spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
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22-04-2013, 01:46 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(21-04-2013 02:05 PM)amyb Wrote:  Again, just because it does not seem that way to you does not mean such things cannot have a scientific explanation.
What kind of scientific explanation? Something already known or something that science has yet to discover and integrate? The (super)natural means nothing to me, but known and unknown, that's important.
What you presented as "scientific explanations" so far were not causes, only means or mechanisms. Such as magnetic fields, yes, they may cause a mystical experience, but magnetic fields do not occur out of nowhere. One has to stick his head into a god helmet, for example. That is a no-brainer, so to speak.

(21-04-2013 02:05 PM)amyb Wrote:  Again, I am not convinced that it cannot possibly be biochemical.

And yes, I am aware of the idea of kundalini. I was very into yoga as a kid and read up on such things. The site you linked to seems to be offering up a mix of science and pseudoscience, which is very attractive to a lot of people.
What you identify as pseudoscience... I'm not so sure about that. When there is a new research in science, scientists must invent makeshift terms for things that do not yet exist in science - or exist, but are not yet identified and unified. I think Bentov had to define his own working or technical terms, but the webmaster did not include their scientific definitions. (as most layman readers would not understand or care) If you look at this website, it is a mostly dead archive page, but the signpost on the side is much better supplied in medical terms.
I hope Bentov's original books contain the whole scientific side of the story, including the definitions. (such as what "kindling" means) In my experience, most of pseudoscientists do not even bother to go into such a depth as Bentov and do actual medical research.

(21-04-2013 02:05 PM)amyb Wrote:  I would agree that there are altered states of consciousness, different levels of awareness of things and concentration on things, but none of that is supernatural and just because you can clear your mind and control your breathing doesn't mean you've tapped into some supernatural force, I still see no compelling evidence for anything requiring the use of anything besides the brain and body. Just because you have different feelings and sensations does not mean those feelings and sensations come from anything but a natural source; the brain is very powerful.
You mix two things here.
Firstly, you keep inserting the world supernatural into my mouth. Strictly speaking, I don't believe in supernatural, I believe the "supernatural" is natural as well. It can all be explained very simply considering if the dark matter exists mostly in a state of plasma, with all its electric properties and other natural forces shared with our matter. This is actually how most of the universe operates in outer space, through fields, forces and plasma (most of which isn't even visible by naked eye), not through physical collision of solid matter. The mysterious "energy" of woo-mongers might be simply electricity, or streaming of electrically charged plasma of dark matter.
It blows my mind how natural can all this be. When it all comes to that, in electric terms the human body is simply a magnetic object with two poles, field around and a central channel within. Maybe we can produce this field actively, but that needs to do something with the central channel, the spinal and brain system. Just because it's a yucky, wet, mortal flesh, doesn't mean it's not conductive and electrically active. On the contrary, it is.

Secondly, you assume I exaggerate, so you underestimate my observations. Clearing my mind, controlling breathing, is that all you think it is? Please assume for a while that I accurately report what I feel. If that happened to you, what would you think? Please, let's be reasonable and for the sake of argument don't assume that this is a result if morning indigestion or overactive imagination. If anything, meditation is a way to shut down imagination.

I feel three fired up pathways - "veins" of energy, one within my spine going into my head, two on the sides of spine going over my head, into the point between my eyebrows. I feel seven vortexes along the middle pathway, plus the splenic center. I feel the pineal and pituitary glands "fired up", and I hear this characteristic hissing/ringing in my head.
Follow the images, I have picked the most accurate ones. Don't follow the websites, the images are taken from Google Image search, I have no idea what's on the websites.
[Image: Kundalini%20Arousal%20Sush.jpg]
[Image: 381374_2776478291986_188058422_n.jpg]
[Image: pineal%20gland%20and%20horus.jpg]
[Image: tube-torus.jpg]

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22-04-2013, 04:48 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(20-04-2013 06:27 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  
(19-04-2013 08:34 PM)Weeeeee_Zard Wrote:  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.

As I've seen it used I always thought wisdom was more of a social intelligence, or knowing what to do in different situations. I was wrong I looked it up.

Wisdom - the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
Wise - having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.

According to this definition it's a type of applied knowledge. That is to say applying what you know to the world around you.

So I think if knowledge is cumulative than wisdom will give you different answers based on newer or older information.

Your conclusion is based on this particular definition. Let me ask you... Do you realize that a definition of wisdom or wise may be very different from person to person?

I totally disagree with the definition you found. True or right? that is not very wise right there.

Wisdom doesn't have knowledge as a base. Maybe experience, but that is different and debatable, some people experience a lot of stuff and learn nothing from it.

If you truly want to define or find wisdom, then look within yourself.

Wisdom is usually tried to be shared in "stories" so you get the "idea", knowledge is more like factual data (IMO).

Wisdom is not so much about how to behave, more so about how to feel. Like, how to be happy. Its a state of mind, consciousness or existence not so much about actions.

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22-04-2013, 05:36 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Wisdom? I like this definition: Knowledge used with love.

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23-04-2013, 02:22 PM (This post was last modified: 23-04-2013 02:25 PM by amyb.)
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Quote:What you identify as pseudoscience... I'm not so sure about that. When there is a new research in science, scientists must invent makeshift terms for things that do not yet exist in science - or exist, but are not yet identified and unified.
I identify these things as pseudoscience because, in order for a thing to be science, it has to be testable and repeatable and should be unbiased. The things here, I am considering them very biased, based on "feelings" and so on rather than anything testable.


Quote:Firstly, you keep inserting the world supernatural into my mouth. Strictly speaking, I don't believe in supernatural, I believe the "supernatural" is natural as well
I agree that what people call "supernatural" has a natural explanation.

Quote:Secondly, you assume I exaggerate, so you underestimate my observations. Clearing my mind, controlling breathing, is that all you think it is?
What do you mean "all I think it is?" As if that devalues it? No,that's not ALL I think it is, I think it is an altered state of consciousness, similar to drug experiences, which can feel quite meaningful to people and have been used in various religions. Similar states can be reached without the help of chemicals. I'm not devaluing the experience or any feelings or insight produced by it.
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23-04-2013, 04:22 PM (This post was last modified: 23-04-2013 04:42 PM by Luminon.)
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(23-04-2013 02:22 PM)amyb Wrote:  I identify these things as pseudoscience because, in order for a thing to be science, it has to be testable and repeatable and should be unbiased. The things here, I am considering them very biased, based on "feelings" and so on rather than anything testable.
Excuse me, but according to academic freedom, anything is a legitimate field of study. If some scientists can measure the brains of Buddhist monks during a meditation of compassion, then Bentov can measure the brains of Hinduist yogis during a Kundalini meditation. It is not surprising that these measurements give different results. These are two different kinds of meditation. Bentov's research is valuable, because compassion is a known phenomenon, but the phenomenon of Kundalini is not. Furthermore, Kundalini is known to be dangerous, potentially causing a heavy psychosis or brain damage to an unprepared meddler, which makes this research even more important. Secular seekers of spirituality who underestimate the Eastern spiritual woo-woo might try this out of curiosity and get hurt.

There is no bias, the cultural side itself is one of the objects of research! As for repeatability, a brain scan of a person claiming to be good at Kundalini meditation easily reveals the truth.


(23-04-2013 02:22 PM)amyb Wrote:  What do you mean "all I think it is?" As if that devalues it? No,that's not ALL I think it is, I think it is an altered state of consciousness, similar to drug experiences, which can feel quite meaningful to people and have been used in various religions. Similar states can be reached without the help of chemicals. I'm not devaluing the experience or any feelings or insight produced by it.
You keep missing or ignoring the point. The state of consciousness is not the point at all, altered or not.

The point is in the strange but clear physical sensations and its cross-cultural historical implications. They are more than feelings or sensations, they are symptoms.
The sensation of rising Kundalini energy is measured in change of brain activity or perhaps the very coordination of neuron activity. The rest of the body has sensations of "veins" and "organs" seemingly made of energy. These "veins and organs" are not a random hallucination, they are felt identically both by today's amateur meditators like me and by ancient Hindu yogis, as evidenced by the charts. These "organs" do not correspond to the body's biology, except they converge on locations of the endocrine and spinal system.

For more detailed information please see this book by a group of scientists with Bentov. It includes more description of the symptoms that I am going through.

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23-04-2013, 04:52 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Orgasms?

Bury me with my guns on, so when I reach the other side - I can show him what it feels like to die.
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23-04-2013, 05:19 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Quote:They are more than feelings or sensations, they are symptoms.
No, YOU interpret them as "more than feelings or sensations." That doesn't mean everyone sees reason to.

And I agree that there are historical and cultural implications to the way humans are prone to magical thinking, prone to misinterpreting data and sensations, etc.

Quote:These "organs" do not correspond to the body's biology, except they converge on locations of the endocrine and spinal system.
I've said it before, but the mind is a powerful thing. When they people read that they are supposed to feel "energies" in certain places in certain ways, the mind can make them feel that way. Kind of like the placebo effect, the mind expects something, whether or not that something is real.

Quote:they are felt identically both by today's amateur meditators like me and by ancient Hindu yogis, as evidenced by the charts.
I'm pretty sure the exact nature of feelings cannot be charted, but even if it can, it doesn't prove anything except that people felt something. It doesn't mean they felt something external, it means they thought they felt something. But I imagine that is behind a lot of woo: people misinterpreting their altered states of consciousness as something outside of them.
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23-04-2013, 06:57 PM
spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(23-04-2013 04:52 PM)Red Tornado Wrote:  Orgasms?

Last time I felt like my brain was sucked out of my body... It felt like bliss in every cell. Although I don't recall anything "enlightening" about it.
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23-04-2013, 07:56 PM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
Buy a second hand alfa romeo 159 2.4 litre turbo diesel, put "LA woman" (the Doors) on the stereo, up loud, pretend there's no such thing as cops, and go for a fast spin in the countryside.
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24-04-2013, 04:33 AM
RE: spiritual experience for atheists or agnostics?
(23-04-2013 05:19 PM)amyb Wrote:  
Quote:They are more than feelings or sensations, they are symptoms.
No, YOU interpret them as "more than feelings or sensations." That doesn't mean everyone sees reason to.

And I agree that there are historical and cultural implications to the way humans are prone to magical thinking, prone to misinterpreting data and sensations, etc.
Sure, there is a great chance that could be it. We need to do some research on what is real and what's just imagined. For example I had heard about this Itzak Bentov fellow who measured the brain of meditating people...

(23-04-2013 05:19 PM)amyb Wrote:  I've said it before, but the mind is a powerful thing. When they people read that they are supposed to feel "energies" in certain places in certain ways, the mind can make them feel that way. Kind of like the placebo effect, the mind expects something, whether or not that something is real.

Sure, this is why Bentov measured the brain activity. This is also why I use a simple canon of inquiry, consisting of Heron's Beard and Occam's Razor to classify the experience. We are not at mercy of our minds and the mind is not a magical explanation for anything that does not fit into old theories. We can tell if something is or isn't made up.
For example I have felt "energies" at correct places long before I had read where are they supposed to be felt according to old Hindu charts. This is what motivated me to search for the literature.

(23-04-2013 05:19 PM)amyb Wrote:  I'm pretty sure the exact nature of feelings cannot be charted, but even if it can, it doesn't prove anything except that people felt something. It doesn't mean they felt something external, it means they thought they felt something. But I imagine that is behind a lot of woo: people misinterpreting their altered states of consciousness as something outside of them.
Ah, I see, you're not interested, this is why you don't read up on the answers by yourself. This is the brain imaging technology they used. You decide if that's good enough.
What is an altered state of consciousness? And what is a sensation or feeling? You can not mix these two together.

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