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Paul: "The problem with 'mystical knowing' that I see isn't that it's not valid, but that it's not transferable to those who do not know you or have a similar direct experience. There is no way to be certain that your 'knowing' represents a 'fact' that I would also consider to be a 'fact' if I had the same experience."

I definitely can understand and empathize with this problem, to a point. While I never expect anybody to take for granted or believe the mystical experiences I've had (I never mind when somebody is skeptical), I would say that having had some of those experiences myself makes it easier to consider experiences reported by others as plausible. Especially when they come from what seems to be a reasonable source -- a person who speaks about their experiences in a quiet, humble, non-promotional way.

I wouldn't say this knowledge and practice is non-transferable, either. When it comes to having mystical experiences, I would suggest that any "honest seeker for truth" can test a theory out for themselves. I suspect that if consciousness is in fact fundamental, there is only so far the scientific method can take us with objective experimentation anyway. At some point direct experience will be far more valuable and important.

I sometimes use the analogy of taking a test in advanced mathematics. If I was to sit down right now and take that test I might get a few questions right, but to score well on such a test it would help me to take a course (or several courses) and spend lots of time practicing the principles of mathematics before taking the test.

To me, Truth with a capital "T" should have something solid supporting it, and be demonstrable. The trick is ascertaining what that is from our very limited human perspective. In order to have these types of mystical experiences, lots of study and practice is required. At least it's that way for me -- perhaps I'm not a natural. :)

Lynn: "I must say though, I think it is time the psychological sciences saw near death phenomena and psychic experiences as valid research material. After all, field studies are deemed relevant and used to study culture, language etc. In essence it looks at peoples personal experiences, so experience is a relevant research tool and could be used to study psychic phenomena across cultures, or as a subject for a meta analysis."

I couldn't agree with you more, Lynn. If the science establishment admitted that the research on these topics was both valid and convincing, it would take us a long way toward having a grown-up discussion about the true nature of reality.

I think it will happen eventually.

Thanks Bruce. I now get the point you're making :)

Bruce: "You tend to give more weight to science, reason, and language than I do. If those were my priorities, I suppose I could agree with your quote up top. But I lean towards the mystical path, as you know. I feel more secure when I put my trust in insights gained through direct experience."

I definitely think a little bit more like you do, Bruce. I think the hang-up when the word "God" comes into the discussion -- for many people, at least -- is that we all have different views on what this word means.

I believe in a God, but it's nothing like the one that a creationist would believe in.

As stated above, I personally have a hard time seeing where this is all going without direct experience. Even if reality ends up being somewhat different than what I currently believe it to be, consciousness does seem to play a prominent part, and it seems very hard to test any such theory with the objective tools science currently has. Seeing different parts of the brain light up when people think about certain subjective things is very different than actually having those thoughts yourself. How can thoughts be measured and compared when they are so subjective? How can a person describe a thinking process to somebody else (and check to see if that other person got it) when they can't actually see the thoughts?

I guess that's why I feel as you do: direct experience must become increasingly important as we evolve in our consciousness.

"I think the hang-up when the word "God" comes into the discussion -- for many people, at least -- is that we all have different views on what this word means."

One of my favorite explanations for God comes from Anita Moorjani's book about her NDE: "God is not a being, but a state of being."

j9: ”I have to say that I am a big believer in things happening because you "put them out in the universe.”

I wouldn't argue with you if it wasn't for your story about the deadly accident, loading guilt on your shoulders because of your beliefs. If it was easy to unintentionally hasten somebody's death, we would probably have seen millions of people dying because of all the accumulated hate being directed against them. We would see people being hated die more often than others in accidents or diseases. I haven't had that experiences (sometimes it seems to be the opposite) and I don't know of anything supporting it. Contrary, cruelty seems to rule in many places, despite some black magic efforts trying to change the state of being.

On the other hand, synchronicity I've experienced several times. Different special events sometimes somehow coincidence with an infinitesimal probability. If we assume that everything is more or less connected with each other, the meaning of coincidence will alter and synchronicity will be one of the consequences of how spacetime works. Still 'coincidence' is a valid term for most of our everyday experiences. Quite often, but actually just according to chance, we will experience strange coincidences in our lives. Perhaps your experience is one of them. On the other hand, many of us here know that our minds to some extent seem to effect the outcome of some types of future events. But then we need to work on it. A hasty comment is not sufficient, especially not in the macroscopic world. Your comment could emerge from precognition. You spoke the words not long before you were going to be aware of the tragedy. Feel no guilt, whatsoever!

Hi Jackson

I wouldn't say this knowledge and practice is non-transferable, either. When it comes to having mystical experiences, I would suggest that any "honest seeker for truth" can test a theory out for themselves.

The practice may be transferable but I don't see how the knowledge is, unless I experience it for myself of course, in which case I have acquired the knowledge directly and not by transfer.

It's true a seeker can 'try the theory out' as you say, but in my own experience this isn't easy, or predictable, or even guaranteed to produce a result if one tries for long enough.

What you say almost sounds like the kind of thing 'believers' always seem to say to to be honest - 'when you pray/try/believe enough, you too will experience what I have. If you haven't it's your own fault - either that or 'god' doesn't think you're ready for it yet'. I'm not saying that's what you're saying, but to me it does sound like that.

Who knows? You may be right :)

Immm impressive.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GCYqauLhCg

lyn x.

Hi Paul,

Hmmm, let me see if I can explain this a little better. You may or may not agree with me, of course, but that is OK. Healthy debate is about sharing ideas.

I should start with what I know. I know I've had a number of healing experiences, some of which can't be explained by any kind of materialist paradigm. I know that these experiences came about by studying a certain set of ideas. I know many others who've also had healings by studying these same ideas. So from that standpoint, I would argue, that these types of experiences are repeatable by studying these certain set of ideas.

Is everyone who turns to these ideas healed? Of course not. But the same can be said for any healing practice -- whether material or spiritual in nature.

I like the analogy of trying to solve an advanced math problem. Perhaps I can do it, perhaps I can't. Does it mean the problem doesn't have a solution if I fail to solve it? Of course not. But the Principle of mathematics is still very much intact and functioning. It just means that I don't personally understand how to solve this particular problem yet.

Still, one can logically see that somebody who understands the Principle behind this mathematics problem COULD solve it.

Study and practice always helps!

For the record, I don't think whether a healing happens or not has anything to do with God thinking a person is ready yet or not. I don't see God as being this changeable, judgemental force that sometimes helps people and sometimes doesn't.

Eddy believed there was a divine law or metaphysical Principle in operation that anybody can test for themselves. To sum that up in simple terms, we're basically trying to see beyond the world of material illusions and to catch a glimpse of how God sees/knows us, our true selves: spiritual, perfect, and not bound by the limits of time and space.

I also know there are other spiritual traditions that have pursued direct experience as a way of knowing more about Truth, some of which I understand are repeatable for those willing to spend the time learning and practicing. I can't vouch for this personally, but I have Buddhist friends that have talked about mystical experiences they've had during meditation, and that it gets easier to access these experiences with practice.

A couple more thoughts:

1) If consciousness is primary as we suspect, it gets more difficult to know what kinds of experiences are real because they are actually accessing Truth, or because we just believe we are accessing Truth. I see this as being a little problematic. ie. What is caused by belief (placebo effect) and what is caused by Truth.

2) I expect there are multiple ways that lead people closer to Truth. I don't think any one teaching can claim they have the magic potion. However, I suspect there are probably some commonalities among these teachings.

Anyway, for what it's worth that's my two cents. :)

We all have or haven't our God(s) and most of us are happy with that, I think. I haven't paid much attention to the nature of God actually. I am content with my present divine relation. Nevertheless, the ongoing discussions and this nights inspiration made me write these lines. But I am not at all questioning anybody's faith or God. I consider them just as valid as mine. God has many faces. This is just another, to me very fresh, view.

Since I've been able to visualize something that I can describe as the contours of a version of spacetime (the only way I can understand it), I've also seen its dynamic behaviour. Actually, I got the impression of a living organism (I'm not saying it is).

If there is a universal God, all over and everywhere, perhaps what the physicists are doing is trying to understand God. Our dualistic attitudes, where the divine is considered as something high and good, and the earthly layer as something low and not so good, might lead us wrong. Remember, energy and mass are interchangeable and each can turn into the other. Matter and light are like the two sides of the same coin. The string theory (though just an unproven mathematical approach) that tell us that everything is made of vibrating strings, to me seems to unify dirt and spirit in an almost divine way (but not necessarily true).

The birth of Universe was so powerful and is so hard to understand that it, at least to me, looks like a divine event, perhaps the birth (or expansion) of God. I think no human could have written a stronger creation tale.

The insight that a tiny quantum wave can extend back to the beginning of Universe, into the future and over huge volumes of space is thrilling. The bonded energy in a grain of salt incredible. The revealed nature of Cosmos is so strange, so overwhelming and so hard to grasp that it well can qualify as the body of God (I leave the spirit out).

If God is Cosmos, God is in the light, God is in the darkness of the black holes and God is within all of us. God is in the past and God is in the future. A tiny part of God is manifested as matter, but most of God is unknown energy.

I like what you have to say Rossoli, and can empathize with how to come to terms with something you've directly experienced.

I might word it slightly differently. Rather than saying there are many gods, I would suggest there is only one God or universal consciousness, but that there are many ways to understand, relate and interact with this divine creative force (ie. there is no specific pathway or religion that is the RIGHT one, but anything that takes us closer to understanding peace and love and helping us shed hate and fear is taking us in the right direction). That is perhaps why there are so many variations on this theme of "God."

Not sure if anyone here is familiar with Anita Moorjani, but she had an amazing experience during an NDE. Not only was the NDE long and deep during thirty hours of being in a coma, but she had a remarkable healing of stage four lymphoma. Within four days of her return, cancerous growths the size of lemons had shrunk by 70%, and shortly thereafter she was fully healed.

She wrote a book about it titled "Dying to be Me," which is based on her account featured on the NDERF website.

http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/anita_m%27s_nde.htm

I particularly enjoyed the interview with her, which starts halfway down the page. I like that she doesn't use overly religious language (though I don't personally mind), because I know it can be off-putting for some people.

"Not sure if anyone here is familiar with Anita Moorjani,"

She's great! I guess you missed my response (June 18, 2013 at 01:07 AM) to one of your previous comments.

Jackson, there's also the option that God is a human, spiritually realized but very local, design. That the combined minds of every religion create its own spiritual offshoots. Just as we can create ghosts, we can create gods out of spiritual energy. Feeding them with our emotions and thoughts about them. No humans no God. And that the anthropocentric nature of our minds tend to extrapolate our beliefs to the entire Universe. But the fact that the human mind and the Earth are so tiny ingredients, invisible, in the total of cosmos, make me feel a bit hesitant to a universal God that we can communicate with (of course, we mustn't). To communicate with God, we need a face, literally speaking. The face can be just an emotion (deep love) or perhaps an image. But this face we shouldn't expect to find anywhere else in Cosmos than here. It seems as we have many local gods in Earth's spiritual vicinity. Some are nice. Some are not. I think both your's and mine are very nice.

"Not sure if anyone here is familiar with Anita Moorjani..." -Jackson

Yes, she's the one who thinks some humans don't have souls. We all know her well.

"God is not a being, but a state of being." - Bruce.

If this is so, Bruce, how do you believe the universe begin and how did the laws governing it come into being? Was it a kind of collective committee of primeval Pythagorean ideas? No co-ordinator needed?


"Yes, she's the one who thinks some humans don't have souls."

I think that's Nanci Danison, author of "Backwards." I don't recall Moorjani saying this.

"That the combined minds of every religion create its own spiritual offshoots.............."

I have pondered those possibilities, Russoli, and I think they cannot be dismissed lightly. It would imply that "god" is evolving; another idea that I cannot toss aside (see the great debate between myself, Bruce and Matt Rouge here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/tamsonh on the Cosmic Game by Grof thread).

"I think that's Nanci Danison, author of "Backwards""

Yep. It's Danison that says that. Sigh.....

"I think that's Nanci Danison, author of "Backwards." I don't recall Moorjani saying this"

Sorry, yes, I get the two confused.

Bruce: "She's great! I guess you missed my response to one of your previous comments."

Yes I did miss your comment, Bruce. Sorry about that! :)

Rossoll: I've read over your remarks a few times, and I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at. Sorry about that.

I think you're saying the God that you believe it might be human, and that to assume otherwise seems silly considering the size and scale of the cosmos.

I have a tough time envisioning God as being human with spiritual properties, but that is just my opinion.

From studies into NDEs and mediumship, it does appear that time and space are not the same in the realm of pure consciousness, and therefore I can envision one infinite God, or Mind, being able to govern the entirety of the cosmos, while at the same time being aware of each individual idea -- whether that idea resides on what we know as earth, or in some distant solar system.

I just think it's hard to wrap our heads around nonlocal time and space -- and understand it -- which is why this idea likely seems illogical. However, perhaps this will become easier once we've evolved as a civilization and learned to experience it directly on a consistent basis.

One of my favorite explanations for God comes from Anita Moorjani's book about her NDE: "God is not a being, but a state of being." Posted by: Bruce Siegel | June 18, 2013 at 01:07 AM
A similar thought was expressed more concisely and explosively by Art Kleps, back in the 60s:
"God has no IQ."

God is pure consciousness and every living thing in the Universe is part of that consciousness in much the same way that the characters in a Holodeck novel on the Starship Enterprise are generated by the starship's computer.

excerpt from Michelle M's NDE description:
"I remember understanding the others here, as if the others here were a part of me too. As if all of it was just a vast expression of me. But it wasn't just me, it was .. gosh this is so hard to explain.. it was as if we were all the same. As if consciousness were like a huge being. The easiest way to explain it would be like all things are all different parts of the same body."
http://www.nderf.org/NDERF/NDE_Experiences/michelle_m%27s_nde.htm

excerpt from "Riding the Dragon" from Transcendental Experiences of Scientists:
"I was astonished to see that the man's legs seemed somehow to be elongating through the concrete floor! As I visually followed them "down" they appeared to merge with a very large, living structure which appeared to be the back of some sort of truly enormous reptile.

I was quite confused by this, as one might imagine, and looked intently to determine what I was seeing. The image did not fade, but became ever more clear. As I looked around, I saw that the same "connection" was true of everyone in the room. Each stood revealed to me as a kind of animated extrusion from the body of the beast - individual, but of a piece with the same living organism."
http://www.issc-taste.org/arc/dbo.cgi?set=expom&id=00070&ss=1

excerpt from Carl Turner's mystical experience:
"My awareness was somehow intensified to a level that is not humanly possible. "I" was the awareness I was experiencing and that is the part that I find frustrating to communicate. I had the realization that I was everywhere at the same time...and I mean everywhere."
http://www.beyondreligion.com/su_personal/dreamsvisions-kundalini.htm

You know how when you watch a DVD of a movie and it seems like the movie is taking place in time and space? Well in actuality a lot of the scenes in that movie were probably shot out of sequence and then stitched together to tell a story.

You think you are watching something that is taking place in time and space but it really isn't. All that information is stored on a disc and when you finish that movie you put the dish back in it's sleeve and store it away.

You can think of what is taking place here as sort of a 3 dimensional holographic novel, made up of information, and we are like the actors in that movie, playing our parts, identifying with the characters, but instead of knowing that we are just actors we believe that we really are those characters.

It has to be that way so it evokes the emotion necessary to imprint on the soul the lessons it needs to learn. We have to believe it's all real so that feel the emotion - because there is a very close connection between emotion and memory. The more emotional the experience the more powerful and long lasting the memory it creates.

Jackson, ”I've read over your remarks a few times, and I'm not sure I understand what you're getting at. ”. I'm not shore either :) These are indeed complex questions, perhaps with no final answers. I'm not afraid of exposing contradictory alternatives. I try to keep my mind open.

”I think you're saying the God that you believe it might be human, and that to assume otherwise seems silly considering the size and scale of the cosmos.” I don't use the word 'silly'. That would be silly, I think. I am hesitant. I am open to different possibilities.

If God is consciousness and consciousness permeates throughout Universe, embracing life where it can be found, I have no problems with the idea. The problem I have is that to me, consciousness seems to be closely related to minds, something very scarce in Cosmos. Since 99.9999... % of the content in Universe is no mind stuff (unless we assume that the dark energy, driving the expansion of Universe, is conscious), I find it hard to see why consciousness should occupy a space where mind-like processes are 'almost' non existing. The processes find out there are mostly nuclear processes in the stars.

But, if God actually is Cosmos itself, I have less problems with an idea that consciousness is a property popping up here and there and by a web-like nature of spacetime eventually connects at some level, though not necessarily forming a mind-like consciousness with all parts closely related.

The idea of a local God, closely related to our minds, seems more logical to me, just now. But it doesn't make the alternative views silly. I mean, the whole spacetime idea just looks crazy!

”I just think it's hard to wrap our heads around nonlocal time and space -- and understand it -- which is why this idea likely seems illogical. ” I've really struggled a lot trying to understand it. It's really above our heads. Without maths we wouldn't even discuss it. To eventually grasp it intellectually we must simplify it.

"Since 99.9999... % of the content in Universe is no mind stuff (unless we assume that the dark energy, driving the expansion of Universe, is conscious), I find it hard to see why consciousness should occupy a space where mind-like processes are 'almost' non existing." -Rossoli

Good point. Two possibilities occur to me: 1. If our universe is just one of billions, or if the physical is only a small part of myriad meta-physical dimensions, mind might overall be much more evident than it is in our dark corner of reality.

2. If our Universe is basically "It", then Earth and other inhabited planets might be Ahriman's attempt to prove to God that life is worthwhile; he has until the Big Rip is complete to make his case (at which point God dissipates).

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