MemberOctober 24, 2019 at 1:31 am
Is spiritual awakening a myth?
MemberOctober 24, 2019 at 2:57 am
It is not a myth, however, many mythical ideas and concepts can be and have been said about it. Spiritual awakening starts when ones attention turns inwards.
Having turned inwards, the journey depends on the person’s thought patterns.
The emotional mind: “”Way too much to handle!”” We have an idea of perfection or an ideal. We tend to compare everyone and everything with this illusion of perfection. One of the root causes for polarity. Good and bad. This gives rise to judging others for not being perfect and blaming others for not making my life perfect and so on.
When the attention turns inwards, we find ourselvescomparing to that idea of perfection and two things may happen, accept and realize the truth of the illusion of perfection or go back to the outward thoughts and fall back into the old mind patterns. It does take courage, humility to accept.
The thinking mind: “”Is that it? What’s the big deal? There is nothing here! It’s all a myth!””
On it’s journey inwards, a thinking mind finds emotions, it would automatically dismiss it as un-interesting. Because it probably had tried to solve the emotion problem and with no consistent cause or pattern was found or was found elusive – label it as irrational and moves along.
We apply our minds to solve problems and mind is a great tool and that’s what it is for. The mind works by asking why? The mind works by dividing things and then finding commonalities, labeling things, etc. The mind could be lost in a million ways, it can create, find, make up millions of problems and solving each one, giving rise to a million more questions. Spiritual awakening supposed to have solved all – and I only see more problems – it sure is a myth. Then what is it? For these minds, other great minds have devised problems like “”What’s the sound of one hand clapping?”, “”Who am I?””, etc. For our thinking minds, again, two things can happen, either label it as stupid, irrational, a trick and move on and back outwards. Or be persistent and then finally exhausted. Coming to a point of realization the futility of it. A realization that there are questions for which there are no answers and problems that cannot be solved. It does take courage and humility to accept.
Now compound the idea of awakening within us for we have degrees of emotional and analytical thought patterns and that which is in a flux at any given moment.
Myths are created when there is a whole lot of persistence and no humility, at least in the context of the way I described above.
MemberOctober 27, 2019 at 11:25 pm
When we speak of Myths we are referring to stories and ideas that have been handed down from one generation to the next within various cultures.
Many Myths developed over time that contain within them profound spiritual truths, for example The Grail Legend. It may have been that because of religious persecution or for other reasons spiritual truths were concealed in language that only those who themselves had mystical experiences or spiritual awakening could understand. Even fairy stories often contain deeper levels of meaning.
The Grail was said to be the cup that Jesus drank from at the Last Supper and in the legend of The Arthurian Knights of the Round Table, the knights,particularly Sir Parsifal, regularly went on quests to try to find the Grail. The Grail could have also been a symbol of emptying the self to find the Self which is the spiritual quest of aspirants today.
Myths and legends speak to the soul of humanity and have survived the test of time because they do often carry a profound message or because they inspire courage, benevolence, chivalry, honour, purity and other virtues, or they contain qualities and behaviours that have been held in high esteem by a particular culture or cultures.
Some mythological creatures for example the Unicorn are symbolic. This mythological creature is said to be a symbol for original purity and innocence.
Dragons particularly in the east were often symbolic of Enlightened or wise beings.
The Phoenix is a mythological bird that in legend sets itself on fire and is then reborn from the ashes of its former life. This is quite descriptive of the spiritual awakening process.
So it would seem that aspects of the spiritual path as well as spiritual awakening and many esoteric truths are hidden within the symbols and stories of myths and legends,
Spiritual Awakening itself is not a myth because unlike the Dodo it is not extinct, nor is it just a story, or confined to a particular culture or belief system but it is something that many are experiencing in there own lives within our contemporary society now.
MemberNovember 25, 2019 at 3:00 am
Myth: 1a. A traditional story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that informs or shapes the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the customs or ideals of society. 3. A fiction or half-truth…” (Source: American Heritage College Dictionary)
In short, yes and no. While this definition describes it as a traditional story, it is also a currently available experience to everyone. And, no, it is not fictitious.
To a person who has had the experience, like myself, it was rapid and emotionally overwhelming. Prior to the onset, I was an atheist, gun-owning, beer-drinking, paleo-eating, left of center individual growing a start-up business. Since then, I have sold my firearms and most of my possessions, vastly stopped drinking, stopped eating meat, started praying, meditating, and reading about every spiritual concept within reach, and camped in my van drown by the river 😉
A spiritual awakening is a whole mind, body, heart, and consciousness experience. It happens as the consequence of very deep (you could say subconscious) desire to understand the nature of the Universe and reality itself on a much deeper level, as well as where you fit into the big picture.
Many or most people who have had this type of experience come to many very similar conclusions about the nature of our collective reality.
But, really, the most important thing is to realize “the heroes journey” as explained by Joseph Campbell. This is the age of individual evolution. I am responsible only for my own growth and development as you are for yours. Take responsibility. Face your fears. Open your mind and your heart. Become your own scientist.
MemberNovember 30, 2019 at 4:08 am
Your definition of ‘awakening’ is one lens of perception. I suppose the definition is subject to the understanding of each person. In reality, awakening is a process by which we reach our natural state. The state of human consciousness as it is, is an unnatural one, to the extremes. But when the consciousness is asleep, it will easily accept the lowest common denominator because they believe that the more people believe a thing the more real it is. They believe the longer a concept has been around, the more real it is. This is part of their slumber. As well, the easier it is to grasp, the more people will grasp it. They are the average, the common, those who feel it is okay to judge anyone who has the nerve to envision a greater reality than the one that, although it is painful, they feel safe in because of its predictability. The unknown is frightening, taboo, dangerous. The word that comes to mind for such people is arrogance. It is arrogance in the mastery they feel they have achieved comprehending the crumbs they are willing to accept, to settle for, and use to plow through their lives with accolades so longed for..””.look how smart I am.””
We live within an expansive universe. Even those who don’t adhere to spiritual awakening must surely be aware that cycles of creation reflect throughout all of its forms. Cycles are evidenced and researched that tell scientists, anthropologists, and Sociologists that patterns are evident, and are altered by both the known and unknown. The pull of all form is to realize its potential. What most do however, because they are such limited beings, is far underestimate what the actual potential of humanity and what reality really is. They judge the entire creation using physical laws. This is a huge mistake.
All organisms are subject to Universal Laws. From microcosm to macrocosm, the same laws reflect throughout. Those laws are exceed what we understand about physical laws in what we perceive as time and space, more illusions in the mind.
Humans also have potential. However, being that they also have free will and imagination, their challenge is greater. They must, of their own accord, learn to discern truth from illusion in relation to who they are, and what reality is. That’s a tall order. They must actually choose on a deep level to reach their potential.
MemberDecember 14, 2019 at 10:03 pm
First, let me state the definition that you have mentioned for spiritual awakening:
“Atypical understanding of what you are”
Is it a myth? Yes it is.. Because you can never understand who you are…
An authentic spiritual teaching only tells you what you are not. It doesn’t tell you what you are and you can’t understand what you are.
You can only proceed by negation: You are not anything that can be observed! So you are not your body, you are not your mind, you are not your thoughts, emotions, sensations or perception.
You can only understand or know something which is an object, which is a thing. But you are not a thing!
Here is what Buddha says in Anatalakhana Sutta:
“So, bhikkhus any kind of form whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near, must with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not myself.’
“Any kind of feeling whatever…
“Any kind of perception whatever…
“Any kind of determination whatever…
“Any kind of consciousness whatever, whether past, future or presently arisen, whether gross or subtle, whether in oneself or external, whether inferior or superior, whether far or near must, with right understanding how it is, be regarded thus: ‘This is not mine, this is not I, this is not my self.'
The whole spiritual practice is about observing and then keep negating that you are not what that is observed. You keep discarding everything that arises and passes away as ‘not this, not this’. This is called ‘neti neti’ in Vedanta. (The word ‘Neti’ can be split as ‘na iti’: which means : ‘not!’, thus… It explains the procedure of how you go about it)
Then why does Vedanta say that you are eternal truth, bliss and consciousness? Why does Vedanta describe you with a lot of attributes? The one that observes cannot have any attributes because all attributes can be observed, sensed or noticed or thought about in someway.
There is a reason for it. Because Vedanta has a unique and smart technique called ‘Adhyaropa apavada’…
Let us first look at the word Adhyaropa. It means superimposition. The reason for our suffering and delusion is that we superimpose everything that is not self on self. You mistake everything that is not you as you. The removal of this superimposition is awakening, liberation or enlightenment.
Before we proceed to remove this superimposition, a discrimination between what is you and what is not you is necessary. You need to differentiate between what is ever-changing and the observer or the witness, which is the unchanging substratum. In other words, everything that is observed keeps changing.
Everything that is observed is impermanent (anicca), not self (anatta) and clinging to it causes suffering (dukkha). Buddha calls these three things as three marks of existence. But one thing that never changes is the observer of all this. The discrimination between these two is called as Viveka.
MemberJanuary 8, 2020 at 7:27 pm
No, not a myth but at worst it may be very powerful self induced hallucination brought on by a sincere yearning for communion with a higher state of being. The state of mind produced though often leaves life lasting positive changes as described by the people who have experienced it.
Since reality is subjective experience to a large extent who is to judge if what a person sincerely professes to have been real was real or not. If it was real to them and brought happiness or long lasting powerful change, isn’t that real enough?
Many people who have described it say that the reality experience felt much realer to them than their ordinary lives. After some period of time though as that intense memory fades some come to question the reality of the experience themselves.
So the Koan “Am I a butterfly dreaming I am a man or am I a man dreaming I am a butterfly?” comes to mind.
MemberJanuary 14, 2020 at 8:30 pm
A lot of people think that “myth” means a story that is not real. If a story isn’t about things that actually happened in reality, then it isn’t true. If it isn’t both real and true, then it doesn’t mean anything. If someone believes that a story must be a real and true story in order to have any valuable meaning, then they might dismiss all stories that are called myths.
As Joseph Campbell famously showed us, myth has great power whether or not it is about real events. It contains human truths even in the arbitrary falsehood of stories. The falsehood is that a story has a beginning and an end. In reality, things happened before a story starts, and things happen after a story ends. Humans, however, use the convention of beginnings and endings so they can tell stories. However, since beginnings and ends are not real, all stories are myths.
To the extent than any idea is a story, all ideas are myths, too. Therefore, the way humans understand the events of our lives is a myth. Myths are ways of constructing a narrative of events so that people can gain a greater understanding of what happened. Stories are not just about what happened. They are also about the lessons that can be learned from what happened. This is the mythic part of stories, and all stories contain this element.
Since every story is a myth, then the story of “spiritual awakening” is also a myth. Saying that it is a myth is more than saying whether you think it reflects real life events. Saying that something is a myth is acknowledging that there is a value in this story.
I think that asking a question about whether “spiritual awakening” is a myth is really asking how much value there is to the myth of spiritual awakening. In order to answer a question like this, you have to know what stories you are comparing this particular myth to. Are there other myths that you believe have more value to you? Since this is a personal thing, evaluated by every individual, there is no way that anyone could answer this question for anyone else.
The value of stories and of myths is the meaning you make of that story. Does the myth of “spiritual awakening” mean more to you than, say, the myth of government or the myth of education or the myth of “Winnie-the Pooh,” or the myth of Harry Potter or the myth of superstring theory?
People might try to distinguish scientific truths from myths, but even though scientists try to be as precise as possible by using math as a language where the meaning of the words is carefully defined and tightly constrained, they are still telling stories, and all stories are myths.
The issue is not about whether there is reality or truth to a story, but what the meaning of that story is for a given person apprehending that story. Of course, the meaning of any story is going to be individual. No one can tell anyone else if the meaning of “spiritual awakening” has more or less truth or reality than any other story. We can only figure this out for ourselves.
For me, spirituality is a way of talking about the connections between humans (and the connections between humans and our environment) that we feel, but often can’t describe or explain. Awakening is about coming to be aware of all these connections. The myth of spiritual awakening is about acquiring an awareness that the connections between us and all that appears to surround us happen in many ways that we often cannot explain in words. Some of us feel these connections in ways that seem to be very palpable, and others of us don’t experience connections in a very palpable way.
Depending on whether you have experience of these kinds of connections, you might insist that spiritual awakening is real, not a myth. Without experience of these connections, you might believe that it is something that others are imagining. Even with these experiences, you might not believe they are real, in the sense that they are measurable in an objective way, for which there is repeatable evidence.
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