Michael Cocks, Afterlife Teaching From Stephen the Martyr |344|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. Typoz

    Typoz Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2013
    Messages:
    2,405
    My first impression of this material is that it is "above average". That sounds somewhat like damning with faint praise, which isn't quite what I mean. I do mean I consider this a worthwhile contribution.

    But to come to the other parts of the question, "What are the pitfalls and opportunities", in my view the greatest pitfall is to look for certainty, to try too hard to verify the validity of a source, and to base one's response to a given channelling on the success or failure of such verification. The danger here is that if one really trusts a source, one might abdicate one's own responsibility and instead blindly follow. That is not to say that it is harmful to follow, but recognise that to do so is a choice, not a necessity.

    As for opportunities. This may depend where one is standing at the time. We all have different needs, both as individuals, and also at different stages in our lifetime. What do I personally get from channelled material? Often a sense of being uplifted, a raising of focus away from the mundane. Another response is simply to raise new questions, new ideas, different ways of looking at things. The latter is not in itself necessarily directly uplifting, but a fresh outlook can itself give a sense of release, a freedom to explore ideas.

    And next, I've looked at a variety of channelled material over the years, usually I'm not too fussy about the verification, I assess material only on the effect it has on me. This latter is an individual response, something which affects one person in a particular way may affect another person in a completely different way. Thus what is important is not to assess material in an absolute sense, but instead, come to a personal view of what is beneficial and what is not.

    Lastly, but not least, there is also a time to move on. Such materials can be useful, but they should not become a crutch to lean on. I consider we all have direct access to the spiritual resources we seek, and to become dependent on an intermediary can restrict our progress.

    Edit: One thing I forgot to mention. Much channelled material is heavily influenced by the channeller, often it seems that the message may even disappear and be drowned out by the human preoccupations of the channeller.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
    hypermagda likes this.
  2. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    216
    Very grateful for this interview which for me was of particular interest mostly because of the synchronicity dimension to all this. I even had a couple of synchronicities in connection with the podcast itself so what can I say :)....the phenomenon is real, whatever it is! And THAT of course is the problem. What is it about? It's very easy and tempting to see synchronicity as confirmation of one's own theories/beliefs, but synchronicities happen to people holding mutually incompatible beliefs. So who's right and who's wrong? Isn't it therefore very possible that there may be different 'agents' (rather than a single almighty "God") in the spiritual world who are capable of causing these occurrences in our 'material/consensus reality', each of them trying to get us to believe in their "fake news" ;-)? I think we cannot be sure that there is a single source behind them. Even if we like to believe what we believe (and hence like to see any syncronicities as confirmation of our beliefs), I think it's wise to always bear in mind that we cannot know for sure what this is truly about.

    Having said that, I hugely appreciate hearing about other people's experiences AND interpretation of synchronicity, as I struggle to make sense of it.

    I have just checked out Michael's book about this on Amazon and look forward to reading it: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Wider-D.../ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

    I just read the readers' comments on the book's Amazon page and very much agree with them. For instance: "I consider synchronicity and all such events (simple and complex), should rightly be regarded as paranormal events, such as telepathy and clairvoyance etc., as they are all clearly beyond normal. Synchronistic events, are not normally included under the banner of the paranormal, as it seems that the improbability of these experiences themselves, has led to synchronicity not being taken particularly seriously (let alone researched) to date until now."

    Thank you once again Alex - you have NO IDEA how much some of your podcasts have helped my "quest" - often I have very little time to comment here but my silence does not mean that I am not following what you are doing. Your podcasts and this Forum are an overflowing source of valuable info and intelligent analysis.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017
  3. NateC

    NateC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    Thanks for your comments Hypermagda!

    Despite the Stephen material being perhaps the more 'dramatic', Michael's personal focus is very much on synchronicity and Into The Wider Dream documents the synchronicities he noted during the 1970s and afterwards.

    I've had a few myself, and one of the things that always fascinates me is how to know whether an observed meaningful coincidence is just 'pattern recognition' or 'priming' and how much it's a 'genuine' high-improbability chance event. I don't know if there are any protocols or rubrics for trying to assign prior probabilities to meaningful everyday life events, but that seems like an area of research that might be useful.

    For myself, I feel that there is a pattern to the universe, that it's structured, and that every part reflects every other part to some extent. That connectedness itself perhaps 'is' God, in whatever sense we can understand; the Infinite is intelligent, loving, structured yet simple, and embedded within every particle as well as being outside and beyond the universe. That's the idea that Leibniz came to while inventing calculus at the dawn of physics; I think that's also the message that seems to come through various religious teachers and spiritual communicators.

    Regards, Nate
     
    Brian_the_bard likes this.
  4. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    216
    Thank you Nate, I appreciate what you wrote and I do agree that there is a connectedness (some of it can indeed be apophenia, i.e. "priming" as you say) but what I fail to see is how the Infinite (as you refer to is) can be seen as loving (or I should say, entirely loving - surely there is love, but there's also hate and other bad stuff which doesn't come exclusively from us human beings - and moreover if we are part of the whole then the whole contains this stuff, too, so it's no better than us, its "creatures"). As a matter of fact, some of these "patterns" and synchronicites are disturbing and destructive, and even if life/this material reality that seems solid to us is just some kind of dream (which seems quite probable), in the "dream" it feels real and often violent, unfair and painful. What's the point of that in your opinion? Just an example - right at the beginning of Michael's book he tells of a synchronicity involving him running over and killing a ginger cat, and Michael even gets to witness the final agony of this poor creature. Obviously Michael was distressed by this, and moreover he's not guilty of it as he did not do this on purpose, but how can it be good or consoling to realise that that poor cat's death was involved in a wider synchronicity later? Is creating patterns like that (and us perceiving them, maybe) worth the suffering of ignorant creatures as both we and and animals are (and the poor cat was even more unable to understand what was happening to him than we are)? Not for me. Am I too sensitive and compassionate? Is death and suffering in this consensus reality that we share just a bit of exciting fun and I don't get it? And why am I part of it if I dislike it so much?
     
    Laird likes this.
  5. NateC

    NateC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    I agree, that our shared consensus reality seems to contain so much very real suffering is hard to understand. I think I have always been troubled by that as long as I've been aware. Since well before my teenage years, at least. I see the pain and I think: that energy/incompleteness has to go somewhere. It's not going to just vanish from the universe simply because it's happening to someone / something else. It's still out there, cycling around. I'm not going to stick my hand out and deliberately touch it, if I can help it, but I can't wish it away by pretending it's not there.

    (Maybe other people don't have that sense? It's why I feel haunted, for want of a better word, by WW2 and what happened then, ever since I learned about it. The feeling that the war didn't change anything; that the darkness that orbited Germany, Japan and the Allied Strategic Bombing group wasn't resolved in any way by millions of deaths, but it's still out there just looking for minds to give it form again, and a generation that's forgotten. Gave me the right shivers; still does.)

    I do believe that there is reality 'above' our reality that is 'more complete' in a sense and doesn't contain the suffering we see in this life. And that suffering passes but what's beyond it remains. That's maybe a matter of faith and/or personal taste; it's just something I cling to personally as a way of making sense of things.

    I also don't think synchronicity is a 'higher' realm as such, for the reason that yes, bad things seem to be synchronised just as much as good things. I think it does point to there being surprising connections between events we normally think of as causally separate, and for me that supports some kind of 'shared soul' or 'karma' hypothesis: that, good or bad, every creature in this universe (at least our local Earth bubble) seem to be connected.

    So perhaps 'connectedness is God' is not quite right; I think 'God is love' is a good summary (ie, God is not isolation; not a tiny/infinitely distant unapproachable being; a God who was utterly alien and disconnected from us in His/Her inhuman machine-like perfection would be essentially both an utterly selfish being and a God who did not exist for us), and 'love is connectedness', but I also think God is *more than* just connectedness between what we see and experience in this world. The whole transcendence/immanence thing. I feel that transcendence exists yet is still close to us, if that makes sense? That somehow we can approach it (or maybe don't even need to; the image of God as a Mother resonates with me more than a Father, though I don't think of God as actually gendered).

    I feel like we're like maybe little god-lets having a nightmarish dream; the dream can be altered in small ways to make it better but the more important idea for us to understand is that, no matter what happens in the dream, _we are not abandoned and never have been_. There is a more powerful being (or Ground of Being) out there that loves and protects us and cannot be destroyed, any more than, eg, number or logic can be destroyed. Something so deeply woven into the fabric of the universe (or rather _that weaves_ the fabric of the universe); something that has the character of both machine (in that it's indestructible and immutable) and person (in that it embodies warmth and empathy and intelligence).

    I cling to that idea because there's some scary stuff happening in the apparent world today, and I'd like to believe that the scary stuff isn't winning. So if I choose to believe the evil is all shadows and less substantial than a dream, then that gives me space for hope, and hope is the start of change and growth.

    Here's an odd synchronicity for you: today, I was playing the song 'Computer Games' by Mi-Sex (1979), which I've played before but haven't listened to for, oh, several months at least. Less than an hour later, I'm on the phone to my power company, and instantly the song on the hold music is... Computer Games.

    What are the odds of that, I wonder? Does that count as a synchronicity? Is it 'meaningful' in any way? Does it 'point to' anything, or is it just an apparently above-average chance event? Is it even above chance? We are going through a period of 80s retro after all, maybe I'm just tuned into the zeitgeist.

    It still amused me though...

    Regards, Nate
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
    Obiwan, hypermagda and Ian Gordon like this.
  6. NateC

    NateC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    And because it appeared in my playlist today: I'm really liking this 1981 Vangelis / Jon Anderson song."I'll Find My Way Home"




    You ask me where to begin
    Am I so lost in my sin
    You ask me where did I fall
    I'll say I can't tell you when
    But if my spirit is lost
    How will I find what is near
    Don't question I'm not alone
    Somehow I'll find my way home

    My sun shall rise in the east
    So shall my heart be at peace
    And if you're asking me when
    I'll say it starts at the end
    You know your will to be free
    Is matched with love secretly
    And talk will alter your prayer
    Somehow you'll find you are there.

    Your friend is close by your side
    And speaks in far ancient tongue
    A seasons wish will come true
    All seasons begin with you
    One world we all come from
    One world we melt into one

    Just hold my hand and we're there
    Somehow we're going somewhere
    Somehow we're going somewhere

    You ask me where to begin
    Am I so lost in my sin
    You ask me where did I fall
    I'll say I can't tell you when
    But if my spirit is strong
    I know it can't be long
    No questions I'm not alone
    Somehow I'll find my way home
    Somehow I'll find my way home
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  7. NateC

    NateC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    It really doesn't surprise me that Jon Anderson has some interesting stories. There's a vibe about his music; he's been plugged into something.

    https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/jul/30/artsfeatures.popandrock

    "Right, this table," says the lead singer of Yes, gesturing towards the coffee table, "is the world as we know it. There are mountains, valleys, animals and interdimensional energies that we don't know about." He pauses. "Or maybe we do. Actually, I know a lot of people that do. Interdimensional energies," he nods sagely, "are a very powerful thing."
    ..
    He is wont to say things like "In the early 90s, a lovely lil' lady from Hawaii came by who was able to ignite my third eye" with a deadly earnestness. He also claims to have been visited by angels in a hotel room in Las Vegas. They told him to remember William Blake. This was, understandably, "a very sobering experience".​
     
  8. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    216
    Hi Nate, I loved your post - thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on these questions. I found lots of valuable food for thought in what you wrote.

    What is in your opinion the relationship between God, that you feel is "love", and this disturbing connectedness between good and bad things alike? This connectedness is not a comforting realisation, as we both seem to agree (if it means we are all connected, then we are also all connected, for instance, to Nazis and to the darkness you mentioned in your post). If God is love, whence this darkness you yourself acknowledge? - and incidentally I sincerely appreciate your honest attitude: lots of people who believe in God simply underplay evil and the intrinsic flaws of this material world as much as possible, saying that it will all be well in the end, even if we are horrified by what can happen in this reality (as if the end justified the means.....). I really have a hard time believing in a God behind it all who is exclusively "love". Have you personally ever wondered whether there isn't just love behind the universe, but also an equally powerful force, a force of darkness, which, too, operates in this reality and is just as powerful (and primordial) as this "God of love", so much so that it is capable of causing synchronicities and connections, too, kind of indistinguishable from the other ones in the forms in which they manifest? Because if disturbing synchronicities (such as the one featuring a cat being run over) come from God, or in any case happen in a realm exclusively created by a loving God, how can he be considered a "God of love"?

    This post for example (see also the readers' comments) basically leaves the door open for the Holocaust being some kind of "good thing" in the end, some kind of necessary stage in mankind's development, and "part of the divine plan" (sorry for the millions of Jews who were the "necessary tools" for this lofty end, then). (incidentally - how can these people be so convinced that our "development", supposing it is really happening, which is debatable, is oh so important in this huge, mysterious universe, that there is even a plan for it?)

    http://blog.synchrosecrets.com/?p=163

    In any case, apart from the fact that I personally would not agree with such a plan (again, because to me the end cannot justify the means means), would it objectively be justified to consider the mastermind behind this plan (and if there is only ONE God, then he must be behind it) as a "God of love" (what about his love for the Jews, for example) ? How do you feel about this?

    I know you explained your approach already "So if I choose to believe the evil is all shadows and less substantial than a dream, then that gives me space for hope, and hope is the start of change and growth." But how can you "decide" to believe something?....I can only believe what seems likely based on the evidence, and proven evil acts do not feel less substantial than a dream to me.....How can you bring yourself "to choose to believe" that such events are all shadows? I honestly can't imagine being able to do that and I would sincerely love to hear how you have managed. Please let me underline that my questions are genuine and not rhetorical or polemical. I really don't see how this is possible and would love to understand.

    As for me, to believe something I need to have at least some evidence...and evidence does not point towards 'evil as all shadows' (in that case, love could just as well be all shadows - in fact this whole reality is very probably just all shadows; but then nothing is real, ultimately, neither the good nor the evil.....). The evidence sadly points towards a morally dualistic universe, or to a God who is indifferent to what we consider good and evil, which basically, from our perspective, means that we are at the mercy of some kind of psychopath.

    If I keep bringing this stuff up here on Skeptiko it's because I'd LOVE this conclusion to be proven wrong and I am intrigued by people who seem to have found a way to reconcile God and (extreme) evil, hoping that something they will say will miraculously make me understand their point of view :). Thank you in advance for your input!

    And yes, the kind of synchronicities you described (song) happen to me, too, so I know what you mean 100% :)
     
    Laird likes this.
  9. NateC

    NateC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    Hi Hypermagda! These are all very good questions.

    For me, my picture of the world goes something like this:

    1. I think all humanity, and probably all life forms on this planet, are primarily spiritual rather than physical beings. As such, I think we have a reality which isn't always apparent in this physical world. I believe it endures beyond this physical existence. It can't actually destroyed by bad things that happen in this world. The worst we can do is cause ourselves great, but ultimately temporary, suffering.

    2. I think we're all parts of a single whole being. But I think that being exists in TWO parts, of a kind: a 'Parent' and a 'Child'. The Parent entity is what religious people usually refer to as 'God'. The 'Child' entity is what religious people refer to as our 'soul' (except I think our individual personal souls are all linked together into a sort of 'world soul').

    3. Our linked-ness as part of this giant 'world soul' is why we can pick up various psychic entities, do channelling, experience both good and bad synchronicities, have precognitive dreams, etc. All of this is because what we experience ACTUALLY IS shared at some deep level we don't understand. All of us actually are one, the good people and the bad people.

    4. The 'Child' entity is very large but it's not not yet an adult. As such, it's confused. 'Evil' exists entirely within this Child entity. It arose from a decision the Child (which is us) made, maybe billions of years ago in our time frame, or maybe even the concept of time isn't relevant here, to separate itself from the Parent and try to 'lose' itself in the darkness. This is what religious people call 'sin', especially 'original sin'. We're all born into this vast confusion where it seems we're separated from everything permanent and good in the world, though actually we aren't.

    5. The physical world as we experience it is an illusion because it's not permanent. This is something we notice from a very young age. The physical world does not persist. Everything around us, both good and bad, eventually fades out and passes away. Ultimately this is for our good. As an experience - and a shared experience - physical life is very real to us, it can uplift and terrify and scar us, but ultimately, like a dream or a virtual reality simulation, it has no actual reality in the long run. Only our emotional responses to it and the choices we choose to make are real.

    6. The Parent has never actually left us, even though we've pretended to leave it. There's a part of us, deep inside, which seems tiny and unimportant and often we can't even feel that it's there, that is actually our link to the Parent, or even perhaps a tiny copy OF the Parent, or the Parent Itself. The quieter we get, perhaps the easier we can feel it. But even if we can't, the Parent still has a huge amount of freedom to arrange the things that we (even in our extended form as the world-soul with all the connections) aren't able to.

    7. Why does the Parent leave us in this nightmarish state where we're terrified we're lost and alone? I don't know and I don't think anyone does. Perhaps we simply CAN'T understand in the mental state we're in. All I know is that we've been told from multiple sources throughout human history that something like this is occurring. There IS a vast Being of Love out there who we can't control and can't destroy; this being feels towards us much as we feel towards our own children, ie incredibly loving and protective; evil comes from ourselves, but from our extended selves, our shared unconscious, not necessarily from our tiny, conscious selves; yet our evil is still, on a cosmic scale, not really relevant any more than a child's nightmare is. It hurts us, but it doesn't hurt the Universe.

    8. We should totally stop doing evil and do good, as much as we can, because doing evil messes up the world-soul and messes up its dream (our physical world). Hurt done to others is actually done to ourselves. Goodness and forgiveness done to others increases our own happiness. But often (because we're part of a world soul that's all messed up) this goes wrong. The more we try not to do evil, often the worse things we do; and often when we do good, we get punished for it. We should fix what we can, but shouldn't stress about anything too much though because it's more important that we just accept the realisation that we AREN'T alone and that we CAN'T do something so evil that the Parent would ever leave us. Just accepting this is the breakthrough. From there, we'll get to not stressing too much about others, not trying to control their behaviour by hate and fear, and maybe the idea of the Parent's love will slowly break through to all of us.

    That's what I've pieced together from various sources, including my Christian upbringing, Near Death Experiences (including my mother's) and mystical and channelled writings that seem to fit the basic picture.

    I think Evil, in an abstract sense of a deliberate movement away from the Parent, is very real and very damaging *for as long as we hold onto it*. But I think Good, in the sense of movement back toward the Parent, simply is so much more powerful that it just evaporates Evil completely, like light extinguishes darkness.

    The details of the particular religion or world-picture we think in aren't really that important either, I think. It's more whether, at any given moment, we choose to align our inner state with this general idea 'there is a Parent-like Being or Force out there / in me that is able to lift me up and help me reach out to others', or with the idea that we're lost and alone and have to fight each other to survive. Because (as part of the Child) our thoughts have a degree of power to them, and can influence not just our own actions but others.

    I feel that this is supported by facts. but I also think it's more like an educated guess or a gamble; there's maybe 60% chance it's correct and 40% chance it's wrong. So it's something I can CHOOSE to believe or not believe. By choosing to believe this, every day in small ways as situations arise, I think I move closer towards the light and help everyone around me also move closer.

    Regards, Nate
     
    Obiwan likes this.
  10. NateC

    NateC Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    55
    This song ("Waste' by Foster The People) is about dealing with a friend who is a drug addict; but I also feel like it's a good description of what the Parent in this model feels towards us, the Child. We're trapped in a nightmare of our own making but we can get out.

    It also dramatises the idea in A Course In Miracles (and other mystical sources like Julian of Norwich) that ultimately all evil can do is *delay* the inevitable waking up. At its very worst it's just a *waste of time*.




    I'll hold your hand when you are feeling mad at me
    Yeah when the monsters they won't go and
    your windows won't close
    I'll pretend to see what you see

    "How long?" I say, how long will you relive the things that are gone?
    Oh yeah, The devil's on your back but I know you can shake him off

    And every day that you want to waste, that you want to waste, you can
    And every day that you want to wake up, and you want to wake, you can
    And every day that you want to change, that you want to change, yeah
    I'll help you see it through 'cause I just really want to be with you

    You know it's funny how freedom can make us feel contained
    Yeah When the muscles in our legs aren't used to all the walking
    I know if you could snap both your fingers that you'd escape with me
    But in the meantime, I'll just wait here and listen to you when you speak... or scream

    And every day that you want to waste, that you want to waste, you can...

    The truth cuts us and pulls us back up
    And separates the things that look the same
    You can fight it off, you can fight it off, you can

    And every day that you want to waste, that you want to waste, you can...


    And in a similar vein, 'Turn Back, O Man' (a 20th Century hymn that predates Godspell but I love the 1973 version) is an expression of the Jewish idea of the Ruach/Wisdom/Divine Feminine pleading with mankind from the Proverbs, and the 'world as dream/illusion' metaphor, set against the Progressive idea of social reformation. And then sprinkled with a hit of Hippie sauce because why not


    http://hymnary.org/text/turn_back_o_man_forswear_thy_foolish_way
    Turn back, O man

    Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.
    Old now is earth, and none may count her days,
    Yet thou, her child, whose head is crowned with flame,
    Still wilt not hear thine inner God proclaim,
    'Turn back, O man, forswear thy foolish ways.'

    Earth might be fair, and all men glad and wise.
    Age after age their tragic empires rise,
    Built while they dream, and in that dreaming weep:
    Would man but wake from out his haunted sleep,
    Earth might be fair, and all men glad and wise.

    Earth shall be fair, and all her people one;
    Nor till that hour shall God's whole will be done.
    Now, even now, once more from earth to sky,
    Peals forth in joy man's old, undaunted cry,
    'Earth shall be fair, and all her people one!'

    Regards, Nate
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  11. hypermagda

    hypermagda Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2016
    Messages:
    216
    Hi Nate, a big thank you for writing this long post and explaining your approach - I respect it but I would have so much to object to what you wrote that I won't even start :). Let me just say that the key premise (that "we" decided to be here) is impossible to accept for me as an article of faith. I don't feel in the least that I have chosen to be here and obviously it's an unprovable assumption that I did, so I cannot possibly bring myself to buy or "choose" to believe in it; to be very honest I feel it is a conveniently unfalsifiable and - for me - patronising assertion, which however probably works with lots of people because they feel better believing that God is good no matter the horrors we see in the profoundly flawed nature of this material world, and for them it is kind of consoling to think that all that is wrong here is self-inflicted (including earthquakes and Down Syndrome etc etc) , and kind of empowering to believe that that if only we could "do the right thing" all will be well. It's basically a variation on the Christian dogma: we are sinners and it's our fault we are here, but there is hope if we do what we are told to do by priests/the Bible/A course in Miracles etc.
    I'll stop here and again I thank you for the patience with which you have explained your position - in order to avoid wasting your and my time I will conclude by saying that we'll have to agree to (profoundly) disagree. But it goes without saying that I am very happy that there are good, moral people like you out there even if your beliefs make no sense to me (I say this with respect, although I'm aware that it doesn't sound very nice --apologies for being so honest).
    I wish you all the very best and I am happy for you that you have found a theory that makes sense to you and that you can choose to believe in. I am still seeking :)
     
    Laird likes this.

Share This Page