Saw this on the Onion this morning and enjoyed it, so I thought I'd share. Granted it is satire, but I was wondering your serious thoughts on the subject matter any way.
Best offer I have had all week. : )
Must be a slow week for offers --
@Barry - on the one hand I think it's crass and ridiculous, but on the other hand, it does a good job of bringing the issue to people's attention who may not otherwise encounter it. Usually this stuff is buried in the mass of kooky "spiritual" sites and you have to dig hard to find it.
"he was going to seriously consider the cause-and-effect relationship of his own actions and elevate himself to a new level of compassion and understanding" - that's pretty good. It's not the usual "give up all your cravings and attachments" that we usually get in the West, which is way off-beam. Either this piece is a really clever way to propagate information, or just more ignorant twaddle, I can't decide.
Now. One can be enlightened either with or without invoking a creator God. However, the concept of the religious God is valid and useful throughout the subject of enlightenment, and I use it freely myself.
There is the Christian writer Richard Foster. He's a devout Christian, and he's completely plugged-in, he's enlightened. There are all kinds of people who reach enlightenment all kinds of ways. Reading complicated books and belief systems is definitely not one of them.
@Barry - I'd be interested in your views on self-realization. It's a vague term. Do you see it as Jung's "individuation" - basically, I think, integrating the whole self and firing on all cylinders?
Hi Simon…..I was thinking about “our search for enlightenment” recently (as one doesJ) and I wondered what exactly “Enlightenment” is. How does one know if it has been attained? What are the signposts to its door if you like?
To me it has become such a buzz word and so corrupted by well-meaning woo practitioners or hijacked by the religious that it has become meaningless. However I do believe I found it some years back……..So without further ado….
I realised and accepted that there are no gods and that they are not necessary as answers to life bigger questions or needed as guides to live one’s life by. There is no afterlife. I have only this one life. I am now enlightened. I am of no importance in the grand scheme. Now everything makes sense as there is clarity. Reality is the way you look at it.
….and it’s Monday and I am stuck in the office on my own…lol. Of course I must keep the lower parts of the hierarchy filled before I can sort out the self-actualization bit. (Maslow)
Hey Reg - I'd say there are definitely stages to it, and once you hit the button, you enter a different world. After that, the journey just continues. Here are my latest thoughts on the subject. (You're fucking honoured.) (it doesn't work with Internet Explorer.) It's a lot to take in, and if you're not completely worn out by the time you reach the end of the page, you're not doing it right. (ignore the notes at the very end.)
FINALLY, someone mentioned Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - thanks, Reg, I was scanning for a spot to insert it - the top rung of which is self-actualization. I can only assume that's what Barry means by "self-realization."
I suppose it all comes down to what the meaning of "self realization" is. I'll define it as an understanding of oneself to include motivations, reasoning, and the impact of life experiences as well as an understanding of one's natural inclinations.
Being religious does not preclude the ability of self realization. In some ways, it certainly hampers it such as when a person refuses to acknowledge how their religious beliefs may be affecting him or her in a negative way (something I've grappled with personally after discarding those beliefs) or as the article points out, seeing the hand of God in everything rather than acknowledging one's own responsibility, but self realization can still happen regardless of belief at least partially. It's really just a matter of taking the time to be honest with oneself.
If we define self realization to also include understand one's place in the universe as the article also mentions, then to really understand one's place one must look at the universe in an objective fashion to determine what reality is like. In that way, believers can come to a false sense of understanding. They come to see themselves as being part of a larger plan. In essence they are a pawn in a game controlled by supernatural beings. Under this definition, they would not come to self realization because they will have built up a fantastical model for how the universe works.
I will say that from personal experience I don't think it is possible to be a believer and come to a true sense of self realization. There was too much pressure to act a certain way and to live a certain way that I rejected parts of who I was. I subdued parts to conform. I ignored parts that that didn't fit. I gained a false sense of self that did not line up with who I was. I was so caught up in trying to live a godly life that whatever didn't fit became excluded. The day that I finally acknowledged the fantasy I was living was the first day I felt like a whole person. Since then, I've managed to put the pieces back together and uncovered parts I forgot I buried. Finally, I'm at peace with who I am. There is no longer any inner conflict.
So no, Barry, I think that as long as one lives in a fantasy that one can not gain full self realization. Partial, yes, but to be honest with oneself, one needs to dispel all illusions regarding one's view of reality.
I'm not altogether sure that Barry is as religious as he believes he is - his mind is simply too keen to actually accept the hogwash ("Woo," for those with British affiliations) with which the Bible is filled.
Of course "hogwash" and "woo" are the polite terms we use. It smells the same on both sides of the pond.
I know, I just know that Strega, still in London, is reading this, and I like to give her an affectionate elbow-nudge from time to time --
BTW, she really wanted to meet you, but didn't figure you'd want to travel that far - she, on the other hand, gets home rarely and had a short amount of time to do a considerable number of things, and couldn't travel anywhere that wasn't on her tight agenda. She should be brooming her way back to Vermont by the weekend.