Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Eugene I
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

Post by Eugene I »

Cleric K wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:55 am Eugene, I think we speak of very different kinds of transcendence here :)
What you say sounds a little like transcendence is a matter of being fed up with ego-life and deciding to do something more interesting after death. I'll try to draw a picture of what we need to pass through in order to reach a point that really transcends our perspective within the Solar system.
Cleric, I said it many times, but you keep misinterpreting the non-dual approach to spiritual life. There is a reason for that of course, as I said before, there are indeed some Eastern schools and adepts that interpret it in such way as an escape from life into some seductive "tranquil" state of "walking zombie" because of being "fed up" or because of too much personal suffering. But this approach was criticized by Buddha as "aversion to becoming" and clinging to empty and tranquil states . It is true that in initial stages of the path of many Eastern traditions there is a strong motivation for liberation from suffering, and for some people it remains so strong that it becomes their main motivation in practice and leads to escapism into such seductive "tranquil" states. However, the generic non-dual traditions have nothing to do with that. Liberation it is not about escaping anything, but about continuing the full involvement with the life of forms, including the life of ego-self and higher-Self and whatever, but in a liberated and non-conditioned way. And such liberated state inevitably and naturally leads to transformation and transcendence of the ego-self, and later transcendence of the self-identified higher-Self into liberated and non-self-identified higher-Self. This happens not because one is being "fed up" with anything, but by the intrinsic logic/nature of the non-dual state itself. The liberated state leads to full engagement with life but free from any clinging and aversion to anything - everything is accepted as part of the life flow, and whatever work and involvement is needed to help in the progressive development of the collective consciousness is given freely and openly.

But along the way towards such transformation there is often a stage or period in one's spiritual life when one needs certain degree of abstinence from too much involvement in the life of ego in the world of egos in order to be able to focus on the necessary elements of practice. This is not necessary and entirely optional, but this is what we see in the path of monastics and renunciates, both in Eastern and Wester traditions. Most of them do it not because they are "fed up" or are escapists (even though many still may feel that way, at least at some stages), but as a stage in their spiritual life that helps them to accelerate their spiritual transformation, and once they achieve that (whether in the incarnate or discarnate state), they usually return back to involvement with life in a full sense. We see that among many examples of both the masters of the Eastern traditions and saints of the Western traditions, who, once attained transformation, return back to life with ordinary people to help them in their spiritual life. In Zen it is called the 10-stage of "Entering the Marketplace with Extended Hands" that happens after the 9-th stage of "Return to the Origin, Back to the Source".
Return to the Origin, Back to the Source
Entering the Marketplace with Extended Hands

In the rest of your post you gave a wonderful exposition of the Cosmic path through the Spheres towards the higher-Self, this is the path that you took and that you intimately know from your spiritual experience, and the one you strongly adhere with. And it is understandable that because you see the positive results in your life from it, you want to share it with other people who may also want to follow such path, and this is wonderful. But please understand that this is not the only possible path of traversing the Spiritual Universe. Other paths, such as non-dual, one of the indigenous traditions, and perhaps other ones, are not about bypassing or escaping the Spiritual Universe in any way, but about traversing it along different paths. You need to come to peace with the fact that there is not the only one possible path to traverse the Spiritual Universe in the direction of the spiritual progression.

We are here representing various spiritual paths, and there is no reason to compete with each other or demean each other paths. We still may share our personal experiences and insights from our travels along our different paths and let people decide and choose their path of preference for themselves.
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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Eugene I
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

Post by Eugene I »

Here is an interesting NDE relevant to this discussion of "flat" M@L. The fact that this luminous and centerless Awareness is all-pervasive does not make it "flat" in any way.
Atheist Neurologist Transformed by Near Death Experience
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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Lou Gold
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Cleric K wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 11:54 am
Lou Gold wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 3:21 am OTOH, there's not much composting going on in the heavens. Are we human beings figuring out how to be spiritual; the reverse; something of both?
The whole Creation begins with 'composting'. The archetypal timeless ideas reflect into multiplicity, which is archetypal 'composting'. What is the sensory image of the world, except the composted Eden? Within this world of multiplicity new and unique paths of integration evolve back into wholeness. We live in the composted Eden in bodies made of composted Eden matter. To find the spiritual means to recognize this fact as reality. We're not living in a different, parallel world. It's the same Eden experienced from within the deep composting process. Yet through our spiritual life we can discover in every sensory form the concealed and metamorphosed Eden. In the same way we can recognize and Love the living soul even in someone who because of destiny happens to be locked in a crippled body.

Here's a though on the topic from a spiritual master:
"Old age is generally considered to be something of an ordeal, and this is certainly the case for most people, for they have not lived in harmony with the divine laws. But in fact, old age can actually be the best period of your life. For those who have nurtured a high ideal throughout their youth and middle years, many things, such as understanding and clarity of thought, improve considerably in old age. How can that be? It is as though the brain does not evolve along the same lines as the body. Legs, eyes and ears begin to let you down, but the life of the soul and the spirit becomes increasingly abundant and rich, as if we were at last reaping the rewards of our efforts. So, prepare yourselves, think about living the right way while you are young so as to benefit from the abundant rewards to come in later life."
There are many ways to tell the story, all embedded in the whole. My particular twist of fate is that aging is not leading toward a greater appreciation of the spiritual, which for me was already quite high, but for a much deeper appreciation of the animal and the mundane. Indeed, my world has become, in the words of another spiritual master, full of the "extraordinary-ordinary."

I like poetry more than analysis:

The World I Live In
Mary Oliver

I have refused to live
locked in the orderly house of
reasons and proofs.
The world I live in and believe in
is wider than that. And anyway,
what's wrong with Maybe?

You wouldn't believe what once or
twice I have seen. I'll just
tell you this:
only if there are angels in your head will you
ever, possibly, see one.


And, I like pictures:

"I see God in the tree because I see the tree as a tree." ~ Ramana Maharshi

Image

On balance, there are portals to perception: Thich Nhat Hanh calls it the Heart of Compassion; Jesus performed it as Forgiveness; my Lakota friends call it Mitakuye Oyasin; and the taoists remind us that "The spoken tao is not the Eternal Tao."
Be calm - Be clear - See the faults - See the suffering - Give your love
Ed Konderla
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

Post by Ed Konderla »

Old age for me is experiencing spirituality, joy, meaningfulness and love like never before. It is a feeling of running out of time and a need to give back. It's waking up every morning feeling like someone worked me over with a baseball bat.
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Eugene I
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

Post by Eugene I »

Lou Gold wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 7:48 pm There are many ways to tell the story, all embedded in the whole. My particular twist of fate is that aging is not leading toward a greater appreciation of the spiritual, which for me was already quite high, but for a much deeper appreciation of the animal and the mundane. Indeed, my world has become, in the words of another spiritual master, full of the "extraordinary-ordinary."

On balance, there are portals to perception: Thich Nhat Hanh calls it the Heart of Compassion; Jesus performed it as Forgiveness; my Lakota friends call it Mitakuye Oyasin; and the taoists remind us that "The spoken tao is not the Eternal Tao."
Exactly, and as the great Buddhist master Longchenpa said, "Nirvana is entirely beautiful, and entirely beautiful is samsara", but paradoxically, one needs to be in nirvana to experience it. Amazingly, from the perspective of our deepest spiritual essence, there is nothing "mundane" in the world, as well as nothing really "spiritual", yet everything is just stunningly and immediately beautiful, and in that sense, always "extraordinary".
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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Cleric K
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Eugene I wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 1:22 pm In the rest of your post you gave a wonderful exposition of the Cosmic path through the Spheres towards the higher-Self, this is the path that you took and that you intimately know from your spiritual experience, and the one you strongly adhere with. And it is understandable that because you see the positive results in your life from it, you want to share it with other people who may also want to follow such path, and this is wonderful. But please understand that this is not the only possible path of traversing the Spiritual Universe. Other paths, such as non-dual, one of the indigenous traditions, and perhaps other ones, are not about bypassing or escaping the Spiritual Universe in any way, but about traversing it along different paths. You need to come to peace with the fact that there is not the only one possible path to traverse the Spiritual Universe in the direction of the spiritual progression.
Eugene, what I'm always talking about is that the Spiritual world has a certain lawful structure and in the Deep M@L picture, this structure is the structure of our own conscious space. Let's imagine that people don't know about the interior of their physical body and everything is a matter of philosophy and religion. Then there are individuals who say "The body has concrete biological organization. If we understand this organization we'll know what is the appropriate nutrition, how much sleep, how much exercise, etc. are beneficial to keep the body healthy and properly developing." Other people say "You need to come to peace with the fact that there's not one but many possible ways to live with that body. People can eat glass, nails, etc."

Now this is a very rude example but is not far from the facts (even in the physical sense! we know how people destroy themselves even in the face of elementary biological truths). It's not about forcing everyone to conform to the same set of ideas but to investigate the spiritual structure that we're living through, such that we can unfold our activity in the most harmonious and productive way. In the same way that pointing out the healthy foods in contrast to unhealthy doesn't aim to restrict people to certain ideologies but to help them reach their full potential, so spiritual knowledge is not about becoming locked in dogma but about expanding our horizons such that we don't get stuck in the swamps and deserts of spiritual life, which project through the individuals in all the problems of our civilization that people are in vain trying to solve by reshuffling the physical factors in the most varied ways.

From what I understand you don't reject the above, you're OK with the spiritual structures, probably even with things like the soul organs, the planetary spheres and so on, but it's your position that man is perfectly able to transcend both the physical and spiritual structures and for example, choose different path after death that has nothing do with humanity - not because of ill feelings or being fed up but simply because it is possible, it's a different path of experience. In other words, if I understand your position correctly, the soul organs, planetary spheres, etc. are a limiting factor only within incarnate life. After death, as long as we have reached the proper stage of development, we can be free from the spheres.

Well, I think we can really go no further than this. You are correct that there's no point trying to impose ideas. As a matter of fact it would be inappropriate if someone understands the ideas, finds them logical and decides to work for the evolution of humanity just because that's the supposed developmental blueprint of the Cosmic organism but without really feeling inclined to do so. This would be a very miserable situation. Man is completely unfree. Man is only free if he understands through his cognitive efforts that, just as a healthy body gives him the richest palette of possibilities, so properly developed soul and spirit, in correct relations with the dynamic spiritual environment, also give him the richest palette of possibilities. Of course everyone is also free to believe that after death they may get even richer palette of possibilities, far transcending the context of the Solar evolution. Well, once at this point, I don't have anything more to add. My only task was to present a direction of direct experience that reveals the reasons for the sorry conditions that humanity suffers through and the principal ways for their resolution.
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Eugene I
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Cleric K wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:50 pm Eugene, what I'm always talking about is that the Spiritual world has a certain lawful structure and in the Deep M@L picture, this structure is the structure of our own conscious space. Let's imagine that people don't know about the interior of their physical body and everything is a matter of philosophy and religion. Then there are individuals who say "The body has concrete biological organization. If we understand this organization we'll know what is the appropriate nutrition, how much sleep, how much exercise, etc. are beneficial to keep the body healthy and properly developing." Other people say "You need to come to peace with the fact that there's not one but many possible ways to live with that body. People can eat glass, nails, etc."

Now this is a very rude example but is not far from the facts (even in the physical sense! we know how people destroy themselves even in the face of elementary biological truths). It's not about forcing everyone to conform to the same set of ideas but to investigate the spiritual structure that we're living through, such that we can unfold our activity in the most harmonious and productive way. In the same way that pointing out the healthy foods in contrast to unhealthy doesn't aim to restrict people to certain ideologies but to help them reach their full potential, so spiritual knowledge is not about becoming locked in dogma but about expanding our horizons such that we don't get stuck in the swamps and deserts of spiritual life, which project through the individuals in all the problems of our civilization that people are in vain trying to solve by reshuffling the physical factors in the most varied ways.

From what I understand you don't reject the above, you're OK with the spiritual structures, probably even with things like the soul organs, the planetary spheres and so on, but it's your position that man is perfectly able to transcend both the physical and spiritual structures and for example, choose different path after death that has nothing do with humanity - not because of ill feelings or being fed up but simply because it is possible, it's a different path of experience. In other words, if I understand your position correctly, the soul organs, planetary spheres, etc. are a limiting factor only within incarnate life. After death, as long as we have reached the proper stage of development, we can be free from the spheres.
Well, based on the large body of NDE and regression accounts and the knowledge from the Buddhist traditions (The Tibetan Book of Dead for example), the astral and ethereal realms are much more plastic and flexible. There are definitely structures within those realms, including structures of our psyches. Yet these structures are flexible, and they are manifested by us. We are all co-creators of realities, we all have that fascinating power of manifestation innate to Consciousness that all God-creators use to full capacity to manifest realities. As opposed to the physical realm where the structures are very rigid (yet still have some extent of plasticity), the extent of plasticity in those realms is quite broad and in fact is limited mostly by our unconscious cognitive patterns, beliefs, attachments and self-identifications: these structures will non-flexibly exist for as as long as we unconsciously "manifest" them based on our beliefs about ourselves. Of course those structures are part of a shared reality of the realm where we find ourselves, and that reality is also collectively manifested by other beings and by the creator-deities of these realms, so to that extent they can not be fully controlled by our volition. But if in a discarnate form I still believe that I am a "Eugene"-self and I'm deeply attached to such identity, then I will exist as an astral form of "Eugene" with all the associated structures and organs. But once I dis-identify with anything and any kinds of "self", I am free to take any form and move to any realm (or to stay with "Eugene"-form without identification and attachment), or not to take any form at all and remain as a freely-flowing liberated Consciousness. Even if I take a certain form, as long as I am not identified with it or attached to it, I will always retain my freedom to stay with it or change it. Regaining this innate freedom unleashes our creativity (as the individuated activities of Consciousness) to the full extent, we become no longer conditioned by the forms we take, but the opposite - the forms become conditioned by our creative, high-level cognitive and volitional abilities.
Man is only free if he understands through his cognitive efforts that, just as a healthy body gives him the richest palette of possibilities, so properly developed soul and spirit, in correct relations with the dynamic spiritual environment, also give him the richest palette of possibilities. Of course everyone is also free to believe that after death they may get even richer palette of possibilities, far transcending the context of the Solar evolution. Well, once at this point, I don't have anything more to add. My only task was to present a direction of direct experience that reveals the reasons for the sorry conditions that humanity suffers through and the principal ways for their resolution.
Right, this is the common ground of most spiritual traditions. When we consume unhealthy spiritual food, we become sick and we psychologically suffer as a consequence. To end this unnecessary self-inflicted suffering, we need to change our "eating" habits, and there is a variety of healthy spiritual diets. The one you showed is definitely one of them, but by far not the only one.
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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Lou Gold
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Cleric K wrote: Sun Apr 18, 2021 8:50 pm
Eugene, what I'm always talking about is that the Spiritual world has a certain lawful structure and in the Deep M@L picture, this structure is the structure of our own conscious space. Let's imagine that people don't know about the interior of their physical body and everything is a matter of philosophy and religion. Then there are individuals who say "The body has concrete biological organization. If we understand this organization we'll know what is the appropriate nutrition, how much sleep, how much exercise, etc. are beneficial to keep the body healthy and properly developing." Other people say "You need to come to peace with the fact that there's not one but many possible ways to live with that body. People can eat glass, nails, etc."

Now this is a very rude example but is not far from the facts (even in the physical sense! we know how people destroy themselves even in the face of elementary biological truths). It's not about forcing everyone to conform to the same set of ideas but to investigate the spiritual structure that we're living through, such that we can unfold our activity in the most harmonious and productive way. In the same way that pointing out the healthy foods in contrast to unhealthy doesn't aim to restrict people to certain ideologies but to help them reach their full potential, so spiritual knowledge is not about becoming locked in dogma but about expanding our horizons such that we don't get stuck in the swamps and deserts of spiritual life, which project through the individuals in all the problems of our civilization that people are in vain trying to solve by reshuffling the physical factors in the most varied ways.
Yikes, Cleric, so many times that I'm getting closer to accepting your cosmic model you seem to offer a hypothetical or metaphorical example that I trip over. It strikes me that your food example is beyond rude or crude. It just misses the simple and obvious "lower level" facts. If you want a healthy diet, you will do well with the traditional diet (and population limits) of the native people of your biome. That indigenous diet was "imposed" by spending a long term living and surviving in-place (indigenous) and was often reinforced by taboos around hunting and harvesting. There's a spiritual version, I guess. When the gringo spiritual wannabes demanded a food teaching from Ram Dass's guru Neem Karoli Baba in India he responded: "Eat food that has been grown, harvested and prepared with love. Do not eat poison", which would eliminate almost all foodstuffs produced by modern industrial agriculture. Yes, this can be a free-choice result of "grow and eat locally" but for it to be anything like a general approach one must confront the political-economic power of agri-business, which has maintained massive advertising, educational and public subsidization policies in support of its very non-local ways. Bottom line: Who are these free-choice individuals who are neither constrained by ancient taboos or modern institutionalized policies? And, has not the desire to transcend the old limits of place via globalization raised a whole new and even more challenging set of dilemmas? I favor Lao Tzu's too obvious observation, "There was never a big problem that could not have been solved when it was small." In my view, the privileging of ascent and transcendence is part of the spiritual bypass of the more earthly and humble Taoist view.
Be calm - Be clear - See the faults - See the suffering - Give your love
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Cleric K
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Lou Gold wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:00 am I favor Lao Tzu's too obvious observation, "There was never a big problem that could not have been solved when it was small." In my view, the privileging of ascent and transcendence is part of the spiritual bypass of the more earthly and humble Taoist view.
What you say above contains both the contradiction and the solution.

Why was the problem that we experience today as 'big' has not been solved when it was small? Simple - because at that time it was so small that it was not seen, it was not recognized to be a problem. Seeing the problem is capability of the Spirit. The small problem can't be seen as immediate sensory perception. One needs deeper insight in order to encompass how things will play out and grow in the future. In the same way people eat and drink to excess because they don't see the small problems - the tiny buildups of plaque in the body.

We should not confuse humility with deliberate ignorance. Living Nature doesn't value the ignorant. Few centuries from now, when things go from bad to worse, we'll whine and say "But we didn't know that it'll turn out like this!". Then Nature will say "And who's fault is that? I've given you everything you need to both foresee and solve the problems - body, mind, heart, soul and spirit. You should have used them. Now you shall reap the fruits of your laziness."

I understand that you privilege trial-and-error above spiritual intelligence (which you see as bypass) but then you should get rid of "There was never a big problem that could not have been solved when it was small." In blind trial and error the small problem can only be recognized in retrospect, when it's already big. If we are to recognize the small problem today we need cognitive effort, because the small problem is not that easily recognizable. It's merged in our own thoughts and feelings as benign tumorous growth that we can't distinguish from normality unless we exercise spiritual efforts. We'll be forced to recognize it only when it becomes malign but then it's already too late.
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Lou Gold
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Re: Essay: Beyond the Flat M@L

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Cleric K wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:14 am
Lou Gold wrote: Mon Apr 19, 2021 12:00 am I favor Lao Tzu's too obvious observation, "There was never a big problem that could not have been solved when it was small." In my view, the privileging of ascent and transcendence is part of the spiritual bypass of the more earthly and humble Taoist view.
What you say above contains both the contradiction and the solution.

Why was the problem that we experience today as 'big' has not been solved when it was small? Simple - because at that time it was so small that it was not seen, it was not recognized to be a problem. Seeing the problem is capability of the Spirit. The small problem can't be seen as immediate sensory perception. One needs deeper insight in order to encompass how things will play out and grow in the future. In the same way people eat and drink to excess because they don't see the small problems - the tiny buildups of plaque in the body.

We should not confuse humility with deliberate ignorance. Living Nature doesn't value the ignorant. Few centuries from now, when things go from bad to worse, we'll whine and say "But we didn't know that it'll turn out like this!". Then Nature will say "And who's fault is that? I've given you everything you need to both foresee and solve the problems - body, mind, heart, soul and spirit. You should have used them. Now you shall reap the fruits of your laziness."

I understand that you privilege trial-and-error above spiritual intelligence (which you see as bypass) but then you should get rid of "There was never a big problem that could not have been solved when it was small." In blind trial and error the small problem can only be recognized in retrospect, when it's already big. If we are to recognize the small problem today we need cognitive effort, because the small problem is not that easily recognizable. It's merged in our own thoughts and feelings as benign tumorous growth that we can't distinguish from normality unless we exercise spiritual efforts. We'll be forced to recognize it only when it becomes malign but then it's already too late.
This would be a reasonable analysis if you accept Taoism as already having presented a superior insight. We need not wait a few centuries for ever-more painful trials-and-errors, these insights and others (like the more Shamanic views of the Kogi Elder Brothers) have already been given. This was not deliberate ignorance. It was and is superior spiritual insight. Do you accept it as such and that there exist many types of spiritual science?

And, yes, growing older for myself is packed full of insights that I didn't particularly arrive at by applying a science other than simply paying attention in an increasingly downward-pointing direction, not by figuring out how to be more spiritual but by figuring out how to be more human.
Be calm - Be clear - See the faults - See the suffering - Give your love
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