Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Any topics primarily focused on metaphysics can be discussed here, in a generally casual way, where conversations may take unexpected turns.

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Eugene I
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Eugene I »

Cleric K wrote: Sun Sep 26, 2021 10:02 pm Now before replying, I beg you! - simply tell me if you completely and fully understand the difference between these two positions. Do you understand the difference between observing thoughts and thinking thoughts (the radial component)? If you do, do you understand the difference between the shamanic experience of Nature's symbolic language on the sphere surface and Zen's sphere of dependent arising phenomena on one hand, and living together with the actual Thinking activity of Nature (Nature's radial component) on the other?
I believe this comes again from your misunderstanding the Eastern non-dual practices. "The radial" component - observation of thinking of thoughts (the willing-creative aspect of consciousness) has been part of non-dual traditions. For example, the meditative observation of the dependent-co-arising phenomena in the Buddhist tradition also involved observation of the willing though-creating component of the conscious activity. It would be quite arrogant to assume that millions of Buddhist meditators would never notice the difference between observing the thought and thinking the thoughts. This has always been the part of the Buddhist practice of comprehending how consciousness (or thinking activity in your terms) actually functions. The ultimate purpose of this practice was to discover what is "That" that both experiences and creates-wills the thoughts (the "hand" in your metaphor). It was also known that traversing to that level of comprehension involved transcending a developmental path towards the higher intuitive levels of consciousness (called "Prajna" or "Wisdom" in the Buddhist traditions). So, from that perspective, the structure of the Consciousness universe is hierarchical. But notice a paradox here - as soon as you recognize the "I" (That) which experiences, thinks and wills the thoughts and perceptions, you also see that it evades all hierarchy and is present absolutely everywhere with a direct immediacy. Even at the most primitive animalistic levels of conscious forms it is the same "That" which experiences and wills every single phenomenon (perception, thought, imagination etc). "That which experiences and wills" does not need to traverse the whole hierarchy from the center to the periphery to experience the primitive phenomena on the very periphery, its experiencing and willing are absolutely immediate at the very periphery. So, in one sense, there is a Center of the Consciousness Universe, there is a radial dimension and hierarchy to traverse and reach to the "Center". This is the path along which the conscious beings traverse in their development and ascension to the level of the cognition of "I"(That). But in another sense, there is no Center, because the "I" is immediately present in every place of this hierarchical universe even at the most peripheral spheres of the most primitive life forms. The Empty-Fulness, the Conscious Reality, is immediate and omnipresent in every single here and now of every conscious phenomenon (thought and perception) regardless of at what level of cognition it happens. Moreover, it is inseparable from the phenomena it manifests/wills and experiences. But of course, one needs to traverse the hierarchy along the radial dimension and rise to the level of the "Highest Wisdom" (Prajna Paramita in the Buddhist terms) to realize this. This is why in the Buddhist tradition there is a hierarchical path of the levels of consciousness to traverse and reach the awakening, but once the awakening happens, it is immediately realized that "there is no path" (Heart Sutra) for Consciousness to traverse and that Consciousness does not "go" anywhere but is always here and now willing and experiencing every single phenomena on all of its hierarchical levels. So, from the absolute perspective of "I", the Universe of the ideal content is "flat" because every little piece and instance of it is absolutely immediate to "I", and there is no "radial", "longitude" and "latitude" dimensions for the "I"/Self to traverse for that immediacy to happen. But from the relative perspectives of the "selves" (of our individual thinking activities), there is definitely the path along the radial dimension to traverse and to reach to the Self. This is why you got so confused about the Zen practice, because the Zen practice is exactly about experiencing that immediacy of "I''s own experiencing-thinking-willing here and now as experienced from the "I"'s perspective (notice that this practice does not ignore the dimensions, but emphasizes the the immediacy of conscious experiencing-thinking-willing regardless of the dimensions). But other non-dual practices use different approaches, for example, the Ramana Maharshi's practice of atma-vichara is quite similar to the practice that you described: enquiring into "who"/"what" is That which observes, experiences and thinks the thoughts ("Who am I?" self-enquiry), and so the atma-vichara is exactly the practice of traversing along the "radial" dimension through the layers of conscious activity to realize the "I" ("If you wish to meditate, do so on the "I" that is within you. It is the Self." Ramana Maharshi).

This is all to say that what you describe as "awakening in our deeper spiritual activity" is essentially the same awakening of the other non-dual traditions, and perhaps of indigenous traditions as well, but I'm not so familiar with them to confirm that. And thanks to your elaborations, I can now see that the Anthroposophical path eventually leads to the same kind of awakening, even though it may differ in the technicalities of the practice. Different traditions use very different language to describe the path, and that is probably the reason for misunderstanding. But I don't understand why it is so difficult for you to accept that some other spiritual paths may not be as inferior compared to your path as you believe them to be?
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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Cleric K
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Cleric K »

Eugene I wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 1:11 am But I don't understand why it is so difficult for you to accept that some other spiritual paths may not be as inferior compared to your path as you believe them to be?
There's no need to place different traditions on a scale and judge them to be inferior or superior. All we need it to understand the way traditions have engaged the inner being of man through the ages. This way is objectively changing in the course of humanity's history.

I'll make yet another attempt to outline the difference between traditions. Not in order to put them on the above scale but to simply draw objective picture. If that picture is understood then everyone can make their own conclusions.

Let's take Maslow's pyramid as an example:
Image

Even though this pyramid is quite secular in nature, we can easily imagine that the blue triangle is much more refined. It includes the levels of worldly actualization but the more we move towards the tip, the more we arrive at what we speak of as Realization in Ramana sense and all other Enlightenment teachings. At the tip we practically reach the Divine essence. The pyramid represents the hierarchy of entanglements which mediate the process of aliasing. For example, if we're in difficult life situation all our conscious life consists of highly aliased thoughts that stick to the organs of the physical body - it's all about survival. Even though our actualized self exists as potential, which is the being that can use imagination to express freely and creatively such that it can not only meet its own needs but also contribute to the whole, when we're frequency-locked with the rhythms of the physical body, our consciousness is only a highly aliased version of our true potential.

Somewhere in this pyramid (depending on how each person conceives of these things) we can place also the entanglements with religious ideas. For the naively pious man they can be somewhere along the Love and belonging layer. For the Buddhist these layers are transcended near the tip. The Self must undress even the robes of religious ideas if it is to experience its essential being.

Pyramid as this (including the Self-Realization at the tip) could have never appeared in, say, the ancient Egyptian epoch. It could have never appeared even in the Greek epoch. The Greek had his soul (psyche) but the thoughts were still felt magically inspired by the Logos, which alone gave them the meaningful order. Thinking in that age was much more akin to a sacred dance with thoughts, which had clearly spiritual nature for the Greek. The great philosophers of that epoch were the exceptional beings who had mastered this dance to perfection.

After the event on Golgotha the whole inner experience of thoughts was changing. This was objective phenomenon within the Earthly world and even the traditions of old had to adapt to it. They had to accommodate for something new which was entering the Earthly stage - the problematic "I am" experienced on a personal level - they had to fit it into the traditions of the past. There were also the new traditions which understood that the new doesn't need to be retrofitted into the old conceptions but was to be explored in its own element and thus throw light on the whole past progression which led to it.

So the "I am" is a fact. It has been born into the Earthly realm and there's no turning back. The question is how different traditions deal with that wayward child. As mentioned so far, one way is to focus on the very tip of the pyramid where the Cosmic essence of this "I am" is experienced.

Here I would like to remind the following:
Eugene I wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 10:22 pm Our individual conscious activity always has direct access to the transcendent formless No-thing-ness aspect of Consciousness, but that access does not open to us the access to the wholeness of the creation, they have nothing to do with each other. Each of us is a piece of Divine immanent conscious activity, as well a slice of the Divine transcendent nature of No-thing-ness. But a piece and a slice is never the whole, whether transcendent or immanent.
With the bold part we all agree. The underlined one is more problematic. But anyway. What we surely agree with is that the Realization leads to the tip of our personal life on Earth. I don't think anyone will deny this. Every honest Buddhist, who soars in the heights of the pyramid will confirm that he has raised above the entanglements of the Mind with the beings of the invisible world. Please note the wording - no honest Buddhist will claim that he has raised above the beings themselves and have integrated them holistically in his consciousness. He only claims that he's above the entanglements in the Mind with them. This is in perfect accord with your quote above.

So we reach again the point where views diverge. It's perfectly clear that the Realization doesn't put us above Earthly conditions. If we were really the One Consciousness in its purity (even though only a slice of it) why can't we just think away that slice, that is - dematerialize our body and materialize it again somewhere else, in different conditions with different personality and so on? If we really were the eye at the periphery of All we should be perfectly able to do this, because supposedly all our existence now lies within the imagination of our slice of the One Consciousness. It's quite clear that there are still restrictions which are beyond the powers of our Realized "I am".

If we have at least some feeling for these things we should be very clear that we're facing here a Great Mystery. Those who are completely satisfied with the general truth of "I am That", and don't feel at all that there's something quite missing from this picture, may as well stop reading right here.

For those who have clear recognition for this Mystery, the Realization not only is not the final achievement but is only the starting point. This was the path pursued by the Gnostic schools after the event on Golgotha.

These schools didn't pop out of nowhere. The Realization was only the fulfilment of what other traditions were prophetically expecting. From the perspective of Gnosis, the pyramid was only one half of reality. It was to be complemented by its other half:
Image
(Note that the circles are not aligned in any special way with the pyramid levels, they're only illustrative)

And please note again, that all these things were not invented by the Gnostics. As you can see, even the words above are taken from the ancient Hindu Cosmology. These things were known of, even though in very different kind of consciousness. With the approach of the "I am", these ancient revealed truths had to turn inside-out, so to speak, and be experienced from within.

To put things into stark contrast we must point attention to what was already mentioned - the Realization leads to the tip of the Earthly personal consciousness. You said in the quote above that the wholeness of the One Consciousness has nothing to do with the slice. Practically, from that perspective the personificated conscious entities bubble up from the One Soup directly as individuated entities. The Gnostic was to investigate precisely this gradient of 'bubbling up', which leads to the inverted pyramid.

We'll never understand the inverted pyramid if we imagine that the higher levels of self are our personal attributes - that is, if we imagine that each one of us has his own personal Manas, Buddhi, Atma, which map one-to-one with our Earthly persona. This is not what consciousness in these spheres reveal. Instead we have worlds which increasingly encompass the unity of fragments below. This unity is not only spatial but temporal too (already hinted at in the Time-Consciousness essay). The higher worlds weave the temporal-rhythm structure of reality. From the point of view of Atma, at the end of our temporal evolution, it will be like the whole Time evolution of humanity, fits into the consciousness of the Atma (Spirit-Man in occidental terms). There's One Spirit-Man.

We can think of it in this way. In the lower pyramid, at the tip is the Self - the unique perspective within the Whole. When we move lower, we enter into regions which only make sense in relation to other beings - this is our soul nature, that we share with the animal Kingdom. Further down we approach the life processes, which we share with the even wider world of everything which has life - this we share not only with the animal but with the plant Kingdom. Further down is everything of substantial nature, no matter if it is wrapped into biological forms or exists as inert mineral. This we share with the whole physical Cosmos.

So if we really think these things through, we get the feeling how the further down the pyramid we go, the more universal things become - from the soul body, through the life body, to the mineral body. Our "I am" principle is what imprints the unique character of this slice of the lower Kingdoms but it's still true that the lower we go, the more universal the Kingdom itself is. There are as many unique selves as there are bodies. There are shared number of proteins encoded in the DNA. There are even less elements in the Periodic Table, they are formed by even less number of elementary particles and so on. The further down we go, the more everything becomes of one essence.

All this finds its mirror image in the Macrocosm but this time not as bodily levels but as levels of consciousness. Manas (Spirit-Self) is the level which when developed in the far, far future will encompass as unity the expressions of groups of forms that have personal soul life. That is, the personal sympathies and antipathies of fragmented forms will attain such harmony, that in their harmonic unity, the higher being of Manas will be able to reflect its existence, similarly (but not in the same way) to how our "I"-being is able to reflect its existence in the harmonious work of our nerve cells. Manas will recognize itself in everything of soul nature, which works together in Loving harmony. Buddhi (Spirit-Life) will recognize itself in even farther future as the essential being of everything which has Life. And finally, Atma (Spirit-Man) will attain to consciousness when it is able to reflect its being in everything within the Cosmic environment. These levels of self will not only reflect their consciousness but they'll be creatively active. For example, Atma will not simply passively reflect its consciousness in the Cosmic environment but its spiritual activity will be what shapes it. Manas on the other hand, even though having achieved mastery oven the Soul World, will still be embedded in the Life and spiritual substance of the Cosmos, in a way similar to how we're currently embedded in substance, life but also personal body of desires.

Thus we see how the Mystery is thrown light onto. The reason that we can't simply override our bodily nature and rematerialize it in any way we want is because in our "I" we're currently only at the very tip, the meeting point of the two pyramids. Our journey on expanding in both directions is only now beginning. The more we perfect our lower nature, starting from the body of desires (soul/astral body), the more like a mirror image we prepare the birth of the Higher levels of being.

To all this someone will object and suggest that the diagram must be drawn thus:

Image

In other words it will be said: "There really are the levels of higher self but all this misses the fact there's the experiencing formless consciousness reached in Realization which is above everything else.

Here we must again make it clear. It's true that in every act of thought we are of one essence with the Limitless. This is a general and eternal truth. But to claim that when the mind realizes this truth, one automatically finds himself above all creation is simply false. Everything we discussed so far precisely shows why such a view leads to inconsistent and paradoxical picture of reality, where we must deliberately close our eyes for the irrationalities that we summon for ourselves. We blind ourselves for the Great Mystery. We inflate the ego to Cosmic proportions and imagine we are high and above everything. We're not bothered by the fact that we're still locked in a body, even though if we really were the One Consciousness at its highest (even though only a slice of it), this body should have been experienced as mere contents of imagination and we would have to be able to do with it whatever we wanted.

The only way we can ever support this view is by postulating that things will be different after death. That we have voluntarily accepted to be locked in a bodily fantasy and for some inexplicable reason we're too conscientious to break that promise. In occult language this is called the path of Holy Egotism. One need not to be offended by this. This doesn't imply evilness or wicked character. Quite the contrary, one can be very compassionate and willing to help others find their own Holy Ego.

It's quite clear that this path can be pursued - at least as long as the conditions for this allow it. Because the time will come where more and more our consciousness will depend in the most real sense on the Love for others. Just as we're dependent on the sensory organs and brain in order to experience the reflection of our being, so we'll need to experience pure sacrificial Love for all beings in order to see the reflection of Cosmic Man in it. Our transformed body of desires must become the body of Love. Because of this, it no longer exist as self-enclosed feeling of personal satisfaction but sends and receives waves of Love across the soul realm. In this expanded world our spiritual being has its reflection, we recognize ourselves in all our brothers and sisters because we share the same impulse of Love. This doesn't mean in the least that our individuality gets smeared out and becomes lost in the general sea of Love. Not in the least. Whatever we do, we won't be able to get rid of the unique perspective that our spirit beholds. The uniqueness of the perspective also makes it necessary that we conduct the impulse of Love in the most creative, scientific and artistic way. No other being can contribute to the Whole, what can be contributed only from our unique perspective. Every perspective is like a unique piece of Cosmic Puzzle.

On the contrary, those on the path of Holy Egotism will find this world more and and more unbearable. It will require more and more energy to support the self-enclosure, which will lead to more and more darkness and isolation.

It must be noted that the Gnostic is not the Higher Self when he penetrates the higher worlds. Instead, he experiences how the beings of the higher worlds Think the Kingdoms into which our Divine spark is currently having it's experience of self. We don't assume the position of the Absolute and see the infinite potential. Instead we align ourselves with the Cosmic Thoughts of beings and experience of them as much as they have in common with our knowing life. We can experience the Cosmic Thoughts that form the heart, the liver, the plant world, the rocks. These Thoughts are not some abstract ideas of a God who created a world external to himself. These Thoughts are continuously active, they support the structure of reality, just like our continuous breathing and heartbeat are willed to support our life. All this is connected with the needed inversion of soul mood that I often mention. We can only have consciousness in the expanding circles of the both pyramids (Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition) if we realize that it's not about what we assert with our intellect about perceptions but about becoming conductors of higher powers, such that we knowingly and freely share in their Cosmic Life. This is only possible with the utmost humility and prayerful opening to the Divine.

As always, all this is not to be taken as dogma. Anyone capable of healthy thinking can understand what the two pyramids imply and why the last picture simply makes no sense when we try to relate it with the ever expanding horizon of the harmony of the facts.
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Eugene I
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Eugene I »

Cleric K wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 11:33 am For those who have clear recognition for this Mystery, the Realization not only is not the final achievement but is only the starting point. This was the path pursued by the Gnostic schools after the event on Golgotha.
Amazing synchronicity :) I wrote in my previous post almost exactly the same phrase and then deleted it because I wanted to stay on the specific topic. So, this is to say that I fully agree. And glad you are talking about the Great Mystery.
In other words it will be said: "There really are the levels of higher self but all this misses the fact there's the experiencing formless consciousness reached in Realization which is above everything else.

Here we must again make it clear. It's true that in every act of thought we are of one essence with the Limitless. This is a general and eternal truth. But to claim that when the mind realizes this truth, one automatically finds himself above all creation is simply false. Everything we discussed so far precisely shows why such a view leads to inconsistent and paradoxical picture of reality, where we must deliberately close our eyes for the irrationalities that we summon for ourselves. We blind ourselves for the Great Mystery. We inflate the ego to Cosmic proportions and imagine we are high and above everything. We're not bothered by the fact that we're still locked in a body, even though if we really were the One Consciousness at its highest (even though only a slice of it), this body should have been experienced as mere contents of imagination and we would have to be able to do with it whatever we wanted.
Agree. Yes, some modern neoadvaita schools indeed claim that, but that's definitely a naive view.
1. The only way we can ever support this view is by postulating that things will be different after death. That we have voluntarily accepted to be locked in a bodily fantasy and for some inexplicable reason we're too conscientious to break that promise. In occult language this is called the path of Holy Egotism. One need not to be offended by this. This doesn't imply evilness or wicked character. Quite the contrary, one can be very compassionate and willing to help others find their own Holy Ego.

2. It's quite clear that this path can be pursued - at least as long as the conditions for this allow it. Because the time will come where more and more our consciousness will depend in the most real sense on the Love for others. Just as we're dependent on the sensory organs and brain in order to experience the reflection of our being, so we'll need to experience pure sacrificial Love for all beings in order to see the reflection of Cosmic Man in it. Our transformed body of desires must become the body of Love. Because of this, it no longer exist as self-enclosed feeling of personal satisfaction but sends and receives waves of Love across the soul realm. In this expanded world our spiritual being has its reflection, we recognize ourselves in all our brothers and sisters because we share the same impulse of Love. This doesn't mean in the least that our individuality gets smeared out and becomes lost in the general sea of Love. Not in the least. Whatever we do, we won't be able to get rid of the unique perspective that our spirit beholds. The uniqueness of the perspective also makes it necessary that we conduct the impulse of Love in the most creative, scientific and artistic way. No other being can contribute to the Whole, what can be contributed only from our unique perspective. Every perspective is like a unique piece of Cosmic Puzzle.
I completely agree with #2, but don't you see a connection here with #1? "We have voluntarily accepted to be locked in a bodily fantasy " exactly in order to be able to acquire the unique perspective you are talking about in #2: "The uniqueness of the perspective also makes it necessary that we conduct the impulse of Love in the most creative, scientific and artistic way. No other being can contribute to the Whole, what can be contributed only from our unique perspective. Every perspective is like a unique piece of Cosmic Puzzle." This is how Love is executed and implemented in challenging situations of bodily life, and that is why we chose the bodily life to actualize such experience and learn from it. Yet, this does not imply that the process of bodily incarnations is stagnantly cyclical, there is definitely an ascending evolution of souls to the higher levels that you described in your pyramids. But definitely there is a risk of the choice of "Holy Egotism" of the isolated path, and such risk is always present at any stage or level regardless if it happens in the incarnate or discarnate form. There may be some truth in the Christian myth that Lucifer turned to "Holy Egotism" right from its highest hierarchical Seraphim level. But overall, it comes to the question whether the bodily incarnation is a "fall"/sin or intentional and natural part of the soul's evolution.
It must be noted that the Gnostic is not the Higher Self when he penetrates the higher worlds. Instead, he experiences how the beings of the higher worlds Think the Kingdoms into which our Divine spark is currently having it's experience of self. We don't assume the position of the Absolute and see the infinite potential. Instead we align ourselves with the Cosmic Thoughts of beings and experience of them as much as they have in common with our knowing life. We can experience the Cosmic Thoughts that form the heart, the liver, the plant world, the rocks. These Thoughts are not some abstract ideas of a God who created a world external to himself. These Thoughts are continuously active, they support the structure of reality, just like our continuous breathing and heartbeat are willed to support our life. All this is connected with the needed inversion of soul mood that I often mention. We can only have consciousness in the expanding circles of the both pyramids (Imagination, Inspiration, Intuition) if we realize that it's not about what we assert with our intellect about perceptions but about becoming conductors of higher powers, such that we knowingly and freely share in their Cosmic Life. This is only possible with the utmost humility and prayerful opening to the Divine.
Beautiful!
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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Cleric K
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Cleric K »

Eugene I wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 2:08 pm I completely agree with #2, but don't you see a connection here with #1? "We have voluntarily accepted to be locked in a bodily fantasy "
And at this point the conversation always reaches the point where it's all a matter of belief of choice for the afterlife :) As true monists we shouldn't accept any principle boundaries for consciousness. We should be quite clear that this world and the other world are one and the same. It's only that the reflecting environment of our spiritual perspective changes.

There are so many interesting things that can be said here and they are not simply unverifiable storied about the yonder world but point to our being here and now. If we investigate in depth how our consciousness comes together, if we're able to differentiate how the physical, life, soul bodies and our "I"-center contribute to the totality that we experience, we'll also understand what remains when the physical is taken away, when the etheric spreads in the Cosmos and so on. For example, at the moment we lose the support of the physical brain we also lose the possibility to think intellectually, to think in point-like concepts. We must learn to find our stable center amidst of constant metamorphosis.

When it's said "We have voluntarily accepted to be locked in a bodily fantasy" we don't really take the trouble to investigate how much really this statement depends on having thinking within a body. We imagine that in the other world we'll be a self-enclosed sphere which goes hither and tither and at some point decides to enter again in a body or go other places. When we trace the events that happen after death, we discover how much really our self-enclosed feel is a function of bodily life. The body serves as e life boat, as an anchor around which our body of desires and our "I"-spiritual activity coalesce. Once the physical and the life body are gone, the body of desires expands to Cosmic proportions and now we don't at all possess our private world. The expanded body becomes the arena for the whole hierarchy of beings. So the disincarnate state is very different. In many respects it is polar opposite to our current state. These things can be investigated while in the body. As a matter of fact it's the duty of humanity to gradually learn more about the disincarnate state, not from NDE reports but from careful and fully conscious investigation of our inner being. As said numerous times, we should revisit our belief that the worlds exist as independent floors between which our atomic soul migrates at death and birth. We're a slice of all worlds. For this reason it is through the differentiation within ourselves of what belongs to which world that we also learn about them.

We need to learn about these things because it is the only way the chasm between the incarnate and disincarnate state can slowly be bridged.

So before dismissing everything above, we must simply ask (assuming that we take the disincarnate state seriously) - how can we ever know about these things in precise and conscious way? Are we really to accept that all knowledge of the disincarnate state can only come from anecdotal evidence, near-death accidents, ancient revelations and so on? If we take non-dualism/monism seriously what stops us to investigate how the slice of the worlds plays out in our being? Aren't we simply excusing ourselves by trying to keep in place the impenetrable wall between both states, such that we can do whatever we want on Earth, while dreaming that we'll also be able to do whatever we want after death?
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Eugene I
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Eugene I »

Cleric K wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 4:23 pm We need to learn about these things because it is the only way the chasm between the incarnate and disincarnate state can slowly be bridged.

So before dismissing everything above, we must simply ask (assuming that we take the disincarnate state seriously) - how can we ever know about these things in precise and conscious way? Are we really to accept that all knowledge of the disincarnate state can only come from anecdotal evidence, near-death accidents, ancient revelations and so on? If we take non-dualism/monism seriously what stops us to investigate how the slice of the worlds plays out in our being? Aren't we simply excusing ourselves by trying to keep in place the impenetrable wall between both states, such that we can do whatever we want on Earth, while dreaming that we'll also be able to do whatever we want after death?
Sure, you can do it if you feel a motivation, there is nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn't. I rather feel a motivation to grow and connect with the Divine on other more subtle layers where its Wisdom, Beauty, Mystery and Love reside, and I'm not so much interested in the astral structures and beings. I don't know how those subtle layers are called, and it does not matter anyway.

By the way, in the traditional Christianity any communication with the astral and even angelic hierarchy beings was strongly discouraged and it was even considered quite dangerous because those beings can easily deceive humans ("And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" 2 Cor). The only safe way in this tradition is to communicate with God directly.
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Ben Iscatus »

Sure, you can do it if you feel a motivation, there is nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn't. I rather feel a motivation to grow and connect with the Divine on other more subtle layers where its Wisdom, Beauty, Mystery and Love reside, and I'm not so much interested in the astral structures and beings. I don't know how those subtle layers are called, and it does not matter anyway.

By the way, in the traditional Christianity any communication with the astral and even angelic hierarchy beings was strongly discouraged and it was even considered quite dangerous because those beings can easily deceive humans ("And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" 2 Cor). The only safe way in this tradition is to communicate with God directly.
Yes, go straight to the CEO and leave out the middlemen! As an Idealist, You might look at it this way: the solidity of our everyday experience represents a collective manifestation of how we currently view reality. All other imaginative exercises of the mind are attempts to see reality differently, and if they become part of the collective mind (the dominant culture), they will be made manifest. Until then, they cannot be grounded (literally and figuratively), so are subject to the continuous flux of change (depending only on the dissociated minds that dreamed them) and must be considered unreliable.
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Cleric K
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Cleric K »

Eugene I wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:14 am Sure, you can do it if you feel a motivation, there is nothing wrong with that. But I wouldn't. I rather feel a motivation to grow and connect with the Divine on other more subtle layers where its Wisdom, Beauty, Mystery and Love reside, and I'm not so much interested in the astral structures and beings. I don't know how those subtle layers are called, and it does not matter anyway.

By the way, in the traditional Christianity any communication with the astral and even angelic hierarchy beings was strongly discouraged and it was even considered quite dangerous because those beings can easily deceive humans ("And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" 2 Cor). The only safe way in this tradition is to communicate with God directly.
I fully agree that it's dangerous to step outside the body just for the sake of curiosity. I would never recommend, for example, something like Monroe's system for OBEs. Our focus on the Divine is our sure compass.
Psalm 23 wrote:Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
This is much more than poetic expression of blind trust. When outside the body, when we fill our souls with the deep experience of the above words, it makes the difference between being lost in darkness, feeling prowled by adversarial beings, and finding our stable center through which the Divine Light flows and drives away the shadows. Yes, while in the body with our intellect, such things may seem like a matter of religious fancy. But outside the body these ideas are actual forces through which we practically support the shape of our subtle organism. This is tremendously important. On Earth it's customary to say "Man is what he eats" but in the spiritual realm "Man is what he thinks". In other words, we must maintain our spiritual being through our own spiritual activity, we're what we're capable of making ourselves into.

In our incarnate life we're much like hermit crabs. We're 'soft-bodied' spirit which accommodates within a hard bodily shell. The interior of this shell is what gives the impression that we have completely personal consciousness. It's not that our consciousness is separate bubble but it's only that the shell's interior is unique to our perspective. Other than that, the water that fills the shell is part of the ocean water. It's not completely independent. Yes, we form a microclimate in the shell but the outer salinity, contamination, temperature of the water directly influences the interior simply because there's no hard boundary between them.

We must indeed learn to read the Book of Living Nature. The sensory spectrum is really a highly aliased version of the higher worlds (note that I'm not saying that the 3D world that we imagine out there, is aliased version of the higher world. It's our inner sensory-intellectual conscious perspective that is aliased form of a higher state). It is true that within this aliased version there are dynamics specific to it but nevertheless there are also common things along the gradient. For example, we're used to think of our physical body as a monolithic object but in reality it is in constant intercourse with the environment. We eat, drink, breathe, exchange heat. What was external enters the bounds of our skin and temporarily becomes transformed and dragged along the currents of life. Then it is expelled and spreads in outer nature again. It is quite similar with our subtle organism, although the skin boundary is much more fuzzy.

Our physical body acts as formwork within which conscious fluid is poured. We simply don't stop to investigate how much really the flow of our thinking, feeling and willing are shaped by this formwork. This leads to the naive belief that after we cast away the shell, our consciousness will be pretty much the same, only more free. This is as if we expect that we can break a glass bottle and the water shall remain in the same shape. For modern people, especially those who have led entirely materialistic life, this shattering of the glass is quite dramatic - we completely lose the ground under our feet and we're entirely unfree, flowing on the streams of the higher worlds, until we take hold of a new shell which gives us the firm ground where our "I" can reflect itself again in intellectual thoughts.

We can have stable existence in the disincarnate state only if we have developed the spiritual force through which we create ourselves anew every instant. This we can only do by working in that direction while on Earth. As long as we depend on the environment to form our life and we simply react to it, we're spiritually impotent. The free spirit must draw the impulses of moral life from with the potential of the spiritual world, with its own forces. These forces build our Light body - they are that body. This body is not something external, like another hermit shell that we borrow from the environment, only more subtle. It's the form of our spiritual activity, similarly to the way our thoughts, while in the physical body, are the forms of our spiritual activity. That's why it is so important for humans today to take full control over their thinking process. We must clearly realize that in our thinking we express our spiritual being. If we simply go with the flow, simply observe the stream of phenomena, the entering and leaving of thoughts with which we feel no inner connection, we're still expecting the Universe to supply us with the conditions for our existence. When we cross the threshold of death with such habits, we find ourselves in very difficult situation because we no longer have our stable "I"-being which can differentiate itself from the environment. Our bodily shell was unconsciously supporting the shape of our "I" and we took that for granted. In the disincarnate state, if we want to have fully conscious perspective, we need to draw the forces from the Cosmic environment and focus them. The bodily shell does that for us on Earth. It acts as a lens that focuses the Light rays such that it gives us our egohood (in the sense of conscious experience with continuity in time, not in the sense of egoism). Our body gives us the support through which memory integrates together with the metamorphosis of the physical kernel, giving us the "I" experience (memory is the integrative process that gives us experience of time and continuity of consciousness). In certain sense the physical organism is like the helping wheels, the metamorphosing scaffold along which our spirit becomes conscious of the integrative memory process.

In the disincarnate state we need to propel this integrative process with our own forces. Now that the body is gone, we don't have the clock generator, so to speak. In the body we feel time as something external, as relentless rhythm forcing itself upon us. After death the rhythms don't disappear but they become much more elusive, unless we know what to look for. Think of a man who pops into existence and doesn't know about the day cycle, that the Sun rises and sets. This man would move through indeterminateness, completely oblivious of the laws. Such is the state of a soul that crosses the threshold of death without ever internalizing, for example, the idea of repeating Earthly lives. When this idea has become integral part of our "I"-being on Earth, we already have a certain feeling of rhythm after death. We know where we're situated within the temporal spiritual organism. On the other hand, for a materialistic soul, which was expecting the cessation of all existence after death, the sojourn in the spheres takes the character of indeterminate existence, with no direction, no structure, no logic (at least in the first phases).

So we see how mistaken is the attitude "Why should I learn something about the other worlds? We'll see them when we get there!" The problem is that we won't see or understand anything there if we haven't prepared the organs for this while on Earth. If we don't understand the higher worlds on Earth, we won't understand them in the disincarnate state either. We're living in the disincarnate state even in this very moment, it's only that the sensory spectrum is 'on focus'. When the sensory spectrum is cast away together with the body we remain with the inner spiritual kernel. If we haven't grown with this kernel into the spiritual world while in the body, we'll be like aliens in unknown realm when we lose the support of our senses and intellect.

That's why I keep repeating that these things must not simply be glossed over or dogmatically believed but thought through. When we think them we penetrate with our thought rays the same spiritual structure in which we live when we lose the support of the body. The better we have probed this structure, the more we have stretched the degrees of freedom of our thinking spiritual activity and the more we know our spiritual environment. We can only understand this in the proper way if we overcome the idea that in our thinking we have only local copies of ideas. Instead, we live and spread our cognizing spirit in the actual structure of spiritual reality. The thought-reflections of this process are truly local phenomena possible only thanks to the reflecting screen of our etheric and physical brain but the Intuitive structure that we experience as meaning is the actual spiritual world. When the body is gone and the forces invested in it are liberated, they become the inner light which illuminates from within the probed structure. This is what the Initiate accomplishes while still in the body. Through training we learn to loosen the etheric body and liberate some of the forces engrossed by sensory life and turn them into higher cognition.

Earlier we said that in the disincarnate state we are what we think. This might sound very appealing - it looks like we can imagine ourselves into whatever we want. But this is not at all the case. And we can understand very clearly why this is so if we simply observe our normal life. Regular imagination summons floating pictures on our inner screen, what we call - fantasy. But this is only possible because the etheric brain provides us with convenient 'scratchboard'. In our normal life, what we make ourselves into, is what we allow from imagination to go deep and become deeds. Practically, this is our moral life. Whether we realize it or not, everything we do has moral significance for the World. Today there's very common maxim "As long as I'm not harming anybody, it's all good". But that's not entirely the case. We possess certain potential, energy, knowledge. Through these we can contribute something beneficial for the development of the Whole. If we don't use them, even though it seems we're not hurting physically anybody, we're still hurting the overall World development because we're frittering away the capital that we've been invested with. When the outer shells are cast away, we can't simply imagine pictures within the etheric brain (which is now gone) and naively identify with them. We're in the most real sense the bare moral force of our being, this is our naked self. On Earth we may cloak ourselves in expensive clothes and jewelry, we might fool some people about our real intentions but when these shells are cast away, we remain with our naked moral being. And here we can witness the most disturbing sights. Humans who may otherwise have been good looking and well received by society but were nevertheless leading life of indulging into passions and taking advantage of others, have very degenerate forms in the spiritual realm. It's like they are constantly struggling to keep themselves from decomposing. They don't have anything of substance that gives them the "I"-kernel of their being and they try in vain to grasp at something from the environment, such that they can patch up some kind of existence. On the other hand, those who have realized their true humanness while on Earth, who have in freedom drawn upon the potential of the Divine Light and spread it lovingly among their brothers and sisters, have the form of radiant suns, conductors of the Divine, spreading vivifying and soothing waves. When I say 'form' here, we should be aware that even that those forms can really be experienced in Imaginative cognition, they are only impressions. The true form is experienced from within, from the first person perspective.

Here it's of no use to mention NDEs. I've explained many times that NDEs are not authoritative examples of the disincarnate state because the experiences are strongly colored by the etheric and physical bodies with which we're still connected. This is what gives the experiences their distinct flavor, as if we're still our atomic self in these regions. What we don't take into account is that the atomicity that we transpose into the higher worlds, is entirely supported by the physical and life bodies. We can only gain true understanding of the disincarnate state when we gradually work to differentiate the contribution of each spectral band into the flattened totality of consciousness (which gives the impression of atomic soul bubble). Only then we can separate the influence of the physical and life bodies and experience the soul body and the "I" in their own environment.

All of this once again will only make sense if we read the Living Book of Nature rightly and observe that all around us we see constant transformation and development. If we postulate that these things are only true on Earth but not in the spiritual spectrum, we simply make arbitrary choice based on what we dream to be the case. But if we take seriously the only logical thing - that the sensory spectrum is aliased version of the higher order rhythms - it becomes transparently clear that humanity as a whole goes through development.

It was for good reason that in the past the souls were urged to focus on prayer to God and avoid the astral arts. The middle ages were times where the astral atmosphere got incredibly thick. Even Initiates at that time couldn't penetrate it sufficiently. It was truly the dark age of humanity because the "I" was on its own for a period of time. But in later centuries the Light has begun to pierce again through the clouds as the Light of the Thinking Spirit.

When it's said "I don't know how those subtle layers are called, and it does not matter anyway." we have fundamental misunderstanding of how things stand. The above implicitly assumes the atomicity and self-sufficiency of our soul-bubble, and we imagine we can go through the higher regions and converse with God while being completely uninterested in the environment. There are so many assumptions here.

To suggest that it doesn't matter if we know anything about the higher worlds is like saying "I want to understand how my body works but I don't want to leave its bounds. I want to understand it entirely in itself." But this is simply not possible. We can only understand the body when we understand how it is embedded within the physical environment, how it draws the substances from all around and they are being shaped by the formative forces. In similar sense, we need to know about the astral and higher worlds not to satisfy our vain curiosity in Monroe style exploration but in order to know how our soul and spiritual nature coalesces from the spiritual environment. While we think that our thoughts and desires are our atomic possession, we're like the hermit crab imagining that the water microclimate in the shell its entirely its own. But we're constantly swimming in the astral and higher worlds. We're breathing and drinking these worlds. And these are the reasons of the pity state of humanity today. We're living in astral swamps, deserts, cesspools. We are breathing, drinking, eating this sewage, it enters our hermit shell and leaves its waste deposits there, which then cause disease - both mental and physical. We indeed have to focus on Wisdom, Beauty, Mystery and Love - this is the High Ideal. But we won't go far if we simply dream of these things while biding our time on Earth. These Divine Virtues are living Forces. We must utilize them and begin transforming our shared world. We can only start from ourselves. It's true we are always dependent on the environment but actually the vast majority of the sewage we ingest can be completely avoided if we could see clearly where we are and what we're doing. So we start with the purification of our own microclimate. Purity is indispensable. It's only attainable if we connect to the sources of fresh Water and Light - the water of life. The kind of water for which it is said "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." We can't produce the pure water of life out of ourselves, any more than we can purify polluted water by simply stirring it more. We can only draw upon it from the Spring of everlasting life, from whence it flows abundantly.

It's time that we shake off our childish religious conceptions. What we're speaking here is not speculations within our shell about things that lie beyond our light cone. Everything here is completely practical knowledge which once internalized becomes real spiritual force. The greatest task in front of humanity today is to begin sanitizing our inner and outer environment - on all levels. And this can only happen if we learn something about that environment. On the physical plane we more or less agree that laying waste everywhere is not only aesthetically unpleasing but breeds parasites and disease. If we could only read the Book of Living Nature properly, we would also know that the same holds true for the other strata of reality. Just because people don't see them, they imagine that lies, deceit, hatred, lust and so on, are their own personal shell business, while in fact they constantly flow out of the shell and pollute the environment. Then other beings unconsciously breath and swallow these excrements and make them part of their being.

There's so much in front of humanity to learn. We must realize that our YOLO (you only live once) attitude or the New Age attitude (I come from another galaxy with my atom-soul, just visiting the Earth-inn and I'll be off) are nothing but the expression of Holy Egotism. This can only be counterbalanced with true knowledge derived from deepening of our spiritual being. Everything that is being spoken here we can find within ourselves. The astral sewage, the higher Divine words - we are slice of them. So any complaints of the sort of "But these things are so remote and unverifiable" are only excuses for avoiding unprejudiced and healthy thinking. We simply need to follow the facts to their ultimate conclusions and not stop short at our preferred level of comfort (something Ashvin very well addresses in his latest essay).

We need knowledge of the astral and higher worlds if we are to avoid the catastrophe at which we're headed. It must be repeated over and over again - these worlds are not some remote floors of God's Kingdom - they are the very reality our which our thoughts, feelings, will and perceptions are sliced off.

Clearly, when we speak of sewage, we're speaking in symbols. The astral (soul) substance is not something that we perceive in front of us, as we perceive objects in the sensory spectrum. The soul substance is something living it's made of meaningful forces, actual beings, expressing as attraction and repulsion, experienced from within, from the first-person perspective. For example, when we speak in symbols, we can say that seawater with such and such chemical composition enters our shell from the environment. But when we deal with the actual facts we should further explain that when these astral waters enter our being we don't see chemicals in front of us - we experience something of soul nature - urge, desire, emotion, sympathy, antipathy and so on. These are only the most aliased aspects of the astral world, they are only the dream shadows of the processes there. Unless we work on self-mastery and seek clear cognition of everything that passes through our soul, we're not free. We are living the desires of other beings. We're only free if we differentiate our spiritual activity from these blind urges and through our own force draw upon what is beautiful, harmonious, good, wise, beneficial for all, and infuse our micro and outer climate with the fruits of the Spirit. So it's very detrimental to say "it does not matter anyway". This practically says "I don't care if I'm breathing and drinking sewage, if I'm fulfilling the desires of a demon or a dead relative." There was a time when focus on the Divine was all we needed, just like a child that depends on the support of its father. But if the child approaches maturity and it still wants to be held by the hand, we're entering abnormal development. Certain spiritual potential remains stunted. This is where we are today as humans. We need to set to work in this Divine World.
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Eugene I
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Re: Cleric's Responses to Mystical Metaphysics (or How to Make a Logical Argument)

Post by Eugene I »

Cleric K wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 3:32 pm But outside the body these ideas are actual forces through which we practically support the shape of our subtle organism. This is tremendously important. On Earth it's customary to say "Man is what he eats" but in the spiritual realm "Man is what he thinks". In other words, we must maintain our spiritual being through our own spiritual activity, we're what we're capable of making ourselves into.
Right, this well aligns with the NDE accounts, and I also said it before in different phrasing: in the discarnate realms we "manifest" our spiritual bodies, as well as contribute to the collective manifestation of the environment, by our spiritual activity, and big part of our activity is our conscious and unconscious beliefs and habitual thinking patterns (what's called "karma" in the Eastern traditions).
Clearly, when we speak of sewage, we're speaking in symbols. The astral (soul) substance is not something that we perceive in front of us, as we perceive objects in the sensory spectrum. The soul substance is something living it's made of meaningful forces, actual beings, expressing as attraction and repulsion, experienced from within, from the first-person perspective. For example, when we speak in symbols, we can say that seawater with such and such chemical composition enters our shell from the environment. But when we deal with the actual facts we should further explain that when these astral waters enter our being we don't see chemicals in front of us - we experience something of soul nature - urge, desire, emotion, sympathy, antipathy and so on. These are only the most aliased aspects of the astral world, they are only the dream shadows of the processes there. Unless we work on self-mastery and seek clear cognition of everything that passes through our soul, we're not free. We are living the desires of other beings. We're only free if we differentiate our spiritual activity from these blind urges and through our own force draw upon what is beautiful, harmonious, good, wise, beneficial for all, and infuse our micro and outer climate with the fruits of the Spirit. So it's very detrimental to say "it does not matter anyway". This practically says "I don't care if I'm breathing and drinking sewage, if I'm fulfilling the desires of a demon or a dead relative." There was a time when focus on the Divine was all we needed, just like a child that depends on the support of its father. But if the child approaches maturity and it still wants to be held by the hand, we're entering abnormal development. Certain spiritual potential remains stunted. This is where we are today as humans. We need to set to work in this Divine World.
I think you misunderstood me, I meant that it does not matter which words we use to label them, but I absolutely do care about living and manifesting my life form those levels. So, overall, I much agree that it's about attaining the mastery of mindful and conscious spiritual activity performed from the highest spiritual levels where we connect and align our activity with the Divine, regardless if we do it in the physical realm or in the astral, so when we change from physical to astral and back, this path essentially does not change. This path started long ago from the axial age and we see it in both Eastern and Western traditions, but at the current stage we are definitely refining and developing it further.
"Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kanzas anymore" Dorothy
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