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BroHenri
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I have a similar distaste for the common new-agey assertion that "we create our own reality". This, as stated, is a gross, yet common, misunderstanding/misapplication/oversimplification of certain beliefs that are common to many eastern systems of thought.

 

It's probably more accurate to say that we are all responsible for our own perceptions of reality, and especially for our own reactions to what we perceive. Through our reactions, we do have some measure of input in creating our own futures, BUT, the future does not consist entirely of our own projections.

I am far more inclined to believe that reality is co-created, the result of many, many causal factors, not just those of my own imagining.

Wow! Lolly you articulated so much of what seems to just buzz around in my head when I read some of the New Age material. I don't know which is worse, actually - the traditional idea of a God who punishes us if we are not obedient, or the idea that WE are gods (or simply thoughts in God's consciousness) and that anything negative which happens to us is of our own creation.

 

Although I've got some friends who deny it, it seems to me that to teach that the world is an illusion, rather than teaching (as you have put it) that our perceptions of the world are constructed, is tantamount to the avoidance of suffering by the means of denial. It's not psychologically healthy.

 

Perhaps the pathology of much of this gnostic teaching is that the power of the mind to create is absolute, rather than relative. As you say (which is very much in agreement with the concepts found in Process thought), reality is co-created.

 

I'm very interested at this time in Ken Wilber's Integral model of reality. Ken WilberIt seems that we may be able to diagnose worldviews by looking at how how much they are able to integrate the perspectives of I, We, It, and Its. New Age thought seems to exclude all perspectives except the "I".

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Yes, I call this sort of thinking a "reverse egoism" because it usually pays a great deal of lip service to the concept of ego-death, but upholds the ego in practice by asserting in effect that the "I" is all there really is.

 

Although I've got some friends who deny it, it seems to me that to teach that the world is an illusion, rather than teaching (as you have put it) that our perceptions of the world are constructed, is tantamount to the avoidance of suffering by the means of denial. It's not psychologically healthy.

 

No, it's not. It's an extreme view in its own right, the flip side of strict materialism (which asserts that only material form exists). And I agree with you that it is another device to facilitate denial.

 

A frequent observation I've made is that viewpoints tend to swing to and from polarities... you can either believe the world is wholly existent as form only, or that it is wholly imagined, but it's very difficult to find the conclusion that both (or more) states may coexist. Human beings seem to scurry mentally from one form of denial to the other, afraid to linger in the middle.

 

I suppose this is the question of duality/nonduality as it shows up in daily life and affects us on a psychological level.

 

BTW, I've liked the Process Thought information I've read so far, as well as the link you provided earlier in this thread. I'll go and give Ken Wilbur's link a look.

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I've been running into more and more people who say they have been helped by "A Course in Miracles". I don't get it though. I have begun thinking of ACIM as a course in "Nothing-Matterism".

 

"My grandmother just got raped, but it doesn't matter because it didn't REALLY happen, and she doesn't REALLY exist anyway."

 

Is this a fairly accurate understanding of what ACIM teaches? Can anybody provide a better understanding? Jeep?

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I'll go and give Ken Wilbur's link a look.

 

Doh! That Ken Wilber.

 

You know, I have heard many sing the praises of this man but I have yet to read any of his works. The more I hear, the more intrigued I get. May have to reach for my wallet soon... it's about time for an Amazon.com binge.

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Lolly,

 

Before you spend your hard-earned money, you might sample Ken here:

Wilber Sample

 

It seems to me that he provides a much needed correction to a lot of the gnostic teaching which is popular among the "enlightened". It seems to me, that he is able to integrate Process Philosophy with Perennial Philosophy. Or so it seems to me...

 

BTW, Ken Wilber mentions Whitehead all the time but it seems that very few of his "followers" are familiar with Process at all.

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BTW, Ken Wilber mentions Whitehead all the time but it seems that very few of his "followers" are familiar with Process at all.

 

Well, his website is part of Shambala.com, which is a buddhist publishing company. Many of the buddhists I know will run and hide (or get very annoyed) if anything that looks too much like theism shows up, in my experience.

 

I'm not all that familiar with Whitehead and Process yet myself, but if most of Wilber's "followers" are coming from eastern traditions, that may have something to do with it.

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:huh:  Pardon my ignorance, but what is "perennial philosophy"?

 

And welcome back!  ;)

-_- Gosh. Thanks for the welcome!

 

Perennial philosophy, eh? Here's one source for information:

http://www.philosophy-religion.com/perenni.../philosophy.htm

 

Or you could go directly to Huxley's writings who, I believe, coined the term. The idea was, to find some basic commonalities with all religions. If there is any validity to religious intuitions, if religious intuitions are intuitions of something real, then we should be able to at least find some points of intersection. Even though we are like the blind men examining the elephant, there should be some way of putting all of our descriptions together and making sense of them - IF we are all examining the same elephant.

 

I interpret Wilber to say that yes, the ancient mystics were indeed saying something true about the elephant, but their interpretation of their experience was limited at that time because of their (relatively) limited understanding of reality. We, of course, are also limited. However, modern science has provided us with much more information than they had. Therefore, we don't simply dismiss the mystics but we integrate their descriptions of interior reality with that of science and its descriptions of exterior reality.

Edited by PantaRhea
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BTW, Ken Wilber mentions Whitehead all the time but it seems that very few of his "followers" are familiar with Process at all.

 

Well, his website is part of Shambala.com, which is a buddhist publishing company. Many of the buddhists I know will run and hide (or get very annoyed) if anything that looks too much like theism shows up, in my experience.

 

I'm not all that familiar with Whitehead and Process yet myself, but if most of Wilber's "followers" are coming from eastern traditions, that may have something to do with it.

Well, Whitehead's philosophy isn't exactly theistic (depending upon your definition), and it's been said (even by Whitehead) that Process Philosophy has more in common with eastern thought than western.

 

I wonder though... Process thought is definitely more rationalistic than mystic and it seems to me, in the little I've read on Wilber's forum, that most of the participants there lean toward the mystical side of reality. Wilber writes of two types of mysticism - one coming before rational development, and one coming after, which he labels as transrational or visionlogic. I think Wilber has taken some heat because of his position. It seems to me, that a lot of the "New Agers" almost pride themselves on their lack of rationality (which they say is part of the "ego"). Do the Buddhist also avoid the rational side of life?

Edited by PantaRhea
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It seems to me, that a lot of the "New Agers" almost pride themselves on their lack of rationality (which they say is part of the "ego"). Do the Buddhist also avoid the rational side of life?

 

It depends on the buddhist. The way I understand the buddha's philosophy, it would be a mistake to do so-- and it would also be a mistake to discount the experiential, mystical bits that can't be adequately described through rational means. It would seem that the truth about reality stands somewhere in the middle.

 

But, interpretations and levels of understanding vary greatly among buddhists, just as they do among Christians.

 

In general, though, I would guess that buddhism in the west probably does attract a fair share of folks who eschew rational thought. At the same time, it perplexingly enjoys a reputation as a "thinking person's religion". Go figure :)

Edited by Lolly
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Well while Tibetan Buddhism is prob. the most mystical and least logical, the Dali Lama is very well read in the sciences. I've got an interesting book circa 1992 "Gentle Bridges: Conversations with the Dali Lama on the Sciences of the Mind" (btw, that's psychology, neuroscience and AI, not New Thought), authors Hayward and Varela. He parlays very good questions back and forth and definitely is more than able to hold his own. The discussion goes all over the place even into quantum physics and cosmology.

 

Another thing about at least some Buddhists right after the tsunami, I heard a prominent Buddhist (though it could have been a Hindu) say that the tsunami was the result of Karma. (Of course it wasn't anything like what they had done or thought recently-- maybe over thousands of life times. Though if that were so, then we all would conceivably have had bad lifetimes among our thousands. Why it came there and not elsewhere... Not that I agree with all that.) One thing I noted though was that he was fairly intellectual when he said all that, like it was offered as a mere explanation and nothing more. (As opposed to saying "they deserved it or had it coming").

 

Jeep, you might esp. enjoy this (if your still reading this thread).

 

 

---des

Edited by des
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You "guys" are getting a little too deep for this weary mind, but I'm going to add my two-cents anyways.

 

I've been reading Shakti Gawain's books.

I think she might be in the category of "new thought" and/or "new age."

 

I don't want to check my brain at the door and just believe.

But I don't want to go the other extreme of over-emphasizing the rational either.

 

"Transrational" would work for me.

That reminds me of the pre-critical, critical, post-critical stages of faith (Fowler).

 

Gawain does sound like she personalizes too much, and I disagree with that. Not everything is about me. I get the "I create my own reality" or "my own perception of reality" if you prefer. I didn't understand it to mean that the world is an illusion. (Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding what Molly and PantaRhea are saying.)

 

To me, "I create my own reality" means we all have a "lense" thru which we see and experience the world. That "lense" can be changed or altered. I'm thinking of a scripture that talks about knowing only in part. Corinthians maybe. Don't even know if that applies here.

 

How would you (anybody) define "ego?"

Could PantaRhea or someone explain the "I, We, It, and Its" perspectives Wilber talks about, please.

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Human beings seem to scurry mentally from one form of denial to the other, afraid to linger in the middle.

 

I've been participating in a discussion on another board in which I find I do not fit in (imo) because I'm a dualist (I am not God) whereas most on the discussion list are Buddhists and are "hard core" non-dualists (all is One, yada yada yada).

 

It hasn't been my experience that "New Agers" (ie Shirley McClaine, Sylvia Brown, Wayne Dyer) are really all that non-dualistic, not in the way certain Hindu sects and Buddhists sects are. New Agers might talk about non-dualism, but it's been my perception that they really don't know or appreciate what they are talking about.

 

Gawain does sound like she personalizes too much, and I disagree with that. Not everything is about me. I get the "I create my own reality" or "my own perception of reality" if you prefer. I didn't understand it to mean that the world is an illusion. (Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding what Molly and PantaRhea are saying.)

 

Gawain would be a good example of what I said above. When she mentions "creating my own reality" she really isn't talking in the strict "Maya, illusion" sense of the word.

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Aletheia, Sounds like you are more familiar with the non-dualist topic than I am. I was just wondering how the mystics fit into this?

 

Don't they kinda talk that way too--non-dualist like? When a person delves into things like mysticism, pantheism, panentheism don't the boundaries dividing/separating God and us start to get real blurry?

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When a person delves into things like mysticism, pantheism, panentheism don't the boundaries dividing/separating God and us start to get real blurry?

 

Ya know, it all depends in who you talk to. It also depends in how you interpret the writings of certain mystics.

 

Non-dualists read Eckhart Tolle and see non-dualism in his words. The same holds true for Thomas Merton.

 

I've had a couple of profound mystical experiences that were NOT non-dual. When I try to share such experiences with non-dualists, I get the runaround that my experiences weren't TRUE experiences precisely because my experiences were dual. It's frustrating.

 

Non-dualists often use the symbolism of a drop of water in the ocean to explain our (the drop of water) relationship to God (the ocean). In that analogy, the drops of water (us) ARE God.

 

I like the the symbolism of a fish in the ocean to explain our relationship to God. We (the fish) are in God (the ocean) but we are NOT the ocean.

 

It's a big difference. It's the difference between panentheism and pantheism.

 

But in all fairness, when I was researching pantheism years ago, after having just left my church, I didn't grasp the theological, philosophical and moral implications of what monism (non-dualism)/pantheism were. It came to me in time and many have helped me understand along the way. Someone in a chat room or on a bulletin board mentioned that they weren't pantheistic, they were panENtheistic, and I went "What's that?" And I researched. And researched. And researched. :D

 

So, long story short (too late!), I believe mysticism very much fits in with a dualist/panentheist cosmology. The "fish" can feel at one with the "ocean" because the ocean surrounds and permeates the fish. :huh:

 

As a Hindu guru I once read said, "I don't want to BE sugar. I want to TASTE sugar."

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Gawain does sound like she personalizes too much, and I disagree with that. Not everything is about me. I get the "I create my own reality" or "my own perception of reality" if you prefer. I didn't understand it to mean that the world is an illusion. (Please correct me if I'm misunderstanding what Molly and PantaRhea are saying.)

 

To me, "I create my own reality" means we all have a "lense" thru which we see and experience the world. That "lense" can be changed or altered. I'm thinking of a scripture that talks about knowing only in part. Corinthians maybe. Don't even know if that applies here.

 

How would you (anybody) define "ego?"

Could PantaRhea or someone explain the "I, We, It, and Its" perspectives Wilber talks about, please.

I very much agree with what you say here. We do have the power to create reality, but our power is relative, not absolute.

 

The word "ego" raises all kinds of confusion. Some equate it with pride, some equate it with the idea of a separate false or illusionary existence. For Freud it simply meant the "I" or what we mean when we refer to our individual existence.

 

I think it would be worth your while to read some of Wilber's stuff, but just so ya know, he doesn't mean anything more, really, than what you learned about the first person, second person, and third person perspectives in your grade school English class. If you combine the "it" and "its" you can correlate the "I", "We", and "It" to art, morals, and science respectively. The four perspectives can also be related to the Intentional ("I"), Cultural ("We"), Behavioral ("It"), and Social ("Its") perspectives.

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I would love to understand more than a third of all this.

 

Heck Des, I reread what I wrote a day later and I think: "That ISN'T what I meant to say at all!"

 

The word dualism can apply to so many things.

 

Some believe that matter is one thing and spirit is another. That is one form of dualism.

 

Some believe that God is God and humans are something God created out of nothing. That is another form of dualism.

 

Some believe God IS love and that God HAS to be all good, so there must be another being that IS evil that is causing all the problems in the world. That is another form of dualism.

 

My calling myself "dualist" is in response to views like Christian Science and New Thought and most Hindu and Buddhist theology, but I'm not truly a dualist in the way most Judeo/Christians define the term. I don't think I'm completely seperate from God but I also don't think this world is an illusion or a dream God is having.

 

Way over my head.

 

Oh I don't know about that.

 

Doesn't CS basically teach that our world, our universe is illusion? That "all of this" is actually just God having a "dream"? If they do, they would hold a view of reality that is a form of monism (there are many different ones).

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To my comment that I wish I could understand a third of this.

Heck Des, I reread what I wrote a day later and I think: "That ISN'T what I meant to say at all!"

 

:-) I think this all the time. This is not quite like any other of the forums that I am on. Those are MUCH easier. But I tend to think about this one afterwards!

 

Some believe God IS love and that God HAS to be all good, so there must be another being that IS evil that is causing all the problems in the world. That is another form of dualism.

 

Well I guess I have dualistic problems with the idea that God created evil. I guess this would be why Buddhism, say, is not esp. theistic. I think they believe in transcendence but not quite in the same way we do. But I have no trouble with us as part of God's creation/God.

 

Doesn't CS basically teach that our world, our universe is illusion? That "all of this" is actually just God having a "dream"? If they do, they would hold a view of reality that is a form of monism (there are many different ones).

 

Not exactly. Basically it does teach that the universe is an illusion. But it is not God's dream, according to CS, it is a false belief. Now where exactly the false belief came from is another story, as that is never really explained. Since false beliefs don't exist it then we aren't really having them, and so forth. I think it represents some major logical problems.

I was such a joy in Sunday School. I kept asking things like "Where does evil come from?" A. It doesn't exist. "Yeah but where does it come from." :-)

 

 

--des

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des, I thought that, contrary to what you wrote:

 

"But it is not God's dream, according to CS, it is a false belief. Now where exactly the false belief came from is another story, as that is never really explained[,]"

 

the false belief comes from what Mrs. Eddy calls "the Adam dream," where Adam fell into a deep sleep, in Genesis, Chapter 2, you know? Where Eve is supposedly created from Adam's rib. Supposedly, according to Mrs. Eddy and CS, this dream is where mortal mind comes from. And if I am not mistaken, the Resurrection is the awakening from this Adam dream. Or, something surrounding the whole crusifixion is that awakening. Not sure exactly what, or, that is, I forget exactly what. It might be where the "veil in the [tent's holiest of holies/room] was rent in twain," when Jesus gave up the ghost. This means that man can communicate directly to God and with God, and does not need an intermediary such as a priest or other holy man.

 

And, speaking of "man," one of my hugest complaints about the religion CS is that the Mother Church, and every Christian Scientist I have ever dared broach this subject to is adamantly opposed to modernizing the pronouns so they are non-sexist or gender inclusive. I get so darned sick of "man" this and "he/his" that. And in a religion where God is supposedly "our Father/Mother God."

 

I'm about finished reading **God's Perfect Child,** now, and it points out that Mrs. Eddy did not elevate any women other than herself to any positions of authority within her church. Men were surrounding her constantly, and many women who were trying to make any headway would get into hostilities with her and fly the coop, so to speak, and they and Mrs. Eddy would become bitter enemies, and they'd start their own varying kinds of new-agey type churches. Except at those times, the term was not "new age."

 

The men still hold most positions of authority in the branch churches I have been in -- that is, if there are 3 men out of 40 in the church, those 3 get the best elected positions, over and over. Even though we were instructed to carefully pray for the answer whom to vote for, and that it was not in any way a "popularity contest." I've seen a new male member of the church elected to First Reader, when women who've been loyal committee workers for many years, are passed over. That is, until all the men die off.

 

At one point in **God's Perfect Child,** the author lists a bunch of other churches, including, by the way **A Course in Miracles,** which she traces back to major influence by Mrs. Eddy and/or her books or church.

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des, I thought that, contrary to what you wrote:

 

"But it is not God's dream, according to CS, it is a false belief. Now where exactly the false belief came from is another story, as that is never really explained[,]"

 

the false belief comes from what Mrs. Eddy calls "the Adam dream," where Adam fell into a deep sleep, in Genesis, Chapter 2, you know?

 

Right! Whether it's God having a dream (like Braman in Hinduism) or Adam having a dream, the view that the world is illusion can lead to the view that there is NO evil.

 

The only way I think that the world being illusion wouldn't lead to nihilism, is like that portrayed in the movie, The Matrix, where EVERYONE is "dreaming" and contributing to the illusion.

 

But if it's just one being, one man, then nothing is "real" and nothing matters. I could go out and kill somebody and say "Well, God is dreaming the world, and wants to experience murder as well as love.

 

I know some have this view, but personally, I just don't get it. :blink:

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the false belief comes from what Mrs. Eddy calls "the Adam dream," where Adam fell into a deep sleep, in Genesis, Chapter 2, you know?  Where Eve is supposedly created from Adam's rib. 

 

Yes, exactly. It isn't God's dream. It's "Adam's". But as you would guess this isn't literal.

 

  This means that man can communicate directly to God and with God, and does not need an intermediary such as a priest or other holy man.

 

Yes, this is quite consistant with other Protestant faiths (and prob. liberal Catholism). I think in Protestantism it is often called the "Priesthood of believers" (no intermediary required) or the congregation is listed as the "pastors". In that sense, CS follows traditional Protestantism. (BTW, some CS interpret the manual as meaning that MBE wished the CS church to be run ala Congregational churches. And there are a few that have broken away, and are.)

 

I've noticed some fundamentalists are more bound by authority of their pastors.

 

 

And, speaking of "man," one of my hugest complaints about the religion CS is that the Mother Church, and every Christian Scientist I have ever dared broach this subject to is adamantly opposed to modernizing the pronouns so they are non-sexist or gender inclusive.  I get so darned sick of "man" this and "he/his" that.  And in a religion where God is supposedly "our Father/Mother God."

 

Uh, prob. a holdover from the period she was in. Unfortunately since no words can ever be changed, CS is kind of stuck with it. One reason Science and Health comes off as a 19th C publication. (Also language referring to the body, medicine, etc.)

 

Also many of the officials of the CS have tended to be male, as well as First Readers who are typically male. Though the head of the CS church is currently female, maybe the first one in years.

Yes, MBE did not like female competition. RS, Unity, Divine Science, etc were all founded by women who were sort of kicked out by MBE. She also kicked out various charismatic women.

 

 

Aletheia, you are correct about there being no evil (in CS) terms that is. The whole dream thing is, well I believe there is a term for the kind of logical flaws in CS. I'm not up enough on logic to know this though. Carol Fraser talks about some of these. One she brought up is "why is wellness (in the grand scale of things that is) better than sickness". Sure it's better for the physical body, but there is NO physical body. Taking this position of health over illness *requires* that you take some stance on the physical reality. No CS (or other New Thoughter) takes the illusion of the physical plane entirely seriously. Though some CS have looked at dying people and made some startling observations, like "he is dropping out of his physical body", as if they were advancing somehow. Since CS do not believe in a better life after death, it can't be interpreted as going beyond the earthly plane. I do think they are often really naive about the body, as if it protects them somehow.

 

 

 

 

--des

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