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About BlackCat

  • Birthday 12/07/1966

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    reading (mainly non fiction), gardening, bird watching, good films and documentaries, science (I can understand) and comedies like 'Father Ted', 'The Big Bang Theory','The Office', 'Modern Family'.
  • More About Me
    I'm a housewife. I help to look after my mum who is in a nursing home, and I help out with my grandson.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Yes. God is love.

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  1. Thanks BAA. I'm thankful to be here. Speak soon no doubt.
  2. The Star of Bethlehem has proved to be for me, one of many 'wake up' clues to the mythology and human origin of the Bible and its claims. I recall starting a similar thread to this a few years back when the spell of Christianity was strong on me. I thought I'd broken the spell but it persisted strongly up to recently but that's for another thread. I'm thinking that 'Christmas' cards for this year could feature the night sky resplendent with the constellations etc you mentioned Josh, ie: the real wise men etc. It's good to see familiar folk still posting here.
  3. Hi Becks, I'm really glad you have shared your experiences. You make some fascinating points. You've reminded me that I felt that power back in January. I was still a believer then and meeting with a church. One Sunday, I got there and they had a visiting speaker. I heard his American accent and was instantly sceptical (sorry to Americans . The craziest preachers I've seen via You tube seem to be mainly American or in America). I saw he had a book stand at the back of the school hall where the meeting was held. Again I was bristling with negativity as I'm wary of people peddling their wares (the moneychangers in the temple and all that). I thought I'd go and see what sort of books they were. A young woman was manning the stand. I immediately became aware of a 'heavy' power. It did not come down on me like waves, but was just 'there'. I had no physical manifestations like with the other two experiences. As for the man, he went on to give a lovely talk about the heart of the father. Nothing he said was dodgy. His books were not expensive and there were only about four to choose from. Even from a non religious point of view, what he said made sense. So very similar to what you experienced at the new age shop. When I was still a believer, I started to look into my experiences and found many instances of the same experiences but within the Eastern religions. I have no doubt now, that the same power (whether it is a real power or something going on in the brain) is responsible for all these kind of experiences regardless of what religion you follow. I am looking forward to finding out about Dr Persinger's research and I will let you know what I find out. I appreciate that because you have experienced this 'external' power, you want to make sense of it, so it's lovely to know I'm not alone in this.
  4. I emailed a website that allegedly deals with science and consciousness. They have replied and directed me to the research of Dr Michael Persinger. His research of stimulating certain parts of the brain has produced in the person the sensation of someone or something outside of themselves. I shall email him or his department about this. I will get back to you.
  5. Midniterider- you hit the nail on the head. I 'know' I am not hallucinating right now.
  6. Hi VacuumFlux, Thank you for sharing your experiences. You mention you had a 'vision' once. I have never had visions. I used to attend various Charismatic churches and the 'seeing visions' etc was something I never experienced. I was very suspicious of that sort of stuff.
  7. Florduh- I can't know for sure of course. I am sure that my mind was not 'altered' in a major way: the kind of way that radically alters the brain's chemistry e.g. taking a drug of some kind or being at death's door. I don't suffer depression or mood swings. I'm a pretty positive, happy go lucky, wake up and leap out of bed person. Why would I doubt that what I felt and which then caused all those weird physical symptoms, happened? At the time it was happening, I didn't doubt it. Since then, I have thrown doubt on it, because our brains can trick us. So yes, it's possible my brain tricked me and was altered in some way that I was not aware of.
  8. I'm really trying to remain sceptical about this. I am sure that there is a perfectly logical explanation. For all I know, there could have been some kind of machine upstairs (above my head) that was emitting frequencies that my subconscious misinterpreted? That sounds silly I know, but the pulse-like quality could well be something really 'simple'. I doubt whether I will ever know. It's still very interesting to remember. Lol. Have you heard of a guy called Jeff Lieberman? (bea.st).
  9. Hi RogueScholar, I very much appreciate you sharing that. I did read about your experience on the other forum. It spurred me on to post this topic. I had been meaning to post this for a while, but waited while the other 'Protein Folding' one was still going. (Just as a matter of interest, your account reminded me of a guy called Bruce Parry. He did a documentary for the BBC a few years back called 'Tribe', and I remember one episode where he had to eat this root or leaves which made him vomit and he had an amazing experience like yours. It's on you tube. Not sure if you can view BBC channels in your neck of the woods). I agree with you: I believe that mind altering substances like the one you tried, near death experiences, meditation etc. are solely responsible for producing the affects that you describe and which I can't begin to comprehend or appreciate (I don't think I'd be tempted to try even if you offered me a million pounds- too scared). I don't believe they are methods that alter the brain so that it can 'tap into the divine'. It's all explained by natural processes. However........... I don't believe my consciousness was altered when I had my two experiences. I hadn't taken any kind of medication. I have never meditated. (I'm terrible at praying. I'd natter away about the usual ''can you do this' or 'can you help with that', and my mind would quickly wander to what to make for dinner.) I wasn't sick. I was my usual self. What if that power I felt was a real power? I'm not talking about some magic power i.e. supernatural. I'm talking about a real energy? Please feel free to pull this apart. It probably needs to be dissected.
  10. Thanks for your thoughts on this Midniterider. I agree with the points you make. Regarding an 'altered state of consciousness' and analytical capabilities, I don't really know that much about altered states or what constitutes an altered state. I can think of 3 altered states that I have experienced. 1. When I'm sleeping. 2. When I've got tipsy (ok drunk). 3. When I tried a joint (of cannabis resin) in my early 20s. Focusing on 2 and 3, I agree that I can still analyse things whilst drunk or stoned, BUT, I am aware that my perception of reality has altered. The drunker I get I no longer notice this difference and it's only when I wake up the next morning and feel 'normal' again, that I know my consciousness had been altered whilst drunk. I don't smoke and so I don't remember being really 'stoned', when I tried cannabis. I suppose it was like a 'gentler', 'calmer' version of being drunk? I can't really remember, but I do remember having to get home and call a taxi etc, so my analysing skills were still intact. I suppose what happened with my two 'God' experiences, is more to do with hypnosis. If I remember rightly, you should feel completely normal when hypnotised i.e. you don't feel like your consciousness has been altered in any way (unlike when we see it portrayed in funny sketches or tv shows). Where I struggle to connect my experiences to 'suggestion' is that the individual reactions had not been suggested by anyone in the meeting or prior to the meeting, or in any books I'd read etc. An example of 'suggestion' in play, would be when people are 'slain in the spirit'. They go up to the front of the church and a person lays hands on them (probably lightly pushing them) and they are expected to fall back and usually oblige. Your example of how people stabbed in the hand will react the same way brings me to another feature of these experiences: a chain reaction. The example I like to use is a panic attack. I have suffered these in the past and so have studied them in order to beat them. Something happens (sometimes there's a delayed reaction) that causes you to worry or be affected emotionally (there may be physical causes of panic attacks. I'm going by my own experience). This sets off a chain reaction of chemicals rushing through your blood stream which produce various physical symptoms: breathlessness, sweating, tingling in your fingers, intolerance to noise, overwhelming feeling of fear. Each symptom can be explained by chemical processes. What is strange about my two experiences it that the first indication of something strange happening was sensing a power outside of myself. I could feel it tangibly. The nearest I can describe it to is like when the sun beats down on your body. You can feel the warmth and power of the sun as it hits your skin. I've never felt the sun's rays beating down on me when inside my house. This power was as real as the sun's rays. So something EXTERNAL (like your pin stabbing the hands): The power causes me to lower my body as it is too much effort to remain standing under this power. Tears start to stream, seemingly from nowhere. Involuntary trembling and relaxing and contracting of the muscles at the sides of my stomach. A weird sensation in my chest like a build up of energy or air? Like something is trying to come up from my chest. Finally the 'blockage' rushes up from my chest into my throat and out of my mouth making a sound like words but it isn't words. Then the waves of external power ebb. The intensity gets weaker until they are gone. All the while my thinking is crystal clear. I am wondering all the time what each thing is. Why is it happening? I feel no differently, apart from a few seconds of feeling very serious when the tears are falling, but I don't know why they are falling or why I am feeling so 'serious'. The 'power' caused my body to react in a weird way that it has never reacted like that before or since. Of course I am sceptical about this 'power'. I know that my mind is surely capable of creating the illusion of an external force BUT apart from these two experiences,there is nothing in my 48 years of experience that has acted in this way, where I have had to distrust my own senses.
  11. My two experiences have helped me to see the connection within different religions. Christian mystics are experiencing the same 'things' as Sufi mystics, Hindu mystics, etc. I found a very fascinating series of short videos on you tube titled: ''Buddhism, Christianism, Jewism, Sufism About the Same Mystical Experience''. This (as well as other videos and articles over the years) helped me to appreciate how the same 'forces': ideas, motivations are producing similar if not identical experiences within people of different (if not opposing) religions. So it seems obvious that all 'spiritual' ideas that produce the various religions are generated by the same THOUGHT PROCESSES. The 'Oneness' idea seems to me, to be at the heart of these thought processes that lead to spiritual/religious 'awareness'. I'll leave it here for now, and will expand on the 'oneness' idea once this discussion gets going. For those wondering where the Bible alludes to 'oneness', see 1 Corinthians 15:28 (...so that God may be All in All.)
  12. I wasn't sure whether to post this topic in the 'Spirituality' forum, but as I am confident that science (studies of how the brain works, chemistry etc.) can help us understand 'mystical' experiences, I opted for this forum and look forward to input from members who are knowledgeable in science related to this topic and indeed anyone who would like to contribute. A bit of background to this topic: When I was a Christian, I experienced two very powerful and 'wonderful' (weird) experiences (one when I was about 30, and one when I was about 43). I had not done any mind altering drugs. I had not been meditating, and so these experiences were not really expected at the time. I automatically assumed I had experienced God- God had deigned to reveal His existence to me. This strengthened the religious beliefs I had and overrode the weak links that would have likely caused me to stop believing much sooner, had I not experienced the 'spiritual realm', as I believed then. Over time I analysed these experiences and started to make sense of some aspects of them: both occasions I had been at a church meeting where an expectation of the Holy Spirit anointing people was strong and vocal: ideas of God 'touching' me were obviously playing in my mind at those times. So no big deal that God did show up as expected. Now here's the bit I can't make sense of and for which I have not found any scientific studies or literature to make sense of what I experienced, and indeed what thousands or millions of people from the beginning, have experienced (my studies of mystical experiences leave me in no doubt that regardless of what religion you happen to be following, you are tapping into the same thing): why did CERTAIN manifestations happen the way they did? I'm trying to keep this post as short as possible and so I can elaborate on these manifestations as we go along. A brief summary is: both times I became aware of a power outside of me. It was bearing down on me in palpable waves of energy. My mind did not seem to be in any way 'altered'. My thinking was the same. I was analysing at the time what was happening to me. The first time I lost energy in my body so that I had to lie down and then found I was unable to lift my head off the floor. I was pinned to the floor. I was analysing this and trying my hardest to get up, but couldn't. I felt scared. The second time, I felt the waves of power gently but firmly bear down on me so much so I had to kneel down and then lower my upper body down so that I ended up assuming a position which apparently I have discovered is some kind of yoga position. ?? That second experience was accompanied by weird physical manifestations: heavings in the sides of my abdomen, and shaking. Tears were streaming down my face but I wasn't sad. I did feel a very strong feeling like 'poignancy' but again, my mind was clear. No feelings of euphoria or anything like that. I was observing in my mind what was happening to me. At no time with either experience did the church leader of anyone else at the meetings, suggest any of these manifestations. If they had said 'you will feel God's presence like waves of power', then I would put my experiences down to a form of hypnotism. This did not happen though. So....does anyone know of any studies that explain why religious experiences follow certain physical and usually (but not for me), mental 'patterns'? Something natural and explainable is responsible for the 'power' I tangibly felt on both occasions. Something caused my body to involuntarily tremble. What was it? I have been reading lots of articles on mystical experiences, and many people who meditate, experience an altered state of consciousness. In comparing their experiences with those who take mind altering drugs, it seems there are similarities in both, and the main thing that seems to come through and stands out to me, (and which interestingly) is found in the Bible) is the idea of 'oneness': being at one with the universe. My two experiences are not classed as 'mystical'. I did not have an altered state of consciousness. I didn't lose track of time. My experiences were very much 'physical', not mental. But they do share the same physical manifestations that often occur side by side with mystical experiences. (I remember feeling a bit peeved I hadn't felt the 'love' that many people say they feel when they encounter God). I shall post this now, (in case I suddenly lose this post). I shall continue in the next post.
  13. Hi Kolaida, thank you for your kind words and welcome back. It's good to know that some of my replies on here have been of help to others. Looking forward to exchanging ideas with you on here. Love your comments about going back and forth. That has been so true for me. I've been in and out of Christianity a few times over the years. Each time though, the hold gets weaker. I'm sure it's a natural process for some of us, as you suggest. My daughter is at that stage where she still wants it to be real, but knows in her heart it's probably (her view) not real. Her friend from church admitted to not stirring the sh*t (I think she worded it more like 'not digging too deep') as she would have no purpose really, if it was all false. It seems there are many 'Christians' who are kidding themselves. I know I did for a long time. Thanks again kolaida.
  14. Welcome Dragonman73, and thank you for sharing your story. I've been part of churches where I've known members to be non believers. The two I'm thinking of, both were married to full on evangelical women, but they themselves are atheists. I remember still going to church when I knew it was all bull. I gave my daughter a lift and so I tried to treat it like a loving community even if they believed in a fairy tale. I couldn't keep doing it though. You've hit the nail on the head though, regarding teaching the children stuff that you yourself don't believe. I know they learn lots of good positive things in Sunday school, but there is always the bullsh*t that will most certainly infect them. Just before I stopped going to church several months back (I knew it wasn't real but kept going for a while for the sake of my daughter and friends) one of the worship leaders gave a little word before the service started. She proudly told us how her six year old boy had answered a question: 'what is the most important thing?' He promptly drew a picture of Jesus on the cross. 'This was the most important thing'. So his mum told us all that nothing else mattered really. It all boiled down to Jesus dying for us. I was repulsed that a child who obviously didn't understand what the hell a dead man on a cross has to do with his little life, had drunk in the words he had heard from the adults. It gave me the creeps. I wish you and your wife all the best. Please let us know how things go.
  15. MoonHuntress, welcome! I really relate to your journey and the comments made by the others. You mention a place of peace outside of Christianity. It's taken me a while to reach that place myself, but there is a peace that you will surely find. Best wishes on your journey to truth and peace.
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