Dr. Robert Davis, What Peak Experiences Reveal About Consciousness |419|

#21
This is the juncture at which morality comes into play. Do we want a Christian model? Do we want to build a world based on love and compassion or a world based on hate and slavery? So many choices and so many nuances and trade-offs. But the key is that we are creating a reality when we create the ego. We are deciding what perceptual bandwidths will be attended to by each person living in the consensus reality.
I'd really like to read in detail how you came to these views - maybe just a link to something you have written already.

David
 
#22
I find that the ego, the feeling of self, is produced by thoughts, by the mental chatter constantly running through my mind that tells the story of Me. Without that mental chatter, when the mind is relaxed and quiet (not necessarily totally still), maybe from having done a certain amount of meditation, the feeling of self does not exist. It is as if someone were to say something unpleasant, there would be no one there to take offense. Without the thought, "I don't like this" it is impossible to be offended. If there is no taking offense, there is no ego and no feeling of self. Without thoughts like ,"I want that", there are no thoughts of "I" and there is no ego or feeling of self.

When the mind is made quiet from meditation you can see the few thoughts that do arise very clearly, how they begin to arise, how they exist, how they fade away. This clarity gives you the option of relaxing or staying relaxed when you begin to feel the tension, the emotional reaction, produced by an unpleasant thought. You see that thoughts are not reality, that you don't have to buy in to the story they tell, or react to them in habitual ways. In this freedom you can exist for a time (few people, if any, have ever perfected this ability) without producing the ego or feeling of self.
 
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#24
Do NDEs, peak experiences, UFO/ET encounters, OOBEs etc all belong on a spectrum of a common theme?
Yeah, this is the point I keep pounding on and it may be getting tiresome to some but it seems like a lot of assumptions are being made about the structure or lack of structure of these extended consciousness realms. I know this is an age-old, basic question but I can't resolve the good/evil thing with the blob of consciousness idea. seems like a rehash of the meaningless universe meme.
 
#25
I had to listen to this show twice. Even so, I was not finally clear on where the peak experience conversation went. Robert had a number of experiences that were of interest by themselves - and there does seem to be a thematic connection on some level between his 'UFO' experience and the kundalini experience - both tend toward a holistic awareness. In fact over recent Skeptiko shows there has been a general vector toward holistic awareness from a variety of angles.

Do NDEs, peak experiences, UFO/ET encounters, OOBEs etc all belong on a spectrum of a common theme? I keep coming back to my animist passion to note that a consistent theme is the pervasiveness of consciousness in all things. We go back to the ancient Greek Thales - everything is full of gods.

So are these experiences intentional disruptions of the concrete mentality that materialism has drawn us into? Or are they violations of the norm (what ever that is) - because being in physical body with a brain means that awareness of the physical becomes the dominant mode of consciousness - from which we must be shocked now and then - because we are more than what our body and its brain determines.

Alex and Robert carried on a theme that has popped up before - peak (or enlightenment) experiences don't lead to bliss - but often turmoil. Well, of course they do. If a radical experience 'flips' you, your normal is wrecked - and not everything (like a spouse) wants to go to your new normal. But this isn't just peak experiences. The same is true of illness, acquired disability, religious conversion, change of politics, the illicit discovery that sex isn't miserable all the time, or the sudden realisation that life is getting on and you are still a boring fart at 50. All these things alter consciousness in some way and precipitate change.

The problem with peak experiences (and why nobody seems to be talking about them) is that if you haven't had one you have nothing to say - and if you have there is often nothing you can say other than describe the outer contours . But let's not think that the only 'spiritual experiences' are the ones that flood you with light and bliss. I don't want to diminish or invalidate them - just not place them on a pedestal as some 'pure' event. They are certainly singular and indicative. But they are not experiential magic. They are an experience that informs, rather than transforms. They can say "Here is something beyond what you know and have." The transformation occurs when you respond to the opportunity revealed - and that may be a long slow (and painful) extrication from a situation you are in.

Robert talked about mostly accidental peak experiences, but he did talk about studying people who seek them intentionally through meditation. That's been done. I read a book on that theme back around 2003 but the title presently escapes me.

I have had peak experiences - not for a long time though. Life has become kinda settled and not a lot shocks me these days. In my mid teens I was literally blasted off my feet by what seem like an electric shock (don't think it was lightening because there was no damage). I was walking solo near Frenchmans Cap in Tasmania. When I came to I was sprawled on the ground. No idea how long I was out for. I got up pretty blissed out. This was way before I did drugs. I could recite a bunch more - just the outer experiences. None of the inner stuff can be conveyed.

Recently I have been dosing myself to the hilt in the works of Graham Hancock - 4 audiobooks in a row in a very short time. Hancock's one big thing is that there was advanced human civilisation that got wiped out in a major cataclysm around 11,000 years ago. I buy that. So, right at the end of listening to the last audiobook, I have one of my regular dreams in which I am completely conscious of what is going on. Hancock has been discussing the fact that the flood myth traditions all say that humans were behaving badly prior to the catastrophic flood and that there were warnings that persistence in the offending behaviour would not end well. So Hancock ends with this theme, and relates it to how things are not going well now and the reality is that we are in the alley for being hit some time, in the not too distant future, by large chunks of rock that routinely participate in relative near misses to the Earth.

The materialist would argue that whether we are hit or narrowly missed is down to the mechanics of stuff flying through space and chance. Animists would say that's not the case. There's a moral dimension to this. That is what intrigues me. The moral dimension is integral to the animistic consciousness. But is it real? Chance or morality? Which rules? This was in my mind powerfully as I drifted off to sleep.

In my dream there are some impressive dudes talking to me about the nature and importance of love. In the dream I know these guys are the guardians of humanity. When I wake I am in a altered state of consciousness and I struggle to focus. That was a few days ago now. I know I have changed. I know I had an informational session but I know I was also hungry and responsive. Now I know I am deeply and fundamentally changed by that dream. Its not the same thing as a blast of electric energy rushing up your spine and blowing your brains out. Its better. Its useful.
Maby the problem is we find it hard to understand there are so many facets to our being and a glimpse into one of the other ones
comes as a shock,perhaps we should just relax and enjoy the ride,though I find the search fun.
 
#26
Hey this is random, but whatever happened to that one poster who left after the pizzagate thread. I forgot their handle but remember their profile picture having a worm in it with a clown attire? I would just like to haha them in light of the epstein saga
 
#27
Hey this is random, but whatever happened to that one poster who left after the pizzagate thread. I forgot their handle but remember their profile picture having a worm in it with a clown attire? I would just like to haha them in light of the epstein saga
Yes, the Epstein case tells us that pedophilia isn't restricted to lone individuals - they can set up whole organisations to get what they want on an obscene scale. I hope all the people in high places get exposed before this is over.

You could try searching for the word pizzagate, but it make take some time to sift through all the references. If he/she has really left, she won't get your PM.

Try not to be abusive, and point out that he/she might want to come back - we all go through a 'don't believe it is that bad' phase.

David
 
#28
Personally, I have a problem with the idea that everything that happens to us is planned. But on a more general point, why is it always all or nothing with some people? Why not sometimes things are part of plan; deliberately conceived or mechanical as a part of a larger natural process (e.g. does water "plan" to flow downhill?) and at other times, the result of choices we make at some level and at other times still, the result of chaos (shit happens?).
Eric, I agree that everything cannot be planned. That's simply not possible. There always has to be uncertainty. This is not 'chance' in the materialistic sense, more indeterminacy because there are so many other lives in the same situation. On Monday I plan to travel into Sydney, attend an event in the evening, stay at a hotel over night and attend meetings the following day. I can plan a lot of that in broad frame. I plan to catch cabs from certain places at certain times - but not which cab. I can plan to eat meals - but not which meals or where. I plan to attend a meeting at a certain location at a certain time. But who will I share a table with? The vector of intent is constantly modified in gross or subtle ways, depending on the complexity of the situation.

My sense is that there is an art to knowing what is knowable and what is not - and that's because we operate in different frames of reference. For instance in the physical body situational awareness can allow a certain level of predictability about the future that goes beyond the 'rational' capacity to know. But in the metaphysical that 'sphere of awareness' is not space or time based - and so transcends physical notions of space and time. If we tap into that in our physical consciousness our awareness can penetrate years into the future. Beyond that there's a deeper awareness that comes to us via 'more advanced souls'. They have a scope of awareness that embraces a lifetime. But even so that awareness does not get down to fine details that are of no real moment.

I am now aware that my getting GBS was known over 20 years in advance by a third party. That it was something I 'agreed to' prior to my incarnation I have no doubt at all.

In the mechanism of reality predestination and choice live together in harmony. The known and knowable merge with the realm of uncertainty and choice much in the way that we see in the Taoist symbol.
 
#29
One thing that life has taught me is that all attempts to control fail sooner or later. The tighter the attempted control, the more counter forces build up. The meme masters who make the biggest contributions to the consensus reality cannot absolutely control the ego. The ego, in turn, cannot absolutely control the totality of the being. The wider self comes knocking, sometimes in a state of revolution. OBEs happen. There are aliens in the sky. Spirits are talking, oceanic experiences come flooding through.
This reminds me of the joke - How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans. Control can never be than about the quality of one's character. Attempts to control events tightly never work - for 2 reasons. One is that we can never define an event with sufficient clarity such that we can frame any real strategy of control. The second is that the effort of control influences the event in ways we cannot predict - because we are inside that thing we are trying to control. The Tao Ching is an exquisite articulation of such pointlessness.

We have some chance of controlling how we behave - and bugger all else. If we do not have self-awareness we have no chance at all. There is a good reason why contemporary management education places a high premium on EQ and self awareness. What we can control and what we can skilfully influence are very distinct things - and management is more and more about skilled influence (with authority of course).

Actually the idea of 'control' is really very 19thC. Think influence these days.
 
#30
Yeah, this is the point I keep pounding on and it may be getting tiresome to some but it seems like a lot of assumptions are being made about the structure or lack of structure of these extended consciousness realms. I know this is an age-old, basic question but I can't resolve the good/evil thing with the blob of consciousness idea. seems like a rehash of the meaningless universe meme.
The problem is, Alex, that we have no coherent notion of the metaphysical ecology. So we need to go to sources that deliver that kind of awareness. We can go back to Don D, explore DeMarco, get into Theosophical Society stuff or start to make our own meta-ecology. There are maps. For instance get a good Kabbalist on the show to give an example of a strong metaphysical framework.
 
#31
Maby the problem is we find it hard to understand there are so many facets to our being and a glimpse into one of the other ones comes as a shock, perhaps we should just relax and enjoy the ride, though I find the search fun.
I think we are torn between the ardent search for meaning and the potential elegance of the quest. It would be great to find such a harmony.
 
#32
Truth does not come in bundles. Especially if the bundle is a set of straw man arguments posed in an eristic fashion - this is a key sign of scientific illiteracy.

The opposite of conspiracy theory is called an Asch Conformity. Every issue which has a sufficient level of backing demands fair account and representation, otherwise it is simply a tool for propaganda. To accuse any idea that is different, of constituting a 'conspiracy' is a form of mental weakness/vulnerability:
TES - as always you cut through the fog with a laser that often has to shone through a dictionary. I am giving my Oxford app a workout.

I'd boil down your erudite observation to say that mostly folk can't think. Thinking is actually a discipline that does really take a bit of effort - and education (formal or informal - it does not matter).

I am probably going to seem like an arrogant arse to some readers here, but we gotta get this on the table. There's a reason there are disciplines like philosophy, logic and mathematics - reality is so complex you need to have a sense of these to have any chance of getting it. I have studied none of them formally and only one (philosophy) as a matter of personal passion.

But we must engage with what we feel about our life experience - and express those feelings in language. To me an Asch Conformity arises when we confuse emotion with thought. Let me put it this way. Head stuff has become deeply popular - and, in fact, the language of our culture. This was driven home to me when a woman on an episode of Dynamo Magician Impossible responded to a magic performance by declaring that it was "not scientific". It was obvious that her education had been truncated in an early stage and her exposure to formal learning was limited. And yet she was completely confident in her assessment - despite possessing no rational foundation for it.

It has been justly observed that in times when religion was the dominant mode of thought the most irreligious and the worst sinners would still use the language of the faith (sounds like contemporary tele-evangelists). We use the language most promoted in our time - and for the moment 'science' is the dominant discourse language - even if hardly any of the thought is actually scientific - let alone academically disciplined.

We employ the language of the head to serve the need of the heart. I will constantly complain that we use the language and thought frames of materialism while personally espousing a 'spiritual' opinion. We employ the language of a domain we know bugger all about because it makes us sound as if we are intelligent and educated. But while we may well be intelligent, we are not educated in the language we use - and that makes us stupid.

We need to own the language of who we are. If we do then we can have self-aware control over the way we think and communicate. No more being a Asch Conformity sucker.
 
#33
I'd boil down your erudite observation to say that mostly folk can't think. Thinking is actually a discipline that does really take a bit of effort - and education (formal or informal - it does not matter).
I'd say that some folk can't think, but that fewer people still can think about subjects where the correct answer may be very unappealing. Thus if you take a talented scientist and ask him to consider a theory (e.g. that of Halton Arp) that threatens to destroy much of his subject, you will find very few that will give the theory a fair hearing. Emotion overcomes analytical skills.

David
 
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#34
I'd really like to read in detail how you came to these views - maybe just a link to something you have written already.

David
Mostly personal experience melded with reading and thinking intensely about what others are really saying.

When you have dissolved the ego and then go through the process of reconstituting it, you watch the world get rebuilt and you watch your old familiar self get rebuilt. You can observe all of the constituent components and look at where they came from, what they really mean (if anything). And, of course, you are bringing back the memory of the experience of infinity, timelessness, karmic energies, etc.

Like I keep saying, there is no way to understand all of this purely by thinking about it. You need to put yourself on the line. You need to do it. You need to die in the shamanic sense (which really is like dying in the normal sense - only you come back to the body you previously had as a man instead of a new one as a baby). Then when you come back, you can use reason to piece it all together and make sense of it all.
 
#37
Alex, I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation; it could have gone in so many different directions but you kept it on track and set us up nicely for the next one. One question; the 'capture castle' phrase; is that in general use or specific to a particular religious or philosophical tradition? (I have looked for the answer but all I've found are references to the novel 'I Capture Castle')
 
#38
I'm also more and more drawn to the wisdom of "inquiry to perpetuate doubt" :)
To which. surely there can be no end. This reminds me of the notion that any form of inquiry serves only to help us realise how little we do know. I suppose we are obliged, mostly, to doubt what we think, rather than what is and what others think. It is so easy, as the materialists constantly remind us, to think that being skeptical is about doubting what others say is so, while being comfortable that our POV is correct or superior. Doubting another is not skepticism. Doubting oneself is.

This is pertinent when we think about God in the sense of atheism. We can doubt that a conception of God (that we formulate) is correct, but we cannot 'prove' God does not exist. Thus we encounter (peak) experiences in which the experiencer affirms the existence of the divine - but, thus far, no peak experience that ecstatically affirms the non-existence of the divine. The old mystics affirmed that the divine was beyond conception and description - but not beyond knowing some hint of it. The perpetuation of doubt is the antidote to the conceit, or delusion, that we are 'right' in believing any characterisation of what is real or true is more than mere opinion (and probably wrong in any case).

We are guided by tantalising hints and scents of truth - to seek it in much the way we orientate ourselves to North. The orientation is necessary for our journey and doubt is what helps us find the course we must take. In perpetuating doubt we are opening ourselves to the sensitivity of both intellectual and moral direction. But we are doubting only our own certainty.
 
#39
So what did that consist of in your case?

David
Numerous experiences. Some more profound and some less so, but all, as pieces of a puzzle, forming a larger picture.

Obviously OBEs and psychedelics factor in heavily. But also events like being shot at for the first time.

What I have noted is that I actually think about these things deeply after they occur to me, whereas most people just shrug them off as "weird" and then get on with their lives - or they shatter and become psychologically damaged. I hesitantly allow myself to pat myself on the back in this regard as being both tough minded and yet very flexible.

Take something like being shot at. I was coming out of some brush along an old agricultural irrigation ditch and was about to step out of it into an open area. A bullet snapped very close past the left side of my head. I believe that if I hadn't moved my head slightly to the right to avoid getting a thorny branch across my face, that I wouldn't be here writing this. I must have moved my head at the moment that the trigger was squeezed.

In an instant I split into two different personalities and then, a third.

There was one "me" that was a total idiot. "Is someone shooting at me?!!!?". "Wow!". "Maybe they don't know I'm here and they're just doing some target practice". "Maybe I should call out and let them know I'm here" - and generally "Woah! This is crazy! NO way!".

meanwhile subsequent rounds were smacking into the dirt and zipping through the brush overhead.

The other me was extremely smart. It could think and sense with amazing speed and clarity. At the first shot it was immediately on the deck low crawling in the ditch away from my original position. It knew it was in danger. It instantly surmised that there were at least two shooters with AK47s, that they were probably around 200 yards away at 12 o'clock. It knew that the ditch was deep enough that they couldn't hit it (me). It knew all of this and more in a matter of seconds, but time was slow compared to the rapidity of the smart me's mind. Also, the smart me had ice water in its veins. Cool and collected as can be.

Meanwhile stupid me was still freaking out.

It was literally like two totally different people were inhabiting my body and talking in my head at the same time.

A third me observed the other two and began a calm dialogue with the smart me. It told the smart me to ignore the stupid me and that the smart me was doing a fine job and would get through this ok. The stupid me faded out at this point.

These were distinct personalities. The third me - the observer - was very much detached and very much all knowing and all seeing (or seemed to be).

I have heard others talk about similar splits of personalities, time distortion and clarity under stress. It's a common thing. Again, most just shrug it off as a weird reaction. But I think about it. What does it mean for the individual identity? A lot, IMO.

With psychedelics you can literally watch your ego be reconstituted as the trip wears off (just as you watched your ego dissolve when the trip began to take hold - a source of panic to some). Who were you before the reconstitution? You were sharp and aware and expansive. You perceived in ways you normally do not. What was is it made of? Who is it? The world was literally different. What is all of this junk that is assembling now to re-create the ego and the world it is familiar with. So much nonsense. So much arbitrary. Some sweet. Some bitter sweet. Some happy and some sad. Striving. Desiring. Bound to time and space. You weren't that a couple of hours ago - and yet you were something/someone very much alive and aware. Very in tune; just in tune to different energies and feelings.

OBEs are similar to psychedelics in this regard, albeit qualitatively different. The being that "leaves" the body is does not think or feel the same as the every day person. It does not perceive the same. It's you, but not the you that you are familiar with.

To a lesser extent, dreams are like this too.

When you are perceiving the world differently, you yourself are different. You are not you. The world you perceive is integrally tied to your sense of self (who you are). These experiences are NOT like putting on some VR goggles and seeing some cool visuals. These experiences are significant because the "you" that is perceiving is different than the everyday you. You have changed and therefore the world has changed. This is powerful and has deep ramifications.

As an aside, this is why - for me - it is so important to establish that what is experienced in these altered states is 'real" (e.g. veridical). If it's not real, then these states are just hallucinatory and reality is the every day you and the world it experiences. However, if these altered states produce veridical data, then they are real too and we must conclude that reality is multidimensional and that what we perceive - indeed even the sense of self - is arbitrary; one of at least many, if not infinite, potentials. Well, I am convinced that these altered states do produce veridical data. Hence my conclusion and my outlook on these matters.

What are the "dimensions"? Obviously, these are tied to your mind and how it is assembling things.
What the "things"? Obviously they cannot be solid objects because they can come and go in the reality you are experiencing. Physics even tells us that, at bottom, there is only energy. The "things" must be energy units, wave length bands, or something like that. As you align with different energies, you create different worlds. You are also creating a different you.

If you have experienced the mind being wiped clean (or nearly so), yet remained still awake/aware, then you can observe how concepts form, paradigms, realities and how each adaptation not only defines the world that is perceived, but also defines who and what you think you are. The Observer can do that. This goes as deep as having the experience of having a body in a physical world. All arbitrary and not necessary. And I'm not talking out my ass. I offer as evidence that there are "people" without bodies (NDEs and ADCs for example).

And isn't all of the above the realizations of the ancients? Take the Vedas for example. The concept of Atman, etc.

Again, you have to live it, do it. And then you have to think deeply about the ramifications. Most people do neither; or, at best, only one of the two. I am kind of special in this regard. There are others, of course, like me. But we are rare birds.
 
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#40
Alex, I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation; it could have gone in so many different directions but you kept it on track and set us up nicely for the next one. One question; the 'capture castle' phrase; is that in general use or specific to a particular religious or philosophical tradition? (I have looked for the answer but all I've found are references to the novel 'I Capture Castle')
sorry, I realize that was a rather obscure. Maharishi Mahesh reported said this to his students...(paraphrasing) "don't get caught up in the Siddhis... capture the castle... then you'll have the whole picture."
 
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