Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scientific Gibberish

One of the major questions that has dominated discussions of mysticism since the publication of William James’s classic work, The Varieties of Consciousness, is whether or not there is any core mystical experience that is common across cultures and traditions. Some philosophers say yes, but “constructionists,” who argue that all experience, including mystical experience, is constructed from and filtered through a variety of inescapable personal and cultural experiences, say no.

Roger Walsh in his essay Mapping and Comparing States brings up an interesting point about mystical experiences that change the way we look at the self. We look at the self as only a body and a mind. The body, we think, is solid and the mind is located somewhere in the brain. Those beliefs limit the way we look at physical reality. The body is actually composed of fast moving particles that form a mysterious gestalt that forms matter. The mind is not part of the brain; it is a non-physical aspect of consciousness that is connected to a stream of consciousness where all is known as well as unknown.

Consciousness is structured in various ways. There are regions, densities, forms, aspects, elements, and individual qualities of consciousness. All qualities of consciousness are in a perpetual state of expansion. The fuel for this expansion is the awareness of consciousness itself. Mystical experiences are part of our expansion, but they are not really mystical to the subjective self. They are filled with the innate substance that creates awareness. There are no core experiences within this substance, but we belief that they exist. Our thoughts, emotions and beliefs create these experiences, and they do trigger varying degrees of awareness. Trying to put our subjective self in a box of rules and regulations is like trying to capture the air we breathe today and use it tomorrow.

There are no boundaries when it comes to mystical experiences. We form countless version of the self and we use them to become aware of the hidden aspects of our subjective experiences. We do it without doing and become without being aware of that becoming. What the caterpillar in us calls death is called life to the butterfly self within us. That butterfly is the mystical self that experiences life without the assistance of scientific gibberish.

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