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126  Astral Chat / Welcome to News and Media! / Goodbye Goblin King, and Thanks for the Sweet Tunes! on: January 18, 2016, 01:07:04
I thought some of you might appreciate this.

As you know, David Bowie just passed this week. He died of a cancerous malignancy at age 69.

The remarkable thing here though, is that he released an entire album two days before he died, on his birthday.

More remarkable still, with legendary poise, he wrote a whole album about his own immediate death, and his embracing of it. I can't recall another time this has ever happened... where another musical artist has turned the lens of their art to focus on their own imminent death. It truly seems to be a unique and surreal thing, and a priceless gift to be dropped into the hands of such a musical genius.

Bowie even managed to film a video for the titular single:

Bowie joins us here as a blind prophet, with substitute button eyes, as a vestal virgin takes Major Tom's jewel-encrusted skull on a pilgrimage, and dancers convulse in spirited rapture. Pretty other-worldly imagery, to put it lightly.  

And then the chorus:

Something happened on the day he died
Spirit rose a metre and stepped aside
Somebody else took his place, and bravely cried
(Iím a blackstar, Iím a blackstar!)

You can read into that what you will.

I choose to see it as a celebration of the act of a musical artist discarding themself, and channeling the universal persona and voice. When you stand up on the stage, the person you were is gone. In your body, is a new being. It is very much a metaphysical ritual. His physical death is thus rendered meaningless, as he already died and was reborn all those decades ago.

I am sure it admits of many other interpretations as well.


Goodbye Goblin King, and thanks for the sweet tunes!

127  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Who can you trust in the astral as a true source of real knowledge? on: January 16, 2016, 06:44:22
Up to you!

Reply if you feel it is meaningful for you to do so, and you think it would benefit others or further the discussion wink
128  Spiritual Evolution / Welcome to Spiritual Evolution! / Re: Visions of Evil Faces on: January 15, 2016, 18:07:59
I have a feeling you will keep seeing these faces for a while. Then suddenly you won't!  wink

It sounds as though you are a long way toward not seeing them, by not applying much significance to them. Completely disregarding them I think will precede not seeing them at all!

It is probably something like what happens when a toddler swears, in imitation of a relative. If the family gets angry, and scolds the child, or in any way has a strong reaction, the child will realize the word has power, and will keep using it. If the child uses the word, and someone merely glances over, and no real reaction at all is given, the child will probably abandon saying the word again.
129  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Keeping Score in Life and Spirituality on: January 15, 2016, 00:36:15
This is a topic I have had in the back of my mind for a while here. I have noticed that there is about a 50-50 divide here on this site. About half here seem to be conscious of this concept, and others may be overlooking it.

People have a built-in mechanism for creating social hierarchies in their head. They want to arrange the people around them on a ladder... some of them below, some above; this may have developed as a helpful evolutionary tactic for helping humans find a mate with the same social standing as they, or just one notch better. But the problem is... how does a person keep score? Evolution did not provide ideas for this. Most people will invent their own variables that they judge others by. Generally, it will be something that they score themselves highly in, so that they can mentally place themselves in a high social standing with respect to most of their peers.

It is easy to see what categories people are keeping score in, based on what they are pursuing in life. Some people keep score primarily in financial assets. There are people really into body building, that will heavily de-value other people if they are not decked out in massive musculature. There are those people who value people by race or ethnicity, and generally every other race is below their own on the ladder. Other people will keep score in the area of "achievements"... things like the portfolio history of an artist or the discography of a composer or musician.

I think that spiritual practice is something like this for many people. They take survey of those around them, and place them on a ladder hierarchy based on how "spiritually advanced" this or that person is. "Achievements" such as mastering projection (as those here are concerned with), developing strong remote viewing abilities, psychic phenomena of various classes, etc, are used as a sort of scorecard to determine that person's worth. You can tell this when some members will look upon other members with deference, rather than treating everyone with the same common courtesy.

Why am I saying all of this?

Well, for me I think that these practices should be about improving one's own life, and their ability to love and serve others around them. The score-keeping aspect can potentially get in the way of all of that.

For instance, are you meditating for 3 hours a day because it is producing significantly more benefit than meditating for 2 hours (of 45 minutes)? Or is it possible that you are meditating this long because, in your mind, it is what "spiritually advanced people do", and you want to be a spiritually advanced person, and thus decide that you ought to be meditating for this long as well?

Have you decided that those experiencing projections several times a day, rather than the monthly projection you have, are significantly more advanced than you, and that you need to learn to have this same degree of frequency in order to be "at their level"?

Have you decided that there is a certain way that "spiritual people" behave, and you immediately apply mental demerits to others that act outside of this image? (JP Sears covers this subject brilliantly in this satirical video, nailing a laundry list of these same points:  ).

I very much fell into this trap when I began spiritual practice around the age of 13. I was very concerned with advancing my "abilities". I had read in books and scriptures about the achievements of the holy people of ages past and present. I wanted to be such a person too. I wanted to be as loving, as balanced, and as distinguished in their abilities as they were. It took me several years to see through my errors, and to realize that the first two are worthy goals, and the third is meaningless. That is when I started to reap the greatest benefit of all from my practices. I quickly learned the joy of mere existence... a kind of quiet rapture that I carried with me always. I learned to become focused on trying to say what is best possible thing for others to hear in any given conversation. Now I have not always been successful in this. But I generally catch myself when I am saying something for non-altruistic reasons, and attempt to recognize these tendencies in myself for the future. 

Now I am absolutely not saying don't set goals. Rather what I am getting at is that it may be worth examining what causes you to set a goal. Am I setting this goal to genuinely help myself or others? Is it possible that I am pursuing goal X at least partially to feel that I have achieved, and that I can count myself as having more worth on the social ladder? What things am I doing throughout the day are possibly only being used as a crutch to support a stronger mental image of myself, or persona to others around me?

I think it is good to be conscious of this concept for many reasons. If we realize that we are valuing those around us by some artificial scale, and then discontinue this practice, it opens up new doors for us to relate to these others directly as people, and without the clutter of titles or ranks (or some similarly formal system in our minds). We may stop mentally penalizing others for failing to meet our own image of what a spiritual person does. We may realize that much of our own practice is actually ego-gratification. We are focused on "achievements" and gaining social value, and this keeps us focused on the abstract future, rather than on being present to experience the brilliance of the current moment, as I think is well-understood here. All kinds of unseen burdens may be instantly removed from an individual. I think many people realize that the more mental attachments and clutter a person is experiencing, the less at ease they will generally find themselves, and potentially the less able to interact with others with the intention of saying and doing what is best for those others at all times.

I say all of this because I think it may be of genuine value to many here to reflect on these ideas, or to remember them again.

I hope this little bit is helpful, and welcome discussion or debate on the subject!
130  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Who can you trust in the astral as a true source of real knowledge? on: January 09, 2016, 10:22:41

As far as how would I know an enlightened one if I am not enlightened? Well there's no way to truly know for certain. But what I can say is that from reading peoples testimonies some of whom aren't selling any books or products that there seems like a fundamental shift within ones psyche that occurs when they meditate quite a lot and consistently, and it wouldn't even have to be at the height of the meditation experience. And many of people have experienced this shift. So logically if one continues on this path the only logical next step in this series has got to lead to some higher state of being, enlightenment being at the top of the end of the spectrum. It's not like we are talking about an experience within Christianity that is contingent on God to intervene and make a change. With meditation anyone can experience it. I have meditated much more than the average person and I have gotten a glimpse of this glory myself. So even I have had a small taste of what is available to everyone.

The questions are more rhetorical than anything. The common theme I am getting at, is that this becomes a question of faith. You must have faith that enlightenment is a real thing, and that it has value, in order to pursue it. Why must you have faith? Because you can't know if you have not experienced it yourself. You cannot surmise that it exists from your own experiences. You cannot trust other's accounts of it.

I believe faith is a dangerous thing. Faith by nature means to believe something that you don't know or have proof of.

And there are so many things that we can know. We can inductively know that it is wrong to cause harm to others if it can be avoided. As you say, we can know that meditation produces positive changes in moderate practitioners, because we can conduct studies that clearly demonstrate this.

I find a lot of value in reading through the older texts. They can suggest pathways that few people consider today. But when there are so many things that we can know for sure, so many ways we can spend our time helping others and ourself, faith seems like an enemy that can lead us astray. People do not recognize it for the true danger it really is. Why spend your time chasing after a concept that comes to you in Sanskrit scrolls? Something that is claimed to be inaccessible in even an entire human lifetime? Seems like a huge gamble for a fabled pay-off.

My abstract friends in this life have been compassion, reason and evidence. Why not just commit yourself to loving others and to developing the self-discipline to know the truth and discard falsehoods and presumptions? Enlightenment is a purported, theoretical good. There are known real goods all around, and well in reach, and they take a month, or a year, not 40 lifetimes!

And I find it a little ironic that your name is stillwater.

Street that I lived on for a while. An obscure joke really  wink
131  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Interdimesional travelling on: January 08, 2016, 05:50:06
I appreciate all of that... but usually when you are looking to explain an unexplained event, you start at the most probable and mundane/plausible explanations, eliminate those, and you slowly work you way up the chain to increasingly more implausible things. The whole Sherlock Holmes routine.

Is it possible that the monitors traveled interdimensionally, or that you traveled to another reality? Sure, why not.

But the thing is... invoking interdimensional travel is like explanation 579 on a long list of possibilities. There are huge list of things ahead of interdimensional travel on that list.

It is far more likely that you are being lied to by seemingly truthful people. Orders of magnitude more likely. After that, comes mistakes, oversights. After that, comes a fallible memory. You said it was a year back. How can you be sure you remember things clearly that far back? I have a fairly sharp memory, but memories get corrupted. I would not be positive about a small detail from a year back. Hell, it is comparitively more likely that some person put the monitors there to trick only you, then took them back. That is like number 46 on the list maybe. Even that would be far more likely, you see?

How should you number your list? Order it based upon how many unknowns must be true in order for each example to be possible. Say for example you were being lied to. That requires 0 unknowns in order to be possible. We know that people lie, and we know that people sometimes have motive to lie. What about the idea that bigfoot took the monitors? Several unknowns... firstly, that there is a bigfoot; next, that bigfoot takes an interest in anonymous electronic devices.

What if I told you those monitors were probably aliens pretending to be monitors? If you were like most people, you would ask me how I knew that, and more importantly, why I had not considered something that required less unknowns to be true in order to be possible. 

We have these confirmation biases built into our mental filters. We are always looking for opportunities to validate our own personal hypotheses.

It might sound like I am being a killjoy here, but it really is important to be rational about our theories and explanations about the world.
132  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Who can you trust in the astral as a true source of real knowledge? on: January 08, 2016, 01:56:48
What is Enlightenment? Enlightenment (Bodhi) is a transformative experience through which the mind is enabled to see and understand the eternal Truth, Known as Dhamma (Dharma). Metaphorically speaking before Enlightenment, one is sleepwalking through life, then after enlightenment, one is Awake, and then can see things as they truly are.

And have you ever met a person like this? How would you know them from a person who only seemed to be enlightened? If you are not enlightened yourself, how do you know that others have ever been, rather than have merely claimed to have been, or else had others posthumously claim that of them? It seems like a "takes one to know one" situation, and if that is true, how do we know it is a real thing if we aren't enlightend ourselves?

At what point will you say to yourself, "I am really seeing things as they truly are"? How would you know that you were not mistaken about something, or self-deceived?
133  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Who can you trust in the astral as a true source of real knowledge? on: January 07, 2016, 10:54:19
No I don't think you understand the relationship between this physical world and the spiritual. Or perhaps even the relationship between our thoughts on this physical world. Correct me if I am wrong.

You are not wrong. I cannot claim to really know. Everything I say about this is speculation from experience, and deductions from the experience of others, as well as philosophical rationalizations. I can be mistaken in nearly anything.

What do you feel the relationship between the physical world and the spiritual world to be?

I would know the source because it is full of consciousness and radiates love. And it wouldn't say unreasonable things like asking for a starship. Source is also located in the upper realms.

Haven't you ever met that girl who is super sweet, until the wallet closes?

Following this reasoning, the only test you would put a being claiming to be the infinite source to is how nice they are? Honestly, to me, I don't even know how The Source could prove it was The Source to me. It could be lying 900 different ways from Tuesday. I would get zapped like Kirk every time.

I don't think it's too far out there to say that becoming enlightened within this physical world like the Buddha seems to be a path to truth, yet it can only be attained within this physical life from what I've read.

Why do you trust what you have read on this topic? And where did you read it? I have studied Hinduism and Buddhism for years, and I still have no idea what enlightenment is. I find very much of worth within the core of Buddhist teachings- I find value in the 8-fold path's insistence on systematic ethical behavior motivated by compassion, wed to mindfullness- but what enlightenment might be is beyond me. What does it mean to you? I can't talk about what I can't understand.

So I guess my question to you is. What is the path to universal truth into the nature of reality, and an end to suffering with that in the long run?

An end to suffering is indeed what Buddhism promises. The focus on examination of attachments, and striving toward ethical behavior seem to be good things in and of themselves, and I am satisfied with that. Do these practices lead to an end of suffering? I am not a Bodhisattva or a Lama, I cannot say. Perhaps this is not the goal of those in the reality above this one either. We may possibly never know the actual goals within this lifetime. 

Do you believe anyone here has the rightful authority and perspective to answer this question truthfully? I do not. 
134  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Who can you trust in the astral as a true source of real knowledge? on: January 07, 2016, 09:09:08
Then there would be direct contact with the source itself. So in theory perhaps only the source can give true knowledge and anything that is second hand could be tainted.

Would you know the source when you met it? How would you be sure it wasn't an imposter?

When you meet the source, ask it if it wants a starship.
135  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Who can you trust in the astral as a true source of real knowledge? on: January 07, 2016, 08:58:52
Who can you trust?  It's simple really: Nobody.

Yep, this answer.

Since the physical seems like the best place to gain real knowledge into the nature of reality. Here we can do objective tests. And eventually I believe science will find spirituality and spirituality and science will merge.

This seems very unlikely to be true to me. Would you say the best place to learn about the way your computer hardware works is in a game world? Because that is a pretty close metaphor for the relationship between the greater reality and our current physical world. It feels very much like a kind of software. 

What do you think, is even that universal knowledge attained at the height of the NDE experience tainted?

Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Perhaps it is different for different people- that is what I would expect to be the case anyhow. Sometimes you are deceiving yourself, and sometimes you are seeing clearly. It seems like an NDE should be the same in this regard.
136  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Out of Body Experiences! / Re: Is this real? or are we fooling ourselves. on: January 07, 2016, 04:38:30
Ok, I made a little chart, because I think there may be some confusion- this is a complex question, and I think some people may take one position to implicitly mean more than it necessarily does.

There are two main questions here:

1)Are humans in contact with a metaphysical realm in the projection state?
2)Are humans leaving their body during the projection state?

Now, many people feel that if you answer no to question 2, it means you also answer no to question 1.

I actually answer no to question 2, but yes to question one.

Notice the arguments given against my position here were actually arguments against materialism (a view I don't hold). It is much harder in my opinion to argue against the view that we are experiencing metaphysical realms from the vantage point of a physical body- you would have to prove we were no longer physically present in our body while experiencing the projection reality, which to me seems likely to be an impossibility.

Given this clarification, I suspect we are not really as far from agreement as it may seem.

Ok, Lumaza's objections:

Yes and no. When you constantly find yourself living in an entirely different dimension for nights on end, you realize that this is not just a Dream.

I can relate here. I have had a few of these experiences where there was extreme time-dilation- they seemed to take literal weeks. But the experience of extreme time dilation alone does not prove we left our bodies. Our perception of time as humans is actually far more variable than people suppose it to be. I suspect it may be tied to the brain clock state... the higher the clock speed, the more experience time is crammed into a second. This does correspond to what athletes experience... in the extreme beta and gamma states, the clock speed is fastest of all, and atheletes report that "time seems to slow down", or that they enter a "focus zone". This may well be an effect that is occurring during these long, drawn out experiences. Normal projections seem to happen in the theta state, but perhaps there are exceptions.

But ask yourself this, how do you take a bunch of Neutrons, Electrons and Protons, put them together and get a consciously aware Human being out of this? Consciousness is the main link here. But Science doesn't know for sure exactly what "consciousness" is and what it's limits are.

Yeah, I am with you 100% on this. I have written book-long discussions of this problem in other places. What you are referring to is very well recognized in modern philosophy as something called the "ontological divide". The contemporary philosopher, David Chalmers discusses this issue, and calls it the "Hard problem of consciousness". This is one of the main reasons that I am convinced that human minds are metaphysical beings. There are really only a few logically consistent ways to solve this problem. Either those physical particles you talk about have to be conscious themselves, and consciousness is a fundamental property of the physical world (for how else would a physical system gain first-person awareness and experiences?), or else minds are something non-physical, which is the view I take.

Most properly, I believe that mind is likely to be the only thing in this equation. The physical system is a construction of mind, which we are placing ourselves within. This is a more nuanced way to understand my view on projection, if it is helpful: Projection does not cause our consciousness to discontinue its connection with the physical world.

I think what you intended to do here was to refute materialism, but now that we both see that I am not a materialist, I think we can agree the arguement isn't needed here.

Perhaps we never have to leave, because it is always there. The process of AP just teaches us how to simply shift our focus into one of the endless realities that just are there.

I think this is something I can be onboard with. For me I think it is like we are in a dreamstate, but that those other realities are at times feeding us information through our physical filter.

How often do you or did you consciously project Stillwater?

These days, my experiences launch from Lucid dreams. I don't set out to have them in advance most times, but I know what to do when my mind finds itself in that state(of self-awareness, followed by a reality check), and they come once every week or two. I started out around 2001 with conscious attempts. It took me quite a while, and I ended up with a handful of decent experiences after a year or two, but I had to remember to wake up early in the morning to do it, and I didn't prove too good at remembering. I fell into a pattern of instead relying on Lucid dreams as my main launching point. I believe LD and conscious projections to ultimately be the same class of experience, but perhaps in the future I will return to conscious attempts. Oddly enough, for me over time I came to have a spiritual practice that was more focused on the physical world and our connection to it; I think a lot of people get into a sort of trap of thinking that the world outside of the physical is more special than this present experience. I think that they are both equally important, and that we probably chose to be here for a reason, so I want to learn the lessons that the physical has to offer.

I suppose a metaphor is visiting a country such as Nepal for a week; while you are there, the best possible use of your time is to be eating Nepalese food, speaking with natives, learning about their outlooks on life, finding out what their experience is like, visiting special sites in that country, etc. You might spend a half hour checking your email, but your time there is precious.

I think your own practice is the method of using pre-built visualization narratives to enter the projection state, right?


Ok, I am not sure if this was a response to my post, or just the general idea of the thread, but I will post a response here, insofar as it may be useful in expressing my viewpoint.

It's real and you will find this out eventually. A six year olds mind can't create a world war 2 scene that's a perfect match to what occurred. Things like the emotions of those involved is beyond understanding at that age.

I agree. I think oftentimes we are presented with information from the greater reality outside of ourselves. Assuming it is as you said, and the child does in fact gain accurate and detailed information they could not have accessed or understood at that age, it would seem this is what was happening. But remember I am talking about the mechanics here. I am arguing that we are accessing outer information through our physical filter while in an altered state. Gaining outside information does not disprove that it was filtered through our physical system. This makes sense, right?

Hope that clarifies things!

137  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Out of Body Experiences! / Re: Is this real? or are we fooling ourselves. on: January 06, 2016, 13:13:32
I think probably something in the middle.

I think all the astral flying, the other beings we meet, the places we go... all of that is happening in our heads. I have not experienced anything that convinces me otherwise. If you think very carefully about it, it only makes sense.

Why is it that the slightest shock or emotion can place us right back into our body?

Why is the world we experience out there so much like our own subconscious brain's view of reality?

Why do we continue to have the hopes and desires and fears of a human person?

Why are the beings we meet generally so much like our own minds?

Why do we experience the world with senses very similar to those of a human person?

Isn't it more likely that we never left, and were in something like a dream-state?

Put another way... let's suppose we actually were leaving our body, and traveling elsewhere. How does that make sense? Where would we go? If we were traveling to a realm beyond time and space, why would we have to travel to get there? Couldn't we just close our eyes and be anywhere at all in this space without space? Isn't that what actually really happens in practice, in the projection experience? People just will themselves into other mental spaces. So if there is no travel involved... we never really left to begin with.

Projection is an experience where our conscious mind looks inward and visits our subconscious mind. This has been my view of the projection experience for many years. But that doesn't mean that it is a worthless experience. At the very worst, it allows us to explore our own subconscious in a way we never get the opportunity to otherwise. And I also believe the projection state puts us in a "state of receptivity", where we may have closer than usual access to the greater realities outside of our sphere. If you really think about it, that isn't much different than what most people here want projection to be.

People want projection to be an experience where we visit a realm outside the confines of our body. I think it is something more along the lines of, we stay in our body, and we are given the opportunity to commune with the world outside... sort of like we are both doing now, with these computer screens. We are both looking at text on screens. Yet we are both convinced that we are connecting with one another across time and space, and that there is a reality beyond the text, which the text is only hinting at.
138  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Interdimesional travelling on: January 06, 2016, 02:17:42
Most likely there is some mundane explanation... such as that the manager you spoke with was not authorized to divulge security information under any circumstances. Or perhaps the manager you spoke with was actually hired after the monitors had been removed.
139  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Astral Consciousness! / Re: Third Eye on: January 04, 2016, 10:14:35
It isn't a metaphor. There is a physical organ inside the brain that has nerve connections with receptors in your eyes. Some older animals on this planet such as lizards still have a physical 3rd eye.

Yep, an actual physical thing:

We of course don't have this sun-sensing eye spot, and are thus left with the retinal tissue in our brains in the pineal center, with no corresponding eye; retinal tissue is the only kind that can produce optic nerve input. There are various theories about what this retinal tissue in the pineal may be doing today... some speculate that it may be what is spoken of when we say "mind's eye": that retinal tissue may actually be producing images of things we imagine, rather than perceive. Speculation though.

I'll just say this one thing... EVERYTHING is a metaphor.  EVERYTHING.

Yes, but I would provide more context. I think this is yet another language trap. In some sense yes, this entire physical reality is one giant stream of metaphors, but it is helpful to point out that this organ is not only a metaphor, but also a physical thing (so a second-degree metaphor  rolleyes)

My own theory is that most of the major structures of the old Hindu "chakra" system represent physical structures too.
140  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Re: Zoroastrianism on: December 27, 2015, 08:11:29
Ha, love you too  cheesy

You should drop by more often, TK!

Sometimes I feel like my name ought to have been "Thread Derailer", for all the skill I have with sending discussions on distant tangents.
141  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Re: Zoroastrianism on: December 16, 2015, 21:06:36
But my point, and what I found personally, was that spiritualism is finding the god within yourself.  The "you" being one small aspect of the creator of this reality.  While it's not a god in the sense of the Christian "God", it is as powerful (meaning US) a concept.

This is sort of a Hindu viewpoint as expressed in the Mahabharata, and condensed in the Bhagavad Gita. In this worldview, each being is animated by a small shard (Atman) of the great super being Brahman Atman.

It is something of a semantic distinction, but it is conceivable for there to be a creation which is the result of another force, rather than something with a singular identity. Perhaps creation could be in theory the result of a concert of beings which are really quite separate and distinct, but are working in collaboration.

Some modern physicists would postulate that fundamental features of any reality, such as the laws of logic, may have forced the world into existence, in order to validate them.

These are not my viewpoint, but they are logically consistent to me.

I don't think you can progress spiritually until one realizes the truth of this existence.

Hard to say for me. I am not sure if any of us are actually progressing in most senses. The idea of progress within a non-linear system has always seemed odd to me. It makes sense within the context of a single human life... it is clear to see that a person often is better than they once were, and perhaps grow closer to truth; but the greater reality is not sequential like this, and after death this logic is difficult to continue coherently to me. I think it might be a sort of anthropomorphism... expecting greater reality to resemble our experiences here.

And that aside, assuming progress does happen, it is conceivable to me that a person can grow into being greater than they once were merely by grasping personal principles. Perhaps this person conceives of a love for honor, or compassion, or defending and bettering those around them. Many religions would call this person of low worth, because they lacked training in this or that dogma system. I think you would agree with me though that this person is among to most laudable of all, because they became greater without external prompting from others, but rather because they felt it was best within themself.

The common counterargument that is offered to this line of thought is that this person "knew God in their heart but didn't realize it". Perhaps this is true, but I think it confuses the real point- that you don't need to know various facts about the structure of existence in order to do what you perceive to be good things. I think a person can get quite far on devotion to helping others alone. Interestingly, this is another of the ideas expressed within the Bhagavad Gita- that a person need know little of the actual truth in order to move closer to the greater realities.

This is all speculation for me too, even after the handful of great experiences I have had through the years, but I guess the common thread of what I am trying to express is to examine your assumptions.

What things do you know because of evidence, and what things do you merely feel to be true?

Here is an example for me personally:

When I am at what I would currently call my "up state" in a waking setting, I feel visceral connection to the entire reality around me. It is not merely an abstract intellectual reasoning, but rather a powerful knowing that there is no separation between myself and the clouds and the trees. It feels like I am bleeding into them without a boundary. On a deep emotional level, and with an intensity that I think humans rarely experience, I truly feel this connection, and it is accompanied by massive exhileration. But as odd as it must sound, I must take this serially repeating experience, and keep it self-contained within its own slot.

I think in the past folks may have taken such experiences, and derived religions or cults out of them. It might go something like this: I have this tremendous experience of the enormity of creation and its interconnectedness. From this I know that all things are one. From the knowledge that all are one, I know there to be a super conglomeration of beings I will call God. God has property A, B, C, and not D. And the person reasons on- some things being fairly close to having a basis in what they experienced, some things being derivatives of derivative statements.

But out of deference to truth, I know I cannot and should not do this. I should not derive things that seem to be true but that I cannot know to be true if I am honest with myself. I feel there to be a great oceanic current of consciousness to this world. But as soon as others start talking about this same current, start referring to it as God, I get pretty suspicious of these statements. Why? For me, it is because they are speaking with certainty about things which clearly no person could be certain. They are using language borrowed from history, and dogmas contained therein. They are relying on the assumptions of others, rather than direct experience in most cases. I have a large degree of direct experience myself, and I still know that I can say few things with authority.

I guess this is what I am saying... I think I may have had a handful of the same experiences you may have had. These experiences are tremendous in and of themselves, but I think we have to be very careful to separate what we know from what we suppose.
142  World Cultures, Traditions and Religions / Welcome to World Cultures, Traditions and Religions! / Re: Zoroastrianism on: December 14, 2015, 15:54:02
Being a "spiritual atheist" actually isn't a contradiction in terms. It would just mean the person conceived of a metaphysical realm that was not organized under a deity. In fact, many forms of Buddhism might be called spiritual atheism (a few others have a sort of creator). There is something like a negative halo effect around the word "atheist", but the word only refers to positive belief in the absence of a deity.
143  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Out of Body Experiences! / Re: Theory for understanding phasing scientifically on: December 01, 2015, 20:41:00
Thank You for that link Stillwater!  smiley I thoroughly enjoyed that interview.

Sure  wink

It is my belief now that most topics take about 2-3 hours to really begin to explore in a non-trivial fashion. Modern media and the internet has definitely lowered attention spans dramatically, and long-form discussions like this are sort of the pendulum swinging into the other direction. I really enjoy when I can explore a topic in moderate depth like that over that extended period. Rogan himself is also one of the best interviewers around to me for a number of reasons: he is a self-actualized person who is happy with himself and what he does, and is not seeking validation; he is greatly open to many points of view, and exploring ideas alien to him, while at the same time being quick to point out when something is clearly a lie, or unsupported by evidence; finally, he is not catering to a sponsored agenda directed by some corporate entity, but rather his own drive to explore new ideas.

You can tell I dig both people in that particular interview, which is another reason I really enjoyed that discussion.
144  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Out of Body Experiences! / Re: Theory for understanding phasing scientifically on: December 01, 2015, 04:52:28
Wim Hof is the real deal in some sense. You can't fake some of the things he has accomplished, and he has been studied by enough independent researchers to validate his achievements, and indicate that he has caused major physiological changes in his own body that allow him to resist very extreme cold, and to multiply the strength of his immune system past what is expected normal.

I listened to a discussion between he and Joe Rogan a few weeks back, which I recommend, because in Rogan's long form interview you get a pretty involved discussion of his ideas over about 2 and a half hours:

The guy emits a positivity and a clear call to service of others that makes him incredibly charismatic. In a charlatan, this would make him a dangerous cult figure, but my feeling is that he is not an act, and the research into him seems to corroborate that view.

Who knows exactly how he has accomplished this, but he seems to be able to impart it to others too, as evidenced by his excursions marching middle-aged people onto Everest unclothed, lol.
145  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIERíS Riveting Case Against Bringing Syrian Refugees To U.S. on: November 30, 2015, 20:35:05
I don't want to really make this a political issue, but please excuse me here.

I think that the refugees should be helped by some means, and that means should take into account balance, efficiency, and the well being of all parties involved. As an example, it is much cheaper to provide resources to relocate many of the refugees to nearby safe countries to which they bear some cultural similarity, and thus face much lower barriers to getting employment and living situations.

It is estimated that the cost of bringing a non-English or French speaking family to the US is around 250k USD; this is primarily in terms of the social services it would take to get these folks off their feet to the extent that they could culturally integrate. Some are estimating that a sum of around 30k USD might be spent per family to help relocate them to countries such as Turkey, Iran (Iran is a much safer and more well off country than you might suppose it is, due to western propaganda against it), and Lebanon, and to provide them with the right services in these countries to get them established in normal lives there. I am not opposed to bringing smaller numbers of Syrians to North America, if they already speak the languages, as these are the folks that have an intention of actually becoming western citizens.

Historically, and in a few recent examples it has been shown that when large incoming populations face major barriers to cultural integration in their host countries, it generates a dangerous situation. An example is Sweden, which took in a number of primarily North Africans totaling something like 3-4% of their total population at the time. These folks in many cases had no way of becoming active citizens, and doing anything other than rely of social service systems there. The rape rate in Sweden has gone up by some estimates by around 800% during this same period, making it the rape capital of the west; something like 75-80% of this increase is attributed directly to the recent migrants. It is also less and less safe to be a Jew, or to have a Synagogue in that area. Other metrics of poverty and human suffering have increased as well across the board. I think the path Sweden has taken indicates that the service of underpriveliged populations is not something that can be done without extensive planning or study. Just giving the greenlight to a similar mass exchange of people, without plans for how to best integrate them into their destination countries should be avoided.

I think it comes down to the fact that impoverished people will express the worst parts of their culture, whereas thriving people will question the cultural norms they had in the past. This group of people can go either way, depending on how the situation is handled. Going back to the example of Iran, it is home to one of the most secularized and moderate populations of Muslims in that region. The historical government still continues to be radicalized, but the people there are increasingly less so, and I attribute this to the industrial success of large parts of that country at this time, which has taken people out of poverty to the extent that they can think for themselves. 
146  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Out of Body Experiences! / Re: Ejaculated during Afternoon Nap Astral Projection Attempt on: November 25, 2015, 22:52:32
For short answer, answer is linked here:

Long answer... a few ideas need to be explained, and it will make more sense.

The concept of an orgasm is generally thought of as something in response to genital stimulation, but this is only a very small part of the story. What an orgasm really is, is an overload of the sensory neurons all over the body, that all fire at once in waves. It can be caused by genital stimulation, but it can also just as easily happen by choice if you detach the concepts in your mind. You can literally have the experience basically instantly without any contact if you change the way you think about it. I think it is easier for women to understand this, as they generally have more experience detaching the concept of an orgasm from direct stimulation, but I think I anyone can grasp it.

Now think about what the vibrations are for most people... a full body sensation of sensory overload coming in tight waves. Does this sound similar to the above?

Given these two facts together, I surmise that the life-long link between such full body sensations and genital stimulation caused the effect you experienced.
147  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Paris Terrorist Attacks on: November 23, 2015, 00:35:16
Don't believe this BS that Muhammad was tolerant. I know the Bible very well and I know the Koran fairly well and I can tell you there is not even a close resemblance to compare Jesus and Muhammad. Jesus was an innocent child compared to Muhammad which was a military dictator.

For sure. Muhammad was a warlord, with all that came with it. Jesus utters a few warlike lines, but rightly nothing to compare to Muhammad. But then Jesus isn't the logical comparison in the Bible to me to Muhammad. For that, you should look at the warlords of the old testament, and then you will find very much to compare. Abraham's line was not a tame one. Back when Yahweh was the war god of the Jewish tribe, he was saying some pretty odd things... being sure to slaughter all the men and bed all the women of the enemy... taking the survivors for slaves and the like...making sure to stone your daughter to death if she should transgress... The old testament and the Koran read very closely together.  Unless you are a scholar of each, I can put two lines from each side by side, and you would not know which was which (not you personally, but for most this would be true).
148  Astral Chat / Welcome to Astral Chat! / Re: Paris Terrorist Attacks on: November 22, 2015, 22:40:04
The Koran and the greater Hadith of Islam (words of the prophet and canonized scholarly interpretations of Islamic teaching) sadly do in fact prescribe violence and murder for a host of what are considered trivial reasons in modern culture today. It is incredibly difficult to explain away the dozen or so verses that explicitly command violence against offending non-Muslims, or apostate Muslims. Modern scholars more or less accept this as indesputable.

But there is another dimension to this whole business too. The Bible also prescribes violence and mayhem about as often as the as Koran does, and sometimes in even more barbarous fashion. Yet modern Christians are not looked on as barbarians. In all honesty, it is impossible to follow the Bible prescriptions even 20% of the time. There are too many of them, too many of them contradict, and too many of them are outright brutal.

No modern religion is really based in full literal interpretation of its own holy book. Non of them are coherent or internally consistent enough for this to be possible. Modern religion is thus about interpretation, and trying to tease out a preferred meaning from the chosen text, and forming a community around your interpretation. It is about which verses a community emphasizes, and which they disregard (because they ALL disregard some verses). Christianity is more a reflection of the Christian than the Bible. They are in fact developing a set of principles that were handed down from them by their family in most cases, and then using the Bible to anchor them (because really the Bible is so vast you can use it to support pretty much any viewpoint at all).

Islam is pretty much the same from what I have seen. No sane Muslim can follow the majority of the Koran. Individual communities of Muslims are defined by what verses their families and Imams choose to highlight and live by. Just as the Bible is full of commandments to enslave and murder others, that are casually put aside today, Muslim communities are putting aside the parts of their holy book that they don't jive with. Thus despite the religion at its core being pretty brutal, it is necessary to see how any given community is filtering it to really be able to comment.

Here is a great example from my life:

I was involved with an inspection of a Mosque close to my past home town; I sat down with the clerics there, and had a discussion with them. It was honestly brimming with hate. Hate for gays, hate for non-believers, and a refusal to listen to any sane arguments against these positions (because of course his justification was from the Koran itself, which he was forbidden to contradict). Later that day, I met a few of the folks who were worshipping at the mosque. They were cool as cucumbers... inviting people (north Africans mainly) who chose to instead emphasize the verses of the Koran that prescribed charity and care for the underpriveliged (Islam's strong suit, in my opinion). I met two entirely different kinds of Muslims that day.

Later I learned that there is a pattern today where Muslim communities in countries without large percentages of them will want to build a mosque, but will not have the funds. Enter the Saudis: the Saudi Arabians will offer to pay for the construction of the mosque for them, in exchange for the placement of a Saudi Imam at that mosque. The Saudi will generally preach Wahabism, which is the most insane form of Islam imaginable, and will attempt to radicalize the congregation. It is a pattern repeated hundreds of times around the western world. In fact, anytime there is violence in an Islamic community, a huge part of the time there is some Saudi connection. The official 9/11 story would have us believe all of the hijackers were Saudis. The majority of the recent militants in Iraq were actually Saudi expats. The ISIL/ ISIS group is a creation of American CIA and Saudi money. While not every violent act traces back to the Saudis, I think you will find a frightening percentage of it does. If the west really wanted to combat militantism, there would have been some form of intervention against this Saudi action a long time ago. I think most of us know the reasons this has not happened. Most of it goes back to the Petrodollar agreement back in the 70's.
149  Psychic and Paranormal / Welcome to Psychic and Paranormal! / Re: Here is a ... Peculiar on: November 21, 2015, 22:10:59
LOL that list of philosophers...

I don't think Crowley is a person many people ought to be emulating...

I don't think Alex jones is what I would call a philosopher.

Some of the others are personalities rooted in the 60s/ 70s, when the dangers of smoking were less understood. 

Would you smack women around because you saw Woody Allen do it in a 60's flick? Sometimes knowledge improves over time, and not everything the heroes of the past did is worth repeating.

There are some substances that may be very useful in the right hands, when used in a disciplined and measured way, in the right circumstances. Modern tobacco doesn't really seem to be on that list for me though.

If it was me, I wouldn't be so stoked on trying to repair something you have yourself said has emitted toxic fumes in the past. Better than cigarettes, sure, but then beer is better than moonshine by a long ways too, and while I wouldn't stop anyone from drinking a beer or two now and again, I am sure they aren't doing themselves any favors either.
150  Astral Projection & Out of Body Experiences / Welcome to Out of Body Experiences! / Re: Experiments? on: November 18, 2015, 19:41:23
Charles Tart is a long-time researcher in projection studies and parapsychology in general. He is a past associate of Robert Monroe, like several others. He has written a collection of books which are pretty well recommended, if you are interested in the research and validation aspect of the phenomenon. You might be aware of the famous "Miss Z" story that circulates around pretty far and wide- she was one of his early subjects.

Another famous series of parapsychology experiments was done at Princeton, under the heading of the "Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research" program (PEAR). These seemed to indicate that human intention was capable of affecting the outcomes of otherwise random events, such as tiny balls falling through a pegboard grid.

I can think of a few more, if the above examples interest you.
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