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Man's Search for Meaning
November 3, 1999
6:38 pm
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Tears.

Have you had the ecstatic experience of being in the presence of the 'Light'? It sounds like you have.

November 3, 1999
6:44 pm
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SC.
Thanks for your quote from Albert. Imagination is certainly one wonderful cerebral manifestation of creative love. Without the 'vision' we would create or achieve very little; we would just do what we saw as necessary for ensuring our survival.

November 3, 1999
6:48 pm
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VRJ.
Regarding your posting of 2-Nov-99, I agree wholeheartedly.

November 3, 1999
8:06 pm
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tez, yes
and I just wanted to say, babies have no sense of "themselves/I" when they are born, they see mother as part of them and their connection to everything that is...It is only later they learn to distinguish a difference, being in the light is like this again, its as if our growing up is a "forgetting" of sorts, as William Wordsworth so poetically says in "ode to immortality"
anyways thats my slice, Im having a rough time in my life right now, but it is all for the best...I prayed for this conclusion in my marriage, and like all prayers, it was answered...:)

November 3, 1999
10:02 pm
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There is value in every experience, whether good or bad. We are all children of God, Spirit, goddess, etc.
We, too, are the only expert of self. One thing I've learned in the past few days is to STOP. Let go of the analysis, the questions, the intellectual thoughts, the need to say something more profound than the next person. To stop and listen. It's funny, but when you do, you know what you hear? The sound of your heart, beating. There is no rhymn or reason...it just beats. Listen to it. Breath into it...with every inhalation you take in all the words and thoughts of the universe,
as well as your own. Which of the particles traveling into your nostrils has more value? Can you separate them and decide. No, so just keep on breathing.
Live. One lungful at a time.

November 4, 1999
4:20 pm
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Tez,

I nearly wet myself reading that YOU nearly wet yourself!

I'm still chuckling...humans are odd critters...and I always say, "myself included!"

I'm game for everything, but anymore, I'm with kitten...breathing, and enjoying each morsel as it comes our way.

EXAMPLE: Two days ago was voting in the US (November 2nd), and in Cleveland, OH, it was a harsh, very windy, rain splattering, cold night...as I walked around and around the school to find the entrance to vote, getting wet feet, cold, etc, I thought to myself...

"I could be miserable"

OR

"I could embrace the liveliness of the weather, laugh, and skip along"

I did the latter.

- SC

November 4, 1999
6:22 pm
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Tears.

You said , 'babies have no sense of "themselves/I" when they are born, they see mother as part of them and their connection to everything that is..'.

Yes, I agree. As adults, I think that we yearn for the Cosmic connectedness and total security that we momentarily knew then; it is an emotional yearning however spured on by that very same emotional memory.
Meditation experiences spiritually replicate that connectedness, I think. Others unconsciously seek to replicate it with certain sexual partners that project psychological images of their mothers acquired at that early time of nurture. I believe that destructive codependent addictions to partners can sometimes result from this fixated drive for connectedness.

Sorry, to hear about the rough spot in your life. My marriage breakup some 15 years ago was a turning point in my life. Regarding the termination of that relationship, I have no regrets, nor do I blame my ex-wife or myself; it just had to be. Though sad, such is the drama of life.

November 4, 1999
6:49 pm
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Kitten.

I think that balance in all things is my ideal aim. As you probably know, the Buddhists call it the middle way. To neglect the intellect is just as unbalanced as to be preoccupied with analysis, the other extreme. Tibetan Buddhist monks practice a form of intellectual debating for that reason, I suspect.

But... On a practical level, when a suffering human being comes to me and says "why" as they so very often do, I want to have meaningful answers for them. When I awake in fright at three in the morning and I am faced with the spectre of my own death, I want 'real' answers not wishy-washy, pious platitudes. As Frankl says 'He, who knows the 'Why', can bear any 'How'.

As far as intellectual one-upmanship is concerned, it is nothing more than an ego trip. I have little time for it. However, I find that my own life has been profoundly changed for the better by my questioning of all my values and those presented to me as 'truths' for my 'consumption'. I am loath to throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water by discarding my intellect altogether.

As far as grading experiences for different values, this is the very horns of humanity's dilemma. We all seem to want to feel 'good' and avoid feeling 'bad'. I agree that all experiences have equal value; albeit infinite. But... that takes some 'seeing'.

Breathing through the nose and focussing on the passage of air is certainly an effective technique for just 'being'. I do it quite often as an adjunct to many other things.

November 4, 1999
7:05 pm
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SC. Good for you. I 'see' both of your choices as leading to experiences of equally infinite value. I suspect that it is our desire to feel good that makes the more positive choice seem more valuable and desirable.

It seems to me that finding infinite value in all our experiences that leads to a joy filled life. I think that the contrary is also true; finding no meaning or value in unavoidable pain and suffering leads to a life of misery.

November 4, 1999
10:56 pm
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Tez,
I am sorry I did not get my point across. I did not say neglect the intellect, nor did I say that breathing alone is an effective way to get in touch with being. I regret that as a professional writer I do have a tendency to use one too many metaphors. BUT, I also believe there comes a time where one has to settle one's internal screaming and listen to what your body is telling you. Maybe that is a part of Gestalt or maybe not. I can only speak from my own experience. I have known the loss of mother at an early age, the birth of my retarded daughter, and the suicide of my husband. Mixed in all of that I have also known cold nights without food, nursing my babies so they might eat even though I did not have anything for my mouth, and sitting up staring out a window for days at a time without sleep waiting for the police to arrive to arrest my husband. I have known shame, humiliation, and indifference. All of those things could have turned me to the deep vault of death. For whatever reason it did not. Instead, I am now in graduate school studying to be a therapist. I am learning from many smart people--great thinkers. That is a given. However, I will never discount my own learning...experiences. I prefer to accept the gentleness of my soul as a reflection of self. I can, and do, and will continue, to be a warrior in the world around me as well. Perhaps that is not you or your methods, but they are mine. As always, it is the sound of my own heart I hear first!

November 4, 1999
11:07 pm
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Excuse my curtness and my babbling...I just got home from class, it is late at night, I looked at the sleeping faces of my children(who I never get to see), and wonder if I'm doing the right thing by leaving them to care for themselves so much, without a man or another person to help. Is this the right thing? I think yes. The burning eyes, the aching back, and the constant tiredness are worth it. They are growing, I am growing...and isn't that it...all movement towards true self. Peace to all and goodnight.

November 5, 1999
9:51 pm
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Kitten.

Curtness? I honestly didn't hear those intonations in your words. 🙂 It must be me! On the contrary, I could closely identify with your depths of feeling during your 'dark night of the soul'.

Once again the eternal question dogs me: "If there is a truly loving, all powerful, all knowing God, why should Kitten not have seen a warm loving apparition to uplift her from the depths of her despair and remove the angst?

Either there is no God, an horrendous torturing God, a powerless God, an unknowing, dumb God or a God who knows that Kitten's experiences were in her very best interests and therefore allowed them to happen. Have I left out any other alternatives?

I prefer the last alternative. This then leaves the question: "How can this suffering be in your best interests.... ". And of we go again on this well trod path of searching for meaning in life's negative experiences. We don't seem to need to find meaning in the pleasurable ones do we :); that they feel 'good' seems enough. But feeling 'bad' doesn't seem to give meaning to the negative experiences; does it.

By the way I really liked your responses. Your studies will certainly lead you on an interesting path. I am sure that your children will get all the love that they need from you.

November 5, 1999
11:17 pm
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I do believe God is a loving, nurturing God who does not wish to see us suffer. I can not but help think then, that the opposite of God--much like the opposite of love is not hate,but apathy--is not the Devil, but man. Somewhere along the line I have learned the idea (as did many others) that love is identified with suffering, rather than joy. From the time I was little I was told Jesus suffered for us, as the ultimate gift of love. If we want to follow his path, we too must suffer. Did God say this? Jesus? Or was it man? Now, we all know formal religion is a product of the Patriarchy and therefore under masculine domaine. Is the concept of a wrathful God really about control? Would all of this discussion happen if we still had a Matriarchy? And wasn't Jesus preaching the divine feminine? Goodness, mercy, receptiveness, understanding
and nurturing? This is not to be male bashing, just a question! To control individuals God must have different rules for different people, eh? Or can HE be accepting and loving like a mother? The reason this came to me is the re-reading of my last post. As I read the words I cried--as if it happened to another. It was my life, my pain, but in many ways it is forgotten. I can only taste the pain I am experiencing now in my relationship troubles. This is what stings the most. And while I look back and try to fully "feel"
the past, I think of the pain in childbirth. I had three LARGE babies all C-sections. Because I have a small pelvis I was pretty well bruised. My one child broke my ribs from her kicking. After each of them were born and the medication wore off I dealt with intense pain. Since I wanted to nurse I could not take heavy drugs. Once home, after a week,I would lay in my bed cradeling their tiny heads in my hand, kissing the soft pinkness of their mouths...and forget the pain. To this day I don't remember how it felt. I just look at their faces and know, out of pain came great joy. So what's my point? I don't know. Maybe it's man's need for rules that causes pain--when in reality lack of rules might not create anarchy, but joy. Free to accept each other unconditionally and share love. Okay, I had it there for awhile, but I just lost the thought. It's that darn presentation on Cognitive Therapy I have to do on monday that doing this(ironic, huh?). My report is calling my name...so off I go.
Oh, and Tez, my entire life has been an interesting path...sometimes too interesting. If you only knew. I often wonder what it would be like to have a "normal" life. You know, husband, two kids, station wagon, and Sunday family dinners. Or have I watched too much tv?

November 6, 1999
2:11 pm
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After being exposed to the idea of the absurd life by the existentialist philosophers, I doubted the existence of God as a being. Now, I have a feeling that on all levels, God is a higher consciousness, an infinite consciousness that spans perceptions and encompasses multiple permations.

So what? So I think there is no such thing as a value judgement to God in the sense that we understand it. I think perhaps the value system of God is beyond the bounds of human comprehension.

We have this tendency, regardless of all we've been taught, to not only define our world through our experiences, but to RESTRICT our world to our own experiences. We can only think of others and a world beyond our ken in the most abstract sense. I feel such awe that I cannot attempt to internalize the nature of God...only accept its existence and strive to expand the horizons of my awareness to encompass more and more of reality...to expand my own perceptions until in the Buddhist sense, at some future point, there is a loss of "self" as a concept in that vast consciousness.

Kitten described this somewhat in her story about forgetting pain in nursing her children. There was a loss of self-awareness in the ultimate giving of oneself over to something greater...that tender emotion of mother's love (that really can't be defined).

November 6, 1999
6:37 pm
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Cici. You said, "I have a feeling that on all levels, God is a higher consciousness, an infinite consciousness that spans perceptions and encompasses multiple permations." This is also my belief.

A diode is a man made electronic device that passes electric current in one direction only.

In my crude model of this higher consciousness, every form of consciousness is connected via its own personal spiritual 'diode' to a common consciousness similar to Jung's collective unconscious. This common consciousness is perhaps our destination after death, I don't know.

According to my model, beyond that state of common human consciousness is a Higher Consciousness again interfaced by a common diode. The point of all this is that, in my crude tree like diode model, the Higher Consciousness is in intimate awareness of our extremely limited awareness without our being able to traverse the diodes to experience absolute awareness. This crude attempt at modelling what might be 'reality' is very speculative at best. However, like Plato's Cave analogy, I find it useful in seeing how elements of the higher consciousness could possibly be sheaved off into 'diode' connected states of limited consciousness in order to experience suffering. Therefore as a result the higher consciousness could have the potential for experiencing human 'loving'. How else, I ask myself, could an all powerful totally needless God experience vulnerability and suffering. How else could the Supreme Consciousness share in the suffering of limited, ignorant entities, and therein 'know' love. For me this gives suffering value far beyond the subjective valuations my limited consciousness could make. You put it this way, "...the value system of God is beyond the bounds of human comprehension."

I often wonder if the all encompassing Light- often attributed to being God - that we experience at the end of the tunnel at death is perhaps that extension of higher consciousness that I have called the common consciousness. Is this why it feels so ecstatic? Intimately shared common consciousness is perhaps Love with a capital 'L'. Is this what babies feel before individuation takes place? Is this the 'love' for which we hunger all of our lives?

You further said, "...strive to expand the horizons of my awareness to encompass more and more of reality...to expand my own perceptions until in the Buddhist sense, at some future point, there is a loss of "self" as a concept in that vast consciousness." I have experienced this complete loss of self in deep meditation. It was like I was just 'an awareness'; aware of all encompassing love. I had no form nor name, no past nor future, I just 'was'. I think that I may have just glimpsed the state of common human consciousness experienced as a higher realm of common bodiless existence after death but hardly the Higher Consciousness.

When you said, "...not only define our world through our experiences, but to RESTRICT our world to our own experiences...", you rightly pointed out the reasons for the very restrictive and crude nature of my modelling and beliefs. I totally accept the severe limitations of my intellect and my language structured mind to formulate that which is beyond time, space and human consciousness. People returning from NDE's say that there are no words to describe their experiences. I have found the same thing in meditation experiences as mentioned above.

But how can a human being exist without beliefs about reality? We would have to sheave off the neocortex and become as a reptile. We operate from beliefs about and models of reality. I try to make 'my model' less offensive to reason; that is I try to minimize conflicts between subjectively observed causes of events and the causations as posited in my model of 'reality'. For example the notion, that a God exists who is separate from myself and who wants me to suffer in order to 'learn something', is in direct conflict with the notion of an all powerful, all knowing and all loving God.

Talking of Kitten's motherhood experiences, you said, "There was a loss of self-awareness in the ultimate giving of oneself over to something greater...that tender emotion of mother's love (that really can't be defined)." Is this the same type of love that is shown when men risk their lives in total loss of awareness of risks to the self in trying to rescue another? Obviously the feelings are different. Is fear self-conscious ignorance and the opposite of this kind of love?

November 6, 1999
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Kitten.

What is a normal life? Two thirds of the world's population live in physical poverty. Westerners live in psychological and spiritual poverty.

However, on a more positive note, there seems to be a balance of some kind, a yin and yang, between pleasure, pain, joy and sorrow. The net sum is the integration of all human experiences on a vast experiential spectrum.

Is the value of thes spectrum beyond the limitations of our intellects as Cici suggests? Is the value infinite because it is the Higher Consciousness who is doing the ultimate experiencing of this limited spectrum as part of an infinite spectrum?

The many worlds theory posited in quantum physics make the existence of an infinite spectrum of experiences a plausible one.

November 6, 1999
7:28 pm
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Tez,
When you brought up Plato's cave theory it somehow made me think of the movie, Matrix. There the individuals were not aware of reality, but instead saw life as a reflection of their beliefs. Do we see the flame or the reflection of the flame? Is it a chair or an imitation? So what is life? There have been many moments in my life where I let go of self and responded to a primal urge. To risk burning myself in order to save my child, wrapping all my physical and internal energy around my dying mother so she might relieve pain, and also in moments of orgasm where my lover and I reached a spiritual fusion. Is this place meant to be accessed all the time? If so, how is that done? Indeed, if we only use 20 percent of our brain(as
many have said) what exists in the other 80 percent? How do you function on a daily basis?(I mean you, Tez) Have you ascended to a higher plane? Where do you put feelings of fear, desire, and frustration(what I struggle with)? I believe life is limitless possibilites. But has our biological make-up been unable to keep pace with our intellectual gains? Is that why there is so much depression in the country? Maybe there is a fine line between genius and insanity?
Oh, and what if Frankl didn't have a wife? Where would his thoughts have gone at those moments?

November 6, 1999
8:25 pm
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I'm definitely going to check out Victor Frankl's book now. Has anyone read, "City of Joy", by Dominique LaPierre? That was a book I'll never forget. Those people have absolutely nothing, but still manage to find joy in the worst squalor imaginable. Another inspirational book that I enjoyed was Og Mandino's 'The Greatest Salesman in the World". One of the affirmations in the book I wrote down and keep with me.
"I will persist until I succeed. I was not delivered unto this world in defeat, nor does failure course through my veins. I am not a sheep waiting to be prodded by my shepherd. I am a lion and I refuse to talk, to walk, to sleep with the sheep. I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. Let them join the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny. I will persist until I succeed."

November 9, 1999
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Tez -

I believe that perhaps that feeling that causes men to risk their lives to save another is actually comparable to that of a mother's love because it is the ability to see themselves in another that gives them the strength to save the other against apparently insurmountable odds. It's that instantaneous ability to see yourself in another...in that greater consciousness.

As far as perceptions of reality go...it is impossible to exist, in a sense, without some kind of view of reality. I think what we as intellectuals have to understand, as Plato or Jung or even Einstein understood, is that our perceptions of reality are that, merely perceptions. Beyond that is something greater that we must always strive to achieve.

It's weird to think of. To think that reality is defined by my perceptions. I always thought that the only difference between the insane and the sane is that the insane have reality perceptions that aren't in line with what society has accpeted overall. In a cultural anthropology class I took, our professor claimed hat no belief system can be wrong, because as each individual defines his own world, that is how his reality exists. Then you get into all this crazy weirdness...if true reality is beyond human comprehension, that explains depression and other psychosis. We're just not all on the same page. That goes along with Frankl and other Humanistic or Existentialist Psychologists explanations for psychosis...

Boo!

November 9, 1999
11:24 am
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Im really into Process theology right now, any one want to discuss this?

November 10, 1999
12:23 am
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lol guess not

November 10, 1999
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I do, but I'm late for class. Did my presentation last night and by the time I got home I could barely see. Will hopefully have time later on today to chat!!!

November 10, 1999
10:54 am
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what kind of presentation kitten?
Thats so cool about your psychic reading for your birthday, great.
What did she say?

November 10, 1999
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What is Process theology?

November 10, 1999
3:41 pm
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I had to present a paper on Cognitive Behavior Therapy. I did a thought sampling process while doing the pre-
sentation, as well as a bit of Pavlovian process. Most of the students were tired, so the results weren't the best, but it came out okay.
Gosh, she told me alot about my relationship and how my lover is worried it is just a sex thing. So, I have to take that out of the mix...and work on the friendship. She said he has never felt this way about anyone in his entire life--that's what scares him. And that he is also afraid of my intuition and spirituality. He is a true Catholic, so sometimes he thinks of women's knowledge as a type of witchcraft. She also said I'd be sucessful in my studies and will do couseling but with a twist. Oh, and she said I'd give my lover a great gift: the ability to laugh deep in his soul. Hummn!
Anyway, enough of me. What is Process Theology?

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