• Metaphysician Undercover
    7.2k
    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
    116
    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
    1.9k
    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
    1.9k
    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
    1.9k
    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 pursuing 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.
  • Wayfarer
    9.8k
    I keep coming up against this like a brick wall when trying raise this issue.Punshhh

    Indeed. You might notice my relative scarcity around this forum of late, that's because I'm thoroughly sick of banging my head against said brick wall.
  • Nuke
    116
    offering oneself as a vessel to convey divinityPunshhh

    Sounds like a tricky business. Uh oh, here come ego, slapping his little hands together in glee.

    3604f13bbada2be6f663beffa647255f.jpg
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    Quite.
    The precious.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.2k
    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.Punshhh

    I don't see the need for such multiple divisions in a mystical perspective. In the west the tradition is one division, the distinction is between the body and the soul. Then each has properties, mind is proper to the soul, and desires and emotions are derived from the body.

    The problem I have with creating structure for understanding these differences is that the entire living being is a system, or systems of activity, and each activity crosses any proposed divisions. So if we assume any type of layering, then unless the layering is some sort of layering of activity, each activity which occurs within the living being will cross over through the layers, and we won't be able to adequately assign a specific activity to any particular layer as where the activity is located. And, if we layer according to distinct types of activities we'll find that interactions will cross the layers.

    But if I take my conscious mind as my point of perspective for observation, (the only place I really have for this), I find that there is two directions in which activities are passing by this observation point. From outside of me activities are entering into me, in the form of sensual encounters. They stir me, having an effect on my conscious point of observation, so I know they are activities, active causes in arousing my attention. These activities having a source independent from me can be given a spatial presence relative to my conscious observation point Also, from deep within me come urges to move and do things, and these also stir me so they must be activities as well. Desires and intentions are active in directing my attention. I cannot give these activities spatial location though because they just sort of move me from the inside. If my conscious observation point is a point, they come from inside that point. Further, from my conscious observation point, I seem to be able to manipulate these two distinctly sourced activities. In the process of thinking, contemplation, I can divert the activities, making them go around and around, or opposing them to each other, preventing the externally sourced activities from going deeper and changing my mind, and also preventing the internally sourced activities from causing me to actually get up and do something, changing the external world.

    So I think the black, white, and grey is actually a very good analogy. The externally sourced activities appear to be the white, easily sourced, and studied in broad daylight, as being locatable and analyzed by scientific methods. The black could be the internally sourced activities, dark and mysterious, and this is the real source of activity of a living being. The conscious mind is in the grey area, of activities passing by, right and left, or more accurately inward and outward. The average person will not take the time to look at these activities passing through the mind, and learn about direction. We might say that they live in a confused world, having very little understanding of their own activities. It is only if we take the time to look at the inner activity of one's own being, like a mystic does, looking toward that dark and mysterious inner source of activity, that we can understand our own activities. Since the internally sourced activity is activity which cannot be spatially located, being inside the conscious point, it appears to be activity which cannot be intelligently spoken about according to conventionally accepted principles of motion. Thus we have the appearance that the mystic deals with the ineffable.

    I don't believe in this form of "ineffable" though. I think it is a faulty or false determination of what is impossible, and one which is very misleading. The restrictions on our capacity to communicate and speak about various things is a product of the cultural conventions, the direction which the society has turned in its communicative practise. If there is an aspect of reality which appears to a particular culture as ineffable, it is because that aspect has been neglected by that society. They do not talk about it, therefore they haven't the means to talk about it. Ability comes from practise. This is why different cultures have differing capacity for talking about things. So there is no aspect of reality which is in itself ineffable, it's just a matter of starting to talk about the thing which appears to be ineffable, and in this way we build the capacity to talk about it.
    \
    So the mystic doesn't really deal with the ineffable, only going beyond what the present communicative capacity of the society allows, and these societal limitation create a false sense of impossibility. So this is why we get various practises, and various description of different layering etc., because the subject dealt with is activity which is not understood by the conventional understanding of activity.

    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

    The problem is that only a very small portion of activity which is going on within a human being is evident to the conscious mind. This small portion is the activity of thoughts in the conscious mind. All the other activity must be understood to be in subconscious or unconscious levels. The grading of various levels of activity would be very difficult because this activity is outside the conscious mind. So we have to examine things on the edge of consciousness, as they enter and leave the zone of thinking, to get an idea of what the different levels are. What I see, as described above, is two distinct directions for the entry of activity into the mind. The fact that the conscious mind can create a circle of thought in contemplation, and produce an abstinence through will power, thereby breaking any chain of causation which these activities could be involved in, indicates that freedom of choice is very real.

    Above, I described internally sourced activity as the dark and mysterious, but this might just be an illusion, and perhaps we ought to turn this around. The internally sourced activity is really what is nearest and dearest to us. It includes all our desires and intentions, our projects, ideas and schemes, plans and conceptions, and these are the "objects" which we actually know the best. On the other side, what is external to us is actually the dark and mysterious, as we only have our sense to tell us about that world. That is why traditional western mysticism has made matter its subject. The problem is that huge advancements in modern science have given us the illusion that the external activities are well known. This gives us the idea that the dark and mysterious is what is within.

    I will not comment about the ego, only to say that I am not familiar with Freudian terminology, and this term is too ambiguous, used in too many other ways, for me to say anything useful. I understand the Freudian "ego" as some sort of intermediary, but I don't think I would agree with the Freudian division which the ego mediates between.
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    I don't see the need for such multiple divisions in a mystical perspective. In the west the tradition is one division, the distinction is between the body and the soul. Then each has properties, mind is proper to the soul, and desires and emotions are derived from the body.
    Whatever works for you.

    The problem I have with creating structure for understanding these differences is that the entire living being is a system, or systems of activity, and each activity crosses any proposed divisions.
    I dont see a problem here, The system I refer to is a tool, of use from time, the use a botanist makes of the biological classification and scientific understanding of plants.

    Further, from my conscious observation point, I seem to be able to manipulate these two distinctly sourced activities. In the process of thinking, contemplation, I can divert the activities, making them go around and around, or opposing them to each other, preventing the externally sourced activities from going deeper and changing my mind, and also preventing the internally sourced activities from causing me to actually get up and do something, changing the external world.
    I agree with all of that.

    So I think the black, white, and grey is actually a very good analogy.
    I agree, also I can work with that because it lends itself to the triadic axiomatic system (for want of better words) I use.
    So the dark aspect I would equate with the father, God, will power. The lighter aspect with the mother, the Holy Spirit, nature(physical material) The grey area with the son of the father and mother, the Christ, the human mind. So I can draw a correspondence as follows.

    1, first aspect............the dark,....father,.....God.....soul.......will
    2, second aspect.......the light....mother.....Spirit....Body....Intelligence
    3, third aspect............the grey....son..........Christ...Mind....agency

    Although I prefer to swap 3 for 2 here in the trinity so we have father, (dark) and mother (light) at either side/side end and son (grey) in the middle.

    So father is will, the creator, purpose.
    Mother is the universe, the bearer of life, wisdom.
    Son is humanity, the creation, mind, or agency.

    I don't believe in this form of "ineffable" though
    I only meant ineffable in terms of trying to understand the mystical experience of another mystic, something not easy to convey.

    So the mystic doesn't really deal with the ineffable,
    I don't think you can say what this, that is a restriction in itself and may inadvertently elevate the limited, frail human mind onto a pedestal of importance. I have had mystical experiences which I cannot express in words, or thoughts. Never mind convey to another person. I am not saying such things are ineffable in nature, but rather from our limited perspective.

    The problem is that only a very small portion of activity which is going on within a human being is evident to the conscious mind.
    Agreed, the distinction I continuously make is between the conscious mind in the sense of what is orchestrated by the conscious, sentient being of the self, and other unconscious activities of the mind.

    I should point out at this stage that when I describe the mind as split into two categories, I include all that we are talking of here in the lower division and only the highest manifestation of intuition, or the activity of the soul, or the like in the upper division.

    I will not comment about the ego, only to say that I am not familiar with Freudian terminology, and this term is too ambiguous, used in too many other ways, for me to say anything useful.
    Agreed, I will refer to it as the emotions, the emotional aspect of the personality, or body. The emotional body, as opposed to the physical, or the mental.
  • Nuke
    116
    I dont see a problem herePunshhh

    If there is a problem, it is that all such discussion is made of thought, which is proposed to be the primary obstacle to mystical experience.

    There is a widespread notion that mysticism is like other topics, where one calculates a path to some goal. This works for a million things so it's natural and understandable to try to apply it here too. And perhaps that is a useful path for some.

    It seems to me that what makes mysticism interesting, what makes it worthy of investigation, is that it is an exploration which heads in the opposite direction. It's not just another philosophy, but rather what we might label "aphilosophy", that is, not of philosophy.

    So what is there to talk about then? Plenty. How to let go of thoughts, how to let go of goals, how to let go of becoming etc. Not forever, not permanently, just to some degree to create a balance with all the thinking, goal seeking and becoming that so dominates our every day lives.

    If we turn mysticism in to just another thinking, goal seeking, becoming trip, where is the balance? What is the point?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.2k
    agree, also I can work with that because it lends itself to the triadic axiomatic system (for want of better words) I use.
    So the dark aspect I would equate with the father, God, will power. The lighter aspect with the mother, the Holy Spirit, nature(physical material) The grey area with the son of the father and mother, the Christ, the human mind. So I can draw a correspondence as follows.

    1, first aspect............the dark,....father,.....God.....soul.......will
    2, second aspect.......the light....mother.....Spirit....Body....Intelligence
    3, third aspect............the grey....son..........Christ...Mind....agency

    Although I prefer to swap 3 for 2 here in the trinity so we have father, (dark) and mother (light) at either side/side end and son (grey) in the middle.

    So father is will, the creator, purpose.
    Mother is the universe, the bearer of life, wisdom.
    Son is humanity, the creation, mind, or agency.
    Punshhh

    The triadic system, or trinity, is very useful in understanding the nature of reality because it provides the basis for understanding the unity of the two distinct aspects outlined by dualism. A common attack against dualism by monist materialists is that the two distinct aspects proposed by dualism, the temporal and the eternal, cannot interact. But this is a very naïve criticism because the problem presented was actually resolved by Plato long ago with the introduction of the tripartite soul. And we can bet that Plato took the principles from somewhere else, so the problem has likely been resolved for as long as there has been dualism In this conception he explains the relationship between mind and body as occurring through passion or spirit, the third element.

    In Plato's description the spirit might ally with the mind, so that the human being acts in a reasonable way, or in a corrupt soul, the spirit would ally with the body making the person act in a way contrary to what the person believes is the reasonable good. Notice that positing this third element, spirit, allowed Plato to account for the moral dilemma resulting from the observed reality that people will do what they know is bad. The sophists claimed to teach virtue, but Socrates demonstrated a problem with the idea that virtue could be taught as a form of knowledge, by showing that even if the person knows what is right, this does not necessarily impel the person to do what is right. This is a fundamental feature of free will which creates problems for moralists.

    If we take Plato's median position, the spirit, and say that there are actions coming from the bodily source, through the spirit to end at the mind, and there are also actions coming from a mental source to end at the body, this would mean five distinct parts. If the median position, spirit, is different depending on which direction the action is going, we'd have six partitions, two distinct parts of each of the fundamental three, depending on which direction the activity is proceeding. How would I derive the seventh? Do these two distinct trinities, being distinct because the activity flows in a different direct through the three parts, require a further part to unify them? Could this be a third position of the median part? Could it be the will itself?

    Augustine has a treatise on the trinity where he describes the three aspects in terms of the intellect itself. The intellect, he says, consists of memory, reason, and will. Notice that reasoning is an activity, will is the source of activity, and memory provides the static objects which are moved in that activity. But any degree of contemplating this trinity will reveal that things are not as simple as the simple trinity indicates. We cannot take the existence of static objects in the memory for granted, so we need to account for the creation of these objects, memories. In the conscious mind we can see that we reason, come to conclusions, and through the will we submit the conclusions to memory. But this reasoning still requires material, subject matter, which is provided by the memory, and being prior to the conscious effort of submitting to memory, it must be produced without conscious effort. So we have "matter", static objects in the memory, which have been created without conscious effort. Using the way that the conscious mind produces memories through reasoning and willing as an example, we can assume that there is a subconscious process very similar to reasoning and willing, which creates those subconsciously created memories. Now we have one process which utilizes memories (as subject matter) in reasoning, and another distinct but similar process, that creates memories, which cannot be called reasoning because it's more basic as more of a bodily process Therefore I see the validity in your layering of trinities.

    I am not saying such things are ineffable in nature, but rather from our limited perspective.Punshhh

    I think that this is an important point to respect, and failure to do this is a problem which is very evident in modern cosmology. We need to differentiate between what is impossible due to the limitations of the human being, and what is impossible due to the limitations of the universe. The human mind has intrinsic deficiencies because of its dependence on matter. As expressed above, the material element is memory, and we cannot simply assume that the mind is immaterial in an absolute way and therefore unlimited in its ability to understand material existence. We must respect the material element which inheres within the mind as expressed by the trinities. Therefore the human mind's capacity to understand is limited. So when scientists approach extremely difficult subjects such as the nature of matter itself, and the origin of the universe, their capacity to understand is limited. There is a disturbing trend in modern metaphysics to assert that this inability for us to understand these aspects of the universe, is a feature of the universe itself. Instead of recognizing that the human mind is deficient in its approach to these aspects of the universe, and that's why we cannot understand them, these metaphysicians will assert that the universe has aspects which are completely unintelligible in an absolute sense. You can see how this is very counterproductive to the scientific enterprise and philosophy itself, which is the desire to know. If we dismiss certain aspects of reality as fundamentally unknowable within themselves, instead of recognizing that they only appear to us as unknowable because of faults within our capacity and technique, then we lose the inspiration required to develop the means for dealing with these deficiencies. I think that's why mysticism is extremely important, as being a means by which a person can confront one's own deficiencies. Only by understanding our own deficiencies can we properly apprehend the deficiencies of others.
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    I agree, but I don't see why we can't do both. Religion, which is a formalised version of mysticism, is treated academically, indeed theology is taught alongside philosophy. I don't see why mysticism can't be treated academically. There has been a trend of Western people taking an interest in Eastern mysticism over the last hundred and forty years or so. But it is still relegated to the New Age shops and widely regarded as woo. I know there are actually a handful of colleges where Eastern religions are treated seriously, so there may be some attention given to Eastern mysticism there too, I don't know.
  • Nuke
    116
    I agree, but I don't see why we can't do both.Punshhh

    I don't object. I'm offering my thoughts as part of such an intellectual examination of mysticism.

    I don't see why mysticism can't be treated academically.Punshhh

    It can. It will. And in doing so a great many people will conclude that mysticism is about doing even more thinking. For them it will be just another philosophy and/or religion. So be it. I'm not proposing that I can do anything about this.

    There has been a trend of Western people taking an interest in Eastern mysticism over the last hundred and forty years or so. But it is still relegated to the New Age shops and widely regarded as woo.Punshhh

    Imho, it is widely regarded as woo for the same reason religion is so often regarded as woo, because of all the ego becoming trips etc which are so often layered on top of it. As example, nobody considers the experience of love to be woo. That is, until someone in a clerical costume comes along and says that we need them to interpret the experience correctly so that we can advance in holiness and be elevated like the cleric and so on, and then the woo alert alarms may start going off.

    Whether we are talking about Christian love or Eastern mysticism, there is the experience and the explanations. The woo lives in the explanations.

    Can we just dump the explanations? Most of the time, probably not. We're human so explanations are probably going to happen, especially if one has a philosophical nature. But we don't have to take the explanations too seriously, especially given that doing so is usually an act of taking ourselves too seriously.

    Again, I think it really depends on how one defines the problem which we're attempting to solve. If we see the problem as arising from incorrect thought content then philosophy seems advisable. If we the problem as arising from thought itself, then perhaps philosophy should be treated with some caution.

    Just another angle to explore perhaps.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.2k
    Can we just dump the explanations? Most of the time, probably not. We're human so explanations are probably going to happen, especially if one has a philosophical nature. But we don't have to take the explanations too seriously, especially given that doing so is usually an act of taking ourselves too seriously.Nuke

    Do you think that the mystic ought not take oneself seriously?
  • Nuke
    116
    Do you think that the mystic ought not take oneself seriously?Metaphysician Undercover

    It's a matter of degree I suppose. Mysticism is a form of psychological death. So in those moments when we're taking ourselves seriously, that's probably not it.
  • path
    284
    Whether we are talking about Christian love or Eastern mysticism, there is the experience and the explanations. The woo lives in the explanations.

    Can we just dump the explanations? Most of the time, probably not. We're human so explanations are probably going to happen, especially if one has a philosophical nature. But we don't have to take the explanations too seriously, especially given that doing so is usually an act of taking ourselves too seriously.
    Nuke

    Well said !
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    If the median position, spirit, is different depending on which direction the action is going, we'd have six partitions, two distinct parts of each of the fundamental three, depending on which direction the activity is proceeding. How would I derive the seventh? Do these two distinct trinities, being distinct
    I am not familiar with Plato's description, but I can say where 6 becomes 7 in The Hindu traditions,

    We have two trinities the lower (physical body, the emotional body, the lower mind) and the higher ( higher mind, soul, spirit). This is the incarnate human, but there is also that present, which is not incarnate, or is prior than incarnation. This level is the level which is expressed in the six levels of incarnation, I Refer to monad here it could be seen as God or Brahman.

    So the expression manifests as 6, but that which is expressed is also present in its unexpressed form, making 7.

    There are numerous different classifications of the levels in a human, it may depend on the school one is referring to, or the particular subject one is addressing. My preference is for the Theosophical system, particularly that of Alice Bailey, thus;

    You could view a human as the three inviolable principles;
    Spirit......Atman
    Soul.......egoic body
    Mind......manas

    Which becomes prostrate on the cross of incarnation as;
    Lower mind
    Personality
    Emotional body
    Physical body

    Mind, or manas is separated into the the upper and lower. The lower mind is a product of the incarnation into a body, so the true seat of mind is in the higher trinity. Also physical material is not treated as a principle, but more as a substrate which is not used when the person becomes resident in the higher trinity. Also during transfiguration, the emotional body merges into the egoic body and the personality into Atman. A new level becomes present above the higher three, the monadic, so we then have the higher cross of the heavens.

    Monad............God
    Atman.............spirit
    Egoic body......soul
    Manas.............mind
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    Imho, it is widely regarded as woo for the same reason religion is so often regarded as woo, because of all the ego becoming trips etc which are so often layered on top of it.
    Yes, there is a lot of New Age dross around making a serious enquiry difficult without having to waste a lot of time wading through it. The problem as I see it is that we live in an age, a society which is drawing back from religion (except for some sections in the US) and anyhow Christian mysticism was on the wane already. So it has fallen from the zeitgeist, only to be picked by New Ager's.

    Can we just dump the explanations? Most of the time, probably not. We're human so explanations are probably going to happen, especially if one has a philosophical nature. But we don't have to take the explanations too seriously, especially given that doing so is usually an act of taking ourselves too seriously.
    Personally one can dump the explanations, provided you are able to plot your own course. Its when discourse is contemplated, or engaged in that the explanations become relevant. I agree that we really don't have to take the explanations to seriously. This is what this thread is about, can we enter into meaningful discourse about something which is an intensely personal experience? Well I think we can, because I hold the discourse within my self with myself, albeit that I already have shared the experience with the other part of myself, prior to the discourse. This does still leave out the experiences which I can't even hold a discourse with myself about. These can be discussed under the heading epiphanies.

    I don't think the discourse should be taken as a replacement for the genuine mystical experience.
  • Nuke
    116
    Its when discourse is contemplated, or engaged in that the explanations become relevant.Punshhh

    Yes, that's what normally happens, agreed. But even in discourse the explanations are not necessary. Discussion could instead focus on how to have experience. We can observe how practical information like that is typically missing from discussions.

    Personally one can dump the explanations, provided you are able to plot your own course.Punshhh

    Ok, but if one dumps the explanations then there is no course, other than to the experience.

    This is what this thread is about, can we enter into meaningful discourse about something which is an intensely personal experience?Punshhh

    I'm not arguing against such discourse, just trying to add to the discourse. This is a philosophy forum, so of course I'm supposed to say the opposite of whatever somebody else is saying. :-)
  • Pantagruel
    893
    Ok, but if one dumps the explanations then there is no course, other than to the experience.

    This is what this thread is about, can we enter into meaningful discourse about something which is an intensely personal experience?
    — Punshhh
    Nuke

    Mystical events, which are only incompletely communicable in words, cannot be fully understood by those untouched by such experiences.
    ~Max Weber
  • jgill
    664
    Discussion could instead focus on how to have experience. We can observe how practical information like that is typically missing from discussions.Nuke

    Mystical events, which are only incompletely communicable in words, cannot be fully understood by those untouched by such experiences.
    ~Max Weber
    Pantagruel

    I made this point some time back, but the two central protagonists on this thread enjoy discussing philosophical perspectives of mystical experiences that are, themselves, better understood by actual practitioners.
  • Nuke
    116
    Mystical events, which are only incompletely communicable in words, cannot be fully understood by those untouched by such experiences.Weber

    This problem is solved if we stop trying to understand the events. :-)
  • Pantagruel
    893
    I made this point some time back, but the two central protagonists on this thread enjoy discussing philosophical perspectives of mystical experiences that are better understood by actual practitioners.jgill

    :up:

    I just thought I would share. I find that the works of great thinkers are invariably sprinkled with aphoristic gems that are like little bubbles of clarity. I like to think of them as "core concepts" that transcend and bridge the larger philosophical contexts of dispute.....
  • Pantagruel
    893
    This problem is solved if we stop trying to understand the events. :-)Nuke

    Or question them.
  • Nuke
    116
    I made this point some time back, but the two central protagonists on this thread enjoy discussing philosophical perspectives of mystical experiences that are, themselves, better understood by actual practitioners.jgill

    I enjoy discussing philosophical perspectives of mystical experiences too. Here I am after all. I'm just exploring what the relationship between experiences and explanations might be.

    Does one have to understand the processes of digestion in order to receive nutrition from a tomato? No. One just has to eat the tomato. Eating the tomato does not advance one up some ladder. It just gets one through another day.

    There's nothing wrong with reading up on digestion. But that's not where the nutrition comes from.
  • jgill
    664
    Eating the tomato does not advance one up some ladderNuke

    But eating a mushroom might. :cool:
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.2k
    We have two trinities the lower (physical body, the emotional body, the lower mind) and the higher ( higher mind, soul, spirit). This is the incarnate human, but there is also that present, which is not incarnate, or is prior than incarnation. This level is the level which is expressed in the six levels of incarnation, I Refer to monad here it could be seen as God or Brahman.

    So the expression manifests as 6, but that which is expressed is also present in its unexpressed form, making 7.
    Punshhh

    Is the seventh, as prior to incarnation, an absolute then?

    Also physical material is not treated as a principle, but more as a substrate which is not used when the person becomes resident in the higher trinity.Punshhh

    I believe that in traditional western mysticism, which I think has very little remnants today, the subject of incarnation becomes central. The prior, immaterial existence, what I called the absolute above, is taken for granted, understood as a necessary condition. But this opens up the question of what have we done to deserve incarnation, the incarnated state being an inferior state. So we have mystical teaching about Satan and the fallen angels. Satan, I believe was created by God as the archangel. But in seeing his great power he believed himself to be God, or equivalent to God, and therefore was exiled by God.

    Instead of looking forward toward the higher trinity you describe, we as western mystics look backward to see the reason why we have been cast into this fallen condition. This is why matter is an important principle, because a lower trinity is always separated from a higher trinity by a material separation, matter exists by degrees. And matter is a principle of temporality which succumbs to corruption. So in the west we are stressed by our past. Why have we been thus saddled? We have been given this less than perfect conditioned, burdened with the deprivations of matter. We cannot rise to the higher trinity which you describe, to obtain freedom, unless we come to understand how we are chained to the weight of matter, and release the bonds which hold us.

    I don't think the discourse should be taken as a replacement for the genuine mystical experience.Punshhh

    This ought to be self-evident, because without the genuine mystical experience there would be no description of it, or discourse about it, whatsoever.

    Ok, but if one dumps the explanations then there is no course, other than to the experience.Nuke

    What I think and I described earlier, is that one cannot adequately understand the significance of such an experience on one's own. The mystic might apprehend that the experience is significant, and meaningful, but the meaning itself, or significance, will not be understood unless that person relates the experience to something else, and this is best done through explanations, descriptions, and comparisons with others. That is what brings out the true meaning of the experience. So to experience, just for the sake of the experience itself, without any discussion or explanation, leaves the experience completely meaningless.
  • jgill
    664
    So to experience, just for the sake of the experience itself, without any discussion or explanation, leaves the experience completely meaningless.Metaphysician Undercover

    Perhaps that's true. In a Zen monastery those who have practiced the techniques, along with their mentors, may discuss their internal adventures and receive some clarity. But to suggest that philosophers may assist in this effort is naive, if not laughable. However, mine is but one opinion and others may disagree. :chin:
  • Punshhh
    1.9k
    I just thought I would share. I find that the works of great thinkers are invariably sprinkled with aphoristic gems that are like little bubbles of clarity. I like to think of them as "core concepts" that transcend and bridge the larger philosophical contexts of dispute.....
    Yes, such jewels of wisdom really can leapfrog a lifetimes teaching. I find now that if I read some passages in the bible, where Jesus speaks, his words are this profound, they can cut through the chitta chatta and tear the curtains in the temple from top to bottom. Or likewise mystical books I read decades ago.
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