The following is posted for Seekers as a valuable seminal thread to be pulled at and unravelled as an important step on the path.
Nothing in this spiritual serendipity should be hurried as mere narrative. Each phrase is laden with direction. Therefore each phrase should be taken on its own. It should be spiritually digested with reverence to attain its full effect before moving onto the next phrase.
To help identify the phrases, they have been separated and underlined to show how to recognise and stabilise contemplation/meditation one phrase at a time.
Each phrase could take you a year or more of contemplation – or become an immediate blinding light of knowing. (Each of us is programmed to our own individual needs, in my experience of the mystical experiences of Reality, MERs) :
“The Universe is a projection of Consciousness,
“an Evolution from Pure Universal Consciousness to individual consciousness
“to ego, to the intellect and mind, to the senses and finally to the physical body.
“Meditation is an Involution, a return journey from the gross, manifest world to subtler and subtler levels until you arrive back Home in Pure Consciousness.
“The good news, therefore, is that in your essence, you’re already Enlightened, perfect in every way.
“Unfortunately, the bad news is that you’ve forgotten it and live these less-than-perfect lives.
“Meditation reconnects you with your essence, your perfection.”
An excerpt from “A Brief History of Meditation: From Before the Big Bang to Now” by Roger Gabriel (Raghavanand), published in the March newsletter of the Chopra Center, chopra.com.
Dr. Paul Brunton tells us how he came to what he calls “spiritual consciousness”, in his book, THE SECRET PATH – a modern technique of Self Discovery:
“My confidence stands serene that I can make good my thesis against all comers, but only if they are prepared to undertake the same psychological experiments which I undertook. The thoughts I now give out did not come to me after long argument; they came after long experience. Whoever, therefore, would understand them aright, must be willing to invite the same experience, and this will come readily enough if he is to keep on finding truth as he is on his other and more mundane affairs.”
Paul Brunton is the pen name of Raphael Hurst, a British theosophist and spiritualist. He is best known as one of the early popularizers of Neo-Hindu spiritualism in western esotericism, notably via his bestselling A Search in Secret India. Died: July 27, 1981, Vevey, Switzerland”
THE SECRET PATH was published in 1988 as a second printing by Samuel Weiser Inc., Box 612, York Beach, Maine., USA, 03910, but was first published in London, England, in 1935. This was one of 11 of Brunton’s books on the subject.
See www.paulbrunton.org for the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation.
We were discussing my mystical experiences of Reality (MER) in the Mexican sunshine when my friend said:
“So after all that, where are we in this conversation now? I mean, do you know who you are any more?”
I said, “I’m not a Who, I’m a What.”
This is the kind of enigmatic reply you get from gurus (not that I’m a guru) that so exasperated me in the early days. It annoyed my friend too, I could hear his eyeballs click as his eyes rolled. But now I understood why the elucidations of so many gurus were and are so enigmatic.
Why? Because if the gurus give a full explanation all the questioner gets is the guru’s definition. But if the questioner is left to work the answer out from the guru’s deliberately enigmatic clue, the questioner finally owns the answer as a personal experience. Some would say that’s why humans are humans – here to record their experiences. (George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, used to say: “I know what the gospels and the prophets say, but Friend, what sayest thou …? ).
Personal experience is the beginning of wisdom,it is knowing rather than second hand description, like having to work out how to shell the peanut before making the experience of eating the peanut uniquely yours. It’s like seeds sown yourself making you understand the results in all weathers and climates.
This is just a material explanation of the importance of experience. As the true experience of Reality is indescribable but undeniable, you can see how important experience is compared to second hand reportage which is hearsay. It’s the difference between being an “awakened one” or “a sleepwalker”.
A paper menu for instance does not contain the nourishment of the actual experience of the food the menu is describing, however accurately.
From this you will see why Jesus’ disciple who was nicknamed “Doubting Thomas” was an exemplar of truth seeking.
Truth is hidden in experience. That’s why scientists experiment to get at materialistic truths but the mystics don’t have to because their experience has given them a completely different, macro perspective of existence …
My friend laughed, “So are going to tell me what a What is?”
I said, “You’re a friend. I would do you no favours by feeding you my answers. Feed yourself. You already know. The answer also comes with a lot of extras, all for you. Remove your veils…”
By Deepak Chopra
“Wisdom has grown scarce for the simple reason that it follows no model. Socrates made the point, and it got him into a great deal of trouble, that wisdom cannot be taught. You can teach data collection, the amassing of facts, and many branches of knowledge, but wisdom stands apart. True wisdom leads to such things as insight, intuition, depth of experience, self-awareness, and humility before mysteries that will never be fully comprehended.
“Because wisdom contradicts the certainty that models try to give us, it has had a hard time in society, as the death of Socrates shows. Society defends its favored and cherished models (which can be mythical, religious, animistic, scientific, and so on) with ferocity; certainty is not to be flouted.
“Wisdom calls for a totally different way of looking at reality. I will argue in the next post for taking the road back to wisdom. It is the only way to fulfill the infinite potential that human beings possess, and on a global scale, it is the only way we will reach desperately needed solutions.”
Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Chopra is the author of more than 85 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers.
His latest books are The Healing Self co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine.
The Symptoms of Higher Consciousness: 18 Unmistakable Signs of Spiritual Awakening
“What does it mean to be awake? What are the characteristics of the state of ‘spiritual wakefulness’ or ‘enlightenment’?
“I’ll summarise these characteristics or signs of spiritual awakening as they have emerged from my research. Then we’ll look at where these characteristics come from — that is, try to identify how the state of wakefulness gives rise to them.
“These characteristics of spiritual awakening are uniform. Typically, permanently awakened people experience all of these characteristics and usually at roughly the same degree of intensity.
“This uniformity is one of the most striking things to emerge from my research into the signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening and emphasizes the validity of seeing wakefulness as a distinct psychological state. The only significant variation is in terms of the overall intensity of wakefulness. The continuum of states of wakefulness (editors note: wakefulness is a term that refers to the state of being spiritually aware or awake at above average levels) ranges from less intense to very intense.
“The intensity of the characteristics of wakefulness obviously varies according to the intensity of a person’s overall wakefulness. That is, if a person experiences a high intensity of wakefulness, they will obviously also experience a high level of well-being, a high degree of mental quietness, a very pronounced tendency toward altruism, a very pronounced lack of group identity, and so on. The reverse obviously applies to someone with a lower intensity of wakefulness.
“It’s also worth noting that many of the characteristics I’m going to highlight are common to temporary spiritual awakening experiences, too.
“A New World: Perceptual Characteristics.
“The clearest way in which spiritual awakening manifests itself is in terms of the wakeful person’s different perception and experience of the world around them. One of the main signs or symptoms of an awakened individual is that they don’t perceive the world in the same way as other people do. The world is as different a place to them as the world of a child is to the world of an adult — or, you might say, as the world of a pre-civilized indigenous person is to the world of a modern Westerner.
Mystical experiences comment: Drs Richard Burke and Marsha Sinetar have suggested the existence of such individuals who have had these experiences, mystics, might suggest they are a different species. Certainly the Reality I have experienced is completely outside the human experience of existence.
“1. Intensified Perception
In wakefulness, perception is vivid and direct. Spiritually awakened people see the world in a very childlike way — struck by the wonder, beauty, and intricacy of phenomena that other people take for granted and don’t pay much attention to. One of the signs of spiritual awakening is that the world is a brighter, more fascinating and beautiful place to them. In particular, they are captivated by nature — the amazing is-ness and beauty of the natural landscape, the sky, and the sea; the strangeness, complexity, and intricacy of animals, plants, and other phenomena.
Not my experience. I take the existence of Reality for granted. Generally, I am not awed by human experiences.
“This intensity of perception is sometimes experienced as an openness to experience or, in slightly different terms, an increased sensitivity. It’s as if filters have been removed or shutters have been opened and, as a result, more impressions come into our minds and affect us more powerfully. As we’ve seen, intensified perception can sometimes feel overwhelming in sudden spiritual awakening experiences (as it can also be in psychedelic experiences), but it usually isn’t a problem once wakefulness becomes established.
Not entirely true of my experiences. They were so obvious, true, real, natural, blissful, benign, joyful, accepting, whole.
“All of the spiritually awakened individuals I interviewed commented on this intensified perception. One person told me how the world had become “sharper, more real,” while another was “struck by how fresh everything seems.” Another person remarked that “colours seemed brighter, more alive.” Others described a sense of awe and a new appreciation for simple pleasures and activities like walking, cooking, eating, and simply attending to their surroundings.
Not true to my experiences … Sounds suspiciously emotional to me – material mindstuff, human brain pleasure leakage, not a true mystical experience of Reality. Anthropomorphic?
“2. Increased Presentness / Timelessness
Another symptom of spiritual awakening is that also brings a different perception of time or, you might say, a shift in time orientation. In wakefulness, the past and the future become much less important, and the present becomes correspondingly more important. Awakened individuals spend much less time recalling past experiences or ruminating over past events, just as they spend less time looking forward to the future, daydreaming about future events or focusing on future goals. Instead, they focus on their present experience, on the surroundings they’re in, the people they’re with, and the sensations and impressions they’re having.
“For some people, this increased presentness leads to a sense of the expansiveness of time. Time seems to somehow open up, slow down, or even disappear all together. This sign of spiritual awakening is the sense of the eternal now that is sometimes described by mystics, when the past, future, and present all merge into one.
“Ultimately, the past and the future are concepts created by the human mind. We never actually experience either because our minds and bodies are always in the present. The past and the future only exist in thought, whereas the present does not exist in thought.
Never thought of the experiences or observed these effects as presented here, except for the recognition there really is no such thing as time. Time is a very helpful, convenient human strategy to get a handle on mundane human realities. It doesn’t exist in Reality.
“In addition, as I suggest in my book “Making Time”, our normal linear perception of time is a mental construct generated by our strong sense of ego. The weaker our sense of ego becomes, the more linear time seems to fade away. Our perception of time slows and expands — and eventually disappears into now-ness.
The growing elimination of ego is very noticeable and I think it might be one of the causes of my impatience, not to say outraged rejection of human posturing, public and private.
“3. Awareness of “Presence” or an All-Pervading Spiritual Energy
At higher intensities of spiritual awakening, we experience symptoms like becoming aware of a spiritual force that pervades all things and the spaces between things. In my research, one person described this as “a deep sense of a living presence within that is both magnificent and also very ordinary.” Another person described one of his symptoms of awakening as “a vast presence which is just infinite and pretty mind-blowing. Especially in nature.” Another person spoke of an “awesome presence” that he referred to as “God.” This force is sometimes described in terms of a “source,” something underlying and fundamental that doesn’t just pervade all things but gives rise to them, too. In a sense, all things are the manifestation of this force.
Yes, very definitely so. I often wonder if the Reality I experienced is what in ancient times was reduced to an anthropomorphised definition they called “God” to help them understand the phenomena. If so, the “God” definition falls far short of describing Reality. The human “God” is too small, too distorted with domestication …
“4. Aliveness, Harmony, and Connectedness
“At a lower intensity of wakefulness, a person may not be aware of this all-pervading spiritual force directly but they may still be able to indirectly sense its effects.
“One of the signs of spiritual awakening is a sense of aliveness. To the awakened person, there are no such things as inanimate objects. Even natural phenomena that aren’t biologically alive (such as clouds, sea, or stones) and manmade objects (such as pieces of furniture or buildings) shine with the radiant aliveness of spirit. Objects that are biologically alive become more powerfully animate. One spiritually awake woman described how “everything looked and felt ultra real and alive. I kept staring out of the window and just marveling… I could almost see the atoms in everything I looked at. I had the strongest feeling that everything was perfectly okay and perfect in the universe.”
A Sufi tradition is to keep a stone nearby to remind them from where humans emanated. The biblical Jesus is said to have spat on the earth to make mud to remind humans of their antecedents.
“This woman’s recollection touches on another indirect effect of this all-pervading spiritual force — a sense that “all is well.”
These are the actual words repeated to me three times in one of my experiences. They made no sense to me at the time. They do now. Humans and the Creation have not been abandoned to their own inadequacies. All is well.
“As spiritual texts and mystics tell us, the nature of this energy is blissful.
Yes. Blissful beyond human description.
“It has a quality of bliss or joy in the same way that water has a quality of wetness. So when we perceive its presence in the world, there’s a sense of harmony — again, an awareness that is commonly described by indigenous peoples. As a symptom of spiritual awakening, we sense that the universe is a benevolent place and that harmony and meaning are its fundamental qualities.
Reality is benign totally accepting of It’s engulfed creation. (Is this where the ancients got their certainty that “God is love”?).
“Finally, this spiritual energy underlies and pervades all things and so creates a sense of connectedness or oneness.
Yes. We are that Reality, as It is us.
“An awakened person may have the sense that the boundaries between superficially separate and distinct objects have melted away. They may still sense what some of my participants described as “the oneness of everything” or “the oneness of the universe.”
Yes, the “universe” is too small to contain the whole of Reality,
“When we experience spiritual awakenings, one common sign is that our inner life changes. There’s a shift in how we feel inside, in our psychological experience. This shift changes us so profoundly that, in a general sense, we feel as if we have a new identity, as if we have been reborn.
I wish I had realised this as my experiences happened. I struggled to the point of despair and death to come to terms with my humanity. I failed until a spiritual mentor reminded me that though I am a spiritual being first and foremost, I am still partly human for now, with all the duties and responsibilities being human entails privately and socially. Reality’s ways are not our ways. Our ways are not Reality’s ways ….
“We do take on a new identity as the wakeful self-system emerges and replaces the old self-system of sleep. In cases of gradual spiritual awakening, this identity shift happens very slowly, as the old self-system is gradually remolded into a different form. It may not even be a noticeable symptom or sign of spiritual awakening, except in retrospect. In sudden spiritual awakening experiences the shift is so abrupt and dramatic that many people can pinpoint the exact moment it occurs.
“In this section we’ll examine the inner changes and signs of spiritual awakening that contribute to this overall sense of becoming a completely different person.
“5. Inner Quietness
With spiritual awakening and enlightenment comes a dramatic reduction of the inner noise of our thought-chatter.
Not enough reduction for me!
“In our normal state, this streams through our mind almost constantly — a whirl of associations and images, worries and daydreams that only usually stops when our attention is absorbed in external things. This thought-chatter is such a normal part of our experience that many of us take it for granted. We’re so immersed in it — and so identified with it — that we don’t even realize it’s there, and we certainly don’t realize how powerfully it affects us. It disturbs our inner world, giving rise to negative thoughts and emotions. It disconnects us from the essence of our being, constantly reinforces our ego-identity, and strengthens our sense of separateness.
Oh yes … It’s the seminal burden of unenlightenment. But we’re getting there. A spiritual mentor affirmed: “There are no failures …” I sense he was right.
“Almost all of the awakened individuals I spoke to described similar spiritual awakening symptoms, although with variations. Some people — a small proportion — reported that their minds had become completely quiet, with a complete cessation of thought-chatter. More typically, though, people reported that there was still some thought activity in their minds but much less than before.
“Others reported that while thought-chatter was still there (although not as much as before), they felt less identified with it. They were able to stand back, observe their thoughts, and let them flow by without becoming immersed in or overly) affected by them.
Not as much as I’d like!
“6. Transcendence of Separation / Sense of Connection
In spiritual awakening and enlightenment, the sense of otherness between us and the world fades away. We no longer feel that we’re “in here” looking out at a world that seems to be “out there.” We no longer observe from a distance — we’re part of the flow of the world’s unfolding is-ness. Separation dissolves into connection. In the same way that we sense that all things are connected to each other, we feel that we’re connected to all things. We’re part of the oneness of all things.
“This sense of connection manifests itself in different ways and at different degrees of intensity as one of the signs of spiritual awakening. At the most basic level, a person may feel strongly connected to other human beings, other living beings in general, or to the whole natural world. A sense of connection to the spiritual force that pervades the whole universe and that forms the essence of our being may occur at higher intensities of wakefulness and is one of the main signs of spiritual awakening. In other words, we may not just be aware of this spiritual force but also feel connected to it.
“At a still higher intensity of spiritual wakefulness, a sense of connection may intensify into a sense of oneness. With this symptom of spiritual awakening, a person may feel that they exist in a state of unity with all things — even that they are all things. They may not just feel that they are one with the world but also that they actually are the world. Their sense of separation may dissolve away to the extent that there’s no distinction at all between them and what they perceive.
This is true, but getting repetitious here.
“7. Empathy and Compassion
This sense of connection is closely linked to the high levels of empathy and compassion associated with spiritual awakening. When we’re connected to other beings — animals and the natural world as well as human beings — we’re able to sense what they’re experiencing, to feel what they’re feeling. If they’re suffering, we sense it and feel the impulse to comfort them or try to alleviate their pain. We’re touched by other people’s pain because there’s no separation between our being and theirs.
“Empathy, in its deepest sense, is the ability to “feel with” other people by experiencing a shared sense of being with them. This ability to “feel with” other beings gives rise to compassion and love. Love stems from a sense of connection and oneness, a sense that you are another person — or other people — and so you belong to them and share their experience.
Compassion and empathy are fruits of the experiences but are hopeless to help humans still diseased with ego. (Many are called but few can be chosen to receive the fruits of Reality unless Reality has attended them first. The experience of Reality is caught from Reality, not taught or caught from humans).
Well-being is perhaps the most obvious symptom of spiritual awakening generated by wakefulness.
“Awakened individuals may not live in a state of complete uninterrupted bliss, but they are generally much more content than other people. One major source of this well-being is freedom from the psychological discord that plagues human beings in our sleep state — habitual worry about the future, feelings of negativity about the past, and a general sense of unease. Spiritually awakened people are much less prone to negative states such as boredom, loneliness, and dissatisfaction. The atmosphere of their inner world is less charged with negativity and much more harmonious.
“The feeling of well-being in spiritual awakening is related to a sense of appreciation. In wakefulness, people are more likely to feel a sense of gratitude for their health, freedom, loved ones, and other good things in their lives. In our sleep state, we likely take these things for granted and fail to appreciate their true value. Appreciation is an important sign and symptom of spiritual awakening, especially in terms of well-being because it helps free us from wanting. In Buddhist terms, we become free of craving and so free of the psychological suffering this creates.
Spiritual contentment is more profound and lasting than the unreliability, the fleeting fragility of the occasionalness of happiness.
“9. Absence of (or Decreased) Fear of Death
Fear in general decreases in the wakeful state and fear of death is our most fundamental fear. The ego feels especially fragile in the face of death. The fact that death could strike us down at any moment — and will eventually reduce everything we have achieved and accumulated to nothing — creates a basic sense of meaninglessness, especially if we don’t believe in the possibility of life after death.
“This decreased fear of death is related to the transcendence of the separate ego — another sign and symptom of spiritual awakening. Because our own ego isn’t the epicenter of our universe anymore, its demise no longer seems such a tragic prospect. We know that our own death isn’t the end of all things; the world that is part of our identity will continue.
“However, perhaps the main reason why the awakened person loses fear of death is because of a different attitude toward — and understanding of — death. Spiritual awakening brings an understanding that death isn’t the end, that the essence of our being will continue to exist after the dissolution of our bodies.
“From the materialistic worldview derived from our sleep state, it seems completely clear that there’s no life after death. Our consciousness is just the product of brain activity; when our brain stops functioning, our consciousness ceases, too. But from the spiritually awakened perspective, reality is more complex than this. The essence of our being transcends our brain and our individual identity. Death isn’t the end of consciousness but a transformation of consciousness.
This is the mystic experience of birth and death, a true fruit. Birth leads to death and death to birth and so on – birth, death, birth, death etc., etc., ad infinitum, presumably until we are just Reality.
“A New Mind: Conceptual and Cognitive Characteristics
“The conceptual symptoms of spiritual awakening we’re going to look at refer to how awakened people see themselves in relation to the world and other human beings, and how they conceive of the world and other human beings.
“10. Lack of Group Identity
In the sleep state we have a strong tendency to identify ourselves, to give ourselves labels in order to enhance our fragile sense of self. We like to define ourselves in terms of our religion, ethnicity, nationality, and political affiliation, and also by the labels of our careers, achievements, and qualifications. Defining ourselves in these ways gives us a sense of belonging, and bolsters our egos. We feel that we’re not alone; we’re part of something bigger than ourselves.
“In spiritual awakening experiences this need for identity and belonging fades away.
Definitely a fruit of the experience of Reality. Human efforts to create ideologies based on collectivism/communalism always fall under the weight of their ignorance of Reality’s exclusive relationship with the individual.
“People no longer feel affiliated with any particular religion or nationality, just as they no longer feel defined by their careers or their achievements. They no longer feel that they are Americans or Jews or scientists or socialists. They don’t feel any pride in their nationalities, ethnicities, or qualifications. And they don’t have a sense of otherness or feel enmity to members of other groups. They feel that such labels are superficial and meaningless. They don’t see any difference between Americans or Iraqis, Christians, or Muslims; they treat all people with equal respect. If they see themselves with any kind of identity, it’s as global citizens, inhabitants of the planet Earth, beyond nationality or border.
The text here is getting intrusively anthropomorphic and false …
“Another sign of a spiritually awakened individual is that they often have a similar attitude toward different spiritual traditions, too. Even if they are affiliated with a particular tradition, they don’t feel that this tradition is the only true and valid one, as religious fundamentalists do. As a sign of spiritual awakening, they have an open and ecumenical attitude, and they recognize that different traditions are simply expressions of the same underlying truths.
Definitely anthropomorphically off topic. The experiences of Reality do not come to make us better humans, though that might be seen as automatic, axiomatic, a useful side product.
“11. Wide Perspective: A Universal Outlook
As a sign of spiritual awakening, awakened individuals have a wide sense of perspective, a macrocosmic outlook. They aren’t preoccupied with their personal problems and concerns to the exclusion of everything else. They know they’re not the center of the universe.
It took me some time to recognise my macrocosmic view of existence as compared to the personal, ego dominated microscopic view of most humans.
“This means that they have a spiritual awareness of the wider impact of their individual actions. They’re aware of how their life choices affect others, or the earth itself, and so are more likely to live ethically and responsibly. For example, they may decide not to buy or use goods that are produced by exploited workers or oppressive regimes. Aware of how their own lifestyle could contribute to damage to the environment, they’re more likely to adopt an environmentally friendly lifestyle.
“This wide perspective that occurs as a common symptom of spiritual awakening also means that, for spiritually awakened individuals, social or global issues are as real and important as their own personal concerns. They’re likely to feel a sense of concern for oppressed groups, social problems like poverty and inequality, or global problems like climate change and the extinction of other species.
I doubt this is a true fruit, more what our ancestors would call “a devilish diversion” into the anthropomorphic. Jesus and many other mystics fell into this trap of thinking the experiences come to make us better humans. They all failed in such missions, suffered disastrously at the hands of humans as a result. The experiences of Reality come to reassert our true being, not condemn us to our present state. There are far more important things going on beyond our understanding than being merely human.
“12. Heightened Sense of Morality
This wide sense of perspective has moral implications. As we have seen, awakened people tend to be more ethical and responsible, more compassionate and altruistic. But awakening also fosters a more all-encompassing and unconditional type of morality. Awakened individuals don’t practice moral exclusion; that is, they don’t just show concern and kindness toward people with whom they share superficial similarities of religion or ethnicity but extend their benevolence to all human beings indiscriminately.
This text is getting disastrously off topic into human affairs again! This is a fatal spiritual flaw.
“Another moral spiritual awakening symptom is that the awakened person’s sense of right and wrong (or good and bad) isn’t culturally determined but stems from an innate knowing, a deep moral certainty that transcends their own self-interest and culture. For spiritually awakened individuals, justice and fairness are universal principles that transcend laws or conventions. They may even break laws and potentially sacrifice their own well-being — perhaps even their lives — in order to uphold moral principles.
Definitely. Difficult to apply socially however! Mystic outspokenness has not been well treated in the past.
“13. Appreciation and Curiosity
In the sleep state, the process of familiarization that switches off our attention to the phenomenal world acts on our conceptual awareness, too. It switches off our attention to things we should ideally feel grateful for. I call this the “taking for granted syndrome,” which means that rather than feeling grateful for what we have, we feel dissatisfied, which is not one of the symptoms of spiritual awakening. Rather than appreciating what we have, we want more.
“But awakened individuals do feel grateful after a spiritual awakening. They don’t get used to the good things in their lives once they’ve had them for a while. They appreciate the value of their health and their freedom, the beauty and benevolence of their partners, and the innocence and radiance of their children. They have the ability to count their blessings, no matter how long they have had them. They feel a profound sense of gratitude for small and simple experiences, which is one of the primary signs of spiritual awakening.
“This sense of appreciation also leads to curiosity and openness. Because awakened people don’t take life itself for granted, they are always open to the new and unfamiliar. They don’t feel satisfied with what they already know and never feel that their understanding of the world is complete. They’re eager to explore new ideas and skills, take on new challenges, travel to new places, and so on. This is another way in which they’re similar to children. The world is a fascinating place as a result of a spiritual awakening, and they’re keen to explore it more deeply.
This part of the text is utterly irrelevant, pure misguided lapse into anthropomorphism again! Mystics are not interested in an appreciation of the world and this is not what the experiences are all about. Reality is infinitely more relevant.
“A New Life: Behavioral Characteristics
“The behavioral characteristics we’re going to examine now are the outward expression of the perceptual, affective, and conceptual symptoms of spiritual awakening we’ve looked at already. They are the fruits of those inner changes, expressing themselves in terms of new traits, habits, and ways of living.
“14. Altruism and Engagement
Spiritually developed individuals are commonly believed to be detached from the world and not particularly concerned about what is happening in it. Their spiritual enlightenment supposedly makes them indifferent to the trials and tribulations of ordinary people in everyday life. We imagine them sitting on mountaintops or in monasteries, basking in their own self-realization.
“In my research on spiritual awakening, I’ve consistently found the opposite to this kind of detachment — spiritually awakened individuals tend to become more altruistic. Altruism is the natural fruit of the awakened person’s strong capacity for compassion, their universal outlook, and their innate sense of justice. The following signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening are often present: We feel a strong impulse to alleviate other people’s suffering and to help people fulfill their potential. We have a strong idealistic desire to change the world for the better, an impulse to serve other people and contribute to the human race in some way. We may feel a sense of mission, to help the human race move through our present phase of chaos and crisis into a new era of harmony.
I am deeply suspicious about the intrusion of altruistic case histories being quoted here. They sound like perversions of Reality. They smell of mind stuff, emotion – anthropomorphism, the influence of mythomanic Christian religion. None of this is a fruit of the true experience of Reality. Reality shows little or no special interest in the miniscule existence of humankind. This intrusion is an imposition of human culture, morality and ethics, mind stuff – human, not spiritual. Reality does not come to save the world, though that may be a by-product. Reality is the world and the world is It. It comes only for the elucidation of individuals for purposes we don’t know for certain yet.
“15. Enjoyment of Inactivity: The Ability to “Be”
Awakened individuals love doing nothing. They relish solitude, quietness, and inactivity. In my book Back to Sanity I suggest that this is one of the most obvious differences between living in a state of “humania” — that is, our normal state of human madness — and in a state of inner harmony. In humania, which is equivalent to a state of sleep, people find it difficult to do nothing or be alone with themselves because this means facing the discord of their own being and the turbulence of their thoughts.
“As a result, they feel compelled to seek distractions and activities — that is, external things in which to immerse their attention — so that their attention doesn’t turn inward, into their own being. But in a state of harmony, which is equivalent to wakefulness, this isn’t necessary. We can rest contentedly within our own being because there’s no turbulence or discord inside us. This is another one of the signs and symptoms of spiritual awakening. We don’t need to constantly do things just for the sake of it or constantly supply ourselves with distractions. Rather than fear quietness and inactivity, we enjoy them deeply because they allow us to touch into the radiance of our own well-being.
Very true in my case.
“16. Beyond Accumulation and Attachment / Nonmaterialism
In wakefulness, the impulse to accumulate falls away. It’s no longer important for us to try to accumulate possessions, wealth, status, success, or power during spiritual enlightenment. In sleep, the urge to accumulate is a response to our sense of incompleteness and fragility. We try to bolster our sense of self by adding possessions, achievements, and power, in the same way that an insecure king continually builds up a castle and reinforces its walls.
“Similarly, we become overly attached to preexisting aspects of our identity, such as our appearance or our intellect. We derive a sense of specialness from them, which also serves to reinforce our fragile sense of self. But these efforts are no longer necessary when we wake up because that sense of incompleteness and vulnerability no longer exists.
True for me …
“Awakening brings a shift away from accumulation to contribution. The energy that people invested to try to alleviate their own psychological suffering is now redirected to try to alleviate the sufferings of others. As Marcus aptly described one of the signs of spiritual awakening, there’s a shift in focus from “what I can get from life to what I can give to life.”
Absolutely not in my case. Reality is in charge – All Is Well. Reality comes to bring us to our true selves, not to distract us with the impermanences of humankind. This is misdirection.
“17. Autonomy: Living More Authentically
In the sleep state, most people are products of the environment they are born into. They tend to conform to the values of their cultures and happily go along with the kinds of lifestyles that are expected of them. But awakened individuals tend to experience symptoms of spiritual awakening in which they are more autonomous and inner-directed. They feel less identified with their culture’s values; they are likely to reject them in favor of following their own impulses. They have greater confidence in their choices and preferences, and are more liable (partly because of their inner security) to stand by them, even in the face of ridicule or hostility. They live their lives according to their own sense of what is right, rather than trying to please others or doing what is expected of them.
“People often realize that, prior to spiritual awakening, they weren’t really living their own lives but largely just following social conventions or trying to please other people. But after awakening it becomes much more important for them to live authentically and follow their own impulses. Other people may see them as rebels or eccentrics because they’re liable to disregard social norms and trends. They’re likely to reject the consumerist and status-oriented values of their culture in favor of a life of simplicity. They have little interest in watching the latest popular television shows, acquiring the latest gadgets or goods, or trying to impress people with their appearance, their status, or their sophistication. Along with these spiritual awakening signs and symptoms, they may shock others with their unconventionality and their willingness to contradict consensus opinions.
Yes. Very true. But so what? The author wants us to apologise for our experiences of Reality?
“18. Enhanced, More Authentic Relationships
In some cases, friends and relatives resent spiritually awake people’s new authentic way of living and misinterpret it as selfishness. This contributes to relationship problems that can occur after spiritual awakening. In general, though, awakened individuals feel that their relationships deepen and become more fulfilling. The authenticity of their lifestyle also expresses itself in more authentic relationships.
“Relationships deepen for awakened people partly due to their increased empathy and compassion, which means that they become more tolerant and understanding and less judgmental. As a result of some degree of spiritual enlightenment, awakened individuals are less likely to react with hostility and animosity to others, and less likely to initiate conflict.
“There’s certainly a connection between deeper relationships and inner security, too. If we’re insecure, our social interactions are usually self-centered. We’re concerned with making good impressions, saying the right things and behaving in the right ways. We often wear social masks to try to make ourselves seem more charming or interesting. But if we feel secure within ourselves, as spiritually awakened individuals do, this self-centeredness and role-playing falls away. We shift our focus away from ourselves and give our full attention to the people we’re with.
WARNING: This section above is pure twaddle, anthropomorphism at it’s worst. Words like “relationships”, “selfishness” are a giveaway to the author’s entanglement in worldy cultural emphases, non spiritual social “buzzwords” of the day.
” “The authenticity of their lifestyle also expresses itself in more authentic relationships” conveys a profoundly off topic, untruthful nonsense that is totally non mystic. No true mystic could ever seek “authentic relationships” apart from his or her authentic relationship with their experience of Reality. The very idea is truly oxymoronic. Humans are not the be all and end all of existence – Reality is.
Q What do you think the mystical experiences of Reality are all about; their purpose? Do they have any?
A: Something throughout history has been causing some people to have experiences of as much of Reality as their current state of existence can bear, creating massive, ineffable, personal epiphanies – an indescribable but undeniable awakening to a conscious Reality of existence.
This is an awe provoking, overwhelming experience of truth, humility and veneration, the memory of which still shakes me deeply.
It erodes your humanity so as to enable you to be something other, something that is your true, secured destiny for ever. That, to me, seems to be its purpose.
Q Do you know what that “other” is?
A: Well, the epiphanies are a profoundly joyous state while you’re in them, less so when you come out of them. We are much accepted, loved, that’s for sure. Whatever you are in that state is what you always have been and always will be. You are a permanent fixture of a Reality much greater than being merely human.
The experiences are a mighty but benign, accepting, loving power beyond human experience. They are of an existence beyond ourselves.
After the epiphanies, you develop a growing understanding, consciousness, that everything is Reality; where everything that exists, known and as yet unknown, is only a part of that Reality, including humanity.
Q So what does it all mean? How does this effect the human race?
A: Well, the epiphanies raise the question, are we being harvested? Are we being seeded and grown? I don’t think the experiences are a seeding process. If they were, humanity would be a great deal less primitive than it is now, wouldn’t it?
Whatever we think the meaning of these experiences are they can only be speculative.
But I think we can rule the experiences out as any product of the brain, physical or otherwise – they are not imagination, creativity, intuition, logic or reason or merely biological – the experiences are too completely beyond human knowledge or comprehension. This leads me to speculate that the brain of the mystic is just a receiver suddenly awakened.
There is no total concensus on what existence/consciousness of Reality is, or even IF it is – even the scientific world cannot agree on that yet … (laughs).
However there is an historical consistency in the witness of mystics that this Reality does exist outside the merely human experience.
We don’t even know why the experiences only seem to happen to individuals – contrary to all human instinct to huddle, to adopt ideological collectivity of one sort or another that always change for the very worst and historically fail anyway.
What the experiences of Reality also seem to reveal is that everything we call human is in a transitional state. Everything, human and non human, is progressing towards complete integration with the consciousness that is Reality. Some scientists are even suggesting humans won’t exist eventually. I find that plausible from what I’ve seen of Reality.
Q So how does this affect those who have had the experience when they come back into the human present?
A: The knowledge of the existence of this greater Reality makes me, for instance, realise there’s nothing in the human experience worth studying or even worthy of note in the greater scheme of things.
I must warn you that’s only my experience. You can only really know things by personal experience. You have to know what I’m talking about from your own experience, not from anyone else’s.
Q So would you finally conclude the human race is being “harvested” then, for instance?
A: Well, so far as the human condition goes, there’s no overwhelming human evidence these ancient epiphanies have produced a very effective seeding result so far, is there? (laughs).
Nevertheless, I don’t have any better guess than “harvesting” as an explanation of what these experiences of Reality are all about.
Q Could such harvesting be by other beings?
A: I think not. Reality doesn’t seem to be controlled by “beings”. Reality would do its own “harvesting” or “seeding” – like the natural processes of birth or the chrysalis effect.
Q So back to the first question – “What do you think the mystical experiences of Reality are all about; their purpose?”
A: Unfortunately, too many human beings are still enthralled by the negative principles of human existence – lust, anger, greed, myriad mental/emotional attachments, and ego.
Consequently, many aspects of the current human condition are in the primitively ugly state of “much ado about nothing,” causing unending unrest and chaos when there are more important things to attend to than being merely human. Mystics have dubbed the majority of humans as “sleep walkers”.
So in the meantime, Reality goes on with or without probably 90 per cent of the human race’s cognizance of Reality’s existence or purpose. We are all on one side or the other of knowing the existence of that benign enigma.
Perhaps these are early days in humanity’s destiny. We are after all supposed to be less than four billion years old compared to the known universe’s 15 billion years, not including the rest of the unknown universees.
Q Does any sense of your own duty or destiny arise from these “epiphanies” you experienced?
A: No, no sense of duty, evangelising, prosylitising or moneterising whatsoever.
Q Why this Blog then?
A: The blog started as a means of analysing my experiences, meditating on them, contemplating them, sometimes being prompted by them, unburdening myself of my humaness. I wanted to contact anyone else who might have had them too.
Writing can be a uniquely profound way to discovery and meaning. This subject particularly demands nothing less than using writing’s ability to deliver total integrity and precision.
I also hope others having the same experiences of Reality, or who are genuinely called as Seekers, get some shared validation, some comfort and encouragement from my experiences. They are submitted respectfully.
As for my personal destiny, I have seen it. The bad news is now having to endure being partly human. The good news is, being partly human is only temporary, terminal. (Laughs).
In the meantime, there is much comfort and encouragement in the specific, spontaneous, meaningful assurance my experiences gave me in my thirties:
“All is well”.
“If you could only keep quiet, clear of memories and expectations, you would be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events. It is your restlessness that causes chaos. ”
– Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Wales University has over 6,000 case histories of spiritual xperiences. The archives were originally established by Dr Alister Hardy at Oxford University. (See post “JOURNAL FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE”, University of Wales).
Here are some of the answers the University is looking for in inviting scientists from all over the world to add to and study their growing archive. Mysticexperiences.net has answered as follows:
Q: In what ways do people negotiate, interpret, and integrate ordinary experiences into their beliefs systems?
A: This question seems to be prompting/presuming anthropological answers. Not everyone has “belief systems”. Even if they did their “belief systems” would be of no interest to Reality. In my experiences, mystical experiences are out of this world, ineffable, untranslateable by present human abilities or understanding.
In my case there has been no negotiation or integration into any belief systems. There was no such thought, proposition or accommodation. For instance, I was absorbed into Reality, from which there is no such thing as negotiating or deliberating anything, not “integration”, no implication of free will whatsoever. Reality was revealed as everything – of which “I/me” is a part.
Q: Can such experiences account for the origins of religious beliefs?
A: I assume so, though I have no empirical evidence. It’s possible the originators of religions thought the phenomena could be evangelised, propagated. However, my inclination is to think it’s caught not taught. Is this why religions failed from lack of spiritual experience – just became purveyors of human morality and ethics, of mental, emotional manifestations of human excitement?
Q: Are extraordinary experiences ‘all in the brain’?
A: I’m not aware of any empirical proof of that. My feeling is that the brain is a receiver for these true mystical experiences of Reality.They reveal but don’t demand,. (Like a gardener watering streams of revelation?).
Q: In what ways does culture influence experience?
A: Not at all in my experiences. I was disappointed my cultural expectation of the existence of God, for instance, was nowhere to be experienced during and after my mystical experiences of Reality. Nor was my expectation of being “taken up” at least. Hitherto, I had not experienced anything like my MERs. They made no human sense at that time.
Q: Do extraordinary experiences challenge or support cultural-linguistic constructivist assumptions concerning religious phenomena?
A: In my experiences of the phenomena, Reality does not challenge Itself, nor anything going on in Itself. The concepts in this question ( “ …challenge or support cultural-linguistic constructivist assumptions concerning religious phenomena”) have no meaning or relevance in Reality. They are anthropological concepts. These academic words denote merely human constructs, jargon limited to human interests.
Q: What are the implications of extraordinary experiences for debates surrounding terminology in the Study of Religions (e.g., ‘religion’, ‘religious experience’)?”
A: I frequently ask myself that! So far, I can only assume religions are nothing to do with Reality or Reality with religion and that religions are therefore not a lasting requirement in the development of the human condition or in any exploration of the existence of Reality.
by Philip Ball for Quanta Magazine
Some problems in science are so hard, we don’t really know what meaningful questions to ask about them — or whether they are even truly solvable by science. Consciousness is one of those: Some researchers think it is an illusion; others say it pervades everything. Some hope to see it reduced to the underlying biology of neurons firing; others say that it is an irreducibly holistic phenomenon.
The question of what kinds of physical systems are conscious “is one of the deepest, most fascinating problems in all of science,” wrote the computer scientist Scott Aaronson of the University of Texas at Austin. “I don’t know of any philosophical reason why [it] should be inherently unsolvable” — but “humans seem nowhere close to solving it.”
Now a new project currently under review hopes to close in on some answers.
Source: Quanta Magazine
“The Universe doesn’t care …”
– Dr. Shawn Carroll
Dr. Carroll is a cosmologist and physics professor specializing in dark energy and general relativity. He is a research professor in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. (Wikipedia)
Q: What is the context of humanity in relation to Reality?
A: Anthropomorphism has no exclusive context in Reality. So to what can you compare Reality?
In my experiences of Reality It did not try to justify Itself by comparing Itself to anything because Reality is everything.
It did not make any comparison to humanity or the world in any way. The experiences were pure, unrelated existence showing Reality is enough in Itself, incomparable. It cannot be defined by comparison.
Q: So what is the proof of Reality?
A: The only proof of Reality is in experiencing It.
Q: But where does the human race fit into all this?
A: My feeling is Reality does not give the human race any consideration whatsoever. Reality only reveals Itself to individuals – mystics.
Q: You mean individuals who only become mystics after they’ve had what you call the mystical experience of Reality, MER?
A: Yes. My feeling is the collective, totalitarianism, communism, ideologies, nations, socialism, liberalism, etc are primitive constructs that will whither as Reality continues its evolutionary function with individuals. Being merely human is not what it’s all about.
I feel myself thinking the human race will be discarded eventually, presumably when humanity has finally matured into Reality.
Q: What books can I read about mysticism?
A: The question makes me shudder.
Q: Oh. Sorry …
A: Wherever people gather in the name of mysticism/spirituality/religion, there in the midst is Satan. Same with all such books not based on spiritual experience.
(There are some Seekers who are so well read in the mystic phenomenon, who have searched and studied so deeply and profoundly through ancient and modern texts, written books about it, lectured on it widely, travelled with such learned focus, experienced all manner of mental and physical regimes to achieve spiritual experience of Reality that they have become deeply empathetic followers, as near to the realisation of Reality any human can be without actually having the mystical experience of Reality).
However, the spiritual experiences of Reality given to me were not compelled by human sources or expectation. They were caught, not taught. Everything else is distraction.
So far as I understand these experiences of Reality, humans, like dung beetles or as yet undiscovered species deep in the seas, or in the far cosmos, are an as yet unconsciously developing part of Realty, a Reality so large it is beyond present human development to understand.
We are awakening.
The awakening comes from Reality which is infinite, not from the mind, books or mete experimentation, logic or reason, which are all temporary anyway.
So your question about the books to be read about mysticism is like asking your God or gods to name their favourite books.
Reality is way beyond all such concepts. The arising human religious concepts of God and gods is just that, merely human, existentially irrelevant, what one teacher with millions of followers calls “mind stuff”. (Interestingly, George Fox, the founder of Quakerism also abjured what he called “notionalism”).
Q: (Laughs). So true Seeking is spiritually worthless?
A: If you “hunger and thirst” after what the Christian bible calls “righteousness”, are a Seeker, you have no choice in the matter. You have to Seek. That’s your destiny. What you Seek Seeks you. You are caught. You are in process. You can interfere all you like but you’ll find it best to get on with human life by being constantly alert for the promptings of Reality. Everything else is a far lesser perspective of existence.
Experience is the beginning and end of all existence. To spiritual experience the mind is a distraction. So are books.
‘Be still and know that I am’ (Reality), is a profound tip. I got it from a book! Probably the only life changing ‘spell’ ever worth printing and parsing*.
*Parsing: Studying, analysing, dissecting. Try it: Be still and know Reality.
All Is Well.
Below is an excerpt from the current special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religious Experience (JSRE) on Religion, Culture, and Extraordinary Experience
Introduction to this issue by guest editor: Gregory Shushan, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
“Despite longstanding theoretical and methodological objections, scholarly research into so-called ‘religious experience’ continues to flourish. This issue of the Journal for the Study of Religious Experience is dedicated to exploring the relationships between religion, culture, and unusual experiences which are commonly viewed in religious, spiritual, or mystical terms within their own local contexts. Examples of such experiences include (but are not limited to) unitive, visionary, transcendent, numinous, mediumistic, near-death, and out-of-body, as well as other kinds of deathbed phenomena, supernatural healings, and divine revelations, voices, and precognitions.
“The contributions here are grounded variously in historical research and ethnographic and sociological fieldwork, though are all characterized by sound theory and method. It is especially gratifying that many are of an interdisciplinary nature.
“The kinds of questions underlying this issue include:
“In what ways do people negotiate, interpret, and integrate extraordinary experiences into their beliefs systems?
“Can such experiences account for the origins of religious beliefs?
“Are extraordinary experiences ‘all in the brain’? In what ways does culture influence experience?
“Do extraordinary experiences challenge or support cultural-linguistic constructivist assumptions concerning religious phenomena?
“What are the implications of extraordinary experiences for debates surrounding terminology in the Study of Religions (e.g., ‘religion’, ‘religious experience’)?”
*The Religious Experience Research Centre houses an archive with over 6,000 accounts of first-hand experiences of people from across the world who had a spiritual or religious experience.
Founded by Sir Alister Hardy in 1969 at Manchester College, Oxford, the RERC moved to Lampeter in July 2000. The Centre’s aim is to study contemporary accounts of religious or spiritual experiences. In addition to fits archive of accounts the RERC houses a specialist collection of books and journals.
The Journal for the Study of Religious Experience (JSRE) is promoted by the Centre (RERC). It publishes original papers promoting theoretical, methodological and ethnographical developments in the research on spiritual or religious experience.
More and more every day modern science is coming to terms with what on the outset was an uncomfortable reality. That is that the observer (you and I) play not just an important role in reality or in our universal experience but actually that we are the deciding factor at the centre of it all. I think for the most part modern science has tried to stay an arm’s length away from any of the organised or generally accepted world religions and this is not necessarily a bad thing, while many of the world’s religions seem hellbent on destroying each other and have become so inflexible because of dogma. There is, however, one notable exception the Buddha Dharma. The Buddha Dharma is without a doubt the most peaceful, humanistic, and scientific of all organised religions. Please note that I personally do not subscribe to the fact that Buddhism is a religion, and…
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