Mod+ 267. DR. JEFFERY MARTIN, CAN ENLIGHTENMENT BE TAUGHT?

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. john.sundog

    john.sundog New

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    In this thread there has been a certain amount of complaining about having to pay someone for their time and effort in assisting a given person in achieving what may well be her/his most cherished goal. The same thing occurs in other threads such as when healing services are offered on a fee basis. Yet I've never seen anyone assert that personal trainers, life coaches, doctors, plumbers, or hookers, to name a few, should be offering their services for free. If you think this is different, could that simply reflect a worldview bias?

    Anyway, I trust that the complainers are all living in stick huts along with their spouse and children and aging parents, subsisting on roots and grubs, working twelve hour days at their vocation with no income. You are? You're amazing! :)

    But really, the complaining seems somewhat premature in this case because:
    1. Universities rely on grants to fund their research. If someone like the NIH won't pay for these experiments, the funding has to come from somewhere.
    2. As of a couple of months ago Jeffery Martin stated he hasn't even been reimbursed for expenses let alone receive any income, and the people helping him are unpaid as well, so he is not profiting from the fees.
    3. Jeffery claims history shows that if people have a little monetary skin in the game, it focuses their attention on carrying out the mission. This seems plausible.
    4. He says that when these courses are running he has little time for anything else, and he has lots of things he's interested in pursuing other than the PNSE project. Therefore, since he isn't interested in doing the training himself forever, he's looking for ways to get it done without his having a major involvement. In our society that usually means some kind of monetary exchange to get other people to do it.
    Perhaps one could rely on donations? You may recall that when Bill Bengston and Ben, his psychic friend, offered healing on a pay-what-you-like basis, payments even for something like curing cancer were generally either nothing or a few dollars. One woman who Bill (apparently) cured of cancer that another healer had failed to affect, in payment gave Bill her thanks and a bottle of water that the other healer had blessed. It seems that relying on donations is out. (At least Bill didn't have to go thirsty that afternoon.)

    Jeffery's initial goal was to find a tech solution. If his team developed an electronic enlightenment maker and offered it for sale for $100, would the complainers demand that it be free? (Don't bother answering that.) :eek:

    Perhaps we're just in the painful birthing process wherein the mind state sometimes called 'enlightenment' is transformed from being a strange thing that occasionally just happens and therefore seems mysterious or even holy, into something most people can achieve with a few months training, a normal human ability (just speculating here). At that time, should it ever come, perhaps our culture will move beyond predatory capitalism into a love-based system where everyone lives well and it is practical for such services to be freely available - after all, money no longer exists. I don't really believe that but it's worth hoping for, in which case perhaps Jeffery is helping bring that date closer, even though he's not doing it for free. To me that seems like something worth supporting.
     
    Dmitch and Hurmanetar like this.
  2. Dmitch

    Dmitch New

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2013
    Messages:
    152
    Hmmmm OOB experience and NDEs They're all stories. Is heaven or the astral planes versions of stories of reality by the disembodied consciousness.
    Which brings us back to the energy of consciousness. Does collapse of the narrative story require an inherent spiritual quality? is it possible to experience wholeness solely by an energetic transition?
    Tony Parson's asserts this is the case since we're already whole. This wholeness is not a process and carries no judgments. Spirituality may be a name we gave to represent wholeness and is solely a representative creation.

    Unless Far.From.Here is totally free from all negatives aspects of conditioning. I'd say they've formed a symbolic construct from an evolving experiential story and expressing an ideal. Not unlike the rest of us seekers. Many but not all individuals who experienced this energetic shift were seekers and in those cases it facilitated the transformation from perception of separateness to wholeness.

    If you want to live the life of a zen buddhist, you might want to do it among others who share that interest. In bringing about that environment, you may offer talks for a fee or donation.
    The talks become popular and people find inspiration, as Eckhard Tolle did. The monks finance a desired lifestyle.
    Eckhard Tolle comes along and hears about an alternate perception of self and reality. 2 weeks later he experiences an energetic shift and has no idea what happened. He self described this scenario as a strong correlation. The monks in the meantime are making a living and facilitating some seekers to have a transformational experience.
     
    Hurmanetar likes this.
  3. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    I basically don't disagree with anything anyone is saying here. But I do think that some people's perspectives are narrowed somewhat because they are still thinking that concepts and ideas have any meaning outside this manifest reality. I'm not a wordsmith and I don't desire to convince anyone of anything. But I'm fairly certain the manifest reality is an illusion, a "state of mind" if you will. I think few people want to actually step up that particular realization in its full depth because following upon that knowledge there exists only the void, utter meaninglessness. Probably it is better to stay within the realm of the "spiritual" and become a more "mature" human being and continue to exist with the context of the manifest reality. There is nothing on the other side. Nothing.
     
  4. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    2,377
    Home Page:
    I would say yes. I think when we ask the question, "What is the meaning of life?" we are really asking, what is this story in which we find ourselves? What character am I supposed to play? Who wrote this story? The writer of a story is the author and the author has author-ity over the story. Therefore, the search for meaning necessitates the questioning of authority. The ultimate act of questioning authority is to identify as the author. If we have free-will, we identify as the author which gives us power to write the script... or put into different terms: direct the energy of consciousness. If we do not have free will, we are reading a script written by another author. If we are co-authors with THE author, or if we can see ourselves as ONE or as an arbitrarily compartmentalized piece of THE author, then we can spin our own tales whether in the body or out of the body. In the human domain, some men crave authority over others so they tell stories and author scripts for others to follow. We call these men politicians. Whoever tells the most favored story wins the authority, and upon being sworn into office a story is once again told in the form of an inauguration speech in which a politician reaffirms his authority by creating his desired meanings for people who believe his stories and read his scripts. If "as above so below" is true, then there are probably cosmic politicians or demiurges out there spinning tales on multiple levels of reality which may be encountered in NDE and OOB. The process of political awakening involves successive realizations that one is enmeshed in a sticky web of institutionalized authorities over one's life. The process of spiritual awakening may likewise involve similar discoveries on different levels of reality.

    I think I would agree that "wholeness" is not a process however, coming to the place where one identifies with this oneness or disbelieves in separateness is typically a process although it seems that it can also happen randomly.
     
    john.sundog likes this.
  5. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    2,377
    Home Page:
    ...and yet you feel compelled to post your thoughts. Something compels you to inject your ideological DNA into the intellectual gene pool. The lust for ideological reproduction is strong within all of us even if we are a bit prudish about it and view proselytizing as ideological prostitution. Let's be honest... don't we all find some enjoyment and satisfaction in sending our ideological children into the world hoping they will succeed in changing it a little? Perhaps the desire for author-ity in all of us stems from our sometimes hidden identity as the author?

    "Nothing" has no meaning unless there is also something. Utter meaninglessness means the lack of a story. Stories must be told in the places where other stories are not being told otherwise everyone would be talking over one another and there would be no meaning. So "nothing" is just as instrumental in providing meaning as "something". Nothing is the space on which everything is written. The void is the pure creative potential from which all story and all meaning springs. The void within you compels you to post on this forum! :)
     
    Dmitch likes this.
  6. I'm not saying it is wrong to charge tuition for a course, it costs money to give a course and the people giving it deserve to get paid, but I am saying that it should be done in an way that I feel is ethical. The problem I see is not the price, it is that you have to pay for a "secret method". You don't have enough information to make an informed decision but you are bombarded with slick marketing tricks on the web site tellling you how happy you will be if you pay the money to learn the secret. This is a well known sales technique: people buy based on how they think the product will make them feel. And, people are more likely to respond to an ad if there is some mystery about it because when you know how something works it doesn't seem as extraordinary or special. You wouldn't buy a car if you had to pay before you could look under the hood. When I went to retreats at the Zen center I paid a fee but I knew exactly what would happen during the retreat. Also, Dr. Martin's original research subjects gave their time and knowledge freely because they wanted to help humanity, I doubt they expected the results of the research to be made available only to those who would pay.

    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...nlightenment-be-taught.1953/page-3#post-59196

    My concerns are:

    That the course is not advertised fairly:​
      • The claims for the course are based on unpublished, unreplicated research that didn't use experimental controls, or blind protocols and is based on self-reporting by experimental subjects that have a personal interest in the success of the experiments.
      • Some of the claims for the course are based on the number of students that completed the course without mentioning the drop-out rate.
      • The course web site implies the course is superior to other practices and traditions, but the relative effectiveness of the course has not been tested.
      • Dr Martin also makes statements derogating the religious traditions he studied which do not match what I experienced at the Zen Center I used to go to.
      • Only Dr. Martin knows how PNSE is measured in practice. The criterion seem to be vague, subjective, and use relative terms rather than quantative terms that can be objectively measured and compared.
      • The information about the course is vague so a potential student cannot make a properly informed decision. (You would not pay a contractor to install flooring until you agreed on whether it was going to be wood, tile, or carpet and you had approved the materials yourself.)
      • The course may require a large daily time commitment after it ends to maintain PNSE and that is not explained clearly on the course web site.
    There is also a question of whether it is ethical to ask research subjects pay for the privilege of participating in research, and persuading them to do so with slick advertising techniques. Most research institutions have a policy on the ethical treatment of humans in research. I'm not sure if paying to participate would be found in any of them.

    And there is the issue of safety. Dr Martin recognizes that intensive practices sometimes result in psychological difficulties and he says he takes measures in the course to prevent them. But the problems his methods can deal with are due to pre-existing psychological issues arising during meditation. There are also types of problems caused by intensive practice that seem to be caused by using the brain differently and getting stuck in that mode. I don't think the psychological work that is involved in the Finder's course can prevent that.
    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...artin-on-enlightenment.1596/page-3#post-51627
    http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...artin-on-enlightenment.1596/page-3#post-51646

    Also, Dr. Martin asked his original "enlightened" research subjects to help him and they did so freely giving their time presumably because they wanted to help humanity. They might be "surprised" that the results of that research are being kept secret and only divulged to those willing to pay the high tuition of the Finder's Course.

    ...

    Similarly I avoid spiritual organizations that keep their systems secret and only divulge them to those who are willing to pay the price. I don't believe that is the "right" way to share spiritual knowledge, and I don't want to be among the enablers who support such organizations. God doesn't charge, he is equally available to the poor as well as the rich. If no one would pay the tuition without understanding the system first, Dr Martin would have to make public the full information about the system and more people could benefit from the information his original research subjects gave freely.
    I'm not saying it is wrong to charge tuition for a course, only that it should be done in an way that I feel is ethical.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
    Ian Gordon and Dmitch like this.
  7. Dmitch

    Dmitch New

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2013
    Messages:
    152
    Dear Jim, I admire your tenacity.
     
    john.sundog likes this.
  8. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    Not to be crass, but I sounds to me like the path to enlightenment is to just say "F**k it."
     
    malf likes this.
  9. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    I wouldn't describe my impulse to write in this thread a compulsion.
    You are just spouting words that have no basis in experience. There is no meaning in nothing. Nothing is no thing. No meaning. No thing. Nothing. There is no meaning outside of this manifest reality. Why do you cling to meaning?

    You are really big on "stories". Step one. Kill all your stories. What is your identity? What is left after you get rid of all your stories?
     
  10. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    All that is bullshit. It's all manifest reality. "Levels of reality." "Meaning." "Stories." You have to let all that go to even take the first step.
     
  11. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    I wouldn't use the word enlightenment. But how else are you going to even begin to understand the true nature of reality until you take a flamethrower to everything that you "think" reality is and see what is left over after the fire. The process is one of tearing down everything you think you know, you believe, you are and seeing what is left. What is left is nothing. Everyone hates to hear that. But meaning doesn't disappear just because everything is ultimately meaningless. Meaning still exists, it just doesn't mean anything.
     
  12. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

    Joined:
    May 22, 2014
    Messages:
    42
    I’m reminded of the adage that says, “Those who say don’t know and those who know don’t say.” I’ve had a few ineffable experiences. Then I had to go back to work. I’m not saying that a person has to be all wrapped up in getting a bigger house, a hotter car, and hang out with celebrities, but at the most basic level material progress is an overall good thing: clean water, warm & dry shelter, low infant mortality, high fiber steel, efficient well-maintained infrastructure, etc. I do not see how any of this can happen if people overemphasize ‘persistent non-symbolic consciousness’. Isn’t there something to be said for balancing and fluidly moving through the all the states of consciousness, from sleep to ‘enlightenment’?
     
    Hurmanetar likes this.
  13. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    2,377
    Home Page:
    I used the word "compel" but apply whatever gradation of "want" you want... Unless someone else is forcing you to post here, you do so because that is what you want to do at the moment. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you analyze why you want to post, it is probably because you get some kind of enjoyment out of the interchange of ideas. In my opinion that is a fractalized expression of the fundamental creative impulse.

    The location named "outside" implies an "inside" so a relationship is established which extends reality to encompass it. Similarly "nothing" is a relational term to something. Since we are usually focused on something, it is good to sit in silence and focus on the nothing, but it would be a mistake in my opinion to get stuck on nothing since nothing else in reality seems to get too stuck on it. Everything is in motion. Everything is dynamic. If you're stuck on nothing you're just as stuck as someone who is stuck on the goodies of this manifest reality.

    I don't cling to it. I create it. I do this because it is fun and interesting. I also find it fun and interesting to sit alone in silence and approach nothing. I find that this contrast in experience makes everything else crisper, clearer, and... more meaningful.

    I dissolve into nothingness... for a while... whatever "while" means... but the pervasive creative impulse inevitably awakens me inside another story. It is the oscillation between something and nothing, 1 and 0, creativity and boredom, novelty and habit, that is the fundamental waveform that manifests reality. I know this to be true because we are here talking about it. If "nothing" could somehow break completely free of it's dualistic opposite, we wouldn't be here talking about it.

    First step to where? Your choice of words implies there is a progression towards something. Letting all that go is what I do when I meditate, but I don't meditate all day or even every day (though I wish I had more time to do so). I stay dynamic. I have it both ways because I think that is best way. :)
     
  14. Far.From.Here

    Far.From.Here New

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2015
    Messages:
    932
    Cool. :)
     
  15. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    2,377
    Home Page:
    I agree completely. I think PNSE is a benefical experience but like everything else it is not necessarily best to get stuck at any location. I think of the ego as a beneficial tool for survival and an identity which enables us to have a location in this environment. It is essentially a feedback loop: self thinking about self. The cruise control on your car is a feedback loop. There are 3 factors in a typical mechatronic feedback loop that stabilize the output. If the factors aren't properly balanced, then destructive resonances can occur. Our feedback loop of self is developed out of necessity but it inevitably gets out of balance, and so the self presents destructive resonances of depression, anxiety, addiction, etc. Depression is like holding a microphone into the monitor speaker - a painful screeching resonance occurs. Meditation seems to be a way temporarily breaking the feedback loop and re-balancing the factors for a smoother more stable output.
     
  16. Alex, Dmitch,

    How was the course? Are you allowed to say what techniques were taught? If so, what were the techniques? What traditions were they from?

    Thanks
     
  17. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,615
    I didn't get very far. Jeffery is trying to do something really cool, but I found the ramp up to the meat of the material too much. after a couple of hours of form filling and personality assessments (with many more hours to go)... and the prospect of a couple more weeks of positive psychology (which I think is great but have already studied extensively)... well, I threw in the towel early.
     
  18. Dmitch

    Dmitch New

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2013
    Messages:
    152
    Jim, before I comment on the Finders Course itself, I want to make it clear, I have had no experience or training in meditation in recent memory and had no idea what to expect and that made the course exciting. Everything was new to me. I threw myself into the course and could not believe the depth of commitment I was asked to take. I believe personally I was meant to do this. I followed the protocol as closely as possible and in the very first required hour of meditation something happened.

    It affected me for the rest of the day and these experiences from meditation became more and more frequent. Alex mentioned Western psychology techniques. Let me just say I also used centering prayer before my meditations. That is not in the course. By week 3, I started to feel heat and sensations coursing through the body. I started to feel it when I was at work (part-time).
    By week 7, I experienced what I know now as a kundalini awakening. The course doesn't teach it and I didn't know what it was or what was happening. The english language doesn't lend itself well to describe it so I will only call it what it felt like energy. It was powerful enough to incapacitate me for almost 2 hrs and was preceded by weeks of physically felt energy flows. Although the course only requires 1 solid hour of meditation a day. I did 2 and 3. It was a hard winter and I had hours of free time every day. It was completely enjoyable and I would meditate every chance I got. I have stopped meditating so much, because well, I'm busy again. On reflection, I must say that spending so much time resting in stillness develops a sensitivity to everything. The air itself expands. The space behind the eyes opens up too. Colors are brighter, The body quivers with sensations. I did not permanently lose my sense of separation though. Just visited total connection.

    May we agree that it's difficult to predict who may become 'awakened' or self realized when embarking on a path of active seeking. By that, I mean sometimes the method or technique or teacher doesn't have as much bearing on what occurs as the aspirant themselves. That is something of a mystery. Some people, though rare, become awakened suddenly in the throes of trauma or crisis. For others it is a slower process. Others not at all and some are very happy with that.
    That is basically my understanding after listening to about 50 Batgap interviews in the last 3 months with awakened teachers from Adyashanti to Zenji. (I know I have 243 to go). Some people who have meditated for 40 yrs still feel their egoic self is quite entrenched. Others like Tolle lost egoic direction, his apartment and job and spent 2 yrs on a park bench immersed in bliss. I used Batgap during the course as a kind of satsang and adjunct tool.

    I think Dr Jeffery Martin shoots high with the advertising and some people are turned off by his seemingly self aggrandizing manner, but in the course he proved very caring, sincere and almost intimately knowledgeable of just about every aspect of the methods and techniques. He usually responded personally and quickly to any requests or questions. I am certain some people have dramatic permanent positive results, My group mentor claimed to have had a permanent consciousness shift from Finders Course 2. Within my (online) group of 6 the ones who were most experienced and had done this kind of thing before seemed to get less of a emotional impact. It seems to me the brain is a marvelous device. The one thing it does very well is become conditioned to a repeated stimulus. I can already see it in my brief spiritual experience.
    We are a life of entrenched beliefs and conditioning, desires and fears. How does that get pushed aside so one can experience simple presence, awareness of each moment. It all boils down to be able to have that very simple experience. Yet, it is really quite difficult for some.

    The course isn't really secret. Its just that the power of the course itself is presented as a sequence of happenings and practices. Everything that is presented and there's quite a lot and it comes fairly quickly. The participant must focus of what is being presented, practice it in earnest and go on to the next event. Part of the process was to cause a sudden realization or shift or to find a method that resonated and effected a switch in awareness Everything is tied together so its one cohesive string of experiences.
    A surprising note is several well know awakened teachers are associated with the course and present their methods that they use with students.

    I came upon a video on You Tube a couple months back in which Jeffery is quite specific on what the course consists. Hopefully I can find it and include it here.

    I can't divulge the specific techniques but I have come across them while visiting web sites of Batgap teachers.
    There has been a significant difference in my life because I became in a sense awakened to this reality we share. I now feel immersed in the non dual community. I did have other experiences during the course but they are much too personal to mention.
    Also I may not respond to follow ups, so I apologize in advance. I do want to add because of a life threatening illness Dr Martin had during my course. He has delayed bringing it out to the public. There was an incredible web site up but it's down for now and there's a Finders Course #5 taking place right now that another Skeptiko forum member is partaking in and another one will begin in July. Alex mentioned assessments and measures and yes, These particular numbered 15 week courses include about 4 hours of standardized psychological measures and assessments, which have to be taken 3xs. Its a bear. Best wishes.
     
    Ian Gordon, lhl, K9! and 6 others like this.
  19. Alex

    Alex New

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2013
    Messages:
    2,615
    awesome! thx for sharing this.
     
  20. Here is the paper from which Dr. Martin got the definition of non-symbolic consciousness.

    http://www.cook-greuter.com/GatewaytoTransc.2000 2008 updated.pdf
     
    Dmitch likes this.

Share This Page