Dr. Michael Shermer on Near-Death Experience Science |379|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, May 1, 2018.

  1. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    On the contrary, NDEs can occur in any state at all. It can range all the way from a completely healthy, normal functioning body, to one which is inert and not functioning at all.

    The inevitable conclusion can only be that no physical explanation is even possible, let alone plausible, for these experiences.
     
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  2. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    There is the case documented by lucid dream researchers where a woman, who had a “bum” ankle such that unsupported waking was very difficult if not impossible. She claims to have had a lucid dream one day, where she went inside her ankle and “cleaned junk out of her ankle.” Were not talking bone spurs, rather everyday life garbage. When she woke, she could walk. It was a metaphorical healing which produced real results.

    You can hear a brief description of the case along with a history of the research and scientific validation of lucid dreaming in this 10 minute video, along with other experiences and fascinating research. It’s a very well done video. Check out all this guys videos if you have not. He does seem to specialize in UFO close encounters. The channel is called “Think Anomalous.”

     
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  3. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    @Michael Patterson I'd like your last post twice if I could!
    The problem could be solved by Eric Weiss's idea that our experience flips between the physical and the transphysical via attention. When our attention is focused on the embodied world, we experience the material, when our attention shifts to the imaginal, we experience the transphysical.

    Surely, a crisis induced NDE would precipitate the radical shifting of attention away from the physical by extreme trauma (medical or otherwise). Astral travel could then be a softer, perhaps limited, disassociation from the physical.

    Here's Weiss:

    The Doctrine of the Transphysical Worlds

    1. What I want to claim is that there are worlds outside of the physical world, that are systematically beyond the reach of scientific measurement, and that are nonetheless involved in important causal interactions with events in the physical world.
    ---------------------

    Finding the transphysical worlds in our own experience
    1. I want to see if I can make it clear to you where you can find transphysical worlds in your own, everyday experience. So let us now look at the three worlds in which human beings actually exist
      1. The physical world
        1. A rough definition: the physical world, the world disclosed by both modern and post-modern physics, is a system of inorganic entities, each of which is outside of all of the others, and which are exchanging causal influences through a common geometrical spacetime.
        2. The physical world is the only world in which measurement is possible.
          1. Scientific measurement involves rigid rulers and periodic oscillators.
          2. The only conditions under which scientific measuring devices can become really rigid or really regular is if they are composed of inorganic entities
          3. In order for scientific measurement to mean anything, space has to be characterized by a consistent set of parallel lines – i.e., space must be like a grid in which the distance between two lines over here is the same as the distance between two lines over there. Without a system of parallel lines extending throughout spacetime, a measurement conducted here will have no significance over there.
        3. We can envision the physical world as a kind of infinitely extended box – no matter how many dimensions it has, it is still a box, and only in such a box is scientific measurement possible.
        4. We often imagine that this kind of measurable spacetime is the only kind of spacetime there is, but in order to understand personality survival and the worlds in which the personality exists after death, we have to get beyond this limited idea of the nature of spacetime.
      2. The vital (astral) world
        1. Now, I want to invite each of you to ask yourselves a question: do you actually live exclusively and entirely in the physical world?.
        2. I want you to consider a sequence of experiences:
          1. We start sitting right here in this room, paying attention to this lecture
          2. Then our interest shifts, we pick up a whiff of memory or desire, and we begin to daydream
          3. At first, that daydream might be “in the back of your mind,” so that it is kind of taking place by itself, and you are more or less aware of what is happening here.
          4. At a certain point, the daydream might become so engrossing, that you lose any detailed attention on this room at all. At that point you might be “a million miles away,” having a pleasant or an unpleasant dreamy sort of experience, or you might be doing what the Jungians practice as “active imagination,” or what shamanic practitioner’s do when they are doing a drum journey.
          5. Now, suppose your attention slips further away from the physical world which we are now sharing. Now you might fall asleep, and you might go straight through to deep sleep, you might dream in the usual way, or you might find yourself instead in a lucid dream, or an out of body experience.
          6. Finally, the dream, lucid dream, or oobe might take place in a world that is very much like the physical world, even barely distinguishable from the physical world – or it might take place in any of fantastical places in which we often dream. And, in that dream world we have a body, that body is encountering other bodies outside of it, those bodies are having causal effects on each other, and they are bound into some kind of framework within which those interactions are kept coherent. We have then, I suggest, a transphysical body which already exists in transphysical spacetime. All we have to do to access that body is to shift our attention inwards, without falling asleep.
    ---------------------
    1. When our attention is dominated by the data that we are exchanging with the physical body and its senses, then we are awake in a physical world. But when we withdraw our senses from the physical world – particularly if we can do this with our mind awake and with continuity of memory across domains – we actually find ourselves in another world, with an individual body made of the stuff of that world, and we find ourselves interacting with other beings who also inhabit that world.
    2. What is that world like? I want you to remember what it is like to imagine, or to dream, or, if you have the conscious memory, what is it like to do an oobe. I want to offer you a description, and to see if you find it illuminating:
      1. Whenever I am imagining or dreaming, I find myself in some kind of a scene. I am in an imaginal scene. I can sometimes move within that scene, but measurements are impossible in that scene. I can’t really say how far away things are because there are no rulers and clocks which function with sufficient regularity and independence. We would say that there is a geometry in the astral world, but it is a projective geometry, in which parallel lines are undefined, and the preconditions for measurement are not met. The actual distances in these spaces have do with morphic resonances – i.e., distance is more a matter of a difference in feeling rather than a difference in geometrically measurable distance. If there is some shift in my thoughts or feelings, the scene just shifts, quite abruptly, to reflect my inner change. If we take this to be a characteristic of the transphysical worlds, then we would say that in the transphysical worlds, position in a function of relative resonances of feelings and meanings between different scenes. I don’t move through the astral world by putting my legs one in front of another. Rather I move in the astral world by refocusing my thoughts and feelings. As I understand it, if I am in a lucid dream and I want to find a particular person, I can focus on the overall “feel” of my memory of them, and then I would immediately either be in communication with that person, or else I would find myself in their presence.
      2. Furthermore, because the objective stuff in this astral world is so much more attuned to the intelligences that inhabit it, because even the furniture of that world is responding to feelings and meanings, the boundaries of the body there will be more fluid. The border of the body in astral space will be more diffuse than it is in physical space.
      3. Transphysical bodies are much more transparent to others transphysical bodies than are physical bodies. We divide the world into two regions – the inside of the body and the outside of the body. I want to suggest that what we experience as the inside of our bodies is a little bubble of astral space. Thus, within the body, there is a wondrous field of empathic and telepathic interactions taking place. If my little toe hurts, my whole body can be miserable. My arms and my vocal chords are taking telepathic instructions from me as I speak. So what I call the inside of my body is the experience that my astral body has when it is tuned in to the physical world through the physical body.
    ---------------------
    1. Now, we come back to this room. We are not on the astral plane, and we are awake in our physical bodies. Where did the transphysical body go? I want to suggest that it is right here, and that each of us is inhabiting it at this moment. It is when the astral body is focused in the physical body that we say we are awake.
    2. As Wilber would say, reality consists of holons, and holons are arranged into successively higher levels of complexity. The complexity, and the richness of inner experience, that belongs to me as a high grade holon is in stark contrast with the relative simplicity and poverty of a holon comprising a physical atom. An atom, assuming (as Whitehead and Wilber both do), that it feels the causal impact of the past, experiences its world as a stark array of naked forces. I, on the other hand, experience the world as a richly meaningful field of interactions suffused with meaning and with complex emotions, values and motivations. When I am lucid dreaming, I am seeing a rich, very free and highly fluid field of meaningful interaction. When I am awake, I have imposed limits on my ability to dream. I am now able to perceive and to effect only those situations that are permitted by the largely automatic activities of the inorganic occasions that exist in the box of the physical world.
    3. A great analogy for this is the experience of playing a computer game, or of entering into a computer generated virtual reality. In real life, my possibilities of interacting with you are very rich. When we meet in a virtual environment, we meet in a vastly simplified world. Our interactions are structured by the nature of the hardware and software comprising the operation of the machine. In a similar way, when I wake up, I limit my interactions with other beings to those permitted by the laws of the physical world. But I don’t live in that world any more than I actually live in the virtual environment of a computer generated scenario.
    4. Let us imagine the physical world as a giant grid buzzing with holons, or actual occasions, all of whom are low grade, inorganic holons. We have our transphysical bodies outside of that grid. But we are not outside spatially, not outside dimensionally, we are rather outside by inhabiting a world of immensely rich possibilities, possibilities of which the physical world is a tiny abstraction. There is some mechanism by means of which we can interface with a system of holons in that grid, the inorganic components of the physical body, and both infuse them with our feelings and meanings, and also allow ourselves to be hypnotically fixated on that interaction, putting the rest of ourselves into the background.
    5. I am not saying that the physical world is an illusion, and that we need to awaken from the illusion. Far from it. I am saying that the physical world is a real world. It is the world explored by physics. And that there is another world, an astral world, which is outside of the physical in that it is not restricted to patterns of interaction that take place in the world of physics. I am saying that we actually live in that astral world, and that the time we spend awake is the time that we are engaged with events taking place in the rather rigid, inorganic box of the physical world. Our task, in this context, is not to awaken from an illusion, it is rather to learn to expand the attention we already pay to the physical world by also paying attention to the transphysical world in which we already live.
    6. We are already transphysical world beings, and that is why we can feel each and understand each other so much more deeply that atoms and molecules and feel and understand each other. And, as transphysical beings, we are already in constant contact with other transphysical world beings that are not occupying physical bodies.
    7. Our job is to wake ourselves up to the transphysical world existence that we already enjoy
    ---------------------

    In my longer paper, Embodiment: An Explanatory Framework for the Exploration of Reincarnation and Personality Survival, I am suggesting that autopoiesis is, already, an interaction among beings from different worlds. I am suggesting that a self-organizing system is a place in the physical world where a transphysical world being is finding physical expression...

    ---------------------

    Source: http://ericweiss.com/outline-of-an-esalen-lecture-on-personality-survival-and-transphysical-worlds

    Sorry for the text dump, but I thought someone might find it interesting.
     
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  4. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    That is exactly Tom Campbells assertion. There is only consciousness, which can have various data streams plugged into it (a-la virtual reality). When we go "out of body" to other realms, we are "switching data streams." Just like reaching into our Playstation and switching out games.
     
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  5. dpdownsouth

    dpdownsouth Member

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    Cool, thanks. I must look into Tom Campbell. But I think there is a difference (don't know if it's substantive, though): Weiss builds on Alfred North Whitehead's
    panexperientialism and philosophy of organism, in which matter and experience (consciousness) are intimately linked, but not in a dualistic way.

    https://philosophynow.org/issues/114/The_Philosophy_of_Organism

     
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  6. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    Campbell is a NASA physicist and consciousness/OBE expert who trained with Robert Monroe. Here is a 13 hour lecture he did in Spain. For a summation, the first 4 videos (first 4 hours will suffice). He goes into quantum physics, the nature of consciousness, and virtual reality as a framework for existence. I think he's onto something. Not sure as to the exact extent of his "on-ness."

     
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  7. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    But there are known modalties to induce these states of lucid dream and astral travel, why are they not being done? Why wait for a model? That's a fallacy to me
     
  8. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    They are being done. Different peoples have different levels of success with various models. Some do so spontaneously without effort. People who aren’t open to, either won’t try it, or are less likely to succeed because of their belief. Others have difficulty for unknown reasons.
     
  9. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    There would certainly be advantages to working with a population of people who can self-induce an OBE as opposed to people who have died and come back. ;)

    I wonder if the bar for research would be similar to what it is for NDEs? Some kind of objects that the OBEer would perceive during the OBE that they couldn't otherwise see?

    If that can't be established in research, I'm afraid OBE experiences can be explained away as something other than extended consciousness--a vivid fantasy or hallucinations or dream-like experience. In the story you share, it seems like your girlfriend could have been having a vivid fantasy experience of herself being up near the ceiling. I had something similar happen to myself, where I thought a part of me energetically extended to another person and actually entered this person. This was at the end of a yoga class, during the corpse pose, and it felt extremely "real" and unlike anything I had ever experienced before. But I'm not sure if any of that adds up to the experience actually being real.

    There's also the trauma-induced OBEs that assault victims experience:

    "Depersonalization is the sense of being detached from, or “not in” one’s body. This is what is often referred to as an “out-of-body” experience. However, some people report rather profound alienation from their bodies, a sense that they do not recognize themselves in the mirror, recognize their face, or simply feel not “connected” to their bodies in ways which are challenging to articulate (Frey, 2001; Guralnik, Schmeidler, & Simeon, 2000; Maldonado et al., 2002; Simeon et al., 2001; Spiegel & Cardeña; Steinberg, 1995)."

    http://www.isst-d.org/default.asp?contentID=76#deper
     
  10. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    I sort of agree and disagree... What do we mean by "physical"? If phyiscal means, "follows laws of physics", then we have to be careful because the domain of physics is constantly being expanded. What is currently metaphysics might eventually just be called physics.

    We could say that our normal waking body is phyiscal and that our secondary body that we inhabit when out of this body is still physical but governed by physics we don't yet understand.

    To appeal again to the simulation analogy: we can be playing a game that has a physics engine so that our avatar in the game is subject to the physical laws of the game so as far as the game is concerned, the avatar is a physical body. All the while our primary body holding the Playstation controller is subject to higher order physical laws and so it is also physical... or metaphysical.

    So the avatar is governed by a nested set of physical laws: the game physics which is also governed by normal physics (because the computer running the simulation is physical).

    So whatever body we find ourselves in when in OBE or NDE states is still physical... it is just of a higher order set of physical laws which govern both that realm and this realm. ...at least that is what I believe.
     
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  11. malf

    malf Member

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    Legend!!
     
  12. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I fully believe that people experience OBE's. And I believe that there are many who have learned to excel in it. That said, why hasn't it been proven in a lab? Or have they done lab experiments and I'm not aware of them? Is the laboratory setting not optimal for these experiences? Probably not, but I would think that something could be figured out.
     
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  13. Michael Patterson

    Michael Patterson New

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    I think NDEs and OBEs are versions of the same thing. My essential point was that while we have had a good number of guest discussing NDEs we have not had much discussion about OBEs, and there are arguments about NDEs that do not, in my view, apply to OBEs. And OBEs opens up the work of Robert Monroe - and then there is DeMarco's writing as well.

    Lucid dreaming is another area for exploration. We have to back to Andy' Paquette's Skeptiko interview for discussion on this. Andy's book, Dreamer, is a really useful read.

    What Eric Weiss is talking about is, I think, established beyond sensible doubt in a variety of ways. I go to Frank DeMarco because his work is a direct flow on from Monroe's and is confronting and challenging.

    There is so much evidence supporting the reality of the metaphysical dimension, and its primacy, that doing what Shermer does seems to be a wilful and reckless disregard for very decent evidence. Sure it does not meet his 'scientific' standards, but they are wrongly and inappropriately applied.
     
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  14. Dan_LastName

    Dan_LastName Member

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    It may be the case that there's enough evidence for the paradigm shift to become complete. As we all know, Skeptiko and other sources discuss reasons why the paradigm isn't shifting, even as the research in favor of paradigm shift builds.

    Some of the reasons for the lack of the progress:

    1. Deep state powers that be don't want the paradigm to shift, so average citizens can't use advanced knowledge to disrupt political hierarchy.
    2. Academic scientists are too afraid of losing prestige and grant money and don't have enough courage to get into these areas.
    3. Academic scientists just aren't very curious -- they have a deep, unscientfic belief in the materialism, mind=brain status quo.

    I would add to that:

    1. Day to day political life--how would the doctrine of the separation of church and state in the US change if the paradigm shifted in favor of a metaphysical dimension, extended consciousness, etc?

    2. How would courts of law adjudicate around mystical experiences? How do they adjudicate now when someone commits a crime and they say that they did it because they had a mystical experience and the white light told them to do it?

    As Raymond Moody said in his last interview on Skeptiko, there's seems to be something baked into Western culture that resists paradigm shift. He doesn't go into a great deal of detail, but I think you could look at basic day-to-day political life as one powerful element that resists paradigm shift. How would daily life as we know it change? Would the US become a theocracy? Would cult leaders take over the world?

    I wonder if the consequences would be as dire as all that. Part of me thinks this paradigm shift could plunge the world into a state of total destabilization. In light of that, the skeptical push back on the research may be justified--staking out what's human and what's divine is crucial work that needs to be done with extreme rigor because a new paradigm of this nature will open the doorway for all kinds of corruption.
     
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  15. Judith

    Judith New

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    If you read any of Michael Newton's stuff, the soul apparently enters sometime after the third or fourth month. Some enter later. All occasionally take trips "away", even after the child is born. (FYI..I am an experiencer of one NDE and several OBE's.)
     
  16. Baccarat

    Baccarat New

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    But is anyone on this board doing it? You can learn to induce OBE and Lucid dreams and astral projections. I'm confused as to why this is not being done by the majority of the board
     
  17. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    This present reality has a way of consuming all my time... I don't know how I could find the time to fit in an alternate reality. Presumably I'm here because I thought it would be worthwhile. Maybe someday I'll run out of things to do and I'll work on this stuff.
     
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  18. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    For me, baby steps. I’m trying to learn to meditate properly right now. It’s going to take me a long time, no attention span. It’s a process. Even then, some have better luck than others. I have no idea if I’ll ever be able to astral travel. But I’ll try. Some people are also scared of it, and others have a terrifying experience, and never want to do it again. I think depends upon your frame of mind going in. At any rate, it’s generally not as simple as getting a protocol from somebody, going home and using it and popping out of your body. That would be an extreme minority who would be able to do that. I might be willing to try some DMT if I had a trusted source.
     
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  19. Wormwood

    Wormwood Member

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    I have a friend who claims to have a pretty amazing pre-birth memory. I take it with a grain of salt, but hes not one to exaggerate or lie. I find his account fascinating and it directly relates to your post here regarding a baby gaining consciousness. Ill share it here with you guys as we were talking about it once through Facebook on Messenger. I'll dump it here:

    "I remember a previous incarnation attempt where after the “veil” came over me I reacted in fear and forced myself “back out” again, which killed the fetus. Having returned to the other side I remember being back in bliss, and knowing nothing was truly wrong, yet recognizing fully the grief and negative impact I had caused not only the poor mother (her human experience) but many others who were affected by the mother. I couldn’t believe that despite my good intentions, my own fear was so strong that I could have such a negative effect. I vowed to not let that happen again. So I “trained” in something like a “veil accepting simulator” for awhile.

    Eventually I ended up being presented with my current life potential (which was not as optimal for my specific purposes as the last one but still not bad). I remember very excitedly reviewing a huge vast “flow chart” of millions of possibilities about what “being” that life would be like, all at once. I remember reviewing it with a guide, requesting certain things, and reviewing aspects of it. For instance I knew how important the confidence my father would nurture in me would be for my purpose, I knew the body had challenges that other bodies do not, and many other things. I remember being excited (excitement was the key feeling!) that I would have the opportunity to re-engage a very old very low vibration / fear that I deeply desire to integrate, I knew an experience in my early adulthood would likely occur that would allow me to re-confront that (and it did). I do not remember actually accepting the life, but I do remember suddenly the moment when being instructed to accept the veil, needing to “dive in” with all my intent and focus, allowing it come over me (but leaving a small “window open” so I would retain some awareness of it, even though I was told that doing so would make my experience more challenging).

    The “veil” coming over you is like (and again words are just so inadequate!) a drop in vibration of such magnitude that suddenly you feel like you are existing in a vacuum rather than being connected to everything. Your “knowing” is cut-off, and suddenly you feel isolated and alone, in the body. I held on as long as I could, allowing the veil to “sink in,” eventually sending a message back through the window: “Is it done? Did it ‘take’?” and being told “Yes.” I held on as long as I could… but the vibration was so low, that after awhile I again responded in fear. I started fighting and pushing once again to leave- I had already had enough! (and I was still in utero)- but then this incredibly powerful “I Am” presence of God coming over me and showing me all the galaxies, reminding me “this is still what you are.” It was bliss. It calmed me, and I remember “relaxing” into the very simple (yet confining!) existence of dwelling in the womb. I have one visceral image memory then of the day I was born, which was after what I just described. These pre-birth memories are very dissimilar from my waking childhood and adult physical memories- they are “timeless” in feeling, vast, not restricted to single ideas or images, and filled with great feeling."
     
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  20. Michael Larkin

    Michael Larkin Member

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    Not everyone wants to do this kind of thing. After all, most people experience ordinary lives, and I believe there is a purpose in doing that. Such experiences as I've had, I haven't sought and were spontaneous, and I value them because of that. I think we're here to engage life and learn from it honestly and straightforwardly in mundane terms; and if occasionally we should have spontaneous experiences, well, that's part and parcel of our journey.

    I don't fully understand why it's useful to be incarnate and learn in this way, but it's my working hypothesis that it is. I don't see the point in experimenting with OBEs, lucid dreams, astral projection and so on, because, if they are intimations of a higher self or state of being, presumably soon enough I'll be in that state any way. Meanwhile I see them as a distraction from my main task, which is to negotiate life, experiencing all its challenges and rewards.

    There's also the point that one can experience the marvel of being alive without any special faculties. If one seeks such experiences, it may be because one is dissatisfied with the hand one has been dealt, and rather than find a way to come to terms with it, seeks escape into the weird and wonderful. Maybe sometimes people miss significant opportunities for spiritual development because they're too distracted by seeking escape from life's exigencies.

    Sufis say we should be fully in the world, but not consider ourselves to be of it. I can understand the temptations of trying to escape, and for a few years was sidetracked by that. But they caution against seeking unusual experiences just for the sake of it. I used to be disgruntled by that, but at a certain point it began to make sense, and when I stopped looking for the transcendent, it came of its own accord, albeit not in the shape of "strange" experiences.

    I've found one exercise quite useful. Just observe someone else doing something that they truly enjoy doing. It could be anything -- with my mother, it used to be eating; with my father, pottering about the garden and tinkering with his fish pond; with my sister, singing.

    Someone else might enjoy disco dancing or climbing mountains; it could be anything. Don't try to intervene or be judgemental; just be an observer, and when you manage that, you may experience sheer bliss. I suppose it's easiest when watching young children unselfconsciously at play. At such times, they're completely delightful, completely in their moment, and you as a non-judgemental observer can pick up on that. It's a small, but definitely transcendental experience that helps one waken to the marvel of an ordinary life.
     
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