Belief, Consciousness, Human Nature, Knowledge, Life, Living, Religion, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

What is a Mystical Experience Like?

“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”  ― Zhuangzi, 

SUMMARY: While it is nearly impossible to adequately communicate the content of a mystical experience to a non-mystic who has never had one, somethings perhaps can be said about the experience that might shed some light on it.

(About a 9 minute read)

Suppose you came across a community of people living in the Amazon rain forest who had never before seen — or even heard more than a rumor or two — of people like you or of your culture and civilization.

Further suppose, upon learning their language, you discover it is beautifully suited to expressing the interrelatedness of all things, but there is neither any word for “god” nor any words that can be used to express the concept of god.  In short, the people have no concept of metaphysics at all.

The world, to them, is not much more than what it appears to be, and the closest you can come to telling them about god more or less translates into “Big Hidden Man/Woman”, which makes them wonder whether you’re talking about a transgendered human of inordinate size who hides behind bushes and trees.

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Art, Human Nature, Life, Living, Passion, Quality of Life, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Spirituality, Writing

The Human Need for a Discipline

(About a 5 minute read)

Earlier today, Alice Gristle put up an original, intelligent, and insightful post on her blog about the relationship between a writer and his or her story.  In it, she notes that, when we write a story:

We’re tempted, every one of us, to somehow include ourselves in the story. To make that gibe at the politician we hate, to get our comeuppance on the girl who slighted us in junior high, to put a little salve on our hearts after that smarting breakup.

She notes, however:

Your story is more important than you. You will die and be wormfood, a lump of bones, a smear of ash. Well, your story might be, too – but it might not. Alone of you two, it has the chance to live, to stay aloft on the hours of history, in order to live and teach hundreds of years in the future.

The strong implication is that, for a story to live on past us, we must “get out of the way”. That is, we must put aside our natural tendency to insert too much of our own views, concerns, behaviors, and personalities into the story, least we distract from it and thus weaken it.

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Adolescence, Adolescent Sexuality, Attachment, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Coffee Shop Folks, Coffee Shop Stories, Family, Fatherless Children, Fatherless Daughters, Fatherless Girls, Friends, Human Nature, Jackie, Jerks, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mental and Emotional Health, Obsession, People, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sarah, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Society

All the Young Women

SUMMARY: I take a look at the women I met some years ago in Colorado Springs, and then draw a few conclusions about the challenges they faced at that time in their lives.

(About a 8 minute read)

People are often more predictable than life itself.  I can often predict, with surprising accuracy, what a long-term friend will do in almost any situation, but my life has taught me that it can be considerably more difficult to predict where I will be in a year or two.

I certainly did not expect when I came to Colorado that I would soon know — at least casually — about 200 young men and women twenty years younger than me, nor that about two dozen of them would befriend me.

Yet that’s what happened — largely as a direct consequence of my choosing to frequent a coffee shop that both served the cheapest cup in town and was the hang out of hundreds of local high school students.  Since it was also the oldest and most established coffee shop in town, it was also the hang out of everyone else — from the mayor and some city council members to several homeless people.

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Agape, Attachment, Consciousness, Enlightenment, Human Nature, Ideas, Life, Living, Love, Mysticism, Parental Love, Quality of Life, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-Integration, Self-Realization, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

SUMMARY: There is a relatively rare form of love that is more of a perception — or way of perceiving the world — than it is an emotion.

(About a 6 minute read)

There is a kind of love that — even if it were unpleasant — would be worth experiencing.

This is what I call, “unconditional love”.  Buddhists, I believe, call it , “loving-compassion”, and Christians call it “agape”.  Many people around the world consider it the “highest” or most “pure” form of love.

Some other folks call it “altruistic love”, but I find that term misleading, not because there isn’t an element of altruism in it, but because altruism is so poorly understood, largely perhaps because it is so difficult to explain.

Many folks who have never experienced it do not believe it exists, or even reason that it logically cannot exist.

Unconditional love would be worth experiencing even if it were unpleasant (at least in my opinion) because it brings with it great insight into people and things, compassion, and a feeling or sense of renewal or rebirth — among other things.

But what is it?

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Attached Love, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Emotional Dependency, Family, Free Spirit, Hate, Human Nature, Ideas, Impermance, Jealousy, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Memes, Possessiveness, Quality of Life, Relationships, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Thinking, Unconditional Love

Death to Relationships! The Revolution Starts Now!

(About a 7 minute read)

Like most sensible people worldwide, I tend to uncontrollably froth at the mouth over certain concepts and notions that most people find reasonable, even innocuous.

Concepts and notions like “higher consciousness” (needs to be replaced by “higher awareness”), “love” (needs to be split into several words, one for each kind of love), and “small children” (need to be duct-taped in place).  Of course, I do not for a moment believe that any crusade I might go on against any of my pet peeves would have the decent chance of success that two teens alone in the backseat of a car on prom night have of retaining their virginity.

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Agape, Erotic Love, Goals, Human Nature, Life, Love, Mature Love, Meaning, New Love, Parental Love, Philos, Purpose, Religion, Romantic Love, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Transformative Experience, Unconditional Love

How Love Transforms Us

(About a 7 minute read)

One of the curious facts of human nature is that, if we are not rather frequently reborn through-out our lives, we suffer, and suffer greatly, for not having been reborn.  Equally curious is the fact the truth of that is not more widely recognized and understood.

Nearly everyone it seems has at least heard it is important to be true to oneself, or that a purposeful and meaningful life is a life worth living.  But the fact that life must involve a series of rebirths — that is largely missing from our general awareness of spiritual truths.

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Allies, Attachment, Consciousness, Death, Dying, Enlightenment, Fear, Friends, Human Nature, Impermance, Life, Living, Lovers, Meaning, Meditation, Mysticism, Quality of Life, Relationships, Religion, Satori, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Integration, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

The Fear of Death and Dying

Disclaimer: The following opinions are my own — I am usually wrong about most things — and so you should examine these issues for yourself. On the other hand, only a boring, bumbling, berkle-snozer would disagree with me about anything.​

(About a 5 minute read)

It is my esteemed and noble opinion that the fear of death is a major factor in how folks experience life, and a major motive behind much of human behavior.

How much of a factor and motive, you might ask? Ernest Becker, the psychiatrist who authored, The Denial of Death, thought it unconsciously drove most of human experience and behavior. And here the word “unconsciously” is key to understanding the fear of death.

I do not agree with all of Becker’s ideas, but I am in complete agreement with him about the fear of death being very largely a hidden, unconscious fear. Ask ten people if they fear death, eight or nine will not be aware of themselves fearing it.

Continue reading “The Fear of Death and Dying”