Mod+ 242. OLIVER HOCKENHULL, NEURONS TO NIRVANA

Much of the Sufi tradition is taken from the vedic tradition and in turn the soma tradition.
Some vedics have said that the wine of the sufis was in fact soma.

Islamic mysticism? Really? I suppose spinning in circles for hours and sticking daggers in your skull is a legitimate spiritual practise?

Yes do some research, I do encourage that. But you have not researched it Michael and as I said in the beggining have no basis for an opinion.
 
All the pictures are saying, LS, is that there's been a long historical fascination with psychedelics, and I do not doubt that shamanic traditions, religions and cults have grown up around their use, or that once authentic traditions have degenerated in that direction. Again, so what?
 
Much of the Sufi tradition is taken from the vedic tradition and in turn the soma tradition.
Some vedics have said that the wine of the sufis was in fact soma.

Islamic mysticism? Really? I suppose spinning in circles for hours and sticking daggers in your skull is a legitimate spiritual practise?

Yes do some research, I do encourage that. But you have not researched it Michael and as I said in the beggining have no basis for an opinion.
The soma tradition is a degenerate one. Sufism isn't taken from the vedic tradition. In Islamic garb, it's but one of many forms of the one thing, and it hasn't always been called Sufism (many present-day Islamic schools have completely degenerated and lost their baraka or power).

The essence of Sufism, which has gone under many names and none, antedated Islam by millennia, and probably Vedanta too. All forms eventually degenerate and must periodically be adjusted to suit time, place and people if they are to be revived. Finding and joining degenerate schools is really easy. Finding authentic ones is very hard, because they go out of their way to discourage sensation-seekers. Sufism can be formulated in many ways and sit within any external religious framework, be it Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. These days, an authentic school may not have a link with any of the well-known religions, since religion, particularly in the West, is on the wane.

As to my not doing research, I spent decades doing it in the days before the Internet. I particularly recommend the works of Idries Shah, all of which I have read more than once. They will help people see the relationship between religion/cults and spirituality, and help distinguish between the inner and the outer, as well as between sincerity and sensation-seeking. We have to be taught such things because we have a naive view of spirituality and aren't properly educated in such matters.
 
All the pictures are saying, LS, is that there's been a long historical fascination with psychedelics, and I do not doubt that shamanic traditions, religions and cults have grown up around their use, or that once authentic traditions have degenerated in that direction. Again, so what?
Sorry you can't see the point. You got your blinders on, oh it says much more than that. There is a common thread at the source of all religions. And it is the entheogenic experience. You have belittled the indigenous cultures, implying that modern spiritual leaders and there bullshit dogmas are somehow superior. That the men and woman who are intimately connected with nature are wrong and are not true spiritual teachers for some reason. When in fact all traditions evolved from exactly the same types of ancient customs that are still practised today. It is laughable, the true shamans would be the most authentic spiritual leaders of all because they live and breathe it, and understand there place in the scheme of nature. And you say they are not enviromentally conscious. Sorry mate that is just idiotic to the extreme. Modern religions are far removed from nature, cut off and blinded by the poison of western civilization. They are totally useless.

It is the authentic traditions that have degenerated into the empty shells of religion today. Entheogens offer personal spiritual discovery without all the crap of organised religion. Which seems to offer nothing but division and intolerance and no real spiritual growth at all. It is a return to the true roots of the past.

Seeing the beauty in simple things and appreciation of what is really important is one of the key results to using entheogens. This is undeniable. So your talk of daily little spiritual experiences is a good point. One that is a well known result of an entheogenic spiritual experience. But you would not know so please stop imposing your guesses. You have no clue at all.
 
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There is disagreement among religious scholars and Sufis themselves about the origins of Sufism. The traditional view is that Sufism is the mystical school of Islam and had its beginnings in the first centuries following the life of the Prophet Mohammad. Indeed, most Sufis in the world today are Muslim and many of them would consider a non-Islamic Sufism impossible.

There is another view, however, that traces the pre-Islamic roots of Sufism back through the early Christian mystics of Syria and Egypt, to the Essenes, the ancient Pythagorean orders, and the mystery schools of the Egyptians and Zoroastrians, among others. It is these roots that gathered into the trunk known as Islamic Sufism.
http://sufiway.org/about-us/the-origins-of-sufism

From the book Soma and the origins of Western Magic.

"In the islamic sufi traditions the rg vedic anthropos idea has had a profound impact. The idea of a man of light or "imam" within is described as a pillar of light and the foundation of the universe. The imam as a cosmic pillar of light is directly associated with the pole star and the sun. In the sufi tradition the imam is located as the divine light within the heart.

Originally all of this came from the soma ceremony, but much of it was dispensed through other cultures through the earliest Upanisads.
Although the imam ideas have zoroastrian correlations, the majority of ideas making up the imam concepts are derived from Indian sources."
 
The soma tradition is a degenerate one.
You can't make that claim Michael. The Soma tradition extends into pre history.

A bit more on sufism.

"Part of the reason for cannabis' eventual prohibition in some Moslem countries had to do with the drug's association with certain heretical sects that existed on the fringes of Islam. The Sufis were one such group ? they originated in the 8th century and are referred to by cannabis historian Ernest Abel as "the hippies of the Arab world." The Sufis used hashish, along with wine and coffee, to stimulate mystical consciousness and appreciation of the nature of Allah.

(The Sufis are actually considered to be the inventors of the drink coffee, which they would consume in potent brews that enabled them to stay up for hours singing and chanting. An Arabic story records how a wandering Sufi revealed the drink's preparation to a Moslem woman, brewing a pot over his hash-filled hookah.)"

http://www.cannabisculture.com/articles/1883.html

I don't know much about sufism, but it does not take much to see there are contradictions in what you are saying. I can dig the use of cannabis of course. They even sought to disolve the ego. There is of course one certain way to do that what difference does it make how you do it?

Oh and some sects also endorsed pedophelia as a way to Allah.

Ah yeah, I will stick with my spirit plants thanks. Screwing little boys is not my idea of a spiritual excercise.

We have to be taught such things because we have a naive view of spirituality and aren't properly educated in such matters.
Do we? Who does the teaching? Who knows best? Which religious leaders will you call upon? Which books tell the truth? Which institutions?

Entheogens bypass all that crap and go directly to the experience. You do not need anyone to teach spirituality, we are already spirits. The knowledge is within not in any church, book or doctrine.
 
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S

Sciborg_S_Patel

I think trying to track down what is an authentic spiritual experience from the outside is impossible. Some people have used tantra or sex magick to have what they would claim is a spiritual experience, meanwhile others have chosen austerity. Seems to come down to personal belief and cultural artifacts about the "right way" to contact the Numinous.

Now without putting value on whether the experience is "spiritual", if we're talking about what experiences seem like possible contact with external realities I'd go with the psychedelics. They resemble the UFO abductions and even Fairy mythology, and there's some commonality across the globe in what gets experienced.

Does any other claim of spiritual contact have that kind of corroboration with other paranormal experience claims? Are these experiences more closely aligned the NDE reports?
 
"In the mystic poetry of all spiritual traditions we hear about a state of divine inebriation. This wine is drunk not from the mouth but in the hearts :
hrtsu peetaasah…
The wine of the Sufi mystic is well known. When Omar Khayyam sings of the wine of dawn he extols the intoxication of enlightenment. In the Vedic lore it is the soma juice that plays the same part.
mada-chyut…somo gauree adhi-shritah…RV. 9.12.3
Dripping the intoxication, soma resorts in the divine feminine.

This is not the inebriation that renders a mind crazy but that makes us masters of the mind.
eSha…vishva-vin manasas-patih…RV. 9.28.1
This soma finds the world, knows the world;
It is the lord of the mind.

It is no longer an enslaved mind, for, soma has rendered it free. Thus this soma is the one that moves with the subtlest intuitive wisdom, sends forth inspired speech, guards the Perennial Poem and with the same Perennial Contemplation, races in diverse ways to the luminous heaven:

http://www.swamivedablog.org/soma-foreword-2/
 
I think trying to track down what is an authentic spiritual experience from the outside is impossible.
Exactly! As I said earlier, you can meditate in a cave for twenty years, spend a lifetime pouring over ancient texts and still acheive nothing. Entheogens allow anyone the actual experience. Not empty words from a preacher or spiritual leader, but something tangible in the form of actual experience. A eucharist that actually delivers. It will be a personal revelation yours and yours alone.

We know what Michael thinks of the extraordinary DMT flash and coming face to face with disembodied entities... So what?

What a joke.
 
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So: it's an extraordinary experience like no other. So what? What's having extraordinary experiences got to do with it? Sensation-seeking isn't the same thing as seeking after truth; it's actually missing the point. Real spiritual experience, IMO, can often be extremely subtle and easily missed if one isn't being attentive. There are numerous opportunities in the course of living an ordinary life to have spiritual experiences. Seeking fireworks threatens to rob one of the necessary discernment to experience them.
Firstly Michael that post was about the similarities and differences between NDE and DMT. To which I am least partially able to comment on. You have no basis. An extraordinary experience is an understatement and it was not relating to spirituality but the extremes of consciousness. Again you have no idea. None of your sufism or other techniques you won't tell us about could ever come close.

You are putting words in my mouth, it is not about seeking fireworks. And rather than rob someone of the discernment to appreciate the little things the exact opposite is true. After the experience the apreciation of the little things are magnified to the extreme. You are completely wrong yet again.
 
Thanks to everybody for corroborating what I had said ages ago without all the verbiage; taking drugs can get you stoned. Being stoned is sort of like religion, it can mean anything you say it means. I tried an experiment on it and it worked too! I sat on my porch and drank some of my delicious homemade Malbec wine and pretended I was communing with my favorite god, Dionysus(the one those vulgar Romans call Bacchus), and it worked!
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

Thanks to everybody for corroborating what I had said ages ago without all the verbiage; taking drugs can get you stoned. Being stoned is sort of like religion, it can mean anything you say it means. I tried an experiment on it and it worked too! I sat on my porch and drank some of my delicious homemade Malbec wine and pretended I was communing with my favorite god, Dionysus(the one those vulgar Romans call Bacchus), and it worked!
Using strawman arguments doesn't help the materialist case, though your utilizing shaming tactics displays the desperation of the materialist evangelist to seem intellectually superior by using disbelief as proof.

But I suspect you'll be banned soon, and use that to fuel your mythology that it was because your ideas were so cutting. Trolls of all stripes use that kind of thinking when they are rejected from a space

At least you've demonstrated the nature of the materialist evangelical attempting to use societies prejudice against the paranormal as part of a shaming strategy lacking in refutation of the actual evidence.
 
Sounds like you're not disputing my position; taking drugs can get you stoned. I'm agreeing with all the above.
BTW, what could possibly be your objection to MY personal anecdote about altered consciousness, you seem to accept other people's?

And I have been banned 2 times already. Once for not doing enough research, when I was just challenging somebody else on THEIR research. I guess he didn't like to be help accountable.
The second time was for mentioning the name of a tennis player. But they didn't make it clear if the names of just tennis players was censored, or all sports players, or what. Yet I see names of people mentioned all the time. So what is the censorship policy?

Maybe I can get you to answer this question, since nobody else ever does. You also use the word, and as a complain, ''materialist'. I keep asking if that means that you guys don't accept what is usually called 'matter', but they never answer. How about you, for example, do you accept the periodic table of elements as real, /true?
 
Loneshaman above gives the best description of my own experiences as a devotee of Dionysus, when he says;
"In the mystic poetry of all spiritual traditions we hear about a state of divine inebriation. This wine is drunk not from the mouth but in the hearts :
hrtsu peetaasah…" So my anecdote can be added to all those similar ones, for those of you who accept anecdotes as evidence.
 
C

chuck.drake

I want to start out by saying that I agree with Michael in that true spiritual growth can be a tricky business. The ego can have a million fingers, all in disguise it seems. There are traps and pitfalls and blind alleys that even very realized folks can wander into, lost for months or years until someone more experienced throws them a rope. But the beginner doesn't need to worry about those things. The beginner needs to sit on the cushion and see for the first time and watch their breath.


I think in some ways we may have talked past each other due to some misunderstandings. I think Michael is approaching the subject from a very classical angle. Anyone who has even dipped a toe into buddhist doctrine, for example, soon realizes that these school have mapped the territory. There is not any real question to one who has a conceptual understanding of the nature of enlightenment (as much as that is even possible) that many groups have mapped the way to the same place. There might be differences in opinion for example between non-dualists and dualists, but it is clear that full and complete self-realization or enlightenment is not only possible, but that living examples walk among us today. It is real.


But very few people among us are even entertaining the notion of attaining absolute self-realization in this lifetime as defined by the classical schools that are referenced by Michael in the posts above. I think that one can be on the path but have no real interest in attaining enlightenment in this current lifetime. I have not seen the film, Neurons to Nirvana. If the film suggests that taking any substance will instantly transform a person into a fully realized enlightened being as defined by the classical schools, then I think the film is baloney.


But to say any activity is outside the scope of being potentially genuinely spiritually effective is a grave error I think. By Michaels definition an activity that is spiritually effective is nothing extraordinary. It is an activity that opens the heart, however slightly.


My own experiences with psychedelics were brief, though positive, and happened almost three decades ago. After those few experiences I understood, however imperfectly, but on a level that was beyond the intellectual or conceptual, that physical matter is not what it seems and that at an emergent level, at the core of all that is, everything is interconnected. For some stretch of time my being existed free of ego coexistent with Source. And then I returned to my body and my ego. I have not spent my lifetime craving to return to those experiences or seeking out stronger doses of psychedelics in order to attempt to recreate or deepen those experiences. But those experiences put me on the path. For better or for worse, I am on the path. Do I struggle on the path as a lay person with no physical teacher and without even a sangha. Yes. Do I expect to attain full self-realization in the classical sense within this lifetime? Please. No way. I'm too lazy. But I have made real strides toward knowing. I've learned much about equanimity, about loving, about the nature of mind and ego. After 30 years on the path, I am still a beginner and I'm not ashamed.


Michael’s appeal to doctrine is narrow minded and laughable. I would gladly wipe my bottom on the paper doctrine of the International Order of the Sufis and I think that Nasreddin would have a chuckle and understand exactly where I was coming from. That is only paper and paper is made for wiping bottoms. I have actually taken psychedelics. I know what the experience was for me. I don't need the International Order of the Sufis to tell me what is and what is not a genuine spiritual experience. I have my own spirit! I may be stupid from here to Sunday, but I have enough awareness to understand some very basic things about the nature of my own spirit, mind and ego.


No one should be telling anyone else to go out and take psychedelics on a whim. They are powerful beyond the comprehension of the ordinary mind. They are serious tools that can open a window on reality that cannot be closed again. I personally doubt the ability for many people to adequately process the import and meaning of these deeply disruptive experiences. But there are in fact many who are ready. And there are many who are hungry. There are many paths on this earth. There are many paths that are not defined by the classical schools. Condemnation of things unknown in favor of doctrine and utter disdain for the gestalt of ancient cultures belies small-mindedness and ignorance that is surprising. That seems a little crabbed world. I'll take the alternative thanks--in a to-go cup!
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Sounds like you're not disputing my position; taking drugs can get you stoned. I'm agreeing with all the above.
BTW, what could possibly be your objection to MY personal anecdote about altered consciousness, you seem to accept other people's?

Maybe I can get you to answer this question, since nobody else ever does. You also use the word, and as a complain, ''materialist'. I keep asking if that means that you guys don't accept what is usually called 'matter', but they never answer. How about you, for example, do you accept the periodic table of elements as real, /true?
Your anecdote is for an unrelated substance that isn't even a psychedelic. As for accepting anything as true I've actually said repeatedly that parapsychology has produce evidence that has justified continued research at the academic and personal level but has no definitive smoking guns.

But there is a lot of interesting evidence that compares psychedelic experiences with other reported phenomenon that deals with paranormal encounters. I look at it in the same way I do possession.

As for what the signifier materialist points to, I'd say it's really more about a separation of the Phenomenal and the Physical, and holding to the idea that Physical -> Phenomenal. The alternatives are Panpsychism (Physical & Phenomenal are both part of reality's firmament), Idealism (Phenomenal -> Physical), and Neutral Monism (Fundamental Substance -> Physical & Phenomenal).

Relating this back to the topic (I'm putting in links to show I'm not just sitting around making this stuff up as a I go along):

Materialists would suggest that any insights are not due to supernatural communication but rather to the abilities of psychedelics and other drugs like MDMA to shift neuronal pathways or block parts of the brain responsible for addict cravings. Basically something like rebooting and scrubbing of the software. Laher, for example, has tons of hyper-real experiences but never wavers from his belief in materialism. That said, he discusses the insights the drugs allowed him to make, and really a good deal of the benefits of therapy via these drugs doesn't vanish if you're a materialist.

Panpsychists could suggest that conscious matter retains the memories of plants and this is communicated in what seems like a different realm. We might look at Goff's idea that superimposed particles of experience drive the mental causation of physical forms, along with Lanier's idea of how post-symbolic (alphabet/word based) communication in Virtual Reality might work. The plants are trying to tell us things but their understanding of time-space is far greater than our own so attempts to communicate in what might be post-symbolic, sensory grounded language trumps our understanding.

Idealists might point to the (contested) decrease in brain activity as a sign that the brain "as a knot of consciousness", actually filters the greater Mind all things are a part of. So the spirits are always around, but our minds have filtered them out. The drugs then are a means for us to experience anamnesis - "loss of forgetfulness" - and utilize the claim consciousness is not restricted in space (Mind -> Space-Time) to "travel" to other realities that are really "here".

Neutral Monists would likely have a variety of ideas connected to all the above concepts. Perhaps Strassman's theoneurological model is what connects people to the Truth that Phenomenal & Material spring from God who grounds all Being.
 
Your anecdote is for an unrelated substance that isn't even a psychedelic. As for accepting anything as true I've actually said repeatedly that parapsychology has produce evidence that has justified continued research at the academic and personal level but has no definitive smoking guns.

But there is a lot of interesting evidence that compares psychedelic experiences with other reported phenomenon that deals with paranormal encounters. I look at it in the same way I do possession.

As for what the signifier materialist points to, I'd say it's really more about a separation of the Phenomenal and the Physical, and holding to the idea that Physical -> Phenomenal. The alternatives are Panpsychism (Physical & Phenomenal are both part of reality's firmament), Idealism (Phenomenal -> Physical), and Neutral Monism (Fundamental Substance -> Physical & Phenomenal).

Relating this back to the topic (I'm putting in links to show I'm not just sitting around making this stuff up as a I go along):

Materialists would suggest that any insights are not due to supernatural communication but rather to the abilities of psychedelics and other drugs like MDMA to shift neuronal pathways or block parts of the brain responsible for addict cravings. Basically something like rebooting and scrubbing of the software. Laher, for example, has tons of hyper-real experiences but never wavers from his belief in materialism. That said, he discusses the insights the drugs allowed him to make, and really a good deal of the benefits of therapy via these drugs doesn't vanish if you're a materialist.

Panpsychists could suggest that conscious matter retains the memories of plants and this is communicated in what seems like a different realm. We might look at Goff's idea that superimposed particles of experience drive the mental causation of physical forms, along with Lanier's idea of how post-symbolic (alphabet/word based) communication in Virtual Reality might work. The plants are trying to tell us things but their understanding of time-space is far greater than our own so attempts to communicate in what might be post-symbolic, sensory grounded language trumps our understanding.

Idealists might point to the (contested) decrease in brain activity as a sign that the brain "as a knot of consciousness", actually filters the greater Mind all things are a part of. So the spirits are always around, but our minds have filtered them out. The drugs then are a means for us to experience anamnesis - "loss of forgetfulness" - and utilize the claim consciousness is not restricted in space (Mind -> Space-Time) to "travel" to other realities that are really "here".

Neutral Monists would likely have a variety of ideas connected to all the above concepts. Perhaps Strassman's theoneurological model is what connects people to the Truth that Phenomenal & Material spring from God who grounds all Being.
My anecdote IS related, and I even gave a quote from LoneShamam above, in mesage 158.
Sure, when you say that 'Materialists would suggest that any insights are not due to supernatural communication"", they do that because there is no evidence that there is anything supernatural. All you can go by is my comment that you can pretend it's anything you want it to be.
You mentioned ''connects people''? Pharases like, '''spring from god who grounds all Being'', will just serve to put many people off.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

My anecdote IS related, and I even gave a quote from LoneShamam above, in mesage 158.
First, there's no way you went through the links I presented in that short amount of time. It's making it doubtful you're here to actually engage the evidence + philosophical arguments supporting immaterialist positions.

Taking non-psychedelics and taking a psychedelic are not related for the purposes of this discussion. Your trying and failing to use a reduction to absurdity.

Sure, when you say that 'Materialists would suggest that any insights are not due to supernatural communication"", they do that because there is no evidence that there is anything supernatural. All you can go by is my comment that you can pretend it's anything you want it to be.
There's no smoking gun, but there is something interesting going on. A creative agnostic like myself holds to a neutral position.

You mentioned ''connects people''? Pharases like, '''spring from god who grounds all Being'', will just serve to put many people off.
Seeing as there are far more believers in the world than evangelical materialists, perhaps the latter should more open mindedness toward the former. Of course, many atheists are abandoning the silly polemic of Dawkins and his ilk so you may find more non-believers seeing the anti-intellectual shaming tactics of the skeptical movement for what they are.
 
If you don't accept the quote and its relevance you can argue with LoneShaman who discussed the importance of 'divine inebriation'.
It looks like we agree on another important point when you admit that ''there's no smoking gun'' ie no proof of anything supernatural. So we're not so different.
I'm totally ready to believe that say, the Holy Ghost exists, but I insist on not accepting the anecdote by that guy who said he met/talked to the holy ghost.

"Many more believers in the world''. Reality doesn't go by numbers of believers. Remember how most people believed the earth was flat; turned out they were wrong, remember how most though we were earth-centric, turns out helio centric was right, etc. etc. You try to use numbers and yet complain that I have no philosophical depth? Did you really think I'd miss that false logic?
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

"Many more believers in the world''. Reality doesn't go by numbers of believers. Remember how most people believed the earth was flat; turned out they were wrong, remember how most though we were earth-centric, turns out helio centric was right, etc. etc. You try to use numbers and yet complain that I have no philosophical depth? Did you really think I'd miss that false logic?
I think your aggressiveness is interfering with your interpretation of what is written.

Being open minded is different than accepting something. For example, I don't believe in God though I suspect I have more reason than most to do so. However I can be agnostic about the existence of such a being and not write off the possibility.
 
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