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    Thread: some similies about spiritual growth

    1. #1
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      some similies about spiritual growth

      For whatever it may be worth....

      I think that mystic experience is like sex: its essential to life, but there isn't a path towards ultimate attainment, or even a path of ever-improving attainment.

      I think that people who sell books on how to attaining enlightenment are a lot like people who sell books on how to bed beautiful women. Its true there are practices, both healthy and unhealthy, that will help. Working out will help. Learning how to tell the lies that beautiful women want to hear will help. Becoming more successful professionally will usually help. Becoming a better person may help. But it all only goes so far, everybody has a ceiling.

      Its like athletic achievement. We can ask Lebron James what is his secret to success, and he can tell us about what he has done to get where he is, and come up with some ideas that he thinks might help other people. Working out, practicing hard, eating healthily, and mentally devoting oneself to what one loves are all positive things to do. But following these practices will not get a person to his level.

      A difference with spiritual achievement is that since so much of it is hidden and poorly understood, its harder to discern what our natural limits are. So if ten psychically powerful people write books, with nine of them saying that there's not much we can do besides living our lives the best we can, and the tenth promising great results if we follow his method, only one of those books will wind up on the bookshelf.

      When you pursue a spiritual practice, you may get remarkable results, often in flashes. Are those results a taste of what is possible if you persist? Our are they glimpses of mental states of others who are psychically connected to those practices, and not results from the practice? When someone tries to sign you up for their diet plan, or their steps to prosperity, they always start by showing you something of what they have attained. But its rarely the case that the method they're teaching is the full story of how they attained those results.

      Ostensibly all of our efforts accumulate over the course of many lives. I think that its true that results accumulate. But I think the idea that those results accumulate for "oneself" over the course of many lives doesn't even make much sense as a hypothesis. So what matters are whether the results that are accumulating are positive or not. And the results are going to be more positive if our beliefs and actions accommodate themselves to reality.

      You can train your dog, but you can't beat your dog until he learns to speak. You can improve your mind through self-inquiry, but you can't discipline your mind until you reach nirvana.

    2. #2
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      Books on spiritual growth are like maps. Some maps look very different from others and none can perfectly reflect what you find on the path. But some maps are made by people who've never actually taken the journey. I think it's important to recognize the difference between stories and theories, regarding spirituality. If someone is telling their story, and they happen to provide a particular map for others to use, that can actually be quite helpful. Granted your story is still going to be different, and the landscape you journey through will be quite different from theirs'. So Eckhart Tolle's books are good reads, and very insightful reads, and they'll give you a good map to bring with you, but the map should not be the confused with the journey itself. It's a reflection of his journey. It still beats, for instance, the Celestine Prophecy, in which the story is not true and the spiritual concepts are all theory.
      juroara likes this.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.

    3. #3
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      Using your analogy, I'm saying the books are like maps written by people who rode somewhere in a cab, describing activities inside the cab, and suppositions about things outside the cab. But the '99 bottles of beer on the wall' mantra doesn't get you to Yellowstone.

      I'll use you as an example. You posted a straightforward description of your spider sacrifice, and an event that followed. Had that been my experience, I would have described the first part as acting out a premonition about what happened next, rather than a cause of what happened next. Neither of us really understands what happened there, and if other people were to repeat the same experiment most people would not get that kind of result. Also there is important personal context that is left out of the description. So its not really a map to anywhere. In my view the people who write books are the same, but almost without exception they take more liberties with embellishing and selectively omitting facts for the sake of a compelling story. And they project all kinds of stuff into their experiences without recognizing they're doing it.

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