VASISTHA*, A SPIRITUALLY SEMINAL TEXT?

 

From the Introduction to the ancient Sanskrit text, YOGA VASISTHA:

“There is but one consciousness which is pure, invisible, the subtlest of the subtle, tranquil, which is neither the world nor its activities. It is aware of itself: hence this Individual Self-hood arises.

“This Individual Self perceives this unreal body as real. But when the Individual Self perceives it in the light of self-knowledge, this delusion vanishes, and the body also becomes utterly tranquil. Then the Individual Self does not perceive the body.

“The confusion of the body with the self is the greatest delusion, which the light of the sun cannot dispel.

“When the body is considered real, it becomes a real body. When it is perceived with the knowledge that it is unreal, it is merged in space. Whatever notion is firmly held concerning the body, that it becomes.”

* The full Vasistha text consists of six books:

  • The first book presents frustrations with the nature of life, human suffering and disdain for the world;
  • The second describes … desire for liberation and the nature of those who seek such liberation;
  • The third and fourth books assert that liberation comes through a spiritual life, one that requires self-effort, and present cosmology and metaphysical theories of existence embedded in stories. These two books are known for emphasizing free will and human creative power;
  • The fifth book discusses meditation and its powers in liberating the individual, while;
  • The last book describes the state of enlightenment and bliss. (Wikipedia).

Mystic Experiences’ Comments on Vasistha:

The complete text of the Vasistha doesn’t mention the transformative experience as being spontaneous. It claims human effort can gain the experience. That’s not my experience.

My experiences came to me unbidden, spontaneously, every year from the age of about 15 to late thirties. I have no knowledge of anything about me then or now that could possibly qualify me for such non human experiences.Accordingly, I am prejudiced to the acceptance of the Mystic Experience of Reality (MER) being caught, not taught.

Since the Vasistha’s probable arrival in the 6th century it has become generally accepted that these experiences of absolute Reality and its gifts are consistently spontaneous and beyond any human experience or ability to create or imagine and are not accessible even by learning, religious or intellectual effort, practices or physical invocations. The experiences are now generally accepted and studied scientifically and academically around the world.

However, where the experiences come from or their purpose is unknown, or at best only through scientific speculation.

The Vasistha also seems to assert that this state of ultimate knowing (“cosmic consciousness”), is all about human development. Nowadays we’d say, “all about evolution”.

Even if that is so, I have the strongest doubts such a fundamental, primal process of cosmic existence would be left to the stewardship of humans at this stage in human development.

However, in my view, the insights of Vasistha make it a seminal read for the spiritually called and is available as an eBook. Check Wikipedia’s comprehensive entry first for a fuller introduction.

Advertisements

HUMAN REALITY VERSUS ULTIMATE REALITY, THE GAP

 

Questioner: Yes, “everything just is” and pain and suffering is an aspect of that, now and forever.

Answer: Pain and suffering are human experiences, mind stuff.

While there is no scientific evidence “mind” with all its human memories, including pain and suffering, even exists scientifically, there is a Sufi tradition that mind is the cause of all human ills and exists largely in default, generally without human intervention, and even survives human death but in its unregenerative state does not achieve Reality.

However, mystic experience is that pain and suffering disappear incrementally as humanity evolves.

Pain and suffering don’t exist in the MER (Mystic Experience of Reality), not in my experiences or anyone else’s so far as I know.

Questioner: The statement is that “mystical experience of reality” imparts the knowledge of Reality’s perfection and that it is only the mind “on the human level” that generates negativity.

Answer: Yes.

Questioner: Then radical duality is posited here: the human level and the spiritual. This is the same divisive duality that religion has insisted upon for millennia.

Answer: The topic is Ultimate Reality, of which the human race and all its comparative inconsequences like religion and it’s primitive, evolutionary mythomanias are a present part, but only an insignificant and passing part in humanity’s present form.

From my MER perspective, Reality encompasses everything, even the lesser realities of humanity. But humanity’s destiny is in Reality, not the other way round.

Questioner: If everything is perfect and the mind is part of everything (how could it not be?), then it would follow that negativity is perfect. Wars, birth defects, painful and disfiguring disease, torture camps, etc are all a part of everything. Calling them perfect is obviously ludicrous, wherein the term “perfect” loses all of its meaning.

Answer: To a mystic everything known and unknown, everything not manifest, everything understood or not, is as it should be.

If you are speaking from a human perspective you are off topic again. This Blog is about MER and its revelations.

The experience of Reality extinguishes human reality, which is temporary anyhow, evolving, ever changing.

Human problems dissolve in Reality. Evidently, humanity has a long way to go – as theoretical physicist and author Dr. Michio Kaku infers when he says humanity is at zero in its evolution.

All is well, whether humanity understands that yet or not, or ever …

Mysticexperiences.net

THE BRAIN AND MYSTICISM: A BRIEF LOOK

 

By David Robertson

– Publisher of A Perennial Follower, where this post originally appeared.

 

Right off the bat, I should strongly emphasise that I’m far from being an expert on neuroscience, I wouldn’t even call myself a layman on the subject. But in my humble defence I’ve just read a book on the subject over the last few days – “The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman”, as well as read some other stuff here and there.

I strongly recommend the book as a simple introduction to neuroscience, accessible to anyone who has interest in the topic (and this is coming from someone who frequently gets confused by all the medical and biological jargon!)

Throughout the entire book, there are constant insights and mind-blowing information about the nature of the brain and how it functions.

David Eagleman kept surprising me in the book too, which I found rather refreshing. Instead of presenting the book as absolute fact and attacking anything opposing the current scientific consensus, he was incredibly humble in his claims. He was always open to other explanations, and admitted potential limitations and gaps in current research – a sign of a true man of science. I think this may be partly due to his quite open-minded worldview, which has been labelled possibilianism. This position is essentially a middle ground between atheism and traditional theism that doesn’t commit to certainty one way or the other, but instead chooses to explore multiple possibilities and theories that current science may not be capable of yet.

A simple example of this attitude was in his brief gloss over the free will debate, where he concluded that even though there are signs that we don’t have free will, we’re still a long way off from truly knowing if we have it or not.

So onto some of the stuff covered in the book and how this relates to the findings of those who have followed mystical traditions across time.

The brain is the single most complex thing in the universe (yet discovered). Each brain, in essence, is it’s own universe. Each neuron, (the cell that transmits information gathered from the outside by emitting electrochemical signals) has ten thousand connections to other neurons. And each string of connections creates an aspect of your experience, or helps facilitate a function of the body. The brain has ten trillion connections, more than a thousand times the amount of stars in our galaxy.

Here’s an idea of the amount of information in the brain: there is more of it stored in a single fully developed brain than in all of the data on the internet combined. Truly mind boggling and incomprehensible.

This seeming limitlessness of the mind reminds me of what Buddhists have frequently said across the centuries – the mind is like the open sky. Though the context is a little bit different, Buddhists talk about the limitless potentiality of immediate awareness and consciousness after all the foggy aspects of our mind (like desires, harmful thoughts and feelings and the like) have been cleared away.

Still, I think Buddhists have been onto something about the mind and the brain’s potential. Neuroscience seems to give leeway to this.

Moreover, the Pure Consciousness Experience, one of the types of mystical experience reported, is said to be one where the regular limitations of the mind, namely the sense of being an individual self, are dissolved and one “elevates” into a state of pure, unlimited consciousness. The truly incomprehensible complexity of the brain seems to grant the possibility that such expansive states of being exist on a scientific level.

One of the insights that I was somewhat aware of, largely due to some of my studies in science and spirituality, but was nevertheless still nice to be confirmed by a more mainstream scientist was that the world of our senses is ultimately an illusion.

The world that is projected in front of us, is all contained within the dark chamber of our brain. Really what is in front of us is just energy and matter, and it is our brain that puts on a show through interpreting these signals via electrochemical signals gathered from sensory organs.

*You don’t see, hear and smell through your eyes, ears and nose. These things just collect the information and your brain interprets and projects it. Reality, according to neuroscience, is rather senseless but the brain over millions of years has created this beautiful, detailed cosmos for us to enjoy and experience. An intricate play that the mind has created before us to veil whatever reality actually is.

To me, this immediately reminded me of the sayings of countless mystics, particularly in Eastern traditions, but also somewhat present in Christianity and Sufism (Islamic mysticism), perhaps no more directly stated than in Vedanta (a Hindu mystical tradition), that the reality we perceive is an illusion, a veil behind what reality actually is. This is known as maya, where the mind creates a subjective experience that hinders one from seeing the Ultimate Reality, Brahman, underneath it all.

The metaphysics of Mahayana Buddhism also hold very similar ideas to the “magic show” that is created before our eyes preventing us from seeing reality as it is. Which to the secular neuroscientist is just different concentrations of matter and energy, but to the mystic is something more: the ultimate unifying Principle known as God.

Modern findings in neuroscience are also, in some degree, verifying something that mystics have intuitively and experientially known for millennia – the interdependence and interconnection of all things, the oneness of the universe.

As an earlier post of mine shows, mystics from all traditions constantly emphasise and talk about all reality being part of God, nothing is truly separate. This has been well documented in nature, particularly in ecological studies where removing one aspect of any given environment (a fly for example) would have some sort of detrimental effect to the whole eco-system, throwing the whole thing out of balance until it is able to readjust itself over time. Everything forms part of a unified whole.

The workings of the brain are no different. One brain isn’t in a vacuum, separate from the rest of the brains of the world. We live in enormous networks and collectively, in the words of Eagleman, we are really just one part of a giant mega-organism. Our brain is like one node in this diverse, infinitely complex web we call humanity. And our brains strongly influence the brains of others and vice-versa, so much so that the physical make-up of the brain changes.

I can think of one anecdotal example of my own that highlights this. Over time, as my relationship has developed and transformed with my now fiance, I’ve noticed that both of us have become more like one another in many ways – using words borrowed from her that I’d never used, mimicking her behaviour subconsciously like subtle facial expressions, even feeling what the other is feeling whether its joy or sadness or even queasiness from being a little carsick. And I’m sure many long-standing relationships (not just romantic ones) are quite like this.

In essence, the circuitry of our brains are shaped and influenced by the factors around us like culture, friends, family and so on. All this appears to verify claims of the mystics that we are not really separate, individual selves, an independent bag of skin in a hostile cosmos, but really we are different parts of a whole.

Sometimes when I pick up a new book, particularly something that may challenge deeply cherished beliefs of mine, I get a small feeling of nervous excitement, but I think it’s something we should do if we want to expand our horizons and deepen and strengthen our own perspectives on the world.

In the world of neuroscience, I believe the insights of mysticism and mystical experiences have something important to say about the nature of the mind, consciousness and the brain. And it’s important for researchers in the field to look into this ancient phenomena seriously.

It appears that this is well underway too, a quick Google of “neuroscience and mysticism” will bring a wealth of articles, books and research on this topic, which are providing insights into the structure of the mind and brain.

Given that many findings in neuroscience, psychology and quantum physics seem to have parallels in the writings of ancient mystics, perhaps it is time to rethink or at least delve into different base assumptions of the universe than that of the philosophical position of natural materialism which science has traditionally held.

Mysticexperiences.net


David Robertson is the Publisher of Perennial Follower, perennialfollower.wordpress.com

 

REVIEW: “AM I A MYSTIC? TEN TELLTALE SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE”

 

A review of Cara Hebert’s article “Am I a Mystic?”, published on GAIA.com

This review précises an article that first appeared in GAIA.com where it can be read in full.

Our review comments appear in bold type. Otherwise everything Cara Hebert writes is supported by my own yearly mystical experiences of Reality from the age of about 15 to my late thirties.

First of all it has to be said, the understanding and clarity of this article is profound, though some hints of individual worldliness may be unhelpful.

However, in all that I have seen, heard and read on the subject, whether religious, laic, secular, or scientific, I haven’t come across such an easily read and understood interpretation of the effects of the mystic phenomenon on mystics.

The author starts off by saying, “Mysticism holds a very loose definition, which can often be complicated, confusing, and nearly impossible to express with mere words.”

She says “direct knowledge of spiritual truth or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience and that Ultimate reality is something that is supreme, final, and the fundamental power in all reality.”

“Unlike Christianity, Islam or Judaism, Mysticism is not rooted in faith, principle, dogma, or even belief. This is because you do not “believe” in Mysticism. Instead, Mystics are born.”

The next claim in the article, that to Mystics the world is “expansive” and “magical”, yet also “intricately and undoubtedly connected”, conforms to my experiences, except nothing seemed “magical”, they were all so natural.

The article says, “Free will does not exist. Instead, there is a greater fundamental power that moves every action and decision toward the accomplishment of a greater plan.”

Very true, except for the free will bit …

Mystics do see divine intervention behind their impulses, as the article suggests, and there is a greater power that moves every action and decision towards a greater plan. But the claim free will does not exist is not true in my experience. 

Within their human limits, humans have extraordinary powers of free will. So do beetles within their limits, so do all creatures … I assume a plentiful free will abounds within the individual bounds of all created beings.

The article says, “Because of this natural understanding of the Universe in everything, Mystics feel a need to serve others in order to help guide them through obstacles and critical life decisions.”

No. Not all mystics “feel a need to serve others”. Buddhists, for instance, understand those particular mystics, like me, who feel humanity is a distraction from their path to “Nirvana”. They call these enlightened ones, pratyekabuddhas, or paccekabuddhas, the so-called “silent buddhas” who do not try to share their realization with the world.

Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, by “dependent origination”, (spontaneous rebirth?). For instance, all my experiences were spontaneous.

Traditionally, Paccekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment. (See unedited descriptions in Wikipedia).

In my experience of the mystical experience of Reality there is nothing to be learned from the study of human beings. Deus sufficit. Or, in mystic parlance, Ultimate Reality is enough.

Another assertion by Hebert is that not everyone can be a mystic, “it is not something that can be learned or taught, therefore those who realize their innate abilities have the responsibility to help those without.”

I agree with everything in this observation except the apparent assertion that Mystics have a responsibility to help non Mystics, thus suggesting Mystics can substitute themselves for Reality! History is filled with martyred mystics who made this mistake.

Finally, Hebert gives 10 ways of telling if you’re a mystic. We précis them here:

1. YOU VALUE EXPERIENCES ABOVE ALL ELSE

Mystics tend to steer clear of strict doctrines and principles. Because of their innate intuition, they have a high level of trust in their own morality and inner self.

Basically, she says Mystics welcome others’ experiences but only rely on their own experiences of Reality to guide their existence, whether this agrees with humanity or not.

True. Reality is enough.

2. YOU QUESTION EXISTENCE

Mystics see and understand more but are not able to fully comprehend how the universe works and why.

Mystics are passengers; not drivers or mechanics, (or physicists!).

Mystics have a curiosity about the world.

Not at all! For Mystics, the world is a spiritual distraction to be avoided.

3. YOU ARE COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY

Mystics understand that there is a plan behind every action In The Universe, and therefore trust that every action has purpose, even if they don’t know what the next moment will bring. Mystics also trust in themselves and their connection to the universe that they will be able to interpret any signs and act accordingly.

4. YOU VALUE INTUITION

Mystics rely on knowledge, language and physical senses the same as others do. However, their intuitive perceptions offer a deeper form of insight.

5. YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES

Tenuous rituals or traditions have no place in the world of spirituality for Mystics.

6. YOU HAVE YOUR OWN SET OF RULES

Mystics feel a connection to every living thing and therefore are able to look beyond what may be socially accepted. Mystics have an innate trust in their own morality and intuition and are guided by their experience, rather than by leaders or society.

7. YOU VALUE INTERNAL GROWTH

To Mystics, rituals and traditions are meant to trigger internal insight and transformation, not to appease a higher power. This is another reason why Mystics often feel uncomfortable with structured religions. Mystics feel that personal growth toward the universe’s ultimate plan must come from within. It cannot be dictated or ordered. Mystics feel a responsibility to help others to find their way, however, they cannot tell them what is right and wrong.

Not all Mystics “feel a responsibility to help others find their way”. Many have been martyred for making this mistake. See above.

8. YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE A CONDUIT FOR POWER, NOT THE SOURCE

Because of their connection with everyone and everything, Mystics are often humble and more concerned with understanding and emotion than with power. They see their insights into the universe as a borrowed gift – bestowed upon them by something greater, but ultimately temporary.

I see mystic experiences as permanent. They are developing experiences of Ultimate Reality, not something “temporary” or “borrowed”. This is the first time I’ve heard this suggestion of impermanence.

9. YOU BELIEVE LOVE IS THE SOURCE OF LIFE

Similar to No. 8, Mystics believe that love powers everything. Love is not something that originates in you, rather it is something that flows through every being.

10. YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING

And you don’t think you know everything. Mystics acknowledge that the universe is infinite and mysterious and is far too complex for the human mind to fully comprehend.  They trust in the universe’s plan and see their journey as one of understanding, not preaching.


Cara Hebert is a writer who received her BFA from Boston University. An avid traveller and citizen of nowhere and everywhere, Cara has lived all over the world including North Carolina, London, Massachusetts, Maine, Georgia, Illinois, and Connecticut. 

 

 

 

Mysticexperiences.net

WHAT’S THIS WEB PAGE ALL ABOUT? A reminder.

You are at the wrong site if you are just seeking to be a better human being.

However, if you are called as a genuine Seeker then it is axiomatic, automatic, that you will become a better human being whether you read or Follow this web page or not.

Sincere familial blessings to you.

This is a BLOG for Seekers and those who have had the mystical experience of Reality (MER) and are humbly, joyfully dedicated to it – bringing their remaining personal humanity to it.

The Blog is also for scholars and scientists and those others who find themselves compelled to study the phenomena.

Mysticexperiences.net

A ONE-SENTENCE, 125-WORD EXPLANATION OF EXISTENCE AND THE SOUL?

Since Plato and Aristotle disagreed over the soul being spirit or physical, giving rise to the argument among humans ever since, it is my contention Ultimate Reality – which modern science, the way Professor Fred Alan describes it, suggests to me is an “‘intangible, irreducible field of probability; the quantum physical wave function from which all matter and energy arise” – that this Ultimate Reality “wave function” invented the phenomenon of the direct individual experience of MER (the Mystical Experience of Reality), thus explaining spiritual existence accurately and fully once and for all without any human intervention whatsoever, (even avoiding languages to do so, using individual human brains as receivers of MERs) – thus reducing scientific physics and philosophy to the level of mere materialistic technological enquiry …

PS: Perennialists 1, Constructionists 0.

Mysticexperiences.net

SEVEN “GIFTS” OF CATHOLICS

Is this where we went wrong?

These seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (MER?) are excerpted from an article by Frank X. Blisard in the December 1 1960 edition of Catholic Answers magazine:

1. “Wisdom is both the knowledge of and judgment about “divine things” and the ability to judge and direct human affairs according to divine truth (I/I.1.6; I/II.69.3; II/II.8.6; II/II.45.1–5).

COMMENT:  So, is this the very heart and soul, of where religions get it wrong? Is this where the devil, so to speak, thwarts MER by diverting the truly divine into the merely human fabrications of “faith, hope and belief”?  These three myths signify that those who practise them are ignorant of Reality. When you have experienced MER you don’t need “faith, hope and belief”, you know.

2. “Understanding is penetrating insight into the very heart of things, especially those higher truths that are necessary for our eternal salvation—in effect, the ability to “see” God (I/I.12.5; I/II.69.2; II/II.8.1–3).

3. “Counsel allows a man to be directed by God in matters necessary for his salvation (II/II.52.1). ***

COMMENT:  No one needs salvation. Salvation is an irrelevant manipulative human concept, nothing to do with a sinless Ultimate Reality. It is an oxymoron, an ignorant unspiritual presumption.

As for “the ability to to see God”, I expected to see “God” in my MER experiences, though I was disappointed when I didn’t. I was however humbled by the joy of Ultimate Reality’s acceptance of me; and by the awe of its revelation of Existence.

But if by “God” this “gift” means Reality, then there is nowhere Ultimate Reality isn’t and we ARE Reality – whether Reality is seen, known, realised or not. In so far as we are chosen then we experience Reality AS us, and we are Reality.

4. “Fortitude denotes a firmness of mind in doing good and in avoiding evil, particularly when it is difficult or dangerous to do so, and the confidence to overcome all obstacles, even deadly ones, by virtue of the assurance of everlasting life (I/II.61.3; II/II.123.2; II/II.139.1).

COMMENT: Seekers not yet fulfilled will find fortitude a necessary discipline perhaps, but not those who have experienced MER, to whom fortitude is no longer relevant. There are no obstacles of manmade “spiritual” inventions, not even human darknesses like “evil”, in Reality. 

5. “Knowledge is the ability to judge correctly about matters of faith and right action, so as to never wander from the straight path of justice (II/II.9.3).

COMMENT:  “Judge”, “faith”, “right action” and “path of justice”, are clear intentions to direct the experience of MER into mere human concerns. This is purely ignorant human religious devilry, however innocent; an attempted coup against Ultimate Reality. 

6. “Piety is, principally, revering God with filial affection, paying worship and duty to God, paying due duty to all men on account of their relationship to God, and honoring the saints and not contradicting Scripture. The Latin word pietas denotes the reverence that we give to our father and to our country; since God is the Father of all, the worship of God is also called piety (I/II.68.4; II/II.121.1).

COMMENT:  The Reality experienced in MER cannot be reduced to any concept of “fillialness”, “piety”, “worship” or “duty”, “(national) patriotism”, or “saints”. These are man-made words; mindstuff. The god that requires such obeissance is insignificantly small, a human fiction. There are no names or descriptions in Reality.

7. “Fear of God is, in this context, “filial” or chaste fear whereby we revere God and avoid separating ourselves from him—as opposed to “servile” fear, whereby we fear punishment (I/II.67.4; II/II.19.9).” 

COMMENT: Fear of Reality is another oxymoron, a spiritually ignorant human supposition. MER is humbleness (not humility),  joy, bliss, acceptance, belonging, complete oneness in everything that exists. Fear is a product of human darkness. It does not exist in Reality.

Mysticexperiences.net

MYSTICS AS INTERMEDIARIES? No!*

An excerpt from the conclusion to the book, PATHS BEYOND EGO, by Dr. Roger Walsh and Dr. Frances Vaughan – with a dissenting COMMENT by mysticexperiences.net.

EXCERPT

“Carl Jung spoke of the importance of gnostic intermediaries, those people who transmit a wisdom tradition by imbibing it themselves and then translating it into the language and concepts of another culture.

“Perhaps the transpersonal movement can function as a collective gnostic intermediary, whereby the timeless wisdom of traditional transpersonal disciplines can be translated. tested, and winnowed, and then can inspire and transform contemporary culture.

“Yet the transpersonal movement is more than a gnostic intermediary. For in addition to translating knowledge it is actively involved in creating knowledge. New techniques are being devised, data generated, and both ancient and contemporary claims are being tested scientifically, philosophically, clinically, and experientially.

“The long-term effects of this enterprise may be far more than we can imagine. Already we have seen a shift to a more generous view of human nature and possibilities. We have moved from a perspective that encompassed only a single, healthy waking state of consciousness to a recognition of multiple states; from viewing normal development as our ceiling to seeing it as a culturally determined limit; from denying lucid dreaming to exploring it in the laboratory; from regarding meditation as a regressive escape to appreciating it as a developmental catalyst; from dismissing mystical experiences as pathological to recognizing them as beneficial; and from devaluing non-Western psychologies and philosophies to appreciating that some of them are, in their own unique ways, highly sophisticated.

“These shifts and more may make transpersonal studies an essential cornerstone in the emerging paradigm. These shifts also may change each of us, for what we do reflects our beliefs about who and what we are.

“The transpersonal vision of our possibilities may therefore call forth our individual and collective efforts to actualize them. This actualization may be crucial for the survival of our planet and our species …”

COMMENTARY

If my experiences of these “transpersonal” psychological experiences of Reality (MER) are anything to go by, there were no indications they were meant to make me an intermediary to the human race.

Any direction I got regarding humans was to avoid them as a distraction, counter-indicative to an understanding of the existence of the greater Reality being revealed.

Drs. Walsh and Vaughan seem to see a role for humans in the existence of mysticism despite lack of any evidence it is a human invention, or anything humans can control. No one as yet has any verifiable notion of its purpose.

Mysticexperiences.net


rogerwalsh1ROGER WALSH graduated from Australia’s Queensland University with degrees in psychology, physiology, neuroscience, and medicine, and then went to the United States as a Fulbright Scholar. He is now at the University of California at Irvine where he is professor of psychiatry, philosophy, and anthropology, as well as a professor in the religious studies programme. He is a proponent of the development of “transpersonal psychology” that includes phenomena such as MER (Mystical Experiences of Reality).


vaughanbw-210-expFRANCES VAUGHAN, Ph.D. is an author, educator and retired psychologist in Sonoma County, CA.

ANTI RELIGION?

Added to, December 2017 – see “Jesus”. No spiritual lessons.

 

 

Q: Are you anti-religion?

A: As a mystic, I’m not qualified to answer that.

Q: Why not?

A: To me, only spiritual questions are relevant.

Q: So you’re saying religions are not spiritual?

A: Mystics are by definition spiritual. But religions have nothing to do with spirituality. They are more a spiritual hindrance than help for the truly called.

Q: But humans take religions very seriously, even the ones who don’t practice them. Can you expand on that?

A. Religions are a human attempt to create the mystical experience of Reality, but can’t. The experience of Reality is for individuals only. It can’t be induced by humans.

As such, religions’ goals are reduced to producing “better” human beings, being focused instead on morality and
ethics, on non-spiritual, human stuff.

Q: Aren’t mystics interested in bettering humans; in this “human stuff”?

A: The Jesus of the bible is not the only enlightened one who thought improving the human race was what the mystical experience of Reality is all about. But the Experience is caught, not taught and can’t be retransmitted.

That is why Jesus’ mission failed. It inevitably deteriorated through ordinary human beings into mere morality and ethics, human practices and religious “churches” of rituals and dogmas. These are are not spiritual.  There are no biblical records of actual spiritual lessons from the biblical Jesus.

But some people are called to higher things and avoid such distractions, as Deepak Chopra suggests:

“. . . there are a few people who enjoy stillness more than activity, and they dive as deep as they can to find where the water stops running, a point so still and deep that one isn’t touched by the surface waves at all. Having found this stable centre they experience themselves to the maximum and the outside world to the minimum.” – The Book of Secrets by Deepak Chopra, M.D.

Q: So Jesus’ mission failed?

A: Your personal answer lies in 2000 years of human history. Just look around you to see how the promises match the human reality. What attempts there were to introduce spirituality by for instance people like Guyon or Molinos were smothered vigirously by the western religions of the day.  Enlightened Sufis were put to death by Islam in their day.

Whatever the spiritual experiences were of certain individuals from whom religions were created, those experiences have long since been dissipated by the human impulsions of lust, anger, greed, attachments and ego, for instance.

From my experience as a human, then through no effort of mine as a mystic with experiences of Ultimate Reality, I can say that humans will not fulfill human destiny through anything they can do themselves.

Only the same Ultimate Reality that creates mystics can fulfill human destiny, and even then being human is not the ultimate destiny of humans anyway.

Q: You don’t offer people generally and religious people in particular much comfort, do you?

A: Humans are in good hands. Fortunately, the human race is apparently not allowed to take over the direction of its destiny. It is not qualified yet.

Anyway, real Seekers, those who are called, impelled despite themselves, who, as the Christian bible hints, “hunger and thirst”, who have been given a passion to know Ultimate Reality, will inevitably find themselves searching through religions but then rejecting the spiritual inadequacy they find there. They will discern the difference between human spirit and the spirit of Ultimate Reality. They are not called then abandoned.

Eventually, for reasons as yet unknown even to mystics, some of these Seekers may experience Reality. When they do, they will never have to engage in primal human distractions ever again.

Some Searchers will even bypass religions, experience Reality directly without ever touching religions or teachers or any human influences. They are caught, not taught. It’s a benign, loving, giving, not taking process. All is well.

Mysticexperiences.net 

TWO SERIOUS OMISSIONS? A REVIEW OF ‘THE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT OF LIFE’

Five traditions of mysticism.

Mystical approaches to life.

In Review: The Greatest Achievement in Life by R.D. Krumpos © 2012. 

The greatest achievement in life? Living in conscious oneness of ultimate reality, found in Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Kabbalah, Sufi, and comparative mysticism. This ebook summarizes many similarities among those five traditions and outlines mystical approaches to life.

It states science has only addressed five per cent of ultimate reality.

The book was impressively inspired by the author’s meetings with 19 mystics in 12 countries*.

The author says the manuscript was sent to 10 religious leaders/scholars of the five faiths and 10 professors who teach comparative mysticism across the U.S.A. Their suggestions led to many revisions prior to posting on the Internet.

These people freely gave the author their advice, time, erudition and experience. As a result, the author has made this important, seminal review of contemporary mysticism free of charge.

Download the ebook

However, in a serious omission, nowhere is there mention of mysticism being a spontaneous life-changing mystical experience of Reality.

Throughout this otherwise excellent book, the assumption is that it can be achieved by human effort, though this is never stated explicitly.

All my experiences of MER (the mystical experience of Reality) were spontaneous. I have never come across evidence that it can be produced by human effort or ability, however saintly.

My experience suggests MER comes from outside, not inside humans. As Dr. Deepak Chopra says, it is not a human invention. Others agree, like St Francis of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesuits, and Professor Puri of Sant Mat in his book on Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. Even the biblical “Jesus” says it comes and goes, from and to where, nobody knows.

Another issue that arises is the author’s apparent dislike that “a few” mystics don’t care to share with other humans.

Buddhists understand those particular mystics who feel humanity is a distraction from their path to Nirvana. They call these enlightened ones, pratyekabuddhas, or paccekabuddhas, the so-called “silent buddhas” who do not try to share their realization with the world.

Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, by “dependent origination”, (spontaneous rebirth?).

Traditionally, Paccekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment. (See unedited descriptions in Wikipedia).

In my experience of MER there is nothing to be learned from the study of human beings. Deus sufficit. Or, in mystic parlance, Ultimate Reality is enough.

Despite those two caveats, this book delighted me, not only for its clarity and English but for having what Jan de Hartog wrote in another context: “… the indescribable but undeniable presence …” of Reality.

Mysticexperiences.net

 


*Those mystics interviewed were: A Nobel astrophysicist in Chicago, a Vedanta scholar/spiritual director and the chairman of a global bank in New York, a professor of philosophy in Kyoto, a Zen abbot and a Cistercian monk on Lantau, a Quaker missionary in Victoria, Hong Kong, a Therevada monk at Nakhon Pathom, a Hindu priest on Bali, a Vajrayana abbot in Kathmandu, a sadhu/scholar in Lucknow, the Vice President of India in Delhi, a Sufi shaykh in Teheran, a professor of political science (and shaykh) in Cairo, a member of the Knesset, a professor of history and a Greek Orthodox monk in Jersusalem, a retired police inspector in Copenhagen, and an Anglican bishop in Bath, England.

IS CONSCIOUSNESS HUMAN?

Or is it a receiver for Ultimate Reality, MER?

Is it Soul?

In a new research paper in Frontiers In Psychology, David A. Oakley and Peter Halligan argue that our personal awareness does not create, cause or choose our beliefs, feelings or perceptions. Instead, the contents of consciousness are generated “behind the scenes” by fast, efficient, non-conscious systems in our brains.

All this happens without any interference from our personal awareness, which sits passively in the passenger seat while these processes occur.

They suggest we don’t consciously choose our thoughts or our feelings – we only become aware of them.

They ask us to consider that all the neuropsychological processes responsible for moving the body or using words to form sentences take place without involving personal awareness.

They believe the processes responsible for generating the contents of consciousness do the same.

They write that their thinking has been influenced by research into neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as more recent cognitive neuroscience studies using hypnosis.

They say the studies using hypnosis show that a person’s mood, thoughts and perceptions can be profoundly altered by suggestion.

They argue that the contents of consciousness are a subset of the experiences, emotions, thoughts and beliefs that are generated by non-conscious processes within our brains.

“This subset takes the form of a personal narrative, which is constantly being updated. The personal narrative exists in parallel with our personal awareness, but the latter has no influence over the former.”

So, they argue, it is the ability to communicate the contents of one’s personal narrative – and not personal awareness – that gives humans their unique evolutionary advantage.

David A Oakley is Emeritus Professor of Psychology, UCL and Peter Halligan is Hon. Professor of Neuropsychology, Cardiff University. The full, unedited article was originally published by The Conversation, 22 November 2017, and as a research paper in Frontiers In Psychology, an open-access peer-reviewed academic journal covering all aspects of psychology.

The magazine is claimed to be the largest journal in its field, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences, from clinical research to cognitive science, from perception to consciousness, from imaging studies to human factors, and from animal cognition to social psychology.

Mysticexperiences.net 

EMERGENT SPIRITUAL PROPERTIES “Not Invented by Human Beings”?

Some scientists wrong?

Dr Deepak Chopra has identified what it is like to be spiritual in his new book The Book of Secrets as follows:

Clarity of awareness
Knowingness
Reverence for life
Absence of violence
Fearlessness
Nonattachment
Wholeness

Dr Chopra says, “True transformation, in my view, depends on the emergence of these properties as your personal experience. They are primal qualities embedded in awareness; they weren’t invented by human beings …”

Dr Chopra is expressing one of the profoundest spiritual discoveries of MER (Mystic Experiences of Reality), that the experiences are from OUTSIDE all human experience – are beyond anything humans can invent.

MER is from Ultimate Reality, of which humans are as yet just an insignificant part, despite some scientists who insist all mystical experiences are human creations.

See also Maslow’s famous Characteristics of Self Actualized People.

 

Mysticexperiences.net

ARE MYSTICS PSYCHOTIC?

Are you a Who or a What?

Questions and Answers.

 

QUESTION: Are mystics psychotic?

ANSWER: A neuroscientist called Persinger suggested in the late 1980’s that the mystic experiences of Reality are psychotic incidents, mentally created if I understand him rightly. So far as I know there hasn’t been any research of significance on the theory. However, Dr Persinger did help develop an electronic helmet which he said reproduced the presence of God.*

Q: Does it?

A: I doubt there’s any mystic experience in history that would claim to be able to invoke any god, certainly not by physical means.

By the way, the use of the culturally and socially ambivalent word God suggests the good doctor has not had the personal mystical experience of Reality himself, nor read the literature on it that goes back 8,000 years if the dating of the Yoga Visistha epic is anything to go by.

Scientists of today, physicists, metaphysicists, psychologists, even theologians and philosophers seem far more receptive to the fundamentals of the phenomena of mystic experience than to any suggestion of psychoticism.

There seems to be a growing awareness of scientific experiment versus mystical experience. Scientists now appear to be on the brink of realising humans might not be the centre of existence, that only mystical experience explains anything of the ultimate reality of which humans are only a part.

Anyway, much of this is not known by the general public. What’s your interest?

Q. To be honest I’m not interested, It’s science fiction to me. I just heard someone discussing you.

A. Sounds like a dismissive discussion! (laughs). How about you? Are you happy with who you are? Do you have any interest in what you are?

Q. What I am? What do you mean, what I am?

A. Sorry, didn’t mean to pry … If you don’t know it doesn’t matter …

Q. No! What do you mean by that, by what I am? Isn’t that rather rude? Aren’t you just supposed to explain, teach, or something?

A. Some mystics are inclined to teach I think, but no, I’m not a teaching mystic – not a priest, monk, guru, prophet or master.

In buddhism, there’s a tradition of the enlightened staying behind to teach.** Other enlightened buddhists don’t teach. They’re called to continue their pilgrimage without human distractions, to what buddhists call Nirvana. If I was a buddhist I would be the latter I think. Anyway, spiritual Reality is caught, not taught. It is counterproductive for you to be “taught” what is only eventually available to you when you are ready and only Ultimate Reality knows that. You’re in good hands. All is well.

But if you have spiritual questions that my experiences might help in developing yours I will always be available.

However, while you’re still a Who not a What you won’t have any spiritual questions to ask yet.

By the way, I’m not being rude. Humans often take facts as insults. I’m being far more serious than that.

* Read More: For more information, see our post where philosopher and author Douglas Lockhart discusses psychoticism and mysticism. Dr Nicki Crowley also discusses the subject from a psychological point of view in Are Mystics Psychotic? Part II. For even more on this subject, check out the PSYCHIATRY category of this blog.


** A pratyekabuddha, or paccekabuddha, is the so-called “silent buddha” who does not try to share his realization with the world. Pratyekabuddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides, by “dependent origination”, (spontaneous rebirth?). Traditionally, Paccekabuddhas give moral teachings but not enlightenment. (See unedited descriptions in Wikipedia).

Mysticexperiences.net