Enlightenment is easy to understand, by studying systematizations of it, and is easy to experience, using entheogens. Is it easy to live from the enlightened perspective? What would it mean, to "live from the enlightened perspective"? Here everything becomes hazy and speculative and completely debatable, reeking of late 20th Century invented spirituality -- a spirituality that was invented specifically in opposition to the awakening that was caused by pot and acid around the 1960s.
The biggest empty cliche is that satori is transient but that the real goal is to live an ongoing spiritual life. The idea of living an ongoing spiritual life is brand new, lacks a historical basis, is purely speculative and an arbitrary value-based definition of what religion and enlightenment are about, contradicts the Traditional idea that the goal of life is peak experience, is based on a false and distorted history of religion, and is practically a moralistic Puritanism updated for the late 20th Century.
The notion of "living from an enlightened perspective", that conception of what the ongoing spiritual life would be, is a hazy fantasy, an arbitrary artificial construct. There is nothing there; it's baseless conjecture, imagined notions of what spiritual enlightenment would, could, or should be about.
It has become standard to disparage and slander the state of satori or peak experiencing -- 'blasphemy' can only refer to this diminishment of the holy spirit, the intense mystic altered state. It's now standard to put down the mystic state, and elevate instead the idea of "living from the enlightened perspective", a view that stands in disagreement with mystics in general, who talk of a spiritual path leading up to peak experience, rather than talking about mundane self-improvement and elevation of day-to-day life.
Is this hazy, novel, and conjectural construction, "living from an enlightened perspective", more worthwhile and valuable than that which makes it possible -- the intense mystic altered state, satori, and the peak window during which ego is struck by lightning? Debatable indeed.
Blasphemy against the Son is a pardonable sin, but blasphemy against the holy spirit is unpardonable, warranting the death penalty: when one has been struck down and set straight by the intense mystic seizure about who's not in charge of whom, it becomes much more difficult to suppose the greatness and loftiness of "living from an enlightened perspective".
Can "living from an enlightened perspective" be of greater value than the satori experience that produces enlightenment?
Late 20th Century notions of spirituality are intent on diminishing the worth of actual satori and peak experience, striving to instead enthrone the enhancement of everyday life, labelling that enhancement as "spirituality" and "transcendence" and "enlightenment".
People ought to emphatically honor, and recognize and seek the grandeur of the real thing: the intense mystic altered state, which is the source, origin, fountainhead, basis, foundation, and wellspring of religion, not to be mistaken for the mundane sentimental, moralistic, ethical, conjectural, vague imposter of "living from the perspective of the enlightenment perspective".
Is it possible to not insult peak experiencing, and not insult the elevation of day to day life? A full life must have both -- the timeless eternal peak experience, and the day to day life, one shining a perspective onto the other. A classic metaphor is that before satori or regeneration, all of one's actions are sinful and generate bad karma, while after full satori and rengeneration, all of one's actions are blessed and escape the round of reincarnation. This then puts all focus and value on the moment of satori and regeneration, rather than on the content of one's life afterwards.
>In Jed McKenna's book "Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing,"
Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing
>McKenna makes an emphatic distinction between enlightenment and unity-consciousness or cosmic consciousness,
A series of entheogenic unity-consciousness mystic altered state sessions, when combined with systematic study of transcendent knowledge concepts, eventually leads to enlightenment. Wilber differentiates between 'altered states' (unity consciousness) and 'altered traits' (enlightenment); my equivalent terms to make this distinction are 'loose cognition' and 'the transcendent mental worldmodel'.
>stating that while unity consciousness is certainly a profoundly wonderful experience, perhaps indeed THE most wonderful experience of all, it is not enlightenment and has nothing to do with enlightenment.
How many people agree that unity consciousness has no relationship to enlightenment and can shine no light on enlightenment? That is the logical end-state of the Buddhist rejection of entheogens in favor of meditation.
To strategically and dishonestly defend meditation, which generally fails to deliver unity consciousness and the mystic altered state, while entheogens obviously produce these in spades straightforwardly, anti-entheogen Buddhists have taken to condemning and disparaging and belittling not only entheogens, but the mystic altered state in general.
They have kidnapped religion and now claim that the real goal of religion is to enhance ordinary, nonmystical daily life. McKenna and others are wrong on this point, to an evil degree. Unity consciousness is the source, origin, heart, and soul of enlightenment. Without the experience of unity consciousness, there would be no enlightenment; enlightenment is and was discovered and revealed directly because of unity consciousness.
Any other enlightenment is a "man-made" "mortal" invention, an artificial version of enlightenment that might be good but is certainly not the classic enlightenment. There is only one type of enlightenment that has a rightful claim to the word 'enlightenment' as in religious, spiritual, or metaphysical enlightenment, and that is the classic enlightenment, which is characteristically revealed by unity consciousness.
Other sorts of enlightenments deserve to be relegated to the glorious realm of life-enhancement and self-help, or personal development.
>He also states that it is an exceedingly common delusion that enlightenment and unity consciousness have something to do with each other...
He asserts that people draw a strong connection between the two. I hold that there is a very strong connection between these two things, and these are two distinct things, not the same thing.
>that most people believe enlightenment is like a permanent blissed-out unity consciousness state, and that this is flatly wrong.
I agree with McKenna that people should stop conflating enlightenment and unity consciousness. Enlightenment is not a permanent blissed-out unity consciousness state. Such a state is provided neither by the classic religious method, which is entheogens, nor by alternative upstart inefficient approaches such as meditation.
>... you exalt the unity-consciousness experience, as brought about by entheogens
The unity-consciousness experience, as brought about by entheogens is a profound state bringing profound insights and experiences, and after a series, combined with study, provides transcendent transformation of the mental worldmodel.
>you ... reject the idea that one can abide in this state and still function in everyday life
Yes. There are no grounds for believing that entheogens or alternative methods produce a permanent altered state, in the standard careful definition of 'altered state'.
>you assert that the best one can do is modify one's understanding, thus removing some but perhaps not all of the "meta-level" anxiety of believing oneself to be an ego trapped in time.
>(According to your definition, if I understand it correctly, I'm enlightened now.)
It is safest or surest to define enlightenment as requiring a good grasp of the system of concepts I've pulled together, interspersed with a series of intense mystic altered state sessions. If you have explored this state and this conceptual system together thoroughly enough to have a good grasp of it, then you are enlightened, as defined in this system. I can't currently assess the extent of your familiarity with the mystic altered state of loose cognition, or your grasp of the system of concepts (or systematic model).
>[that view may be] an expression of subtle cynicism, resignation and despair,
Einstein's speed-of-light may also be considered cynicism, resignation, and despair, if you insist on being uncharitable in your characterization. I'm more straightforward: the world has various limits. There are limits to how tranquil or coherent one's mind can be after enlightenment. I take an Xer stance here: better to accept limits than to hold up excessive, unwarranted hopes and then be disappointed when the hopes turn out to be unrealistic wishes.
There might be some kind of enlightenment beyond that of discovering the fascinating limits of the egoic control system, but that ventures into the highly speculative and tentative realm. The sure and classic kind of enlightenment, the universally recognized kind of enlightenment that transcends cultures and value systems, is about the limits of the egoic control system and the experience of control breakdown-and-reset.
>combined with an egoic desire to carve something solid upon which you can stake a claim,
You speculate about my personal motives. You have little basis for such speculation. How can you tell what my motivations are? Your evidence is totally debatable. You can imagine, but you should doubt your assessment -- as you do. Hold up a mirror: are you projecting your mode of motivation onto me?
Say, I think you are motivated by an egoic desire to carve something solid upon which you can stake a claim. Why are you being so defensive? You are obviously motivated by ego, whereas my motives are pure and transcendent -- who can argue, and on what basis? Such speculation is dirt cheap and worth as much. Do you have anything more sure and substantial to contribute?
>something which has the added value, from the ego's point of view, of giving you an "establishment" against which you can dramatically do battle.
There is a dominant mainstream view on four points: meditation is better than entheogens, freewill moral agency is to be promoted, religious founder figures are historically literally real, and enlightenment is difficult, slow, and rationally incomprehensible. This is the exact establishment that I'm refuting. Your hypothesis sounds vague and general, but I am totally specific.
Have you no comment on the concrete specifics, only on floating abstractions? If not, you are merely a psychologist, and I have little respect for the Psychology paradigm.
>THE TRUTH IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DESCRIBE.
Generally and overall, the transcendent truth is easy to directly, straightforwardly describe, requiring reasonably sophisticated mastery of semantics and language and vocabulary about mystic-state insights and experiences. I side with those who assert that the truth is rationally comprehensible.
>This is not a vague, wishy-washy cop-out; it is what enlightened people have said,
That's what some supposedly enlightened people have said. Others may disagree. The latter are correct, the former are incorrect. They mistake their poor use of the mind for the incomprehensibility of transcendent knowledge. I'm glad to be seemingly the only person in world history to maintain the simple rational comprehensibility of transcendent truth.
Full basic enlightenment is no big deal and the power of the mind and of systematic model construction should not be underestimated, and the complexity of enlightenment should not be overestimated.
>in one way or another, since time immemorial. This is because words create the false impression of "things" that have shape and form and can be apprehended by the mind.
If you use words poorly, you buy into such false impressions. Word-matrixes and mental constructs are dangerous and powerful, use them skillfully.
>"Enlightenment is truth-realization," says McKenna. When one sees and tells the truth with one's whole being, one becomes speechless.
On whose authority? When the skilled mind comprehends truth, the mind can potentially systematically model that truth efficiently. McKenna and every like-minded theorist in the universe are wrong on this point. Which authority will you follow -- McKenna's authority, or mine? When you comprehend truth, are you speechless, even after studying my explanations of classic full basic enlightenment? What conception of 'truth-realization' and explanatory ability, or explainability, do you hold?
What conception of systematic model-construction do you hold? It's up to you to decide; consider my views that conflict with the other authorities such as McKenna. They all say enlightenment is hard to grasp, complicated, subtle, difficult, unattainable, mind-baffling -- but I and like-minded investigators put forth a conflicting report. How can you decide which story to believe -- popular vote? But the popular view is deluded.
Enough talk about McKenna; when you attain truth-realization (by your definition of 'truth-realization'), are you speechless (by your definition of 'speechless')? You own your own ideas about what it's all about. A million authorities can only provide suggestions and conjectures and assertions. I suggest considering the simplicity and rational comprehensibility of truth-realization.
My theory is particularly valuable *because* it tells a story that conflicts with seemingly everyone. I would never have picked up the pen if I hadn't thought that all the previous available authorities are full of nonsense -- that every last one of them is wrong on this point. Religious theory is filled with disagreement among the authorities on such points. The votes of the authorities are worth only so much; they always may all be wrong.
There are advantages to being the only theorist to combine certain ideas and assertions a certain way. I learned to embrace and value my disagreement even while seeking agreement.
>Thereafter one can only point; truth can be told only in poetry. UNTRUTH can be told; we can talk about what the truth is NOT all day and night.
>... to be enlightened is to be radically free from anxiety. (_Anguish_ is actually the better word.)
A hallmark of mystic experiencing is anguish, which may be worked through over the course of sessions leading to 'sainthood' or enlightenment, reconciling one's new mental worldmodel with the insights and experiences found in the loose-cognition state.
>as a Zen student you had tried for years to get rid of anxiety and had given up in frustration.
That is a mischaracterization. I tried to get rid of anxiety, I satisfyingly concluded that some anxiety is inherent in self-controllership, and I satisfyingly came across a coherent model of enlightenment along the way, like the story of Paul who tried to adhere to a system of conduct, but became enlightened when he discovered that self-control is inherently problematic.
I agree with Watts on this point. Ego inherently includes anxiety, and ego remains, in many respects, after enlightenment, resulting in a transformed and no longer meta-anxious ego.
>I don't think the key is to get _rid_ of anguish; I think rather the key is to be able to _be with_ it; to experience it as fully as possible, to savor it. It thus ceases to be the bogey-man, allowing one to drop ever-further towards the center of one's Being; toward no-thing-ness.
We agree on this point.
>The central nervous system obviously doesn't want us to do this. It says "go away from anguish, go toward happiness."
In the intense mystic state, the mind seeks to lock-on focus onto a new coherent way of thinking or modelling self and world. This is a fascinating attractive beautiful force that also is dangerous and destabilizing and frightening; one must proceed as crossing a razor blade to get to the other side, with only one's delusion falling into the pit below.
To reach happiness, one must throw one's little deluded self overboard -- this happens over the course of a series of mystic state sessions, alternating with conceptual development and study.
>This is the most basic instruction of the CNS; the "carrot-and-stick" it uses to get us to serve its meat-brain agenda. It forms the subjective arrow of time. Ultimately, it forms the ego -- which is ironic, since it is this very instruction we follow as we strive toward enlightenment. This is one of the reasons the road to enlightenment is littered with dead bodies -- the very impulse that makes us strive for It is the thing that keeps us pointed away from It.
>...At the core is what I call the "Primary Demon" -- the big scary Bogey-Man of anguish that forms the lynch-pin of the ego ... To behold this Bogey-Man is to kill him; therefore he is protected from being looked at by a variety of subroutines and Stupidity Fields all of which say "don't look this way! Look at something else!"
There are times in the mystic state when the mind is drawn to look upon principles and mental dynamics that shock and destroy aspects of the accustomed mental worldmodel. Then the advancing initiate prays for the return of the stupidity field, striving to 'reject God' and 'turn away' and 'not look back at that fearsome terrible beautiful gorgon lest one be destroyed and turn to stone'. Later, the way forward is to burn away the remaining stupidity field and gain transcendent, 'divine' thinking.
>(When I beheld my Primary Demon, there were two bigger demons right behind him --Fear of Going Crazy and Fear of Annihilation. These were also difficult to behold, of course. But once the Primary Demon had been dealt with, I felt I could deal with anything.)
>My Recipe For Enlightenment:
>1. Decide that enlightenment is your only goal, and that you will sacrifice _anything_ in order to attain It. Become single-minded.
Would you sacrifice self-control, self-command? I consider the "crucified king" to be an efficient and direct symbol of that sacrifice, which one can affirm and comprehend. The Cross is first of all a symbol of the initiate's sacrifice of his illusion of sovereign self-control agency, to gain enlightenment and mental coherence. The perfected/mature mind is that which has managed to be willing to sacrifice the most centrally valued thing of the egoic mind: self-control; freewill sovereign moral agency.
>2. Give up the idea that you know anything. At the very same time, give up reliance on external authority or validation and determine to Think For Yourself.
This comes naturally during the entheogenic intense mystic altered state of intense solipsism, when other people are seen as your own mind's mental constructs, and even yourself in the past and future is seen as your own mind's present mental constructs, potentially dangling pointers without any actual referents. When no one else appears to exist, one can only think for oneself.
>3. Give up the idea that anything external is causing your anguish. Consider deeply that You (whoever that is; who are You?) are the source of your anguish. Savor your anguish. Learn to be very still and present with it. When it disappears, continue to observe. See if there is another, more subtle layer of anguish underneath the first, which the first was preventing you from seeing.
Incoherence of the mind's worldmodel about self, time, control, agency, and world is the cause of a key kind of 'anguish'. Metaphysical enlightenment directly addresses and generally eliminates this type of anguish. Skillful self-help and a different kind of transcendence can address other kinds of 'anguish' or cognitive dissonance.
>4. Note any behavior you perpetrate that is clearly done to relieve or distract yourself from anxiety, or is done based on the belief that another person or circumstance is causing your anxiety, and drop it.
Put anxiety to the test with intense mystic altered state experiencing. Zero in on anxiety -- dance with the vortex, be shocked, try to escape anxiety, get an experiential feel for mystic-state anxiety, flirt with its dynamics, fall in love with it like a moth to the flame. Where there is mystic anxiety, there is enlightenment and profound transcendent humility.
Can the egoic control system control the anxiety that is endemic in the egoic control system? Ego is inherently susceptible to anxiety, as part of its susceptibility to ego death and control seizure. Ego is inherently anxiety, and ego is necessary and practically useful in daily life and during a mystic-state session.
>5. Keep your eye on the ball. Enlightenment is truth-realization; anything else is delusion. Who are you? What is true? Keep paring away the bullshit until you know.
#1 candidate for 'bullshit' or 'hubris of the titans' -- I can control my anxiety in the mystic altered state. I am a controller and have the power to control what arises in my will. I am a controller and am in control of my will. I can look upon truth and retain the familiar, practical sense of control at the same time. I am not vulnerable to anxiety about self-control.
>>I don't consider myself enlightened yet, although I may very well be full of shit about that, too.
If you experience my systematic theoretical conceptions and theoretically comprehend the intense mystic state experiences, then according to this theory, you are enlightened, and any enlightenment beyond that is not the classic main enlightenment or full basic enlightenment.
>I tend to think an enlightened person would be unequivocal about whether he or she was enlightened or not.
Most religionists today disagree -- they assume that religious or metaphysical humility must equate to loud and showy self-deprecation of all sorts, particularly regarding whether one is saved, enlightened, sainted, or extinguished. In contrast, the mystery religions and gnostics held that there is no reason for the perfected or mature or enlightened person to hide, deny, or downplay their state of being enlightened.
Egoic thinking is offended by the supposed elitism and supposed egoism of stating that one is enlightened. A great measure of whether one is enlightened is whether one is offended by a person claiming to be enlightened. Contemporary egoic thinking is offended by the actuality of anyone attaining enlightenment.
Egoic thinking wants enlightenment to be a pursuit, not a possible attainment -- this seems to confer legitimacy on the ineffective and unfulfilling path the egoic minds find themselves committed to.
Egoic reasoning goes "I'm committed to this path, that doesn't provide a certain enlightenment and fulfillment and transformation. I want my path to be granted legitimacy, so I define legitimate religion as that which doesn't provide a certain definite enlightenment and fulfillment, but is instead a never-ending path of pursuing and never reaching an ideal or definite transformation." Distinguish between the egoic conception of humility and the transcendent conception of humility.
>I'll keep you posted.
There are many similarities in our pursuits and paths. I hope for updates regarding your definitions of goals and progress toward them.