Politics, God and Religion vs. Science

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healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 22, 2013 - 09:58pm PT
Which aspect of redness isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of pain isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of an orgasm isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of sitting quietly isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of stepping off the visor isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of a flower isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of a virus isn't inherently 'spiritual'?

Which aspect of simply being alive isn't inherently 'spiritual'?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:09pm PT
Ed you do a fantastic job at respecting the unknown AND people. You're an excellent role model.

DMT
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:17pm PT
I will note for the third time on this thread that the Dalai Lama has organized a group of contemplatives and mystics from many different religions (Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam) to come up with a unified vocabulary and encyclopedic catalog of spiritual experiences.

This globalization of spirituality has come about through the ecumenical movement in which all the participants have realized that they are never going to agree on dogma but that they have had similar inner experiences. It has also resulted from the sorts of criticisms leveled by the scientific and secular world that we have read on this thread.

In the end, I think we will have a universal manual on the potential of the human mind and nervous system to transform itself. Those who are secular can look at it as a mechanical process, and those who are religiously inclined will then add the vocabulary of their specific traditions. New religions will no doubt spring up to interpret it in other ways as well.

Whatever survives as civilization when the oil runs out and the 9 billion have eaten their way through the ecosystem, will no doubt have to face life without material consumption as the center of their existence and then I think this work will come into its own.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 10:22pm PT
Part of our confusion I believe, is that Largo is talking about a form of spirituality that few attain.
How do you know this?
just from his writing here.
Can he prove it?
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:30pm PT
I don't know if Largo has experienced what he writes about or is just good at reinterpreting Zen teachings. It's not my job to delve into and judge someone else's spiritual experiences. What I can tell you is that he knows his Zen inside out.

I accept his explanations and those of the Zen masters because they are so consistent and because they fit with somewhat different vocabulary into the highest level of experiences of many people from very different traditions.

I trust I could get there myself if I worked harder at it because I can't imagine why so many people on opposite sides of the globe would spend so much time meditating and then writing about it if it was all a big hoax. I accept a lot of intangible experiences into my reality. When someone says they love another person, I don't ask them can they measure or prove it. I accept that they do.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 10:34pm PT
How much work does it take?

Do you think you will ever attain a state of enlightenment?
Or a state that you are satisfied with?
or is it a lifelong journey, and no one really makes it, so to speak
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
No disrespect intended, Ed.

You said: I AM A SCIENTIST... so it is what I do, would Maezumi Roshi have me do otherwise?

He can't do anything now since he's dead. And he'd laugh at the reference.

In his day Maezumi would have you be Ed the scientist AND Ed the Zen master. He would settle for nothing less, since both are yours by birthright. Problem is it's not one-size-fits-all, much as people want it to be.

Booth paths require rather particular steps that find little traction in the other camp. And it's been my experience on this list that the people identified with discursive reasoning as the end-all are not curious enough to look beyond. And so we end up with spectacular misrepresentations like this:

"because (all spiritual practices) they're all culture-bound products of overactive imaginations, spinning off in a thousand different directions from the basic impulse of wishing for something more than the humdrum evidences of materialism..."

This person has so little acumen in what is actually happening that he's lumped practice in with cultural acretions, and mistaken one for the other.

FYI, a lot of modern Zen has little to nothing to do with Japan, Buddhism, or any of it. But believing otherwise, based entirely on perusing old sacred texts, we have a wonky version of spiritualism served up consisting of soft-brained dorks "wishing for something."

I've said that spirituality has zero to do with "some thing," or any "things," stuff, entities, etc. wished for or otherwise, but we simply cannot shake these numb-skulled depictions. It's even driving poor John Gill mad. So I'll no longer counter them lest I get soft headed.

I'll leave this with a quote from Jan:

"The idea that spirituality is about warm fuzzies is either ignorance of the process or simply a way to write it all off as inconsequential."

There you have it.

JL
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 22, 2013 - 10:39pm PT
Well it's not ignorance
so it must be completely inconsequential
There you have it
WBraun

climber
Feb 22, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
Well it's not ignorance
so it must be completely inconsequential

You have the intelligence of dead stone .....
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 22, 2013 - 11:15pm PT
I will say again that if all a person has received through either psychedelics or meditation is warm fuzzies then they were only at the portal of the whole experience, with maybe a foot in the door.

Many spiritual traditions do mention that in the beginning one has many spectacular experiences and that these are what lure one onto the spiritual path. Then when the hook is thoroughly in, they stop and the real work of spirituality begins. Mother Theresa noted that she had a period of 20 years after her experiences in which she felt nothing right up until her death, but based on faith continued her good work.

I personally have a theory that we have a limited reservoir in our brains of the chemicals which cause these experiences, and once the reservoir is used up, we generally don't have them any more or they occur after years of quiescence while the reservoir builds back partially.

To me they are connected to a different dimension because I can never produce them on my own, and they only happen when engaged in spiritual activities. We can not produce our own psychedelic show at will although sometimes it happens spontaneously (though not to me).

Beyond the biochemical experiences (once through the first portal) one has experiences that seem to be electrical in nature. After that, energies flow differently in the body and all this helps to start the real work of gut wrenching transformation. At least that is how it works in the schools of meditation that I am familiar with which are based on kundalini yoga.

Zen takes a more direct path but I believe the stages are similar based on an autobiography of the late Zen master Jiyu-Kennett, a British woman headquartered at Mt. Shasta, who described her kenshos in the same terms others would describe their chakras. Largo is talking about a level above all this.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Feb 23, 2013 - 02:00am PT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%9A%C5%ABnyat%C4%81

Solid (non) stuff.

Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 23, 2013 - 03:08am PT
How much work does it take?

Do you think you will ever attain a state of enlightenment?
Or a state that you are satisfied with?
or is it a lifelong journey, and no one really makes it, so to speak


I don't know how much work it takes. That depends on one's starting point and motivation and discipline (commonly called karma).

I believe all beings will eventually attain a state of enlightenment. Even though all the spiritual teachings seem to say only humans can become enlightened, it seems to me that the average dog is closer to it than the average human.

Although I have experienced many spiritual plateaus, I believe that the moment I reach a state that I am satisfied with, I am in a state of stagnation if not backsliding.

It is a lifelong journey. Some people do make it and I have met them. Personally I don't believe I will make it because I have so many other worthwhile distractions from the left brain research world (try not to laugh).

This brings up the issue raised by psilocyborg as the chop wood haul water analogy.
I feel I am back to doing my worldly chores but from a different perspective. It's not enlightenment per se, but a level I can live with while I make incremental changes.

I recently retired so I'm not worried about making career progress, but I feel that I owe it to all those Nepalese who so patiently answered my questions, to write up my data before I depart this life. Some would disagree, but to me that is more important right now than the individual quest for a higher level of personal enlightenment. Two or three books under my belt and I might feel differently.
Psilocyborg

climber
Feb 23, 2013 - 03:13am PT
Dr F, you couldnt be more wrong about the warm fuzzy feelings.

Its an experience that is low hanging fruit,juicy and ripe for you to simply reach out, pluck it, and take a bite. Where is your sense of adventure?
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Feb 23, 2013 - 08:38am PT
...appreciate life...

...experienced elements of existence...

...chop wood, haul water...

They all speak to an integration and in-situ, versus separate, practice. A practice lived moment-to-moment 24x7, rather than a [dicursively] separate half hour or hour taken out of a day.

My personal focus on integral versus separate experience is result of my own journeys over decades - including meditation[s]. Together they revealed (for me) a lot of lessons and surprising parallels to other aspects of my life. Many experiences have influenced my thinking around all this, but some notable ones were:

* Working as a photographer/photojournalist living and sleeping with my cameras 24x7. After a couple of years I realized I could remember most of technical aspects of my best work - what F-stop, shutter speed, chemistry, etc. - but very little about the actual experience of the moment. The lenses were not a window into the world but a filter to experience. I could convey visceral 'experiences' with relative aplomb, but they almost passed more by me than through me because I was always too busy with the capture than the experience. I forthwith gave up photography. Oh, I still frame and take pictures all the time, but I long ago dispensed with the technical / material (i.e. cameras) and just returned to appreciating and integrating those images with the moments and experiences they belong to. [Side note: photography in war and combat just doesn't easily lend itself to such integration as it requires you to 'stand apart' and 'observe'.]

* Underlying my work as a photographer/photojournalist was a deep love and affinity for iridescent color. I was always photographing flowers in the jungles on the side due to their stunning displays of iridescent color. In fact, I became almost obsessed with reproducing it on film. But I finally realized no film emulsion would ever capture or hold that iridescence and it was epic futility to even try to. In the end, given the instructions on both a box of film and a package of seeds were roughly equivalent (this much light, this temperature, this chemistry, this much time - and you get color), it finally dawned on me: you f*#king idiot - don't photograph flowers, grow them - don't try to separate the iridescence from its source.

* And so a love of color led to a horticulture degree and experience with large-scale, commercial meristem cloning, propagation, and growing operations. I could clone, propagate, and grow out acres of iridescence and produce some of the healthiest, most beautiful and colorful plants you'd ever want to see - in clay pots and plastic flats. But then, one day it dawned on me: you f*#king idiot - don't grow them in pots in greenhouses, grow them in the ground in gardens and landscapes. I forthwith got out of labs and greenhouses and into landscape architecture. A plant specimen apart can be a marvelous thing, but in an integrated holistic and natural setting it becomes far, far more wondrous to behold. [ Aside to Craig: totally awestruck by your work and passion. Cacti as specimens I totally get - this commentary is about my sh#t and in no way any kind of critique of your phenomenal work. ]

* Doing an Outward Bound-like trip taking groups of cross-gang, inner-city youth into the wilderness where they learned a lot about themselves and each other. Unfortunately some ended up dead on their return to the city. I began to wonder if providing those positive experiences in such an 'unnatural' setting away from their lives in the city wasn't in some ways the 'easy way out'. That the real challenge was finding ways to provide those positive experiences, not in remote and removed places, but where these kids lived their lives day-in, day-out so it wasn't like going to a movie and such a surreal and 'separate' experience. But that's a real tough proposition all the way around and I wish I could say I went on to try and find a way to do that, but I didn't; I was simply helping out a friend who was in that field of study, but the experience left an indelible impression on me relative to separate, versus integral, experience.

* Becoming a climber and climbing at a high level. I became addicted to the experience and 'feel' of climbing and the 'mastery' of body and mind it entailed. But after a few years the same sort of nagging started to tug at me - where is that in your minute-to-minute life? Why do you have to go climb a rock, do distance swimming, or spend hours on a tightrope to achieve that? And, in that moment, climbing lost a whole lot of its emotional 'bang-for-the-buck' for me. I still enjoy it immensely, but I'm not in any way addicted to it or require it (or distance swimming). I try instead to generate and experience 'lesser' versions of those peak experiences throughout my day and to have them be less a matter of 'things I go do' and more of a 'way that I am and live' [oh, and ditto for hallucinogens and in a lot of ways, this whole topic all also plays into why so much of my climbing is free lead rope-soloing.]

And so went my journey with meditation - I fully appreciate the experience and results, but in many ways I eventually found it to be just another form of separateness and have again worked to bring that into, and integrate it with, my moment-to-moment life so it's integral as opposed to it being something which happens 'apart' from my regular day. And while I'm definitely not claiming anything remotely like 'enlightenment', I very much relate most to the '...after enlightenment - chopping wood, hauling water...' aspect of it all. I see the challenge for myself as not one of somehow finding more time to devote to the 'work of enlightenment' so much as working to live as enlightened as possible in the here and now.

So in the end, the question became one of: do I have to go off or make time to do or become something, or can I just live and be it? For myself I've come down on the side of simply attempting to live it all moment-to-moment rather than - like the colors in film, plants in pots, urban kids in the woods, experiences on rock, or meditation in a quiet space - as separate experiences apart from my normal breath. Do I succeed? Not half as much as I'd like, but twice as well as I used to live. There is no 'right' way, we all have to find our own paths and take our own journeys.
Dr. F.

Big Wall climber
SoCal
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 23, 2013 - 10:29am PT
I was referring to a Higher level of Warm Fuzzy feeling, at the start AND end of the gate way
Only the highest level of student after years of study can reach this level of warm fuzzy feelings

So yes, It includes talking to aliens, and everything Largo and Jan speak of as consequential

At the end of the day, that is all they can say of their experience that was real, it is the physical manifestation, everything else was just a mental experience, it all happened inside their brain, it has no effect on the outside world, and could be considered nothing more than a type of dream, or as Largo would say "not real".

MH2

climber
Feb 23, 2013 - 11:47am PT
do I have to go off or make time to do or become something, or can I just live and be it?


Sounds like you overcame a duality, a heuristic in much of Zen tradition. Thanks very much for the synopsis of your timeline.

I remember well the difference it made when people I climbed with carried cameras. Back then I didn't like the way it changed the experience but its fun to have the pictures, now.

Thanks also to Jan for being patient and forthcoming for those of us who like a little left-brain in our world.

And Śūnyatā? Leave it to humans to divide nothing so many ways.
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Feb 23, 2013 - 11:49am PT
This person has so little acumen in what is actually happening that he's lumped practice in with cultural acretions, and mistaken one for the other.

Too bad that you've so far been unable to clearly express what is "actually happening" so as to enlighten this person, or anyone else here, for that matter. Falling back on the privileged elitism of secret knowledge is one of the oldest charlatan's tricks in the book. "Do the work and then we can talk," speaks to power, not compassion, which is supposedly one of the mainstays of "true" spirituality. Then again, those Zen masters always kinda were as#@&%es, with the whole hitting with sticks schtick and all. Like their mommies didn't love them enough or something, I dunno.
WBraun

climber
Feb 23, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
Cintune -- "Too bad that you've so far been unable to clearly express what is "actually happening" so as to enlighten this person, or anyone else here, for that matter."


Since I have quite a bit experience with the subject matter I've been able to clearly understand a lot of what Largo is expressing.

Jan also said she has understanding of the subject matter that Largo is attempting to express.

So your silly stupid worthless rants are of untruths as usual .......

Zen masters always kinda were as#@&%es,


This shows that the real aszhole is really none other than YOU
cintune

climber
The Utility Muffin Research Kitchen
Feb 23, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Ah, yes, of course that's a given.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
Feb 23, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
Oh come on Werner! Don't let a little poke in the eye troll you away from the topic at hand. For instance this statement:

Since I have quite a bit experience with the subject matter


For starters, what is the subject matter exactly? Spirituality? Or just swallowing bong water and following your impulses?

2nd, as we are all about the same age it is entirely possible that we all have equal "experience" in the matter, if not equal expertise. So far not too many people here are claiming expertise and I would suggest that those who do should prove it if they are to be taken seriously. Proving it takes a capacity for communication among other things. If you are looking for an aknowledgement of your authority in the matter you should discipline yourself a bit more in communicating your expertise, rather than just bolstering your aura of mysticism and elite dismisiveness eh?

I don't think it is Cinetune who is treading dangerously into the realm of the dilettante / charletan.
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