Friday, January 12, 2007

The Descent of Mind (1.03.09)

Yesterday in a comment, I mentioned that our historical understanding and appreciation of liberty may have followed from actually living it in the form of free markets as opposed to thinking about it abstractly. In academia there is a huge bias toward the latter view, because intellectuals always want to believe that they are more important and influential than they actually are. This always cracks me up.

You routinely read, for example, about how Descartes was responsible for the pernicious Western "body-mind dualism" because he said "I think, therefore I am." As if this abstract philosophical meme somehow trickled down to the masses -- the farmers, artisans, and serfs, who all thought to themselves, "damn, the man's got a point. There's an extended substance. And a thinking substance. I just don't see any way to reconcile them. I guess the world is hopelessly fractured."

No, the reason the body-mind duality spread throughout the West is because that is what it feels like to have a mind! If you don't have much of a mind, then it's not going to be a problem, is it? As I've mentioned before, I've done psychiatric evaluations of people from all over the world, and there is no question that in certain cultures the individual barely emerges out of the collective -- even out of their own body, to be honest. They don't have the problem of the body-mind dualism because they don't possess the latter. They are shockingly free of what we would call insight, reflection, interiority, detachment, etc. It's as if they do not live in their minds, but in their bodies. They are amazingly content to perform the most mindless and repetitive work -- in fact, in many ways, they are probably happier than the average American. They essentially don't think about things until something goes wrong with their body. Otherwise, "no brain, no problem."

I don't know about you, but I can think back to my own childhood, when this unified condition was the natural state. One just felt the conflict-free bliss of being alive. Prior to that, early infancy and toddlerhood are filled with a lot of inevitable frustration. I can see it in my son. It's heaven and hell. There are so many things he wants to do, but can't. Every time he masters something, he wants to push the limit to the point that he endangers himself. He is dependent, but is obviously ambivalent about that. In a heartbeat he can go from imagining he's "large and in charge" to being small, needy and demanding.

But after that is when the real fun begins. At least that was true for me, especially between, say, 7 and 12. By this time, your nervous system has completely come "on line." You can speak, you can play, you have an imagination, you have friends, and if you have good enough parenting, you have no problems except for the mindless drudgery of school. Existential problems don't really emerge again until puberty. Just when you get used to the world, you're plunged into a new one, with new thoughts, new relations, a new body.

The latest research in developmental neurology explains why adolescence can be so difficult. As it so happens, it doesn't just feel like your brain is being disassembled. Rather, that's actually what happens. The brain literally disassembles and reassembles during the teen years. A particular problem for boys is that the part of the brain that you might label "impulsivity" or "risk-taking" is temporarily delinked from the higher part of the neocortex where the thing called "judgment" resides. Like the infant, the adolescent goes through life at the same time his brain is being wired together. Throw in the surge of hormones -- which is especially powerful in girls -- and you have a potential recipe for disaster. In my case, I don't think "judgment" and "impulse" were reintroduced in my brain until I was about 26.

Now coincidentally, Will mentioned in a comment yesterday that "most people are not really ready for college until they're about 24 - 26 years old. That's the age when the 'I-relate-everything-to-myself-and-my-emotions' fixation starts to dwindle. A bit." That is exactly how it was for me. Although I started college at 17, I couldn't have been less prepared. I faked my way through five semesters of junior college, but when I transferred to the state university, the game was over. I struggled through one semester but just stopped going in the middle of the second. This would have been when I had just turned 21.

Around the same time, I had begun working as a retail clerk, which I continued doing for the subsequent 12 years, until 1988, the same year I completed my Ph.D. I returned to college when I was 23. Looking back on it, I can see that a certain intellectual "awakening" was beginning to dawn, much to my surprise. It became markedly stronger when I was 26, but was like a sudden explosion at 29. By that time I was in graduate school, but it is important to point out that this explosion had nothing to do with school.

Rather, it was a thing or a process unto itself. It was literally an "opening" in my soul, accompanied by a flood of ideas, insights and connections that went well beyond anything I had formally learned in school, or any capacities I had even remotely possessed up to that time. To a certain extent, if you can picture it, it was like a descent of pure intelligence without form or content. Naturally, given my meager academic history, this was totally unexpected. I began reading voraciously and widely in the effort to provide some "content" to this seeming "force." I needed my mind to catch up with my new-found intelligence.

Why am I bringing this up? Several reasons. First, I'm still very sick with this virus, and I'm too lazy to do anything except free associate in a self-referential way at the keyboard. More importantly, I'm wondering if anyone else out there has had similar experiences of "descents" and "awakenings?" I'm guessing that many Raccoons have similar stories to share.

I think it is fair to say that by this time, I had reached the "summit of intelligence." Now please, don't get me wrong here, for I am hardly making any special claim for myself. I think most "intellectuals" reach the summit of intelligence by one path or another, meaning that there is essentially nothing in the realm of ideas that they cannot understand. The world of "intelligence" is basically open to them. Much will depend upon the character of the person, the content with which they fill out their intelligence, and their motives in doing so. For intelligence, more often than not, is in the service of a bad end or a bad egg. Obviously, intelligence itself in no way correlates with truth. Look at Noam Chomsky, for example. He is obviously at the summit of intelligence. You can even say he's genius if you like. But what good is the intelligence, when it exists in a parallel looniverse of lies, hatred, and paranoia? The smarter the person, the more catastrophic will be their error!

Throughout history people have reached the summit of intelligence, just as countless artists have achieved the summit of aesthetics. This is why the ancient Greeks still intrigue us. Someone like Plato was already at the summit of intelligence over 2,000 years ago. As Whitehead said, Western philosophy since then is basically a footnote on Plato -- which is not so much a tribute to Plato as an ackowledgement that pure intelligence, like artistic perfection, cannot surpass itself. One person becomes a Hegelian, another becomes a logical positivist, another becomes a deconstructionist. It doesn't really matter. It's just pure intelligence imagining it can surpass itself and know the one truth on a plane where it is intrinsically impossible to do so.

Something similar to a descent of pure intelligence occurred to Sri Aurobindo. In his case, he didn't remain stuck there, but immediately saw through its limitations. He did not see it as an end, merely a realm that had to be infused with a higher spirit in order to attain its proper end.

The best introduction to Sri Aurobindo is The Adventure of Consciousness, by Satprem. In it, Satprem describes Aurobindo's recognition of the limits of the intellect: "The day came when Sri Aurobindo had had enough of these intellectual exercises. He had probably realized that one can go on amassing knowledge indefinitely, reading and learning languages, even learning all the languages in the world and reading all the books in the world, and yet not progressing an inch. For the mind does not seek truly to know, even though it appears to -- it seeks to grind. If by chance the machine were to come to a stop because knowledge had been obtained, it would soon rise up in revolt and find something new to grind, just for the sake of grinding and grinding."

Critically, "That within us which seeks to know and to progress is not the mind, but something behind it which uses it: 'The capital period of my intellectual development,' Sri Aurobindo confided to a disciple, 'was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said might be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justified was true and its opposite also was true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it.... And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone!

Now, notice two things, First, Aurobindo had achieved the summit of intelligence, which essentially leaves one on a plane where the endless circles of deconstruction and integralism are inevitable. In other words, deconstruction is simply intelligence playing with the same facts to come up with radically alternate conclusions. And the whole point of integralism is that, as Sri Aurobindo points out, someone at the summit of intelligence can easily be on one side or the other of a particular dispute. Equally intelligent people can come up with opposite ideologies, so for the "integralistic" intellectual it is our task to admit the truth of each and to "integrate" them. Thus, for example, we must integrate "left" and "right," since plenty of equally intelligent people adhere to each.

But this is not the path to truth. Unless intelligence is infused with the descent of a higher light, it will forever remain on its own partial plane. More on which tomorrow. In any event, I am curious to hear from others who have had this experience of a sudden opening, or "descent," of intelligence, followed by the descent of something surpassing it, and which begins to shape and reform intelligence for its own higher ends.

68 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, the reason the body-mind duality spread throughout the West is because that is what it feels like to have a mind!

Simply a case of Mind over Matter;
If you don't have a mind,
What does it matter?

1/12/2007 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous interlocutor said...

Bob, that is an interesting history that you have lived. I agree with your assessement on the summits of intelligence.

I was a gifted child, and read through the entire World Book Encyclopedia collection by the time I was eight. I recieved the "descent of intelligence" very early on in my life. My nickname in school was "the walking, talking encyclopedia."

Later I earned a Master's degree in Literature. I'm going to earn a Ph.d.

But,I've never been able to make much use of my strong intelligence. In my work as a registered nurse and a teacher it just has never been neccesary to use all that intellectual muscle.

I've been a spiritual cripple and a drug addict, and later was redeemed and now I'm in remission. I've read all of Sri Aurobindo and agree with the philosophy. Right now I'm trying to move beyond mind into silence, like he did.

My intelligent noggin is over-filled with thoughts and it is incredibly difficult to get it to shut down and give me some peace.

There's my story, for what it's worth.

1/12/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interlocutor:

You need, silence, aspiration, surrender, and a source of genuine grace, in a serious way. That's the only way out of the closed loop. Unless there are complicating factors from other purely psychological or biochemical issues that you haven't mentioned.

1/12/2007 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous juliec said...

I, too had this happen quite early in life - my mom used to say I went through my teenage at three, and given how relatively peaceful I was as a teen I think she's probably right.

My younger brother, however, has definitely shown some signs of this transition within the last couple of years (he's now 27 and will be 28 in March). There he was, quite happily plunking along at a steady but ultimately dead-end job, when out of the blue he started to get this anxiety about his life. My sister suggested he go to a tech school, which he did, and did remarkably well (this from a high-school dropout).

He has since started a new (and possibly terrifying for him - I know he still has anxiety issues, but it's only been a couple weeks) job, with greater responsibility than he's ever had. I don't know what the next year will bring for him, but I know that he's still seeking an elusive something. I hope he finds it.

P.S. - re. the virus, Bob, I feel your pain (possibly literally - sore throat, body aches, chills... Ah, January), and plan to spend the rest of the day curled up under a pile of blankets and pooches. I hope you can do something similar and feel better soon!

1/12/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Also, Interlocutor, I'm wondering if you weren't clogging your mind with so much information at such an early age instead of simply living in the infinite space of your untrammelled imagination. For me, the recollection of this free space still exists within me as a kind of foundation, or axis. If you have never lived it, I imagine it can be difficult to discover it later.

1/12/2007 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

For me, I was happily agnostically bobbing about, playing sports, etc., but then, at 18, I fell head over heels in love...with a Mormon. I was baptized and then bang, my whole being simply had to know, and know deeply. This seeking plunged me as far as one can go into Mormonism and then up and out to Schuon. Now I am faced with One Cosmos. Ever look back and wonder what the *@#% happened?

1/12/2007 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger dicentra63 said...

The intellectual faculty, then, is akin to a vast relational database, which can accumulate an infinite amount of data and create relationships between it. Not everyone has the ability to construct such a working database in their minds (it seems to be inborn), but those who can seem to think that they've accomplished something that makes them more important that everyone else.

Unless you've got a killer app running on top of it, making good use of the data, the data just sits there, useless.

Or the app is utterly demented and arranges the data to produce bizzaro results. ::coughChompksycough::

1/12/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

mental ruminants
all are we
chewing our cud
thinking we're free

shall i do this
or shall i do that
will they hate me
am i too fat?

what will happen
on the morrow
over yesterday
i feel only sorrow

mental ruminants
all are we
chewing our cud
thinking we're free

is there a way
to be just free
not in bondage
to mentality

yes, said the monk
you will be free
ora et labora
is the path for thee

mental ruminants
all are we
chewing our cud
thinking we're free

focus on your doing
physically,
repeating a prayer,
continually

take a step back
vertically
see what's to see,
amazingly!

just do this daily
where you can
ask for his grace
to be human

mental ruminants
all are we
chewing our cud
thinking we're free

soon the dawn comes
the race almost won
Grace pours down
evil is done

it won't happen quickly
said the monk to me
but little by little
God will set you free

baskers in grace
now are we
cud's no longer chewed
'cause now we are free

1/12/2007 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Bob, the 'descent of pure intelligence' that you describe, I think I can relate to.

I recall that when I was pre-college; 18-19, or so (I was held back a year) when I commented on anything, an article, a post, slashdot, so and so forth, I was always doing so to try to make myself look better, wittier, smarter, gain vote points, whatever-- In other words, using knowledge and language as a kind of 'paper' to cover myself with (or others.)

The moment of intellection happened for me somewhere between my freshmen year (I was 19) and my sophmore year (turning 20.)

I had coasted through my freshmen year, trying hopelessly to build myself and my 'self esteem' up and gain whatever I could-- at that point I had kind of lost my way, to be honest.

But come my sophmore year, I looked at my situation and suddenly said to myself, why am I getting D's? When I was a kid, I loved to learn. I loved every subject (except for maybe gym, but that's another topic.) But now, I could barely make myself do anything!

It was like my mind was demanding to be plugged back into the system properly.

So I took to the task of education with actual discipline; it was harrowing at first because I was unsure of myself on many levels -- (it was a sort of cleansing that went on.) That semester I got straight A's, one of which was in Physics. I realised at that point that there was nothing I couldn't understand, it was simply a matter of having enough time to learn it.

As for the spiritual moment, when the Spirit of God kinda went 'click!' (He had been hanging around, I think, since I had been baptized, waiting for me to let 'im in...)

It is a personal story, but a short account is that a faithful brother laid hands on me -- and it was like a new record got put on the player.

There are many different ways that the Spirit comes to a person (even in biblical accounts they differ-- John the Baptizer may have received in the womb, some received upon hearing, others with the laying of hands, others at the baptism of water, and some it just happened.) but for me it was by the laying on of hands.

It felt like-- I could feel the whole of the world rocking gently back and forth in rhythm.

Anyway, I know of what you speak, Bob. After this 'intellectual moment' when I commented on things (like blogs) I had real things to say-- not because I was trying to come up with something so I could gain reputation or something-- but because I would read something and go, 'oh! That reminds me of...' and the comment would just flow from my intellect.

Of course, it is something that needs to be, well, channeled properly, as it can result in declaring the world 6000 years old when you really ought to have edited your work and noted your error.

Bob, you mentioned your moment of intelligence (when clarity is revealed) what do you think your moment of spiritual connection, or awakening, or whatever-- doesn't have to involve speaking in tongues-- was?

You mentioned getting what Sri was getting at about the limits of the intellect.

(I noted this when I found that some things were unintelligible until an idea kind of 'descended' on me from above which demanded a verdict. The idea would result from working -- as in a free market -- and than that faith propelling an idea to me which my reason could grasp, and that reason propelling me to do something different bumping into the edge of something, which by faith I grasped... and so on.)

1/12/2007 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I'm still waiting....is there a flash of lightening I should look for or something like that? I just try to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am and hope some of it rubs off! ;0)

1/12/2007 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Lisa- don't look for external signs (there is a sin which is the 'need for signs and wonders'.)

I think someone else (Luke?) pointed out that faith is an action -- so the ground has to be tilled, the seed planted, the garden watered, until the seed bursts forth with fruit.

I would not have received the Spirit at any other time than I did even had I had hands laid on me. Nor may it be necessary for you at all.

It took me understanding certain things with reason before I could really take the step of faith in accepting it. And that reason was attained through acting in faith, etc.

Its almost like ... an internal evolution, but also a revolution. That resolution from God's involution is the solution to the world's devolution and collusion- an ablution if you have the volition to make the decision.

1/12/2007 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>"I think, therefore I am." <<

It's the other way around, isn't it?

Also the other way around was my experience with the descent of the two intelligences, lower and higher. The latter seemed to come first - although maybe it was simultaneous or close to it.

Anyway, it was dramatic, still is.

1/12/2007 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Oddly, the word that represents free energy chemically is - 'ion'.

Not that I contain any such things-- nay, a noble structure of wood and steel and ivory!

Except for the humidifier, which needs more water, distilled. Thank you.

The player ought to shorten things a bit, including numbers of times practicing Mozart Sonatas (if I do say...)

Ions are what you are searching for! Well, the right ions, like I am.

I still hold out hope, despite what happened to the cigars in that humidor...

1/12/2007 12:21:00 PM  
Anonymous River's Piano said...

I've been posting under the player's handle! He will not be happy.

But what can you do. No opposable thumbs...

or fingers.

1/12/2007 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Body of God said...

The lower intellect descended into my consciousness when I was 11 or 12.

Perhaps a littel bit too early. Without the requisite emotional, moral and spiritual development I couldn't integrate the fruits of my intellect into a cogent and honest picture of the cosmos or my being.

My intellect became a burden and a source of pain. Overthinking everything with no top-down control or direction. It ran amok and would not be reigned in.

After a couple years of this suffering, I consciously chose to shut down this intellectual faculty.

I lived in the vital, day-to-day world of trivialities for about 5-6 years.

Then at around age 20 my intellect turned back on. Not sure why it did so at this specific point in my life, but it did.

I started to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I read nearly 500 books over the next 3 years.

During this time, I felt like I was on a quest to answer all of life's big questions. That if I accumulated enough knowledge, I'd be able to figure out the great mysteries of existence.

But after 500 books and countless articles and discussions, the answers just weren't there.

I definitely "knew" a lot more than I did 3 years prior. I was at the summit of the intellect, but the questions were no closer to being solved than they were before.

Thus came my realization that truth and God and all the answers I sought would not to be found in intellectual endeavors.

Don't get me wrong. The intellect has an important and necessary function as a foundation for deeper seeking.

But real knowing of ultimate truths comes from a higher, deeper source than the intellect-mind.

Ever since this realization, I have still cherished my intellect and I still love watching it "Grind."

But deeper faculties have been opened.

You'll forgive me if this is where my words begin to fail. The communicative faculties required to trasmit truth about these higher subjects has not yet manifested in our world. So I must use words that can only hint at the true meaning they are meant to convey.

But perhaps someone will understand:

Ever since I recognized the intellectual process for its ultimate futility, my higher evolution has taken the form of radical unknowing, graciousness and silence.

Pure knowledge simply enters into my consciousness. Stillness is truth. And God is everpresent.

Limited intellectual mental space opens up into an infinite fullness, where all knowledge cannot be other than Truth.

Pure, flowing, glorious stillness.

The intellect is a valuable tool, but it does not reach so high! See it for what it is!

Anyways, thank you for listening to my story. If you have experienced a similar developmental process in yourself, perhaps you will recognize the truth in our universal journey.

For your journey is my own, and together we grow the body of the Lord. I AM.

1/12/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

You might find the "Viva Le Mime" video particularly apropos to today's discussion.

http://www.neandernews.com/

Enjoy.

1/12/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will--

I wonder if your pattern is more common in the East? I'm thinking about people such as Ramakrishna and Sri Ramana Maharshi, who both skipped the intellectual part entirely.

1/12/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Lisa, the very fact that you're living in la la land, walking in a lefty meme forest, that the majority of your friends are probably left-leaning, that your colleagues in the fitness/human biology field are probably left-leaning - and that you clearly have conservative/genuinely spiritual inclinations - that you are HERE in O.C. - means that you've already experienced the "lightning", at least to an extent.

Give yourself credit. Just keep nurturing your wisdom in patience, hey?

1/12/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

As the Jesus I know would put it,

"Disciplicons, Roll out!"

The stillness that is God!

Mooo!

*click!* er, oops. Got the jacks switched.

Om.

1/12/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Yes, thanks for the encouragement River and Will. I'm sure I've had plenty of aha moments that have shaped me into the person I am today. It just seems that no matter how much you know there is always so much more. I'm sure an outsider would look at me and think, "This chick is a half-step away from bat-shit crazy!" Ha Ha! I probably wouldn't have it any other way.

I mentioned earlier my academic studies but those were not easily chosen. I started out majoring in Psychology but really loved Art classes too. I just couldn't decide and it nearly drove my mom crazy. Most of my collegiate hours were devoted to partying and having a good time rather than the academic focus. After my freshman year, I took a year off and moved to London. Good times! When I came home my mom forced me to go to a career counselor due to my indecisive nature. He gave me all sorts of questionaires and tests to fill out. I begrudgingly took them. When he came back with my test results he said he good news and bad news. Basically the tests said that I would be suited to do anything I put my mind to. The problem was that I did not want to do anything and had scored the lowest he'd ever seen on job attitude - 2%! I thought my mom was gonna haul off and throttle me. It was very amusing. ;0)

Needless to say, you can understand why I now work for myself. It's a good thing I saw an ad in the paper recruiting new Pilates teachers and hated my cubicle corporate job enough to ditch it all and start from scratch. I have always lived my life from my gut feelings whether good and bad and God has always seemed to put me on a good path. Funny enough all my past interests and education has coalesced into something really fun and rewarding.

1/12/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Huh, I was just importing my old CD's and I was doing 'James Taylor - Hourglass'; and the song 'Line 'Em Up' was the first song.

Just... sometimes something never speaks to you until you forget about it and remember it again.

1/12/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob -

Certainly early, dramatic eruptions of the K were more common in the East, at least from what I've read. I'm not sure if that's still the case. You may have a VERY early awakener right in your own household.

Now that I consider, I would think that even in the case of a relatively early K awakening, the "normal" intellect still develops, perhaps at a
a relatively "normal" pace, but is entirely in the service, so to speak, of the higher.

In other words, it bypasses what we think of as the usual stations of intellectual development and must serve only as a means to articulate, to give shape to the higher. Given the limitations of the intellect, it's probably a temptation for some to just dismiss the lower intellect all together, which I think is a mistake - the intellect, as ineffectual as it might be in describing the ineffable, not to mention in its actual transforming capacities, is still our main bridge of communication.

I think Krishnamurti was an example of someone who basically bypassed the lower intellect and stepped right into the higher. It seems to me he never really bothered with trying to develop his lower intellect so that he could communicate on a level that most people would understand and from which they could, however slightly, spiritually benefit.

1/12/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>Funny enough all my past interests and education has coalesced into something really fun and rewarding<<

How many times do I have to say it??

DESTINY!

1/12/2007 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Ok, Will, here's a question for you:

While standing on your head is the higher intellect still higher and the lower still lower?

1/12/2007 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

have you ever been
experienced well i have
hear in the distance

1/12/2007 01:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Integralist said...

Could someone tell me why my post was removed?

1/12/2007 02:04:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Yes. Because you posted it. As such, it falls far below our standards of quality.

Please, we are not "offended." We just want you to go away. Your presence here is entirely inappropriate.

1/12/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This is very funny -- forwarded to me by ShrinkWrapped:

ZEN JUDAISM

If there is no self,
whose arthritis is this?

Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Is that so complicated?

Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing.
Do not wish for perfect health
or a life without problems.
What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single "oy."

There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life, you never called,
you never wrote, you never visited.
And whose fault was that?

Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Forget this and attaining Enlightenment
will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud.
Let your stillness be as the wooded glen.
And sit up straight. You'll never meet the
Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Be patient and achieve all things.
Be impatient and achieve all things faster.

1/12/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

>>While standing on your head is the higher intellect still higher and the lower still lower? <<

Yes, particularly if you are in China.

1/12/2007 02:40:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Dupree, "inappropriate" as in the psychological term "inappropriate behavior" - like the spurned suitor who pretends nothing is amiss and just keeps returning, returning . . . . ie., stalking.

1/12/2007 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous River's Piano said...

Or people who play Fur Elise.

I mean, its like playing Stairway on the guitar.

Go somewhere and learn another Beethoven song!

(And tell the owner to oil the tre corde!)

1/12/2007 03:13:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

I'm interested in knowing how others answer this -

As intelligence is to wisdom,
emotional intelligence is to what?

1/12/2007 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The "higher vital" of more subtle and refined emotions.

1/12/2007 03:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Jimmy J. said...

A couple of months after the death of my son I experienced a period of Grace that lasted for almost a month. I "knew" then that there was a God, but I had no relationship with Him.

I struggled on for years trying to comprehend what my pain meant and why God would do such a thing.

Three more times I was struck by short periods of Grace and my sense of the Divine grew deeper. I understood it intellectually, but it still wasn't "in" me.

It was on a hike in the mountains in Colorado where I witnessed an enormous thunderstorm of immense power. As I watched the storm boiling with lightning flashing and thunder rolling, I was suddenly struck once more with Grace. Only this time I knew that I was accepted and loved just like all of His creation. That knowing without any intellectualization is now incorporated deep in every fiber of my being. I still don't understand why I suffered, but I know it is the path I had to take.

I still experience periods of Grace. I never know when they will happen or how long they will last. But I am grateful and it is enough.

1/12/2007 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

"Could someone tell me why my post was removed?"

Bwahahahaha!!! Oh yes! Bob now has "someones" or perhaps, minions?

The umbrage is palpable! The sense of privilege assumed on "someone" else's blog is evident! The righteous indignation of his personhood trammeled by a mere "delete" button! The drama! The pathos!

Hopefully, he doesn't play poker.

1/12/2007 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Thanks, Bob. I will give that some thought.

1/12/2007 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh! said...

Sorry Bob, but he can't just keep leaving such rich targets for me.

I'll be good now. I'll just go back to looking for that descent/decent thingy.

1/12/2007 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Aquila said...

OT: Author-philosopher-humorist-controversialist Robert Anton Wilson has Left the Building:

http://www.reason.com/blog/show/117838.html

1/12/2007 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Nomo:

That's probably worthy of a post: what are the "higher" and more subtilized emotions?

1/12/2007 05:16:00 PM  
Anonymous PrincessSpirit said...

G-BOB: In my work w/adolescents & older narcissists (same diff!) I encounter same pattern. Boys dont usually come into spiritual Being until mid/late 20s or mid-30s if then. Many don't wakeup til late 30s+40s if they had rough childhood & they choose to stay in dreamland longer. Can definately validate your observations.

I knew sumfink vital was missing tho I had intellect enuf in High School. Still I searched for spiritual insights, connections, Wisdom. No One in my adopted family identified with Spiritual subjects I wanted to discuss. They looked quizzically at me like I was odd & I thought they werent normal to ignore Spiritual side of self. They didnt understand nor approve my innate spiritual sense. Insights plinked off them constantly like tiddly winks on tile instead of being absorbed/integrated. We were at spiritual odds. I was a round peg in their square-headed Spongebob world. At 15 I was overjoyed to read Tolkien's LOTR, Mere Christianty & later Flatland. At last, others validated the spiritual sense I knew in my Being.

Profound lack of spiritual connection w/them prodded me to seek elsewhere. At 15 began to study cults, cultures, religions, mysticism, & philosophies to learn spiritualities & disciplines. Studied & experienced Taoism, New Age, Shintoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Pagans, Satanism etc. in-depth. Thru all I pursued a "certain balance" I knew existed but never found. Philosophies & Religs offered truths, none offered internal relational spiritual depth w/God I sought to disprove or prove.

After years of voracious reading, study, learning & experience (I didn't attend full-time college until my 30s) at age 23-24 I came back to re-study Christianity at long last. It was the only option left for me I'd not fully experienced. Grew concerned as I thought surely dry Christianty could NOT have The Answer. To test it, I recommitted my life to have a substantive relationship w/God tho I didn't have much faith at all. Other religs & philosophies didn't give wholeness & balance I sought. I wanted out of the Religion of Relativism since age 13 as I knew it sickened people & society. There had to be an opposite, better alternative & I was outta options. So I jumped in.

Looking back, I remembered at 18 I'd undergone a unique experience. I reframed it & suddenly realized it was a Spiritual Growth experience right in my own backyard. At 18, moved out of parental units home, faced life alone. Exciting but very daunting. I realized I felt afraid. Didn't know whether to be codependent or independent. Where was healthy Interdependence? If people didn't have much, where was it? Did God give it? Where was God IN ME & IN OTHERS?

One night, during the wee hours, I faced The Dark Night of the Soul. Excrutiatingly painful. Being a girl & overly-willing to blame myself at that age, I embraced the pain of truth after Truth, self revealed layer by layer, unearthed, dug out & confessed to HolySpirit every sin, fear & lie I'd ever uttered & could scrounge up in my soul. Holy Spirit brought more to mind (how nice of Him to help!) Time to Get Truthful or Die Trying. Laid my entire Being on His Altar, In His Hands. Hardest thing I've ever done. Became a Believer at age 4 so this wasnt Salvation experience. I wanted Sanctification. Cried, faced Truth & verbally puked my spiritual guts into a towel-covered pillow for 3 hrs straight. I was a mess. Finally no more tears came, I couldn't think anymore w/no brain left. Felt totally raw as if runover by an 18-wheeler. Got naked with Truth & it burned the crap outta me as my body & spirit burned inside & out with fever/agony. There was simply nowhere left to hide as I fessed up all my known hiding places & defense mechs, unlocked ALL the doors wide open to Him. My mind, heart & spirit felt aflame with death as poisonous thoughts & ways were being burned outta me by Truth & Spirit. I couldnt tell good pain from bad pain, was just a mess o pain. Spiritual Death & Life were battling within me. Yet I had committed to trust God, was on a Mission: it was Do-or-Die Time for me to prove God is real & relates intimately w/people & me or I'd use it as justification to become a lifelong Agnostic or Atheist-Hedonist.

I remembered Bible spoke of Refiners Fire & the idea of anneal-in-order-to-heal. Determined I'd either find God thru whatever pains I had to bear or else my misery would testify theres No God & He doesnt care. Wrestled to understand God wants daily personal relationship w/me & what it meant to Walk in Spirit consistently. Couldn't get up off floor I was so exhausted & shaken from my spiritual eliminations. I opened my Bible & fed myself little tiny bits of Truth-Principles instead of reading long Chapters. Topical tidbits made a big difference. I used Topical approach to APPLY Truth to my scorched self & to the lies I'd puked out so I'd be reinforced w/Truth & not fall prey to lies again. I bandaged myself w/Truth externally after imbibing its horrid healing medicine internally. Then I fell into deep, exhausted sleep, unsure of everything, only sure Doubt & Pain were Reality.

Next Day: I Woke Up. Literally. Sumfink was VERY different in me. My actual vision changed, was clearer, sharper. Realized not only my vision but my BRAIN itself had changed chemically. I Knew IT was sharper not only in intellect but in receptivity to Spirit-Truth-Wisdom was Spiritually Wide Awake. Incredibly aware of my inner dialogue & thots in my head + heart I previously ignored. Had an intimate New Connection w/Self. Thats not all. Felt incredible Stability of Mind; Soundness of Heart; Liberty of Spirit. Solid PEACE in My Being. After the Worst Night of my Life, it was the Best Day of my Life.

I figured this was a "cathartic experience" just psychological healing, that's all; didn't mean it was Spiritual Oneness w/God-Intimacy-Truth, right? Went to work, new feelings/thots never left nor dissipated. I'd previously had a song playing in my head, now it wouldn't happen no matter how hard I tried to make one play. Didnt need songs anymore; was awake now w/Spirit. The tunes had to stop so I could "hear" Him. Tunes = old way. Knew I faced sumfink totally different now. My mind + Spirit were finally connected & teflon against lies. I wondered if Truth would stick. It didn't stick, it infused in my Being, felt like a deep well of clear cool still Water. Could FEEL depths of My Being & God's together, wholistically; upfront, not in background. I could hear a pin drop I was so attuned to everything around me, outside a room & inside my head + heart + Spirit all at once. Easy attunement, no striving. Expansive. The Freedom gave me great Joy AND Stability of Being due to God-Truth becoming My Base + Spiritual Spine. I thought: maybe I'll hear God better now? Went home & read Bible to test it.

Whereas Bible had been kinda literal, suddenly I related w/Scripture in a more experiential, insightful way, as if I had new eyes, a new brain & perceptive abilities plugged into Him. Connections between Truth Principles & Characters lives & motives & reality exploded for me, became "severely alive". My spirt-brain sparked like fireworks. Tho I knew Spirit w/me before, now I was not asleep nor alone. I KNEW Him. No more doubt. Interdependent relationship w/God was real. Truths I'd learned in Taoism & Mysticism suddenly ALL coalesced with Christ as Cruxpoint.

When I repented & spiritually puked, I'd finally taken full responsibility for my relationship w/HolySpirit, God, AbTruth, all of it. The spiritual-relational aspect I'd been pursuing began within, choosing to surrender all self to God, trusting Him instead of self. Saw same principle operating in peeps thru history & Bible, mystics to philosophers to historians to sages. I "heard God speak" in my Spirit-Being as I digested His Truths & Gourmet Spirit-food as fast as He fed it to me. Recognized HE owned said Truths; religs & philos I studied just channeled them as Truth & truths can come from Him thru other religions, philosophies, beliefs etc.

I could read spiritual signs, knew I was onto Right path of spiritual transformation & transcendent wholeness. The sheer sobriety of Truth drove me to my knees even as it raised my Being steadily up. So at age 24 I remembered myself at 18 &, it all clicked. Truth was w/me all the time. I had to tune-in & align w/Truth-God. I've never looked back since that day. From then til now, whenever I sense distance between HS & myself I don't hesitate to descend via repentance, surrender, brokenness, whatever you wanna call it, in order to reorient my intimacy w/God-Truth to "get real & rise." Can do it "on the fly" wherever I am, quietly, instantly, even in the car; its not a 3-hr snotfest anymore! Now I surrender w/just a nudge from Spirit. Surrender-to-rise as a Truth-Principle has become part of my Being. Rather lose my right hand than lose Truth-God. Spiritual Fruit is nothing short of phenomenal & transcendent, Vibrancy & LIFE itself. Liberty + Empowerment Being in Oneness w/God frees me from codependency & unhealthy spiritual bondages-limits in self. Paul experienced this & transformed. Others who get it are deep Blessing who KNOW Truths Transforming power & are liberated-in-Soul have great strength of Being in Him. Spiritual sanity & like-Spiritedness, to Worship God for this Incredible Life & Being together in Body, Wholeness & Communion.

Descend-to-Ascend Principle has become rich fertilzer for my Spirtual Fruit Tree & Garden. Appears paradoxical but isnt, often defies explanations, yet teaches me God & His Foundational Principles. Surrender produces amazing Spiritual Roots & Fruit in those who live it. Tho its a "hard sell" to any Leftie or Rebellious type, is Doorway to Spiritual Life & Relationship, was my "Trial by Fire" into God-Oneness. As my thoughts, feelings, & will-choices spiritually align-balance w/Truth-God incredible Oneness is found there to experience & share.

My spiritual journey has become a True Joy. I'm not afraid to face fears or Truth now. I excavate fears & Truths in myself & professionally w/others. which grows us Vertically. This Principle is an Irrefutable Spiritual AbTruth, sees me thru every scenario in life. Its a Foundational Truth & Not a relativistic willy-nilly truth. Most importantly, it not only connects me w/God but into Oneness w/God & The Body, not just as ectastic experience; its Dynamic Life, Comprehensive Growth & Transcendent Experience to all levels of my Being, rooted in Him-AbTruth & the Body. Visions, spir moments, gifts-skills, Fruits & intimate experiences bring consistent increased soundness to Mind, Spirit & Being. Wouldn't trade for ALL moolah in world. Its important & integral to retain Spiritual Liberty, Roots, Center, Being + Communion in Him in both plenty & sparse times. By surrendering my will (self) to Him, He infuses me w/His Will & Spirit, enables me to do as He wills, to rise above frustrations, problems & limits. With Christ/Spirit, all things truly are possible. Hope You also experience Fruit of Oneness/Being in Him.

- Princess -
"Go BOB Go!"

1/12/2007 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous PrincessSpirit said...

When I surrender my brain to God, yes theres stillness; but more than that; living integration. Infusion.

"Body of God" is right: its really unexplainable in words but I greatly appreciate what others share here. The validation, oh! the suh-weet validation brings me a shared sense of Truth like Corporate Communion, better than Church anyday!

- Princess -

1/12/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous walt said...

Bob, in response to your question, I am among those who seem to be "muddling through" when it comes to spiritual matters. I began exploring such things fresh out of high school, and certainly there has been growth-of-understanding, but it has always seemed to come "incrementally", amidst lots of confusion, and not as an "infusion". This may relate to what you said about "bandwidth" a couple of days ago. I once had a client tell me that the manner in which I had organized my business was "almost mystical", and that, perhaps, also describes my spiritual life. What stands out to me so often is how much "luck" I've had, and how awash with Real Blessings my life has been, entirely apart from anything I've "done".

1/12/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Anonymous PrincessSpirit said...

Lisa: Luther was almost singed by lightening about 3 feet away, knocked him on his behind. Hopefully hair-raising experiences arent needed for you, Sis! He promptly dropped out of law-school & entered the Priesthood that very day/evening. I can see why! Changed his life. His integration of the 2 intellects came about when he sequestered inside a tower & hadda "royal rumble" w/God, the devil & self. God won!

"Seek...Knock & the Door shall be opened unto You...Find." Love those verses. Knocked on doors having partial answers until I knocked on Right one. Surrender to the Still Place w/Him has changed my life, my mental health, the very fabric of my Being, has made all the difference.

- Princess -

Nomo: "Intellect is to Wisdom as Emotional Intelligence is to Empathy & Godly Perception. Wisdom, Godly Perception & Empathy are components of Godly Love. EQ -> Godly Love. Whats your take on it?

1/12/2007 06:35:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I love the Zen Judaism schtick! Too true! Stick to the basics...

1/12/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Anonymous interlocutor said...

Thanks for your comments on my case, Bob. I agree that my early immersion in the printed word probably denied me the space of the "untrammeled imagination," as you put it.

I'm not abusing any illegal chemicals at this time, although I've had an amazingly hard time getting out from under them.

I went from alcohol/cigarettes/coffee (the unholy "legal high" trinity) to Vicodin and Darvocet pills, then to injectable opiates like morphine, Demerol and Dilaudid, then on to injecting cocaine in tandem with opiates, then off of those and back onto alcohol and coffee, then off the cigarettes, then back onto cigarettes, then off of everything except, believe it or not, Sudafed pills, which I took as a stimulant.

Then back on alcohol, and, incredibly, I developed a sex addiction on top of everything else.

Now I'm off of everything except caffiene pills (200mg) which you can buy at any store.

There always has to be something.

I went out for a nature walk today and asked God "how do I silence my mind?"

The word "Listen" came to my awareness, but that was it. I did try listening to the woods and to the wind and the animal noises, and sure enough, when listening intently, the mind does go somewhat blank.

But listening intently is hard to sustain; after a short time you just get sucked back into the vortex of thinking about what's for dinner or how your going to make money or some damn thing like that.

I'm going to keep working on this silence project.

1/12/2007 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interlocutor:

You may want to take up something very physically demanding, such as Iyengar yoga, which both silences the mind and opens the channels to spiritual energy. Just make sure it's in the proper spiritual setting, not in a debased form aimed at thinning your thighs for bikini season.

1/12/2007 07:31:00 PM  
Anonymous PrincessSpirit said...

G-BOB said: "Interlocutor: you need Silence. Aspiration. Surrender. And a Source of Genuine Grace, in a serious way. That's the only way out of the closed loop."

So tonight, you sought silence.

But Who or what is your Source of Genuine Grace though?

THAT is Who/what speaks to you In the Silence. It's Whom you surrender to, as well. Connecting to nothing equals nothing (void). Connecting to God equals (you fill in blank here.)

- Princess -

1/12/2007 08:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I hesitate to claim any of us experienced a descent of mind or boost to our intelligence (and in fact often feel that our brains function more slowly as we age) several of my friends and I have discussed the sudden lack of self-interest we encountered in our late 20s and early 30s. Much of our ridiculous (from this vantage point) personal drama was replaced with a renewed spark of curiousity that continues to build as we now approach middle age. And, absolutely, this involves a much more integral appliation of what does seem to be an annoying and comforting endless supply of new information with which to stuff ourselves.

Supposing it is actually a rewiring of the brain or an increase in objective IQ seems like more of a stretch than admitting that all the personal angst of youth, eventually, just gets very very boring and needs to be replaced by something. Thankfully.

1/12/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I forgot to add that I hope you are feeling better, Bob. Is Mrs. G feeding you lots of chicken soup?

1/12/2007 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Gagdad, thanks for the stroll down memory lane.

I think I went through more of a slow building explosion followed by a swift implosion/integration. High School was a waste for me. The teachers bit and I didn't bite, what I wanted to study they didn't teach. Though algebra, geometry & chemistry fascinated me, I had know interest learning them for the purposeless sole purpose of regurgitating theorems or the table of elements... wasn't there more to it than that?

I wanted to study music, they wanted to drill in their 60's idea of 'modern' music (do your own thing - exactly as I tell you to). I wanted to learn ancient history, they wanted to teach social studies, I wanted to learn German, they wanted to teach the neuter, masculine and feminine ways of asking where to find a restaurant. That was all my teenage brain needed to justify blowing it all off - I think I graduated with a C average... I think.

After a year of working deliveries and clerking, I gave college a shot, but it was just more of the same, I wanted an Education, they wanted to sell me a diploma. At that point my band took off and so did I for the next 8 years.

Traveling the West coast states with a band in the 80's, usually with my paneled dodge maxi-van equipped with all of the essentials: a bed, a cooler & a bookcase, I raised being a slackellectual to new heights.

From about 19 through 27 I was a book gobbler. I started gobbling up books on neuroscience, shakespeare, history, poetry, history of science, Greek tragedy, political history, Krishnamurti, D.T.Suzuki, Alan Watts, J.R.R. Tolkein, Psychology, Churchill, Emerson... lots and lots of stuff.

And it had all the intellectual substance of a lots and lots of stuff. It was at the later end of 27 that I realized that I was speeding around in circles, and some maturity began to set in courtesy of my future wife. I concluded that I needed more depth below my stuff, and dove deeper into philosophy with the endarkenment crowd of Descartes, Rousseau & Kant & Hegel; Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard... but I had the nagging feeling that I hadn't found depth, only muddy water.

Then a neighbor reintroduced me to Ayn Rand, and I devoured and internalized all the novels, the essays and epistemology of the objectivists over and again. That left the sensation of my mind having been thoroughly and sensibly re-organized, indexed and acid washed clean. Clean & sparkling & orderly - and sterilized.

All the eastern mysticism and western deterministicism and Romanticism-Modernism were powerwashed out and set off at a distance from me, where I could observe them again through the perspective of "Yes ma'am, just the facts ma'am".

At that point, early 30's, reviewing all the stuff in my brain at a distance, there started to come a sense of larger deeper principles somehow ordering all that stuff - couldn't be anything religous or anything like that of course... but still, there was something... out there? Re-reading Tolkein, Shakespeare, C.S.Lewis, Plato, Aristotle, Relational Database theory, Object Oriented Programming, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Homer & Virgil... another round of Rand powerwashing, and then Irving Babbitt, Richard Weaver, Fredrich Bastiat, Cicero, Richard Mitchell & the Founders... that was when I felt I began hitting the intellectual summit. Not the sense that I'd reached as high as could be reached, but that I had all that was necessary to work with, to gain more would require more than more stuff, what had to be done now, would be more involved in fitting the pieces together, than gathering more pieces.

The wide reaches of all that stuff seemed to suddenly begin linking together and come rushing back inwards on me, like the Red Giant that reaches it's extremes and begins to collapse, watching it you know it will end in either a blackhole or a quasar, fortunately having my wife & kids pointed me towards the light, and so I think a quasar was the result.

There was a period where my mind actually refused reading and writing new stuff, there was an internal palpable sense of a padded but solid wall having been drawn down on all new learning... I'd guess it was around 35 or 36, and lasted for about 9 months (hmm), it felt like my mind had become too dense to squeeze anything else in to it.

I have the sense that the weight of all that extended stuff linking and drawing closer together did in fact draw me so completely inwards as to punch through the inward boundaries and somehow outwards to the sense of something larger... peace and truth but more, life, spirit God is the best description. All and none, everywhere but knowhere - there for communication when your soul is in tune - a yearning and indication of distance when not. Religion doesn't quite cover it, but perhaps it underlies it.

When I read, study, discuss, blog now, there is no longer the sense that each new bit of info is being stuffed into a fixed mental closet, but instead that each piece seems to fit into, unite and expand both mind and soul... and that's where One Cosmos fits into the world for me now - it enlarges, widens and knits life together in an off roading sort of way.

Bobble-on!

1/12/2007 09:23:00 PM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Walt said:

"What stands out to me so often is how much "luck" I've had, and how awash with Real Blessings my life has been, entirely apart from anything I've "done". "

Bob,

In reference to Walt's statement, something you've alluded to several times in your posts was the idea that a disembodied spiritual avatar/entity would "choose" or be "attracted to" someone as a sort of unseen, unperceived (perhaps realized later in life) spiritual guide, an unseen guiding/shaping hand.
I realize that some of the worlds worst psychotics have claimed to have been chosen (Ahmedinejad and Hitler come to mind) so I would think that someone who actually did good and didn't cause such destruction would either have above average humility or be unaware of the aid, to minimize the ego involvement. The aware person also being somewhat reluctant to speak of it.
Examples of Americas fouders receiving guidance and benefiting humanity come to mind. (George Washington, as the receiver not the avatar)
I'm not sure if I've articulated the idea sufficiently but if I have, could you elaborate on that thought and/or the aid of the spirit (grace?) in general, in a future post?
Thanks.

Oh, and a shout out to Cuz, SWEET B*#^tch Slap! :)

1/12/2007 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Princess - Intelligence is horizontal, wisdom is vertical. Wisdom is the real purpose of intelligence. True wisdom is Godly. Emotion is part of being a person. God is a person, although in a sense we can only barely comprehend. So, although nearly incomprehensible, Godly emotion must be the purpose of emotional intelligence. What is Godly emotion?

1/12/2007 10:51:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Interlocutor -

>> . . .listening intently is hard to sustain; after a short time you just get sucked back into the vortex of thinking . . . <<

I think it's good to remember that too much resistance against "monkey brain" is going to get the opposite effect. I totally support the yoga and other certain intervals/exercises during the day and week which can serve you as "spiritual gymnastics". If you maintain with this, it will have a permanent effect. However, trying to keep your mind clear of thought, constantly straining to do so is just going to make you very nervous.

Not that you asked me, but I'd advise taking a few times everyday to just stop and ask yourself, "OK, what's in my head right now? What is my mood? Why am I in this mood"? Otherwise, leave your head alone. The most important thing about "stopping thoughts" and inner silence is that you become self-aware and not let moods and emotions that are just under the surface of consciousness dictate your actions. You know, like an anger you may feel about such and such affecting your emotions toward people who had nothing to do with such and such. It's really all about simple self-awareness, not "stopping thoughts" per se.

And when you do take time to observe yourself, do so non-judgmentally. Don't think, oh, my head is filled with thoughts and emotions, I'm so un-spiritual, etc. Don't make an effort to do anything with your thoughts/emotions other than to just observe them as dispassionately as you can. You'll find in time that this calm self-observation, practiced from time to time, will do wonders in stilling your mind.

One more thing - if you observe that your thoughts/emotions are really howling away, just laugh at them. Seriously. If there's one thing these little banshees want it's to be taken seriously. Take yourself seriously by taking yourself un-seriously, if you know what I mean.

1/12/2007 10:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its nice to read about another who has had this same "awakening". I am 22, and I experienced my awakening during my last year of college (2005-2006 semesters). I'm still in the early phases, but I've already noted it as such. My world has been turned upside down, and I still have yet to scratch the surface. I hope to further learn about this idea, considering the fact that it is something rare (at least for me) to hear about. Awakenings like mine, the sudden shift in my perception of life, is something that most people don't even hear of, yet alone experience. My question is, what brings this on? I hope to hear more about what you have to say regarding this.

1/13/2007 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Walt said… " and certainly there has been growth-of-understanding, but it has always seemed to come "incrementally", amidst lots of confusion, "

Maybe lots of gaps? I think we nearly always, when learning, stretch out with new segments learned, but many gaps and supports incomplete. It is only with several cycles that our understanding and internalization becomes more solid and complete.

" The most important thing about "stopping thoughts" and inner silence is that you become self-aware and not let moods and emotions that are just under the surface of consciousness dictate your actions."

Yes, you begin to sense the principle beneath the details unresolved, and then yourself as something distinct from the thoughts and emotions operating upon your surface. That, for me, was a great source of stillness - that and directing my mind to the principles and their integrations, rather than the detail chatter above. As the underlying Truths click into place, the chatter resolves itself.

Walt said " if you observe that your thoughts/emotions are really howling away, just laugh at them. Seriously. If there's one thing these little banshees want it's to be taken seriously."

Yeah! For me, these two seeking the underlying principles rather than the chatter, and consciously laughing at the self-important meme's have been most effective.

Doubtless my experiences pale in comparison to anonymous’s, and any of my advice should be taken as only as seriously as someone who spent the night at a holiday inn once upon a time, but those mental viruses plague us all to some extent. I've been fortunate enough not to let them get a serious grasp on the controls, but they are there none the less, and when you mentally stray to near their whirlpools, like Scylla & Charibdes, they draw you in and down and smash you up. For me, lashing about in their waters has never led to escape, not before being drawn down and flushed out on their terms.

I've only successfully escaped their current by anchoring to a wider and deeper truths at first sign of being drawn in. That, and by dismissing their calls through seeing their self important posturing as laughable in the wider scheme of things; It is like letting the gorgon see itself in the reflection of your laughter - their brittleness shatters into dust.

Such a state may be far from where you are now, but I'd wager it might offer some relief. Good luck to you.

1/13/2007 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

double oops, looks like I typed Walt instead of Will on the last two attributions. Yottle made me do it. That, and it being 3:00a.m.

1/13/2007 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous walt said...

Van - You're going to sleep about when I'm waking up. 'Twas I on the first quote, but in my Zen Phase, it was "not-I" on the second quote; someone out there is yearning for attribution right now. I agree with your description of "gaps"; I suppose it is natural to note those Spiritual Greatest Hits, like noticing the crest of a wave more than the resulting trough and the subsequent re-surging, which is where most of the true action is at.

Hoarhey - I thought about using the word "grace", but decided to describe it subjectively, as "luck", as I have experienced it. Could well be that the implications of "grace" would be scary -- ha-ha -- the usual double-bind: afraid to receive what is sought.

1/13/2007 04:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Alan said...

Great comments, ummm, yesterday (by now!)

To build on Will, Bob, and Walt's advice, if you are Christian, remember what people did to get healed by Jesus. In most cases, someone went and asked Jesus to come and heal a loved one and Jesus became present. What works for me is bringing my awareness to the whirlpools in my mind calling on Jesus who is then present - then I just continue watching....no fighting, no turning away (just turn the other cheek). If I get sucked in again, no judgement, just gently return to looking at the parasite and, eventually, seeing a miracle! Remembering the presence of Christ within you frees you from having to fix the problem - all we must do is recognize, witness, and remember. Even forgetting to be a witness shouldn't be judged...just remember.

Interlocutor: What great honesty.

others: great stories of quickening.

1/13/2007 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Joan of Argghh said...

Low income, high I.Q., with no culture or intellection meant my early years amounted to a voracious intake of anything and everything there was to know. But the Catholic mystics were my only door to the vertical. My Pre-college English classes in 11th and 12th grade did nothing for me. I rebelled against the nihilism, I couldn't see what the professors wanted me to see. It didn't line up with truth, and I told them so. I hated the depressing fiction, it did not reflect anything true, even for someone who had more reason to believe in it than most.

Somewhere at age 17 a grace and wisdom that I had longed for since age 4 was given to me. After that, having a teacher try to introduce me to one-sided swill and nihilism was sheer folly. I turned down every scholarship offer for college and went out to meet the world that was missing in mine.

At age 23 a music group called, "2nd Chapter of Acts" introduced me to Narnia and the vertical was blasted wide open through the writings of Lewis and MacDonald. Lots of fundie friends and churches later, it was clear that I didn't fit into the box. I almost felt guilty about it when George MacDonald's writings blew right past Judgement and into the Grace that I had experienced, but I knew I had stumbled into fearless thinking about spiritual matters.

It was that freedom that brought me back to fearless learning; Ayn Rand's wonderfully sterilizing acid-wash was balanced by Shakespeare, Blake, Plato, Augustine and so many others.

It's hard for me to place a moment or time on the descent of mind, because it seemed to always be there. Like a beautiful Chevy 350 longblock with a dual plane intake manifold 700 cfm Holley carburetor, and a full tank of gas, all that intellect was going nowhere until it made sense in the vertical, until a "spark" made it roar to life.

I spoke before of the the upward tug of the kite I had a hold of. In the end, that was all there ever was, since as far back as I can recall. Everything else is a footnote.

It's a beautiful Saturday and the beach and the winds are calling.
'Ta!

1/13/2007 06:48:00 AM  
Anonymous sawdust said...

Jimmy J, I share similar, what's the word, Experiences , as you.

I had the early intellect, starting about the time I started school, for as long as I can remember I was at the top of the class without any effort, not tosay that it took a lot. High school was different, a few graduated ahead of me, but I knew that withe the same effort I could have been the first. I believe that may have been the result of being raised in a (then, certainly not now) very sparcely populated area, without contact of those my age except my cousin, about a quarter-mile down the road. I knew that the top two were required to give a speech at graduation. Was NOT ready for that at that point.

Out of high school, joined the Army to fight "those damned Commies". I try not to pass judgement on the events and personalities of those days, it is hard. I won't elaborate on that now.

I tried college after I came home from Vietnam, just couldn't pull it off with the equipment. My days of sloth, failing to learn how to learn, caught up with me. I took a summer job as carpenter and decided that I liked it. Strange job interview: "Ever do any construction work?+ "No." Ever been around any construction work? :My dad built our house."
"Then you're a carpenter." And so I was, still am, sort of.

I met my wife through a dream, in which every single detail of reality and dream werre identical, clothing, cars, location, etc., except for a new building put up in my absence. I was in Louisiana, born in Southern Illinois.

I lost her, 11 years ago this month, aneurysm (sp?). It came down to me deciding to remove her feeding tube and let her die. Don't wish that on anyone. Well, maybe I could, not sure to be ashamed of that or not. I guess it all depends on how you let your love for various things affect your life.

I was brought up in the Church of Christ, doubtless originating in some sort of disagreeable split with another(s). I drifted from the church early sixties, back (not enthusiastically) about '75
at the urging of my wife, who wanted to raise our three children with a religious association.

I had always felt that the fulfilled dream was God, not Jesus, speaking to me. Still do.

Then, the second message when it came down to making THE decision. Physically, mentally, and almost spiritually exhausted, I could not summon a cogent thought. Another dream, two men on a large ship. Both dressed alike, could well have been brothers. The first, sitting on deck, back to a heavy post, hands tied behind and around the post: asleep with his head on his knees.

Second man appears in the upper part of the screen, head first, arms bound at his sides with rope around his body, suspended from a rope at the ankles, bleeding and unconsoius (sp). He was lowered until his head was level with the first, about two feet away.

I pondered the dream, couldn't get any meaning, though I felt it was important. I described it to my daughter one evening, and the following afternoon had a note from her. She was a HS Senior, had gone to a friend's to study. And a p.s.: "Imagine a large ship, sailing to an unknown destination. On board are three people. Two are dressed alike and are obviously companions of some kind. The third person, who is unseen, is very powerful. He wants the fist man to realize that, literally, his hands are tied. There is nothing he can do to save his friend, it's too late. However, despite the tragedies on board, the ship continues to sail. It must go on".

When I read the note, I was unable to breathe for some time, long enough for it to worry me. Yes, of course, dumb old Dad didn't have the faith to see God in the picture, using the wrong I. But my 17-year old daughter, about to lose her mother, did.

I basically wasted the next 5 or 6 years, absorbed in my work, that seeming to help at the time. But a seed had been planted, now I find myself trying to sort out where to go from here.

So about a month ago I stumled upon this discussion, hope to enjoy it as much as I think. Don't know that I can pass any wisdom along. I have "known" things in the past, things which I know now are false. Or do I?

1/13/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Sal said...

This is fascinating -
though I can't claim the experience Bob described. I'd have to say in my case that the two intelligences developed at the same time and re-inforced each other, in an age-appropriate way.

So, I remember with tremendous clarity learning to read, with the accompanying realization that there was this wonderful, amazing amount of stuff in the world that you could learn about in books!

But while I was devouring the Golden Book Encyclopedia (remember them?), I was also poring over the big Bible stories book, because that resonated just as much.

And, allowing for the usual spiritual development of highs, lows and plateaus, that's how it's pretty much always been.

Thinking about it now, it occurs to me that what I've been doing has been figuring out the connections of everything else to O, ever since I was a little kid.

I guess that's one way to do it.

Feel better, Bob!

1/13/2007 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Take up and play the game of Golf. Vertical movement. Samuel Clemmons(sp?) "a good walk spoiled", was a ruse, an attempt to diminish the numbers. No fool he. heh heh

1/13/2007 07:20:00 AM  
Anonymous GLASR said...

Joan,
Was that a Nova? SS had the 396, Nova and Chevelle, no? So cool, those Nova's, sideways through three gears.

1/13/2007 07:26:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

glasr - check out the book "Golf in the Kingdom". Zen, Scotland, origins, etc. Beautiful, funny, and inspiring.

1/13/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger NoMo said...

My "awakening" was a momentous turning point at about 25. My life until them was a kind of seeking after God that kept me running full tilt in the opposite direction as if something was after me, but all the while glancing back over my shoulder asking, "Are You there"?

Then, on an August evening, all in the space of a couple hours during which a number of personal crises converged, I was compelled to STOP and ask the same question. I know the answer had always been there, but I was not ready to hear until that moment. "Yes, I am here". Stillness, overpowering relief, then a determination to move forward into what would unfold as an entirely altered reality.

For me, that reality is Christ and moving forward has been to devour and digest all knowledge I can about Him. The digest part is key --for the knowledge needs to become part of your being, not just fill up your head. After all, it is a relationship that is being built.

It started with the Bible, then took a path through all the greats (Augustine, Lewis, McDonald, Schaeffer, Nee, etc., etc.) and then more exclusively the Bible -- which, oddly enough, continues to forever unfold and speak in a new voice.

So, I tell others, if you truly STOP to ask the question, you might actually HEAR the answer.

1/13/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous hoarhey said...

Interlocutor said;

"I went out for a nature walk today and asked God "how do I silence my mind?"


Perhaps you could simply pray for the willingness to have your mind be silenced. (the struggling whirlwinds part of it)




There is still a measure of control you believe you have in it.

1/13/2007 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous PrincessSpirit said...

Nomo: Godly Emotion Is fullness of Love. ALL that Love Is, not just our limited views of Love-God; the Fullness of God...for God Is Love.

When we trust/know/feel His Love in us, we are freed from codependent love. This is one of the benefits of Godly Emots. in that we no longer attach (or attach way less) to defense mechs, self, evil, sins, addictions or things not Godly. Godly emots. frees us to rise higher up the vertical.

Wisdom is Godly-Spirit perception (His views), thoughts & judgments. Godly Emotions are Empathy, Grace, Compassion, Bold-Love & higher, deeper, subtler emotions. All are components of Godly Love. But remember, God-Love Is also Right Judgment (Spiritual Authority, Justice & Mercy) - the very thing Leftie Hippie-humanists hate & reject. They emasculate Christ into Hippie-Jesus, distort & pervert what Love-God Is. Therefore, they know neither the fullness of God nor His actual Love.

Lefties say "Love is the Answer" but their twisted version doesn't help them know God or Truth. As G-BOB said "You need a Source of Grace". Graceless "love" or narcissistic self-love is not a source of Grace. Grace comes from a Being (God) not a thing.

So, IQ/EQ, Godly Emotions, Grace, Mercy, Justice, Right Judgment, Wisdom are all Love...and God Is Love, Isn't HE The Point?

Loveless Truth & Truthless Love are not Wisdom nor Grace. The Point of all Truth, Grace & Wisdom is God-Love in Rich Relationship-w/us.

- Princess -

1/14/2007 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Bob - awesome, awsome post. Racoons: awesome, awesome comments. I have posted my own testimony on here before and wont go into all that now, except to confirm that my own real adulthood also began at age 26, when I decided to stop fooling around with lots of diverse things, abandon my nihilism and hedonism, and re-embrace the Christ that I had abandoned in disillusionment two years previous. It was from there that the Vertical journey began in earnest. A further cleansing occured after 9/11 when I saw the vacuousness of my liberal leanings and embraced free-market conservatism and guilt-free love of liberty with renewed conviction and zeal. Was lead to this blog and found everything I believed in echoed by Bob's In-Vertro Vertilized mind. The Blogs folder of my Favorites list now has 10 sites, including this one, Dr Sanity, Assistant Village Idiot, Shrink Wrapped, SC&A, Dicentras Garden, and Neo-Neocon.

Alan: awesome poetry: "mental ruminants". Belongs in a book, dude.

Bob: Zen Judaism, ROFL ROFL!!

Princess: riveted by your testimony, shades of Martin Luther's dark nights and and the great revivals of the 1800's, where supplicants writhed in pain on the ground with the conviction of the Spirit, as well as Pentecost Day, where the folks gathered in Solomon's Porch cried out, "what must we do to be saved?". Detox of the soul and spirit is always an agony, as bad as heroin withdrawl sometimes. Your instant peace next morning is similar to other stories I have heard; PTL.

Walt: you may want to consider a 12-step program to keep substance-free; they tend to focus on the Vertical as your source of power.

Bobbleheads: incredible testimonies, all. Truly, the Journey ends at the Beginning.

1/15/2007 09:12:00 AM  

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