What does enlightenment mean to you?

Discussions relating to conciousness, spirituality, and the great dilemma between materialism and dualism

What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Wed Sep 09, 2009 7:47 pm

Having read the definition of enlightenment provided on this site, what are your thoughts? Is this in line with the definition provided in widely used dictionaries? Is there any commonality between this definition and the 18th century philosophical movement or the Buddhist conception of this word? Why or why not?
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby ghost on Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:44 pm

I am wondering if enlightenment can mean anything at all. To me, enlightenment is a state beyond the mind, beyond thought. One accessed through silence of the mind. So does it mean anything to try to define enlightenment? it seems you are simply weaving up a story in a story world, stuck in that world trying desperately to reach outside of it. Even the reach is part of the story.

Does this make sense? I am not here to explain anything, I am simply expressing a feeling on the subject. The questions in the forum are all rising from thought, but thought is the hindrance to enlightenment. It is a game, an mind excercise, a discussion which will have no end. It is effort by the mind to get from point A to point B, when there is no reality to time at all. Time itself seems part of the story. A necessary element for the mind to keep you in that state, the state of thought, the need for future, the hindrance to enlightenment.
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby cclendenen on Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:45 pm

I rather agree with your concept of enlightenment. Have you looked at M. Scott Peck's stages of spiritual development? He lists four stages and describes them. I consider Deism Stage 3, and some folks are striving towards Stage 4. Your concept of enlightenment seems more granular. How much detail have you worked into the concept so far?
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Sun Dec 27, 2009 9:24 pm

cclendenen wrote:I rather agree with your concept of enlightenment. Have you looked at M. Scott Peck's stages of spiritual development? He lists four stages and describes them. I consider Deism Stage 3, and some folks are striving towards Stage 4. Your concept of enlightenment seems more granular. How much detail have you worked into the concept so far?

Thanks Chuck for visiting my site and for your post. What I was trying to do with this definition of enlightenment is to find what people are actually meaning when they speak of this. Now, this word is used in a few different ways so there is not one definition that covers all use, but it does seem to me that this definition is often times what people mean. The idea is getting answers to the questions of life through a combination of personal experience and reason.

I actually hadn't looked into M. Scott Peck's work until you mentioned it. Actually, you were the second one who mentioned that this weekend. The other was the lady who runs the Exploring Spiritual Development site. She is also an aspiring writer. I need to read Peck's book. He appears to be more focused on psychology than my current work is. I do plan to do a lot of research into psychology and to expand my work to cover that in the future. I do need to do more research into enlightenment and also the related concepts of empirical justifiability, comprehensiveness, and also worldview. I am not an expert on any of these subjects. I have read books and talked to some notable people, but I do have much work to do. Until I get a writing deal, I can't work on this full time. I have a day job to pay the bills.
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Alphie on Tue Dec 29, 2009 7:57 pm

Hello Brandon,
I had an interesting experience a number of years ago that was quite illuminating. It actually threw me for a loop! I guess you can call it enlighteninment. My first impulse was to explain it with biblical talk, but I hesitated and said no to that. So, I questioned it and for a number of years I wrote my thoughts down about it. And I finally put into book form. I used a lot of art, photos and drawings with my explanations. Sometimes pictures say more than a thousand words.

I discovered the writings of someone called Krishnamurti. You might like his writings, Brandon, if you haven't heard of him. He was very down to earth. He traveled the world and spoke to more people than any philosopher in history. In fact, he has a school in Orange County, California.

In a nut shell, enlightenment is suddenly discovering something about yourself that you never knew before. For example, imagine yourself on a boat, and you are looking over the side at the waves of the water. Is the boat moving forward or is the boat being still and the waves are moving by you? Until you look over at the shore line you cannot know. You need to see from that third point of view to realize what is actually happening.

In the same way, when you are presented a challenge you give your 'attention' to that challenge, then 'thought' responds. My question for you is this. Is the place from within from where you give you 'attention' to the challenge, the same place from where your 'response of thought' is innitiated. When you discover this, you will see something about yourself that very few people have discovered in their lifetime.

Take care, Brandon.

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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:06 pm

Thank you Alphie. I like your conception of enlightenment and yes I have heard of Jiddue Krishnamurti. I actually first heard of him some time ago when I became aware that one of my favorite bands based all of the songs on their first album on his work. Each song is a paraphrasing of his speeches and writings. The band is Live (yes "Live" is the name of the band, fans of 90's rock will likely be familiar) and the album is called "Mental Jewelry". Krishnamurti said that certain religious and patriotic beliefs are "mental jewelry" because their only purpose is to make one feel that they have a higher sense of self-worth, despite that this comes from things that have negligible intrinsic worth. Just as diamonds and gold do not go far to get one what matters in life, neither do prideful religious or patriotic beliefs.

Perhaps the most widely known song on this album is the song "Operation Spirit" in which the songwriter paraphrased Krishamurti as follows:
Heard a lot of talk about this Jesus
A man of love, and a man of strength
But what a man was two thousand years ago
means nothing at all to me today

He could have been telling me about my higher self
But he only lives inside my prayer
So what he was may have been beautiful
But the pain is right now, and right here

I can't tell you exactly what Krishnamurti himself said, nor would I know where to look. I do need to read more of his works. From this I might become more enlightened.
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Larry Chasteen on Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:29 am

Brandon:

Which of the following points do you agree with?

"The purpose, the manner of attaining this happiness, of gaining Liberation, is in your own hand. It does not lie in the hand of some unknown god, or in temples or in churches, but in your own self. For temples, churches, and religions bind, and to you must belong all dreams of God in order to attain this Liberation. There is no external God as such who urges us to live nobly, or to live basely; there is but the voice of our own intuition. When that voice is sufficiently strong, when that voice--the result of accumulated experience is obeyed, and you yourself become that voice, then you are god...So the most important thing is to uncover this god within you. That is the purpose of life, to awaken the dormant god (the unused sex-force, the Kundalini within you) to give life to the spark which exists in each one of us, so that we become a flame (illuminised), and join the eternal flame of the world (the universal life-force or ether, as above so below, of Hermes...In the permanent is established, is seen, the only god in the world--yourself that has been purified." (The Creed of the Cabalistic Jews--the Deified Man--the origin of Humanism; Star Review Magazine, Paris, September 27, 1927)
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:22 pm

Larry Chasteen wrote:"The purpose, the manner of attaining this happiness, of gaining Liberation, is in your own hand. It does not lie in the hand of some unknown god, or in temples or in churches, but in your own self. For temples, churches, and religions bind, and to you must belong all dreams of God in order to attain this Liberation. There is no external God as such who urges us to live nobly, or to live basely; there is but the voice of our own intuition.

First, who wrote or said this originally? Was it Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was mentioned in earlier posts? Actually, I think you are saying that this is a Kabbalistic quote, right?

Second, I do agree with this so far, but I do think it is important to clarify that while understanding what is noble vs. what is base (good vs. evil) can be known from intuition, what we know from intuition is the laws of nature, and moral laws are a part of nature, and all natural laws were created by God in the first place. So I don't think that there is a God who is directly urging us to live nobly, but we can come to know God's will in part through intuition.

Larry Chasteen wrote:When that voice is sufficiently strong, when that voice--the result of accumulated experience is obeyed, and you yourself become that voice, then you are god...So the most important thing is to uncover this god within you. That is the purpose of life, to awaken the dormant god (the unused sex-force, the Kundalini within you) to give life to the spark which exists in each one of us, so that we become a flame (illuminised), and join the eternal flame of the world (the universal life-force or ether, as above so below, of Hermes...In the permanent is established, is seen, the only god in the world--yourself that has been purified." (The Creed of the Cabalistic Jews--the Deified Man--the origin of Humanism; Star Review Magazine, Paris, September 27, 1927)

I don't think any ordinary individual is God nor can become God, and I am certainly an ordinary individual.
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Larry Chasteen on Thu Dec 31, 2009 9:40 am

Brandon, the more you write the more it shapes up to be just plain ol' Mediterranean Gnosticism. You have your Demiurge (Yahweh) then your quest for "liberation" from the good and evil dichotomy.

Tell me, is this the goal: "The mystical project is to restore to humans the capacity to see the world from God's perspective, at which point Creation will reverse itself and all "being" will revert to "no-thing-ness."
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Re: What does enlightenment mean to you?

Postby Brandon Norgaard on Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:44 am

Larry Chasteen wrote:Brandon, the more you write the more it shapes up to be just plain ol' Mediterranean Gnosticism. You have your Demiurge (Yahweh) then your quest for "liberation" from the good and evil dichotomy.

My work isn't close to Gnosticism, I really don't know where the similarity is. If you were paying more attention to what I wrote in my last post, you would have understood that what I am trying to do is to understand the dichotomy of good and evil as it truly is, not to "liberate" from it. I'm not sure where you got that. I think you are straw maning my work. Look up the common fallacy known as "straw man" if you don't know what I mean by that. There most certainly is a dichotomy and it is manifest for all people in the personal experience of valence, which is a property of the soul. I have detailed arguments in favor of these beliefs, but they are best discussed in the topic thread that I created for them, not in this topic thread.
Larry Chasteen wrote:Tell me, is this the goal: "The mystical project is to restore to humans the capacity to see the world from God's perspective, at which point Creation will reverse itself and all "being" will revert to "no-thing-ness."

I don't think anyone can see the world from God's perspective. We can try to come a little closer than the way we are by default, and this process, from a psychological standpoint, can be called spiritual development, according to the work of the aforementioned M. Scott Peck and on a more philosophical level is what I mean by "enlightenment". So I don't think we have the ability to go so far as to see the world from God's perspective, but we can strive to do better and this is one of the purposes of my project.

As for the idea of creation reversing itself and being reverting to nothingness, this is pure nonsense. I don't believe this at all and I don't even see what is meant by this.
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