Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

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AshvinP
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Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

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In the last part, we explored how the imaginative state makes the inner rhythms of the soul space more objective, focusing primarily on our personal rhythms of thinking, feeling, and will impulses. Yet we also briefly touched on how these personal rhythms are experienced as being contextualized by broader rhythms of Culture and Nature that are ‘self-similar’ to our own soul-spiritual activity. We should emphasize rhythms here because the similarity expresses itself mostly with respect to temporal rather than spatial patterns. To get a better orientation to the experiential nature of these contextual rhythms and how they overlap with and modulate our soul space, we will therefore explore some principles surrounding the nature of Time-experience. We previously touched upon how Time-experience becomes something quite different within the imaginative space, such that the ‘current moment’ at higher levels of integration can encompass conceptual-sensory states over a long duration as holistic potential, like the musical notes of a melody.

As a simple analogy to help us orient toward this principle, consider how, when we move our arm to reach for some object, a whole complex cascade of muscular processes unfolds (depicted in the video below).


Now imagine one of these muscle cells is a conscious observer of our intent to move the arm. From its perspective, that intent is experienced as a drawn-out evolutionary process in its musculature universe. What takes a few seconds from our macro-perspective and is a simple perceptual flow of arm extension and retraction, unfolds over many muscular epochs from its micro-perspective and involves a complex perceptual flow of countless components. Our momentary intent to move the arm provides the overarching context in which many cellular states of being unfold. That relation is analogous to the one between the conceptual-sensory states we experience unfolding over long periods and the momentary imaginative or higher intents that structure the context for their unfoldment. Just as the meaning of a single word is contextualized by the meaning of the sentence in which it is embedded, which is contextualized by the meaning of the paragraph, and so on, the experienced meaning of our conceptual-sensory states only makes sense because those states always embed temporal intuition of this implicit context.

Each relative perspective within this intentional architecture is autonomously pursuing certain evolutionary aims, transforming its momentary state to new states against the resistance of all the relative perspectives that contextualize its activity, which we can call ‘higher’ perspectives for that reason, while simultaneously providing the contextual resistance for the transformation of other relative perspectives, which we can call ‘lower’. What we are describing here is simply a more intimate angle on what we discussed back in Part I in terms of the narrowing of potential through the etched physical, emotional, and mental channels that constrain the spirit’s activity. These contextual perspectives autonomously pursuing intents are the inner reality of the constraints the human perspective normally experiences and analyzes from the outside. Now we are trying to exercise our spirit a bit more intensely and explore their inner significance as well.

We shouldn’t imagine these perspectives are too neatly separated. The activity of lower relative perspectives also feeds back into that of the higher perspectives, just as a shooting pain in the muscles from our arm movement will feedback into our intent and adjust the way we pursue that intent in some way. Each relative perspective does not possess its own center but rather we should imagine a common Central axis around which the perspectives cohere depending on their range of influence within the contextual spheres of potential. Every relative perspective cycles through all the contextual spheres at all times. From the relative human perspective, most of that cycling is aliased from perception and we experience it as discontinuities of consciousness – the states of pre-birth and pre-memory childhood, sleep, forgetfulness of past experience, momentary distractions, and after-death states. What defines the evolving ‘perspective’ is not some arbitrary confinement to one layer or another, but in what spectrum of layers its lucid consciousness has evolved to be the most ‘in focus’ and therefore where it can be uniquely responsible for navigating and attuning the rhythms of the collective experiential flow.

The human relative perspective, for example, is most ‘in focus’ within the layer of conceptual-sensory states. A higher relative perspective that we can call ‘angelic’ is most in focus within the layer of imaginative states that we have briefly explored in previous essays. This angelic perspective also grasps the meaning of our conceptual-sensory states but does not need to micromanage their transitions from sequential ‘frame to frame’ like we do. Instead, its activity provides the imaginative ‘wavefunction’, the holistic palette of states, which our human perspective explores sequentially. We experience angelic activity as subtle ideal impulses that give us opportunities to pursue our conceptual states in one direction or another. In that sense, the contextualization of states which is felt as somewhat unfree from the human perspective is felt as free activity from the angelic perspective. It is the Divine technique of evolution that relative perspectives attain more expansive spheres of freedom as other relative perspectives withdraw ‘focus’ from the contextual layers formatting the former’s experience, such that the former can grow its own focus into those layers.

To be clear, the purpose of this metaphorical exploration is not to form a rigid theoretical framework that ‘explains’ the ‘nature’ of the relative perspectives. Such a framework would be very misleading because many important factors are left out, and if we were to try and include all those other factors, the intellectual spirit would drive itself insane. Instead, we are simply fleshing out some basic intuition regarding Time-experience as the evolving contextual relations of intentional perspectives. Orienting to that intuition helps us become inwardly sensitive to how retracing our spiritual activity leads into the perspectives responsible for structuring the contextual constraints that we normally experience as the mental, emotional, and physical-sensory domains. The test of this newly developed intuition is always whether it helps bring facts from the most diverse domains of our evolving flow of experience into greater harmony with one another, and at the same time, helps expand our spiritual degrees of freedom.




When the transformation of our human momentary state feels to unfold at a snail’s pace in response to our inner activity, we call that particular constellation of interfering intents the ‘physical world’ which provides the greatest support for our activity yet also offers the greatest resistance to the realization of its intents. It is easiest for us to reflect on sensory experiences (such as a beautiful sunset or a flock of birds), so much so that we often flow along with them quite passively. The spirit feels like a stream of water flowing downhill – it simply enters the sensory experience and lets the latter do the rest of the work with the suction of its gravity. On the other hand, there are many things we can imagine and intend which cannot be objectively realized in the sensory stream of experience (we can’t change the direction of the bird flock with our imaginative activity, for example). The spirit also normally experiences itself asleep to the inner nature of this physical world. It cannot trace the inner reasons why its intent to move the arm results in the perceptual flow of arm movement, for example. The spirit simply sends its intent into the ‘void’, so to speak, and some perceptual transformation echoes back, or not (if the arm is paralyzed, for example).

On the other hand, when that state transforms the most quickly, we experience a ‘mental world’ where our intents meet the least resistance and therefore where the spirit feels awake. We can easily trace how our intent to solve a math problem results in the perceptual flow of mental pictures or inner voice sounds. Yet this is also the world where the spirit is thrown back on its own resources. It must struggle to remain attentive if it wishes to keep the thoughts-perceptions in sight (unlike the flock of birds). The spirit must continually kindle its efforts anew as if it is pushing a boulder uphill against the suction of gravity. As soon we stop attending to our mathematical perceptions, we lose sight of them because they flow in sync with our activity. That fact hints at why our retracing efforts require new inner skills if they are to be cultivated properly. It also elucidates one of the reasons why virtues such as faith, hope, perseverance, discipline, and so forth were cultivated in the last few millennia in anticipation of these new spiritual retracing possibilities. The spirit will quickly crumble if it approaches the retracing of its activity with easy-going habits tied to the sensory flow and no virtues to compensate.

In between the sensory and mental worlds, there is the ‘emotional world’ in which our intents meet an intermediate resistance (when we intend to summon an intense state of joy, for example), and the spirit feels as if in a dreamy flow of experience. The emotional world acts as a mediator between the other two worlds – the spirit is generally only motivated to think about sensory events for which there is some emotional connection. There are other ‘worlds’ above the mental world that follow similar principles and form the spiritual basis for the three worlds already discussed. From higher contextual perspectives, these higher worlds are experienced as issuing forth from creative intents just as thoughts are experienced as issuing from creative intents of the human relative perspective. We have now arrived at the LIFO principle discussed in Part I from an experiential angle – the mental space of our spiritual activity that was ‘last in’ is the ‘first out’ in our retracing efforts because our intentional activity meets the least resistance in its transmutation, and because it also helps us remain active to build up strength for working through the stronger resistance of the other spaces.

The most resistant constraint is the physical-sensory world where we sometimes seem to receive quick feedback for our present activity, but which is, in fact, the most out-of-phase with that activity. There, we are interacting with the feedback of long past activity; intents already accomplished in bygone ages that have receded into collective memory. That is what we know as ‘physicality’ or, more esoterically, as the stream of ‘karmic destiny’. In other words, it is the resistance of long past deeds that have not been compensated for yet and therefore remain externalized. These externalized deeds serve as constant symbolic reminders of the compensatory tasks ahead of us, assuming we are paying attention to and understand them in such an intimate way. This physical constraint formats and guides our daily activity at a very deep and unconscious level. Our present activity does not find its reflection in this physical domain. Let’s try to understand why we can say our present activity is not actually reflected in the feedback received from the sensory world.

We normally feel like we are freely in control of our thoughts, feelings, and actions during sensory life, but is that actually the case? One way to approach this question is to think about how often things happen to us independently of our agency, such as the actions of other beings, the weather, illnesses, etc. Clearly this is not feedback for our present activity. We can also reflect on how often we simply stumble into various experiences in a dreamlike way. We do many things on autopilot, like brushing our teeth, taking a shower, drinking coffee, etc. Even going from home to work can become so habitual that we end up at work and awaken saying, "oh great, I'm at work now." These dreamy habits carried out in the sensory domain cannot be considered feedback for our present activity either. Similarly, we often get carried away on impulsive trains of thoughts and feelings and have little idea how we ended up immersed in them. It is just like awakening in a dream and not remembering how we ended up in the dreamscape. In fact, we don’t even think to ask the question of how we got there.

As we see, our spiritual agency simply isn't present and active in most of our daily experiences. These cannot be called ‘free’ experiences but rather must be considered experiences that result from the spirit flowing through the previously etched channels of its mental, psychic, and physiological spaces, i.e. the past activity of higher contextual perspectives. Did our current human perspective consciously choose its birthplace, the climate of its geography, its family (heredity), its native language (in which its inner voice thinks), its temperament (which also influences its career choice and social relationships), its various inclinations, and so forth? Clearly not – rather, it initially feels as if it was thrown into these circumstances (See Martin Heidegger on Geworfen or 'Thrownness'). Nevertheless, if we are reading these words, the thrown circumstances have mysteriously aligned such that the spirit’s inner qualities were developed and its faculties were strengthened, preparing it for the fully conscious phases of spiritual life. They have gradually led us into the vicinity of where we can begin taking our first free steps.

It is only in our mental world, in the intuitively transparent feedback of thoughts, where our present activity finds its lucid reflection. That is why spiritual retracing into the imaginative space begins with the observation of thinking, where activity and its perceptual feedback is almost completely in-phase (see also early discussion in Part IV). The spirit can then leverage this point of intersection to render the out-of-phase spaces more transparent as well and thereby feel less thrown into them. We can say that the collective past activity serves as the ‘womb’ for our present activity. It is where the latter is conceived and can orient itself, develop spiritual organs of perception, and be born again into the higher spaces where, for the very first time, it experiences itself as free. That activity can then freely retrace its way through the mental, psychic, and sensory spaces as continual acts of revelation and redemption. By intensely using our concepts as testimonies to the contextual constraints through which they emerge, as we have been doing so far, we have already embarked on a gradient of free activity.

Let’s use a cinematic metaphor to further orient toward the experiential nature of these contextual constraints on our activity. The plot of the movie is that some archeologists go searching for the 'fountain of youth' in a cave (in keeping with the techno-materialist impulses of our time). Yet as they descend into the cave, something mysterious occurs. First, the rope breaks from erosion in a matter of seconds. Then as they look through the opening at the surface, they see the sky above is alternating very rapidly between light and dark phases. Not only that, but the Sun appears to be moving in one direction, from East to West, and then back from West to East. They eventually conclude that every moment that passes in the cave, entire days, months, seasons, years, and decades are passing by at the surface. As they make their way further into the cave, they enter into new ‘phase-spaces’ where the Time-decoherence becomes even more extreme.

All of that is a symbol for the process of spiritual involution (kenosis) – the Spirit becomes more and more enchanted within organic, soul, and mental processes, just as we discussed in Part I in terms of the instinctive development of individuals and humanity as a whole, and as we discussed above in terms of the nested contextual perspectives that experience temporal relativity. This collective involution can be imagined as a gradual diminishment of consciousness in a similar sense to what we experience every night when we go to sleep, except we should imagine it in the opposite direction, i.e. our dreaming and waking states are the most diminished levels. It is very uncomfortable for the intellect to admit it is near the bottom of the evolutionary ladder in terms of living insight into the experiential flow, but that confession must be made before it can begin to cognitively feel its way into what resides above it. It will never reach those higher perspectives by patching together dry and fragmented concepts, but must actively surrender to their subtle influences.

On the first ‘rung’ of this evolutionary ladder, the Spirit began as intuitively wide awake to its flow of experience, which is purely ideal and unitary; it is a flow of fiery cognitive will transforming its state without any resistance, structured by only its own lawful inherency. It projects into our current state as the implicit sense of existential orientation within the flow of experience and continual integration of memory. The perceptual flow is a direct mirror of the Spirit’s activity on this rung; it maintains perfect Self-consciousness through this perceptual flow. We can get a sense of this if we close our eyes and imagine a single moving dot that we animate. We won’t be expecting to find anything ‘behind’ the moving dot, i.e. it isn’t felt as a perceptual symbol for anything external to our activity. Rather its movement is explained completely by our inner activity. Likewise, we don’t seek anything behind the sounds of our inner voice when thinking. On the first rung, the whole Cosmos of inner meaning is experienced in the same way, as a direct unitary reflection of spiritual activity (not segmented into different ‘parts’).

All further rungs are embedded within the first one as latent potential. To approach this first rung consciously today, the spirit would have to dispense with all sensory, emotional, and mental crutches that help orient its existential flow. It would be an exceedingly terrifying experience for most people, as if losing the ground beneath one’s feet and all sense of orientation with the flow of existence. An interesting way to approach it in our imagination is to contemplate this training experiment that was conducted in the 1960s for NASA astronauts, except we should also imagine something has been administered to numb our feelings and paralyze our thoughts:

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In preparation for manned space flights, experiments were made in the United States with volunteers who underwent almost complete 'sensory deprivation'. They floated in water at blood heat, immobile, surrounded by silence, wearing goggles which admitted only a dim, diffuse light or no light at all, and soft gloves to damp out touch. Most volunteers quickly fell asleep at first.

Indeed, the first rung is normally experienced as the deepest sleep in our current state. This rung is the spiritual basis for the physical constraints on present activity (such as the force of gravity).

Then, on the second rung, the Spirit’s experience convolutes or folds in on itself such that its activity revolves through the slight resistance of ideal rhythms. These currently project into our diminished conceptual-sensory state as the rhythms of biological life which constrain our activity. That occurs within the context of the first rung of intuitively integrating spirit, just as biological processes unfold within the context of physical laws (yet the former are not reducible to the latter). On this second rung, there is still no distinction between outer or inner experience, nor is there anything similar to our current thinking or emotional experience. It is akin to the dreamless sleep experience of current day plant life with two opposing streams of sap. An ‘upward’ rhythm is experienced as integration of holistic potential, an intensifying of intuitive consciousness, and a ‘downward’ rhythm is experienced as fragmenting of holistic potential, a diminishment of consciousness. This up-down dimensionality should be understood entirely in its qualitative meaning, since quantitative spatial dimensionality as we know it only arises on the fourth rung.

With each new rung, we get exponentially more nonlinear dynamics. The activity of the previous rung is always enfolded within the new rung and the former acts as a ‘carrier wave’ for the relative perspectives unfolding their states of being within the latter. At the same time, that unfolding activity feeds back on the previous rung’s integrative process. In other words, the previous rung becomes the meaningful context in which the next rungs unfold their unique activity, as we discussed before. In this way, each new rung introduces a new level of indirection to the previous rhythms of spiritual activity. We can use the following video of three-arm pendulum dynamics to visualize the disharmony that is gradually introduced into the contextual spiritual organism, especially within the third and fourth rungs. On the third rung, the Spirit folds in on itself again and there arises an inner/outer distinction – objective intuitive relations are imaginatively reflected within a semi-enclosed space of instinctive consciousness.




Now the Spirit must learn to instinctively read the imaginative reflections to recover the meaning of spiritual activity. These reflections are still felt to be a mirror of spiritual activity existing on the ‘same side’ as that activity. They project into our conceptual-sensory state as psychic constraints. The Spirit is enchanted such that it passively experiences its existence as imaginative pushes toward pleasure (sympathy) and pulls away from pain (antipathy), which is the qualitative basis of the second left/right dimension. There is also the oscillation between surrendering to the influences of the outer environment and retreating into the inner life, which will later form the basis of the waking/sleeping cycle. In that way, the Spirit is no longer firmly rooted in one dimensionality like the plant but can also move side to side, so to speak, like the animal. It is within this rung that some significant disharmony arises between the intents of relative perspectives pursuing the integration of holistic intuition, although that is still heavily checked by natural rhythms. The average human relative perspective only has a dim and fleeting echo of this experience in its current dream life.

On the fourth rung of the evolutionary ladder, the Spirit folds on itself again and develops a conceptual life that encodes the instinctive imagistic space by reflecting the latter through a modified neurosensory system, i.e. the evolved brain (interestingly, the physical brain has developed four major convolutions or ‘lobes’ – frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital). Initially, it is as if the desire for the spirit’s imaginative reflections becomes so intense that it ‘zooms into’ the particular details, entranced by each imaginative sensation it encounters. Indeed, if we pay attention, we will notice how much of our current daily routine still consists of moving our focus from pleasurable sensation to pleasurable sensation. Eventually, this encoding of imaginative substance leads to the experience of an entirely enclosed inner space with rigid boundaries, confronting an ‘outer world’ in which the perceptions seem to refer to something other than spiritual activity; something imperceptible meeting the Spirit’s activity from the ‘other side’ of its perceptions. All the previous three rungs are projected outward into spatial dimensions and sensory qualities that have been ‘laminated’ together. For example, from the Earthly perspective of the fourth rung, the rhythms of the Moon, Sun, and planets in relation to each other and the extra-Solar stars are sensory shadows of the previous contextual rungs.

The spirit then confronts an extremely complex and flattened perceptual environment of relative perspectives with often cross-conflicting intents. We don’t need to spend much time on the scope of disharmony that is uniquely possible within the kingdom of intellectual relative perspectives. Only within this intellectual kingdom do the possibilities of mass torture and killings arise which are out of all proportion to natural rhythms of development. It can become a genocidal mix of Cosmic ignorance and Earthly passion-fueled ‘cleverness’. The oscillations of the pendulum become so volatile that the relative perspective can even come to the brink of obliterating its further development within the fourth rung. By virtue of the biological gradient and the creative conceptual life, however, the spirit can maintain some mobility within the decohered reflections and begin restoring their coherence. It is only in the conceptual life where the free-flowing intuitive Spirit of the first rung finally finds its coherent reflection again, such that it can be creative within the flow of soul life, albeit at a very dimmed down, fragmented, and isolated level to begin with.

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At first, the spirit awakens in its conceptual life to the reality of the higher contextual rungs through which it was enfolded – now confronting it as the psychic, biological, and physical constraints on its activity - and begins to appreciate there is some lawfulness to these constraints that can be investigated. That appreciation is reflected in the development of human intellectual, artistic, and religious culture, i.e. theologies, philosophies, sciences, aesthetics, etc. It may also generate new relations of thoughts through this investigation, which helps incarnate new ideas that bring new aspects of the contextual organism to light. The conceptual spirit also begins to gradually apply some ‘torque’ to the psychic constraints such that its habits, passions, desires, etc. become more pliable in response to its creative will. Yet, as we have discussed previously, the spirit on the conceptual-sensory rung meets fundamental limits when it is forced to only explore states at a snail’s pace in lockstep with sequential neural firings. Another impulse must be added such that its conceptual states can be imbued with the life and fiery will of the higher contextual perspectives and thereby realize its self-similarity and concentricity with them.

Returning to the movie metaphor, the above process is depicted as the protagonists encounter various historical segments of humanity along their journey deeper into the cave, such as Renaissance men, medieval warriors, Romans and Greeks, and so on, eventually encountering the most primitive men. In this way, all the historical segments of human evolution can be imaged 'side by side' in space. Currently, many differentiated temporal streams of human evolution exist side by side across the World, as reflected in various cultural groupings. Nevertheless, we can say most of humanity has reached the evolutionary stage of the ‘primitive man’ in terms of its relationship with the higher contextual perspectives – most of us are so primitive as to not even be aware these perspectives exist and are contextualizing our own. We are only aware of these higher perspectives in their aliased intellectual forms as ‘laws of nature’, ‘psychic mechanisms’, ‘ethical/religious norms’, and so forth. Just as the primitive men in the movie, our conceptual-sensory life on the fourth rung inhabits the cavernous space that is most temporally decohered. Compared to the blazing bright insight and superfluid transformation of the higher rungs, the intellect rubs two sticks together to get meager sparks and transforms its state as if trudging through deep snow.

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Practically, that means the spirit’s intents are so disharmonious with the intentional streamlines of the higher contextual perspectives that enormous ‘friction’ is created and it is therefore forced to transform its state ‘frame by frame’ when pursuing various aims. That intense friction with other relative perspectives is the basis of the spirit’s linear and mechanical exploration of conceptual-sensory states. It is a situation fundamentally born of spiritual ignorance – when we can’t lucidly trace the inner relations of the higher contextual spaces, we are destined to pursue our intents myopically and in conflict with many other intents. We remain unaware that there is even a choice to seek creative pathways of harmonizing our intents with those of other perspectives across the contextual layers. In normal life, sensory-biological feedback forces us to harmonize our intents with its lawful relations to a large extent, yet the psychic-mental feedback is rarely sufficient to organize our degrees of freedom of its own accord. We are increasingly left to our own devices to seek out the lawfulness of inner relations and synchronize our thinking, feeling, and will activity with its rhythms.

Yet the movie provides a very interesting turn in so far as the extreme temporal decoherence simultaneously established the basis for the characters’ redemptive salvation from the cavernous depths. Due to the differentiated Time-flow between the surface (higher spaces of potential) and the depths (mental, emotional and sensory spaces), the surface progressed so far ahead of the cavernous spaces that some portions of humanity (perhaps with the help of ‘alien intelligences’) developed new technology that could serve the ultimate rescue mission for all those relative perspectives still mired in the decohered temporal depths of the cave. In this way, the highest space of superfluid potential and the most decohered conceptual-sensory space are brought completely in-phase, as the former incarnates fully into the latter. A sacrificial image is provided which may act as a shining beacon of Hope for all those working out their salvation from within the depths. This image is revealed as both the means and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, of that Hope. It is an image that spans all of the contextual worlds and will lure our retracing efforts upward, stage by stage.


This ‘Time-ladder’ bridges the highest with the lowest such that the Spirit’s convoluted rungs may be gradually retraced from the inside-out. It is interesting to notice how the first woman to climb the ladder initially experiences the hand that reaches from above to help her as a terribly frightening experience, as if she is being threatened by an ‘alien’ who wishes to harm her. Yet once it puts the oxygen mask on her face, she realizes that it was only interested in her well-being the whole time. Human individuals are in a very similar situation today with respect to the higher contextual perspectives whose rhythms constrain and guide our spiritual activity such that the latter gains increasing opportunities to awaken into the higher spaces of potential. We instinctively meet these opportunities with hesitance, anxiety, fear, resentment, etc., precisely because we lack cognitive understanding of what exactly is being offered and why. Those who feel they harbor no fear toward approaching the spiritual are some of the most stricken by that fear.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Prov. 9:10

The higher contextual perspectives act as the Light which illuminates our lower personality and the Fire which purges its impurities. We can contemplate our uncomfortableness with hearing our own voice recorded, speaking or singing in front of other people, or how we often avoid social situations when it is anticipated that we may need to conduct our activity in slightly new ways. There are many etched layers of our psychic life that we have grown exceedingly comfortable with, and we feel very ‘weird’ and vulnerable whenever our activity deviates from these routine pathways of experience. We are then forced to see ourselves in an unfamiliar light, in ways that we are not used to. That is because we have never bothered to explore these domains of our fourth rung character with our living spiritual activity, to become more familiar and friendly with its psychic constitution, to know the latter more objectively. That is one of the first things we do on the spiritual retracing path. The imaginative explorations we are pursuing here will therefore mitigate the instinctive fear when the helping ‘hand’ reaches down to lift us up.

That offer is the greatest redemptive impulse in all of Earthly and human history, which reached right down into the depths of physical decoherence and united itself with the residual products of spiritual involution that we call ‘matter’, such that the latter could be progressively spiritualized. This impulse is synonymous with the human capacity to creatively think and cognitively retrace (unfold) the higher spaces of potential, while also imbuing that cognition with aesthetic feelings and moral will impulses. It is how the individual spirit begins intimately understanding the inner lives of other beings and, based on that understanding, freely harmonizing its intents with theirs. The spirit begins to realize that its own interests are inextricably bound up with the interests of the Whole. It is only this wisdom-filled impulse of Love that can break down the boundaries of the fourth sensory fold without also forsaking the fruits of that enfoldment, i.e. the creative individual spirit.

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As we discussed in Part III, retracing the rungs of spiritual activity requires a prayerful inverse movement from the selfish movements conditioned to our instinctive development. In the latter, we could say the movement was a form of red-shifting - our conceptual activity sought to consume and hoard the Light of fragmented intuition. The effect of this grasping movement is that we create and maintain distance between our perspective and the object of investigation, since we remain insensitive to the subtle gestures we are making with our activity in the process of investigating its content. The fully conscious retracing requires blue-shifting, in which our activity flows out with the Light of intuition – the effect is that our perspective and its object begin to coincide. We normally entertain colors, sounds, smells, tastes, speech, etc. in so far as we are interested in how they make us feel or what they mean to us, but now we must also become interested in what they reveal to us about the inner being of other relative perspectives who constellate our own, i.e. what our activity means for them. We attain that most fruitfully by uniting with the impulse of Love.

The spirit attains Love which transcends personal sensuality, emotionality, and intellectuality when it freely strives for harmony with the higher contextual perspectives out of nothing but its deepest intuitive insights. In each particular situation, it utilizes these insights to determine the best course of action for attaining its harmonic ideal. Its conceptual perspective is gradually attracted into ever-increasing resonance with the archetypal movements of the higher perspectives as if by spiritual gravitation. It becomes more and more self-similar to these higher perspectives in so far as its interests grow to encompass the relative perspectives that are shepherded by the former’s contextual activity. It can grow into greater resonance with the inner threads that weave these perspectives into a holistic organism. For that, however, the spirit should sacrificially renounce its old instinctively patched-together personality, beginning with the etched mechanical habits of its mental space.

Although many of these principles will seem abstract at first, we can gradually flesh them out by exploring their practical significance for our experiential flow. At the same time, we are also putting them into practice insofar as we renounce consumptive mental habits and seek to flow our imaginative thinking out with the Light of the intuitions thus received. In the next part, we will explore some practical ways in which the retraced imaginative state allows us to cultivate the impulse of spiritual Love and therefore be drawn further upward through the rungs of the evolutionary ladder, through increasingly universal contextual spheres of activity. Somewhat as the structure of these essays, there is no simple linear progression here but a continual rhythm of ascending movements in Wisdom and sacrificial movements in Love. At every step along the retracing path, we are working out the relative stages of the Cosmic organism’s already accomplished salvation and redemption through the Time-ladder of cognitive freedom.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
Federica
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by Federica »

A great project is taking shape through the parts of this series, Ashvin. Thanks for another insightful part!
This time, it took me some more effort to get into the ideal flow. First, I had to proceed carefully through the paragraph on the “relative perspectives” and then I got clearly stuck in the part about the four convolutions, where I have struggled with maintaining a first person perspective to gain clear understanding. Not saying that it's unclear per se, only giving my personal experience. However, this has immediately reenergized my attention: :)
We experience angelic activity as subtle ideal impulses that give us opportunities to pursue our conceptual states in one direction or another.
Here I would have very much liked an example. I believe many can relate to that. Because the Angels are the hierarchy closest to us, it feels like there could be some possibility to refine our inner sensors and somehow recognize the subtle ideal impulses you speak of, as coming from a perspective that can somehow be further characterized. For my part, I do feel sometimes that I'm at the receiving end of some subtle ideal impulses, however, besides that they are not coming from the usual workings of my intellect, there’s not much more I can say about them.

The test of this newly developed intuition is always whether it helps bring facts from the most diverse domains of our evolving flow of experience into greater harmony with one another, and at the same time, helps expand our spiritual degrees of freedom.

Here I have wondered if the test is not also provided by, for example, the progressive equalization of soul life, or more positivity in general? Further, I find your description of the sensory and thinking layers in terms of level of resistance they present us with, extremely clear and helpful. Trivial question: I notice you speak of emotional layer, rather than feeling. Is there a special nuance you intended to suggest?


Then, as I said, when you explain the rungs of the four convolutions, not everything is clear to me, it sounds abstract. I understand the described evolution as an arc, but I am not sure I grasp how that consists of convolutions. And that the new rung is said to unfold from within the context of the previous, but also that the previous is enfolded within the new, creates a specularity that is confusing to me. Moreover, the idea of the previous rung being the carrier wave for the new seems to contradict that specularity. How can Sun unfold entirely “within the context” of Saturn? Isn’t there something new in Sun that was not present in Saturn, but was injected as new ideal forms and activities in it? Here, for example, after the first rung of perfect self similarity you say:
on the second rung, the Spirit’s experience convolutes or folds in on itself such that its activity revolves through the slight resistance of ideal rhythms
I admit I don’t understand this idea other than abstractly. What would a convolution precisely mean for a purely self-similar, unitary Spirit, immediately and constantly present to itself, free from any time-differentiation? Also, the projections of the convolutions into our current experience are logical, but not grasped in first-person (in their being a such projection I mean).

For me personally there emerges an experiential gap, compared to the so far uninterrupted red thread of these essays. Or maybe there is no gap, and I am simply not getting it with enough precision. I do understand the triple pendulum, though. There, the new rungs unfold within the context of the previous, but not that the previous is enfolded in the new, and there is no convolution I can see. Another case where the connection remains obscure to me:
On the third rung, the Spirit folds in on itself again and there arises an inner/outer distinction

To repeat, the evolutionary steps make sense, in a sequence, but it’s just the quality of convolution and what it brings to the illustration that remains abstract. FInally, the concluding descriptions of our current fourth convolution gets me back to a fluid understanding, and the final focus on the Christ impulse as well.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by Federica »

Ashvin, regarding the convolutions: I see Cleric has written precisely about that, and maybe I'll be able to better understand them once I reflect on those ideas.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by AshvinP »

Federica wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 9:41 pm A great project is taking shape through the parts of this series, Ashvin. Thanks for another insightful part!
This time, it took me some more effort to get into the ideal flow. First, I had to proceed carefully through the paragraph on the “relative perspectives” and then I got clearly stuck in the part about the four convolutions, where I have struggled with maintaining a first person perspective to gain clear understanding. Not saying that it's unclear per se, only giving my personal experience. However, this has immediately reenergized my attention: :)
We experience angelic activity as subtle ideal impulses that give us opportunities to pursue our conceptual states in one direction or another.
Here I would have very much liked an example. I believe many can relate to that. Because the Angels are the hierarchy closest to us, it feels like there could be some possibility to refine our inner sensors and somehow recognize the subtle ideal impulses you speak of, as coming from a perspective that can somehow be further characterized. For my part, I do feel sometimes that I'm at the receiving end of some subtle ideal impulses, however, besides that they are not coming from the usual workings of my intellect, there’s not much more I can say about them.

Thank you Federica for the constructive feedback, as always.

That is a good point on the Angelic perspective and it could probably use an example to flesh out further. In a certain sense, whenever we move our spirit through the memory-anticipatory structure to fashion ideas about our experiential flow and work out creative solutions to problems, we work this higher perspective. I gave a somewhat trivial example of this previously (and I was planning to use a similar example in a subsequent part):

Let's say we are preparing our plans for the evening, perhaps we desire to meet a friend for dinner. So now we begin structuring our day such that our desired evening state can also come to fruition - we need to call the friend and set the meeting, get a reservation, get our studies/work done, do some errands, plan our meals, plan what to wear, and so on, such that the evening dinner appointment is met and enjoyed properly. In the sense of the IK metaphor, we can say our imagination is already placed at our desired state and then attracts our current state of being, i.e. transforms it through certain intermediate states that will culminate in the desired state. We are establishing a state of resonance such that the relevant ‘equations’ are solved in the opposite direction, i.e. certain ideas, insights, feelings, and actions can flow into our current state that gradually make it coincide with the desired state.

I discuss the IK metaphor previous to this. From our human perspective, this whole imaginative arc is explored sequentially through conceptual-sensory states, but from the Angelic perspective, it is a curvature of imaginative potential that they support with their spiritual activity, just as we support the linear conceptual states. Their activity does not completely determine whether we will meet the friend, since there will be other imaginative curvatures attracting our state and our spirit has some degrees of freedom to choose between them (and of course, there are much deeper factors that could derail our plans without our participation). Nevertheless, the Angelic activity can act as a strong impulse that attracts our conceptual-sensory states into certain paths of mental, emotional, or even bodily experience. We can also imagine some obstacle comes up along the way to meeting our friend, like bad weather, and this feeds back so the Angelic impulse is modified such that new creative insights flow in to help us navigate that obstacle.

Federica wrote:
The test of this newly developed intuition is always whether it helps bring facts from the most diverse domains of our evolving flow of experience into greater harmony with one another, and at the same time, helps expand our spiritual degrees of freedom.

Here I have wondered if the test is not also provided by, for example, the progressive equalization of soul life, or more positivity in general? Further, I find your description of the sensory and thinking layers in terms of level of resistance they present us with, extremely clear and helpful. Trivial question: I notice you speak of emotional layer, rather than feeling. Is there a special nuance you intended to suggest?

I would not mention the equalization or positivity as part of the test of intuition because that can become misleading. There are many faulty intuitions, which are usually incomplete intuitions mistaken for complete ones by the intellect, that give a sense of positivity or even profound oneness with reality, as we have seen here. We are only safe if we test our newly developing intuition against the harmony of phenomenal facts of experience in a thoroughly logical way (which doesn't mean dry and discursive, of course). We should involve our feelings only insofar as they give life to our logical reasoning and motivation to pursue the threads of phenomenal facts further and further when orienting our intuition.

Of course, the equalization and positivity should certainly be effects of our growing intuition and expanding degrees of imaginative freedom, but it shouldn't be the primary arbiter of whether we are headed in the right direction with our intuitive orientation. In reality, there aren't such neat boundaries between greater harmony of phenomenal facts via spiritual intuition and the practical consequences for our soul life. The former should always feed into the latter. So we can say that, if we only experience greater intellectual harmony but it doesn't feed into practical ways of self-transformation, then we are likely holding it all too abstractly.

There was no particular reasoning for using "emotional" instead of "feeling". I guess it provides a little more specificity for the intellect to anchor to, whereas feelings remain quite broad and sometimes people even confuse thoughts/ideas for 'feelings', like "I just feel those facts make sense".

Federica wrote:Then, as I said, when you explain the rungs of the four convolutions, not everything is clear to me, it sounds abstract. I understand the described evolution as an arc, but I am not sure I grasp how that consists of convolutions. And that the new rung is said to unfold from within the context of the previous, but also that the previous is enfolded within the new, creates a specularity that is confusing to me. Moreover, the idea of the previous rung being the carrier wave for the new seems to contradict that specularity. How can Sun unfold entirely “within the context” of Saturn? Isn’t there something new in Sun that was not present in Saturn, but was injected as new ideal forms and activities in it? Here, for example, after the first rung of perfect self similarity you say:
on the second rung, the Spirit’s experience convolutes or folds in on itself such that its activity revolves through the slight resistance of ideal rhythms
I admit I don’t understand this idea other than abstractly. What would a convolution precisely mean for a purely self-similar, unitary Spirit, immediately and constantly present to itself, free from any time-differentiation? Also, the projections of the convolutions into our current experience are logical, but not grasped in first-person (in their being a such projection I mean).

For me personally there emerges an experiential gap, compared to the so far uninterrupted red thread of these essays. Or maybe there is no gap, and I am simply not getting it with enough precision. I do understand the triple pendulum, though. There, the new rungs unfold within the context of the previous, but not that the previous is enfolded in the new, and there is no convolution I can see. Another case where the connection remains obscure to me:
On the third rung, the Spirit folds in on itself again and there arises an inner/outer distinction

To repeat, the evolutionary steps make sense, in a sequence, but it’s just the quality of convolution and what it brings to the illustration that remains abstract. Finally, the concluding descriptions of our current fourth convolution gets me back to a fluid understanding, and the final focus on the Christ impulse as well.

Yeah, I was going to point to Cleric's last post and ask if that clarifies anything. I wasn't planning on discussing the first and second rungs much, which we retrace with higher inspiration and intuition, because that is still quite remote for me as well. Even the imaginative states are not super clear for me and I am spending more time on discussing that than I anticipated. It is definitely to be expected that the first two rungs will seem quite abstract while we can relate more with the 3rd and 4th, since that's when the distinction between inner/outer experience arises and sensory-like qualities.

With that said, I am sure there are ways for me to make it more clear without directly copying and pasting Cleric :) In general, it helps to remember the flow of experience becomes more simplified in the higher rungs. That's why I included the moving dot example - it's simply the flow of spiritual activity imploding into memory states of a unitary perceptual symbol that perfectly reflects our activity. Except at the highest stage, the unitary perceptual symbol is what we from the 4th rung experience as our whole temporally extended evolutionary context.

The previous is enfolded into the new in the same sense that we bring our entire karmic destiny with us into each new incarnation. Steiner also speaks of this in terms of each new incarnational cycle recapitulating the previous stages before something new is added. All of these recapitulations provide the overarching context in which the new qualities and capacities unfold. It is uniquely in the 4th convolution (4th aeon/round/globe etc.) that the new capacity added is able to begin retracing back into the overarching context.
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To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by Anthony66 »

I discuss the IK metaphor previous to this.
Do we finally have definitive evidence that Ashvin=Cleric, something many of us have suspected? The linked post belongs to Cleric.

I have been thinking that Ashvin's posts and essays have increasing evidenced a familiarity with scientific/mathematical thought and language, quite at odds with a legal background.

Is this a big deal if indeed it is the case? Yes and no. It would be disappointing if much of the great content of this site was the product of a single mind, rather than that arrived at separately by multiple individuals.
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by AshvinP »

Anthony66 wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 2:45 pm
I discuss the IK metaphor previous to this.
Do we finally have definitive evidence that Ashvin=Cleric, something many of us have suspected? The linked post belongs to Cleric.

I have been thinking that Ashvin's posts and essays have increasing evidenced a familiarity with scientific/mathematical thought and language, quite at odds with a legal background.

Is this a big deal if indeed it is the case? Yes and no. It would be disappointing if much of the great content of this site was the product of a single mind, rather than that arrived at separately by multiple individuals.

Anthony... :D

The sentence you quoted means, "I use Cleric's IK metaphor in the part of the essay I already wrote that is previous to the part I quoted" to Federica. Yes, we are different perspectives exploring the same underlying intuition of spiritual existence and evolution, and anyone on this forum can do the same thing with enough patience and effort, building off the previous thinkers but also contributing their own unique angles.

Seriously, we can use these sorts of conclusions as valuable feedback for the areas of inner sensitivity that we need to work on. The only ones who have suspected we are the same person are those who have not worked enough on that inner sensitivity to the soul life that is expressed through the outer glyphs. They can't sense the depth through which one perspective expresses versus another because their own soul experience has not been delaminated enough. On the other hand, I am sure Federica would never make that conflation because it is quite obvious to her that Cleric is expressing from a greater intuitive depth and from a unique perspective on that depth (also she is more sensitive to the linguistic differences which is something imaginative development can attain as well). That is solely because of the work that she has put in, not stopping at the most superficial conclusions from the outer glyphs. My marginally increased familiarity with scientific/mathematical thought is likewise due to the work that I have put in to delaminate and reach the deeper imaginative layers from which all modern thinking, scientific, legal, or otherwise, precipitates, while also exposing myself to a broader range of ideal content than I am normally comfortable with.

It is a similar thing going on with your disconnect between the outer forms of religious tradition (particularly Christianity) and the esoteric depth that makes sense of those outer forms in a temporally extended, evolutionary way. We have to take these disconnects not as reflections of some objective discontinuity that exists, which we have now encapsulated in a rigid conclusion that molds our thinking flow, but as testimonies to the inner work that we need to engage to gradually bridge the disconnect.

With that said, I am wondering if you have been following the essays and have any observations, thoughts, feedback, or questions about the principles explored?
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by AshvinP »

Federica wrote: Sun May 26, 2024 9:41 pm Then, as I said, when you explain the rungs of the four convolutions, not everything is clear to me, it sounds abstract. I understand the described evolution as an arc, but I am not sure I grasp how that consists of convolutions. And that the new rung is said to unfold from within the context of the previous, but also that the previous is enfolded within the new, creates a specularity that is confusing to me. Moreover, the idea of the previous rung being the carrier wave for the new seems to contradict that specularity. How can Sun unfold entirely “within the context” of Saturn? Isn’t there something new in Sun that was not present in Saturn, but was injected as new ideal forms and activities in it? Here, for example, after the first rung of perfect self similarity you say:
on the second rung, the Spirit’s experience convolutes or folds in on itself such that its activity revolves through the slight resistance of ideal rhythms
I admit I don’t understand this idea other than abstractly. What would a convolution precisely mean for a purely self-similar, unitary Spirit, immediately and constantly present to itself, free from any time-differentiation? Also, the projections of the convolutions into our current experience are logical, but not grasped in first-person (in their being a such projection I mean).

For me personally there emerges an experiential gap, compared to the so far uninterrupted red thread of these essays. Or maybe there is no gap, and I am simply not getting it with enough precision. I do understand the triple pendulum, though. There, the new rungs unfold within the context of the previous, but not that the previous is enfolded in the new, and there is no convolution I can see. Another case where the connection remains obscure to me:
On the third rung, the Spirit folds in on itself again and there arises an inner/outer distinction

To repeat, the evolutionary steps make sense, in a sequence, but it’s just the quality of convolution and what it brings to the illustration that remains abstract. FInally, the concluding descriptions of our current fourth convolution gets me back to a fluid understanding, and the final focus on the Christ impulse as well.

I wanted to add, on this image of 'convolutions', we could make a comparison with the major 'lobes' of the brain with their convolutions, which I briefly referenced in the essay. The functions of these may not be exact correspondences with the 'rungs' or aeons, but nevertheless, I think it gives a helpful visual image of how layers of spiritual activity gets enfolded one within the other and, by the fourth rung, these layers are all merged and flattened together in complicated ways. (it is the same principle as elucidated with the cake metaphor that you referenced from Segall recently or the sock metaphor used by Cleric).


Image


On the 'carrier wave' idea, we can think about the physical, biological, and emotional spaces the spirit instinctively develops through before fully awakening to itself as a thinking agency, clearly experiencing itself in the reflection of thoughts. These spaces are reflections of the spiritual rungs, impressed by higher-order spiritual activity (intuition, inspiration, imagination). It is pretty clear how these spaces serve as the overarching context in which our daily thoughts unfold. The capacity to reflect thoughts and the sort of thoughts we can reflect are entirely dependent on the healthy structure of the brain. Disturbances in the life processes can greatly influence the harmony of soul life. If we are swamped in negative emotions, our thoughts will keep iterating over those. It is in that sense the previous rungs which are convoluted or enfolded serve as the carrier waves for the next ones, and they all now form the carrier context for our conceptual activity within the fourth rung.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by Anthony66 »

AshvinP wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 3:28 pm
Anthony66 wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 2:45 pm
I discuss the IK metaphor previous to this.
Do we finally have definitive evidence that Ashvin=Cleric, something many of us have suspected? The linked post belongs to Cleric.

I have been thinking that Ashvin's posts and essays have increasing evidenced a familiarity with scientific/mathematical thought and language, quite at odds with a legal background.

Is this a big deal if indeed it is the case? Yes and no. It would be disappointing if much of the great content of this site was the product of a single mind, rather than that arrived at separately by multiple individuals.

Anthony... :D

The sentence you quoted means, "I use Cleric's IK metaphor in the part of the essay I already wrote that is previous to the part I quoted" to Federica. Yes, we are different perspectives exploring the same underlying intuition of spiritual existence and evolution, and anyone on this forum can do the same thing with enough patience and effort, building off the previous thinkers but also contributing their own unique angles.

Seriously, we can use these sorts of conclusions as valuable feedback for the areas of inner sensitivity that we need to work on. The only ones who have suspected we are the same person are those who have not worked enough on that inner sensitivity to the soul life that is expressed through the outer glyphs. They can't sense the depth through which one perspective expresses versus another because their own soul experience has not been delaminated enough. On the other hand, I am sure Federica would never make that conflation because it is quite obvious to her that Cleric is expressing from a greater intuitive depth and from a unique perspective on that depth (also she is more sensitive to the linguistic differences which is something imaginative development can attain as well). That is solely because of the work that she has put in, not stopping at the most superficial conclusions from the outer glyphs. My marginally increased familiarity with scientific/mathematical thought is likewise due to the work that I have put in to delaminate and reach the deeper imaginative layers from which all modern thinking, scientific, legal, or otherwise, precipitates, while also exposing myself to a broader range of ideal content than I am normally comfortable with.

It is a similar thing going on with your disconnect between the outer forms of religious tradition (particularly Christianity) and the esoteric depth that makes sense of those outer forms in a temporally extended, evolutionary way. We have to take these disconnects not as reflections of some objective discontinuity that exists, which we have now encapsulated in a rigid conclusion that molds our thinking flow, but as testimonies to the inner work that we need to engage to gradually bridge the disconnect.

With that said, I am wondering if you have been following the essays and have any observations, thoughts, feedback, or questions about the principles explored?
Ashvin,

I'm not sure where you've previously used Cleric's IK metaphor. It's not important though. I'll return back to my 30% likelihood of Cleric=Ashvin :lol:

Yes, one can identify a unique depth and insight in Cleric's writings. He is also less likely to make sweeping statements about other people's inner states and spiritual development. He has a respectful manner - "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

With that said, I spent some time last Saturday pondering one of Cleric's latest posts at:
viewtopic.php?p=24783#p24783
and a few lights turned on in me where I finally grokked what is being talking about regarding concentration, hysteresis, the immediacy of thinking, and freedom. That has propelled my meditation over the last few nights and I feel like I now have a keener sense of what I'm trying to achieve. As I generate various mental images, I have a greater awareness of how I'm losing control of their form and how I have to strengthen my thinking to maintain synchronization between gesture and form. The feedback I get from the "distorted images" is guiding me in powerful ways.

This has flowed through to better understanding much of what is being spoken of here. I read through your latest essay and I broadly understood what was being spoken of. I have to admit that I found some sections of your previous essays impenetrable. I must go back and have another read now.
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by AshvinP »

Anthony66 wrote: Tue May 28, 2024 4:28 pm Ashvin,

I'm not sure where you've previously used Cleric's IK metaphor. It's not important though. I'll return back to my 30% likelihood of Cleric=Ashvin :lol:

Yes, one can identify a unique depth and insight in Cleric's writings. He is also less likely to make sweeping statements about other people's inner states and spiritual development. He has a respectful manner - "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

I agree with that, Anthony. I doubt Cleric would ever suggest someone had the pathological inner state of pretending to be two different people interacting with one another on the same forum, referring and quoting themselves, etc. for years on end :) I think his first comment on an essay would rather speak to the substance of the topic being discussed. And it's not that I was personally offended by your comment, but I feel more offended on behalf of Cleric when his unique depth is even made 30% identical to mine :)

Just to be clear, I was not trying to make any sweeping statements about your inner development. Reaching for superficial conclusions from the facts, and not thinking them through enough, is a thinking habit we all share in the modern age and it is a stubborn one to shake. That was a main discussion point of my Part II essay, which obviously wasn't directed at any particular person but is such a central aspect of spiritual development that it needed to be addressed. These are exactly the etched mental molds that we should struggle to remain conscious of at all times and gradually liberate our spiritual activity from. Meditation/prayer will help make us more sensitive to these inner habits, yet we will still need to put in the personal effort to resist them during daily intellectual life.

With that said, I spent some time last Saturday pondering one of Cleric's latest posts at:
viewtopic.php?p=24783#p24783
and a few lights turned on in me where I finally grokked what is being talking about regarding concentration, hysteresis, the immediacy of thinking, and freedom. That has propelled my meditation over the last few nights and I feel like I now have a keener sense of what I'm trying to achieve. As I generate various mental images, I have a greater awareness of how I'm losing control of their form and how I have to strengthen my thinking to maintain synchronization between gesture and form. The feedback I get from the "distorted images" is guiding me in powerful ways.

This has flowed through to better understanding much of what is being spoken of here. I read through your latest essay and I broadly understood what was being spoken of. I have to admit that I found some sections of your previous essays impenetrable. I must go back and have another read now.

That's great! That was a very helpful post for me as well. It always helps to revisit these posts over and over, and approach from as many angles as possible the unfamiliar intuitions of what spiritual reality is, what our role in it is, what we are trying to attain through our efforts, etc.

I'm glad the meditation sessions are bearing more fruit for you. Concentration is an art in itself and our whole soul context becomes important in cultivating and perfecting it. Even if we attain great insight into the flow of spiritual existence, our meditative efforts can remain stunted until we purify our inner atmosphere and strengthen our willpower.

I look forward to any comments, questions, or feedback you may have from the essays.
"A secret law contrives,
To give time symmetry:
There is, within our lives,
An exact mystery."
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Re: Essay: Retracing Spiritual Activity (Part V)

Post by Federica »

AshvinP wrote: Tue May 28, 2024 1:09 pm I wanted to add, on this image of 'convolutions', we could make a comparison with the major 'lobes' of the brain with their convolutions, which I briefly referenced in the essay. The functions of these may not be exact correspondences with the 'rungs' or aeons, but nevertheless, I think it gives a helpful visual image of how layers of spiritual activity gets enfolded one within the other and, by the fourth rung, these layers are all merged and flattened together in complicated ways. (it is the same principle as elucidated with the cake metaphor that you referenced from Segall recently or the sock metaphor used by Cleric).


Image


On the 'carrier wave' idea, we can think about the physical, biological, and emotional spaces the spirit instinctively develops through before fully awakening to itself as a thinking agency, clearly experiencing itself in the reflection of thoughts. These spaces are reflections of the spiritual rungs, impressed by higher-order spiritual activity (intuition, inspiration, imagination). It is pretty clear how these spaces serve as the overarching context in which our daily thoughts unfold. The capacity to reflect thoughts and the sort of thoughts we can reflect are entirely dependent on the healthy structure of the brain. Disturbances in the life processes can greatly influence the harmony of soul life. If we are swamped in negative emotions, our thoughts will keep iterating over those. It is in that sense the previous rungs which are convoluted or enfolded serve as the carrier waves for the next ones, and they all now form the carrier context for our conceptual activity within the fourth rung.

Thanks, Ashvin, for this and the previous additions. I guess there's not much more you can do to make it even clearer, now it's up to me to keep working with these ideas. About the brain lobes mentioned in the essay, I actually had a 'critical' comment that I finally didn't include in my post, since I haven't clarified my thoughts well enough to support what I tentatively mean. But basically I believe the brain lobes are not four - other than in rather arbitrary anatomical classifications (yes I know the functions differ to some extent but...) and I also doubt about the metaphorical power of the brain convolutions to reflect the four planetary incarnations or convolutions. At this point I feel more like they reflect the level of extreme complication of our flow of becoming. However, as I said, I don't take these as conclusive thoughts. It's only a gross approaching thought to an area of inquiry that, I'm sure, can be experienced in infinitely bigger depth. Another initial thought that perhaps is an alternative entry point to make sense of the brain is the slight disgust (I don't know if it's only me) that is felt for these brain convolutions - that actually look similar to the convolutions in the bowels - a discomfort that we don't have for the central organs of the body: the heart, the lungs, the stomach, from which the moving and acting power of the limbs is felt to take its origin, also. There's a feeling of bigger proximity, I would say, to the region of the heart - and to the face, which expresses these core organs. But the brain is more like we know it must be there, but don't want to have too intimate of an experience of its inside. It's too strange :)
Anyway, I'm digressing. Next thing I'll do is to go back to the last posts from Cleric.
"As much or as little as healthy thinking has to do with the body, just so much and so little have the activities of a genuine training for supersensible knowledge. Any kind of training that affects man in a different way is no true spiritual training, but a caricature of it."
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