• Metaphysician Undercover
    7.1k
    So the physical body is the outer layer, the emotional body next, with the mental body next which is divided into two ( lower and higher) inside that. Then three more subtle bodies inside that, the soul (for want of a better word), a spiritual body, culminating in the Atman as I said earlier as number seven. Each layer is separated in a unique way from the others due to the nature of the evolution we have become expressed in and mystical practice in one way or another breaks down or bridges these seperations.Punshhh

    This all makes sense to me, but I don't see the specific need for seven, instead of five or nine or something like that. And since you don't lay out the distinction or boundary between each, it appears sort of random to me. For instance, I can somewhat see the need for the higher and lower mental body, but this could really be divided into numerous distinctions, because the boundary between the two seems quite vague, and could afford the imposition of more boundaries. Then the "three more subtle bodies" are even less well defined. Are all these parts meant to be "bodies", or is that just figurative? Referring to "bodies" seems to be an attempt to objectify the subjective.

    Each layer is separated in a unique way from the others due to the nature of the evolution we have become expressed in and mystical practice in one way or another breaks down or bridges these seperations.Punshhh

    The difficulty I have with this point, is that I do not apprehend these divisions as natural divisions. They seem to be artificial, created through some form of intellectualizing, imposing boundaries, to say that this is separate from that, when perhaps it is not. So I see the mystical practise as actually creating these separations rather than bridging them. If they were real separations, with something real dividing them, we could point to that divisor, and say that this divisor needs to be removed to unite them. But if there is nothing real dividing them then there is no real separation which needs to be bridged, and you are creating an imaginary separation.

    Here's an illustration. Suppose there is an object and one end of the object is black while the other end is white. There is a grey area in between, where the white fades to black. You see black and white as distinct, and needing a separation, a boundary of division for the two to have separate existence. So you impose an artificial division, saying this side is black, the other side white, and now you have two separate parts. Once you have separated those parts, you assume that we need some mystical practise (or something like that) to bridge the separation. Then you create the artificial bridge which unites the two by bridging the artificial separation. In this example, the whole process is an artificial creation of the observing mind. In reality, there is no division between the black and white, they fade into each other by degrees. Then you create the artificial division through some form of intellectualizing, just so that you might bridge that separation, and unite the black and white. Now the bridge you have created is not at all representative of the real, natural bridge which actually already exists as the grey area, because you have over looked the grey area in the original act of dividing the black from the white.

    Going back to the mind, I have been referring to the thinking mind, by which I mean the sentient thinking being, I think, therefore I am. As distinct to the subconscious levels of the mind, or intuitive levels. These other levels are largely unconscious, or at least not deliberated on and directed by the thinking mind (ego/personality).Punshhh

    So that is how I see this supposed distinction between conscious and subconscious, as a grey area. The mind is always active, both conscious and subconscious, and the activities are constantly going back and forth, crossing through the grey area. So to make a divide between the conscious and the subconscious is to make such an artificial separation, an analysis not based in reality, which one might later try to bridge in an intellectual practise of synthesis. But that bridge would not be representative of the natural, existing bridge.
  • Nuke
    33
    Hey there Wayfarer, thanks for joining in. Great post!

    It seems a good goal for such conversations is to offer a variety of options for approaching such subjects so as to make them accessible to as many readers as we can. If true, then instead of looking for a "one true way" we might be presenting as many different ways as we can. In that spirit, I have no argument with anything you've said.

    It seems natural that in very many aspects of life we would learn from our experiences, ie. have realizations. And we will often very reasonably consider experience to be a means to the end of learning. So far, so good.

    To me, if what we're calling mysticism uses such an "experience to learn" model, then it's just philosophy. Nothing wrong with that, but if it's philosophy, then it can't provide an alternative to philosophy. And on forums like this I'm guessing quite a few of us could use an alternative to philosophy to balance our compulsive over thinking. I certainly do.

    An alternative to the "experience to learn" model would be to value experience for itself, not as a means to some other end. As example, if I eat a tomato I will receive nutrition whether or not I know anything about tomatoes or learn anything from eating them. Like that.

    While this is not a one true way, it has some advantages to recommend it.

    First, we can approach such experiences through purely mechanical means, which makes them much more accessible to many more people. Philosophers tend to find such practical simplicity distasteful :-) but we are 1% of the population, so who cares.

    Second, if we take emphasis off of the realizations, and just leave them alone to do their own thing, we're gone a substantial distance to preventing ego from hi-jacking the operation. To illustrate, let's return to the tomato example. Eating a tomato is just a simple act of maintenance of bodily functions. It's not a path one climbs to some higher station. You eat a tomato, and then a few hours you have to eat another one. Routine business which continues until you die. It's pretty hard to turn eating a tomato in to some kind of glorious ego becoming trip.

    I think "mystical" experiences can be viewed that way too. Our mind overheats from excessive use, so we cool it down. It overheats again tomorrow, requiring another fix. Maintenance of a mechanical function of the body, just like eating, sleeping, elimination, exercise sex etc.

    If we avoid excessively fixating on our experiences, we will be under less stress in our practice.

    If you're reading a book while eating the tomato, you still get the nutrition. We don't have to focus on the tomato, we just have to eat it.

    I would argue that it's the quest for realizations, the climbing of a ladder to someplace else, trying to get somewhere, accomplish something, achieve, learn, advance, mature, grow, become, which is the source of the fixations.

    I would describe what we're calling mysticism as being the opposite of that. Not becoming. Being.
  • Punshhh
    1.8k
    Part of the implicit condition of modernity is the sense of oneself as an intelligent, separate subject in a domain of objects (and other subjects), whereas in the pre-modern world, the world was experienced as, or realised as, an intrinsically alive presence with which one had a relationship beyond the merely adaptive. Having fallen out of that, it is impossible to recall or imagine what has been lost or forgotten.
    Nicely put, I keep coming up against this like a brick wall when trying raise this issue.
  • Punshhh
    1.8k
    This all makes sense to me, but I don't see the specific need for seven, instead of five or nine or something like that. And since you don't lay out the distinction or boundary between each, it appears sort of random to me. For instance, I can somewhat see the need for the higher and lower mental body, but this could really be divided into numerous distinctions, because the boundary between the two seems quite vague, and could afford the imposition of more boundaries. Then the "three more subtle bodies" are even less well defined. Are all these parts meant to be "bodies", or is that just figurative? Referring to "bodies" seems to be an attempt to objectify the subjective.
    Yes these are all valid concerns. What I am describing is a structured mystical teaching developed within Hinduism.Which just so happens to be the structure which I find most beneficial for my own use. Likewise Wayfarer references Bhuddist sources, something which I am not so familiar with, but which I expect works for him. There are other structures or systems, a seeker will try them out and find the one which speaks to them.

    As I said a few posts back is that what I am presenting is this teaching as a means of talking about mysticism. The practice itself is more ineffable and less structured and would be virtually impossible to convey in this kind of linear intellectual communication. There are ways of conveying less linear kinds of understanding where relations can be conveyed in a poetical, as proverbs, or axiomatic structure. For example I can converse in a triadic form in which everypoint can be seen through a kind of trinity of understanding. Also there is a kind of numerology which I find useful. For example if we go back to the seven levels I describe. It can be seen as two trinity's, a higher and a lower, with a pivotal layer, or point between them. This pivotal point can be considered as a kind of overlap between the two trinity 's, such that it can relate to either, act as a bridge. For example an average human can be seen as having 4 levels with the pivotal one associated with the lower trinity with the focus of their life being in the lower trinity. Whereas a more spiritual person could be seen to have their life focus in the higher trinity with the pivotal level associated with this trinity. So the normal person has a division of 4 and 3 (4 below the pivotal and 3 above) and a more spiritual person a division of 3 and 4 (3 below and 4 above) of the aforementioned 7 layers. Also at some stage the spiritual person would shed the bottom layer (the physical) and attain and new layer at the top (the monadic). Thus becoming 2 and 5.

    I hear what you say about the grey area, but as I say, I am describing a structured mystical teaching. The decisions and separations as described in this structure do relate to aspects of the real nature of people. The use of black and white and grey are to convey understanding of aspects of people, being and self which cannot be easily distinguished within oneself without some kind of structure. But they must not be confused with the personal understanding, or nature of the individual mystic, which as I say is ineffable and not easily communicated, if at all.

    So that is how I see this supposed distinction between conscious and subconscious, as a grey area. The mind is always active, both conscious and subconscious, and the activities are constantly going back and forth, crossing through the grey area. So to make a divide between the conscious and the subconscious is to make such an artificial separation, an analysis not based in reality, which one might later try to bridge in an intellectual practise of synthesis. But that bridge would not be representative of the natural, existing bridge.
    So are you reducing the sentient thinking person to a agglomeration of numerous subconscious levels, with the illusion of choice? And if so, what about the ego, where does that fit in?
  • Punshhh
    1.8k
    If you'd like to expand on this further I would read with interest. How does the mystic facilitate human development in your view?
    Through perusing some kind of service, this could be doing good works and/or offering oneself as a vessel to convey divinity of some kind for acts of service.
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