On Spirituality

Image result for nicholas roerich artI believe in ‘spirituality’ in the sense that it is a psychological perspective. In other words, I do not believe in the ‘spirituality’ which encompasses an objective or existent ‘other-world’ inhabited by sentient spirits.
When most people think of ‘spirituality’, they assume things such as speaking to the dead, or being possessed by spirits, or coming into contact with God. This is largely a result of the Judeo-Christian influence on our western world, which teaches of spirits and angels and the objective existence of non-human entities that live in different dimensions.
However, this is definitely not the kind of ‘spirituality’ I am referring to. Mostly because, as anyone familiar with my work can attest – I am mostly an atheist.
There are other types of ‘spirituality’ which are professed by shamans and spiritual gurus – another group of individuals who, like Christians, expound ideas that I believe to be false or largely imaginative.
Sam Harris, a contemporary philosopher whom I greatly respect, has said that ‘spirituality’ is a psychological phenomenon – one does not need to be religious to follow it or study it.
For almost all religions, spirituality involves some form of altered consciousness. That is my primary concern – the altered states of consciousness. I am interested in the different states that exist within the human mind and how one can achieve them. Obviously, drugs are a great way to do this, but it should be noted that many monks and gurus have had similar states of consciousness without using drugs. Ram Dass, for example, went to India and gave a group of ascetics LSD – he reported that the monks acted normally and that they had experienced these types of visions and thought-processes before. However, while drugs are certainly a good starting point, I feel that one must also try to obtain this altered state without the use of drugs – namely, on their own will and practice.
Spirituality also aims to ‘recover the original shape of man’. In his book Waking Up, Sam Harris writes that’s ‘people of every faith, and of none, have had the same sorts of spiritual experiences. While these states of mind are usually interpreted through the lens of one or another religious doctrine, we know that this is a mistake. Nothing that a Christian, a Muslim, and a Hindu can experience – self-transcending love, ecstasy, bliss, inner light – constitutes evidence in support of their traditional beliefs, because their beliefs are logically incompatible with one another. A deeper principle must be at work.”
In other words, Mr. Harris has noted that spirituality exists as different types of mental states – the problem is that these states are often described by fitting it into a religious dogma for the sake of the religion. However this does not mean that these different states do not exist – rather it simply means that the state was interpreted in a religious way.
Mr. Harris also notes that many altered states of consciousness expounded by Hindu and Buddhist methods require no faith at all in an external, separate entity or spirit. Many of the eastern methods of spirituality rely on a personal, internal will and introspection – not on praying to spirts or submitting to some God (cough cough Abrahamic religions).
Spirituality has, for the most part, been a central tenet of mankind. Even the most primitive of people had some sort of spiritual belief system, and simply because one is an atheist does not mean that one cannot learn a thing or two by studying ‘spiritual’ belief systems.
As mentioned above, many Hindu and Buddhist spiritual techniques do not rely on faith and are thus accessible to anyone.
So, when I speak of spirituality, I mean it in a non-supernatural way – indeed, I mean it in a natural way. Spirituality to me is simply a psychological quest – a journey into the reaches of the mind and what it is capable of. For me, everything spiritual is connected to something personal – something mental – something that is residing in ones psyche.
Since my primary focus and teachings revolve around self-discovery and self-knowledge, it would be a mistake of me to disregard spirituality as merely ‘religious mumbo-jumbo’.
I have an interest in spirituality for the same reason that I have an interest in the occult – not because I believe it can unlock doors to a supernatural other-world, but because it can take one to different realms of their mind and experience things that are not present in ones typical day-to-day consciousness.

Transgression and Enlightenment

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I encourage drug use, sexual experimentation, dangerous activities, chaotic behavior and putting ones life at risk. Most people live their lives repeating the same experiences, feelings, emotions and routines – and yet they are miserable or are too stupid to realize how pathetic their lives are.
One must be willing to break taboos, to go to the dark corners of human existence, to experience true fear and terror, to see both heaven and hell. One must attempt to climb both the highest mountain and sink to the lowest abyss. The spiritual gurus want people to teach about love and peace, yet they forget that these things cannot exist without hate and conflict. One must be willingly to experience both sides of the spectrum in order to fully understand themselves.
There is an entire world of experiences out there; just because society or religion has deemed some of them (a lot of them actually) as being ‘bad’, ‘immoral’, or ‘destructive’ does not mean you shouldn’t do them. One must try to experience as much as they can in order to obtain enlightenment.
Take the Buddha for example. Born a rich prince, he lived the early part of his life as a hedonistic playboy with all the materialistic riches he could obtain. And yet, he was still unsatisfied, so he then became a ascetic – starving himself, barely sleeping, and essentially turning his body into a breathing corpse. And then, finally, the Buddha found the Middle Way, and did not participate in either an excess of riches nor an excess of asceticism.
But the Buddha only found his peace and enlightenment when he experienced both the extremes of pleasure and of suffering. Thus, the same is probably true for most individuals – one must experience great pleasure and great suffering in order to fully understand enlightenment.
One must understand that society is purposely built to keep people ‘unenlightened’ – so to speak. The goal of society is to turn every individual into a cog in a machine; society does not wish to better the individual; because a ‘better’ individual will follow his own will rather than that of some arbitrary social-norm. Societies goal is to keep people compliment, obedient, unsatisfied, and unenlightened.
Thus, in order to better oneself, one must disregard societies rules and laws and live their life as they see fit.
Most of you have lived your lives by being good citizens of society; thus, it only seems fair that you now become transgressive. The goal of transgression is mostly to shock – to shock the individual into a new state of being and to shock those who witness it, in order to break their sense of security and order.

Hindu Dream

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I had a very peculiar dream last night, a dream that, to some extent, reminds me of a similar feeling one may perceive when on LSD. However, at the time of this dream I had not taken any drugs or alcohol for well over 4-5 months; so it certainly was not caused by any intoxicants, although I do believe that my usage of hallucinogens and alcohol in the past may have played a role in the content of the dream.

This dream was very similar to many of the dreams that I have been having for the past few days now. They are dreams that are unique, because in these dreams I see the world both from a first-person and third-person point of view. Yes, in these dreams I both observe from my own perspective (first-person) and observe myself from outside (third-person).

Or, in other words, in my dream I see myself acting as if I were awake (meaning that I cannot see my own head), however I also see myself from a third-person perspective, as if I were a ghost lingering a few feet away from own body. It is both an out-of-body and an in-body experience!

Both of these perspectives were one. Unfortunately, I do not know how to describe this experience adequately using words. All I can say is that I dreamed in both first-person and third-person at the same time.

For example, part of my dream involved me opening drawers in a white-tile bathroom. In my experience of the dream, I saw myself opening these drawers in the first-person perspective. Meaning that I could see my arms in front of me reach and open drawers, I could see my feet below me, and I was unable to see my own face or head – meaning that I was viewing the dream through the perspective of myself. Or, I was viewing this dream as a self.

However, at the same time, I was simultaneously viewing the dream from a third-person perspective. Meaning that I felt as if I was ghost, standing back and watching a body (which was me) perform the task of opening the bathroom drawers. It was as if I was some kind of spirit, floating above the bathroom, watching a body move around. However, the body moving around in the bathroom was myself – or at least, it was a person whose movements were identical to the movements that I was experiencing in first person. Also, from my third-person perspective, I was able to see that the person opening and closing the drawers had the same haircut, the same face, and the same body as me – so it must have been me.

Yes, I was watching myself in the third-person, but I was also seeing the dream in first-person. Again, I do not know how to adequately describe this experience in words, and in all honesty it is probably an experience beyond language. Simply because language is based solely on making distinctions – language works because each word is different from another word. If all the words in a language were the same, then it would be impossible to understand what the language was trying to convey. A language works because words are different, and because the difference allows different ideas to be conveyed. However, this experience of mine (seeing in both first-person and third-person) was not really distinct – indeed, it felt unified – as if everything was one. I was seeing myself as a separate self (third-person), and I was seeing myself as myself (first-person).

So what could have been the meaning to this dream? Was there even a meaning to this dream? Who knows – but after contemplating the dream, I believe that, to some extent, it may have similarities with Hindu doctrines. Hinduism emphasizes monism, or the idea that everything is ultimately one. God, man, nature, the universe – it is all one reality (Brahman).

Basically, in this dream I was seeing the world through my own self perspective, but also from the perspective of a third-person, as if I was a ghost or something. However, in the third-person view there was no body visible – instead it was as if I was just a form of consciousness floating in the air (I have had this experience before using marijuana, when I had a sensation that I had left my body and was floating above a room as just a form of consciousness). In this dream the third-person viewpoint was similar – I had no body and no material form – I was simply consciousness floating above in the air.

So, in this dream I was seeing the world as a distinctive self (first-person) and as an immaterial observer (third-person). Although the perspectives were different, I felt an underlying unity. There was no difference between the me that I saw in first-person and the me floating in the air as a form of consciousness. I felt unified – as if I was the same as everything around me – the only difference was the change in perspective. Everything else was the same.

Thus, perhaps this dream is similar to Hinduism in that Hinduism teaches everything is ultimately one. The only reason there appear to be distinctions, or differences, or individuals is due to illusions – or perspectives. Hinduism teaches that the self is ultimately the same as Brahman, or the highest reality. To put it in more understandable terms for western readers, Hinduism essentially teaches that you and God are the same thing. That the distinction between you and God is an illusion, and that, through meditation and mindfulness, one can know God because one knows themselves.

In this dream, I experienced the world as myself but I also experienced it as if I were a God, or Brahman. As if I were a non-material existence that could not be affected by anything in the world. However, in both cases I felt the exact the same. The only difference was the perspective. I think that, in a way, this dream was showing me that there is no difference between ‘myself’ and the ‘world around me’. We are both the same – it is only a matter of perspective that makes one think that they are distinct from everything around them. In this dream my ‘self’ was the same as the ‘world’ around me. We were both one. Perspective was the only thing that differed.