Steve Briggs, Meditation and Indian Yogis Lead to ET |397|

Intervention to aid us in our struggle to grow in awareness has to be targeted and particular. It has to be personal, finally. I know my life has been full of 'interventions' - but I am still spiritually stupid. And yourself? (not Steve but any reader)
Yes. I have played only the smallest role in my successes and absolutely starred in my failures. May God grant me more than I deserve.
 
It doesn’t appear to be working in some areas that I’m well aware of Alex.
How come Alex Jones got the chop? (Not that I’m a fan.)
Agreed. Canary in the coal mine.
Can't believe the mob isn't in the street over this no matter what you think of the guy?
 
which value is important to you truth or compassion? this is not a trick question... and there is certainly no right answer.

edit... I think this is a treat how like to be treated thing... I want to know... I want yr truth first, then yr compassion.
You've hit on some scar tissue, Alex. The issue of truth (honesty) has taken a toll on me over the years.

TRUTH: My first wake up call regarding 'truth' came at 14. I was playing the finals of a big Midwest tennis tournament. The umpire for the match was the tennis coach at a major university. At a crucial juncture in the match, I hit a ball that went through a small tear in the net which meant it was my opponent's point. I informed the umpire who proceeded to berate me for 'interrupting play.' The umpire has full authority in such situations, but I felt obligated to bring it to his attention. The umpire's stern rebuke got the best of me (he seemed to have it in for me after that) and I ended up losing the match. Losing was sad enough but my coach laid into me for my poor judgment and on the drive home my dad reminded me that it had cost me the tournament as well as the #1 ranking in a seven state region...

Fast forward fifteen years and I'm leaving Holland for Delhi on a TM project. I get a call from one of the secretaries who wants me to carry a very large sum of Deutschmarks through Indian customs. What to do? There were customs questions to answer and documents to fill out before entry. Proving to be an able courier, more 'smuggling' of funds followed...

When I discovered what I believed to be misappropriation of funds within the Indian TM movement, I blew the whistle, but was ignored; not by Maharishi, but by his lieutenants. After a second discovery, I was determined to blow the whistle even louder because I had learned of some serious stuff, but a close friend said, "if you do this, it will be like grabbing hold of an electric fence, so what's the point?"

So, I've been compromised. That said, TRUTH is one of the pillars around which we should build our lives, especially if we wish to lead spiritual lives.

COMPASSION: In one of the Indian management institutes I was overseeing, a student was failing, but his professors insisted on passing him despite his low marks. I spoke with the professors, informing them that they worked for an American institute and that they needed to meet American accreditation standards. The professors told me that they were planning to pass the fellow anyway because for him to fail would have disastrous consequences for the boy... the chance of a good marriage or decent job were in jeopardy. The boy's mother came to us in tears to plead her son's case, going so far as to suggest that her son might take his life, and so the professors passed him. In the end, two of the professors resigned from the institute a couple months later. Apparently, my hard-line mentality was too much for them. Compassion for the boy meant more to them than truth. Ultimately, the boy graduated, but we'll never know whether his 'free pass' helped or hindered his life. I suspect the latter...

In our Skeptiko interview we talked about reality being flexible. How flexible is reality when it comes to truth? Societies have standards but they're not uniform globally or from person to person.[/QUOTE]
another great one Steve... thx. I get yr point, but I don't relate much to being torn in this was. to me the choice between truth and compassion usually seems pretty clear. and when it's really, really hard it's usually something thats way above my paygrade... i.e. god's decision.
 
Hi Michael
I have always seen the Catholic Church as working on two levels, the hierachy at the top and the local church which worships, prays and cares for people. I think a lot of theology is distorted and harmful but there is also something beautiful about people who really live out their faith.
That's cool. But I wonder if we don't sometimes conflate the two.
Maybe Christianity is completely unnecessary when it comes to spirituality and just tags along for the ride.
 
Conspiracy is a hard pill to swallow, especially if it involves a coordinated effort between globalists and ET factions. Just seems like we would lack an effective counter attack. That might be the case if it were left entirely up to the human population, but humanity has help that will more than counter the ET element assisting the global elite.
Allow me to push back as well :)
non-conspiracy is the hardest pill to swallow.
 
Hi Alex it’s difficult, Christianity isn’t really one thing, it’s different in every country and denomination, but I am sure that there are people of great spirituality in them all whose lives make a difference to those around them. Religions begin around people who have life changing mystical experiences they don’t start them themselves, and perhaps eventully they will will fall away in the light of a much deeper spiritual understanding. We are already in a time of transition, if it happens too quickly greater harm than good could happen, looking back at past revolutions both spiritual and secular.

For all of us the question is do we remain in the religion of our birth and hope to influence things from the inside or leave. In the UK the Anglication church is the official state church, and we still have bishops in the House of Lords. Our Archbishop Justin Welby is a man of integrity who has suffered in his personal life. He is also a very practical man who has had success in tackling loan sharks and setting up credit unions in churches. The benefit system here can be brutal at times and for the moment it falls upon the churches to help.
 
reminded shaman from Embrace of the Serpent... machete/lethal injection can trump to shaman spirituality.
Yes, on the one hand, an injection of carbolic acid is a pretty impressive example of materialist cause and effect. It's hard to argue with that.

But you can look at the whole affair another way:

OK, can the Nazi death camps not be seen as a) the ultimate outgrowth of the materialist, reductionist line of thinking that is eugenics, and b) an industrial exercise in nihilism designed to strip away its occupants humanity and individuality (as well as kill them, obviously), and reduce them to the autonomous bundle of biological drives hard materialism holds us all to be.

So, then, in the case of Father Maximilian Kolbe, we can say: The industrialised might of Nazi reductionist nihilism came up against deeply held religious faith, and lost.
But I've read this script and the costume fits, so I'll play my part
Ok, maybe, but that kind of commitment to a role makes Hoffman, Deniro, Day-Lewis, etc. look like fucking amateurs.
 
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Hi Alex I think I may have misunderstood what you were asking. My hope is that with increased information about NDEs, and mystical experiences including those brought about by psychedelics there will eventually be a tipping point and people will begin to live their lives from a spiritual point of view which could mean all religions changing or disappearing, that could take centuries or happen very quickly. In the meantime I think Christianity still has a part to play, although I can only speak for the UK, my experience has been to worship with the Quakers and in the Anglican Church. ( Actually you don’t have to be a Christian to be a Quaker but you do have to believe in the Holy Spirit) There have been times in my life such as the loss of my husband and daughter when I have been so grateful for prayer, ritual, a building that has been prayed in for many years and the care of the Christian community around me.

Modern life has caused a breakdown in so many of the support systems that we have relied on in the past, in the UK there are increasing mental health problems, loneliness, poverty etc etc. and the Christian churches provide care both on an emotional and practical level which governments cannot do. They also challenge the government, Archbishop Robert Runcie proved a thorn in the flesh for prime minister Margaret Thatcher believing that her ideas on individualism and accumulation of wealth were not Christian values, he also refused to have a jingoistic service after the Falklands war because he sympathised with the mourners on both sides.

There isn’t much theological debate and study that goes on at a local level, it’s sad that the message of the mystics isn’t more widely recognised because it’s all there in Christianity. ( Shawn Nevins has a short easily read book on the wisdom of the Christian mystics.) but there are good theologians around and Professor Cristopher Cook who is a priest and I think is also a psychiatrist has just published a book called Hearing Voices Demonic and Divine Scientific and Theological Reflections so there is hope that eventually our theology will become wider and deeper. It’s too big a subject to discuss but my fear is that if Christianity disappears too quickly, because we have a spiritual side the vacuum will be filled with cults and other strange belief systems.
 
... my fear is that if Christianity disappears too quickly, because we have a spiritual side the vacuum will be filled with cults and other strange belief systems.
I totally get that. But I worry about playing the game at that level. Isn't that what our culture shaping Masters are trying to do?
 
I think it’s almost impossible to try live out a spiritual life without some sort of a base. Huston Smith, despite all his work with the worlds religions and with psychedelics, remained a Christian and I think a Methodist. He said that although religious institutions are a mixed bag they are indispensable. In the end I doubt it will be our belief systems that matter but the way we live our lives. Neem Karoli Baba told his followers to love people and feed them, and the Western ones he told to read the New Testament.
 
I think it’s almost impossible to try live out a spiritual life without some sort of a base. Huston Smith, despite all his work with the worlds religions and with psychedelics, remained a Christian and I think a Methodist. He said that although religious institutions are a mixed bag they are indispensable. In the end I doubt it will be our belief systems that matter but the way we live our lives. Neem Karoli Baba told his followers to love people and feed them, and the Western ones he told to read the New Testament.
I get it. There's a commonsense. Practicality to what you're saying.
 
Thanks Alex I do find it difficult to get down what I am really trying to say. Could you elaborate on exactly what you meant by culture shaping masters in the context of this podcast.

And thanks for all the podcasts too, I sometimes find them mind boggling but they certainly shake me out of a rut and open up topics that I have never considered.
 
Hi Alex I think I may have misunderstood what you were asking. My hope is that with increased information about NDEs, and mystical experiences including those brought about by psychedelics there will eventually be a tipping point and people will begin to live their lives from a spiritual point of view which could mean all religions changing or disappearing, that could take centuries or happen very quickly. In the meantime I think Christianity still has a part to play, although I can only speak for the UK, my experience has been to worship with the Quakers and in the Anglican Church. ( Actually you don’t have to be a Christian to be a Quaker but you do have to believe in the Holy Spirit) There have been times in my life such as the loss of my husband and daughter when I have been so grateful for prayer, ritual, a building that has been prayed in for many years and the care of the Christian community around me.
I suppose everyone's experience is different. I left the Church (C of E) at age 20 because I stopped believing in the doctrine. At the time, I felt the Church was a force for good, but gradually I came to doubt that too.

I felt that the various churches could have been far more decisive about Northern Ireland, and stopped the troubles long before Tony Blair stepped in (possibly the one decent thing he did!).

I felt the Church had to be dragged to accept that homosexuality reflects some sort of innate difference in individuals, and is not a 'sin'. I am not sure it does even now - but I don't pay much attention any more.

I also feel that the Church can take rather reactionary positions about subjects like euthanasia - I mean I really feel that clinic in Switzerland is doing good and providing a much needed service.

I am very anti-war, so I did appreciate the stand that Archbishop Robert Runcie took, but to get my support I'd like the churches to be much, much, more active on the side of peace. Strangely now, Russia seems to be more Christian (orthodox, of course) than the West!
Modern life has caused a breakdown in so many of the support systems that we have relied on in the past, in the UK there are increasing mental health problems, loneliness, poverty etc etc. and the Christian churches provide care both on an emotional and practical level which governments cannot do.
Modern life certainly seems to be breaking down fast - I think almost everyone can feel it. Maybe it is the senseless worship of money and materialism, maybe there is some psychic derangement going on. I think it is rotting into politics, and science, and our sense of morality - which seems to have become more and more focused on extremes such as trans-gender people and encouraging huge flows of 'refugees', rather than doing somethings to stabilise them in their native countries.
There isn’t much theological debate and study that goes on at a local level, it’s sad that the message of the mystics isn’t more widely recognised because it’s all there in Christianity.
I honestly can't see the Church facing up to real theological debate. They have a terrifying ability to play with words, rather than actually confront issues - NDE's and all the other things we discuss here. I like Skeptiko because Alex tries to find guests who try to push into the unknown. There doesn't seem much point debating inside a set of constraints. I guess you like this place too, maybe for the same reason.

David
 
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Hi David I agree with so much that you say. I live in a village which is a real community, in some ways years behind the times, the local church is a friendly place that plays its part in village life and most of the parishioners probably pay no attention to doctrine, I care about doctrine but I would lose a spiritual centre if I chose not to be a church goer, it doesn’t mean that I don’t voice my opinions strongly.

Over the years I have done my share of protesting and marching, - women priests, inclusive language, the Iraq war, trade justice, homsexuality etc. with other Christians. The homosexuality question is difficult, it was a key reason why Bishop Richard Holloway resigned, he writes very movingly about it in one of his books. The problem for the Anglican Church is that agreeing to gay marriage could put the lives of Christians in other parts of the world at risk if they are close to religions that consider homosexuality an abomination. The answer could be becoming a group of churches across the world with slightly different doctrines, eg. Nigeria would never agree to gay marriage or priests. A blessing service for gay couples is available in the Anglican Church of Canada and I think gay marriage is possible in parts of the Episcopal church in America so rebellion is happening and change must follow.

I am sure you are right in general about the church not confronting issues like NDEs although although The Churches Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies which has been around since the 1950s and has patrons such as Rev’d Richard Chartres, ( I cant remember if he is still the Bishop of London) Susan Howatch and Rupert Sheldrake is open to them. It also explores healing, religious experience, paranormal phenomena, mysticism, prayer and other topics. It has links with The Alister Hardy Trust, The Scientific and Medical Network, and The Society for Psychical Research, so it’s all there within the church for anyone’s who is interested.
 
The problem for the Anglican Church is that agreeing to gay marriage could put the lives of Christians in other parts of the world at risk if they are close to religions that consider homosexuality an abomination. The answer could be becoming a group of churches across the world with slightly different doctrines, eg. Nigeria would never agree to gay marriage or priests. A blessing service for gay couples is available in the Anglican Church of Canada and I think gay marriage is possible in parts of the Episcopal church in America so rebellion is happening and change must follow.
To me, and I think most people, homosexuality isn't a 'sin' because most people have no temptation to try it - so those who do, must be different, and Christians would have to say that God made them that way!

I hadn't thought that the Church may be caught up in the politics of the issue in the way you describe, but I suppose that fits in to my view of religions in general. They become a weird blend of politics with only a dash of spirituality!

Unfortunately, I think that is starting to become the pattern for areas of science too - a weird blend of politics with a dash of science! You can see that most clearly when you look at the scientific response to NDE's, ESP, and the whole issue of consciousness. I mean logically, neuroscientists should be red hot keen to research the evidence of NDE's - they are a paradigm breaker. Of course, they prefer to ignore the evidence. Contrast that with scientists who are more than happy to expound about alternative universes, based on absolutely no concrete evidence at all!

David
 
I agree David but it’s a problem, at a local level the gay members of our congregation are just the same as everyone else, we know that Rowan Williams hands were tied, and at one time there was a suggestion that the church could be caught up in human rights issues and the right to conduct any marriage taken away. At the moment it isn’t possible to make a decision for just one country.

The church is in decline but I couldn’t say that there is only a dash of spirituality I know too many sincere people really trying to live out their lives in a spiritual way for that. For me the problem is what do you put in its place. I have always hoped that the evidence from NDEs psychedelic experiences etc would eventually bring change but perhaps not soon enough. If you suppress religion eg. Russia and China, it just goes underground, in what form who knows. You mentioned the Orthodox Church in Russia, Putin seems to be using it for his own ends and it’s hardly progressive.

We still don’t know exactly what is happening in an NDE or any other supernatural experience, I think Jeffrey Kripal’s work is important but we come back to the problem of sustaining and living out the insights without a supportive group around.
 
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