damnation of man’s mind as a source of pride, and the damnation of reason as a “limited,” deceptive, unreliable, impotent faculty, incapable of perceiving the “real” reality and the “true” truth; the split of man in two, setting his consciousness (his soul) against his body, and his moral values against his own interest; the damnation of man’s nature, body and self as evil; the commandment of self-sacrifice, renunciation, suffering, obedience, humility and faith, as the good; the damnation of life and the worship of death, with the promise of rewards beyond the grave—these are the necessary tenets of the mystic’s view of existence, as they have been in every variant of mystical philosophy throughout the course of mankind’s history.

For centuries, the mystics of spirit had existed by running a protection racket—by making life on earth unbearable, then charging you for consolation and relief, by forbidding all the virtues that make existence possible, then riding on the shoulders of your guilt, by declaring production and joy to be sins, then collecting blackmail from the sinners.


Ayn Rand



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 08:39 AM
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a reply to: Aphorism


originally posted by: Aphorism
a reply to: BlueMule

Thank you for picking up the challenge.


You're very welcome. The timing is right. I have a bit of extra time on my hands at the moment. I'll be taking round two piecemeal again.


Neuroplasticity has been around for quite some time. Any activity can lead to drastic changes in the human brain, not just meditation.

[...]

In other words, neuroplasticity applied to meditation is fundamentally no different than neuroplasticity applied to skateboarding.


All that is true, but it has no bearing on my argument. So let's add skateboarding to the list of meditation devices.

"I continued meditation throughout college, with varying results, and decided that although I agreed with the premise, I had trouble finding a sense of enlightenment sitting in a lotus position and focusing on my breath.

A bit discouraged with how meditation provided me such random results, I slowly stopped the practice altogether for a period. During this time, I had graduated university and returned to my parents’ home for the summer to relax after 4 years of hard studying – it was time for a little break, I told myself. One day while cleaning in the garage, I came across an old skateboard from my mid-teen years. It was in good condition, likely the last board I used before I starting driving. I didn’t know it at the time, but this piece of plywood and wheels would become my teacher, my guru, and my own personal meditative device.

[...]

The rewards are great, and the freedom and inner-peace I attain are priceless experiential moments of liberation. The skateboard has become my personal vehicle and yidam. With a piece of plywood with 4 wheels underneath, I become a rolling buddha that is aware and accepts every moment for what it is – nothing more, nothing less. Zen skateboarding is my yidam and I personally cannot imagine a better teacher or guru – the skateboard itself does it all so well."

-Sonic Mike

I guess we'll have to take his word for it, eh? After all, there's no possible way a skeptic could possibly test Zen skateboarding. :p

A phony bodybuilder who makes a living selling phony bodybuilding wisdom will not have big muscles he developed by discipline. You can spot a phony bodybuilder with your eyes.

A phony mystic who makes a living selling phony mystical wisdom will not have a big brain he developed by discipline. You can spot a phony mystic with science.


I agree that an important part of the “mystical lifestyle” is “mystical practices” and rituals. But these rituals are not practiced for the sake of performing rituals. For the mystic, these meditative methods and bodily deprivations are performed to achieve a mystical experience.


There is quite a bit wrong with what you're saying here. First of all, not every mystic practices asceticism. Second, rituals are re-enactments of a myth. They are performed in a mythological context. That context and the rituals that express them need not be taken literally, factually, historically. It can be taken as symbols, metaphors, signs.

'Poetically speaking, gnostic thought recognizes that religious expressions function as symbols and, as such, are simultaneously true and false, that they both reveal and conceal. Reductionism and revelation lie down together here in a (post)modern form of what the Sufi tradition understood as the paradox of the veil (hijab), that is, the psychological and linguistic necessity of cultural forms that reveal the divine light (which is in itself beyond all representation) precisely by concealing it behind veiled symbols and signs.'

-Jeffrey Kripal


For the soccer-mom, they are performed for relaxation. This is why a soccer mom doesn’t claim herself a mystic, despite the use of “mystical practices”. If these mystical practices are performed in a way to achieve mystical experiences, then a hallucinogenic drug-addict might be a better mystic in terms of sheer volume of said experiences.


A drug-addict abuses entheogens in a recreational context; outside of a mythological context. Just as a skateboarder can use a skateboard outside of a Zen context. Entheogens are like any other meditation device, including a skateboard. It depends on your intention and how you use it.



Anything can be detected in a story and within lore. It might be easy to find similarities in the stories of mystics because all mystics claim the same things and in the same manner, namely, that they are a mystic and have had mystical experiences. Of course, the differences are conveniently left out. We can only take their word for it.

What’s worse is that others might call someone else a mystic, for instance Joseph Campbell, who had mentioned he was not a mystic. This amounts to slander.


I'm aware that Joseph Campbell did not claim to be a mystic. I don't believe I ever said he was a mystic. If I did, then please point out exactly where I did so.

Not just anything can be detected in every single human life. Since every life has a story, not everything can be detected in every story. Some people don't have love in their life, so their story lacks it too. Some people don't have mystery in their life, so again no mystery in their story.

The roots of the monomyth cycle are deep in the past, in 'shamanic' patterns of psychological development. Not every life unfolds according to that hard-wired pattern, and so that pattern is not found in every story. Simple as that.

Since that psychological pattern of development is such a large and ancient part of who and what we are, it surfaces again and again in world religion and myth.

"Shamanism predates all known religions and might be the basis of which all religion was built upon, although shamanism itself is not a religion. Shamanism is a set of beliefs and behaviors. These beliefs and behaviors is what allows the shaman to shift consciousness to obtain information, heal, retrieve souls, or seek for guidance from the ancestors. Traditional shamanism has remained relatively unchanged over time.” (Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, 2-6)

The mind-altering ritual of a shaman isn't performed for the sake of getting high. It is performed as a service to the tribe to aid in survival, that's why shamanism has not been weeded out by natural selection. We need it. We always have and we always will. It helps us adapt to our environment.


They have had a mystical experience and made allegations. What they say however, is contradicted by the fact that they have not become God. We can confirm this by observation and experiment. This is the theme of my argument. This renders their assertions quite meaningless, if not dishonest. It would seem that this contradictory mentality and dishonesty is rampant within the mystic archetype.


According to whose concept of what a God is? Yours? Oh how convenient. :p

You are holding up your concept of God and comparing it to any given mystic. But your problem is, you have an insufficient 'common sense' concept of God that you recieved from your upbringing and culture, not from religious studies scholarship.

edit on 646TuesdayuAmerica/ChicagoJuluTuesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 10:04 AM
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a reply to: Aphorism

Thank you for the examples. Since the quotes are lengthy, I'll take them piecemeal.


"First of all, carefully excite in yourself an habitual affectionate will in all things to imitate Jesus Christ. If anything agreeable offers itself to your senses, yet does not at the same time tend purely to the honor and glory of God, renounce it and separate yourself from it for the love of Christ, who all his life long had no other taste or wish than to do the will of his Father whom he called his meat and nourishment. For example, you take satisfaction in HEARING of things in which the glory of God bears no part. Deny yourself this satisfaction, mortify your wish to listen. You take pleasure in SEEING objects which do not raise your mind to God: refuse yourself this pleasure, and turn away your eyes. The same with conversations and all other things. Act similarly, so far as you are able, with all the operations of the senses, striving to make yourself free from their yokes."To enjoy the taste of all things, have no taste for anything."
"To know all things, learn to know nothing.
"To possess all things, resolve to possess nothing.
"To be all things, be willing to be nothing.
"To get to where you have no taste for anything, go through whatever experiences you have no taste for.
"To learn to know nothing, go whither you are ignorant.
"To reach what you possess not, go whithersoever you own nothing.
"To be what you are not, experience what you are not."

Saint John of the Cross – The Complete Works


You are holding this quote up as your first example of a mystic who, "sees the senses, reason, the body, and the objects within the world as hurdles to spiritual truth, and in so doing, rhetorically denounce these heuristic principles as unnecessary or evil."

I can see where you're coming from. But he isn't denouncing the body as unnecessary or evil. He is teaching a mantra for use at very specific times of meditation, not a lifestyle of inactivity. The state of mystical consciousness it induces is the ultimate way of tasting the pleasures of life, not denying them.

When he says, "to enjoy the taste of all things, have no taste for anything," he is saying that this meditation induces an ecstatic rapture that makes the taste of all things truly alive.

You've got it all wrong, worthy foe.

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posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule

Here is a theoretical physicist who mathematically analyzed the sacred geometries of mystical traditions within various religions and discovered that they are not only equivalent (or isomorphic) to one another but encode the mathematics of the exceptional Lie group E8 at the heart of superstring theory:

smphillips.8m.com...

This has no rational explanation other than that there exists a transcendental intelligence Who illuminated the mystics of different religions separated in origin by thousands of miles and years.

Don't take my word for it. Spend the next six months studying the research at the above link if you are mathematically up to it and decide for yourselves.



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 10:22 AM
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"Authentic spirituality, then, can no longer be mythic, imaginal, mythological, or mythopoetic: it must be based on falsifiable evidence. In other words, it must be, at its core, a series of direct mystical, transcendental, meditative, contemplative, or yogic experiences—not sensory and not mental, but transsensual, transmental, transpersonal, transcendental consciousness—data seen not merely with the eye of flesh or with the eye of mind, but with the eye of contemplation."

Ken Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul


This is your second example of a mystic who, "sees the senses, reason, the body, and the objects within the world as hurdles to spiritual truth, and in so doing, rhetorically denounce these heuristic principles as unnecessary or evil."

But again, you've got it all wrong. Basically, he's saying the same thing I said earlier, and the same things Sam Harris has said. When he says, 'the eye of contemplation', he doesn't mean sitting there using reason and logic to think about these things in a common sense way.

He means becoming a mystic yourself; practicing a discipline yourself, so that you can see the transpersonal 'realm' for yourself during meditation.

Then you come out of meditation and into a state of ecstatic rapture, when your awareness and identity are expanded. Your brain is off the charts. Then you will 'be all things, possess all things', as John of the Cross said.

'This is how a human being can change:
there’s a worm addicted to eating
grape leaves.

Suddenly he wakes up,
call it grace, whatever, something
wakes him, and he’s no longer
a worm.

He’s the entire vineyard,
and the orchard too, the fruit, the trunks,
a growing wisdom and joy
that doesn’t need
to devour.' -Rumi

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posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 10:52 AM
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“In the orison of union, the soul is fully awake as regards God, but wholly asleep as regards things of this world and in respect of herself. During the short time the union lasts, she is as it were deprived of every feeling, and even if she would, she could not think of any single thing. Thus she needs to employ no artifice in order to arrest the use of her understanding: it remains so stricken with inactivity that she neither knows what she loves, nor in what manner she loves, nor what she wills. In short, she is utterly dead to the things of the world and lives solely in God”

“But how, you will repeat, CAN one have such certainty in respect to what one does not see? This question, I am powerless to answer. These are secrets of God's omnipotence which it does not appertain to me to penetrate. All that I know is that I tell the truth; and I shall never believe that any soul who does not possess this certainty has ever been really united to God.”

Teresa of Ávila – The Complete Works


This is your third example of a mystic who, "sees the senses, reason, the body, and the objects within the world as hurdles to spiritual truth, and in so doing, rhetorically denounce these heuristic principles as unnecessary or evil."

But again, I'm not seeing it. One is utterly dead to the world during the short time of mystical union, when one is in the Cloud of Unknowing. That's a temporary state. When you come back to the body, the aftereffects are a big brain that has an expandeed awareness that 'knows all things' as John of the Cross said. That's when you're truly alive. That's when the 'Clark Kent' aspect of who we are has been shed.

There is a Zen saying, "Before Enlightenment chop wood carry water, after Enlightenment, chop wood carry water." Have you ever chopped wood in a state of ecstatic rapture? I highly recommend it.

You are focusing on the matras and devices of meditation, because you are unaware of the ecstatic life a mystic leads in the real world as a result. Mysticism is not life-denying. It is life affirming. It doesn't have to be rigorous asceticism. 'I loafe and invite my soul.' -Walt Whitman

That pretty much takes care of your quotes. You are reading mystical literature all wrong, because you lack the tools of comparativism.



edit on 721Tuesday000000America/ChicagoJul000000TuesdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 10:57 AM
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Well, for one, mystic means going within and its subjective, our truth is subjective. The bible is also founded by those who go within, and the documents come from much older stories than the often believed literal timeline and narrative fundmentalists think is true. Genesis 32 30, is all about, going within. The mystic.

Now, ironically, politics, and world leadership, is determined by selectively choosing not only a certain group think amongst mystics, but slanting it the way you want it.

Then that very same control group likes to put down grass roots mysticism from a variety of angles, from new age, to lack of proof (as if they had some for their own sordid trail of formation of religions which actually relied on mystic and essene and various ancient knowledges, and then alot of murders and rewriting, but actual proof, sadly missing), to dangers of misinterpretation. You need them, they are such trustworthy guides, to interpret....

Well, in time, overall, throughout history, if you have a system, as it should be, where everyone goes within, meditates, develops their soul skills/psi, ie healing, RV, law of affinity and various other types relating to Chi, for example, though found in every tradition throughout the world, and if you add to this, bodies of information shared through NDE's, for example, and there are thousands, possibly millions of accounts, there still seems to be an overall picture, and its flexible, subjective, but there are patterns that can be seen.

Its up to the individual to use their own frequency of love, ie grade, and discernment to believe something that helps them get through and grow.

Ideally, we would not be in boxes, but every single person would be on their own journey and share what they gain as experiences and insights.

Now, to the one who posted something about EGO.

Out of Egypt, is the gnosis for coming out of EGO. And there is a kind of letting go of the body image and materialism and what others think of you, and the norms of your society, involved in this. For example, elderly naturally in the process of transmuting their energies from material and active to more repose, rest and thoughtfulness, go through the cycle of losing health, losing teeth and front teeth often, losing image and dignity and this is natures preparation for their ascension basically, their progression or letting go of this world and its traps. So there is a tie in, in the real definition of ego, defined not necessarily by philosophers with different agenda's but read in the living library of nature itself, to Self Image that is tied into false material or society norms and what your neighbors think. Keeping with the Jone's.

But the real meaning of Ego, is inequality. Humble of heart does NOT mean self abasement but means lack of self elevation and compassion for others, and The Equality.



posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 11:03 AM
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As for the part about anyone's personal experiences and insights being without physical proof, well some NDE's have alot of evidence, even to suggest they're more than bio chemicals, such as people reporting conversations several rooms down, or out of the building, or those born blind able to see, and so forth and so on, but its not proof, its evidence.

There is no proof of anything here. The chair you're sitting on seems real and solid and subject and worthy of a world that should demand proof, but in reality its just energy waves, that your brain has decoded with programs your body suit computer was given, via DNA, (often compared to a computer language) that gives you a concept of material solid world. One can say this is a dream however, another wants his eggs sunny side up and reality very solid.

Its all subjective.

We have get through this thing called life, choosing to question or choosing to coast on through without applying much thought, but there is less objectivity here, than we think, its more subjective.

So...we all get to make of that what we will.

Thats the joy of freedom and self discovery.

And we're all supposed to seek answers within and share. No matter how many different truths and answers show up, because this incredibly negative and criminal slave box they have the world in, needs millions of windows and doors flung open, so people can fly free.





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