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OfflineMetasyn
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Inducing mystical experiences
    #929753 - 10/03/02 11:17 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I've been doing a lot of reserach lately about the neural basis of mystical experiences, which was inspired by reading this article in Newsweek. Mystical experiences are characterized by feelings of oneness with God or the universe, a sense of all-knowing, and feelings of intense energy, etc. I'm sure a lot of us have had such experiences, either on mushrooms or sober. Basically, when someone is having a mystical experience (accessed either by mediation, prayer or drugs), certain areas of the brain, such as the areas that define the boundary between self and the world are turned off. With these regions turned off, the brain doesn?t know where the self ends and the world begins, and thus perceives the self as infinite and intimately interwoven with everyone and everything.

Note that the fact that these events have neurological correlates does not deny the spiritual reality of the experience. Perhaps by an accident in the brain we erroneously perceive that we are interconnected with the infinity of the universe, but it is just as likely that we are indeed interconnected and by an accident in the brain we are once and a while able to experience it.

My question is: supposing that by some kind of technology (perhaps intercranial stimulation or magnetic fields), we are able to turn off the self-awareness brain regions that are turned off during an actual mystical experience. Will this induced brain activity generate a genuine mystical experience? Is this in some way "cheating"? Is there more virtue in accessing the spiritual dimension through meditation rather than just pushing a button on the side of your skull? If this was readily availalble, would it be desirable for the general public to use it, perhaps even on a regular basis as a way to be reminded of your spiritual nature? It could even be a part of a young person's education. Kind of like "look, I'll show you how it all fits together" (presses button)

Any thoughts/comments?


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OfflineCleverName
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Metasyn]
    #929805 - 10/03/02 11:32 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

platic surgery? or exercise?
with plastic surgery you change from the outside in,  its skin deep...
with exersice you change from the inside out, its roots run deep...

we use mushies and other drugs to gain this experience and we dont consider that cheating....so whats the difference between pushing a button, or eating a cap?

is it even possible to "cheat" spiritually?

if ones soul never meditated, ever, would he keep incarnating, or would one eventually 'realize'.  if one would eventually 'realize', would it then be considered cheating to pray and meditate?

ah, the questions.... :smirk: 


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if you can't find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?

this is the purpose


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Offlinejohnnyfive
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Metasyn]
    #929863 - 10/03/02 11:49 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Dude you like going deep! I wish i had time to type more

Yes i see the difference in (although i don't call it invalid,or false) artifical mysticism and instontanious mysticism. Many ages ago hallucingens were always acceptable fingers to push your brain button ... just religons (mainly western societys) are trying to control it. What i mean is that they make artifical mysticism IMMORAL (and intsontaious but that requires more brain focus, and many don't even know where to being with that). That its immoral to use a chemical, for in my opinon that the chemical can go farther they say mediatation (instontanious mysticism). We have for many ages lost our practices of spirituality (due to ignorance and such) for mediation is a form of instontanious mysticism. Religons are trying to control the way or ways to god. It gives men power!


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And the gameshow host rings the buzzer (brrnnntt) oh and now you get a face full of face!


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Metasyn]
    #932805 - 10/04/02 08:28 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Well now, isn't all that nice and tidy for scientific materialists? Undoubtedly, the mentality that 'reduces' Saint Paul's Damascus road experience to a discharging lesion on the occipital lobe; and deja vu as the mere connection of a memory cue with perception, giving the 'impression' that one has been here before; is the same materialistic reductionism at work here. That Paul's experience was on the 'spiritual' level, and 'deja vu on the 'psychical' level, matters not here. Both domains are relegated to neurological, hence bio-chemical-electrical phenomenon. Consciousness, as the a priori reality that underlies both experience (phenomena) and the experiencer, is lacking.

I must say, that "neurotheology" is a new one on me. Physical 'correlates' of consciousness are one thing, but physical processes as the underlying 'cause' of all other phenomena, including Consciousness, is pure materialism. The problem with talking of 'mystical experiences' outside of the wider context of one's faith stance - one's religion - is that genuine mystical experience is the 'flowering' of one's prayer life. Not just petitionary prayer, but contemplative prayer. If one hasn't been living with prayer as an integral part of one's life for quite a while, the attribution of 'mystical experience' by a secular and definitionally profane individual to certain altered states, doesn't mean that they are truly mystical. The dissolving of boundaries can indeed be mystical, but they can also be psychotic decompensation, devoid of any spiritual insight. They may even come with certain psychic states (e.g., telepathic), which can erroneously be thought proof of some version of 'oneness,' yet not be truly mystical - not spiritual, but merely psychic experience.

To Homo Religiosus - Religious Man - it is not a matter of "accidents." Meaningful coincidences - synchronicities - to use Jung's term, become the very 'manna' upon which religious-minded individuals live. Such are 'signposts' on The Way of Life, to those who Know. They are regular occurances for those who live in The Way, and the correlation between inner subjective states, and outer phenomenal events do not derive causality from neurological functions. Those functions participate in, and at most perceive and cause to act upon the world, but do not 'cause' the mystical any more than humans caused the creation of the universe.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #932917 - 10/04/02 09:21 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Well now, isn't all that nice and tidy for the dogmatically inclined?

hehe


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Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Sclorch]
    #933221 - 10/04/02 11:45 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Well, I read about the same study the original post talks about, the physiology of the spiritual experience....

The part of the brain that tells defines our boundaries and individuality isn't turned off, its just slightly, barely altered just enough to allow us to feel connection to our surroundings, to feel part of something *more* We need this part of our brain to function "normally" as human beings, so that we can walk around, percieve depth, etc.... but when its slightly dampened we have spiritual experience. That is the altering of conciousness, I believe the level of connection has to do with how thoughoughly this part of the brain is dampened (its never shut off, it should never be, that would be terribly destructive) but we may temporarily cease our separation and definition to experience that which is surrounding and consuming.



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Anonymous

Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #933242 - 10/04/02 11:57 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Oh Markos, didn't you know?  Science loves to frame all debates as if it is the premium source of all knowledge.  :smirk: 


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OfflineNiamhNyx
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: ]
    #933247 - 10/04/02 11:58 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Heheh, that is so true..... *science is the only way* sounds a little familiar eh? Perhaps a little dogmatic...


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Anonymous

Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: NiamhNyx]
    #933252 - 10/05/02 12:01 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Science?  :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

Doubled over in laughter!

:grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

Cheers, 


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OfflineAdamist
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Metasyn]
    #933679 - 10/05/02 02:35 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Basically, when someone is having a mystical experience (accessed either by mediation, prayer or drugs), certain areas of the brain, such as the areas that define the boundary between self and the world are turned off.

I myself prefer to call these definitive boundaries "veils of consciousness"...  :crazy: 


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:heartpump: { { { ṧ◎ηḯ¢ αʟ¢ℌ℮мƴ } } } :heartpump:


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Invisiblebuttonion
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Registered: 04/04/02
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Metasyn]
    #934080 - 10/05/02 10:32 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

My question is: supposing that by some kind of technology (perhaps intercranial stimulation or magnetic fields), we are able to turn off the self-awareness brain regions that are turned off during an actual mystical experience. Will this induced brain activity generate a genuine mystical experience? Is this in some way "cheating"? Is there more virtue in accessing the spiritual dimension through meditation rather than just pushing a button on the side of your skull? If this was readily availalble, would it be desirable for the general public to use it, perhaps even on a regular basis as a way to be reminded of your spiritual nature? It could even be a part of a young person's education. Kind of like "look, I'll show you how it all fits together" (presses button)


For myself, my goal is to incorporate aspects of mystical experiences I have experienced into my default way of experiencing reality, although I think whether or not this is possible is still up in the air (and for whom like the article suggests)- this includes recognition of the self and other things as not inherently existing. Whatever gets me to this (intermediary) goal is fine by me. Generally, though, the more practice I have at inducing this frame of reference alone (without drugs or special buttons), the better I will be able to induce it alone in the future.


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Concepts which have been proved to be useful in ordering things easily acquire such an authority over us that we forget their human origins and accept them as invariable.- Albert Einstein


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: ]
    #934597 - 10/05/02 03:26 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Yes, I know. I'm just complaining in my own verbose way. I suppose that there are few scientists who live spiritual lives, or who regard science as their religion, and the reduction of spiritual realities to comprehensible scientific facts, their mission. But even the most die-hard empiricist will never be able to do more than speculate on the nature of the universe following the Big Bang. So all the assumptions, premises and laws which the physical scientist relies upon as his 'frame of reference,' dissolves into the flux of incomprehensible physical conditions. Perhaps the contemplative speculations of such people upon unknown physical realty supplies them with as much ecstasy as they can handle, and which are considered to be sufficiently 'spiritual' for their needs. Unfortunately, if that is the case, it is the satisfaction of the psyche, but one can hardly believe that the realm of spirit is ever entered into. Whaduhyathink?


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #936023 - 10/06/02 05:52 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Meaningful coincidences - synchronicities - to use Jung's term, become the very 'manna' upon which religious-minded individuals live. Such are 'signposts' on The Way of Life, to those who Know.

Having lived in Las Vegas, I have regularly witnessed "synchronicities". "Martha, I only hit a jackpot when you are standing behind me and holding your red purse in your right hand!" Oops, sorry - fortune and money cannot possibly be spiritual and these are obviously not "Those who Know". And we know that we are "Those who Know" because we are special and how could we be otherwise? So our "coincidences" are meaningful and filled with significance unlike those ignorant and materialistic gamblers in the example.


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The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #936027 - 10/06/02 05:54 AM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Unfortunately, if that is the case, it is the satisfaction of the psyche, but one can hardly believe that the realm of spirit is ever entered into. Whaduhyathink?

I would rather be a materialist, unsatisfied scientist, than a smug and knowing believer who will kill others "knowing" that God is on his side.


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The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Swami]
    #936278 - 10/06/02 12:42 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

In reverse order: "killing" is not identical to murder. The Commandment is actually about murder. Not to stay the hand of the madman who is intent upon murdering an innocent, is to allow the madman to follow through. THAT would be murder. To kill the madman to save the child is the more compassionate action, and the only one that is moral at that moment.

Your sarcasm has no place and no impact against Reality. Superstition is yet another processing of synchronistic events which I failed to note, so you are quite right in its mention. Superstition is a very low level grasp. An acquaintance of mine noted that the crucifix above the sliding glass door to our bedroom was placed correctly. He was of the superstition that the symbol had power in itself to prevent evil from entering the room. I placed it there for aesthetic and symbolic reasons (it stands above the other art in the room which depicts elemental creatures of earth, air, fire and water). The money factor has no bearing upon the acausal process. There is nothing wrong with money in itself anyway. It is not money that is the cause of evil, it is "love of money is the root of all evil." Besides being simple idolatry, and, as you say, materialism (of the crudest form among currency-exchanging humans); individuals as you depict them are the 'hylics' - people soley identified with the material-existential domain.

I have material holdings, yet I will not violate moral principles to attain more materiality. There is, I believe, "Right Livelihood" as the Buddhists say, and the corollary is that there are things one shouldn't be doing for money. I am quite happy with my physical surroundings, and give thanks to God on a daily basis for making this possible. My home has everything on my 'wish list' and more. Plus, it was obtained with monies that synchronistically 'appeared' through 4 different directions! This era of history does not support the itinerant preacher as was described by the Gospel writers to give no thought for the morrow, and to go without money or provisions into the world. This does however, describe a practice of placing oneself entirely in the Good Grace of God, to witness what happens. I abandoned the idea of becoming a poor Catholic monk after a few years of struggle (mostly struggle with my heterosexual needs).

Your main problem is that you THINK you KNOW Who/What God is. You have your own nut-hard, subjective little notion about Ultimate Reality, and further presume to pass judgement from your point of view on That which is Inconceivable. I'm talkin' about more than the abilities of a blind master martial artist, or the Rainmaker as witnessed by Richard Wilhelm in 'The Secret of the Golden Flower' (how one who is in the Tao constellates 'synchronistic/miraculous' events in his proximity). Raising one's fist in defiance to God is just the Ahab Complex, and as we all know, Captain Ahab was not described as being a very happy camper. Making God one's enemy is a losing battle for a human being, period.


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleEvolving
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #936287 - 10/06/02 12:48 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

In reply to:

Your main problem is that you THINK you KNOW Who/What God is. You have your own nut-hard, subjective little notion about Ultimate Reality,



I think YOU fail to understand Swami. He has never made a claim (to my knowledge) that he knows Who/What God is. Unlike others, he doesn't claim to have the answer.


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To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.'  Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence.  Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains.  Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #936336 - 10/06/02 01:16 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

In reverse order: "killing" is not identical to murder. The Commandment is actually about murder. Not to stay the hand of the madman who is intent upon murdering an innocent, is to allow the madman to follow through. THAT would be murder. To kill the madman to save the child is the more compassionate action, and the only one that is moral at that moment.

I have read the entire Bible including the Ten Commandments. I see no legalistic subclauses, sections and paragraphs. Using your approach is how rationalization and justification comes in. The Pre-Emptive war strike, the killing of a "drug dealer", the abused wife who kills her husband even though he was not threatening her at the time of the murder, Snoop Dogg provoking then killing in "self defense"...

The list is endless. Once you open that door, everyone can find a reason. Why can no one take the simplistic words at face value: Thou shalt NOT kill. Period.



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The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflineEarth_Droid
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: CleverName]
    #936345 - 10/06/02 01:22 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Why does everyone seperate spiritual and material. I beleive everything is just energy, and what we can't measure now with science, we might be able to measure in the future. And there is already brain machine technology that can indeed quicken the effectiveness of meditation, if the same neurological changes are being made only quicker, I don't see how anyone would even consider it be cheating.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #936353 - 10/06/02 01:25 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

Your main problem is that you THINK you KNOW Who/What God is.
Guess I cannot state this often enough on this board, but the density level here is very high. Speak only about that which you know and from your own perspective. Until one can demonstrate a basic form of mind-reading, do NOT presume to tell me or the Shroomery what I think. I can do that better than anyone.

You have your own nut-hard, subjective little notion about Ultimate Reality, and further presume to pass judgement from your point of view...
Please point out one member on this board that does not speak from their point of view. This is rather obvious and says nothing. (BTW, nut-hard is indeed a judgement!)

Making God one's enemy is a losing battle for a human being, period.
Huh? Not believing that acausal events are causal is making God an enemy?

With love,

Ahab



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The proof is in the pudding.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Inducing mystical experiences [Re: Swami]
    #936401 - 10/06/02 02:00 PM (14 years, 5 months ago)

I have expressed no "approach," I have attempted to clarify a term. I have killed animals by way of euthanasia, and I have eaten animals killed by others for food. Thank God I have not taken human life, but I am prepared to kill in defense - aren't you? I would avoid or escape such a confrontation if at all possible, but look what happened to all those passengers who trusted the terrorists armed with box cutters. They needed to be subdued, and if necessary, subdued with deadly force. I am a peaceful man, but if I encounter a terrorist on a plane, I'm gonna come at him with sharpened pencils, mechanical pencils ('cause I underline as I read), or a butter knife - running on the heads of passengers if I have to. I'm no hero, but I'm not gonna role over and play dead. Where is your common sense?


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γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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