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SPIRITUAL DOUBT.

By retired surgeon Anthony Good, a follower of mysticexperiences.net

Introduction: This is a remarkable first person document of lasting value to Mystics, Seekers, and those academics and scientists around the world who study our subject. It was an easy decision to ask for permission to re-propagate its contents here, for which permission was given immediately. – Keith.

Spirituality has, for me, always been immersed in doubt. I was brought up an atheist until I could think for myself when I moved onto the agnostic fence.

I could find no logical way to God, and even Soren Kierkegaard, the nineteenth century existential philosopher and theologian said that at some point there had to be a leap of faith, which I found hugely disappointing. How could faith be relied upon, when so many put their faith even in everyday things and are let down? I sensed a risk of falling into wish fulfilment.

The religious cultures I found so foreign, with constant referrals to faraway times, places, and ideas. Religious folk unfortunately are sometimes the worst exponents of the moral principles their creed advocate. (As I write there is a continuation of the unfolding sex abuse scandal in the English Roman Catholic Church.) How can the organised religions be so convinced of their God and yet reject each other’s; who is right, who am I to believe, where am I to put my faith?

Though many folks have a sense of spirituality outside the mainstream religions, it is poorly organised and without support outside the secret societies of the Masons and Rosicrucians who are often held in suspicion, and can attract hostility. So where does one turn?

Then there is the enormity of human suffering, from wars, failed political ideologies, disease, natural disasters I need not go on. How is all that accounted for in God and spirituality?

Nor was there evidence that God did not exist. Doubt looked both ways.

A Spiritual Opening

The existential crisis and spiritual opening were the game changer. There had been a couple of hints in past years but now this was like a slo-mo spiritual party cannon explosion of dreams, reveries, living mythologies, visualisations, spirit encounters, revelations, and far too many improbable coincidences. Before this curtain opening in my late forties, I would have considered its significance highly doubtful. It had to be experienced to be believed, then things will never be the same again.

I was pulled off the agnostic fence to at least follow this opening. There was no doubt about the experiences, but what they meant, or where it was taking me that was different. However, what appeared to be new truths were being laid before me and this was a kind of embodied living of what was happening rather than just some kind of thinking thing. It’s not willed, it breaks in, it is not lead by thinking, it leads.

The journey stripped away the old dependable truths, to the point where I was alone looking into darkness, a broken deconstructed character, and new truths doubted. I felt on the very edge of sanity.

Diminishing Old Doubts

Spirituality, had to be directly experienced, when it brings its truth value. Could I accept truth without having to understand it? The mystics say this experienced truth is higher than the trickster intellect. After all how many rational arguments and lines of logic have found their way into false conclusions?

I found my experiences were consistent with the mystics whether psychologists like Carl Jung and Roberto Assagioli, those from the main religions, and even the great artists, writers, and poets. They formulated an interconnected tapestry of consistent truths that revealed the push and pull of our existence.

Is it not unfair to expect the followers of the organised religions to be perfect, or even live up to their ideals, can anyone else do that? They are caught up in human failings like the rest of us even if also like us they cannot see, or even want to recognise them.  

I found faith in the authenticity of my experiences, without them I would have stayed on the fence, faithless, and doubtful as before.

My perspective on my life is of course human with an egoic orientation, but the true reference point for our lives may be the soul wanting to learn and grow into wholeness, holiness.  Oh, and how convenient to blame something else for our errors, an all supposedly loving God. Mankind has free will, and so how could God be omnipotent; man has to take responsibility, at least until man’s free will is perfectly aligned with God’s will? There is though enormous not knowing.

So if it’s true that we are looking at the work of effectively an infinite mind no wonder there is doubt and we need guides to find our way through. So many people seem to think they know the unknowable God. An egoic trap?

New Doubts on the Journey

Gradually, day by day experiences, contemplations, revelations, and more, have built up internal and external consistencies formulating what looked like the truth. Doubt has been diminished but waxed and waned.

For example, I recently had this dream; I was looking up at the sky with my dear wife and birds were flying over us when a big shaggy dog appeared jumping across the sky. I told her that when I saw Pegasus in the sky that is what it looked like, seemingly impossible but still able to walk on air. Then I saw the dog as a sheep, and then it broke up into birds. All along what I had thought was a dog running over the sky was an illusion of just birds coming together like the murmuration of starlings or swirling of a shoal of fish.

Is all experienced as spirituality merely a misinterpretation? Derren Brown the extraordinarily talented English illusionist when asked if he believed in God said he did not because he knew how the mind could deceive itself. The dream could have referred to sheep following dogma. Was I at risk of forming my dogma out of illusion and following that, sheep-like? Yes, of course. 

More recently I read the excellent book, ‘The Master and His Emissary’ by Iain McGilchrist (he is on YouTube). It is an up to date account of lateralised brain function, and how the relative predominance of left and right brain function has influenced history.

Spiritual experiences are held in the right brain which cannot directly vocalise; could we be tapping into this during the spiritual journey? Is this fascinating hidden part of the brain trying to create a seemingly legitimate false reality for our lives out of mostly lost memory cuttings?  I doubt that I have the imagination, sophistication, or creativity to construct what I have experienced spiritually, with its multi-layered complexity, intricacy, and revelatory push. But could spirituality be the dark side of the brain, and nothing more, or is our brain triggered into activity by something beyond it?

Could I be following a self-constructed elaborate fiction to live by, but then you don’t need to be in spirituality to do that! McGilchrist says that when people don’t believe in God, they find something less worthy to believe in.

Journeying with Doubt

Doubt is diminished by relating to events that go beyond our control or construction, such as synchronicities, predictive dreams, manifestations, and coincidences too improbable and frequent to dismiss easily, episodes of being rescued by unlikely circumstance or out of character individuals, and much more that cannot be explained by mere mental working and chance.

Maybe the most fundamental dissolver of doubt is a very solid and deeply felt sense of rightness about what is experienced (and not merely willed into creation by thought). Is this the faith that people describe; it’s not confected, wished, logicalised, but felt very deeply building up from experience and contemplation over years. It often, maybe usually, arrives without invitation, and is surprising.

Doubt, I have heard it said, is a necessary part of the spiritual journey, and will be with us to the end. The journey has eventually brought me to encounters that are more believable than not. There will always be a fear of self-delusion, but that diminishes with an honest appraisal of what I encounter. To wrestle with the truth and doubt and maybe God too is the surest way to find the right path on the journey to a purpose of our existence.

For now, I hope that in recognising my doubt, (and all its companions; faith, hope, wanting, fear, love, knowing and not knowing, and others) I can avoid being controlled and biased by it and relate to what comes in the next step with openness and balance as a seeker of truth.

For More Information:

https://theanthonygoodinfo.data.blog/ 

mysticexperiences.net

DEATH.

QUESTION: In your poem, MAROONED* you end with, ‘From the other side of night …’

Does death perturb you, the prospect? Where you anticipate going to? It does for me, from time to time.

ANSWER: No, not really. Go with the flow.

I’ve been there, or somewhere other than here, and it included a joy of a profundity beyond human experience or understanding. It vibrated my entire existence so little else remained. I don’t think much remains of being human after death if our lives have been spiritually successful.

Coming back from there was always frightingly disappointing. I struggled against it.

Now the only feeling I have about death is having to abandon my wife. I worry about that. I find the thought very painful. Is there anything you can do about it? No, not that I know of.

(Though I do wonder where this powerful caring emotion of human love comes from – is it mere human lust, greed, attachment and ego? Is it a test?

(Reality’s love is so completely different. It is profound acceptance, an absorption into the very being of Reality, an experience beyond all human experience or ability to understand or explain).

I have gradually learned to trust Reality. It helps having been told by Reality “All is Well”.

We’re all in a benign, deeply loving, infinite process, here and beyond.

Mysticexperiences.net

*MAROONED

Divinity’s insouciant servants of the Light

Fly beneath my fears, over my plight,

Indifferent to my day as to my night.

Marooned in the humanity of my time,

Tired by glimpses of the divine,

Save me soon Lord, make me thine.

THE REPLY:

Marooned to solitude is your story;

Its contemplation leads you to my glory.

Love, understanding and compassion

Are the lessons of your life, your grace, your passion.

From the other side of Night,

I am your glory, your rescue Light …

1985.

(Nowadays I wouldn’t use the words “God”, “divine”, “faith”, “Divinity” or “Lord”. And I would call “the light” Reality, such a Light being a unique part of Reality.

(PS: The word “faith” has been bothering me. It signifies lack of real spiritual experience. So as I returned to this poem with my doubt about the rightness of the word the real word arrived. So I have deleted “faith” and as you will see, have inserted the more meaningful word “grace”).

AN INTERVIEW PROPOSITION DECLINED.

Despite being told it would help circulate my book, I declined the following invitation received today, and my reply:

INVITATION: My name is Gary Cocciolillo I have a podcast called Everything Imaginable. I would love to have you as a guest. I record via Zoom with no video or we can do it over the phone. Would you be interested in being interviewed? I am booking for January. I will send you a link to schedule your interview.

“Here is a link to my podcast.
http://www.everythingimaginable2020.com

REPLY: Thank you for your invitation. I prefer keeping to emailing as that enables me to be as thorough and thoughtful about my answers and, more importantly, enables me to focus on my mystical experiences of Reality, rather than questions that are more to do with humanity.

Much of human ‘spirituality’ is only about trying to be better humans, which in my experiences is not what Reality, in which we live and breathe, is all about. It seems to me the human race is at a very primitive period of its evolution into the eventual extinction necessary to achieve its inevitable destiny. In the meantime, my experiences assure me most dramatically that, All Is Well. So I don’t see how being interviewed would suit more than just a passing curiosity in your audience …

That’s about it! That’s the summation of what I have learned so far. I was caught, not taught. I have no other qualification to have these convictions, so am loth to evangelise them except to Seekers, those as the Christian bible says “hunger and thirst” for it (Matthew 5:6). My blog and my five star book on Amazon do that to some modest extent I hope.

All best wishes,

Keith.

NOT BEING FAMOUS

QUESTION: Why aren’t you famous?

ANSWER: In my mind, I am! LOL!

But seriously, I started this blog and published the book, MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE OF REALITY as a means for me to understand my many spontaneous experiences of Reality every year from about the age of 15 to my mid 30’s.

Q: Has it worked?

A: Oh yes, and still is working. I was surprised to discover the phenomena is in fact very well known to the human race. Over the last thirty years it’s spread as a serious challenge to science through very active scholarly, scientific enquiries in universities world wide. I am now in correspondence with academics, scientists, Seekers and fellow mystics in New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, Taiwan, and India, as well as papers on the subject and related enquiries from Academia,edu every day. I even found a hidden Sufi wisdom school with millions of followers around the world and eventually became an initiate. I now know what I am rather than who I am, and have that growing gift of the spirit, contentment – a much rarer human attribute than it should be – for which I am profoundly grateful.

Q: Could all that have been achieved by you anyway?

A: As natural human growth, you mean?

Q: Yes.

A: No! Where have you seen anything comparable? Contentment lasts, hapiness comes and goes if you’re lucky.

What similarities I have are only with mystics and mystics are usually clothed in what Sufi tradition calls, ‘The Cloak Of Invisibility’. This device is an ancient way of avoiding the crucifixion, burning, murder, torture, imprisonment and genocide committed against mystics in the past. For the time being, we live in better times but mystics realise they’re nothing to do with ordinary humans, anyway. There is nothing to be gained by studying the human condition for the real spirit of Reality rather than the mere human spirit. Even basic Reality has to be experienced to be known.

Q: So, fame is irrelevant?

A: Well the blog and the book do seem to be helpful to seekers and those interested in the subject. Amazon has now given the book five stars in North America, probably all round the world, after Europe first gave it five stars. So the blog and book are probably finding their own readers.

Q: You say you stopped sending the blog to social media shortly after it started.

A: Yes, I was getting a trickle of very odd followers and comments from social media mixed in with serious responses from non social media sources, so after correspondence with the present head of the Sufi school he mentioned social media “might not be helpful” – without me telling him it was already happening – I dropped all social media memberships immediately. I noticed the difference in quality of Comments and Likes from remaining Followers immediately.

Q: What happens if an enthusiastic reader in a position to get your writings before millions of people reviews your work glowingly?

A: It could be embarrassing. Emails are the best way for me to give thorough, thoughtful answers and avoid the merely curious, ego-fed or hubristic types. I avoid impromptu discussions in person for those reasons. I don’t do personal tours, appearances, or talks, either.

Q: No photographs of you, I see.

A: No. They’re a distraction too.

Mysticexperiences.net

CRITICISED FOR USING THE TERM, ‘MERE HUMANS’

QUESTION:  You have been criticised for using the term “mere humans” in your posts.  Does this indicate bias, bigotry, or prejudice against humans?

ANSWER:  Yes, I think it does. I suppose you want to know why?

Q:  Well yes.

A:  After my multiple annual experiences of Reality I was strangely constantly lead away from friendships. I was friendly, but not a friend. I did not call intimates my friend and was uncomfortable when people claimed me as a friend; sometimes their best friend.

Friendship was a commitment to which I had no loyalties. In fact I have shed ‘friends’ from my schooldays to the present all over the world. They just drop like autumn leaves as my life develops. There just seems no life in them. This includes family in particular.

When I came to realise this, I lived with it then eventually came to my present conclusion that I am existentially wedded to Reality to the exclusion of anything like human reality.

Q: Alienated?

A:  If that’s a technical word in the human, psychological sense then, yes, I am probably ‘alienated’.

Q:  So how did this affect your human life?

A:  Drastically, from a human point of view. Nothing in my schooling,  human ambition or career expectations seemed relevant. Now I know, they aren’t. 

Most of the people I come across are unconscious of the forces that rule their consciousness. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, calls them ‘Muggles’, Gurus call them ‘sleepwalkers’, academics call them ‘unrealised’, ‘unauthenticated’. Some of my closest acquaintances are ‘second hand’, rely on society, tv and magazines, religions, authorities, for their values.

My closest acquaintances might be all those things but in my eyes have the redeemable quality of being thinkers. They have minds that are developed somewhat. They use them with openess to any possibilities, have an active even if weakly active, developing consciousness.

Q: One of your followers asked you if you find it difficult to deal with people as a mystic. 

A:  Yes. I remember babbling a forgettable reply to this person because I’m better at writing my thoughts than voicing them spontaneously. Fortunately I was rescued at about 40 years of age with small talk. 

Small talk was a real blessing because before that I was a sweating, total wreck at meeting people at the general conversational level of religion, politics, relationships, marriage, babies, children, gossip, etc.; all the general inconsequentia of human life, much of which, probably all of which, is artificial. 

Until then I totally avoided parties, ceremonies, formal and private social gatherings, and still do to some extent. Breakfasts, lunches or dinners of no more than eight people are alright though. I can manage those. After my sudden gift of the ability to small talk however I now have no problems if caught out having to consort with strangers occasionally.

So when I refer to “mere humans”, I refer to the presently primitive but developing condition of the human race as it is carefully cultivated by Reality to its destiny. The present dichotomy between humans and Reality is presumably closing in good order, in Reality’s time, not ours. All Is Well.

Q: Why do we have mystics then? Are they messengers, teachers?

A:  Generally I have no idea. But my personal mystic experiences were quite clear – to leave humans alone, leave everything to Reality. Study Reality by all means but don’t waste time on mythomania, the artificiality of the human mind running in default … or, as the Quakers might say: Let Go And Let God. 

Probably this is why I was so determinedly lead away from “friendships”, to keep me focused on my true destiny, to avoid the mystic trap of evangelising, prosyletising my version ofvthe universal phenomena of the mystic experience, avoid starting a religion or social cause, a clay footed ideology? Perhaps the sudden gift of small talk was a helpful compensatory gesture?

So to answer your question, Why Mystics?, it could well be that mystics are being groomed at a different level to fulfill their destiny after human death.

Q:  Is God Reality?

A :  No. Reality is much bigger. Though Reality does still include “mere humans” Reality is not a human god.

Mysticexperiences.net

KEITH’S GRAVATAR PROFILE

Ron Krumpos kindly nudged me to be a little more forthcoming. So, as suggested, I now have a ‘spiritual’ profile on Gravatar.

I think that it will appear wherever the mysticexperiences.net blog roundel, or my name appear and are clicked on. I’m told it will reassure the Thinkers and Seekers who come across me.

It reads as follows:

mysticexperiences.net

Keith is a “pratyeka” mystic according to buddhism because his mystical experiences of Reality (MER), were spontanious. (He is not a buddhist or member of any religion). He had MERs every year from the age of 15 to 35 years of age. Pratyeka mystics don’t teach, preach, evangelise, or prosletise what they know. However, when Keith recognises those who are chosen and driven to seek Ultimate Reality he does reach out to them, cautiously, to help them stop floundering and recognise themselves, know what is happening to them. Then his incllnation is to remove himelf unless called upon.

Keith writes a Blog, mysticexperiences.net. His 416 page book and ebook, MYSTIC EXPERIENCE OF REALITY was published in December, 2019. Nothing has been done to promote it, on the grounds it will reach its prepared readership on its own.

All Is Well.

WHAT ARE QUIETISTS?

Can Individuality Survive?

QUESTION: You suggest you are a ‘pratyeke’ in a buddhist meaning of your mystical experiences of Reality, then seem to leave it at that, letting your readers make of it what they can.  But will you explain what you think pratyeke means in your case? 

ANSWER: I read that “Quietism” is no longer fashionable in some spirituality tainted ‘social justice’ religious circles, but it does seem to describe me. I accept everything known and as yet unknown. I make no attempt to bring about change, not even renewal. I think this describes Quietism and Pratyeke. I don’t “double guess” Reality. So I am a ‘Pratyeke’, or ‘Quietest’.

Reality revealed to me that All Is Well  – “In good order” as the Quakers might say about the human condition. 

I therefore know it is a spiritual regression when humans attempt to interfere with the Creation and its individuals, now or ever. 

Human history is littered with the devastating consequences of attempted and always failed impatient interventions, assumptions, mythomanias, taboos, and hubris, violence and violation – resulting in monumental meddling and disaster for all individuals, in whom Reality lives. 

That’s why all attempts to interfere with individuals ‘for the good’ of some religious or secular mind stuff like the Inquistion for instance, or Communalism and Socialism, all eventually fail – because Reality lives in individuals, not collectives, communities or ‘societies’ that are not even based on human realities. 

By challenging the seminal state of individuality, misguided people are challenging Creation, Reality. No wonder ancient and contemporary histories reveal the inevitable failure of all such attempts. 

All of which of course makes it easier to understand why Quietists or Pratyeke mystics are not called upon to get involved with humans, except with Seekers. Reality is in charge, Pratyeke’s and Quietists will certainly survive. Individuals not so much by the looks of humanity today …

All Is Well. Reality prevails, as always.

Mysticexperiences.net  

To be Free – Weltanschauung

By kind permission of Anthony Garner

zenothestoic.com

Release from the shackles of a mind made prison, sought for so many years and yet so recently achieved.

The bars of the cage dissolve, as illusory as once they seemed so real.

Watching a kestrel hover above a marshy field, its every feather vibrant in the wintry sun, quivering in the strong breeze.

Swooping for its not so lucky prey but that too seems the way of the world.

A pair of buzzards wheel and shreik above, chased by angry crows.

A snow white egret lands the other side of the reedy stream, a leggy grey heron languorously swoops above the treetops.

This is life, this am I too. Part of what is all around me. An animal, a relative (and not so very distant) of all that I see on this and every other day in the quiet countryside of a little green island.

Would that I had witnessed this pleasant land a hundred or a thousand years ago.

Even now there is enough beauty left to mock and ridicule the small conceits and irrelevant concerns of a species which has long lost its way. Or has it? Perhaps we were never designed to see through the deceptions which bind us.

How quietly amusing it all seems from a distance. Of what consequence the concerns of man, viewed from a point where eternity stretches to infinity across time and space.

Rustling leaves, the gentle murmuring of the wind. A trickling brook, the far off roar of the sea.

Shelter, enough to eat and a medicine man. What else required to live in peace and harmony with a planet still beautiful enough to be worth saving.

But if the machinations of the naked ape finally destroy all I see around me, then that too must be. For what point resisting the tide, fighting and struggling unaware billions who look still for unachievable, illusory goals.

Did they but know it, less is more. Could they but see it, yearning serves only to whet an appetite.

War and conquest, physical or sublimated through the world of commerce. Dominance, the need to defeat and to rule. To humiliate and subjugate.

No peace to be found in such unrest. Do their restless souls not see that only quiet will ever satisfy. That all else serves only to foster greater craving, that all such yearning is never sated.

Is that awakening? The abandonment of more. Bearing witness to the circuitous treadmill and stepping off it.

Emptying the mind, unlearning the destructive habits of an unwise and poorly led life.

Who will awaken or wants to. How many will turn their thoughts inward and ask whether they have understood. How few will change their ways.

Some perhaps. Who knows, one day a trickle may become a stream. One day may greed and violence lose their potency. One day may we realize the purposelessness of lives led in the pursuit of the unachievable.

In the meantime, does any of it truly matter. Do good and bad exist or are they just a matter of perspective. Accept all and nothing will disappoint.

But keep out of their way, if you can. Ask them to leave ambition on the doorstep when they come to visit. Ignore the quest for more and shrug at any assumption of superiority.

Peace may be achieved by remaining small and invisible. Not getting trampled under foot by a thundering herd seeking countries which will never be found.

Race, colour, creed, gender. What an irrelevance. Class, pomp, snobbery, position. What thin gruel.

And so a quiet evening after a day of revelation, if that does not sound too grand.

Fingers spreading maladept over a keyboard. A little work on the latest eccentric algorithm which will likely be still born – the latest in a long line of dead pups.

And Rachmaninov – lost in the glory of his Vespers. Russian liturgy, what solace.

Getting there. Or somewhere. Nowhere to go, nothing to do. Released from the shackles of the mind, a modest awakening of sorts perhaps.

A freedom which has come from letting go. Grasp nothing.

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QUESTION: How Do You Know Your Mystical Experiences Of Reality Are True?

QUESTION: How do you know your mystical experiences of Reality are true?

ANSWER: Because of the ineffable but undeniable, implacable, benign power that revealed my true existence as an eternal non human being since the beginning of all things, Its revelation of my inclusion of belonging then, now and forever. It was literally stunning to feel so accepted, loved, freed. This was my destiny, my reality. I was and am always Reality and Reality was and is always me.

I never wondered about any of this. I had no idea of the existence of such an experience. It was entirely unthought of, beyond anything I had ever experienced, or ever expected anyone to experience, totally spontanious, assuring.

Q: How could you live as a human after that!

A: With lasting difficulty. I kept these experiences to myself for 60 years. I had them several times a year from about 15 years of age into my 30’s.

Q: You never wanted to shout them from the housetops as the saying goes?

A: Never.

Q: Why not?

A: I never understood them.

Q: So what made you ‘come out’ when you did.

A: I came across a book of yoga that seemed to hint at my experiences. I began to wonder if the phenomena might be known after all. The book, by Paul Brunton, didn’t make me feel any urge to take it further though.

Some time later, in my fifties I came across an older couple at a house of a group of friends who spoke with familiarity about what I thought were my exclusive experiences. I was astounded.

The couple subsequently introduced me to what has been called a little known school of Sufism that teaches millions of its world wide adherents what only I thought I knew – my experiences.

That eventually lead to my “coming out” to the then Master of the School. Later, after preparation, I was finally initiated.

The School impressed me by inviting its adherents to stay in its growing new town in India for free for three months every year in modern western style accommodation in the cool season. We were never asked for money, even told not to send postage for the Master’s replies to any letters he encouraged us to write to him about our progress. He said, “adequate funds are provided.”

It was here I first learned about mystics. Much later, from outside the School, I came across the Buddhist reference to pratyeka buddhas, which leads me to believe that’s what I am, but not a buddha. A pratyeka buddha has personal experiences of Reality like me, and does not teach, preach, evangelise or prosyletise from these experiences either.

Q: Quite a journey. Why are you here do you think?

A: I think mystics like me could be part of some purpose of developing consciousness. I’m not sure yet.

Q: Human consciousness?

A: No, not human consciousness! Ultimate consciousness, of which human consciousness could be a part on some level.

Q: You’re not curious?

A: No, I’m not curious. I’m content. I’m in good hands. All Is Well.

Q: Can other ordinary humans have these mystical experiences?

A: If they “hunger and thirst” for Reality as the Christian bible suggests, then they are already called. I was just one of those that didn’t hunger and thirst, but “That which you seek seeks you” the Sufi Master told us. People who do hunger and thirst are in good hands too. “Seek and ye shall find”, also from the Christian bible, is another truism that rings as authentic to me. Again I didn’t seek, but once found, I knew Reality.

As I say, whatever your way, All Is Well. “There are no failures” I’m told.

Mysticexperiences.net

REVIEW: TRANSCENDENT STATES

See below for a review of a paper sent to me by Academia.edu:

“A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF TRANSCENDENT STATES ACROSS MEDITATION AND CONTEMPLATIVE TRADITIONS”

By Helané Wahbeh, ND, MCR; Amira Sagher, MSc; Wallis Back, MA; Pooja Pundhir, MD; and Frederick Travis, PhD

View Article

This is a scientific investigation into scientific papers on the subject, plus experiments the authors conducted on hundreds of meditators using many cultural and historical practices to achieve transcendent states.

The authors claim that “… few studies have systematically examined transcendent states during meditation”.

The practices they studied included, Buddhist; Christian; Mixed (practitioners from multiple traditions);Vedic: Transcendental Meditation and Yoga.

The practices varied from transcendental meditation to yoga to contemplative prayer, to other forms of sitting meditation.

Electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiography, electro-myography, electrooculogram, “event-related potentials”, functional magnetic resonance imaging, magnetoencephalography;respiration, and skin conductance and response were measured.

Twenty five studies with a total of 672 combined participants were included in the final review. Participants were mostly male with a range of years of meditative practice. The authors found the results showed “similar unitive, ineffable state of consciousness.”

They report “transcendent states were most consistently associated with slowed breathing, respiratory suspension, reduced muscle activity and EEG alpha blocking with external stimuli, and increased EEG alpha power, EEG coherence, and functional neural connectivity.”

The transcendent states they found were “a state of relaxed wakefulness in a phenomenologically different space-time.”

The authors concluded that “Future research is warranted into transcendent states during meditation.”

Clearly, the authors did not come across someone like me. I arrived willy nilly at a state of transcendence, partially described here, every year for about 15 years without initially knowing of, or even later following, any practices or meditational techniques whatsoever. I did however practice two hours meditation a day every day for a year or so as part of my much later Sufi school experience. It was not discernibly successful. It did not redeliver me into my original mystical experiences of Reality (MER) or anything like …

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Mysticexperiences.net

DISCUSSION: THE CASE AGAINST REALITY.

THE CASE AGAINST REALITY, 370 pages,  pub. W.W. Norton. 

By Dr Donald Hoffman, cognitive psychologist, University of California.

According to an anonymous Google Play reviewer of Dr Hoffman’s ebook version of this title, Dr Hoffman is asking if we can trust our senses to tell us the truth about reality.

I take it this only means human reality because he says his theory is based on the theory of realitivity, ie. physical evolution.

Apparently, Dr Hoffman claims human perception is not a window on truth. “Can we trust our senses to tell us the truth? he is quoted as saying.

” No!” the mystics reply. They have been telling us for thousands of years there is a Reality encompassing everything in existence, including humans. Human senses without the experience of Reality are limited to mere human preservation. MER is much more than that.

Is Dr Hoffman bringing science to the edge of a perception of this Reality (MER) mystics say is human destiny? If so, will this mean Science will be permanently reduced to only examining physical reality – a mere study of practical technology, how and why things work? Is this book the beginning of the revolutionary scientific breakthrough that will eventually change science forever?

If you have read this book already, or now intend to, please let us have your comments on Dr Hoffman’s thoughts. He is also interviewed on this subject on You Tube’s CLOSER TO TRUTH.

Let us know what you think. Thank you.

Mysticexperiences.net

“Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation”

“Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation” 
By St. JOHN OF THE CROSS

I only come across Dr. Saint John of the Cross this morning in a paper submitted to Academia.edu by Michael McGlynn, an Associate Professor of Literature at National Taiwan University.

Hitherto I had only ever come across St.John in earnest, turgid religious literature I never bothered to finish. Had I persevered I may have made my first discovery not only of St.John but of the word mystic, as well as my first introduction to the experience of a mystic in this, one of St.John’s most famous poems where he validates the mystical experience of Reality (MER) as transcending all human mental, physical, ability to know or express ultimate existence.

That I didn’t, suggests to me I was not meant to find out and understand for myself the meaning of my direct mystical experiences of Reality until now, much later in life.

I cannot express how profoundly moved, humbled and blessed I am by this late, validating discovery. I recognise every word, in its most metaphysical sense.

Enjoy:


Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation 

By St. JOHN OF THE CROSS

I entered into unknowing
Yet when I saw myself there
Without knowing where I was
I understood great things;
I shall not say what I felt
For I remained in unknowing
Transcending all knowledge.

That perfect knowledge
Was of peace and holiness
Held at no remove
In profound solitude;
It was something so secret
That I was left stammering,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

I was so overwhelmed,
So absorbed and withdrawn,
That my senses were left
Deprived of all their sensing,
And my spirit was given
An understanding while not understanding,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

He who truly arrives there
Cuts free from himself;
All that he knew before
Now seems worthless,
And his knowledge so soars
That he is left in unknowing
Transcending all science/knowledge.
   
This knowledge in unknowing
Is so overwhelming
That wise men disputing
Can never overthrow it,
For their knowledge does not reach
To the understanding of not understanding,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

And this supreme knowledge
Is so exalted
That no power of man or learning
Can grasp it;
He who masters himself
Will, with knowledge in unknowing,
Always be transcending.

And if you should want to hear:
This highest knowledge lies
In the loftiest sense
Of the essence of God;
This is a work of His mercy,
To leave one without understanding,
Transcending all science/knowledge.

Mysticexperiences.net

QUESTION: You Have Said Reality Does Not Use Names

QUESTION: You have said Reality does not use names.

ANSWER: True, Reality does not use names. In Ultimate Reality, where everything is well and perfect, there are no names, or words usually. 

Q: Then how does Reality communicate?

A: In my experience, by intuition, instinct – and once in my case, in words too, i,e.”All Is Well”.  

Dr Tart, the eminent parapsychologist and transpersonal psychologist, seems to claim Extransensory Perception is the way Reality communicates. But I don’t quite know what he means by such a general definition.

I’m not sure he would mean it to describe my experiences, though my MERs were certainly not delivered through ordinary human sense receptors, obviously … But they were extra “sensory” in a human sense. 

(Dr Tart uses the word perception as if the experiences he is talking about are a human choice. MER is not a choice. It takes over whether you like it or not. It never ocurred to me there was a choice in my MER experiences. I simply was).

Q: Can we develop intuition, instinct or ESP ourselves?

A: Dr Tart says we can develop this Extra Sensory Perception he’s talking about. He doesn’t say that about intuition or instinct though, nor have I heard if anyone else does. 

However, it’s not Reality’s method of communication that matters, in my view, it’s the enlightenment MER gives, and the personal lifetime development that follows.

Q: What is that personal lifetime of development?

A: Perhaps preparation for the mystic’s ongoing experience after death.

Q: Why don’t we all experience MER?

A:  Perhaps only mystics experience it because they are ready but need MER as a kick in the rear to higher dimensions to get their attention? Some scientists say the mystic experience is influenced by some early religious exposure. Mine wasn’t. There was nothing “religious” about my MER experiences. That disappointed me in fact. I thought God was calling me. But there was no God, no gods, devils or angels either, nothing human. Even Keith Michael Hancock wasn’t there. 

The majority of humans up to the age of 65 or so are losing the perennial battle of everyday reality of human life based on their physical needs and wants versus the spiritual Reality of their human destiny. 

This spiritual Reality doesn’t make it any easier to discover human destiny either. It obscures itself behind an impregnably clever password: EXPERIENCE i.e.: MER, the mystical experience of Reality.

In my observation of aging and death however I do see signs of a gradual involuntary birthing trend of MER in people as they get to the second half of their lives, a loosening of the grip on the individual by mere human reality, the diminishing power of lust, anger, greed, grief, attachment and even the damndest grip of all, ego. All that’s briefly left at death is body and mind, and they soon disappear forever. Maybe all humans are secretly fixed on the path to enlightenment whether they know it or not.

On the other hand there are people of every age with so many spiritually aimed questions. They suggest to me they are at various stages of being “Called”, are Seekers. The trend towards enlightenment is more obvious in them, especially by mystics who recognise the signs from their own experiences.

I think you, for instance, are a Seeker – on your way to all your questions being answered in MER. 

MER comes and goes we know not from where or to where, “like the wind” as it says in many places in the bible, e.g. John. 3:8. 

You seem to be on your way whether you like it or not. Is Seeking your life purpose, your grail?

Listen to the Utter Silence. It never lets you down. Ever. That which you seek seeks you, as the mystic tradition goes …

All Is Well.

Mysticexperiences.net

BEING

By Anthony Garner, zenothestoic.com (on Weltanchauung):

Sitting in the garden listening to the rain.

There may be no more to be said than that. Call it a koan if you will, or a haiku perhaps. But do not be entangled by words or definitions.

If you must subscribe to any line of thinking, let it be Eastern. I am Zen. Doing nothing.

I am the Tao. I am the Hsin Hsin Ming.

And so are we all, did we but know it.

In the quiet, I have seen my origins. I have witnessed my past and my future. In me as in all of us, there are a million, million years of history.

In meditation, it is not too fanciful to speak to your long deceased father. Or mother. Or any of the millions of things you have been in the past, or will become in the future.

I sense a life in the woods, way back in time. I witnessed my consciousness emerge from all those eons of experienced time. And somewhere a monastery, in more modern times. Always a monastery.

And I saw the way it must end. Or rather, not end. Continue.

As I sense my father in me, my son, if he cared to think about it, would sense me in him. And his mother.

A seeker eventually finds. I have found. The truth, the way, reality – call it what you will.

It is devastatingly simple and of incredible complexity.

The simple part is to be. To feel the waters and flow of time around you and to go, to drift with the gentle current.

There is no more to it than that. If you seek contentment and meaning, then accept the river, the flow and do not try to go against the stream.

If you seek complexity, you will certainly find it, but it will avail you little.

Complexity is to be found in your body and the millions of working parts which make you what you are.

Complexity is to be found in the society and economy we have created.

Let it all pass. It will do so of its own accord in time. All is change, there are no constants.

Being, that is all there is to it. Sitting in the garden and listening to the rain.

_____________________

Comment by Keith:

“Your beautifully expressed experiences are very gratifying to witness. Your voice’s interpretation and communication are perfect for me. Quite an experience.

“If the Hsin Hsin Ming (mind) referred to is consciousness it echoes one of the last experiences I had in MER when I was mystified by observing the back of the body of Keith Hancock from a distance as it stood before an endless void of greyness as if about to make a final movement into it.

“I identified totally with the invisible observer of this scene and often wondered what the observer was in which the ‘I’ was so absorbed, separated from Keith Hancock. I came to recognise this observer as mind despite that conflicting with my experience the human mind as I understood it then does not exist after human death. Now I know it as consciousness. I am beginning to realise this consciousness is what exists in Reality for ever. It becomes clearer to me that consciousness is what the human journey is all about. It never ‘dies’.

“Kindest regards,

“Keith.”

Reply by Anthony Garner:

“I am astounded by the similarities between what you describe and what I felt the other day. Although I did not express it, I too felt that day that death was illusory. I too witnessed my own body, not from a physical distance as such but as separate from my mind and, in a sense, irrelevant. I recognized that it was not “me”, that I was different and in a sense, immortal. I seemed also to sense the end of my body, its death. Some sort of premonition perhaps, or maybe a realization that the body is irrelevant.

“And my consciousness seemed to extend back endlessly in time; I seemed to witness it’s past ands its constituents. Almost a past life (lives) experience. I am not sure where my “beliefs” now lie. What I do know is that I feel a very different person.

“Thank you for sharing that with me Keith. It is gratifying to know that others have experienced similar and equally strange visions of what is or what may be.

“Best

“A”

SEE OTHER COMMENTS ON this post on zenothestoic.com (on Weltanchauung) for very interesting comments by other Anthony’s followers (including two of ours!).