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Near Death Experiences, Hell, Hope


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Antlerman, you said that no one who goes to these places actually has anything happen to them? I am a little confused because it says in this man's experience that he was beaten/attacked and clawed by these initial beings.

I'm going to read through all of what is in those links as you'd like my feedback on them. Initially in just briefly looking at his description of this attack it makes sense to me. I'll explain. When I first said that no-one experiences hell themselves I was drawing off what others have said, since I myself never saw nor experienced any visions of hell or others within it. I'll link to an online video lecture I think you will find valuable and I believe he talks about that within there. That may help you.

 

But from what I read just now of his encounter with these 'demons', I'll say that I do relate to that somewhat in my NDE when I was 18 years old. I haven't shared this part of my experience before. What led into this that during the afternoon that day I felt a profound tiredness that came over me and I slipped into this deep vivid dream which spiraled into a nightmare. In that dream some threatening person I knew was in the front seat of my car and I was in the back. He turn and pointed a gun at me, and in this, I could call it a vision at this point, terror overcame me and I fell to my side knowing he was going to shoot me. Suddenly I felt darkness enclosing in around me and beginning to swallow me. I felt my body begin to shake, and consciously I knew I was in a dream and need to wake myself, but I was unable to. The shaking continued to worsen and blackness was swallowing me into nothing. I KNEW I was going to die. As everything was slipping away I suddenly, for no conscious reason to my mind I just blurted out "GOD HELP ME!!" (I was not a religious person, nor raised in a 'believing' home).

 

At that instant everything stopped and there was brilliant white light everywhere. Time ceased. Infinite Love surrounded me, filled my mind, held me as it were in power so absolute it could crush you, yet with infinite control of Mind. It 'looked' upon me with Infinite knowledge, conveying to me absolute awareness, and an absolute Love, grace, compassion towards me. It revealed my whole life to my mind from as young child through all the years of my life, in a thought, conveying I have never been 'alone', that 'that' or 'God' in this sense was always there, always aware of me with that same infinite love I was fully aware of now. In looking up into this infinite Light, what I was 'seeing' was only the smallest sliver of an infinity beyond it. And yet that smallest sliver was absolute infinity within itself. Infinity within infinity within infinity, without end. Fully aware, pure mind, pure light, pure love, pure awareness.

 

And then I was suddenly awake, my eyes opened, and I began my life that led me to the point I am now. There is much more to this I can talk about, but for the sake of what we're talking about here, I thought the whole experiencing terror part of it I've never really mentioned before seemed to relate to what I just glanced through in what this guy went into great detail describing in his experience. In this video I'm linking you to, you will see him describe in detail how terror filling the mind is the first part of the release into Bliss. I'll swing back around and discuss more with you after I read the whole article you linked to and have the time to compose my thoughts for you.

 

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I'm going to add a few more thoughts here in the time being, as I would really like to dig deep here, if that's OK with you. Something else I'd like you to look at directly ties into the NDE experience, and they are the stages of meditation. What I described above is something I am able now through meditation to enter into. Even though what is manifest is different, almost every time actually, it is essentially the same thing, the same nature, the same essence, the same profound 'encounter'. The overwhelming nature of the NDE is because you are largely unprepared for it. In my case above, it is moving from a state of complete unawareness, to complete awareness. It overwhelms you.

 

Within a particular type of mediation, Insight meditation or awareness meditation, there are four basic levels or states: Psychic, Subtle, Causal, and Nondual. Please read about the accurate descriptions of these here: Link In how I now understand my first experience described above it was the Subtle level of a state of consciousness. The second experience which I did not describe above, which technically wasn't an NDE matches the Nondual experience he describes in that link.

 

In meditation practice currently for myself, I normal spend most of my time within the Subtle state, occasional the Causal, and many times experience the non-dual, though that is more outside my mediation practice, occurring more in just living, walking, doing things, seeing the world. My description of that first time I experienced I talked about in this post here: Link You'll also read a description of what I typed above this morning.

 

I'll let you digest some of this for now, and expect I will be adding more thoughts later that will reference these things... hope you don't mind if I indulge myself with this in your thread..

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Fallout, you know, he could be lying. Or downplaying his "atheism."

 

Basically, there is no reason to let the experiences of another determine what you do with your life. Have your own experiences. Even if he is telling the truth, it has nothing to do with you.

 

On top of that, even on this site alone, there are many other NDE experiences, and it hasn't made anyone here convinced of Abraham's god.

 

Maybe I simply distrust anyone going public with a spiritual experience with the intention of convincing others. I always suspect that they are lying, exaggerating, or something. And I have my own spiritual experiences, I don't need others'.

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Fallout, you know, he could be lying. Or downplaying his "atheism."

 

Basically, there is no reason to let the experiences of another determine what you do with your life. Have your own experiences. Even if he is telling the truth, it has nothing to do with you.

 

On top of that, even on this site alone, there are many other NDE experiences, and it hasn't made anyone here convinced of Abraham's god.

 

Maybe I simply distrust anyone going public with a spiritual experience with the intention of convincing others. I always suspect that they are lying, exaggerating, or something. And I have my own spiritual experiences, I don't need others'.

 

I would double up this post if I could. This seems like really good advice to me!

 

After all, this is just one man's alleged experience. We don't know anything about this person or what he really experienced. There is no reason to allow what he has to say to sway us either way. We have to take in the whole of what we know.

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Alright, I've read through the 4 links in that link. I now have some further thoughts to share. First of all, what I said earlier after a cursory glance at his 'attack' part of his story, I definitely relate it to what I already stated above about the 'terror' part of an NDE, which I myself experienced and mentioned above. It is part of that process of coming to an end of our self. How that terror manifests itself will take many forms. Again, watch the lecture in the video I linked to earlier.

 

BTW, I do not catch from this NDE this was "Christian". In fact, it very much bore very Eastern tones to it, as well as the Western notions of God. No surprise. I do consider this a legitimate experience, and how his mind presented it to himself. It's what it is saying underneath the symbols that I get. Don't get hung up on these things as being real things "out there". More on this...

 

To your questions...

 

Not only this, but supposedly he was told that the bible has spiritual truth, although reading it literally will lead to problems, that if you read it "spiritually" and "prayerfully" that is speaks to you.

Actually... and this may shock or offend some people, but aside from the whole angels telling him these things as he understood it, there is some truth to this. Of course, a lot of the Bible is just dross. But there are parts of it that have some strong Eastern Wisdom teachings in it. Most Christians don't see this however, because it is all externalized as some word from a sky god to them. If you pick of the Gnostic Gospels, this is even more pronounced. And why not? Do we think there were no actual insights whatsoever? In fact, the deeper I move within meditation and the sorts of realizations I gain, I am actually surprised how many verses I used to quote as a believing Christian actually now make sense! They make sense, but not in any way your average Christian understands them! In fact, the pretty much destroy everything they call 'the truth of God'.

 

Somewhere in himself in what he was experiencing, parts of it he'd always heard bubbled up to him and he saw something he never had in an earlier context. So it expressed itself as some self-realization in this altered state of consciousness, through the symbolic forms of these "friends" telling himself this. These are manifestations of the subconscious mind, talking to himself in a higher state of awareness. He mentions many times how he was more aware than he ever had been before. This is true.

 

 

Not only this but this man apparently was told of the future/possible future. One of which talking about the economic collapse of the world and I believe something about a civil war in America that no one else will intervene to help with, since they had all been abused by the exploitation of America.

The thing about things like this is that we are always aware of the world, even when we are not consciousness aware of it. This is why meditation is so incredibly powerful. It opens the conscious mind to the subconscious mind, which speaks through in symbols of what it observes, and which is always talking to us in ways we don't recognize. Seeing the condition of the world on a subtle level, that subconscious awareness uncluttered by the busy debris of our normal waking mind, can sense things otherwise obscured. A lot of what he is projecting on possible future events are from things part of him sense about the world around him.

 

Is this a "prophecy", like in some magical prediction of future events? I don't believe that so much, other than at a certain point of subtle-level awareness, there is a certain degree of precognition that can occur. There becomes an increase in intuition, an awareness of a certain synchronicity of all events that becomes more consciously recognized, etc. But taking such things as he says as literal predictions, I wouldn't go there.

 

During his experience he was going over life experiences, talking about them "loving" him whenever he became too ashamed or sad, and stopping the review of his life.

Yes. In meditation, which directly relates to this sort of experience, I have and do experience what you can call 'guides'. These take many forms, a Bodhisattva, a deity, a divine presence, divine mind. It is part of a self healing process of opening your deep inner guts and releasing them into Light, becoming whole where you were broken or divided within yourself. There is a sense of trust that is conveyed to yourself through the experience. What that is is your higher Self talking to your small 'self' which is on the path of awakening. These things manifest themselves through you, from you, to yourself, with yourself there, enough removed from being engaged in the feelings and thoughts that you are able to face the fears, and often they take the form of an assuring presence, which is your Self telling your self to trust the process.

 

I know this will sound extremely strange to anyone who has never experienced that, but to those who have I know they'll know what this is. There is no way to convey what this looks like unless you actually go there yourself. At any rate, this is what these 'friends' were in his experience. He was those friends. It was his own soul, so to speak. And I can kick this up another notch yet, but I'll hold off for now.

 

It went further to say that in the future, and this is where is gets a little weirder, I think it was like 100 years or 200, that he was shown "God's garden", instead of what he expected or at least what he describes as a world where people are telepathically linked and pray to change the weather. This was because of god's kingdom being ushered in.

This is definitely not Christian theology, even though it manifest itself to his mind in the sorts of dualistic myth symbols of Western thought. In some ways some of this sounds right, but I wouldn't go nearly so far as this. I personally believe we are in fact evolving our consciousness, and globally as a species we will advance at some near point, in however that happens. I believe how think and behave as a species will in fact become far more connected and fluid, beyond our fascination with reason and intellect. I'm not saying we abandon that by any means. On the contrary, we advance it beyond seeing it as the pinacle of human achievement. A lot of what he intuits here I would say I do myself, but not with all the mythological trappings his mind layered upon this. But at its heart, I'd say the essence of it is likely.

 

 

He was also told there were more spiritually developed life on other planets, that earth was in a "bad way" for lack of a better word. Basically a weird version of revelations it seems like/he was told that god wanted to bring in his kingdom in the next hundred years.

Again a lot of his stuff is how his mind thinking in mythological symbols presented it to him. The deeper part of all this I alluded to was that what we are tapping into (not the right word for it), what we are exposing is a certain deep well of infinite depth that we are all born of and part of. He actually alludes to this. In exposing this Ocean, pulling back that veil, we reveal both that infinite depth we are all born from and connected to, and to the infinite heights of its potentials always present in all of us. This is where we encounter not only our own prior self, before the 'big bang' to put it that way, but the fullness of the potential of who we are in that Identity.

 

You have to understand, these sort of expressions are but flickers of light, imperfect in their expressions of something far, far, beyond any comprehension, beyond all symbols, beyond all words, and definitions. Imagine the energy of the Big Bang. It's that times infinity, not just in creative power, but in Infinite Being. We are That. We are awakening as That to That in this particular form. Ponder that some.

 

Not to mention that he was an atheist when he "went under", making me wonder why he would have such a "Christian Experience". I know you're saying that the experience itself is your mind is in essence experiencing itself, but in this instance he repeatedly talks about his "surprise" when he is presented with details by the angels/"beings of light".

Oh, even though I am aware rationally of the nature of myth and deity symbols, I also sometimes am surprised at what presents itself to me! I'm Western, and I've seen Krisha, Shiva, Tara, Jesus, the Father, Sophia, you name it. They are the faces we put upon that Infinite within us manifesting itself. It's no big deal. In fact, quite useful. Let me give you a quote to wrap your mind around and you might understand this. This is how our subconscious speaks to us, since it doesn't communicate in literal linguist forms, but in subtle light......

 

"But this is not God as an ontological other, set apart from the cosmos, from humans, and from creation at large. Rather, it is God as an archetypal summit of one's own Consciousness. ... By visualizing that identification 'we actually do become the deity. The subject is identified with the object of faith. The worship, the worshiper, and the worshiped, those three are not separate'. At its peak, the soul becomes one, literally one, with the deity-form, with the dhyani-buddha, with (choose whatever term one prefers) God. One dissolves into Deity, as Deity - that Deity which, from the beginning, has been one's own Self or highest Archetype."

 

~Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye, pg. 85

 

 

When you talk about Ultimate Reality, are you referring to an actual spiritual realm/stimuli that are experienced in the NDE, and elaborated upon by our minds through the process of symbolic thought/attaching religious or cultural "faces" to the experiences in the phenomenon?

I addressed this somewhat in my earlier post referencing the stages of meditation. I see NDE's as the subtle stage of manifest form of higher consciousness. The ultimate state is beyond that. It's not a 'realm', but rather it is a Realization of what simply Is. It is seeing what is always fully there, and fully who and what we are. It is pulling back the veil to expose Reality. Presently that is obscured to us by where we are at in our stages of development. That link on the stages of meditation, along with sharing that link to my 2nd experience will explain it more clearly.

 

 

PS is the idea of things feeling "more real than real life" a common theme? He seems to mention how everything felt more intense than normal.

Yes, this sounds correct.

 

I hope you find some of this helpful to you. By all means feel free to ask whatever comes to mind. I'll share other thoughts if they occur to me.

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Based on what I have read from the Micheal Teachings, when a person is experiencing a NDE, their "soul", for lack of a better term, is on the first level of the Astral plane.

 

This is where people go when they are in surgery, sleeping, or dead. The Astral is a very malleable place which is driven primarily by emotion. Thus, if you approach it with fear, then you will experience fear. On the Astral there are places reserved for heaven and hell. As people expect to experience those afterlives. There apparently are souls who like to metaphorically pull up a lawn chair and have a beer with friends enjoying the spectacle of souls torturing themselves because they feel they need it.

 

So when the guy says he was attacked and clawed it very well could be that is what he experienced. If he was afraid going into, then the astral complied and gave him something to fear. It could also be that he, expected to see that based on his christian indoctrination and then rejection of it.

 

At the point, where Heretic talk about meeting Jesus, Antlerman talks about meeting guides, and the guy in the article talks about angels or whatever, were most likely other souls who may be guides, entity mates, or others from past lives who have a connection with the person having the experience. They will appear to you however you need them to appear to you as form on the astral plane is very fluid. Their purpose is to calm you and escort you back to the body. Because, obviously, being a NDE you are not "dead". Had you actually decided to die, the experience would have been different and you would not have come back in your current form.

 

Since the entry point is through the instinctive center, the experience is likely to start out highly symbolic. To the point you may not be able to consciously discern the meaning. However, it makes sense to the subconscious.

 

Antlerman's experience seems to me to be an example of essence contact.

 

We essentially are two beings in one. The essence is the energy that gives us a spark. It is always with us. Essence is both us an not us a the same time. When you were born you were born with a personality template. Essence had a rough plan for this life but once you were born the personality takes control. The personality always has control over the choices in the life.

 

Some people, think the Matrix, "sleep" through the entire cycle of lives. Others "wake up" and form a conscious connection to essence. This sounds like what happened to Antlerman. The NDE was the gateway that allowed for it. In crying out for help, essence answered.

 

The connection to the personality takes less then 1% of the total energy available to essence. Therefore, having an experience like Antlerman's, it would appear infinite and of course essence loves you. You are in part essence.

 

Anyway, just a different take on the experiences presented.

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Based on what I have read from the Micheal Teachings, when a person is experiencing a NDE, their "soul", for lack of a better term, is on the first level of the Astral plane.

 

This is where people go when they are in surgery, sleeping, or dead. The Astral is a very malleable place which is driven primarily by emotion. Thus, if you approach it with fear, then you will experience fear. On the Astral there are places reserved for heaven and hell. As people expect to experience those afterlives. There apparently are souls who like to metaphorically pull up a lawn chair and have a beer with friends enjoying the spectacle of souls torturing themselves because they feel they need it.

 

So when the guy says he was attacked and clawed it very well could be that is what he experienced. If he was afraid going into, then the astral complied and gave him something to fear. It could also be that he, expected to see that based on his christian indoctrination and then rejection of it.

 

At the point, where Heretic talk about meeting Jesus, Antlerman talks about meeting guides, and the guy in the article talks about angels or whatever, were most likely other souls who may be guides, entity mates, or others from past lives who have a connection with the person having the experience. They will appear to you however you need them to appear to you as form on the astral plane is very fluid. Their purpose is to calm you and escort you back to the body. Because, obviously, being a NDE you are not "dead". Had you actually decided to die, the experience would have been different and you would not have come back in your current form.

 

Since the entry point is through the instinctive center, the experience is likely to start out highly symbolic. To the point you may not be able to consciously discern the meaning. However, it makes sense to the subconscious.

 

Antlerman's experience seems to me to be an example of essence contact.

 

We essentially are two beings in one. The essence is the energy that gives us a spark. It is always with us. Essence is both us an not us a the same time. When you were born you were born with a personality template. Essence had a rough plan for this life but once you were born the personality takes control. The personality always has control over the choices in the life.

 

Some people, think the Matrix, "sleep" through the entire cycle of lives. Others "wake up" and form a conscious connection to essence. This sounds like what happened to Antlerman. The NDE was the gateway that allowed for it. In crying out for help, essence answered.

 

The connection to the personality takes less then 1% of the total energy available to essence. Therefore, having an experience like Antlerman's, it would appear infinite and of course essence loves you. You are in part essence.

 

Anyway, just a different take on the experiences presented.

 

Objective, verifiable, testable proof please. Or it didn't happen.

 

LOL. JUSSSSST KIDDING GUYS

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At the point, where Heretic talk about meeting Jesus, Antlerman talks about meeting guides, and the guy in the article talks about angels or whatever, were most likely other souls who may be guides, entity mates, or others from past lives who have a connection with the person having the experience. They will appear to you however you need them to appear to you as form on the astral plane is very fluid. Their purpose is to calm you and escort you back to the body.

When I spoke of meeting "guides", it was within meditation. Granted, you can call this an astral plane if you prefer as it was dubbed that way back when in antiquity to attempt to describe this space. I don't see it as disembodied souls, rather a projection of our own Self out of that deep. It does meet you and take whatever form needs to be there for you. I see it as meeting myself as That, meeting my own Nature before and beyond who I see and believe myself to be in this waking world. I don't see these as necessarily about escorting you back to the body, but also to help you move to the next level of realization. There does in fact come a point where they disappear, as I've pointed out.

 

I somewhat reluctantly share something quite personal to myself as a point to speak about this. This is from my own personal meditation journal I recorded my fresh thoughts following a meditation session. This was from this last April, and you will see what I mean by how these 'manifestations' are from a complex processes within ourselves to help us move through these spaces. I could go into far greater depth explaining my thoughts, but I'll just share this here as an illustration from my own personal, direct experience written within 20 minutes following this day's experience:

 

2012, Apr 6

 

I was able to meditate today and yesterday following a few days of not meditating due to time and not feeling well. I’ve been struggling with being disciplined about it over the last few weeks, not getting in as much time, sleeping late, avoiding. I see this as somewhat a fear of it in many regards. The naysayer comes to put up obstacles to distract myself from it. I believe it is because when I meditate now what I open to is so brilliant it leaves me a bit unsure of my footings. It’s like it’s so open, so brilliant, and so free that I almost fear losing my mind into her and becoming lost. I know whenever I go in there, it will be there, and I will be there.

 

Today as I moved there I set aside fear and went with the mind into her light, gentle, trusting, and illuminating. I can scarcely put into words what is exposed. The mind becomes freed, still, aware. Brilliant light of compassion and power surrounds and envelopes the soul and mind. It is mind upon mind. Knowledge of the Divine. Breath. Breath like wings of life in Silence, breathing Spirit. My soul is clothed with Light. The mind opens into Truth, veiled only by the fear of its brilliance. It is a journey of my soul into its true Nature, the true Identity. The fear of the mind is overcome by the light of her compassion within her arms. I go with her in flight upon the wings of my Spirit. I am mind, body, and truth. I fear that face, save for trust and belief in that Unseen, veiled dimly from our sight and made brilliant in her light. Through her, we awaken our Souls and see our true face. Light. Love. Compassion that destroys all enemies in a single thought.

 

I personally don't see these experiences in a mythological context of beings from beyond this veil in another realm. I do still see it as phenomenally beyond what we call 'reality', and see it as a means to higher realization. As in that stages of meditation link, this is the more Subtle level experience. Through this process of visualizations, in my case, it moves you beyond those to that place of Emptiness. The forms dissolve. The gods disappear. It is realized in yourself.

 

Are these the minds of the departed? Not how I would understand it exactly. The collective unconscious, as Jung called it? Yes, that of which we too are part, but more than that as I said earlier. It is also forms of unrealized potentials of that Infinite Source. Hence why some of these forms are archetypes.

 

Antlerman's experience seems to me to be an example of essence contact.

 

We essentially are two beings in one. The essence is the energy that gives us a spark. It is always with us. Essence is both us an not us a the same time. When you were born you were born with a personality template. Essence had a rough plan for this life but once you were born the personality takes control. The personality always has control over the choices in the life.

This could be one way to talk about it. It is expressing in this language what I have said in mine. It is our prior Self that is obscured to us because of how we differentiate ourselves from it as individuals. This is where the myths of a fall and separation from God permeate the world's religious myths; Paradise Lost. Oneness is seen our prior state. In my thinking I see it as both the Ground of Being where we in deep slumber of forgetfulness. Evolution is our reawakening to that, and culminated in awakening as That though our differentiated self.

 

What that means is that prior to awakening to our separate self, our personality as you put it, we were fused with it, unaware. Through development, we become that distinct personality differentiating ourselves as "me, not me". We begin to see the world as 'not me'. As we grow further, we start to see the world and ourselves and others as far more connected to us. Ultimately it culminates with us as a fully self-realized individual in mutual recognition of the world as ourselves. We become married to it, so to speak. You don't loose your identity into it, your identity becomes awakened AS That. I-I.

 

Some people, think the Matrix, "sleep" through the entire cycle of lives. Others "wake up" and form a conscious connection to essence. This sounds like what happened to Antlerman. The NDE was the gateway that allowed for it. In crying out for help, essence answered.

Yes, in so many words. In having had that initial exposure to it blow the lid of the world, nothing was ever the same. It's been 30 long years to 'come home' so to speak, having gone the path of believing in external beings to open that door again for me, praying to God that way, etc. The fact is its always fully already ours right here and now.

 

Aside from accidental and arbitrary stumbling into such "peak experiences", such as an NDE, it is actually reproducible. We can choose to go there and see and learn what we feel we desire. You essentially don't generate it, but you put yourself into the path for it to happen on its own. You quite the mind and expose the soul. Then, let what arises come. It's that simple actually. You're already That. You just need to allow it.

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Your links were very interesting, and I can see the philosophy you have and how it resonates with the framing put forth in the article, and about how god is an expression of our own consciousness and ability, that is realized as part of you through pursuing the meditation process. I must admit that although I understand the concepts you are describing to some extent intellectually, I have some trouble with completely understanding the ideas that seem strongly rooted in experience (As you have talked about before). That is, it's hard to fully understand unless you have experienced it yourself, much like it's difficult to express an emotion in traditional language, since a lot of language falls short in communicating internal experiences that deal with emotion.

 

Antlerman, You said the concept of a fall and separation from God permeates religious myths. I have actually never heard of this. Can you give me some examples of such religions/myths? I always thought the Abrahamic faiths/the Adam and Eve story were unique in that respect, which also contributed to my feelings that Christianity was unique in that view.

 

I saw your talk to the Christian who had an experience when he was about to commit suicide and your description of the universe opening itself up to you. Actually I went a little further in the thread and saw your thoughts on the idea that the Christian principles could possibly be god testing for those he doesn't want in heaven, in response to the idea of pascal's wager. This opens up another problem that comes to my mind, the idea of rejecting a god of such malevolence. Although I know that the concept is insidious in it's ability to make you question anything of personal intuition or thought, the idea that concepts of self-fulfillment and saving the self remind me of concepts of the deception of Satan. I know you say you weren't raised in a "believing" home, so I don't know how much of that you got in your experiences with the religion, but it's always been the background thought to any ideas of personal, as opposed to god-assisted, transcendence of personal "demons". The idea of satan, and demons, convincing people their salvation is themselves instead of with god. The doctrines of sin as something that can only be "cleansed" through god. I guess why I'm bringing this up is the ideas of a god actually imparting love, along with the concept of divine enlightenment/revelation (As discussed below/further elaboration on my fears of the idea of an actual prediction)

 

I understand what you are saying about intuition playing a role/the consciousness of one's surroundings becoming manifest in these experiences, Antlerman. The part that still catches my concern is that his prediction/vision seems to be coming true, and a little uncanny based on the time he had the experience in.

"
The light beings replied, "The United States has been given the opportunity to be the teacher for the world, but much is expected of those to whom much has been given. The United States has been given more of everything than any country in the history of the world and it has failed to be generous with the gifts. If the United States continues to exploit the rest of the world by greedily consuming the world's resources, the United States will have God's blessing withdrawn. Your country will collapse economically which will result in civil chaos. Because of the greedy nature of the people, you will have people killing people for a cup of gasoline. The world will watch in horror as your country is obliterated by strife. The rest of the world will not intervene because they have been victims of your exploitation. They will welcome the annihilation of such selfish people. The United States must change immediately and become the teachers of goodness and generosity to the rest of the world. Today the United States is the primary merchant of war and the culture of violence that you export to the world. This will come to an end because you have the seeds of your own destruction within you. Either you will destroy yourselves or God will bring it to an end if there isn't a change."

I have been told by people in other countries about how they see the United States as the epiphany of self-involvement and I know the political polarization is the tell tale sign of a democracy in trouble/collapse of social system. Not only this, but I have taken at least one class on International Politics before I read this and about how a lot of the stuff going on in the US seem to be mirroring other nations which decline into "civil chaos" at least at the political level. In culture we are becoming extremely polarized and no one is listening to on another. People are just blaming everyone else, and it's coming to the point where people don't trust their own government. In times like that, Democratic participation declines substantially, and since the polls show that the most trusted governmental institution is the military, it is most likely to take over in times of such duress. My Poli-sci professor (incidentally an ex-christian, secular atheist) talks about how in times of political distrust the most trusted institutions take power (there were more details, but I can't quite remember everything), and that is why it is so disconcerting that Americans trust the military more than their own democratic institutions. Not only this, but our economy is in dire straights and in danger of the collapse that is described in his "vision". When I think about the fact that this was in 1985, it bothers me that he would happen to have such a disturbingly accurate vision of the future, along with his Christian vision. Now that I look though, it seems that the actual book was published in 2000. Again I'm pretty sure that he talked about religion in particular not being important as closeness to god.

 

I don't know though...I guess I just want to know how you would not take what he is saying as a kind of prediction. It just seems like the United States really is heading in the direction he talked about, and if it is, I'm not sure if it wasn't a genuine vision from a god. I never thought I'd say that about any "prophets" or their visions, especially a Christian one. That is what bothers me though, the idea that god wants us to come to him for our enlightenment and for salvation. That if this man had an actual predictive experience, and he had it while in the context of it coming from god, that the fruition of his visions provide evidence for the context he had them in. I am not so good at articulating my thoughts right now...I guess it can be summed up by the thoughts that: "If he was shown something so uncanny that came to actually happened exactly as he was shown, and in a time where such a future couldn't reasonably be 'guessed', then that lends to the idea that god actually was the one to impart knowledge of the future. If he actually was communicated to by god, then maybe his experience actually was one of experiencing an actual spiritual realm. If that's true, then his experience of hell/torment was a real experience that could await those who are not right with god on the other side". Simply put, if his ideas of god are validated by a legitimate prediction, then perhaps his other insights also are true, such as the actual existence of a kind of god, and a kind of hell and afterlife. The possibility that god is not 'simply' an archetype, but a real being. This comes from the idea/reasoning that if he had a vision of something that he couldn't have even discerned through his own higher consciousness alone, then what if it could have only come from a being who knew/god. This is why, LunaticHeathen, why his own personal experience is bothering me. Because if he had an experience it is one thing, but if it was validated by external events/what he was saying goes further than his own experiences, then I feel/fear that it is evidence of the reality he experienced in subjectively. I don't know, do you understand what I am getting at? Like, even though all the details are exactly corroborated, that the idea that something else imparted this wisdom would be an inescapable conclusion.

 

I guess my reservations come from the ideas of Christianity ingrained in me. The ideas of spiritual warfare specifically pronounced in Pentecostalism. Ideas of possession and being misled by dabbling about in the occult or things related to other religions. Specifically the practices of Eastern meditation and most salient the idea of god as being in yourself, as opposed to an external being brings to mind the ideas of men being led astray spiritually/deceived. That if I try to experience this spirituality apart from trying to pursue god, that I am in fact not pursuing god and going against god's will, and that my good nature won't matter, since I wasn't trying to connect to god. That leads to me thinking about the idea that in fact, there is judgement for those who did not try to connect with god, as opposed to trying to be happy by themselves. In your discussion with Sojourner (in the thread in the second link), you talked about rejecting a god that would be so cruel, this struck a chord with me in that, because of this story, I started to think about what seemed to me to bring up the possibility that the Christian faith was in fact true, including doctrines of hell and judgement, along with those of love. I found myself extremely depressed, feeling so trapped in that universe, and not being willing, or really able, to genuinely feel love for such a being. I know that wasn't your intent in showing me that thread, but it resonated with me and I was wondering if we could discuss that a little bit, because like you said, the fact that Christians are bothered by that bothers me. My own father, as loving as he is, still doesn't reject the idea of a hell where people are separate from god. There is also the "23 minutes in hell", what I believe from memory to be an NDE, although I"m not sure since I never actually read/looked at it. The doctrine/idea that hell is the separation from the ultimate source of love and peace, God.

 

I have more I want to talk about, but right now my thinking is a little convoluted...I will probably type more tomorrow when I can.

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Antlerman, You said the concept of a fall and separation from God permeates religious myths. I have actually never heard of this. Can you give me some examples of such religions/myths? I always thought the Abrahamic faiths/the Adam and Eve story were unique in that respect, which also contributed to my feelings that Christianity was unique in that view.

There's a great deal of points in your response I will try to get to without loosing focus on the most salient points you wish to talk about. This first point here I'll try to be brief about, but this alone could be a major topic discussion, bear in mind.

 

Evangelical Christians like to try to sell Christianity as unique amongst the world's regions. Quick and easy answer, they are all unique. But they also are not. Obviously Christianity has some unique things to it, otherwise it wouldn't be that religion but another one. The fall of man unique? No, not really.

 

In the simplest terms the myths of the ancient world express an awareness of man's separation from God. This is an opening awareness of our own uniqueness in the world. Prior to this man simply related to the world through its gods in a magical relationship, like a dream. The forms of religions were failing to the address the new awareness of self that was emerging from the dreamworld of man in the womb of the great mother, the symbol of the earth, life-giving and terrifying and demanding sacrifices.

 

In this state of an awakening separate self in the world, it creates an existential anxiety. Gone is the recalled innocence of childhood! We were one with our Creator, and now we don't see her anymore! Around 2000 BCE, expressions of this anguish began to emerge in literature,

"I cried to my god, but he did not show his countenance;

I prayed to my goddess, she did not raise her head.

 

Prayer was my practice, sacrifice my law,

The day of worship of the gods, the joy of my heart,

The day of devotion to the goddess, more to me than riches.

 

The man who was alive yesterday is today dead;

In a trice he is given to grief, of a sudden, crushed.

For a day he sings and plays;

In a moment he is wailing like a mourner."

 

This was written by King Tabi-utul-Enlil around 1750 BC in Babylonia, over a thousand years before the earliest Biblical writing. It cries of a sense of anguish in separation from the Divine and fear of this state of being in relation to its god. It is in it's own right what we see happening today with fundamentalism which is a cry to go back to a past which is now imagined as simpler, when we just enjoyed worshiping our gods in our innocence. This was the birth of the fall of man myths, it is the rise of fundamentalism in a modern world. Same cycle. It's a nostalgia its its own way, imagining the purity of days past as closer to the time when all what right and happy.

 

That is the birth of the view in all the great religions when we were once 'one' with the creator, either cast out or we lost our way out of that paradise. The myth of Adam and Eve express that anguish of self-awareness. It's a double-edged sword, because in reality without that awakening of our self-awareness, the birth of the ego, we would be in a slumber. Which is what the Hindus speak of in how the world is spirit asleep, in a state of forgetfulness. They all point to an earlier unity, before we awoke to a sense of separateness. I see it as an expression of an existential dread. It is a theological 'fall of man' from paradise, a sense of a prior unity lost and why it happened expressed in its myths.

 

Now there is a great deal I can sink my teeth into on this which I would love to do, but I'll leave at this to whet your appetite for at a later time.

 

I saw your talk to the Christian who had an experience when he was about to commit suicide and your description of the universe opening itself up to you. Actually I went a little further in the thread and saw your thoughts on the idea that the Christian principles could possibly be god testing for those he doesn't want in heaven, in response to the idea of pascal's wager. This opens up another problem that comes to my mind, the idea of rejecting a god of such malevolence. Although I know that the concept is insidious in it's ability to make you question anything of personal intuition or thought, the idea that concepts of self-fulfillment and saving the self remind me of concepts of the deception of Satan.

Bear in mind that what I wrote in that thread was almost 5 years ago and some of my thoughts have refined a bit since then. But just looking over that other area you read to I see what I was getting at. It was a hyperbole. I actually don't believe that, but it was a twist on how some 'true believers' twist things around like why there are dinosaur bones on earth when they don't believe in an old earth as a test of their faith. In other words, imagine if God is like that as they suggest, that if all those stories of atrocity in the Old Testament are a test of faith to see if they instead embrace Love, versus just saving their asses from hell. It was a funny, ironic thought. Of course I do not believe such a thing.

 

BTW, back then in that thread I identified as an atheist. I don't any longer. It doesn't apply any longer to how I see things now.

 

I know you say you weren't raised in a "believing" home, so I don't know how much of that you got in your experiences with the religion, but it's always been the background thought to any ideas of personal, as opposed to god-assisted, transcendence of personal "demons". The idea of satan, and demons, convincing people their salvation is themselves instead of with god.

I take a deep sigh, and hope to spend some time here on this which you raise, and where I hear much of your internal anguish over. I'll deal with this briefly here, and come back in another post in response to the rest of what you posted later.

 

These particular types of Christians who love to speculate about what others are saying or actually doing and state it as fact, are doing so from a place of great ignorance, especially when it comes to things like Eastern religious thought! What they are saying here in what you raised, "their salvation is in themselves instead of with god", is a conflation of the whole American myth of 'pull yourself up by your bootstraps', ego-reliance, with a genuine spiritual awakening to God within. To them, in their deep ignorance, and lack of their own experience mind you, is to see someone who says "it is the God within who saves us", as speaking of their own egos. It is seen as arrogance. To hear "I am God", to them means "I'm the conquerer of the world. There is no God besides Me!".

 

Now it is true that there are those who are prideful and do act this way. But when someone of a spiritual faith, says "I am God", that statement is in fact the most humble thing anyone could possibly say!! The key to understanding this of course is direct experience. There is a watershed mark where the meaning of these things end up on completely opposite ends of the spectrum, and this is true of almost everything in how they in how they practice their religion end up themselves on one end - the end that itself lacks internal realization. To say "I am God", in this context means a complete end of your ego. It means a complete emptying of your pride and trying to grasp and grip and conquer and and control. It is to so come to the end of "you" that you find your true Self which is in fact God. You fall backwards into that Ocean, and it becomes you.

 

That is not 'self-reliance' in the sense of being the master through the force of your will to control your world. It is however a full embrace of individual responsibility, along with a release of all we hang on as "me" into the greater Source of ourselves. It is the fulfillment of our humanity in the realization of ourselves as the Divine. That is not pride or arrogance at all. It is the utter end of it. And guess what? That too is in the Bible! It's the whole 'salvation' theme of dying to yourself. It's in Buddhism. It's in Hinduism.

 

But to these Christians who do not understand this within themselves only see this externally. And so it 'looks like' something else to them because they can't see it themselves. They project onto others themselves. The entire God relationship to them is outside themselves, even though they use such words as the Holy Spirit within. That to them means an external force in controlling them. They still have the seat of their self-identity in their separate egos. That is the key to understanding this. The center of their self-identification, is 'themselves'. It is not an internal awakening to that "Spirit within" to the point that their center of self-identification becomes That. At that point, then you can say as their own master said, "I and my Father are One". What do you think that really meant?

 

I'm going to take a break for now and come back with more later. Try not to let all that garbage fears of their ignorance fill your mind in hearing this. I will demonstrate how unfounded and incorrect what they say about such things as meditation, and whatnot are. The hold they have on others is one through Fear, it is not true understanding through knowledge and love.

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this topic is very near an dear to me as I tried to use this as a last resort to believe. ive heard that the brain is not being in a state where it can conjure up that experience but the periods before and after it is.

 

also, why doesn't EVERYBODY have it. particularly open heart surgery patients, they are all basically dead then revived when they get their new parts. Do they go to heaven and then come back. also the white light sees to be common due to the way that our organs/brain shut down.

 

also the experience is more than likely an interpretation of what that person thought to be true. In a lifetime, we hear "go to the light" enough times that thats our perception of death.

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also the experience is more than likely an interpretation of what that person thought to be true. In a lifetime, we hear "go to the light" enough times that thats our perception of death.

I think the light part is what it is, and that what makes its way into culture starts from actual experience. I don't believe that we experience light because it's a cultural suggestion. It sure wasn't in my case, as I'd never heard that expression, let alone the fact of how beyond what you might imagine it looks like it really is when you experience it. Besides, in meditation as I've mentioned in this thread and will in my next response to Fallout later on as time permits, that same Light experience happens within that, and the experience of it just happens. There is a real, factual experience described in this quote I came across myself after my own meditation experiences, which when I read I said, "That's it!" It describes it well:

 

“There are lights which ascend and lights which descend. The ascending lights are the lights of the heart; the descending lights are those of the Throne. The false self is the veil between the Throne and the heart. When this veil is torn, and a door opens in the heart, like springs towards like. Light ascends toward light and light descends upon light, and it is ‘light upon light’.

 

When each time the heart sighs for the throne the throne sighs for the heart, so they come to meet. Each time a light ascends from you, a light descends toward you. If their energies are equal, then they meet halfway. But when the substance of light has grown in you, then this makes up a whole in relation to what is in the same nature in Heaven. Then, it is the substance of light in Heaven that longs for you, and is drawn to your light, and it descends toward you. This is the secret of the mystical journey.”

 

~9th Century Sufi mystic, Najim al-Din Hubra

 

Anyway, I have to do other things now. BTW, this thread is also near and dear to me as well.

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In this state of an awakening separate self in the world, it creates an existential anxiety. Gone is the recalled innocence of childhood! We were one with our Creator, and now we don't see her anymore! Around 2000 BCE, expressions of this anguish began to emerge in literature,

"I cried to my god, but he did not show his countenance;

I prayed to my goddess, she did not raise her head.

 

Prayer was my practice, sacrifice my law,

The day of worship of the gods, the joy of my heart,

The day of devotion to the goddess, more to me than riches.

 

The man who was alive yesterday is today dead;

In a trice he is given to grief, of a sudden, crushed.

For a day he sings and plays;

In a moment he is wailing like a mourner."

 

This was written by King Tabi-utul-Enlil around 1750 BC in Babylonia, over a thousand years before the earliest Biblical writing. It cries of a sense of anguish in separation from the Divine and fear of this state of being in relation to its god. It is in it's own right what we see happening today with fundamentalism which is a cry to go back to a past which is now imagined as simpler, when we just enjoyed worshiping our gods in our innocence. This was the birth of the fall of man myths, it is the rise of fundamentalism in a modern world. Same cycle. It's a nostalgia its its own way, imagining the purity of days past as closer to the time when all what right and happy.

 

A book that covers this at great length is Julian Jaynes "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind". I could not begin to tell you if his theory is right or not, but definitely opened my mind up to some new ideas on how religion began.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Consciousness-Breakdown-Bicameral-Mind/dp/0618057072

 

P.S. Antlerman, I've thoroughly been enjoying reading your posts on this thread. Thanks!

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In this state of an awakening separate self in the world, it creates an existential anxiety. Gone is the recalled innocence of childhood! We were one with our Creator, and now we don't see her anymore! Around 2000 BCE, expressions of this anguish began to emerge in literature,

"I cried to my god, but he did not show his countenance;

I prayed to my goddess, she did not raise her head.

 

Prayer was my practice, sacrifice my law,

The day of worship of the gods, the joy of my heart,

The day of devotion to the goddess, more to me than riches.

 

The man who was alive yesterday is today dead;

In a trice he is given to grief, of a sudden, crushed.

For a day he sings and plays;

In a moment he is wailing like a mourner."

 

This was written by King Tabi-utul-Enlil around 1750 BC in Babylonia, over a thousand years before the earliest Biblical writing. It cries of a sense of anguish in separation from the Divine and fear of this state of being in relation to its god. It is in it's own right what we see happening today with fundamentalism which is a cry to go back to a past which is now imagined as simpler, when we just enjoyed worshiping our gods in our innocence. This was the birth of the fall of man myths, it is the rise of fundamentalism in a modern world. Same cycle. It's a nostalgia its its own way, imagining the purity of days past as closer to the time when all what right and happy.

 

A book that covers this at great length is Julian Jaynes "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bi-Cameral Mind". I could not begin to tell you if his theory is right or not, but definitely opened my mind up to some new ideas on how religion began.

 

http://www.amazon.co...d/dp/0618057072

 

P.S. Antlerman, I've thoroughly been enjoying reading your posts on this thread. Thanks!

Thanks for the reference! I'll need to look into that. I've heard the term Bicameral mind before. In looking at a few things about his thoughts just now I would agree about the way he uses that term, which seems to be what I think of us the subconscious mind which is always aware of the world, versus our linguistic mind. My thoughts on consciousness itself would be more along the lines of Whitehead and others who see it as something inherent to the universe itself, long before the emergence of it in the form of the human mind through evolution. Whitehead calls it a 'prehension'. In this sense all things are conscious, though not self-aware.

 

People, common culture equates consciousness with being awake, being cognitively aware. I see that as only a form of consciousness, not the definition of consciousness itself. Where did that come from? What did it evolve from? Is it a miracle special creation? Or is its potentiality inherent in the fabric of the universe, inherent in the interior of all that is? That's how I personally perceive it. Regardless, I'm sure what he has to say here has some good value. It's all about stuff like this that helps our overall understandings to grow.

 

BTW, I'm happy you find the things I'm exploring here enjoyable to you. For some reason, this thread is really inspiring me to explore my thinking into this area.

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I understand what you are saying about intuition playing a role/the consciousness of one's surroundings becoming manifest in these experiences, Antlerman. The part that still catches my concern is that his prediction/vision seems to be coming true, and a little uncanny based on the time he had the experience in.

"
The light beings replied, "The United States has been given the opportunity to be the teacher for the world, but much is expected of those to whom much has been given. The United States has been given more of everything than any country in the history of the world and it has failed to be generous with the gifts. If the United States continues to exploit the rest of the world by greedily consuming the world's resources, the United States will have God's blessing withdrawn. Your country will collapse economically which will result in civil chaos. Because of the greedy nature of the people, you will have people killing people for a cup of gasoline. The world will watch in horror as your country is obliterated by strife. The rest of the world will not intervene because they have been victims of your exploitation. They will welcome the annihilation of such selfish people. The United States must change immediately and become the teachers of goodness and generosity to the rest of the world. Today the United States is the primary merchant of war and the culture of violence that you export to the world. This will come to an end because you have the seeds of your own destruction within you. Either you will destroy yourselves or God will bring it to an end if there isn't a change."

I have been told by people in other countries about how they see the United States as the epiphany of self-involvement and I know the political polarization is the tell tale sign of a democracy in trouble/collapse of social system. Not only this, but I have taken at least one class on International Politics before I read this and about how a lot of the stuff going on in the US seem to be mirroring other nations which decline into "civil chaos" at least at the political level. In culture we are becoming extremely polarized and no one is listening to on another. People are just blaming everyone else, and it's coming to the point where people don't trust their own government. In times like that, Democratic participation declines substantially, and since the polls show that the most trusted governmental institution is the military, it is most likely to take over in times of such duress. My Poli-sci professor (incidentally an ex-christian, secular atheist) talks about how in times of political distrust the most trusted institutions take power (there were more details, but I can't quite remember everything), and that is why it is so disconcerting that Americans trust the military more than their own democratic institutions. Not only this, but our economy is in dire straights and in danger of the collapse that is described in his "vision". When I think about the fact that this was in 1985, it bothers me that he would happen to have such a disturbingly accurate vision of the future, along with his Christian vision. Now that I look though, it seems that the actual book was published in 2000. Again I'm pretty sure that he talked about religion in particular not being important as closeness to god.

First of all, I think if someone is full of fear coming from a place of ignorance, these sorts of 'predictions' can appear to be actually what you see. In reality, things are not in that dire of straights and in danger of collapse as all that. I could get into a rational analysis of politics and economics to maybe put some balance into the perception of things here, but instead I'll focus on the whole mystical aspects of it.

 

EVEN IF, someone in a mystical state could see into the future and saw such things, again, how they would take such a vision and understand it would be within how they as a person imagine the spiritual realm to look like. If they imagined spiritual things in a mythological context, that is how such an experience would present itself to their minds. It does not mean that some precognition that came to them in the form of some 'angel' telling them, means that that angel is the angel of some culture's mythology and therefore proving all the rest of its myths are facts! It would be a face, a vehicle of how their minds presented it to themselves, using that angel as a symbol of the divine.

 

The myths of the Bible have to be looked at historically, contextually, analytically, as well as linguistically, anthropologically, psychologically, and mystically. Just because someone can 'sense' a possible future intuitively (which this really is), and maybe actually be fairly accurate (I have an increasing intuitions all the time which are usually correct - not a big deal really), it doesn't mean the beliefs of believers in a religion are therefore validated. In fact that guys experience, doesn't really fit Christianity all that well. So if it is validation of something, it is validation that Christianity isn't what people believe it is. I accept neither conclusion based on this person's experience.

 

I don't know though...I guess I just want to know how you would not take what he is saying as a kind of prediction.

I have a prediction as well. Our world is on the edge of waking up to the fact that the world's religions all express something beyond themselves, and will in fact move beyond atheism, which at the moment is a transitional step away from myth into the rational and which will eventually see there is more beyond itself. In that recognition, the world will begin to embrace a spirituality beyond myth and beyond materialism in response to the growing needs of the species to survive.

 

Now I say that because it not only what I first intuit, I can reason it, and I can see it beginning to happening. I'm not interested in getting it any debates at this point defending that however. My point is, I have a prediction as well, and funny thing, some of what he says in his vision of the future somewhat looks like that too. Yet, in no way does that reflect Christian theology, either in my intuition, nor in his vision! Christian theology dooms us all to hell for not being these Bible believing fundamentalists! So I make such a prediction, does this to you say all I believe is validated by that? Not even to me it doesn't. It doesn't need to. I don't need to 'believe' in anything. The whole thing is NOT about beliefs. Do you understand what that means?

 

That is what bothers me though, the idea that god wants us to come to him for our enlightenment and for salvation.

This is something I want to talk about. It's going to require to think outside the box of Christian myth that they place God into. When I say that God is within, the the face of God we see and experience comes from within us, that does not mean that God is not also 'outside us'. When you start to move closer to that Unity with God, the distinction between inside and outside becomes negated.

 

Within mystical experience (which an NDE is), God is seen as "out there" and us as "in here". In a mystical union, what happens is that that 'God' out there and that 'me' in here become One. In this sense, you can legitimately say that it is 'through God', through the experience of God, that we find our enlightenment, or our 'salvation'. No doubt about it. But do not conflate this with beliefs about God. It is not that! It is not as the Christian or any other believer in any other religion says that by obeying the dictates of their teachings, their "word of God", their doctrines, their creeds, their theologies, that you find enlightenment or salvation. That is not 'through God'.

 

Teachings definitely do have their place and is an important part of spiritual practice, but they are not how you 'find salvation'. They are at best practices that help clear obstacles from the path, the path you have to actually walk. In other words it is not those beliefs of what is "acceptable to God", as "holy" or such ways of talking about them that somehow magically align you with this to find that 'salvation' or liberation in yourself. Those are simply removing obstacles, things that some teacher, some guru, some mystic on the path discovered for themselves needed to be set aside in order to help them find that Light in themselves. They are not some "sin" that some mythological version of God wrinkles his nose at and says "Pew, I can't stand that. You displease me". Those myths are just vehicles for children to take these 'truths' and make them object lessons through an externalized parent-type figure.

 

So all that to say, yes it is of course "through God" we find our true Self, our salvation, our enlightenment. God is the face of that Eternal Nature which is the Source of our own Being. When we set aside the distractions of our lives and our minds and align ourselves internally through actual, experiential communion with that living presence within us, that higher us beyond the ego, beyond our very life and body itself, then through that, through communing with, communicating with, knowing that, realizing that in ourselves, through that direct experience, we find Life. We find our release from suffering, as the Buddhist calls it, Enlightenment, Salvation.

 

This is all not some external contract. Do not mistake forms, with essence. It is instead an internal Realization that enfolds our entire Being. At that point, God is no more. There only IS. We are That. "I and my Father are One". There is no I, and no Thou. You know realize who you truly are. You are God.

 

 

All for now... I'll be back. smile.png

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I guess my reservations come from the ideas of Christianity ingrained in me. The ideas of spiritual warfare specifically pronounced in Pentecostalism. Ideas of possession and being misled by dabbling about in the occult or things related to other religions. Specifically the practices of Eastern meditation and most salient the idea of god as being in yourself, as opposed to an external being brings to mind the ideas of men being led astray spiritually/deceived. That if I try to experience this spirituality apart from trying to pursue god, that I am in fact not pursuing god and going against god's will, and that my good nature won't matter, since I wasn't trying to connect to god.

Wow, I'm really giving a lot of time in replies to the points in this thread you bring up. Very good areas to talk about. This last one is one that really irks me about the poison of their religion to deny others their own path to God. There is no genuine effort on their part to understand anything, or respect anyone who is different from themselves. That alone, should show the fruits of what their approach to spirituality yields for them: ignorance, fear, and judgmental condemnation of others, as opposed to understanding and compassion.

 

When I was a young Bible College student and I heard such judgment and condemnation of any other spiritual path than their own, listening to them in their arrogance, speaking from their own ignorance, I kept hearing this Bible verse leaping up into my mind again and again that I couldn't shake. "By their fruits you shall know them" "By their fruits you shall know them". "By their fruits you shall know them". Eventually it lead me to look deeper into where there we truly coming from.

 

If what you pursue in a spiritual path brings you into a place of greater healing, wholeness, love, peace and compassion in yourself and towards others, how is that not pursuing God? How is peace against God? How is love against God. How is compassion, patience, grace, and understanding against God? Yet, according to them, if it's not their religion..... sad.png Sounds to me like they place their religion above God, doesn't it to you?

 

That leads to me thinking about the idea that in fact, there is judgement for those who did not try to connect with god, as opposed to trying to be happy by themselves. In your discussion with Sojourner (in the thread in the second link), you talked about rejecting a god that would be so cruel, this struck a chord with me in that, because of this story, I started to think about what seemed to me to bring up the possibility that the Christian faith was in fact true, including doctrines of hell and judgement, along with those of love. I found myself extremely depressed, feeling so trapped in that universe, and not being willing, or really able, to genuinely feel love for such a being. I know that wasn't your intent in showing me that thread, but it resonated with me and I was wondering if we could discuss that a little bit, because like you said, the fact that Christians are bothered by that bothers me.

Sure, yes we can discuss anything you wish. I'm not sure exactly what you're saying here, but I'll take a stab at it. Everything within my heart cannot accept the views that God is this petty, jealous and cruel god portrayed in many a Christian's version of faith. I know from direct experience there is no place whatsoever for hell as an actual, for real destination for human beings who don't convert to someones idea of faith in their religion. I couldn't accept it as a Christian. I reject in even more flatly now.

 

If God is that god, than that god must have a real God that is much, much more Love than him. It's that God that I see. I love what the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart said, "I pray God to make me free of God, for [His] unconditional Being is above God and all distinctions". Ponder that one awhile.

 

God is not some being interested in converts to a religion.

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Wow. Let me first say I'm sorry. I checked My Content yesterday (at least I thought) and it made it appear as if you hadn't responded, or anyone for that matter. Maybe it was the day before....I have been sleeping a lot lately...Days have been slipping by pretty quickly.

 

Also, I realize how much time you are taking in writing these things, as well as thought, and I would like to thank you for that. I can forget to say so sometimes, getting so wrapped up in the discussion. Your words are poetic and beautiful and help me feel more...secure. Thank you for that as well. smile.png

 

As far as the grief at not being greeted by their gods and the sense of loss, that is interesting. I have never heard those sentiments from people of other religions, than again even in cultural anthropology we never explored religions from such a....deep philosophical perspective. When you talk about "I and my Father are One", honestly I never explicitly thought about that idea. For one I had no real knowledge of Eastern religions beyond a superficial knowledge of them as "exotic". Now I know more, and have for a long time thought of them as more spiritually rich than the Bible religion. That's another part of the depression from thinking that because of the story that I would have to go back. Spiritual death, being tied to, what I see, as a far less fulfilling form of spiritual life and mental existence....Even if I believed it was true. I also grieved possibly having lost the ability to love and have compassion, understanding, of others. The greatest gift of unbelief, was the greater capacity to love and understand others, without the pressure of turning them into something. Something that I don't want to be myself.

 

I also knew that you didn't actually believe the hyperbole about god and his test of believers/the possibility the bible's atrocities were a test to the moral integrity of a person, I just thought I'd comment on the fact that I had that exact same notion when thinking about how the concept of the bible god's malevolence seemed too great, despite any rationalization the Christian thought could give me.

 

Another part of what made me depressed is that I've always had a bit more of a feminine side than my fellow males in a sense. Which is another reason I felt more drawn to Eastern concepts that emphasized things that seem to be downplayed, or even frowned upon in Christian conceptions of what a man should be. I remember learning about the Native American "two-spirited" ones (the Berdache?), and how the men with feminine, or even transgender leanings, weren't abhorred in all cultures, and even in some cases venerated. I fall in love for different reasons, even though I have the same sexual impulses regarding women, I have always been more attracted to people based on personality, mainly sensitivity, and I find sexuality to be in fact less binary and rigid than Western ideas seem to make it out to be. I have no idea if this is actually different in Eastern traditions however. I fell in love with my best friend/had the feelings I did because I felt close to him and when we had an...experience together, the sexual feelings came later. I find myself attracted to men, but not in the same way as with women. I know this is a little off topic, and I hope I am not making you feel uncomfortable, but I felt immensely relieved when I identified myself as bisexual in that it gave me license to be me fully myself, whoever that was. Not bound by rigid gender or sexual identities. To embrace my more "feminine" qualities as opposed to the rigid definition of men found in traditional Christianity. I realize I did not fit their mold, I even became passionate about the ideas of feminism when I was more confident that I had nothing to fear, passionate about men being able to embrace their own feminine aspects and for the qualities more salient in women to be accepted as good, in some ways even preferable to the overemphasized values of rugged 'masculinity' which are emphasized in Western culture, especially pronounced in ideas about men. Sadly, with my overwhelming fear and dread most of those qualities that I seemed to love discovering about myself seem to fade away somewhat. Sorry if this part is a bit weird...I just felt like expressing that, although I am a bit embarrassed to be honest... I hope I didn't make anyone uncomfortable. Many things about the Western shame about sexuality irks me...and from what I gather sexuality is integrated into the spiritual aspects of some Eastern religions, that there is a lot more positive of an attitude. This makes more sense to me, since I saw (at least before my regression into fears) sexuality as a very spiritual, integral part of a person.

 

I also had that thought (of the fruits verse) come to mind in my dread of Christian living. The fruits were those I associated with destruction of one's beauty through intellectual and spiritual oppression. Misery, depression, increased anxiety. Bound tightly by the rigid dictates of men who supposedly knew god better than anyone else. That stunted growth beyond it. A static spiritual threshold that to cross, was damnation and eternal contempt by god, not to mention lifelong angst that comes if you believe in that god if you are a heretic in any sense; never knowing whether you are out of favor with god's will since you have stepped outside of canonical, secure religious dogma. I started thinking, when I felt like my conclusion of the Christian god being real would be inescapable, that maybe the idea was that god was pure, and could not allow those tainted with sin to "enter his kingdom", and that since god is said to be the ultimate source of happiness, that the necessary separation was what resulted in torture. Again though, you could ask why he would make such a thing eternal. Also what bothered me is that there were legitimate reasons to not accept Christianity from a position of agnosticism. The experience of this man though, made me feel like the evidence would then be too. In light of Howard's comments of "whatever religion brings you closest to god", I started, out of desperation, to find Eastern monotheistic religions because of the affinity I felt for them, but I couldn't find ones who were 'close enough' to Christianity to make me feel ok, or that was even wholly monotheistic. I have felt what you say, putting religion and word above god, then again the religion itself talks about how you can't just go off of personal, subjective conviction alone to discern what is right and wrong (actually, I read about this much further in the discussion in your second link from before).

 

I didn't notice at first, but you said that from direct experience you know there is no hell. Can you elaborate this a little bit? I've heard people say they know (as in firmly believe), but never heard anyone say that (Except for those who experienced a place they saw as hell in an NDE, in which case they would say they know there is)? I think I understand what you are saying to an extent, in your experiences in your meditation, but I'm not sure if I grasping exactly what you mean when you say "direct experience". Maybe I am just over-analyzing your words.

 

As far as the economic "prophecy" he also mentioned the "massive worldwide depression" that would come with this. You said that you can say that things aren't as dire as all that. I also understand what you're saying, that even if his precognition was given to him by an ethereal being, that it still did not mean that it validated the mythological aspects in which the experience was framed. Actually this idea ties into the hell idea as well. The idea that if the man experienced a genuine glance at the afterlife, then his experiences of beings of pain and torture, were also validated. At least this was the fear. With talking to you about this my anxiety has been alleviated a little. At the same time, how can you confidently conclude that if someone got an accurate precognition from an "angel" that they couldn't reasonably have been predicted from their point and access to knowledge, that it doesn't validate the particular mythological context it was based in? I guess I don't have much faith in the intuitive abilities of people, and it strikes me as "weird" (not to mention, like you said, with fear) that someone would be able to intuit something that far in the future. You said that you can understand how in a position of fear and ignorance how someone could think 'predictions' can appear to be what you actually see. I know you meant in regards to the US economy collapsing, implying that it isn't close to what is happening. Does that also mean you don't see the world as being in trouble of "massive worldwide depression" economically? So even if the US economy goes under it won't mean that? The reason I ask is that I know that Europe's economy seems to be in danger, and that ours is in danger of heading into another recession, at least that's what I heard on the news this morning. So I can't really say with any certainty one way or the other. I guess in simple terms, I'm hoping you know something that could offset the idea this is actually what is happening/will happen. I know how hard it is to predict the future of anything like that...I guess didn't quite understand how one could divorce the experience from it's contextual mythology if it really was knowledge from the Divine (in the sense of a god imparting the information) and that Divine's endorsement of a particular religious book which is particularly rigid in it's definition of god (The being of light/"angel" seemed to endorse Christianity by saying the bible had spiritual truth in most of it's entirety, if that makes sense.)

 

You also brought up the idea that his experience did not fit well with Christianity in general. I didn't notice till just today that he viewed the "gods garden" reality as the alternative to the "massive worldwide depression" scenario/outcome, which smacks against at least in some extent to traditional views about end times. However doesn't it fit with the "new earth and heaven" ideas of Christian eschatology? I was wondering if we could elaborate on the differences which do not validate, or even contradict, ideas of fundamentalist Christianity.

 

The prayer about God, is that essentially asking for freedom from the God of vengeance that is Yahweh, at least in a sense? The idea that there is a god which transcends even the god that the Christian god is derived from(Yahweh). I certainly hope what you say is true, it would make more sense to me than the small minded god of narrow, even archaic values and desires. I have constantly said to myself and others that I felt that the view Christianity offered was an extremely contracted, less beautiful, picture of existence and reality. The oneness with the Universe and it's possibilities much more pronounced in views, even in materialistic atheism, of the "meaning" of life. I remember talking at the one ex-christian retreat I went to, to a woman how the views of science and nature being much more "spiritual" for me than Christianity was for me, and the emotional transcendence I felt in feeling I was connected to all other life, even the stars.

 

I might have to go back over and make sure I covered everything I meant to. It is a little late, and I'm not the most organized person.

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As far as the grief at not being greeted by their gods and the sense of loss, that is interesting. I have never heard those sentiments from people of other religions, than again even in cultural anthropology we never explored religions from such a....deep philosophical perspective.

Yes, comparative religious studies in fundamentalist circles essentially only consists of trying to find out how other religions are "wrong" in order to bolster themselves as "right", not in actually trying to understand any commonalities amongst them and learn about yourself through them. It is not about trying to actually understand anything.

 

When you talk about "I and my Father are One", honestly I never explicitly thought about that idea. For one I had no real knowledge of Eastern religions beyond a superficial knowledge of them as "exotic". Now I know more, and have for a long time thought of them as more spiritually rich than the Bible religion.

Christianity has become rather anemic spiritually, to say the least. Don't get me wrong, historically there has been threads of contemplative practices that go much deeper into mystical experience as opposed to dogmatic beliefs, but the practice of them really fell away after the Reformation in the 1700's. Since then, its all theological and political jargon as Truth, but there is an increased interest in mediation practices in Christianity, both in Catholic and Protestant circles that has been steadily growing, thanks to those like Fr. Thomas Keating.

 

Historically within certain monastic orders of Christianity, such as the Jesuits, they are like a burning flame spiritually, whereas Buddhism in the East is more like a solar flare, by comparison. They have not had the inner path suppressed and repressed as in the Christian West. Spirituality is a refined science in the East. In the West, it stumbles about a path strewn with sharp rocks of some orthodoxy dogma. You can draw close to God, but not too close. You still have to come to the church to mediate for you Truth. You can't know that without them keeping you close under their control.

 

That's another part of the depression from thinking that because of the story that I would have to go back. Spiritual death, being tied to, what I see, as a far less fulfilling form of spiritual life and mental existence....Even if I believed it was true.

That's a great way to put it. The greatest ah ha moment for me came when I realized the Christianity puts the idea in people's head that they OWN God. That all things Divine was their authority to check and correct. That is a myth that they themselves created, specifically to control an organizational body.

 

They key to this freedom for you will come when you can experience a true depth of spirituality that goes way beyond what little morsels you could glean out of the dust on the floor that falls though the cracks of their theologies. You will surpass them. You will find that the source of your confidence comes from the depths within. It is not a question of "am I right in thinking this?" It's center is not in 'being right'. It's a confidence of being itself. You're thinking about something, how you believe about it, is quite secondary to the experience of spiritual knowledge. There are different types of 'knowing', and the mistake of Orthodoxy is they make your spiritual life contingent on "right thinking". They replace spiritual knowledge, they trump it, with beliefs. In doing this, they deny the inner voice.

 

Believe me, I left Christianity not so much over them having beliefs wrong, as it is simply a matter of I outgrew them. I couldn't grow spirituality being straight-jacketed into their narrow ideas about God and spirituality, let alone their blatant scientific ignorance.

 

I also grieved possibly having lost the ability to love and have compassion, understanding, of others. The greatest gift of unbelief, was the greater capacity to love and understand others, without the pressure of turning them into something. Something that I don't want to be myself.

I came up with this saying years ago that I still think holds true and expresses what most all of us feel now, as you just expressed. I put it ironically this way, "I am more a Christian now that I'm not one, than I ever was when I was one". smile.png Rings true, doesn't it?

 

Another part of what made me depressed is that I've always had a bit more of a feminine side than my fellow males in a sense. Which is another reason I felt more drawn to Eastern concepts that emphasized things that seem to be downplayed, or even frowned upon in Christian conceptions of what a man should be. I remember learning about the Native American "two-spirited" ones (the Berdache?), and how the men with feminine, or even transgender leanings, weren't abhorred in all cultures, and even in some cases venerated. I fall in love for different reasons, even though I have the same sexual impulses regarding women, I have always been more attracted to people based on personality, mainly sensitivity, and I find sexuality to be in fact less binary and rigid than Western ideas seem to make it out to be. I have no idea if this is actually different in Eastern traditions however. I fell in love with my best friend/had the feelings I did because I felt close to him and when we had an...experience together, the sexual feelings came later. I find myself attracted to men, but not in the same way as with women. I know this is a little off topic, and I hope I am not making you feel uncomfortable, but I felt immensely relieved when I identified myself as bisexual in that it gave me license to be me fully myself, whoever that was. Not bound by rigid gender or sexual identities. To embrace my more "feminine" qualities as opposed to the rigid definition of men found in traditional Christianity. I realize I did not fit their mold, I even became passionate about the ideas of feminism when I was more confident that I had nothing to fear, passionate about men being able to embrace their own feminine aspects and for the qualities more salient in women to be accepted as good, in some ways even preferable to the overemphasized values of rugged 'masculinity' which are emphasized in Western culture, especially pronounced in ideas about men. Sadly, with my overwhelming fear and dread most of those qualities that I seemed to love discovering about myself seem to fade away somewhat. Sorry if this part is a bit weird...I just felt like expressing that, although I am a bit embarrassed to be honest... I hope I didn't make anyone uncomfortable. Many things about the Western shame about sexuality irks me...and from what I gather sexuality is integrated into the spiritual aspects of some Eastern religions, that there is a lot more positive of an attitude. This makes more sense to me, since I saw (at least before my regression into fears) sexuality as a very spiritual, integral part of a person.

OK, this is an area I have to share with you. I too have more feminine aspects than masculine, and the whole Christian expecation of roles in relationships, roles for males in their culture never fit me. It never has in culture either, let alone with the sorts of "God expectations" the Church layers on top of it.

 

Masculine and feminine qualities have nothing whatsoever to do with Male and Female genders. They have nothing to do with sexuality either. Our culture conflates these together however, tying being female biologically with 'femininity', and being male sexually as 'masculinity'. That is a false equation. Everyone has both masculine and feminine aspects to themselves, whether they are male or female, or heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or asexual. Having feminine qualities does not mean you behave effeminately either. It is simply qualities of power as opposed to compassion, sensitivity versus aggression, etc. Both males and females have these, and there are more dominant than in one versus another, regardless of gender.

 

But our culture artificially makes people uncomfortable with themselves which leads to repression of key aspects of all of our personalities, which leads to neurosis and phobias and illnesses. Scientific studies have show that men who are the most vocal against homosexuality, when shown pictures of males in erotic ways have a consistently higher response sexually to them than heterosexual males who are comfortable with males finding other males attractive. That is what repression does to the pysche. It is what Jung called the 'shadow-self'. That part of ourselves we deny to ourselves because we don't want to see it.

 

I will share what was probably one of my most powerful early meditation experiences with you, and that was my meeting of the opposites. It began with a question to that face of the divine, for what reason it came up its hard to say. The question is, "Are you male or female". The 'response' I got in this visualization was confused to me, "I am both". It's hard to put it all into words what then arouse in that experience was a sense of 'darkness' and foreboding, an uncomfortable presence.

 

Instinctively I knew that rather than being afraid and pushing it away, instead I should embrace it. That, is very much against our common sense. What is was was aspects of myself surfacing from the deep subconscious mind, manifesting to me as 'evil', or darkness. (Do you see the hell experience coming through in this? I do...). Instead of recoiling, I visualized it as small child, ugly and upset, and I cradled it in my arms. My stomach felt sour. Yet I knew to continue to show it love instead of revulsion. As my meditation ended, I was OK, but still felt a bit ill-at-ease about the whole thing.

 

I was in the shower afterwards and considering all of that, and looked into the mirror to shave and saw my own face. I just looked at myself looking back at myself and it just came out of me. I spoke aloud, "I am both". At that moment it is like Light shot out of the top of my head. I almost lost my footing. It was a profound bringing together of all those aspects of myself I didn't even realize had be suppressed. I am a whole person, both masculine and feminine, light and darkness, fear and joy. All became right there in front of me, and accepted by me, as who I am.

 

From that point forth, everything changed. I was more confident in everything in my life. I felt whole, and from that point, true growth could begin. We have to first heal what is broken, reveal what is hidden, that we all have. Everyone of us as people of a culture that is itself full of anxieties and neurosis. That, is the first major step in moving on to the next stage of our growth in this life. We must bring together the opposites in ourselves, acknowledge, accept and love ourselves. And, the thing is, we likely don't even realize how deeply that is there in all of us. We've learned to find this balance to walk over these sharp jagged stones buried inside of us. It's not till you open that door that you see it. It is not until you confront that demon you created and accept it into yourself as yourself, that you become freed of its power through your fear of it. You release its power to serve Love in you.

 

So what is the experience of hell in an NDE? Themselves, confronting themselves. It manifests as ugly and terrifying, because that is how we see it ourselves! The subconscious manifests that face that WE put upon it. But then in that acknowledgment and embrace, that ugly child becomes a creature of power in ourselves towards becoming that Light. They face the terror, and through that are released into God. That is how it works. It manifests itself symbolically, but the realization is a factual experience. It transforms you.

 

 

More later....

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  • 4 weeks later...

If anyone is interested there is a great documentary called "the moment of death". sounds morbid but its actually really interesting. It shows the body's natural process of shutting down gracefully at the end. Also it really gave a serious blow to my faith because it got me thinking .....

 

Why don't all open heart surgery patients, unconscious people in comas, or heavily sedated people have NDE's. For all practical purposes open heart surgery patients in particular are dead until their hearts are jumpstarted after the surgery is over. Because of this, ALL open heart surgery patients would have NDE's and the experiences would presumably be similar yet only a few select people have NDE and the experiences vary vastly from one person to the next.

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