Mark Vernon, Christianity and the Evolution of Consciousness |415|

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#81
So my theory is, on this earthly plane say we have a good hearted man who ends up committing murder, he's not perfect by anything stretch, he just had a bad moment of judgement and killed someone. He suffers from mental anguish throughout his life and spends the majority of his live in jail. Let's say he begins a sort of spiritual quest of healing, healing his heart soul and mind. He makes peace with himself and the victim he's genuinely a changed man through whatever methods got him there. This man passes on to the next realm. I believe the inner work he did on earth has turned him to a healer and he will be assigned a person to help who can't get out of their hellish NDE. Maybe he won't be assigned, and assign himself, thus making him somewhat of an angelic force, with a dark past that he mastered on earth.
 
#82
I'm confused on what you perceive as negativity? The whole picture includes a spectrum of duality, I find you want to see things a certain way, while glossing over what you deem negative. There are reported hellish NDEs, the altruistic nature of me ask who or how can we help change the hellish dimension these people might suffer from in the afterlife. They shouldn't be left behind to suffer in agony from mistakes they made here on earth. That's like saying yea the government is great we live in a great country, as for those people dying by America policies in other countries that's just negative and happening in a small part of the world. Let's focus on the good etc
I see negativity as anything that brings us down, makes us unhappy etc.

I haven’t actually listened to the podcast with Alex, but as it happens I started listening to another one with David Sunfellow just after I wrote the post. In the first 25 mins he talks about hellish NDEs. Synchronicity? Maybe. I could answer myself, but putting the link to this podcast will, I feel, be much more efficient. Scroll down a little, it’s on June 20.

http://midnightinthedesert.com/
 
#83
So my theory is, on this earthly plane say we have a good hearted man who ends up committing murder, he's not perfect by anything stretch, he just had a bad moment of judgement and killed someone. He suffers from mental anguish throughout his life and spends the majority of his live in jail. Let's say he begins a sort of spiritual quest of healing, healing his heart soul and mind. He makes peace with himself and the victim he's genuinely a changed man through whatever methods got him there. This man passes on to the next realm. I believe the inner work he did on earth has turned him to a healer and he will be assigned a person to help who can't get out of their hellish NDE. Maybe he won't be assigned, and assign himself, thus making him somewhat of an angelic force, with a dark past that he mastered on earth.
I don’t necessarily think that one ‘good’ life will transform him into a healer. He’ll most likely still have lots to learn, so he’ll probably carnate again. Face some other challenges. There is so much that we experience in just one life, multiply this by 7 billion and you get a helluva lot of data to work on!

If I’m delusional in your view, it’s fine with me. I think it’s far better to be ‘delusional’ but content rather than the opposite and fed up. :)
Naive? Well if that’s how you view me, it’s a far cry from years ago when someone I hadn’t seen for a few years greeted me with “ how’s the most cynical man in the world getting on”.
 
#85
I think the whole idea of "enlightenment" should be eliminated. It is meaningless. Worse, it's limiting.
Totally agree. It was originally very specific idea that was misinterpreted, maybe because our language and culture did not give us the subtly of meaning. However there is certainly a point when 'a light goes on' or ' an idea dawns on us', but that's not an absolute state. And waking up to the bullshit and illusion is not a high state - just a functional one.

My 'enlightenment' was realising that enlightenment was bullshit - at least in the terms I had interpreted it as an idea. That was liberating.
 
#86
My Simple Explanation cosmology suggests that consciousness is unlimited/illimitable and outside of our 3-D universe, (God the Father, Sat, Parambrama), as you say. Whereas the units of consciousness that are part of us and our universe are fractal replications (as above so below) applicable to wherever a unit of consciousness finds itself, and therefore limited by the physical laws of the universe. The unit of consciousness of an atom, for example, is limited to what an atom needs to do to get its job done. A human's unit of consciousness is limited to what a human needs to know, etc. All units of consciousness know how to instantiate the forms they are attached to, whatever the level of aggregation or hierarchy. All units of consciousness know the Simple Golden Rule--that we need to reach out to others to work together with love, information, and assistance, to build things greater than ourselves for the benefit of all.
Lovely thoughts Dr Cyd.
 
#87
The goal of Buddhism is to end suffering for yourself and getting enlightenment is the way to do it. It is not really about being a nice person. This is confirmed by my interactions with enlightened people in person and on-line. Enlightenment does not erase your personality. If you are hard to get along with, getting enlightenment will not change that.
I get your point, but I want to quibble. I want to suggest that enlightenment in the terms you use it should eradicate the neurotic attributes that make some folk not at all very nice. Of course the core personality may not change its essential style - but there's a distinction to be made between 'niceness' as an aesthetic attribute and 'incense' as opposed to nastiness.

For example I work with people with whom I have no easy flow, but who are still people of integrity and compassion. I would not say interacting with them is pleasant (i.e. not nice), but I also know their integrity is impeccable (i.e. they are a nice person).

Its an important distinction.
 
#88
There are reported hellish NDEs, the altruistic nature of me ask who or how can we help change the hellish dimension these people might suffer from in the afterlife.
Lets distinguish between an NDE and actual death. A hellish NDE is a relative state that might actually serve as a wake up experience for the experiencer.

All experience is an intersection of subjective states, and we talk about NDEs as if what is experienced is as concrete as we think physical experience is. What are the subjective agents who contribute to any kind of NDE experience?

It is important to understand that what we register as dream experiences are often otherwise lucid OOBE experiences that are registered by the brain's intimate capacity for metaphor. The 'other reality' is not fixed or concrete, but the reflex of our consciousness is to render it ways that are meaningful and familiar to us. Our reflex is metaphor.

The other participating consciousness interact with our own to create experience that is meaningful to us. That is how meaning is conveyed. If, for example, then only medium of powerful spiritual experience we have is Jesus, then that will be the metaphor employed. If there is nothing much, but some vague residue of a notion of Christian hell, then you can bet your boots that emotional content will be activated and magnified.

There are dangers in death as the spirit is released from the flesh. Those dangers are subjective, which makes them more potent than supposedly objective dangers. A subjective danger can trap us for a whole lifetime - and beyond. A hellish NDE should be seen as a blessing. Its what some folk need.
 
#89
I get your point, but I want to quibble. I want to suggest that enlightenment in the terms you use it should eradicate the neurotic attributes that make some folk not at all very nice. Of course the core personality may not change its essential style - but there's a distinction to be made between 'niceness' as an aesthetic attribute and 'incense' as opposed to nastiness.

For example I work with people with whom I have no easy flow, but who are still people of integrity and compassion. I would not say interacting with them is pleasant (i.e. not nice), but I also know their integrity is impeccable (i.e. they are a nice person).

Its an important distinction.
On what are you basing your belief that "enlightenment should eradicate neurotic attibutes"? Is it based on something you read or is it based on people you know? If it is theoretical can you explain the mechanics of it, how it works, in detail? Why do you think that should that be true?

I don't want to argue about the definition of "nice", that is why I explained that what I meant is that if you are hard to get along with before enlightenment, you will be hard to get along with after enlightenment. I am basing this on my observations of people who were enlightened who were still thin skinned, deceptive, insensitive, hypocritical, etc... There have been many sexual scandals involving enlightened teachers and their victims suffered.

A lot of personality is deeply ingrained in the brain: word selection, tone of voice, personal habits, sensitivity to others etc etc. Noticing something about how the mind works can change your perception of your "self", but it doesn't completely rewire the brain you have been training all your life to the extent that it erases your personality.

Theoretically, enlightenment should make one easy going because nothing can hurt your feelings and you don't care what happens to your body because you don't feel like you have a self that can be harmed or insulted or can lose or can own a body, or can have something bad happen to it.

But, the thing they don't tell you until you have spent years meditating and probably a lot of money on retreats, and classes, and meditation cushions and robes and floor mats, and books, and magazine subscriptions, and incense, and voluntary donations, is that almost nobody perfects enlightenment. So yes even the first stage of enlightenment is a real phenomena and people experience less suffering and it is irreversible, but it is still not what you think.

I think certain types meditation can improve your personality to make you a nicer person. But that does not require enlightenment. It comes from changing your brain chemistry not any insight into self. That is what I have experienced.
 
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#90
On what are you basing your belief that "enlightenment should eradicate neurotic attibutes"? Is it based on something you read or is it based on people you know? If it is theoretical can you explain the mechanics of it, how it works, in detail? Why do you think that should that be true?
Hi Jim

I am working on the premise that to be 'enlightened' triggers a deeper awareness, and hence would express in some modification of conduct. I know I am less of a dick as I awaken to deeper insights as I respond to my acquired disability. I know that because people I know and love tell me this is so.

I am aware that in some traditions that 'enlightenment' seems to be a status claim that involves alleged 'rational' knowledge, but no change of heart. Earlier this year I read of a yoga school in India that was bragging about how long their guru spent in meditation - and, ergo, how enlightened he was. Rubbish. I know frequent meditators who are still dicks after years of practice. They think that because they meditate they have insights we do not have.

I am a growing fan of the Wisdom Tradition. Now this may be a fiction of age, to be honest. I am old enough to appreciate that the wisdom of experience trumps the arrogance of knowledge. That tradition make sense to me, at last.

For me 'enlightenment' is a conceit mostly. It is never a thing a truly enlightened person would claim for themselves, and its nothing an 'unenlightened' person would know about.

Wisdom is pretty much the same thing. The wise do not say they are wise - maybe more experienced? Those who are not wise can only guess, according to their biases.

I am less stupid than I used to be. I know that of myself, from the professional and personal feedback I get. I have colleagues with disability who exhibit deep insight in some things, but they are still stupid - and we all know it. We strive to be less stupid, more authentic. Its something we work hard at.

The term 'enlightened' tends to suggest attainment of an end point - beyond which one entered a higher stream of awareness. There may be a point beyond which illusions cease to have hold and conceits cease to cloud awareness. But I suspect those who transition would not care to be called 'enlightened'.

I have had conversations with entities so far beyond my pay grade I struggled with embarrassment (for me) to sound like the idiot I was. If they constituted 'enlightenment' we have a hell of a way to go. They make our conceit of being intelligent and advanced sound childish. These agents do not pander to our egos, so they can seem to be 'remote'. The reality is that our level of foggy awareness does not register with them, and coming 'down to our level' is difficult and unpleasant to them.

I would say that genuinely 'enlightened' entities are remote from us in terms of empathy with the human condition. But they are close to us in love and compassion.
 
#91
Hi Jim

I am working on the premise that to be 'enlightened' triggers a deeper awareness, and hence would express in some modification of conduct. I know I am less of a dick as I awaken to deeper insights as I respond to my acquired disability. I know that because people I know and love tell me this is so.

I am aware that in some traditions that 'enlightenment' seems to be a status claim that involves alleged 'rational' knowledge, but no change of heart. Earlier this year I read of a yoga school in India that was bragging about how long their guru spent in meditation - and, ergo, how enlightened he was. Rubbish. I know frequent meditators who are still dicks after years of practice. They think that because they meditate they have insights we do not have.

I am a growing fan of the Wisdom Tradition. Now this may be a fiction of age, to be honest. I am old enough to appreciate that the wisdom of experience trumps the arrogance of knowledge. That tradition make sense to me, at last.

For me 'enlightenment' is a conceit mostly. It is never a thing a truly enlightened person would claim for themselves, and its nothing an 'unenlightened' person would know about.

Wisdom is pretty much the same thing. The wise do not say they are wise - maybe more experienced? Those who are not wise can only guess, according to their biases.

I am less stupid than I used to be. I know that of myself, from the professional and personal feedback I get. I have colleagues with disability who exhibit deep insight in some things, but they are still stupid - and we all know it. We strive to be less stupid, more authentic. Its something we work hard at.

The term 'enlightened' tends to suggest attainment of an end point - beyond which one entered a higher stream of awareness. There may be a point beyond which illusions cease to have hold and conceits cease to cloud awareness. But I suspect those who transition would not care to be called 'enlightened'.

I have had conversations with entities so far beyond my pay grade I struggled with embarrassment (for me) to sound like the idiot I was. If they constituted 'enlightenment' we have a hell of a way to go. They make our conceit of being intelligent and advanced sound childish. These agents do not pander to our egos, so they can seem to be 'remote'. The reality is that our level of foggy awareness does not register with them, and coming 'down to our level' is difficult and unpleasant to them.

I would say that genuinely 'enlightened' entities are remote from us in terms of empathy with the human condition. But they are close to us in love and compassion.
Okay, we are working with different definitions of enlightenment. That is why I mentioned Buddhism because I meant Buddhist enlightenment. I have found it necessary to be clear about what I mean because there are at least 21 definitions of enlightenment.
 
#92
I have had conversations with entities so far beyond my pay grade I struggled with embarrassment (for me) to sound like the idiot I was. If they constituted 'enlightenment' we have a hell of a way to go. They make our conceit of being intelligent and advanced sound childish. These agents do not pander to our egos, so they can seem to be 'remote'. The reality is that our level of foggy awareness does not register with them, and coming 'down to our level' is difficult and unpleasant to them.
Have you written about this anywhere? I would be interested in hearing about your experiences, how you made contact, what they had to say etc.

Did they give you any useful advice? My experiences are that they are willing to tell me everything they want me to know and very little about what I want to know.


"we have a hell of a way to go"
Heh.
 
#93
What I meant is that if you are hard to get along with before enlightenment you will be hard to get along with after enlightenment. I am basing this on my observations of people who were enlightened who were still thin skinned, deceptive, insensitive, hypocritical, etc... There have been many sexual scandals involving enlightened teachers and their victims suffered.
But these folk claim to be enlightened. There is no evidence they are. As you say "There have been many sexual scandals involving enlightened" . But change that statement to read "There have been many sexual scandals involving teachers who have claimed to be enlightened" and you get a different perspective.

The truthful do not say "Let me be honest". The generous do not say "I am a generous person." Why would we imagine that the enlightened and the wise would claim to be enlightened or wise?

Many Christian families have suffered because they took at face value the credentials of a man that the Church proclaimed to be ordained by the grace of God into his service. And yet that person was utterly unworthy of such an office, such trust, such privilege.

Nothing makes us who we are but who we are - no culture, no tradition, no status, no office, no rank, no station, no position. Nothing external transforms us. We can be inspired by external descriptors to be better than we are, but they never can transform us by any magic into being more than we authentically are.

I do not think we are dealing with people who are 'enlightened', only those who claim it for themselves, or accept the mantle from others who really have no qualification to confer it.

In the Christian tradition it is vital understand that the ordination of priests is a ritual that is predominantly an organisational fiat. It does not any actual divine grace to be conferred. In contrast a shaman is selected by spirit. I am not saying that no humans are 'enlightened' - just that they won't say they are, and their boosters are not qualified to make the claim. Its a bit like the problem Jesus faced before Pilate.
 
#94
But these folk claim to be enlightened. There is no evidence they are.
We are working with different definitions of enlightenment. I don't disagree with anything you have said. What you have said is consistent with the definition you are using.

In Buddhism a teacher can verify someone is enlightened because they can describe an experience. You can't get this from a book or from another person.

That is one function of koans. Someone who is enlightened will answer them differently than someone who is not. In Zen they have something called dharma combat. You can't fake being a black belt in a marital art and you can't fake Buddhist enlightenment.
 
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#95
Okay, we are working with different definitions of enlightenment. That is why I mentioned Buddhism because I meant Buddhist enlightenment. I have found it necessary to be clear about what I mean because there are at least 21 definitions of enlightenment.
Thank you for clarifying. Personally I think Buddhism suffers from excessive rationalisation, and those 21 definitions are an instance of such. I read a lot of Buddhism a long time ago. You can turn a fairly simple premise into an industry. Christianity became an industry that somehow managed to weave around the essential message of Christ - by making it conditional on bunch of bullshit requirements to conform to rules that had nothing to do with the core message.

The same problems were evident in Hinduism when Buddhism was developed. For me none of those definitions of enlightenment are worth a bean. I have a more Zen approach, personally. Strive for existential authenticity persistently - and use whatever means will get you there. But always remember that some of those 'means' are no more than a justification for staying put. That's okay. That is what we need sometimes. We don't have to bullshit about it.

I think we get sucked into the delusions and conceits of enlightenment because cultures become comfort zones and nobody is honest about it. We are not on all the time. Its okay to indulge in being a decent person for a time and enjoying the fruits that brings. It is when we are filled with guilt that we become vulnerable to predation by 'enlightened' liars and frauds. Somehow our aspiration to be good allows predators and abusers to flourish amongst us, often as leaders.
 
#96
Thank you for clarifying. Personally I think Buddhism suffers from excessive rationalisation, and those 21 definitions are an instance of such. I read a lot of Buddhism a long time ago. You can turn a fairly simple premise into an industry. Christianity became an industry that somehow managed to weave around the essential message of Christ - by making it conditional on bunch of bullshit requirements to conform to rules that had nothing to do with the core message.

The same problems were evident in Hinduism when Buddhism was developed. For me none of those definitions of enlightenment are worth a bean. I have a more Zen approach, personally. Strive for existential authenticity persistently - and use whatever means will get you there. But always remember that some of those 'means' are no more than a justification for staying put. That's okay. That is what we need sometimes. We don't have to bullshit about it.

I think we get sucked into the delusions and conceits of enlightenment because cultures become comfort zones and nobody is honest about it. We are not on all the time. Its okay to indulge in being a decent person for a time and enjoying the fruits that brings. It is when we are filled with guilt that we become vulnerable to predation by 'enlightened' liars and frauds. Somehow our aspiration to be good allows predators and abusers to flourish amongst us, often as leaders.
I like Buddhism because they have a lot of useful meditation and mindfulness techniques. It has made a huge difference in my life, for the better.
 
#97
In Buddhism a teacher can verify someone is enlightened because they can describe an experience. You can't get this from a book or from another person.
Sorry Jim, I disagree. Experiences don't constitute enlightenment. Its a state of mind, if anything. Its when you 'get it', when things 'click', 'come together'. I get the logic of your proposition, but I think the term is either misapplied or mistranslated.

On the basis of personal experience, I have been a serial experiencer of paranormal things, but the real transformative experiences in my life have been when I have personally registered a deep existential awakening to some essential element of being human (mostly getting that I have been an arrogant and insensitive dick - and I have along way to go yet)). The idea that 'enlightenment' is sequential and experiential is almost idiotic to me. I do not want to offend your Buddhist adherence. Maybe I moved away from Buddhism before the current model was developed. But its nothing like I recall, and yet close to why I walked away from it - too constrained by schools of thought that had no echo with me.

I would be concerned by any claim that a Buddhist teacher could confirm a person is enlightened. Why would they do that? If I said to you that you are enlightened, what would that mean to you? I know people who have been told they are spiritually advanced. No they are not. They are twats - ignorant ones at that - and bloody irritating because they think they are 'wise' or, (god forbid) enlightened.
 
#98
I like Buddhism because they have a lot of useful meditation and mindfulness techniques. It has made a huge difference in my life, for the better.
I get that. I deeply appreciated my involvement with Buddhism too. Please don't think I am dissing Buddhism per se. I am not. I took a tour through Eastern spiritual philosophy over a number of years. I was ultimately more attracted to Taoism and Zen. I was deeply enriched by that journey and I remain profoundly grateful for it.

But my destiny was to engage in Western thought. I still pine for Zen at times.

The methods are fine. I agree they are deeply useful. But the culture and tradition is, I submit, a different matter. For starters I do not think that we did a good job translating the deeper implications of the tradition or in interpreting the difference between culture and functional practice. I think it took me at least 2 decades to clear the misinterpretations out of my mind - but then I could have been singularly stupid and naive.

I think we pick what we need these days, so I am not about to put any path down. I will, however, be frank about my experience with it. I have ended up with a personal mixture of Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Zen, Wiccan, Hermetic, Qabalistic and Christian influences. I have no business telling others what is what.
 
#99
Have you written about this anywhere? I would be interested in hearing about your experiences, how you made contact, what they had to say etc.

Did they give you any useful advice? My experiences are that they are willing to tell me everything they want me to know and very little about what I want to know.
Well I was pretty much told from the outset that this wasn't about me being told stuff, I was to learn how to think and learn. I won't discuss the details in a public forum. You are free to contact me off line.

The contact is ongoing, as is the education. I think, under guidance, I am becoming less stupid - but it is taking an awfully long time. But that's maybe because I have a benchmark now. There's nothing more sobering than being put in your place by an agency that makes you feel like you are a 2 year old talking to Einstein about his theories.

We think we are an 'advanced' intelligence? We have no flaming idea!
 
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