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The Elephant's Ear - Interpreting Religious Experience (must we agree?)

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posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 08:41 PM
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I can tell a true story here which, if under my real name, I could not-- or would not. The story is not important, although interesting. It is the source of the story which may be of more interest.

Almost three years ago, I had a religious experience in the form of a vision. Two brothers slogging through mud carrying what looked to me to be muskets. I'm not a student of firearms, so I guessed that they were probably from the American Civil War era (the 1860's). One brother was wounded, and dieing. The other was trying to help him to safety as the enemy soldiers were closing in on them through the woods. Most of the events I saw as through the eyes of one of the brothers-- the unharmed one. There was more to it, but that is enough.

When the vision ended, I had a strong impression not only that the two men were brothers, but also that the tragedy was all the worse because the war was already over-- the fighting pointless. Furthermore, I had the strong impression that the one through whose eyes I witnessed much of the vision was an ancestor.

Here is the thing: Would not most persons assume that the vision was of their own past life?

I didn't. Two things, I think, have me making other assumptions:

* First I have a very rich, studied and practiced Christian faith. I simply do not believe in reincarnation, but I do believe in the communion of saints-- that is, that the holy dead can pray and even act, spiritually, on behalf of the living.
* Second, I have a strong sense of self. I have had visions off and on all of my life-- some include my earliest memories, so the vision did not startle me-- it was not my first rodeo. Even though I "felt" the kinship between the two brothers and my own underlying kinship with both-- and even though I saw part of events unfold as if through the eyes of the one-- I did not feel as if I was that person.

So, instead of assuming I am "remembering" my own prior life, I took the vision to be my being shown an historical event in the life of another-- another to whom it was important that I know the story.

Classic description of interpretations: Blind men walking around an elephant. One has a hold of an ear, others have found the trunk, the tail, the side, the legs. They each describe something different, but not one describe the whole elephant.

Discussing this with a friend who had her own somewhat similar experience (and she decided hers was of a past life she had lived) this is where we met:

It doesn't matter. Each of us recognized our own spirituality as a part of the experiences, each of reacted to the experiences with a renewed desire to pursue noble acts, taking the lessons from the visions to heart. Each of us interpreted the experience according to our own beliefs. I did not make up my beliefs, I chose to accept them as truth. My friend did not make up her belief in reincarnation-- she accepted them when offered by another.

Thoughts?

P.S.:
I had been the family genealogist since I was a teenager. I was certain that no ancestor of mine had been a combatant in the Civil War. I poured over the records I had kept to confirm that. I stumbled across a new lead to a my paternal grandmother's family and six months later... (wait for it!)

Six months later I found that her grandfather had fought in the Texas Revolution (1836) alongside not only his father, but his brother, who was killed a week after the final and decisive battle of San Jacinto. Three months after learning that, I then read that all skirmishes which followed as Santa Anna's Army was retreating, took place in constant rain and a "sea of mud." Sure seems like what I saw in my vision has historical support. Neat, huh?

Still, what about the thought of interpretations differ as to source, but to not so much as to effect?




posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 09:58 PM
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reply to post by Frira
 


Peace to your Frira.

Such a wonderful experience and perspective you have shared with us. Thank you


I am strongly in favor of your view that past life regressions could be an ancestor instead of 'you.'
Have you had more than one past life experience? Have you had this particular experience more than once? Did the vision experience occur during sleep, meditation, prayer, out of the blue, or some other form?

I have actually been tinkering with a concept, and your story actually added much weight to my theory. Allow me to elaborate:

We understand DNA to be a sort of 'programming' by which we are created as individuals. We witness remarkable instincts in this world, that manifest without learning. Animals migrate to places they've never seen, and certain actions and reflexes happen without any practice or instruction. Is it safe to say instincts are pre-programmed into our DNA? I would say yes. We see everything from genomic imprinting, to physical traits, and ancestry all stored away within our genetic mapping.

Similarly to asexual reproduction or self replication, could our DNA be a splice from our parents' being, and hold the experiences and memories of all of our direct ancestors? I have been pondering if it is possible to access this 'genomic library' through meditation or some other mechanism. Your view on past life regression certainly gives substance to this theory. Would this mean that I am my grandfather, or that I am Adam? In a sense, yes. I emerged from their personal genetic code, making me a piece of them that "broke off" to create a newer them.

What do you think about my little theory?
Thanks again for sharing.


P.S.
I love the 'Blind Men and an Elephant' story! I use this story to explain religious, philosophical, and ideological differences. I have experienced this story first hand as a Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, New Age, Pantheism, Panentheism, and others. Everything I followed with sincerity, I felt the same inner experience. Yes, I studied and followed several beliefs in my search for peace, but that's a whole 'nother story :p


edit on 6/24/11 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 10:19 PM
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Originally posted by Sahabi
reply to post by Frira
 


Peace to your Frira.

Such a wonderful experience and perspective you have shared with us. Thank you



Yes, thank you, Frira. If you have read me, you know I too not only believe in reincarnation, I have seen the dead for most of my life, and have had some cool experiences with one or two of them.


Similarly to asexual reproduction or self replication, could our DNA be a splice from our parents' being, and hold the experiences and memories of all of our direct ancestors? I have been pondering if it is possible to access this 'genomic library' through meditation or some other mechanism. Your view on past life regression certainly gives substance to this theory. Would this mean that I am my grandfather, or that I am Adam? In a sense, yes. I emerged from their personal genetic code, making me a piece of them that "broke off" to create a newer them.


I too have pondered these thoughts, and here is my take on it, although I may not have all the fact here. I think that a person's DNA is a map, a roadmap, if you will. That DNA contains all that the original person is, plus all other personalities from all the other life times, plus any outside influences such as ET. When we are born of Woman, in human form, we pass through the water, and this is supposed to wipe the memories, but this does not always work. Many people remember past life events, some with startling clarity and detail. What you emerged from was a point of origin, an original ball of Soul Energy, and as this "went down the road," it began to gather new memories and feelings. I would welcome a serious discussion on this phenomena, if there were some way to keep out those who believe not and find fault with those who do.



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 10:39 PM
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reply to post by Frira
 


Neat ending to the story. I do think your established interest in genealogy influenced your investigative path though, because it was almost natural for you to go there. And for you the story is rounded to your satisfaction. However is it the real answer?

I too have had a similar vision, and it was so very real. However I came to believe that it was a memory snippet from one of several PBS programs I'd seen some time ago, or Gone with the Wind, the reason being that I am not American, and they were in civil war uniforms. But I didn't come to that conclusion for some time because I was trying out different things in searching for an answer, including spiritual reasons.

The brain itself can do that to a person, give you visions that are so real. In studying about creativity, I learned that dream scenarios can happen in daydreaming as well as light sleep. I was stressed and I escaped through moments of daydreaming, I think.

We also try to fit things into neat little compartments so we feel better about them. For instance if we see something that looks like a circle with a small chunk out of it, we still tend to call it a circle, because the shape of the line is round



posted on Jun, 24 2011 @ 11:26 PM
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reply to post by Frira
 

Nice dream. Your interest in genealogy adequately explains the setting and subject-matter.

Rather than assuming that it is some kind of supernatural experience, try interpreting in in psychological terms. When we have dreams that seem particularly meaningful or vivid, it usually means our unconscious mind is trying to tell us something.



posted on Jun, 25 2011 @ 01:50 AM
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Originally posted by Sahabi
reply to post by Frira
 

Have you had more than one past life experience? Have you had this particular experience more than once? Did the vision experience occur during sleep, meditation, prayer, out of the blue, or some other form?

No, this is the only experience I have had which in anyway hints at a.. what?.. call it an "out of time experience" I suppose. My "religious experiences" have been both waking and sleeping-- I think this one was from sleep-- it has been about three years, so I am not positive.



What do you think about my [DNA] little theory?

Very good. As workable as any good theory I have encountered. Yours dovetails nicely with Jungian concepts of common symbols and images shared by humanity in both dreams and in visions.

As I read the details of what you suggested, I thought of a version of the Hebrew Seder I like. Referring to the Exodus being remembered at Passover, one custom includes the "wise son" and the "foolish son." Each one is asked what it is they remember on the Passover.

The one playing the "foolish son" answers, "On this night, God led our ancestors out of bondage."
The wise son then answers, "On this night, God led us out of bondage."

The idea being that remembering is not merely recalling a story to mind, it is a very real returning of the event-- sort of the opposite of dismembering being to cut off from oneself; where as remembering is to re-join. In other words-- what happened to them, happens to us.
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Originally posted by autowrench

Originally posted by Sahabi
reply to post by Frira
 


Such a wonderful experience and perspective you have shared with us. Thank you




(Not quoting for some reason, "Such a wonderful experience and perspective you have shared with us. Thank you
"
Your welcome; and, Cool! Especially the way you picked up on and added to the first reply.



I would welcome a serious discussion on this phenomena, if there were some way to keep out those who believe not and find fault with those who do.

Yes. You mean like the two posts immediately following yours? Ha!

I will stop short of saying any faith is equal, but I do think most faiths are legitimate expressions of human spiritual experience. I am very partial to my own faith, its tenants and traditions, but see great wisdom in many others-- not afraid to take hold of whatever part of the elephant they want to describe to me.

---
I am quite aware that the vast majority of person have only one or two religious experiences in their life-- and, of those, rarely of the profound sort that a few find to be frequent and common experiences. Such will undoubtedly post here because they need those neat little compartments.

The neatest and littlest compartment is the one that says there is no spiritual experience, no spiritual life, and no mystery to life at all. (Yawn).

Some will even presume the word "vision" is equivocal to the word "dream" ... to them, well, sorry-- but, thanks for playing. Goodness. Lord spare us from the adamantly ignorant.

Reminds me, I have several friends who are musicians. Some are also song-writers. It amazes me that they can do what they do. They do not know why they have the ability, but they are thankful for it and use it-- are helped by and help others who share that gift. Meanwhile, I do not spend energy attempting to explain their gift away because I do not have it. It is not hard for me to imagine what sort of stunted mind they would rightly think me to possess if I did.




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