spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
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19-04-2013, 07:06 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(19-04-2013 05:24 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(19-04-2013 04:46 AM)amyb Wrote:  Can someone please give me a clear definition of "spiritual experience?" What is a "spiritual need?"
What about expanded consciousness (awareness) or the need for expanded consciousness? What about this plus the experience of highest, clearest and most sublime emotions, coming from no noticeable source? What about flashes of progressive, visionary insight into the problems of existence? All of this combined... Is that good enough for you?

Yes, music and art is greatly helpful, it is often the first way anyone gets a spiritual experience. Good art is supposed to do that. As for music, I recommend the album Blue Moon Station by Solar Fields or Spontaneous Illumination by Entheogenic. There is a great psychedelic music market.
Yes, but my point is that if you want to say "altered state of consciousness," that is more clear than saying "spiritual experience," because many connect "spirituality" with woo. When religious folks are talking about spiritual experiences, they are usually talking about feeling certain emotions in connection with church service, prayer, etc. I was just reading some article talking about the parts of the brain that are active when people are doing religious stuff, praying, chanting, meditating, and certain areas of the brain (those that are associated with individuality) become less active, causing the feeling of "oneness" with others and god and the universe or what have you. So yes, I'd consider that basically an altered state of consciousness similar to a drug experience, different active areas of the brain

i read this and similar posts and what I interpret it as is something like, "Gee, I wish I could enjoy life and do fun stuff and have emotions." Well, you can. Atheists have feelings and capacity for emotions,too. I mean, I don't, but most do.
Quote:What about this plus the experience of highest, clearest and most sublime emotions, coming from no noticeable source?
There's always a source: neurotransmitters.
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19-04-2013, 07:30 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
I think for me (but I wouldn't necessarily call it "spiritual") a perfectly spiritual moment minus any "religious" overtones would be, say....taking a hike through Redwood National Forests. Being amongst the forest (a collection of life forms more grand than yourself), and touching something so much bigger, a life form SO much more ancient than you, would "feel spiritual". Or perhaps looking out into the awesome expanse of the grand canyon, and yelling "eat me", only to have your own voice echo back at you "as if" the grand canyon was responding to you. EAT ME, eat me, eat me Smile Nowhere, in any of those possible experiences, would I feel the need to label the positive sensations (both physical, and psychological) as having been provided by an invisible man in the sky!!!

Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (while I was on LSD) was bad ass too Tongue

*disclaimer* Don't do drugs! Sad

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19-04-2013, 07:37 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
The only "spiritual experience" I have ever had was through meditation. I didn't use any other methods except concentrating on my breathing. Basically I was lying down when I felt my "consciousness" expand into infinity, without limits. That is the closest I can come to using words to describe it as I feel that if I had a million lifetimes and wrote 2 million books on the experience I still would not come close to actually explaining it to a point where I felt I was happy that somebody could appreciate it.

I only experienced it for a few seconds as TBH it scared the shit out of me and I opened my eyes and was like "woahhhh, what the fuck was that all about"

I have since tried to get back to that "place" but I think the very act in trying/wanting is counter-productive because it was only because I probably fully "let go" that led me to the experience in the first place.

The experience never changed me in any way except make me feel "one" for those brief... eternal seconds with the universe.

I would suggest OP that you try "lucid dreaming" if you wish to delve deeper into your sub-conscious. I would suggest keeping a dream diary next to your bed so any dreams you have you can jot down, this in turn will help you remember them more clearly. Also I would set your alarm two hours earlier than normal. Wake up and reset your alarm for your usual time and go back to sleep. You will remember your dreams in those two hours better than anything. Also throughout your waking day try to push your hands through a wall or push your fingers through one of your hands. Sounds crazy and obv will not happen but if you do it often enough than you will eventually try it in a dream and succeed, this will be your "reminder" that you are dreaming and after a few attempts (if you dont wake up once you realise your dreaming) you will become better at being lucid.

For no matter how much I use these symbols, to describe symptoms of my existence.
You are your own emphasis.
So I say nothing.

-Bemore.
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19-04-2013, 08:00 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Bemore, I've kept a dream diary since I was about 12 years old. I have lucid dreams all the time. You can help yourself to have them by doing "reality checks." Whenever I see numbers in a dream now, I get lucid. And I still don't see that as "spiritual." I see it as altered consciousness (obviously, because you're asleep). However, I could understand if that fills whatever "need" some people have. I am interested in dreams just because they are fun, and it's a trip to be able to influence your dreams and to be self-aware in them. I've often tried to convince people in my dreams that they aren't real.

As for walking through nature and meditating, etc., I'd classify feeling awe at nature as "feeling awe at nature," not "spirituality." Meditation: so far as I can tell (I've only tried it as a very young kid when I was into reading about yoga), it's probably just focusing attention on other parts of your brain, some parts become less active, and you have these feelings of oneness or stillness or whatever. But it's still all just altered mental states and/or emotions. calling any of this "spiritual" sounds a bit wrong to me, that's all, even though I am aware that people put that label on certain states.
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19-04-2013, 08:35 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(18-04-2013 08:57 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Music is always a good place to start when looking for transcendent feeling. I recommend Dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
I recommend Dark Side of the Spoon, a Pink Floyd remake album by various electro-industrial artists.

Hey, we all have spiritual needs at some point. Tongue

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19-04-2013, 04:09 PM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2013 05:26 PM by Luminon.)
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(19-04-2013 07:06 AM)amyb Wrote:  Yes, but my point is that if you want to say "altered state of consciousness," that is more clear than saying "spiritual experience," because many connect "spirituality" with woo. When religious folks are talking about spiritual experiences, they are usually talking about feeling certain emotions in connection with church service, prayer, etc. I was just reading some article talking about the parts of the brain that are active when people are doing religious stuff, praying, chanting, meditating, and certain areas of the brain (those that are associated with individuality) become less active, causing the feeling of "oneness" with others and god and the universe or what have you. So yes, I'd consider that basically an altered state of consciousness similar to a drug experience, different active areas of the brain

i read this and similar posts and what I interpret it as is something like, "Gee, I wish I could enjoy life and do fun stuff and have emotions." Well, you can. Atheists have feelings and capacity for emotions,too. I mean, I don't, but most do.
No, this is not what I mean. The emotions and sensations are nice, but they're only a sign of a deeper, independent phenomenon. There is something in us, not under our control, that is wiser and better than our everyday self or grumpy morning self. This something seeks to manifest itself in our consciousness and through us out there in the world. And it may bring us mystical experiences, emotional or not. I call it the Transcendental Object.
When the TO manifests itself, it may feel like a quiet foreign presence in one's mind that loves me unconditionally. It did. Gradually this presence merged with me and it was me loving unconditionally the world. It was me waking up with love in the morning for weeks.
This manifestation can actually hardly be called emotional. There may be a flood of unconditional love and such, but all this is totally impersonal. Not an easy thing to describe, but I totally understand how the religious people say that Jesus loves them or that one can love Jesus more than family. But there is nothing doctrinal about it. Nothing specific that could be traced to Bible.

This is completely spontaneous. I do no chanting, fasting, whipping, taking drugs, nothing like that. I believe we can make ourselves feel almost anything. This is why we have to do as least as possible, only that way our experiences may be genuine. When beginning with meditation, there is a phase where sensory-deprived brain tries to rehash the material. This phase must pass, so that the brain quiets down or at least slows down the thought, shuts down emotion and boredom.

The mind must become calm and empty. And it is this darkness and emptiness in which the TO eventually manifests itself.

(19-04-2013 07:06 AM)amyb Wrote:  
Quote:What about this plus the experience of highest, clearest and most sublime emotions, coming from no noticeable source?
There's always a source: neurotransmitters.
Please, don't jump to conclusions when you have none. Neurotransmitters are just that, transmitters. What is their origin? What transmitted them, in the first place? Endocrine glands. But why did they do it? Usually we can tell what do we react to. For example, adrenal glands react to threats. But if we remove all stimuli, including the self-stimulation of brain, what is there left to manifest itself?
Artificially stimulated feelings do not prove anything, except that the brain functionality is there, ready to be used. Used by what? If it takes the god helmet to meddle with one's mind, what kind of force acts upon us when we do not have the god helmet?

This experience is described in the book The Common Experience by J. M. Cohen across all times and cultures - including contemporary western civilization. Who wants to read this book, drop me a message.

Spirituality may be a serious business. I am very curious where it will lead. I believe there is a trinity of health change, psychologic change and a change of the TO manifestation. The greatest developments ever came in the last few months with no sign of stopping. I am positively ecstatic every once a while. Will I get used to it? Will it push me to a different level of daily life functioning? Will I gain a new way to look at things? I often did in the past. Or will my nerve system find a way to be less physically clumsy and apathetic? Will my intuition continue to increase? Will any of my vices diminish? It is true that some little things improved. I would not take it lightly. It does influence functions that are usually directed by the autonomous nerve system, such as breathing through both nose holes. And it does put me under a great pressure, a literal pressure in spine and skull. I wonder what kind of life style will that result in. Am I in any danger? (getting crazy)
I already consulted a psychologist about it - said nothing so far, just scheduled a meeting. I am going to find out what does the medical science have to say.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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19-04-2013, 06:08 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Ever tried hand-gliding, swimming with whales, or scuba diving?

"Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.” ~ Ambrose Bierce
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." - Mark Twain in Eruption
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19-04-2013, 06:19 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(19-04-2013 06:08 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Ever tried hand-gliding, swimming with whales, or scuba diving?

Touche on that last one. I remember scuba diving of of mexico. The current pushed me along as I watched the sea life around me. That was the a moment when I saw how awesome nature was. Truly an awe inspiring and humble experience.

Just an outsider looking inn.
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19-04-2013, 06:42 PM (This post was last modified: 19-04-2013 06:49 PM by fstratzero.)
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(18-04-2013 08:54 PM)hestarq Wrote:  I have a luxury problem, I have spiritual needs. Experiencing interesting states of mind.

What kinds of interesting spiritual experiences, states of mind can atheists or agnostics have?

So far I have tried THC, alcohol, meditation and self-hypnosis. My THC experiments ended years ago. It was a very good experience being high. I decided not to take it again because it I become demotivated the followings days. That can't be good in long run. Being drunk feel pretty lame, not interesting. Mediation is ok, nice, doesn't knock my socks off. Self-hypnosis is nice and useful as well, doesn't knock my socks off either. Learning actually is satisfying, so I learn more about science and transcendent topics.

I can't believe religions stuff, couldn't listen to their dogma, means, I couldn't attend their rituals. And this "clear" thing by Scientology is unproven as well, a joke, no one could ever demonstrate superior intellectual skills. Don't worry, I will learn everything about it for days before trying, stay skeptical... Just looking for pointers...

Can you recommend spiritual which is interesting and doesn't ruin my health or life?

I have in the past experimented with drugs and managed to come out the other side quite fine.

With that said the experience I had with drug never produced anything spiritual. They were most of the time fun, sometimes scary, and other times produced feelings of complete perfection. Salvium divinorum lead me out of my body into a world that was nonsensical. Not exactly spiritual, is was more like being in world that didn't make any sense.

My only "spiritual experience" came from setting out side in the forest trying to imagine the interconnectedness of everything to everything else. Which made me feel the sense of how wonderful it is that we have this knowledge and that it is real. It's a sense of awe and wonder that we've figured that out, and that there is more to learn about. Other than that drugs and alcohol will not provide you with that, only knowledge will.

To my knowledge that is the secular spiritual feeling that we share.

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The atheist is a man who destroys the imaginary things which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.
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19-04-2013, 08:34 PM
spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(19-04-2013 06:42 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  
(18-04-2013 08:54 PM)hestarq Wrote:  I have a luxury problem, I have spiritual needs. Experiencing interesting states of mind.

What kinds of interesting spiritual experiences, states of mind can atheists or agnostics have?

So far I have tried THC, alcohol, meditation and self-hypnosis. My THC experiments ended years ago. It was a very good experience being high. I decided not to take it again because it I become demotivated the followings days. That can't be good in long run. Being drunk feel pretty lame, not interesting. Mediation is ok, nice, doesn't knock my socks off. Self-hypnosis is nice and useful as well, doesn't knock my socks off either. Learning actually is satisfying, so I learn more about science and transcendent topics.

I can't believe religions stuff, couldn't listen to their dogma, means, I couldn't attend their rituals. And this "clear" thing by Scientology is unproven as well, a joke, no one could ever demonstrate superior intellectual skills. Don't worry, I will learn everything about it for days before trying, stay skeptical... Just looking for pointers...

Can you recommend spiritual which is interesting and doesn't ruin my health or life?

I have in the past experimented with drugs and managed to come out the other side quite fine.

With that said the experience I had with drug never produced anything spiritual. They were most of the time fun, sometimes scary, and other times produced feelings of complete perfection. Salvium divinorum lead me out of my body into a world that was nonsensical. Not exactly spiritual, is was more like being in world that didn't make any sense.

My only "spiritual experience" came from setting out side in the forest trying to imagine the interconnectedness of everything to everything else. Which made me feel the sense of how wonderful it is that we have this knowledge and that it is real. It's a sense of awe and wonder that we've figured that out, and that there is more to learn about. Other than that drugs and alcohol will not provide you with that, only knowledge will.

To my knowledge that is the secular spiritual feeling that we share.

This is pretty accurate, although I think that you are using the word knowledge where it should be wisdom.

This is how I understand it:

Knowledge is cumulative, we pile it up and it has lots to do with belief. Info that is subject to interpretation.

Wisdom is not cumulative, you achieve to have access to it and its the same to all of us. Can't accumulate wisdom and is not subject to individual interpretation. Has to do more with feelings and its more like common sense...

Another interesting thing is that you can update knowledge and replace it with a more accurate version. Wisdom is what it is.

Knowledge and wisdom are usually confused but at some point you need to drop your knowledge (as its like water under the river) .

Same with religion and spirituality.
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