Dr. Jeffery Martin, The Finders Course Works, Sorry Haters |406|

#61
I have no idea what you mean by these paras. Could you re-phrase being a little less elliptical?
Sorry, Michael

While I don't see 'science' a the arbiter of the real I do see that it has a proper partnership role in sharing how we evolve a contemporary narrative about the nature of our reality and our role in it - which is, after all, what religion is about - albeit with a strong theme of moral survival that makes no sense to anybody who doesn't get animism...

I meant science and religion have been natural partners - hardly distinguishable, and it has only been since the advent of materialism that the two have seemingly split. So when Dr Martin laments that 'religion' has not kept up with science he is right in one respect. What we call religion has always been animistic, so it could not have followed the materialistic path in any case - even though many of the great scientific minds have been intensely religious. I say that religion has always been about inquiry into the nature of human experience - but in a spirit filled reality, not a mechanical one.

It does seem that what we might call 'spiritual' science has not been obviously active for a long time and that we are in a time of materialistic science. On the supposition that there is wisdom in the way things are, Dr Martin's lament might have been better expressed. He seems to be saying that the cultural elements of traditions are not necessary because people these days just want a tech, and they can't be bothered with the fluff about the Buddha springing from the side of (I forget what was said here). But there are a bunch of problems with that assumption.

I grew up reading Zen. It was what I would have taken to if I had not a deep inner voice telling me not to be an idiot. I loved Zen because it reinforced what contained me. It was like I was a free man who wanted to be put in prison so I could break out, because the feeling of breaking out was what I thought I needed to feel legitimately free. That was my satori moment.

Zen was not my path. I had a passion to not abandon my culture and seek enlightenment by imitating alien and ancient ways. I don't mean, as Dr Martin seems to imply, that I wanted to remain in the fog of my culture's delusion about progressive and superiority. The alien and ancient ways were way markers to a better way of knowing. Where Dr Martin seems to say that enlightenment tech is like a McDonald's drive through - minimal disruption to a normal secular life I see the opposite. Zen inspired me to struggle to see that an attitude of mind is not determined by a tradition. You don't need to be a Christian to be Christian for example. There is no ownership, no branding, of the desire to develop an attitude of mind. That was a liberating and 'enlightening' thought for me.

I don't think you can do just the tech. It like the problem of 'training' where it is expected that rational input as data changes behaviours and values. The input can contribute to, even trigger the process of change, but cannot cause the transformation.

And nothing changed. I still had debts and a crap relationship. I just felt a little less stupid and a little less bothered. But that was good thing.

I have had moments of sudden awakening that have left me deeply affected. But normal life goes on - with its crappy things still intact. For example I came down with GBS in 2008 and had 3 months of total paralysis - ICU, respirator - the whole drama. I didn't know how I was going to come out of it, so I did a lot of frank soul searching and made peace with whatever was to come. I think the whole experience was character building and that I am a way better person for it.

Dr Martin talks about spiritual salesmanship and how people 'sell' enlightenment methodologies without revealing that afterwards some got the same shitty things still happen. The myth is, apparently, that on the other side of enlightenment its all sweetness and light. But its not an escape from crap, just a change of attitude toward it. Is it enlightenment?

I don't think there is one transformative event. If we are working on our ways of knowing there are many events that prompt change and growth.I will have to read Dr Martin's book to get a clearer picture of what he is on about, but on the basis of the show i think he has a useful insight but maybe not the best context in which to express it.
 
#62
When you see that everything in your mind is a consequence of cause and effect it changes what you believe about free will.

People think getting things or attaining things will make them happy, But when you can control your own happiness by meditation, you see that happiness is not dependent on attainments. Realizing that diminishes your ambition.

And when you observe what kinds of things dislodge you from a state of happiness, you see that striving for attainments is actually the cause of unhappiness not happiness.

You may have heard the expression, "Everything is perfect just as it is". That really means, "I'm so doped up by my own brain chemicals that nothing can upset me, I can't feel that anything can be wrong. Why should I do anything when there is nothing that needs to be done?"

And when you realize that most people are fooled by an illusion, of one kind or another to the point that it is almost impossible to help them, it takes the steam out of your crusade.

Although a common effect of Buddhist awakening is that the experiencer wants to drop everything and teach everyone how to get enlightened:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/7146949#_19_message_8071737


I have a section on my web site about the dangers of meditation and I recommend people read it before they start learning to meditate.

When I used to go the Zen Center there were often talks by members who gave up high paying careers so they could devote themselves to practicing Zen. I thought they were crazy until I did it too.
...
Meditation does not just produce happiness. It change your understanding. It shows you that your cravings are illusions that have no value. Happiness by itself doesn't do that.
 
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#64
In my view enlightenment is not possible. If we suppose there is this stage of being called enlightenment it sounds like a means to an end. The universe is possibly eternal meaning its never still its always rapidly changing and adapting. What would enlightenment entail for an endless rapidly changing universe?

Waking up from the red pill rage is the hardest thing someone can do, I wouldn't even recommend it, spiritually it's like signing up for war. I've been battling it for 14 years, and when it seems I make progress there are more levels with different devils. It's made my soul cold, my heart is warm and my mind is bitter.
 
#65
I think jeffrey saying completely different. he saying you can have all of your preconceived notions and beliefs about how much money should factor into this and what spirituality is and all the rest, he's just going to measure whether you were happy before, and whether you happy after and then he's going to figure out a way to productize the difference.

I'm totally cool with that. I want that option in the marketplace. better in the hands of jeffrey than the underground MKUltra folks.
He is saying something different, but that is because he has a POV constructed from a set of assumptions he had not laid out. He seems to think 'enlightenment' is a method or tech. I think that's BS. That's like the old way of thinking that magic is about method and and power or about gaining psi powers. Its heavily rationalistic and utilitarian. Its an interesting perspective that does point out some fundamental weaknesses in what has been on offer.

I don't want that option in the marketplace at all. It will get there, maybe, and I do agree it is better out in the sunlight than in the nasty shadows of deep state actors.

Here's my problem with Dr Martin's overall notion. He seems to operate on the assumption that humans are equally capable and that the difference is motive - so a tech can be applied. Suppose he is wrong and that humans are not equally capable - and the tech is applied unevenly. A gun, for example, is a perfectly good tool for doing particular tasks. If we were all of equal capability that would be fine. But we are not.

While it is one thing for Dr Martin to admire the Tibetan Buddhist tech, lifting it from the culture and the values that generated it is another thing. For example a moral cosmos that embraces the idea of karma would take a very different view to markets and the marketing of any tech derived from that tradition. Taking a tech out of context alters the tech and that alters the moral consideration.

There is a long established tradition of cautioning against hot house or incubator style efforts to gain what we might call 'enlightenment'. The idea that mediation is going to dø the job without surrounding influences is delusional. It is quite clear that meditation and other methods can deliver apparent benefits, but concluding that this makes you a more spiritual person is silly. That is not to say that there are not methods or tech that can and should be used to benefit a sense of well being that maybe aught to be a base line. For example there is a sensible notion that a certain level of physical exertion leads to a desirable degree of physical well-being, can improve work performance and have a very beneficial on states of mind and emotions. But you can still be a complete asshole. I know a vegan yoga practicing meditator who was regarded by her colleagues as snippy and abrasive.

I suspect that the enlightenment tech stuff is over hyped, and always has been. Way back I read a book arguing that the Western interpretation of Buddhism was bogus and misleading. This is not at all remote from Dr Martin's observation about Beryl Sator's (sp?) study of the New Thought Movement. We can't understand something in our own cultural stream, so how much more complex would something remote and ancient? So while I agree there is a lot of BS cultural stuff about enlightenment I think any secular impatience that want to strip a culturally embedded tech of its context is likely to make matters worse, not better.

How many times have eager leaders in our culture hared off on grand visions of pure tech being the answer? Only to discover that what actually happens is deep and complex damage? (okay grammar police, I know that's not a sentence - I am employing stylistic licence.)

I am going to read Finders because I think the data is interesting and tells us a lot. But Dr Martin says he is a science guy and not a religion guy. and that shows., That means his data is valuable but his interpretation should subject to closer scrutiny. The relationship between science and that muddled field we loosely call religion/spirituality/psi etc is growing in interesting ways. We may evolve a revived cultural context for it all that returns science and religion to the same fold. That is, I believe, where we are heading.

I want to observe that this show suffered from a problem of two people forgetting there was an audience. Dr Martin used jargon and acronyms without explaining them. I had to look up PNSE on his website to discover it meant Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience - which is what exactly? Also what the hell are 'locations'? I could have a guess, but it would have been better if an explanation had been provided in the show.
 
#67
Sorry, Michael

While I don't see 'science' a the arbiter of the real I do see that it has a proper partnership role in sharing how we evolve a contemporary narrative about the nature of our reality and our role in it - which is, after all, what religion is about - albeit with a strong theme of moral survival that makes no sense to anybody who doesn't get animism...

I meant science and religion have been natural partners - hardly distinguishable, and it has only been since the advent of materialism that the two have seemingly split. So when Dr Martin laments that 'religion' has not kept up with science he is right in one respect. What we call religion has always been animistic, so it could not have followed the materialistic path in any case - even though many of the great scientific minds have been intensely religious. I say that religion has always been about inquiry into the nature of human experience - but in a spirit filled reality, not a mechanical one.

It does seem that what we might call 'spiritual' science has not been obviously active for a long time and that we are in a time of materialistic science. On the supposition that there is wisdom in the way things are, Dr Martin's lament might have been better expressed. He seems to be saying that the cultural elements of traditions are not necessary because people these days just want a tech, and they can't be bothered with the fluff about the Buddha springing from the side of (I forget what was said here). But there are a bunch of problems with that assumption.

I grew up reading Zen. It was what I would have taken to if I had not a deep inner voice telling me not to be an idiot. I loved Zen because it reinforced what contained me. It was like I was a free man who wanted to be put in prison so I could break out, because the feeling of breaking out was what I thought I needed to feel legitimately free. That was my satori moment.

Zen was not my path. I had a passion to not abandon my culture and seek enlightenment by imitating alien and ancient ways. I don't mean, as Dr Martin seems to imply, that I wanted to remain in the fog of my culture's delusion about progressive and superiority. The alien and ancient ways were way markers to a better way of knowing. Where Dr Martin seems to say that enlightenment tech is like a McDonald's drive through - minimal disruption to a normal secular life I see the opposite. Zen inspired me to struggle to see that an attitude of mind is not determined by a tradition. You don't need to be a Christian to be Christian for example. There is no ownership, no branding, of the desire to develop an attitude of mind. That was a liberating and 'enlightening' thought for me.

I don't think you can do just the tech. It like the problem of 'training' where it is expected that rational input as data changes behaviours and values. The input can contribute to, even trigger the process of change, but cannot cause the transformation.

And nothing changed. I still had debts and a crap relationship. I just felt a little less stupid and a little less bothered. But that was good thing.

I have had moments of sudden awakening that have left me deeply affected. But normal life goes on - with its crappy things still intact. For example I came down with GBS in 2008 and had 3 months of total paralysis - ICU, respirator - the whole drama. I didn't know how I was going to come out of it, so I did a lot of frank soul searching and made peace with whatever was to come. I think the whole experience was character building and that I am a way better person for it.

Dr Martin talks about spiritual salesmanship and how people 'sell' enlightenment methodologies without revealing that afterwards some got the same shitty things still happen. The myth is, apparently, that on the other side of enlightenment its all sweetness and light. But its not an escape from crap, just a change of attitude toward it. Is it enlightenment?

I don't think there is one transformative event. If we are working on our ways of knowing there are many events that prompt change and growth.I will have to read Dr Martin's book to get a clearer picture of what he is on about, but on the basis of the show i think he has a useful insight but maybe not the best context in which to express it.
Thanks, Michael. That's a lot clearer.
 
#68
In my view enlightenment is not possible. If we suppose there is this stage of being called enlightenment it sounds like a means to an end.

Hi Baccarat

I agree. I suspect this is a misunderstanding. I think there are stages, like the Zen idea of satori, that represent sudden flashes of insight. My experience is that I have had numerous instances where stuck ideas or fixed attitudes of mind have been quite suddenly shifted in a way that has been quite dramatic for me. But I have never thought that that ever constituted a sense of being enlightened in any absolute sense.

Early on I misunderstood the idea of enlightenment as something that was conferred by effort of will - like a window breaking and air coming in. That was stupid, and I did finally wake up to that.

I think we in the West are confused by the period that is called The Enlightenment - an intellectual movement over the 17th and 18th centuries. In some respects I think that is related to a wake up about the BS of Christian theology - entirely justified, but hardly a job done. And you are right here - its not an end state, a destination.

The term is grandiose. It might be more sensible to talk about an awakening - something we do regularly. Or, more modestly, a realisation -something that should be routine if we are diligent about truth seeking.

Then trouble is Westerns have a passion for the sudden fiat. We are induced to think a sin can be forgiven by a simple gesture by a priest (who could be raping children in his spare time), Supposedly belief in Christ leads to salvation - the mere act of belief. Buddhism isn't quite that idiotic, but the idea that meditation is going to lead to bliss is, I think, ludicrous. It can help, though.

I am not dissing meditation, I am saying it is not a panacea. It may certainly confer many benefits, but I do not think enlightenment is one of them. I do take Dr Martin's point that some practices can reduce neuroticism, but there are a whole bunch of deficits of character that have nothing to do with being neurotic or not. Without knowing much about Dr Martin's research I would ask whether methods and tech that can reduce neurotic behaviours can just as easily address character deficits when we have clear evidence of yogis engaging in sexual misconduct, materialsitic desires and gross egotism.

I see there are significant benefits in mediation (which I do not do - I just obsess about a theme until the answer comes to me). I just don't think it magically transforms character. That's not to say that a meditator may not suddenly have an awakening during or after a meditation - only that there's no necessary or assured connection between the two. That is, meditating isn't going to lead to 'enlightenment' by itself.

Anyone growing up in a religious culture knows that priests, nuns, rabbi, imams or ministers are not necessarily holy or nice folk. This is an important thing to get, and is in line with Dr Martin's observations. Status or office cuts no ice with the divine. Some of the most disappointing people I have met have been heads of esoteric orders and wiccan covens. In Australia one of the leading members of the Catholic Church has been imprisoned on sexual offences.

The sad truth is that religious leaders in so many movements violate the trust and faith in them. So we must ask, if formal granting of the status of a divine is not sufficient to assure good character, what is? I will answer my own question by saying it is a refusal to abdicate a duty to assess moral character based on the individual and not the office.

So long as we know there is no magical conferral of divine grace upon any human other than by the effort of personal struggle to develop character of the highest calibre we can own our duty to be diligent.

There a saying much favoured by the military - the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. That insight applies in every aspect of human life.

If we drop the fantasy of magical conference of divine grace or insight based upon acts or status we may restore the ability to discern wisdom of its own accord. What we call enlightenment is not a status or competitive thing. You can't buy tickets to it, or tricks and techs that will speed up your journey to this imagined destination.
 
#69
Hi Baccarat

I agree. I suspect this is a misunderstanding. I think there are stages, like the Zen idea of satori, that represent sudden flashes of insight. My experience is that I have had numerous instances where stuck ideas or fixed attitudes of mind have been quite suddenly shifted in a way that has been quite dramatic for me. But I have never thought that that ever constituted a sense of being enlightened in any absolute sense.

Early on I misunderstood the idea of enlightenment as something that was conferred by effort of will - like a window breaking and air coming in. That was stupid, and I did finally wake up to that.

I think we in the West are confused by the period that is called The Enlightenment - an intellectual movement over the 17th and 18th centuries. In some respects I think that is related to a wake up about the BS of Christian theology - entirely justified, but hardly a job done. And you are right here - its not an end state, a destination.

The term is grandiose. It might be more sensible to talk about an awakening - something we do regularly. Or, more modestly, a realisation -something that should be routine if we are diligent about truth seeking.

Then trouble is Westerns have a passion for the sudden fiat. We are induced to think a sin can be forgiven by a simple gesture by a priest (who could be raping children in his spare time), Supposedly belief in Christ leads to salvation - the mere act of belief. Buddhism isn't quite that idiotic, but the idea that meditation is going to lead to bliss is, I think, ludicrous. It can help, though.

I am not dissing meditation, I am saying it is not a panacea. It may certainly confer many benefits, but I do not think enlightenment is one of them. I do take Dr Martin's point that some practices can reduce neuroticism, but there are a whole bunch of deficits of character that have nothing to do with being neurotic or not. Without knowing much about Dr Martin's research I would ask whether methods and tech that can reduce neurotic behaviours can just as easily address character deficits when we have clear evidence of yogis engaging in sexual misconduct, materialsitic desires and gross egotism.

I see there are significant benefits in mediation (which I do not do - I just obsess about a theme until the answer comes to me). I just don't think it magically transforms character. That's not to say that a meditator may not suddenly have an awakening during or after a meditation - only that there's no necessary or assured connection between the two. That is, meditating isn't going to lead to 'enlightenment' by itself.

Anyone growing up in a religious culture knows that priests, nuns, rabbi, imams or ministers are not necessarily holy or nice folk. This is an important thing to get, and is in line with Dr Martin's observations. Status or office cuts no ice with the divine. Some of the most disappointing people I have met have been heads of esoteric orders and wiccan covens. In Australia one of the leading members of the Catholic Church has been imprisoned on sexual offences.

The sad truth is that religious leaders in so many movements violate the trust and faith in them. So we must ask, if formal granting of the status of a divine is not sufficient to assure good character, what is? I will answer my own question by saying it is a refusal to abdicate a duty to assess moral character based on the individual and not the office.

So long as we know there is no magical conferral of divine grace upon any human other than by the effort of personal struggle to develop character of the highest calibre we can own our duty to be diligent.

There a saying much favoured by the military - the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. That insight applies in every aspect of human life.

If we drop the fantasy of magical conference of divine grace or insight based upon acts or status we may restore the ability to discern wisdom of its own accord. What we call enlightenment is not a status or competitive thing. You can't buy tickets to it, or tricks and techs that will speed up your journey to this imagined destination.
I feel we tend to get hung up on concepts like 'enlightenment', 'divine grace', forgiveness etc. We reify the ideas and then think they need explaining. Yesterday I was with a friend of mine, working on a software project, when I had an 'enlightenment' about a better way of solving our problem. This sort of moment is so common for both of us, that we try to deliberately engineer such moments.

Trivial as these moments may be, I think they may encapsulate something of enlightenment - a sudden novel way of looking at a problem seems to jump into consciousness fully formed.

David
 
#70
I want to observe that this show suffered from a problem of two people forgetting there was an audience. Dr Martin used jargon and acronyms without explaining them. I had to look up PNSE on his website to discover it meant Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience - which is what exactly? Also what the hell are 'locations'? I could have a guess, but it would have been better if an explanation had been provided in the show.
Absolutely spot on!

@Alex I know I used to complain that you interrupted too much, but I think you should have interrupted Jeffery more, at least before 1:25 ! Surely "Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience" also needs some examples in order for it to make sense? I mean experiencing any qualia might count as a PNSE!

David
 
#71
I want to observe that this show suffered from a problem of two people forgetting there was an audience. Dr Martin used jargon and acronyms without explaining them. I had to look up PNSE on his website to discover it meant Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience - which is what exactly? Also what the hell are 'locations'? I could have a guess, but it would have been better if an explanation had been provided in the show.
Here is the definition of persistent non-symbolic experience (consciousness) from an article by Dr. Martin:

http://nonsymbolic.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/PNSE-Article.pdf

Defining the Phrase: Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience (PNSE)

It was difficult to gain cooperation from this research population. They generally believed they would not and could not be understood scientifically. Finding language that did not push them away during their initial introduction to the research program was extremely important. Over the course of the research I tested a wide variety of words and phrases to find one that would be widely accepted by them.

The term non-symbolic was derived from Cook-Greuter’s (2000) research involving ego development and transcendence. While she generally favored the word postsymbolic, she used a term related to non-symbolic in a 2000 paper, in the following context:

Eastern psychologies have often pointed to the nonsymbolically mediated, or immediate ways of knowing as the only kind of knowing that can lead to enlightenment or true insight into human nature. In fact, they consider our addiction to language-mediated, discursive thought as a major hurdle in realizing the true or divine Self, or union with the Ground. (Cook-Greuter, p. 230)​

While similar terms exist in the psychology research community, in the field the term ‘nonsymbolic’ was the only one that was widely and readily adopted by the participants.

For most of the project’s existence I interchangeably used the words experience and consciousness with participants. I do not mean to suggest that the definitions of these words are viewed as equivalent. Rather, these terms were the ones most commonly used by participants. Some participants objected strongly to one, while others objected just as strongly to the other. Still others felt neither was appropriate. I have used both with participants and in academic speaking and writing, but am more comfortable with the word experience. I feel that what is represented by this research primarily concerns reports of participants’ ongoing moment-tomoment way of experiencing the world, and that consciousness may be too broad a term.

The term persistent is used to denote a consistent, ongoing experience versus a temporary one. Permanent is not used because the research has shown that participants experiencing PNSE can return to ‘normal’ consciousness. For the study, persistent is defined having continually experienced one or more forms of non-symbolic experience for at least 1 year.
 
#72
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...nlightenment-be-taught.1953/page-2#post-58913

The whole point of PNSE is that it is defined very specifically.

http://nonsymbolic.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/SCS2014.pptx

PNSE 1
- Expansion of sense of self, connection to divine
- Much less affected by ‘self’ thoughts
- Distance from but still have positive and negative emotions
- Deep peace but can be suppressed by triggered conditioning
- Effects from perceptual triggers fall off quickly
- Deep peace and beingness feels more real than anything previous
- Trust in ‘how things are’
- Personal history less relevant, memories less

PNSE 2
- ‘Self’ thoughts continue to fade
- Peace increasingly harder to suppress/conditioning fades
- Shift towards increasingly positive emotions, until only very positive emotions remain
- Intermediate levels of perceptual triggers increasingly fade
- More likely to feel that there is a correct decision or path to take when presented with choices
- Higher well-being than location one

PNSE 3
- Only single positive emotion remains
- Feels like a combination of universal compassion, love, joy, …
- Higher well-being than location 2

PNSE 4
- No sense of agency
- No emotions
- No ‘self’ thoughts
- Perceptual triggers at their bare minimum
- No sense of divine or universal consciousness
- life was simply unfolding and they were watching the process happen
- Memory deficits/scheduled appointments, etc.
- Highest well-being reported​


Whether you call any of the PNSE locations "enlightenment" is up to you. There are 21 definitions of "enlightenment" here:
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/dharma-wiki/-/wiki/Main/MCTB Models of the Stages of Enlightenment

UPDATE: the above link seems to be dead try this:
https://web.archive.org/web/2015032...in/MCTB+Models+of+the+Stages+of+Enlightenment

  1. Non-Duality Models: those models having to do with eliminating or seeing through the sense that there is a fundamentally separate or continuous center-point, agent, watcher, doer, perceiver, subject, observer or similar entity.
  2. Fundamental Perceptual Models: those that have to do with directly perceiving fundamental aspects of things as they are, including perceiving emptiness, luminosity, impermanence, suffering, and other essential aspects of sensations regardless of what those sensations are.
  3. Specific Perceptual Models: those that involve being able to perceive more and more, or all, of the specific sensations that make up experience with greater and greater clarity at most or all times, and usually involve perfected, continuous, panoramic mindfulness or concentration at extremely high speed.
  4. Emotional Models: those that have to do with perfecting or limiting the emotional range, usually involving eliminating things like desire, greed, hatred, confusion, delusion, and the like.
  5. Action Models: those that have to do with perfecting or limiting the things we can and can’t do in the ordinary sense, usually relating to always following some specific code of morality or performing altruistic actions, or that everything we say or do will be the exactly right thing to have done in that situation.
  6. Powers Models: those that have to do with gaining in abilities, either ordinary or extraordinary (psychic powers).
  7. Energetic Models: those that have to do with having all the energy (Chi, Qi, Prana, etc.) flowing through all the energy channels in the proper way, all the Chakras spinning in the proper direction, perfecting our aura, etc.
  8. Specific Knowledge Models: those that have to do with gaining conceptual knowledge of facts and details about the specifics of reality, as contrasted with the models that deal with perceiving fundamental aspects of reality.
  9. Psychological Models: those that have to do with becoming psychologically perfected or eliminating psychological issues and problems, i.e. having no “stuff” do deal with, no neuroses, no mental illnesses, perfect personalities, etc.
  10. Thought Models: those that have to do with either limiting what thoughts can be thought, enhancing what thoughts can be thought, or involve stopping the process of thinking entirely.
  11. God Models: those that involve perceiving or becoming one with God, or even becoming a God yourself.
  12. Physical Models: those that involve having or acquiring a perfected, hyper-healthy or excellent physical body, such as having long earlobes, beautiful eyes, a yoga-butt, or super-fast fists of steel.
  13. Radiance Models: those that involve having a presence that is remarkable in some way, such as being charismatic or radiating love, wisdom or even light.
  14. Karma Models: those that involve being free of the laws of reality or causes that make bad things happen to people, and thus living a blessed, protected, lucky, or disaster and illness-free life.
  15. Perpetual Bliss Models: those models that say that enlightenment involves a continuous state of happiness, bliss or joy, the corollary of this being a state that is perpetually free from suffering. Related to this are models that involve a perpetual state of jhanaic or meditative absorption.
  16. Immortality Models: those that involve living forever, usually in an amazing place (Heaven, Nirvana, Pure Land, etc.) or in an enhanced state of ability (Angels, Bodhisattvas, Sorcerers, etc.).
  17. Transcendence Models: those models that state that one will be free from or somehow above the travails of the world while yet being in the world, and thus live in a state of transcendence.
  18. Extinction Models: those that involve getting off the Wheel of Suffering, the round of rebirths, etc. and thus never being reborn again or even ceasing to be at the moment of enlightenment, that is, the great “Poof!” on the cushion, not to be confused with the more mundane atmospheric consequences of a legume-based diet, as anyone who as been on a vegetarian meditation retreat knows all too well.
  19. Love Models: those that involve us loving everyone and/or everyone loving us.
  20. Unitive Models: that you will become one with everything in some sense.
  21. Social Models: that you will somehow be accepted for what you may have attained, that you have attained something when people think you have, and variants on these themes.



I think teaching that there is something called enlightenment is a big mistake because students become obsessed with it It's like telling someone not to think about pink elephants - it puts the idea in their head whether they want it there or not.

Striving for perfection creates stress so it is counter productive.

In order to get closer to perfection, you have to accept your imperfections.
 
#73
The sad truth is that religious leaders in so many movements violate the trust and faith in them. So we must ask, if formal granting of the status of a divine is not sufficient to assure good character, what is? I will answer my own question by saying it is a refusal to abdicate a duty to assess moral character based on the individual and not the office.
If I understand what you are saying, I think I agree.

Every person is human, fallable. Enlightenment in the Buddhist sense means you don't suffer. It doesn't mean you are a nice person.

It is unfortunate that students believe unrealistic things about their teachers. Sometimes the teacher encourages this but sometimes it is the student's fault.

I would like to see an Association of Spiritual Searchers that advocates for students which could publish a Searcher's Guide and remind students that spiritual teachers are merely human and not to expect their teachers to be especially ethical or deserving of special privileges.
 
#74
In order to get closer to perfection, you have to accept your imperfections.
First up I am indebted to you for most of your post. That detail should have been sign posted from the outset.

I love this line. Its like 'the more you know the less your realise you know'. In a sense, enlightenment is oxymoronic. If you think you are you ain't.
 
#75
Sufis maintain the means of attaining enlightenment change according to time, place and people. What might have worked for someone living in 10th century Baghdad wouldn't have worked in 10th century Europe, nor will it work in 21st century Baghdad or 21st century Europe.

Everything changes as time, place and people change. This isn't because the ultimate spiritual destination changes, but because the starting point, with its societal conditioning and general state of technological development, is constantly changing. Where one starts from initially in any time or place is relative and conditioned. A true spiritual guide wants help you get somewhere that has never changed and has nothing to do with where you are starting from, though the journey may be easier or harder depending on things such as cultural milieu, socioeconomic and even idiosyncratic factors of particular individuals.

In short, there's no completely prescriptive way of ensuring that you get from A to B. "A" is peculiar to each one of us. Getting to the water in the well that will save your life depends on where you start your journey from. Some paths are easier than others, and the guide is someone who can map out the one most suitable for you given your current state. There might be a few things that are useful for most or many people (a particular kind of meditation, a particular religion, a particular socioeconomic state), but no two paths to enlightenment will be precisely the same.

The guidance offered won't necessarily appear "spiritual". It may, for instance, involve psychological factors; or the guide may advise you to do a certain kind of paid work. Nor has personal happiness or contentment necessarily anything to do with the price of fish. You may need to be unhappy for a time in order to make progress; happiness might actually be a hindrance for you, perhaps especially if it's based on mainly superficial factors such as a good standard of living, having an attractive mate or worldly achievements/recognition.

The idea that one can get anything permanent from a technological approach to "enlightenment" is one I find highly dubious, particularly if the technology is constructed by someone who has no real idea of who you are/where you are starting from, let alone where you are meant to be going. It seems to me that Dr. Martin is merely providing a set of tools to help people decide for themselves which path to take based on some destination that may be irrelevant, or even counterproductive, to their needs. Even if they find contentment, so what?

Maybe technology, like meditation and other spiritual exercises can help some people in some circumstances. But any technique is merely a means to an end and not an end in itself. The question is, what is that end or aim? Only when you find that out will you know, and at that point you will no longer need techniques. Their only use will be if you are suited to be a guide and you need them to help others towards their destination. Dr. Martin doesn't appear to know what is being aimed for. It's more like he's helping people find for themselves techniques to get them to a destination they think is what they want. It might not be -- could be a complete red herring in fact.
 
#76
I would like to see an Association of Spiritual Searchers that advocates for students which could publish a Searcher's Guide and remind students that spiritual teachers are merely human and not to expect their teachers to be especially ethical or deserving of special privileges.
Jim, I think one of the enduring problems is that people who arise as 'spiritual teachers' as either bogus or accidental. Dr Martin mentioned people who make a living from 'spiritual' teaching. I live in Australia with a fraction of the population of the USA, so I am not as exposed to teachers who make a living from this - because I don't think we have the population density to make it a real business proposition.

I know of people who run courses, but they do not call themselves spiritual teachers. They teach methods and information. There are certainly organisations who teach various methods of spiritual orientation - like yoga and meditation - as well as Wicca. But I do not regard them as spiritual teachers as such - because they do not, in my view, attend to the critical domains of character and moral development.

What is, in any case, spirituality? Is it a set of ideas about the metaphysical dimension of our reality? Is it about moral and character development? Is it about both? I ask this because I grew up in a Christian culture which purported to promote character and moral development - but which came out as self-righteous and sanctimonious BS - and had silly notions about the divine. And when I moved into discovering the metaphysical dimension there was no real interest in the moral and character dimension. For me it is both, and intellectual strength as well.

Aliester Crowley, who was neither as good or as bad as folk say, once cautioned "Do not kick a beggar lest he be a king!" Those who we think are the least can be our teachers, and our betters. If we are humble we can learn from children. If we are not then we will pay for those who appear to be high status to teach us everything but the humility we can never learn from them. Eventually we will discover we have been taken for a sucker.

You need to pay for a 'spiritual teacher' when you are so disconnected you don't know that they are all around you and free. When we stop taking ourselves so seriously the whole world embraces us, and teaches us. Its a human heritage. You don't need a Visa or a MasterCard.
 
#77
Sufis maintain the means of attaining enlightenment change according to time, place and people. What might have worked for someone living in 10th century Baghdad wouldn't have worked in 10th century Europe, nor will it work in 21st century Baghdad or 21st century Europe.

Everything changes as time, place and people change. This isn't because the ultimate spiritual destination changes, but because the starting point, with its societal conditioning and general state of technological development, is constantly changing. Where one starts from initially in any time or place is relative and conditioned. A true spiritual guide wants help you get somewhere that has never changed and has nothing to do with where you are starting from, though the journey may be easier or harder depending on things such as cultural milieu, socioeconomic and even idiosyncratic factors of particular individuals.

In short, there's no completely prescriptive way of ensuring that you get from A to B. "A" is peculiar to each one of us. Getting to the water in the well that will save your life depends on where you start your journey from. Some paths are easier than others, and the guide is someone who can map out the one most suitable for you given your current state. There might be a few things that are useful for most or many people (a particular kind of meditation, a particular religion, a particular socioeconomic state), but no two paths to enlightenment will be precisely the same.

The guidance offered won't necessarily appear "spiritual". It may, for instance, involve psychological factors; or the guide may advise you to do a certain kind of paid work. Nor has personal happiness or contentment necessarily anything to do with the price of fish. You may need to be unhappy for a time in order to make progress; happiness might actually be a hindrance for you, perhaps especially if it's based on mainly superficial factors such as a good standard of living, having an attractive mate or worldly achievements/recognition.

The idea that one can get anything permanent from a technological approach to "enlightenment" is one I find highly dubious, particularly if the technology is constructed by someone who has no real idea of who you are/where you are starting from, let alone where you are meant to be going. It seems to me that Dr. Martin is merely providing a set of tools to help people decide for themselves which path to take based on some destination that may be irrelevant, or even counterproductive, to their needs. Even if they find contentment, so what?

Maybe technology, like meditation and other spiritual exercises can help some people in some circumstances. But any technique is merely a means to an end and not an end in itself. The question is, what is that end or aim? Only when you find that out will you know, and at that point you will no longer need techniques. Their only use will be if you are suited to be a guide and you need them to help others towards their destination. Dr. Martin doesn't appear to know what is being aimed for. It's more like he's helping people find for themselves techniques to get them to a destination they think is what they want. It might not be -- could be a complete red herring in fact.
Michael - Love it! Spot on.
I loved the observation that "The guidance offered won't necessarily appear "spiritual". The very idea that 'spiritual' is apart from life itself is ludicrous. We cannot subdivide our lives into 'spiritual' and 'non-spiritual'. Some people say the secular is non-spiritual. This is a theme materialists like. But its not. The secular is the like the town square where everybody comes on their best behaviour. It is shared space sans conceits and delusions. We all own it.

Spirituality is an inherent attribute of human life., Spiritual advice is not what your priest gives you and your bank manager or doctor does not. This is the catastrophe of Christianity - to imagine that spiritual energy comes only via those who establish themselves as having a sole franchise on salvation? Really? Is God that stupid?

I am an animist. I say the world is infused with spirit - as has every faith until Christianity, which excised unruly sprit from its sense of reality. In so doing ti created such a dull and dumb faith that materialists pushed it aside with ease. For me everything is spiritual, and every teaching spiritual. I work with a focus on disability and I can tell you I get schooled daily about my ignorance. I am routinely humbled by exhibitions of depth and strength of character. Disability has status in the secular sphere, rather than the religious, and in that sphere it drives and delivers more potent changes of heart and values than any religious movement. We own the spiritual as humans, and it belongs to no creed, faith or tradition that excludes the whole of humanity.
 
#78
First up I am indebted to you for most of your post. That detail should have been sign posted from the outset.

I love this line. Its like 'the more you know the less your realise you know'. In a sense, enlightenment is oxymoronic. If you think you are you ain't.
And I have no bloody idea what happened to the rest of my response. It has completely disappeared. It was posted but now it has absconded shamelessly. I shrug my shoulders in puzzlement.
 
#79
The more I think about all of this, the more it all seems like some conman's shell game; this promise that if you do this or that and/or not do this or that, or pay for a course or follow a guru you're going to come to an understanding that brings you all this happiness.

In fact, I think Buddhism is, at bottom, a coward's delusion that gets it wrong and most of these self-help approaches are based on some form of Buddhist technique or ideology. I think it was one of Ian Stevenson's cases where a boy recalled a past life as a Buddhist monk (Thailand?). The boy was born into very ordinary circumstances after a previous life of complete devotion to Buddhism. So much for getting off the wheel of Samsara. It was a relatively strong case.

In Christianity we have the image of Christ on the cross, suffering horribly, but quite deliberately (he had free will. He could have avoided the whole thing) - and he chose to suffer out of love for the world and humanity. If we get past the church's dogma that Christ was a special case as the one and only Son of God and that his fate somehow saved us mere mortals forever in one fell swoop - and we, instead, see it as a metaphor for each of our lives, each of us as Christ, then we have a realistic path set before us. We can recognize that in life we are all going to suffer, but that if we stay true Love and compassion and the knowledge that we are all immortal sons/daughters of God, each containing a spark of the divine, we will triumph spiritually in the end. This seems to me to be a noble and brave path (I am not a practicing Christian, BTW - though my own philosophy does have similarities to this somewhat alternative interpretation of Christianity).

Buddhism says "Screw that cross and suffering. That's just the result of desire and illusion. You can avoid suffering. Stop playing the game. Dissolve into nothingness". Like the spiritual equivalent of a jelly fish. Buddhism often seems to fail to see that seeking enlightenment or release from the wheel, etc is still a form of desire.

The Self-help culture is telling us to screw the cross and suffering and yet that we can still play the game (perhaps even being better at it). Then it commoditizes enlightenment. You can seek and desire and still be happy. It's a mishmash of the more appealing aspects of old traditions.

I think see Dr. Martin as saying something like, "Ok. You're unhappy. Here are some techniques. Let's see what works. We'll collect data and then use it to refine our processes. Repeat.". It's an evidence based approach to what is happening out there in the self-help and religious market. Nothing more and nothing less. If you want to use the term "enlightenment" to refer to gaining new insights and expanding one's view of one's self and the world, then, go for it. I'm not seeing where that use of the term is any better or worse than how is it used in any other tradition or practice.
 
#80
If we get past the church's dogma that Christ was a special case as the one and only Son of God and that his fate somehow saved us mere mortals forever in one fell swoop - and we, instead, see it as a metaphor for each of our lives, each of us as Christ, then we have a realistic path set before us
Some say that the Jesus on the cross image derives from the Egyptian tradition and represents the sacrifice of the soul via the experience in the material world. There are a number of traditions that have an initiate hanging from a tree as part of a radical transformation. I agree that the sacrificed Jesus is a universal symbol and that it sets a path before us.

The act of initiation breaks and remakes the individual. To be transformed to into a being who is conscious of spirit in form is radical compared to what is usually the case. The drama of the crucifixion is told to us as if it is the end of Jesus' life - which it cannot be. It must be a transition -release from suffering in the world through an intentional act - a consummation of faith.

So if we tread the path of sacrifice of spirit into the material world, salvation will come and we will be released. In the mystery tradition the physical world is the underworld - it is hell. Its a different version of the Buddhist rendition, but not wildly so. In Christianity the fiction of Genesis is translated into the proposition that eternal life is not universally available. It has to be earned. It is BS.
 
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