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I don't know how serious folks here are about meditation and mysticism, but here is a paper attached to this post that I wrote for a philosophy class and it is most likely going to be the theme of my eventual doctoral dissertation. I got an A+ on it.

Mysticism Without God?

Do you need a belief in a god or gods to explain mystical experiences? It is my intention to show traditional Western mysticism with its "god-centered" three ways of purgation, illumination and union, from a strongly-rational and materialist point of view, in order to argue that it is materialistic psychological processes and not a gods grace that initiates and determines the process of mysticism. It is my argument that supernatural forces do not cause the mystical experiences of advanced meditators and that they have their source in neuroscience, or perhaps in some advanced, but not yet discovered cosmological physics. 

3 Ways Final Paper (Edited).pdf

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Your paper was wonderfully written. I'm not surprised you received an A+. Great job!

It reminds me of a lecture I had watched about Science disproving God. Well, at least about our humble beginnings in Astronomy. As a primitive culture we believed the stars were Gods. Now, we know that to not be true. Science explaining seasons, climate changes, weather, and waves.

It does stump me though. I can't quite explain mysticism without leaning toward some outside guidance. Good show.

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Ha :-)  Nice read.  One of my teachers said warriors get "it" (enlightenment) far more often than priests.  The difference between a warrior and a priest is:  a priest goes into the temple, prays and meditates until he becomes enlightened (communes with God), warriors do the same thing, only they do it in the world, with the understanding that some Jack#$$ with a 3' razor blade might come along and try to remove their head.  Warriors don't have the luxury of faking (as they stare at each other with focused intent waiting for the opening) or getting lost in "the dark night of the soul", they die (or they die ;-) wow, there are a lot of puns there)  Descending into the basement of DaMo's cave can be terrifying if you don't know what to expect.  Fear activates the adrenals which sit on top of the kidneys, water and fire can be mixed at this level, if you are more interested in immortality than enlightenment.

 

One thing you neglected to mention, maybe it was outside of the scope of your paper, but religion and God do serve a purpose on the path.  As social conditioning is removed (nothing is forbidden) and you become a law unto yourself, they provide a framework, a structure for you to exist in.  Behavior can become very strange without rules or boundaries, and since societies rules no longer apply, faith can become very important (for those wishing to avoid jail time or job loss) (and being part of an organization can explain away much of the weirdness, especially if they have money and influence.....)   Without benevolent scripture or sutra, you can get lost.  The right hand path leads to enlightenment, the left to power, and the dark side is very tempting.....

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