Note to Eugene: if you want to follow the links or do your own search to include more of your comments being responded to, feel free. You know my opinion - they are all basically variations of the same argument with very little if any logical progression from premises to conclusions. But people can decide for themselves.
Cleric wrote:So I hope that we've cleared that Thinking path shouldn't be confused with intellectual-theoretical path. Instead, it is the direct facing with everything that chains the free spirit. It is Thinking path in the sense that we're not blindly following dogmatic rules and rituals but everything must pass through our clear cognition. Yet this is only the beginning. Everything passes through clear cognition but if it doesn't turn into Loving impulse in the Heart and devoted deeds of the Will, we are not yet human in the true sense of the word.
Here a question might be raised: "But Eastern practices lead to the pretty much the same results, even thought they don't focus on spiritual activity but on quiet contemplation and dissociation from the soul content. In this way I'm able to recognize these same deterring factors and become liberated from their influences. Now I can easily quiet the mind and desires, and spend long time in perfect stillness". Up to a point this is true. I myself have gone through yogic practices in the past - both physical and spiritual. (As a personal side note, I don't draw only on anthroposphy. Certainly spiritual science is my main path for the development of cognition but for the practical application of the Sun impulse in life, I have other sources too.) As far as it is all about mastering chaotic thoughts and desires, there are lots of different paths that can lead to that result. But it is precisely if we have attained this level of perfection that the mentioned 'postponing' already becomes an important issue.
Let me put this way. The principle that we must exercise our spiritual activity in order to become conscious of the spiritual environment holds true on all levels. I guess this is pretty understandable from the examples of smoking and concentration, even for people with no experience in spiritual practices. The interesting stuff happens once the quietness and serenity of soul is achieved. It is at this point where one becomes, for example, spiritual teacher like, say, Rupert Spira. One has attained to the grounds of Consciousness and he now can give Light to other souls, so that they can also achieve mastery and then peace and immensity.
At this stage it already makes real difference if one will continue to work with focused spiritual activity because in this case we are really on our way to the higher worlds.
It is not true that once we attain to peace, serenity, Love, joy, we have already done our job. Just as with smoking and concentration, if we continue with concentration of the spirit - the Universal Creative - we soon find out that even in these states of quiet and blissful contemplation, seemingly completely free of egoic elements, we're still flowing along certain, admittedly, higher order currents. But they are still currents. And as any other, we need to differentiate from them in order to become conscious of them. In the sea of serenity we no longer have any means to become conscious of these currents because we have cleared out all sources of noise and distractions. We're completely at one with the blissful flow of Consciousness. And this is precisely the issue. Unless we find a form of even higher order spiritual activity, we can never become conscious that this blissful flow is only one of the many more layers of the Worlds within which we are embedded.
Cleric wrote:Ashvin's claim points to something else. It's not about putting anything under but discerning the proper relations of things. What you call the 'awareness-being that never changes' is actually something that we experience very vaguely. The thing is that we don't go anywhere if we simply recognize that 'awareness-being' exists. We only move forward if we metamorph in the direction where more and more of the creative activity of the beings that operate from the heights, becomes integrated into our perspectives. And this integration begins with thinking because in our ordinary state it contains in the purest form the unification of phenomena and noumena. It's from this point that we expand further. Otherwise it's not much different than saying "God's irreducible and can't be taken under thoughts". Fair enough, but it's also true that unless we investigate how God's activity is stepped down and reduced to intellectual activity, we'll also never be able to bridge the chasm (unless we believe that the chasm will be bridged for us after death). So Western esoterism has no problem with acknowledging that intellectual thinking is only a very crude form of spiritual activity. But it goes further and traces how this activity is stepped down from the Divine worlds. And this is not something that modern nondualism does. Mysticism says "combination of thoughts can never produce reality". Alright, Western esoterism says the same. But Mysticism freezes at that point because it throws away thinking as inessential (except for its practical Earthly aspects) and focuses on the general feeling of pure awareness. Western thought recognizes that thinking is the light-rope of our own Spirit that hangs from the Divine worlds into the sensory spectrum and it is by climbing that rope that we reach higher and higher forms of spiritual activity (of which the intellect and its rigid concepts are only limited manifestations). In this way we're not left only with a general and nebulous feeling for the unity of the world but we actually live within the creative activity of that world (every higher form of activity reveals the corresponding noumena - the beings that through their ideated activity support the matrix of our world). Where things become confused is when mysticism, which refuses that there's something of substance behind the Spiritual force concealed in thinking, thinks that reality can be found by focusing on the general feeling of being aware. From that point it is forced to see anything brought forwards by Western esoterism as intellectual speculations, as 'mere ideas', simply because it refuses to investigate for itself the deeper origins of cognitive spiritual activity, from which the concepts of spiritual science precipitate. Yes, what precipitates from spiritual science are intellectual concepts but they are projected from higher realms. They serve as medium of exchange, a translation between modes of cognition. It's a constant warning that things should never remain in the abstract when we begin to familiarize ourselves with the concepts of the higher worlds. They are only pointers to something of a different order.
Cleric wrote:This is what is largely missing from the Eastern method - especially in its modern popular versions. What the above means is that we no longer think about external perceptions of the things but the inner nature of the things resounds within our transformed form of the universal essence. This is for example how Goethe groped towards the archetypal plant. With the senses we see the plant and can think about it in concepts. This is the first kind of cognition (in the context of the quote). In the second type of cognition we experience ourselves within the universal essence and there we experience the universal idea of the plant, which is the real architect and living force behind the actual plant. We experience that not as a concept (although we can project it into a concept so that the intellect can use it) but as living reality within the very essence of Consciousness. It's the creative work of the Spirit, full of meaning.Eugene wrote:I think, Ashvin, you misinterpret such "higher cognition" as a kind of cognitive gnosis, but only of some kind of a higher order. But what all those mystics, Western and Eastern alike, were pointing to is a different kind of knowing - gnosis and agnosis at the same time, immediate, existential/experiential and prior to any cognition.
This is what is new. This is the gradient between our limited condition and the general truth. And we should be clear - the experience of the general truth that we can experience today in a mystical state, with emptied mind and open heart, is not how the general truth will be experienced at the end of evolution when this truth will have become full reality.
Think of an hourglass. The sand is slowly passing from one half into the other. This is a picture of evolution. Consciousness slowly flows through the pinhole of the "I" and in the process it experiences more and more of the full potential. Today the whole universe is 'external', through the gradual flow of evolution it will become 'internal'. To become 'internal' it means that we need to discover the utterances of the things, the inner nature of everything that we perceive with the senses.
The general truth of Eastern teachings is that consciousness is all there is and that's enough. The East doesn't focus on the flow of the sand - it practically doesn't exist for it. It's all about becoming aware of the general and timeless truth. The West recognizes that this is not enough. We'll never be able to solve the problems of humanity if we only focus on 'it's all consciousness' without investigating how to accommodate the flow through the pinhole. It would be like wanting to build a house while refusing to learn anything about construction and putting the effort into the realization.
Cleric wrote:Let's first settle down that Occidental esoterism doesn't have a problem with misidentification and ego-mania. The fact that there's One Consciousness is perfectly clear. In another thread we reached the conclusion that it's a linguistic difference. What I can easily call "I"-experience without any ill feelings, you prefer to call individual conscious space, in order to avoid language traps like "I" and "self". We also mentioned that the language is not the real source of the problem. Even if we force newspeak to the masses this won't at the least promote morality. Neither diminished sense of agency helps. As an example I said that some of the worst crimes happen in a state of consciousness where the perpetrator has absolutely no sense of agency. Such people report in retrospect that they were practically observing the unfoldment of the act. The lack of sense of agency is not something that should easily be equated with higher development. Actually there're more examples than not, where lack of agency only wrecks havoc because the person is simply a blind outlet for passions of unknown origins. Anyone who has attempted any kind of work on self-improvement knows that the first condition is constant vigilance. The simple fact is that moral action is only possible when one has explored the depths of their own being and they are conscious of the driving forces behind the outermost appearances. Popular Eastern practices today place overemphasis on this dropping of the identification - like this in itself solves the problems. We have agreed previously that the Buddhist becomes a moral person not because he has de-identified but because of the earnest and tireless work on self perfection, such as the prescribed in the eightfold path. All of this we have commented previously.Eugene wrote:Liberation does not mean that we need to stop, deny, escape them or anything like that. It only means that any identification with them is dropped, but all these activities on all Spheres still perfectly continue along their developmental path. It's just that our path now becomes that of non-self-identification, because "behind the scene" of all these activities and forms there is a non-stopping and unconditioned presence of the Beingness and Awareness of Consciousness being continuously aware of itself and of all its forms that constantly unfold within it, but never self-identifies with them.
As said, modern Initiation does not at all misidentify with anything. It simply proceeds where the Eastern method leaves off. This is not a criticism - this is how evolution works - every new development steps on the achievements of the previous. So what the Great Buddha taught remains working in full force. Buddha gave the methods for self-perfection. This means to be able to differentiate between the lower and the higher nature in man and employ all conscious effort to make the higher master over the lower - that's the essence of the eightfold path. The emphasis on de-identification becomes so talked about only later (for reasons that can be commented another time). Western esoterism steps on the foundations of the East and the Middle-East. The One Consciousness is a fact. The work on self-perfection is at the heart of things. Yet mere de-identification doesn't really change anything. Even if we wholeheartedly embrace the living experience of the One Consciousness, this doesn't mean that we find the causes of phenomena within our perspective, let alone the ability to influence them. This is an elementary fact. This is where spiritual evolution focuses next.
Cleric wrote:Eugene wrote:OK, we finally arrived at the most interesting and key topic: can we penetrate into reality any further beyond the ground-base "pixels" of the direct perceptional experience and beyond our rational and intuitive thinking and imaginations with which we always strive to extrapolate the reality beyond the pixels? I do not know any other ways to know other than the direct experience of phenomena and cognition (that includes rational and intuitive thinking and imaginations). I can't claim that this is all that can be available to conscious beings. You seem to claim that you possess some other mysterious experiential-cognitive faculties that allow you to acquire deeper knowledge of the world of ideas/causes behind the "screen" of perceptions, and I admit that I do not have such abilities. Since I have no confirmation of such faculties based on my own experience, I have no grounds to believe you, but on the other hand, have no grounds to prove you wrong either, so my only option is to remain agnostic and indecisive about it. But of course, being a long-time meditator, I always observe and try to get insight into the origins, root causes and interconnectedness of the thinking and perceptional phenomena of my direct experience, I always try to push the boundary and look behind the screen using my intuition. But being honest with myself, I never fully believe that my intuitions are fully true. I'm aware of the interconnectedness of all things in the universe, but honestly do not know and never claim to know how exactly this interconnectedness works "behind the screen" of thinking and perceptions. In Buddhism this is simply called "dependent co-arising of phenomena". We can always trace causal patterns in our stream of phenomena (using our intuition of scientific models), nevertheless I can not know for sure how exactly this patterns are produced - whether it's a result of a super-computer simulation, or some natural forces, or a process of ideations in the divine mind.
There's nothing mysterious (in the sense of inexplicable) in the higher cognition. In fact, it's the most logical, consistent and satisfying process of development one can go through. Mathematics look mysterious to someone who has no experience in it and it'll forever remain mysterious unless they try to form at least a general idea.
The thing is that higher order perceptions emerge not when we penetrate behind the screen of phenomena 'in front' of us but 'behind our face' (in the sense of the Deep M@L picture). No matter how hard we stare at the screen of consciousness, all we ever discover there will be the "dependent co-arising of phenomena." We can only observe and think about the phenomena. Higher cognition is found not by staring at the screen and expecting some exotic and never seen before patterns, but by, so to speak, following the direction from which our "I" speaks forth the thoughts. It's the opposite direction of the screen. It would be very misleading if we imagine that we'll find the explanation of our consciousness by perceiving some processes on the screen of consciousness, in the way the neuroscientists wants to see them in front of him, in the interaction of neurons.
I won't repeat here what I've said in my other essay. This process is very gradual and leads first and foremost to self-knowledge. Only gradually within the depth of M@L we find the Cosmos. The first thing we see is the workings of our own psyche. When we think normally, most of the time we're not aware why we think the things we think and why we think them in the way we do. We live with the perceptions of our thoughts. When we step 'backwards' through the proper meditative methods we begin to sense more and more of the shaping factors of our cognition. Initially these are quite trivial - simple habits of thought, sympathies and antipathies and so on.
This already shows why such kind of self-development is not very popular. It's simply that people don't want to gain real knowledge of their being in such an intimate way. They would much rather imagine some fancy energies, dimensions, etc. and assume these are somehow responsible for their inner experience. And the Eastern methods of meditation (especially in the way they are imported and adapted in the West) don't do much to help the process. In fact, after a practitioner has spent years to de-identify with anything coming out of the ego, the last thing they would like to consider is that it is precisely the processes behind the face of the ego that must be investigated and which lead to the depths of M@L. The overemphasis on the mystical state simply puts the ego temporarily to sleep.