What causes bad trips?

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AshvinP
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:49 pm
Cleric K wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:22 pmDirect experimenting with dreams is not really necessary for higher development. The reason is that in dreaming we have in fact a diminished state of consciousness, which is remnant of a previous stage of evolution. It is true that dream imagery can reflect both bodily and higher processes but the way this reflection works is not that which we develop when we work towards Imaginative consciousness ...
With this insight I now feel absolved of whatever inclination I had to transcribe my peripatetic dreamtime adventures ;) Do you think that perhaps there's a reason by design that they fade upon refocusing within the waking state?

Yes that was post was very helpful, thanks. I still get these distinctions confused sometimes.

As Cleric says above, our current dream state is a remnant of the old atavistic clairvoyance. The ego-"I" had not fully 'descended' into the human form and so they experienced the world as we do now in dreams. If we simply try to expand consciousness by making our dreams more lucid, then we are really regressing back towards that old (relatively unconscious) mode when we actually need to align ourselves with the spiritual evolution towards new stages by integrating old modes with new conscious modes, so all is experienced in full clarity of consciousness. As to your question, I think that is due to the detachment of ego-I during the dream state, but maybe Cleric can expand on more details.
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Cleric K
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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Soul_of_Shu wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:49 pm With this insight I now feel absolved of whatever inclination I had to transcribe my peripatetic dreamtime adventures ;) Do you think that perhaps there's a reason by design that they fade upon refocusing within the waking state?
AshvinP wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:36 pm I think that is due to the detachment of ego-I during the dream state
Yes! It is directly related to the I. As we've spoken before, memory is something much more fundamental. It's not simply an artifact that allows us to remember this or that. Memory, Time and the "I" all converge in a foundational mystery.

Our current state of being is the 'tip' of becoming, that continually embeds within itself the whole metamorphic process. There's no Time, no "I" if every 'next' state of being doesn't integrate within itself the previous ones. As said so many times, for contemporary man, this 'tip' of becoming is found in our active thinking. In the thinking process we are continually becoming, we're exploring different forms that we (as spirit) can assume. These spirit-forms are in better or worse resonant relations with the general World Content (the more resonant the relations are, the more we say we know the World).

There's difference in the felt intensity of our becoming, depending on how active we are in it. To be active in the becoming means to find our spiritual intents mirrored in the World Content. Most of the time this is not quite the case. Man today, spends large portion of the time simply drifting along the World process, where the spirit is conscious but not really creatively active. It much more resembles watching a movie with subtitles, where the World process feeds us the thoughts and the spirit only repeats their shape, thus experiencing their meaning. That's why today's task of man is to awaken in his thinking, to take control of the thought process, which is in reality the World process. In active thinking-becoming we have World-becoming, the actual creative propagation of the World from 'frame to frame'.

Even simple exercises like "I think the speech" already show us that active thinking is marked by unmistakable feeling of intensity. We feel much more awake, lucid. On the other hand, when we simply flow along the thought-subtitles, this intensity is largely lacking. When we experiment with this, we notice that it has direct relation to our ability to remember. What we have consciously thought, becomes much more clearly embedded in our metamorphic process. This observation can be immediately used in practice. Regular psychology also knows it, even though without understanding the deep reasons. Most of us, when swept by the daily happenings, are all over the place in thoughts (most of which simply flow to us in the passive way). How many times we stop and wonder "Did I lock the door? Did I turn the iron off?" Well, our meditative observations can be directly applied in practical life. Next time I'm leaving home I turn the key and say clearly in my mind "I'm locking the door", while trying to experience vividly the thought together with the action. Similarly with any other activity. We'll find out that we remember these things with almost no effort. We were simply there in the act, our "I" was present, that same "I" that now tries to trace back the metamorphic process and find it's former state embedded in it. This is how our experience of memory actually transforms in the course of higher development. In normal life, when we want to remember something we simply exert some indefinite spiritual activity and expect that any moment the thing will pop in our mind. Normally our conscious flow consists of hopping from thought to thought. Through the exercises for higher development we stabilize our activity and it becomes a much more smoother flow, where our thinking activity truly becomes as metamorphing fluid. At this stage, looking back in memory is also experienced differently. It is as if we actively metamorph our spiritual form guided by the resonant relations with the thing that we try to remember. We literally try to assume the sought for state through a kind of spiritual mimicry. Our "I"-states are like golden threads within this metamorphic process. They are the paths of transformation that our spiritual state can take. Actively willed 'shapes' of our "I"-state are much more easy to remember than states that result from passive imprints into our consciousness.

Let's further clarify this in the following way. Let's imagine somewhat abstractly (it's alright as long as we keep in mind that it's just a picture) the conscious states as existing within an actual landscape, with different kinds of areas (forests, mountains, plains). When we are actively becoming in thinking it's like we are consciously walking around the landscape and leave tracks as golden threads. These threads help us later to quickly revisit places we've already been. When we're not actively moving (that is, not actively becoming) there are other contextual forces that toss us around the landscape and we simply read out our thoughts from there. This kind of movement doesn't leave very vivid tracks. Such is the the case for most of our hectic daily life. The question of "why I don't remember dreams" can be asked similarly about "do I remember what went through my mind few hours ago?" Here we'll find precisely what we spoke of - the more actively engaged we were in our thinking, the easier it will be to remember it. In most of our dreams our active becoming is even less involved, as such, once we wake up (we find ourselves somewhere in the landscape) we quickly lose the pictures of the forest we've gone through. We left almost no golden threads there.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that these states are forever lost and unrecoverable. As we develop spiritually we become conscious of higher order soul processes which were the actual contextual forces that have led us through the dream forest. These processes have left their own threads so to speak, so when we become conscious of them it's possible to remember long forgotten dreams that were related to these forces. When this process is extended much further we'll also get an idea what does it mean to read the Akasha chronicles. Even though our "I", in the form we find it today, was not present in the far gone eons of evolution, there are spiritual forces that were our context in these ancient times. Through higher cognition we can find these forces in our current metamorphic process and this reveals corresponding threads that can be traced far into the past.

Those experienced with psychedelics have probably noticed that most of the bizarrest experiences while peaking fade away very soon after we come down. Experiences grow even dimmer as time pass by. But if we visit the psychedelic state again at some point, many people begin to remember things that happened in previous trips. This shows from yet another angle why psychedelics are not usable for spiritual development. The same principle holds. There are tons of things happening in the psychedelic state but almost all of them are simply pumped into our consciousness with not much participation of our spiritual activity. On the other hand, when we work through our concentrated spiritual activity in meditation, everything that is won as supersensible perceptions comes through conscious effort and as such is embedded in the ideal landscape, cross-related with everything else through the golden threads of our metamorphing "I"-state. In this way, not only that we can remember these things but they become integral part of our expanding consciousness.
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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Cleric K wrote: Thu Sep 16, 2021 9:53 pm Even simple exercises like "I think the speech" already show us that active thinking is marked by unmistakable feeling of intensity. We feel much more awake, lucid. On the other hand, when we simply flow along the thought-subtitles, this intensity is largely lacking. When we experiment with this, we notice that it has direct relation to our ability to remember. What we have consciously thought, becomes much more clearly embedded in our metamorphic process. This observation can be immediately used in practice. Regular psychology also knows it, even though without understanding the deep reasons. Most of us, when swept by the daily happenings, are all over the place in thoughts (most of which simply flow to us in the passive way). How many times we stop and wonder "Did I lock the door? Did I turn the iron off?" Well, our meditative observations can be directly applied in practical life. Next time I'm leaving home I turn the key and say clearly in my mind "I'm locking the door", while trying to experience vividly the thought together with the action. Similarly with any other activity. We'll find out that we remember these things with almost no effort. We were simply there in the act, our "I" was present, that same "I" that now tries to trace back the metamorphic process and find it's former state embedded in it. This is how our experience of memory actually transforms in the course of higher development. In normal life, when we want to remember something we simply exert some indefinite spiritual activity and expect that any moment the thing will pop in our mind. Normally our conscious flow consists of hopping from thought to thought.

Through the exercises for higher development we stabilize our activity and it becomes a much more smoother flow, where our thinking activity truly becomes as metamorphing fluid. At this stage, looking back in memory is also experienced differently. It is as if we actively metamorph our spiritual form guided by the resonant relations with the thing that we try to remember. We literally try to assume the sought for state through a kind of spiritual mimicry. Our "I"-states are like golden threads within this metamorphic process. They are the paths of transformation that our spiritual state can take. Actively willed 'shapes' of our "I"-state are much more easy to remember than states that result from passive imprints into our consciousness.

Let's further clarify this in the following way. Let's imagine somewhat abstractly (it's alright as long as we keep in mind that it's just a picture) the conscious states as existing within an actual landscape, with different kinds of areas (forests, mountains, plains). When we are actively becoming in thinking it's like we are consciously walking around the landscape and leave tracks as golden threads. These threads help us later to quickly revisit places we've already been. When we're not actively moving (that is, not actively becoming) there are other contextual forces that toss us around the landscape and we simply read out our thoughts from there. This kind of movement doesn't leave very vivid tracks. Such is the the case for most of our hectic daily life. The question of "why I don't remember dreams" can be asked similarly about "do I remember what went through my mind few hours ago?" Here we'll find precisely what we spoke of - the more actively engaged we were in our thinking, the easier it will be to remember it. In most of our dreams our active becoming is even less involved, as such, once we wake up (we find ourselves somewhere in the landscape) we quickly lose the pictures of the forest we've gone through. We left almost no golden threads there.

Note that this doesn't necessarily mean that these states are forever lost and unrecoverable. As we develop spiritually we become conscious of higher order soul processes which were the actual contextual forces that have led us through the dream forest. These processes have left their own threads so to speak, so when we become conscious of them it's possible to remember long forgotten dreams that were related to these forces. When this process is extended much further we'll also get an idea what does it mean to read the Akasha chronicles. Even though our "I", in the form we find it today, was not present in the far gone eons of evolution, there are spiritual forces that were our context in these ancient times. Through higher cognition we can find these forces in our current metamorphic process and this reveals corresponding threads that can be traced far into the past.

Those experienced with psychedelics have probably noticed that most of the bizarrest experiences while peaking fade away very soon after we come down. Experiences grow even dimmer as time pass by. But if we visit the psychedelic state again at some point, many people begin to remember things that happened in previous trips. This shows from yet another angle why psychedelics are not usable for spiritual development. The same principle holds. There are tons of things happening in the psychedelic state but almost all of them are simply pumped into our consciousness with not much participation of our spiritual activity. On the other hand, when we work through our concentrated spiritual activity in meditation, everything that is won as supersensible perceptions comes through conscious effort and as such is embedded in the ideal landscape, cross-related with everything else through the golden threads of our metamorphing "I"-state. In this way, not only that we can remember these things but they become integral part of our expanding consciousness.

Excellent, thanks! This aligns very well with a Steiner lecture I was listening to recently on "Anthroposophy in Daily Life".

Steiner wrote:Often in anthroposophy, even a simple experiment repeated with diligence can work wonders. Let me speak in detail, for example, of forgetfulness, so common and such a nuisance, but also so significant in our lives. Strange as it may seem, anthroposophy shows it to be harmful to health, and that many upsets bordering on severe illness can be avoided if people would only be less forgetful. And who can claim to be exempt, since there is no one who is not forgetful to some degree. Just consider the numerous cases in which people can never find where they put things. One has lost his pencil, another cannot find his cufflinks, etc., etc., all of which seems trivial but such things do, after all, occur often enough in life.

There is a good exercise for gradually curing such forgetfulness. Suppose, for example, a lady is forever putting her brooch down when she takes it off in the evening, and then cannot find it in the morning. You might think the best cure for her forgetfulness would be to remember to put it always in the same place. There is, however, a far more effective means of remembering where it is. This does not, of course, apply to all objects but in this case the lady should say to herself, “I will put my brooch in a different place each evening, but as I do so I will hold the thought in mind that I have put it in a particular spot. Then I will form a clear picture in my mind of all the surroundings. Having done this, I will go quietly away. I realize that if I only do this once, I probably will not succeed, but if I make a habit of it, I will find that my forgetfulness gradually disappears.”

This exercise is based on the fact that the person's ego is brought consciously into connection with the deed he does, and also that he forms a picture of it. Connecting the ego, that is, the spiritual kernel of man's being, in this way with a pictorial image, sharpens memory. Such an exercise can be quite useful in helping us to become less forgetful.


Also re: the bolded statement, this famous scene from The Abyss immediately came to mind:



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Re: What causes bad trips?

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There is nothing to the tentacle but seawater. The tentacle is just a behaviour of seawater ;-)
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Re: What causes bad trips?

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Ben Iscatus wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 12:51 pm There is nothing to the tentacle but seawater. The tentacle is just a behaviour of seawater ;-)

The movie has great imagery - an 'alien' intelligence (as our higher Thinking will naturally appear to our unconscious imagination) is found in the depths of the abyss (the collective subconscious). It metamorphoses through the substance of the subconscious which can mimic all that it approaches. The crazy militarized Americans try to blow it up with a nuclear weapon rather than simply observe it, ask it questions, and investigate it further (sounds like a lot of what happens on this forum ;) ). Then it still rescues the main character from the depths of the abyss after he selflessly sacrifices himself (intellectual ego) to save humanity. Actually most of Cameron's great movies are imaginative explorations of these same archetypal realities, especially Aliens and Terminator.
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Adur Alkain »

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.
Cleric,

This is all quite fascinating stuff. It doesn't sound absurd to me. I can't respond to every point you are making, but I can offer a few comments:

You are absolutely right when you talk about the "fear of the spiritual world". I do feel that fear, very strongly. The "Spiritual World" you describe seems like Hell to me. Like Eternal Damnation. I'm not denying its existence. In the same way that I'm not denying the possibility of that "Higher Consciousness" you are talking about. But that Higher Consciousness looks to me like the ultimate Ignorance. From my perspective, it's the sort of Higher Consciousness the fallen deities the Gnostics talked about would have. It's based on a fundamental error.

This fundamental error is the rejection of the Absolute Nothingness as the source and nature of everything. This is why I see your Spiritual World as a kind of Hell. Because it amounts to an eternal rejection of the Nothingness which is our true nature. That's why I see it as eternal perdition. That's why I find it dreadful and fearful.

What you call "deep dreamless sleep" is not what I call the "absolute nothingness". There's nothing beyond the Third Door I'm talking about. Absolutely nothing. You can't traverse that nothingness, because there's nothing to traverse.

You can convince yourself that by attaining that Higher Consciousness you can go beyond the Third Door and still be conscious. But what you are actually doing is refusing to go through that door. You are refusing to do so because you are clinging to your consciousness.

This is the ultimate fear. Fear of losing our consciousness. We all have that fear, and that's the deepest layer behind the fear of Death. It's not related to our physical embodied existence, like you claim. All those "higher beings" or deities you talk about are the product of this fear. They don't want to lose their consciousness. That's why they still are striving.

Using religious language, I could say that the Absolute Nothingness is the true and only God. But because it's Nothing, it's so easy to ignore! Every soul experiences God or Nothingness in some way, but most choose to ignore it and call it "deep dreamless sleep" or something of the kind. This is a rejection of God. For most people this state of rejection and ignorance, born from fear, will end at the moment of physical death. But for those who follow the path of Spiritual Science and attain Higher Consciousness, the rejection and ignorance and fear will probably continue beyond physical death, maybe for all eternity. What a dreadful destiny!

Stepping through the Third Door is the end of the striving (any kind of striving, conscious or unconscious), but it's not the end of the journey. You go through the door, and you dissolve completely into the Nothingness, and then you come back. You don't traverse anything, because there's nothing beyond the door. But when you come back, you are free to continue your journey of exploration, truly free because there is no fear and no striving anymore. Like I said, there is no goal, no end of the path in the Diamond Approach. The spiritual universe is infinite, with infinite treasures and realizations to be revealed.

A crucial point is that realizing the Absolute Nothingness as our true nature doesn't eliminate our individual consciousness. What happens is that, from that point on, the individual consciousness becomes a manifestation, an expression of the Absolute. The Absolute gets to know itself as that particular individual. And so the journey continues. Because the Absolute loves to explore itself, endlessly.

So yes, all these different spiritual worlds do exist, and all these paths are real, and they lead to completely different spiritual universes. And we are free to choose the path we'll take, according to our spiritual longings. I guess my path will look as dreadful to you as yours looks to me...

This situation reminds me of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, where devils and angels discuss their respective lots, and what to the angels seems like Heaven looks like Hell to the devils, and vice versa. Of course, the question remains: who is here the angel, and who the devil? :)
Physicalists hold two fundamental beliefs:

1. The essence of Nature is Mathematics.
2. Consciousness is a product of the human brain.

But the two contraries are true:

1. The essence of Nature is Consciousness.
2. Mathematics is a product of the human brain.
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Eugene I
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Eugene I »

Adur Alkain wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:27 pm This situation reminds me of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, where devils and angels discuss their respective lots, and what to the angels seems like Heaven looks like Hell to the devils, and vice versa. Of course, the question remains: who is here the angel, and who the devil? :)
Adur, I agree with you and I've been telling Cleric and Ashvin the same thing many times (but I was just trying to adopt to their language): that their paradigm is incomplete and lacking because it ignores the "formless" aspect of God (which you call "Nothingness", or I would rephrase as "No-thing-ness", the same as "Emptiness" in Buddhism) and which is the absolutely fundamental aspect of reality. If it is ignored, such ignorance does lead to "damnation", (or "samsara" in the Buddhist terms) - the mode of existence lost in reduced to only thinking activity, forms and the ideal content created by such activity. But the key is that the formless aspect, the Nothingness, needs to be recognized experientially and introspectively. If such recognition does not happen, intellectual and rational understanding of it will not help. Paradoxically the Nothingness can be experientially known, but can not be fully grasped and understood by thinking, Nothingness is where thinking encounters its limits. All non-dual practices and traditions (even though they may differ in their particulars) are aimed exactly at the experiential recognition of the Nothingness.
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
Ben Iscatus
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Ben Iscatus »

Although I used to dislike the idea of Nothingness as the Ground, I now find myself increasingly drawn to it. So I appreciate what Adur and Eugene say above.
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AshvinP
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by AshvinP »

Eugene I wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 3:52 pm
Adur Alkain wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:27 pm This situation reminds me of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, where devils and angels discuss their respective lots, and what to the angels seems like Heaven looks like Hell to the devils, and vice versa. Of course, the question remains: who is here the angel, and who the devil? :)
Adur, I agree with you and I've been telling Cleric and Ashvin the same thing many times (but I was just trying to adopt to their language): that their paradigm is incomplete and lacking because it ignores the "formless" aspect of God (which you call "Nothingness", or I would rephrase as "No-thing-ness", the same as "Emptiness" in Buddhism) and which is the absolutely fundamental aspect of reality. If it is ignored, such ignorance does lead to "damnation", (or "samsara" in the Buddhist terms) - the mode of existence lost in reduced to only thinking activity, forms and the ideal content created by such activity. But the key is that the formless aspect, the Nothingness, needs to be recognized experientially and introspectively. If such recognition does not happen, intellectual and rational understanding of it will not help. Paradoxically the Nothingness can be experientially known, but can not be fully grasped and understood by thinking, Nothingness is where thinking encounters its limits. All non-dual practices and traditions (even though they may differ in their particulars) are aimed exactly at the experiential recognition of the Nothingness.

Look, guys, none of what Cleric is writing will make sense if you don't choose to have a little bit of humility, self-awareness, open mind, and see how your egoic prejudices are influencing all of your thoughts on this topic. Adur, you are especially projecting your own egoism onto Cleric here - "But what you are actually doing is refusing to go through that door. You are refusing to do so because you are clinging to your consciousness." The projection is as plain as day to anyone who reads Cleric's posts on the one side, and your posts on the other, without prejudice. PZ said she also notices this happening on the other thread and I am sure a few others as well.

Cleric's posts carefully reason out from the givens of our experience (and certainly of his experience) that one can go beyond the third door with full clarity of consciousness. His posts also make sense of all your posts, because he shows exactly why, in precise detail, people in your mindset will reach the incomplete mode of conscious experience and why such people will deny any further knowledge beyond the threshold as you do above. You do nothing of the sort in your posts, Adur. Rather, you start with your conclusion of "Absolute Nothingness as the source and nature of everything".

At the beginning of your post, you even say "the spiritual world you descirbe seems like Hell to me". And then somehow you manage to convince yourself that you are reaching dispassionate and logical conclusions about what is possible and what is not. Frankly it's an embarrasing level of egoism and willful ignorance that is rare even for the materialistic modern age. And, Eugene, well... you just fail to comprehend anything that has ever been written to you about formlessness (which you got from Scott's mumorphism, but still ignore every time he has tried to explain to you what it actually means), thinking, polarity, and just about everything else.

Anyone can see that myself, and especially Cleric, are not the sort of people who just go around making arguments which ignore half of the spiritual traditions of the world and their arguments. In fact, it is clear that Cleric understands all Eastern mystical and nondual traditions better than both of you do. And the same goes for Steiner 100x over, which is also clear to anyone who has ever taken a serious look at his corpus of writings and lectures, which it is very clear that you have not done, Eugene, despite commenting on him every chance you get. That is another egoism of the modern age - instead of genuinely reading for understanding, asking questions, etc. like Anthony and PZ have been doing, you guys pretend to read, like Adur saying "This is all quite fascinating stuff", and then reveal you have not understood a single thing written in the immediately following comments.

Finally, you guys should really contemplate this quote from Milton - "the mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven." Because it points to exactly what you are doing - it is your own unwillingness to sacrifice abstract egoic intellect when considering higher spiritual truths which makes those truths seem like "hell" to you, while the actual hell of "absolute nothingness" as final boundary of human knowing seems more like a "heaven" to you, because it allows you to remain within egoic desires and comforts indefinitely. As Dostoevsky said, "without God, everything is permitted", and that is exactly what you both deeply desire without knowing it. Milton was prophetically describing what would happen in the modern age when rationalism and materialism ran rampant, inevitably leading to the absolute nihilism which you guys are endorsing here.

(I know neither of you will actually read anything written seriously, so this is posted just for the benefit of any others who happen to be reading with an open mind)
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
Ben Iscatus
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Re: What causes bad trips?

Post by Ben Iscatus »

"Is it possible that existence is our exile and nothingness our home?"
― Emil Cioran
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