Cleric K wrote: ↑Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:54 am
No need for apologies, Adur. I very well know that what I say about psychedelic experiences don't seem to fit well. But it really is about what we try to extract from the experiences. Even when towards my 18-19s I tried cannabis, my own experiences already were 'outlandish' in the eyes of my peers. While for them it was all about laughing and having fun, for me it was like an introspective window for the workings of the brain had opened.
I don't mean to sound hypocritical when speaking about psychedelics. In fact I have romantic feelings for them, they are for me like high school sweetheart that I still have the warmest feelings for, even though our paths have long diverged. My point here is to fully confirm that psychedelics can be a powerful trigger for those who are already near the edge anyway
. They can give a powerful nudge for overcoming the tipping point and show that there really is something more. But as far as actual spiritual development is concerned, they become counter-productive.
Hedge90 wrote: ↑Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:33 pm
My intuition is that psychedelics basically just do forecefully what the meditator does through slow training, i.e. while a psychedelic just tears the veil from over your mind's eye, meditative practice is a slow unbounding of the same veil.
This is the kind of things that we must get straight. There truly is something that psychedelics do forcefully. They do open up our bodily organization towards the dream realm. Just as narcotics forcefully knock us out of consciousness, so psychedelics forcefully pump dream imagery in our waking consciousness. This is pretty much it. Everything else depends on the individual. So when it's said "psychedelic just tears the veil from over your mind's eye, meditative practice is a slow unbounding of the same veil."
we must be clear what we're talking about. If it's about to experience pumping of dream imagery - yes, psychedelics can do that. But in all ages, the veil has always had much more profound meaning. To pull the veil in the true sense means to understand
, to have knowing experience in the higher worlds. And this is something that nothing can ever give us in external manner.
This is also the greatest danger of psychedelics (in contrast to their positive triggering effect). I've stated this numerous times already - the danger is to believe that this pumping of dream imagery gives us some true
picture of reality. I can give many analogies: it's like staring at math formulas without understanding even the numbers. It's like listening to glossolalia without even having a hint that there may be actual meaning behind the sounds. It's like having a glimpse of a grand piano without knowing how to play even a chord. The list can go on and on. Anyone who has the good will to do so, will most certainly grasp what's being talked about. Conversely, those who insist on viewing themselves as complete and polished beings, will find a whole bunch of 'clever' rebuttals of the above simple analogies.
Unless we have the inner humility to at least be open for the possibility that our average human state is actually a completely chaotic patchwork, a kitsch artwork of ideas, opinions, prejudices, likes and dislikes, and that this artwork must be consciously worked upon, gradually and effortfully attuned, as a musician attunes his instrument, we'll always by definition see ourselves as atomic and complete beings, that have nothing to be added to.
This is also the kind of situation we find ourselves when we speak here about the threshold of deep dreamless sleep.
Adur Alkain wrote: ↑Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:08 am
I know it happened because that experience changed me completely. It liberated me from fear of Death. And it marked the end of an unconscious striving that had been pushing me all my life. I finally found what I was unconsciously looking for. I found my true Home.
This is most certainly the case. I can confirm it too. Yet where one unconscious striving ends, there could be the beginning of another fully conscious striving. This depends entirely on what was said above - whether we at least admit as a possibility that there could be much more to reality, than our satisfied personality which has experienced its waking consciousness breathing in and out of the luminous darkness. Let's consider "It liberated me from fear of Death."
What is fear of death? The concept of death exists entirely in relation to our embodied existence. The conscious experiences of the average man of today are always related in one way or another with the physical body and its sensory relations to the environment. Fear of death can only exist because we can't conceive of any other type of consciousness which is independent of the physical instruments. If we can experience a kind of consciousness which is free from the physical instruments, this automatically renders such a fear void.
If we look at things objectively we should say: the whole journey through the first three gates leads us to the actual threshold of physical death. When we cross the third gate (with our gaze 'downwards', witnessing the dissolution of our personal consciousness), even though we have no recollection, of any events beyond it, we still have the unmistakable experience that we existed in a more fundamental tone of reality and all the contents of our personal consciousness are only like subharmonics of that tone. In this sense, our whole conscious life, with the addition of the dream spectrum (which psychedelics can pump into our waking consciousness) is like the inflation and deflation of the sphere of our personal consciousness. Here some may argue that the personality is transcended even at the first gate - the dissolution of the linear intellect. But this is simply not true if we observe more closely. Adur is much more correct to say that even crossing the second gate, where our sensory life dissolves in addition to linear thinking, doesn't really liberate us in a knowing
way from death. I say knowing
because we don't need to have crossed even the first gate in order to have unshakable faith
that our soul transcends bodily life. The actual knowing liberation from the fear of death happens when we cross the threshold of the deep dreamless sleep. This is also what Lou quoted:
Lou Gold wrote: ↑Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:29 pm
Ramana Maharshi says that 'enlightenment' feels like being wide awake in deep dreamless sleep.
So I guess we more or less established that the spectrum of conscious life, including up to the threshold of deep dreamless sleep (which can be consciously traversed) is in fact the volume of our Earthly personality. If that was not the case, it wouldn't be at the upper bound of this spectrum that fear of death is knowingly overcome.
But what about consciousness after
the actual physical death? We must be clear that we can never know anything of such consciousness in the volume up to
the border of deep dreamless sleep. So the only reasonable thing would be to seek consciousness that continues beyond the threshold of death (that is, above the point of absolute nothingness where all our personal consciousness dissolves). If we are to attain consciousness in this higher world we can expect to have direct knowledge of processes and beings that work in the higher order octaves of spiritual existence, within which the octave of personal volume of consciousness is 'holographically' embedded.
At this point we have the greatest split in opinions, clearly seen in this forum too. There's no need to comment on materialism - its position is clear. The spiritual views are more peculiar. The farther back we go in history the more incredible everything becomes. Who can deny that some of the grandest Cosmologies belong to the ancient Hindus? We see there the mighty pictorial revelations of higher worlds, divinities, the path of the human souls between incarnations and so on. As time progressed it was as all of this was slowly dimming down and remained only as tradition. When Bhagavad Gita was written (which Ashvin nicely covered in his essays) the Cosmic vistas of the ancient Hindus were already only a dim memory. When Gautama Buddha gave his teachings this process had gone so far that one could only focus on the perfection of inner life. The path from sensory consciousness to Enlightenment is precisely the volume that we've spoken above - it's the overcoming of personal consciousness. Yet nowhere
along the path, within this personal volume, we ever encounter anything of the marvelous Worlds that the ancient cosmologies speak of. It's clear that the kind of consciousness which revealed these Cosmic images no longer existed. Even though Buddhists have their cosmologies, they are in a sense borrowed. The pure dissolvement of the personal volume that Buddhism seeks, simply doesn't allow for some direct knowledge of higher worlds. Any pictures of such higher worlds would have to be considered as belonging to the domain of illusions just as everything else. And in a sense this a needed development. The ancient pictorial consciousness had to be obliterated
, one was to become free
even from any ideas about higher worlds.
Here we come at a fork in the road. One possibility is that this trend continues on and on. Ramana is a good example to the extents this process can go. The process practically leads to complete spiritual nihilism. Now saying that will probably outrage many here. But I'm not saying that as kind of superficial insult. It's what the teachings are really all about. It's not that a person in they Earthly life should become neglectful, cruel, etc. - quite the contrary - compassion, caring are all there. But as far the spiritual side, all goals are really to tear down the illusion - there's no death because there's no birth. There's no reincarnation because that only results from ignorance and clinging to bodily existence. There's no before or after. And so on and so on. Everything in this teaching aims to put as at the upper boundary of the personal volume, where we find bliss and sense of home, while everything below us belongs to the world of things manifested.
The other possibility is to realize that the whole development process of humanity was going in such a direction that it was in the order of things that the Buddha had to
obliterate all traces of the ancient imagery. Only in this way the road could be paved for the free Spirit. One was not supposed to obliterate the World Content just in order that the bliss of nothingness can be found but in order to prepare the grounds where in this nothingness, the negative thingness
can begin to flow. This is the turning point, the inversion from involution to evolution. Now all the grand Cosmic vistas of the ancient time can be found again, although in very different type of consciousness.
Today we're in position to know
something of the higher worlds. This can only happen in the right way if we conceive that consciousness can exist even above the threshold of deep dreamless sleep, although in quite a different way. We can only approach this rightly if we realize that above the threshold we live in a spiritual world. This doesn't mean 'fantastic' world but a world consisting, for a lack of better terms, of thought
essence. Yet even at this early point a large portion of the auditory will already misunderstand what's here being talked about. As long as we understand thoughts simply as floating words and images, we'll be completely wrong. There's nothing of this kind in the state of consciousness that we're pointing at - all this has dissolved upon crossing the threshold. We can only form a proper idea of this if we experience livingly and vividly our own thinking process. We need to get an immediate experience of our ideating activity, of which the sensory-like thoughts are only imprints. Now imagine that through the methods of meditative concentration we succeed to refine our inner being to such an extend that we can live comfortably only with the meaning that we actively will, without ever allowing it to reach the stage of becoming perceptible
. We can imagine this as a state completely devoid of the sensory-like contents that we normally know, which would make it similar to the deep dreamless state. Yet in this state we are fully awake with our spiritual activity which is entirely of the essence of thought-meaning and doesn't at all reach the perceptibility of ordinary thoughts. Naturally this would be quite impossible to imagine clearly for anyone who can't experience the thought essence without the support of perceptible thoughts. Yet this is precisely what spiritual training leads us to, and what a psychedelic experience can never
give out of itself. Neither it is something that we can find in the deep mystical state of the absolute nothingness or Ramana's enlightenment. In both these cases, crossing the threshold of deep dreamless sleep leads to a kind of uniform
knowing, spreading over the totality of the Cosmos. A cosmic undertone of being beyond the dissolution of the personal volume.
Yet this higher world is not at all built of uniform
knowing (that is, the general knowing
of luminous darkness, containing all potential). It is only our conscious or unconscious striving to end all pursuit of higher knowledge at the threshold, that makes us to seek the bliss of uniformity, out of which the personal volume manifests. If we encompass without prejudice the whole course of historical human development and still want to maintain the uniformity, we're placed in the strange situation that we must increasingly declare all ancient cosmologies and mythologies as childlike fantasies. We are obliged
to do that if we are to support the idea that the general potential is the top boundary of existence and directly
from it emerges the personal volume. Interestingly, this already indirectly admits that there's a kind of evolutionary development - humans have gone from a childlike state of dreaming about the Cosmos to a much more mature view where all these images are annihilated and one remains with the pure nothingness-potential at the top boundary. We need simply be more unbiased about these facts and they'll speak for themselves, without us needing to reject them in order to support our position.
Western development has probed the thinking strata of existence. When these thoughts are experienced more and more in their meaning, as we actively think them with our spiritual activity, the more we'll become accustomed to live in ideas, even if at some point the sensory-like counterpart of thoughts (words, symbols, images) is dropped. In this way we begin to see
in the spiritual world. We don't see visions that we are yet to interpret with our intellect - we live in the actual landscape of ideal essence. There we find not simply our own activity but activity of beings. I'll just quote this:
Steiner wrote:While we live in our physical bodies here, our thoughts, our feelings, our impulses of will are restricted to ourselves alone. But when we pass through death, these flow out into the world, into the other spiritual beings who then live in us. We reproduce ourselves; our consciousness expands. From a single unit we become a multiplicity, a oneness in the many, and the multiplicity reveals itself as it absorbs our oneness.
In other words, our subjectivity expands to encompass Cosmic space which is not empty vacuum but the living spiritual (of ideating essence) activity of beings. We still experience unique perspective within this spiritual Cosmos but we can no longer speak of personal thoughts and feelings. We find ourselves within a hierarchy of beings. Only when our activity is preoccupied with the bodily senses, the brain structures and astral elements related to them, the thoughts attain their personal coloring. And this is truly the case, because no two brains are exactly the same. Spiritual activity reflected by two different brains is bound to feel differently, in other words - having a personal coloring. Yet above the threshold the Cosmic Thoughts are not personal. They are the creative forces that underlay everything we encounter in the World Content.
We should really get a good thinking-feel for the above. And there's nothing above that can't be understood by healthy and unprejudiced thinking. If the above is understood it will be perfectly clear why all this 'all paths are just alternative ways to the same goal' is such a waste of time and energy. From all that we speak here it should be glaringly obvious that on one hand we have types of spirituality that declare the nothingness-plenum at the threshold of deep dreamless sleep as the ultimate grounds of existence and all manifested consciousness unfolds as a personal
volume below it. On the other hand we have the recognition that in the course of humanity's development something has been added
which allows for the Spirit within us to have consciousness above the threshold.
The mystic may overcome the fear of death in the experiences at the threshold but there's another fear that is not yet overcome - it's the fear of the Spiritual World (which is most easily suppressed
by denying the existence of Spiritual World altogether). The chilling prospect is that in our subjective world we live in a common spiritual reality. We can face this fear when we meditate on the fact that the thought and feeling content of our own subjective (personal) consciousness exists within the consciousness of higher beings
. We should try and feel that there's presence within us. We're constantly being observed
. Not judged but observed by intelligences of the most various grades. Observed not as we observe an external object but as we observe our own
thoughts and feelings. These beings don't have bodies with which they stand beside us. We live in them and they in us. These intelligences have real interest in us because in our common work we harmonize the gradient of the whole Spectrum of Being. In certain way, through our fragmented and meaningless existence, we're depriving them from the possibility to have full consciousness of details in the lower realms because we are the senses
for these realms. At the same time we deprive ourselves from consciousness of the higher worlds. The difference is that the higher beings don't strictly need consciousness of the details of the lower realms. Through their spiritual activity they support the higher order structure of these realms so they don't exist apart from them. What exists out-of-phase with them is human consciousness. From their perspective it's like part of the Cosmic Organism is constantly threatened by the process of dying and dissipation. It is their greatest joy to have reciprocal relations with our consciousness, so that we can live in them and they in us, in full consciousness and freedom. As a matter of fact it's even more sorrowful for the beings when humans cross the threshold with gaze completely 'downwards'. It's sorrowful because we're so close and yet at the same time so infinitely far away. We can probably get a very faint echo of this state if we imagine that we're a parent and our child comes home from a long journey, yet it keeps looking at its feet and doesn't notice our presence. Of course, we need to remove any egoic feelings from this analogy. These beings are not sorrowful because we're disturbing their wellbeing. In fact it is very difficult to find anything from our human experiences that comes close to the reality (almost all our human emotions have egoic undertone). We can only approach this state through the experience of completely disinterested, sacrificial Love.
I guess all the above sounds quite absurd for most. And this is in a sense the point. If one has the courage and honesty to pursue these ideas in their depth we inevitably arrive at the feeling of dread, actual fear of the spiritual world. One would much more readily experience the dissolution of the personal volume into the void, rather than realize that in our thinking and feeling life we live together with other beings. So it's completely true that different personality types are drawn to different types of spiritual work. Yet, as Ashvin noted, it simply makes no sense to say that these are equivalent paths. It makes no sense to say that beyond the threshold there's simultaneously spiritual world and the non-existence of it. That reincarnation exists for those who believe in it and not for those who don't. That karma exists for those who are too conscientious and can't eradicate their emotional and thoughtful attachment to their deeds and the memories of them, but doesn't exist for those who are able to deidentify from their deeds. The consciousness we attain to above the threshold puts all these things into proper perspective. Everyone can be their own judge for why the possibility of such consciousness is denied.