Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff
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Old 12-02-2015, 03:15 PM   #1
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Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

I guess that's a good title for what I'd like to talk about.

What sort of self improvement activity have you tried and can say has been absolutely beneficial for you? It's very difficult to be scientific about it, and there certainly is some unscrupulous stuff out there too. I think it's a great cultural ill that we as a species don't spend more time doing this sort of thing. I guess on the opposite end of modern materialism you have people like Terence McKenna and Baba Ram Dass who promote a more consciousness centric attitude or whatever. You may call it hippy stuff but I find after having listened to many, many lectures and whatnot it's certainly of major ongoing interest to me. Those guys are like, the best, IMO. That doesn't mean to say I'm endorsing psychedelics, certainly not, but that is part of the suite of techniques for self examination/alteration.

As an alternative to that, there's also meditation which I'm interested in actually doing, like the Tibetan yogis who spend a lot of time, even total commitment to meditating in retreat. I couldn't personally endorse it for sure because I am still very much a tourist/dilettante, but it's certainly an appealing idea ... I think, anyway.

I'm not claiming to have found any particular thing I can make any definite recommendations about, but certainly I've found the whole atmosphere surrounding meditation and Buddhism to be therapeutic, for what it's worth! (I'm still a terrible wretch with more than enough work to do, but it's a start at least.)

What is your experience? Have you stumbled upon any life changing practices and/or have an interesting story to share?

p.s. I think it would be great to have some kind of website like wikipedia for evaluating these sorts of things, totally free and available to everybody. Have you heard of any such thing?

p.p.s. I should add after having gone through a pretty major mental illness (and still infirm), I'm actually more open minded to different perspectives, and feel I've had perhaps a glimpse of ... I don't know. Just something different, hard to say.

Last edited by cirric; 12-02-2015 at 06:19 PM..

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Old 12-02-2015, 10:22 PM   #2
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

Magick, I usez eet.

Think of it as a consciousness hacking experiment where you learn to connect the hemispheres of your brain. I think of it simply as the practice of learning to change states of mind at will. I am certainly no master, but I have made some pretty impressive shifts in my life pretty gracefully as a result.

Speaking of psychedelics, I also tend to believe that they are the missing link.

I'll take questions from here on out, LOL
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Old 12-02-2015, 10:53 PM   #3
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

Cool ... as in ceremonial/hermetic magic? You know, I've actually been curious about Crowley's A∴A∴ "The method of science, the aim of religion", which is apparently a lot of Kabbalistic stuff and Yoga techniques. Interestingly, IIRC Crowley did put an emphasis on freedom of information on a non profit basis, and lots of full texts are available for free online. I was browsing 777 the other day just to see what it was like.

Sounds kind of crazy, kind of interesting, but it could be utter nonsense for all I know. But it's weird and fun and interesting, too. Some scientists have an interest in the occult and supernatural too, and it's good to be as skeptical, I think. But still, be curious and interested.

I don't endorse anything there, just curiosity.

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Old 12-02-2015, 11:20 PM   #4
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

I drink herbal tea and listen to Tony Robbins on the weekends if that counts. Meditation is always good.
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Old 13-02-2015, 01:12 AM   #5
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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Cool ... as in ceremonial/hermetic magic?
Well I spent a lot of time with that about 15 years ago but not unlike orthodox religions, I found there was a lot of stuff with the associated Crowley groups (A,',A,',, Golden Dawn, Thelema) that I didn't resonate with, personally. That's not to say that there isn't a shit ton of valuable information contained in his works, there is. However, a poet he is not, and yet, he really likes to read his own words, so there's a lot of wading through language with him. But 777 and The Book of Thoth and it's associated Tarot deck, are masterworks IMO. See also "The Anatomy of the Body of God" By Frater Achad...I believe it is an A.'.A.'. publication you can find online. It's a brilliant, kabbalistic work that I think has value above and beyond most other books I have read on QBLH (in Crowley terms, and perhaps correctly so because there are no vowels in ancient Hebrew)

I think I resonate most with the "Chaos Magick" stuff which kinda says "Do what works" even if what works is contradictory from one day to the next. The idea that each person's DNA and life experiences dictate the exact specifics of what will work and therefore, following a "system" is never going to work the best because it is not a product of that person, even though there may be resonant points therein. So, I took that to mean, "make up your own system because that is what will work best for you." There are commonalities with ritual magick, chaos magick, shamanism and good ole European folk magick all wrapped up in what I do, and even though much of it is borrowed, I only borrowed what resonates the most with me.

It's not unlike tying a string around your finger to remember something, but much more elaborate.

When I first started reading about it at age 12, I was kinda making up things to do anyway. Set up an "altar" and some candles and shit and just sort of faked it. But over time, it has turned into what is essentially a mental exercise of how much symbolism and intention can I weave into a specific act to alter my experience of reality (which is unique to me, I believe, and unique to everyone, really. I can't remember who said it, but the idea was "We are all the exact center of our own universes") to whatever ends.

In the now 27 years I have been practicing some form of this thought process, I have had many interesting results. I believe it has been at the core of lots of personal growth for me, especially where understanding people is concerned. But as far as causative relationships, I think moving to California, getting married, finding a successful career, all of them have been acts of intention that I would call "magickal" where I went out of my way to nudge quantum reality a bit more to my favor.

That said, it's not something I do willy nilly. I reserve putting that amount of energy into things I really want or need, and even then, only if it is already possible but a stretch more than I can reach ordinarily. There's a tricky sort of ethics about it, because at some level, it could be equally considered manipulating people or rigging the system. So I feel like one just has to be very clear on why they are doing it. Also, if you make this really elaborate "spell" around something, the sheer investment of energy required dictates that you REALLY want/need whatever to happen. It must be palpable.

Well I could really go on forever...so, I'll just say, it's not for everyone, maybe even not for most to think of it this way, even though I firmly believe it is something we all already do unintentionally. Proceed with mystery!

/post

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Old 13-02-2015, 01:55 AM   #6
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

@PhantomSignal: That's interesting, I don't know much at all about Chaos Magick other than William Burroughs was involved with it. If one takes on a mystical point of view, then sure, everything is a part of the metaphysical manifold, so synchronicities and whatnot could have some kind of meaning. It's perhaps tempting to be superstitious, so always be very skeptical and careful!
Let's see, I was actually reading Mystical Qabalah that I believe was recommended through some A.'.A.'. literature, and one thing that bothered me were the planetary/Sephirot association. Seems too local/providential, and I'd think uncharacteristic for Crowley's world.

I'm also a big admirer of Freemasonry, but I haven't yet had occasion to actually join due to illness. So it's kind of like regular Freemasonry is like "undergrad", and after you complete all three degrees, you may go on to many other "grad schools", if you like, one of which is the Scottish Rite, which goes up to 33 degrees! I think it's maybe one of the nicest popular groups out there, just my opinion ... but would be nice to allow women and whatnot, though, so that's a shame. Some unofficial lodges do, and I wonder why it hasn't become mainstream.

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Old 13-02-2015, 11:02 PM   #7
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

seems like your tone is nearing 1.1

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Old 13-02-2015, 11:33 PM   #8
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

I used to be pretty into studying shamanism (reading about it mostly). Still enjoy a Buddhist text now and again.

I think the most important thing I've ever learned came from Buddhism probably. My understanding of many Buddhist sects (and a lot of Hinduism for that matter) believes that reality is an illusory and prevents from seeing the truth/prevents us from having contact with the divine. I've modified this a bit to work for me and now operate in my daily life understanding that much of what is out there is just a distraction from what is really important in our lives. All these spiritual books and systems can be just as much of a distraction/illusion as anything else. The divine is within ourselves. Difference is an illusion.

Anyway, one of the best things I did to get closer to this understanding is quite smoking grass. That was a huge distraction.

Peel away the layers one at a time : )

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Old 14-02-2015, 12:00 AM   #9
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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The divine is within ourselves. Difference is an illusion.
THIS

And yes, so much of reality is illusory...a construct.

This might seem strange but, I highly recommend the movie "Pontypol". Yes yes, it's Canadian horror...zombies even. But there's a twist, and it's pretty thought provoking (well to me anyway).

Without too much of a spoiler, what's that super atheist guy? Oh yes, Richard Dawkins...anyway, he proposes that Religion is a disease that parents infect their children with. It's interesting to think about social things like cultural dress, language, and religion as an infectious thing. Because, in so many ways those things into which we are raised set us up for a lifetime bias no matter how subtle.

I mention this because, I don't really think there's much of a framework, at least not in the US, for raising people with this ideal...that we are all not only interdependent, but really part of the same thing, literally. I hope to raise my daughter to understand that no one religion of philosophy has everything right, but that I sincerely believe they all have a piece of it right, and that there is something to learn from all of them. To seek the similarity rather than the differences. And to always maintain a sense of mystery. Questions are always better than answers.
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Old 14-02-2015, 01:02 AM   #10
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

I find the allegorical link between bad ideas and viruses very interesting. It seems to me, inoculating yourself against these mind worms is a virtuous endeavor.

I find this endlessly fascinating and mysterious: A good companion book for meditation.
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Old 14-02-2015, 01:37 AM   #11
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

The Tao is fascinating...if not a little paradoxical, but then what true and good philosophy isn't?

"He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know"

But then there's a whole book of speaking what he knows
No but in all seriousness I think it's an excellent work.

I also like the Upanishads...

And reading "be here now" high on LSD was quite the experience.
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Old 14-02-2015, 01:41 AM   #12
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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The Tao is fascinating...if not a little paradoxical, but then what true and good philosophy isn't?

"He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know"

But then there's a whole book of speaking what he knows
No but in all seriousness I think it's an excellent work.

I also like the Upanishads...

And reading "be here now" high on LSD was quite the experience.
Absolutely, full of contradiction like any half decent holy book

I've had the same experience with Be here now. Blew my mind.
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Old 14-02-2015, 10:40 AM   #13
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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The divine is within ourselves. Difference is an illusion.
I'm kind of reminded me of the Hasidic saying that God is the most subtle form of matter, evenly diffused. (paraphrasing)

You can play with terms or semantics to be fashionable or whatever, but at least it is totally egalitarian. I find the deist/Spinozist sort of point of view appealing. It's not necessarily such a bad thing to venerate nature. I guess it is appropriate to have some reverence, by any other name, you know?

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Old 14-02-2015, 11:32 AM   #14
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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The Tao is fascinating...if not a little paradoxical, but then what true and good philosophy isn't?
"The words of truth are always paradoxical."
-Lao Tzu

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Old 14-02-2015, 11:39 AM   #15
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

"Bam diggity and you don't stop."
-Cool sunday school youth group teacher

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Old 14-02-2015, 11:42 AM   #16
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

What do you guys think is the prevailing philosophy of the modern world? I'd be interested to know which books and writers are most popular in today's world leaders.

I feel like whenever someone stands up and asserts a philosophy or new religious idea, it can't be separated from the time they're living in, their personal politics, the language they speak, and their ambitions. You basically have to cease to exist at all to attain any true wisdom.

I reckon what we need is a holy book written by some kind of alien who lives outside the dimension of time and expresses themselves in pure mathematics.
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Old 14-02-2015, 06:20 PM   #17
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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What do you guys think is the prevailing philosophy of the modern world?
:badger::snob::problemofficer:
:shitstorm:

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Old 14-02-2015, 07:23 PM   #18
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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I feel like whenever someone stands up and asserts a philosophy or new religious idea, it can't be separated from the time they're living in, their personal politics, the language they speak, and their ambitions. You basically have to cease to exist at all to attain any true wisdom.
I always say, "We're all describing the same phenomena of life and using the vernacular of our respective cultures to do it." But the key is that we are all describing the same phenomena.

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I reckon what we need is a holy book written by some kind of alien who lives outside the dimension of time and expresses themselves in pure mathematics.
I think we're suffering right now largely from impending globalism and getting over the xenophobia, racism, and the violence that comes with separate cultures. It's a survival instinct that has evolved slower than the global culture emerging around it. Those traits have outlived their value.

Of course, if the world goes total apocalypse, they may be useful again...LOL.

But I really believe that if people tried to see the world through an earnest comparative view, trying to find where we are all in agreement and reinforcing the similarities instead of the differences, we'd be much better off.

I have these noble fantasies about how I am going to raise my daughter. One such fantasy is that I want to alternate holidays from year to year to honor different traditions so that she can learn about as many perspectives as possible. I also don't want to raise her "in a faith" but rather encourage her to explore those questions and to see how all faiths view them before she settles (or doesn't) on a direction that works for her.

@cirric
"God is a circle whose circumference is nowhere and whose center is everywhere."
Always been a favorite.

The Hasidim have a lot of wisdom about the subject and, on a side note, most of the prevailing mystical traditions people get involved in today were in some way influenced by their thinking. Perhaps, too, as the story goes, by Moses' knowledge of the Pharaonic mysteries upon which MANY of the secret traditions are built and it's influence on the early Hebrew cult.

Also, what do you all think about the idea of the Hebrews being a psychedelic cult? Manna sure sounds like mushrooms, the arc of the covenant was made of acacia (aka DMT containing) wood, and the "Kaneh Bosm" that was in Jesus' anointing oil is actually either weed or calamus, both of which are psychoactive...all that hearing the roar of trumpets and the sky cracking open and meeting the people on the other side sure sounds like a psychedelic breakthrough on DMT to me....thoughts?
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Old 14-02-2015, 07:27 PM   #19
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

Zen, existentialism, realism,

a lot of meditation and this monk idea strike me as bullshit, it's like the eastern version of religious control. How does one gain enlightenment or a deeper understanding of life by hiding in a room and never experiencing said life..dat's whack man

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Old 14-02-2015, 08:02 PM   #20
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Re: Spiritual improvement/seeking stuff

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Zen, existentialism, realism,

a lot of meditation and this monk idea strike me as bullshit, it's like the eastern version of religious control. How does one gain enlightenment or a deeper understanding of life by hiding in a room and never experiencing said life..dat's whack man
I've never come across anything a Buddhist text that becoming a monk or nun is the only way to reach enlightenment. Also, it seems to me that many who enter religious vocation go out and experience life by adding positively to their communities. Just because they've chosen to give up some parts of life doesn't really mean they are missing out.

I'm not religious, I'm not even particularly spiritual, but it seems too easy to dismiss the idea of religion and religious vocation just because some bad apples got it wrong. Nothing human kind has ever touched turned out perfect. And I don't see anarchy, nihilism, atheism or agnosticism as easy answers to human kinds problems.

Sure, religion, and it seems the monotheistic ones in particular, could use some revamping.

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does ANYBODY bump the crunchy stuff?!? (Fake Blood, Clouds, Ado stuff?) secretstash Music Scene Chat 19 15-06-2012 10:34 PM
[Chill Out/old school] SPIRITUAL PROCESSOR - Jazzyspoon (free download) Jazzyspoon Listening Booth 3 27-08-2011 08:30 AM


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