The vertigo of eternity

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Hedge90
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by Hedge90 »

Thank you for the clarification. Other than Steiners book, can you recommend something to read as a beginner in the topic?
AshvinP wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:54 pm
Hedge90 wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 4:04 pm I'll definitely look that book up, thanks.
Btw in the meantime I was thinking about something. Religions and esoteric traditions other than Buddhism maintain the existence of a self that survives after the death of the body. But at the same time, the original idea of Hell in many traditions - before it started to be painted as a place of physical torment in the Middle Ages - was basically just oblivion; eradication of the soul (correct me if I'm wrong).
Now, I remembered that the final part of my trip was total union with everything, with complete loss of my self. It was infinitely calm, there was nothing "bad" in it, but my "self" died there. "I" did not have the power to come back from there; I was cast back. And as I was cast back into my body and ego, even though what I just experienced was complete calm, I was overcome with terror (though I ascribed that to the trauma my ego just had).
Do you think, that perhaps I may have seen what those traditions referred to as "Hell"? Do you think that maybe the purpose of mysticism is to develop the aspects of the self that will keep the soul intact and not let it just dissolve?
This is pure speculation and I'm not sure I'm making any sense. I'm merely asking what you think.

I will refer you to Cleric's earlier response for details on your question, because I simply do not know those details. In general, I don't think Hell was ever considered an "eradication" of the soul until the modern age. That is when we get the "annihilation" doctrine in the Western church - I could be wrong about that, but I am pretty sure that is correct. Right now, it is probably best for us to think of "Hell" as a psycho-spiritual state which we can fall into by succumbing too much to certain spiritual forces - Luciferic (over-spiritualized mysticism) and Ahrimanic (sensuous materialism). Your experience would be more the Luciferic one, where your "I" seemed to dissolve but did not actually dissolve (at least not the higher "I" who is fundamental). So yes, in that sense you may have experienced some of what has been called "Hell", and one core purpose of spiritual scientific training is to go beyond the threshold with the ego intact. I am sure Cleric can correct or clarify that if necessary. Below is his response:


viewtopic.php?p=8377#p8377
Cleric wrote:There's great difference, though, when this loosening is achieved entirely though our own conscious effort. The slow but certain and safe path of gradual spiritual development, through spiritual exercises, doesn't simply eject us out of the body 'without the use of substances'. First and foremost we need to strengthen our thinking, feeling and willing by imbuing them with strong moral impulses. When this is achieved, there's great difference in the way we enter the spirit realm. When this happened to you, you were sent on a moon trip - you lost your "I" because you could no longer recognize anything that depends on your "I" - or at least your "I" as you know it from Earthly life. Yet it was not really gone, it was simply helplessly spread out and contemplating it's impotence to find its bearings. You know this is so, because otherwise you wouldn't be able to say that these events happened to you. The same essential being that you call "I", and which intuitively experiences your Earthly life, was also there in the ego-less state, even though it couldn't recognize its activity in the completely alien surroundings.

When we enter the out of body state through proper development, we're not lost. We interact with spiritual process and beings. From that vantage point, our ordinary ego is always at hand. This is very significant difference. We can enter and leave our ordinary state at will. In fact, it's of primer importance to always have our lower self in sight, so to speak. The reasons for this will take us too far, but let's just say that that's how we can translate the experiences between the higher and the sensory world. We investigate how our ordinary self comes to be, how its weaved of the higher order spiritual process and the threads of Karma. If we don't have our lower self in sight, reality becomes split for us - into the higher completely inexplicable realm, and the lower realm of the sensory and intellectual ego. The bridge can never be found in this way.
...
So what can be done? As said, one variant is simply to try and distract yourself and hope you'll be able to fill your consciousness with enough trivialities of life, such that you simply forget as much as possible the experience. You'll revisit the experience again at the moment of death. This would be a waste, in my opinion. The other variant is to take your life in hands and begin to develop what you have accidentally unleashed. I must tell you that this is more difficult than if you start from baseline consciousness and proceed with proper exercises. Now you'll have to undo many distorted ideas which seem to you as great revelations but are actually the best a unprepared ego could make out of perceptions in a realm, for which it is utterly unfit.
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AshvinP
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by AshvinP »

Hedge90 wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 5:13 pm Thank you for the clarification. Other than Steiners book, can you recommend something to read as a beginner in the topic?
Not really, because PoF is truly as simple and straightforward as this sort of phenomenology gets. You could also try Owen Barfield's "Saving the Appearances" or some of his articles located here - https://www.owenbarfield.org/read-online/articles/.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Eugene I
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by Eugene I »

Hedge90 wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 11:56 am In some of his talks, Bernardo mentions the vertigo of eternity, which he says he experienced on heavy doses of psychedelics, and how it is a terrifying experience, and how he felt very alone. Now, I haven't read all his books yet, but did he ever elaborate on that more? Because in my own experience, the road down to ego death is, indeed, the most terrifying thing I ever felt, reality melting away around me and me falling into total unknown without anything to latch on to. But after you pass the threshold, so to speak, after you let your ego dissolve and step out of the confinement of your self, for me it was the very opposite of feeling alone. In fact, what I realised that I never was and cannot be "alone", because everything is ONE, and aloneness implies that you are separated from something.
I think the feeling of "alone" is a very Earthly feeling people experience and due to evolutionary instincts: being separated from others was very dangerous to us, so we evolved a natural negative reaction to it. But you don't (can't) bring these feelings with you outside the confines of your physical brain. For me, it was a feeling of overwhelming wholeness and calm.
I'm interested in whether Bernardo has written about this more and whether he managed to resolve his fear regarding this. I'm also interested in your own takes on the topic.
Many people get confused about the seemingly "self-annihilating" practices of some Eastern traditions, as well as these "oceanic" self-annihilating psychedelic or NDE experiences. The point of those is not to annihilate our functioning and sense of self, but to transcend it and reach to the experience of Oneness beyond the limits of self. However, such transcendence does not mean and does not entail in annihilation of self or in any state of oblivion, but rather it entails in dis-identification from it and in transcendence from its limits. It's an evolutionary step beyond the "cellular" self-enclosed way of consciousness functioning limited by self-centeredness and sense of separate existence that are so intrinsic to our instinctual human sense of self. But self-centered and egoic state of self is not the only way it can function, there can be more evolved, more functional and better adapted ways the self can learn to function. The "self-annihilating" practices help to experience the reality beyond the limits of self and gain a different perspective on reality not distorted by the selfish mental patterns of our self. But the purpose of these practices, again, is not to "get rid of self", but to transcend and transform it into a different kind of a creature free from its habitual self-centeredness and egotism.
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
tjssailor
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by tjssailor »

NDERs say they are in a comfortable timeless state and not suffering from "the vertigo of eternity".
ParadoxZone
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by ParadoxZone »

I'm not sure who this might help.

Spontaneous derealisation is terrifying.

Spontaneous, in that it wasn't sought, or achieved via any psychotropic substance. Terrifying in itself, yet together with the instant realisation that it's forever, even more terrifying. That's if comparatives make any sense here, which they don't, I believe.

Also, the spontaneous realisation, at a much later time, that "it's all me, yet it's also all of them and they don't see this" is also equally (?) terrifying and equally lonely. Spontaneous meaning as above. So Solipsism/ the opposite of Solipsism, all in the same instant.

This is probably ego death, or dying, skipping a few steps that might otherwise be useful.

The later realisation that "forever" doesn't actually mean forever is a nice one. Comforting, anyway.

Both of the above experiences could be considered as experiencing the "vertigo of eternity", surely? Yet so different in nature.

The usual caveats. It is = I experienced that way. Etc.
SanteriSatama
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by SanteriSatama »

ParadoxZone wrote: Wed Jul 28, 2021 4:33 am The later realisation that "forever" doesn't actually mean forever is a nice one. Comforting, anyway.
Yeah. The flow is very nice, without hurry, without clock bossing you.
Hedge90
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by Hedge90 »

I'm getting a bit burdened by all of this. I'm starting to experience a creeping existential dread.
ParadoxZone
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by ParadoxZone »

Hi Hedge90,

Thanks for your posts. There is a lot that I recognise in them. The dread, the rationalisations, the next book that might account for it all and more.

I'm curious if this "creeping existential dread" you're now experiencing feels different in nature to the experiences you describe in your OP? Or is it that it's more spread out in time now?
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Soul_of_Shu
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Hedge90 wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:01 pm I'm getting a bit burdened by all of this. I'm starting to experience a creeping existential dread.
When that experience rears up from the depths, I meditate upon that which such an experience and the experience of the most supreme transpersonal bliss share in common.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
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AshvinP
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Re: The vertigo of eternity

Post by AshvinP »

Hedge90 wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 3:01 pm I'm getting a bit burdened by all of this. I'm starting to experience a creeping existential dread.

Hedge,

I wonder if you were able to try this recommended exercise and, if so, what if any results? If not, then I imagine it will only help and you have nothing to lose from trying.

Cleric wrote:The only way to recover from this spontaneous loosening, is by gaining control over it. As said, this requires work on many different fronts at the same time, but the one that can give you some relatively quick certainty and confidence is working with concentration of thinking. If you spend some time every day in concentration, you'll feel the effects. Take for example, an image of a light ball. Calmly bring it comfortably in your mind's eye. It's not at all important that you see it vividly. The most important thing is to feel that it is you with your own activity that support that image into place. You must feel the strength of your will as you fill that image with its reality. Intensity is key. Ultimately, for some time you need to be filled with the feeling which can be expressed as: "There, now I have something which is completely my own, I'm the master of the situation". Gradually you'll find that you can concentrate for longer and longer periods of time without being taken away by the foreign streams. When you develop this as a skill, you'll find that you'll have the spiritual force to be the master over the images. Let me just say that this concentration will not make you 'normal'. Actually it'll make the etheric spectrum even more real. But the great difference will be that it'll be in your command to invoke it or not. As your "I" strengthens and gains control over its relation with the streams of imagery, you'll also begin to realize that at the same time you're becoming self-aware in the realm of the moon trip, where there's was no trace of your "I". There was no trace, because your "I" couldn't recognize itself in anything around it. The firm support of the body, which normally reflects our thoughts, was taken away. But when you exercise with concentration, you'll learn to recognize yourself not only in the images that flash against the physical brain but also and most importantly, in the very activity that you perform to bring that image. Then, in the astral realm, even though you're detached from the physical and you don't experience your thought reflections, you can still experience vividly the activity of your "I" and how it interacts with the flow of imagery. This is how we gain self-consciousness in the higher worlds.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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