I just had an idea. We know that spirituality systems can have psychological and physical benefit. We also know that the most effective ones take incredible devotion to benefit significantly from. We could experiment with elements and quantities from different systems and mix them into one with significant effect without retreating to a remote mountain temple. It should: -Be non theistic -Be non time consuming -Not require significant sacrifice -Not require money -Actually be beneficial
There were these two men sharing a railway carriage. They didn't know each other. They just happened to be travelling together. One of the men had, resting on his lap, a cardboard box, with holes punched in the top. After some time spent contemplating what might be inside his travelling companions box, the other man at last could not contain his curiosity. He said, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help noticing your box. Does it by any chance contain some variety of animal?" The other man, though obviously surprised by this impertinent intrusion from a stranger, smiled politely as he answered. He said, "You're absolutely right. There is indeed a creature kept inside this box and furthermore, I may reveal, the animal in question is a mongoose." The first man, who'd initiated this enquiry, was astonished by this revelation. Spluttering with surprise he sought some further explanation of this certainly provocative disclosure made by his strange fellow-traveller. "A mongoose? Sir, I must confess I had expected it to be perhaps a cat or a rabbit, not a creature so exotic and outlandish. The animal you mention so excites my curiosity that I must beg you, sir, to tell me more. Where are you bound with such a specimen, if I may be so bold?" The other man, who sat with the perforated box on his lap, shrugged wearily as he replied. "Well," he said, "It's something of a personal matter, as it concerns a family tragedy. However, since I am confident I may rely upon your discretion, I suppose I don't mind sharing my unfortunate account with you." "You see," the man went on, "This sorry tale concerns my elder brother. He's always been what I suppose you might refer to as the black sheep of the family. He has for many years indulged himself in a predictable and common place array of vices, of which the worst is his fondness for strong spirits. His drinking has progressed until he is now in the final melancholy stages of delirium tremens. My brother now sees serpents everywhere. Which is the reason I am taking him this mongoose, that he might be rid of them." "Excuse me," the other man interjected, looking puzzled, "But these snakes, your brothers sees... Aren't they imaginary snakes?" "Indeed," his fellow traveller replied, "But this," and here he gestured meaningfully to the perforated box set on his lap, "Is an imaginary mongoose."
It's a nice idea but most systems are created with similar things in mind and it's not so easy. You're not going to get a free meal. Whatever you're doing, more practice and dedication will mean better results. That said, mixing and matching things as you see fit is commonplace for occultists and one size never quite fits all. The only way to get 3 occultists to agree on anything is to kill two of them. Creating a system that works for you is almost instinctual. They're your snakes. Creating one that taps into some of our shared experience, that resonates with all of humanity, is very difficult and requires great knowledge of ones self. Mostly, people create a system for themselves and then, after much time, learning and revision of the system to incorporate this, produce something that is more widely applicable but a new age is dawning. New systems are springing up like wild flowers right now.
That said, even an imaginary mongoose must still be a mongoose. You can't just totally make it up as you please. You must watch for your mistakes and correct them. There are a thousand systems but only one Sophia and every path to her is long and and arduous and will require the sacrifice of everything that you do not need. Go wisely and don't forget to meditate. >Not require money There's no reason it ever should and I'd mistrust anyone who suggested it did. Anyone can be a magician with a wavy knife and crystal ball. It takes skill to be one with a potato peeler and a paper weight.
OP, this is how I got into buddhism. Highly recommend you read a real book on meditation, I read "mindfulnes in plain english." It doesn't have to be your book but it helped me.
I also came to think this way when I studied discordianism. I read the Illuminatus Trilogy, the Principia Discordia and the Black Iron Prison. The last one is probably the easiest to get into which presents the ideas in a modern context without bullsoykaf but also not too seriously.
Aspects 2 and 3 may be impossible, depending on what you value.
Spiritual things as far as I can tell are dogmatic in nature: you either receive it from somewhere, or construct it by yourself; then you work a lot to interpret and see the dogma in the real world. That makes them incredibly stable - accepting the dogma without question is rephrased into "making positive effort at understanding". The dogma itself never changes, so it can be used as a stable base to reason off when other things are uncertain, or change rapidly. Even if the dogma is questioned (and burned down to the ground), you simply tossed away a semi-working guide to the world, without replacing it - you now have no idea what is going on, at the benefit of certainly not being wrong; most people would rather have a working alternative first before making the trade. I think spirituality represents a guess-based approach towards truth. If an explanation predicts well for the wrong reasons, it is still considered truth. As for the thing with occultists disagreeing all the time, I believe it's because of the constant, local reinterpretation of words. "X doesn't mean what you think it means" is a pretty common element, and before long we are left of dozens of different networks connecting the same words. giving the exact same sentence radically different meanings. However, it's quite possible that the shapes of these networks are similar, or even identical, meaning that proponents of each would disagree over details or statements, but their overall belief system is similar, or even identical. Notice that the words which cause controversy are often ones without a tangible presence, like "soul, mind, government, happiness, energy", etc. Nobody seems to argue about what a chair looks like (but perhaps things less obvious about it). Most ideas can be described with various choice of words and imagery.
If I was asked, I'd say the appeal of a spiritual approach stems for misinterpretation of scopes. People taking metaphors literally, and literal things metaphorically in organized religion. People assigning too much scope to social constructs like law, rights, etc (these are guidelines at best, not truths). People of all sorts (including non-researcher experts) misunderstanding what a scientific truth or a fact is. (Tested, mostly working theories about reality. They are reasonable to use, but neither flawlessly accurate, nor equal to reality, and thus not truth.) Such misinterpretation of those scopes of various statements might lead to people relying on them in inappropriate situations, or "testing and disproving" them in the wrongest of ways. Since this creates a scenario where anything gets affirmed/denied by at least someone, a dogmatic system can provide a rahtehr appelaing source of stability. People also tend to write off entire fields instead of just the few bits they found wrong, and then claim that disproving the whole thing would be unpractical / take too much time; the debate of practical vs quixotic thinkers never really ends.
As for creating an efficient sort of spirituality, I think it would miss the point - there always seems to be a personal touch, working through things, coming to a conclusion yourself - if someone else does it for you (whether or not to make it efficient, useful, etc) it is devoid of any value. I could almost say that initial dogma is of little importance, and the act of finding it, or some aspect of it in everything through contemplation / reflection, and the feeling of having made sense of the world is what matters - regardless of this understanding reflecting objective reality, a subjective view of it, or nothing at all.
-Be non theistic Why is this necesary? It doesn't make a difference to the individual whether it is or not. -Be non time consuming Couple hours on Sunday and a nice brunch is not time consuming. -Not require significant sacrifice Sacrifice is only as much as it benefits you, I am fasting now for lent, but this is really a small sacrifice on the scale of things plus it helps build willpower and focus. -Not require money Again donations are up to you, but since being in the church I've become much more generous overall and I view that as a good thing, donations aren't required though. -Actually be beneficial Community is strong, you will find people everywhere to support you. Teaches strength, humility, generosity, and discipline. I don't know what else you would want.
>>6875 Maybe because pretending there is a god that is actively involved in your life relinquishes accountability for actions when dogma that can be used to excuse certain acts is introduced. Also this can lead to the willful ignorance that plagues most religions. We presumably aren't interested in more population control ITT.
>>6875 Non theism is a good thing because it avoids the pitfalls of anthropomorphization that we humans are so prone to. It helps avoid having someone act as a mouthpiece for god, among other things.
Taoism is a good example of a non theistic religion, where there is a way, not a god. The universe behaves according to this way. That which aligns with the way prospers, that which does not decays. So I've understood from what I've read.
Also, and I'm speaking from my own (limited) experience. I prefer the mystical way. To search the spiritual realm by my self, seeking aid from texts, other humans and other spirits as I see fit. When I was younger I sought help in organized religion, but I learned to distrust them, for they almost always have an ulterior motive.
Humans are travelers and warriors by nature. Spirituality is a road and a fight with oneself. By walking my own path I find and forge myself.
>Be non theistic Why? just because you're an atheist doesn't mean everybody needs to be, that's personal preference >Be non time consuming Anthing requires time, at least, anything worth doing. If you are not willing to devote time to it, then why even bother. >Not require significant sacrifice Sacrifice is what brings rewards. Giving up stuff that we don't need, or that may do us harm in the long run, or maybe even beneficial things that detract you from your spiritual growth, that is part of life, and it builds character, makes the rewards more ... well, rewarding, etc. >Not require money I can only agree with this one >Actually be beneficial Subjective, and every religion claims benefices.
You are falling for the same old mentality of religions of pretending to be the best possible scenario for everybody, truth is, people are wildly different and they are bound to follow different practices and hold different beliefs based on their experience, intuition, and what makes sense for them.
>>6847 >Spiritual things as far as I can tell are dogmatic in nature But then what isn't? One cannot assert anything without it being somewhat dogmatic. >The dogma itself never changes It does. Both on a personal and global level. Most people will change their beliefs as they grow older and learn more and common practices have been constantly changing throughout history. >I believe it's because of the constant, local reinterpretation of words. It is but then so are a lot disagreements. The fact that it can be very abstract and hard to notice when you're talking at cross purposes doesn't help but what is anyone to do? >Nobody seems to argue about what a chair looks like You underestimate us, but in seriousness, we don't argue much at all. If we felt the need to press the issue when someone disagreed with us we'd do nothing else. >Most ideas can be described with various choice of words and imagery. Most can, some can't. >People taking metaphors literally, and literal things metaphorically in organized religion Metaphors, literal. What was the difference again? I forget. The distinction only holds up when you're looking from the right distance. "There is a red car" seems like a literal sentence but every word of it was interpreted as a symbol in much the same way as metaphors. Even when something is right in front of my face, what I see and what it is are two different things. So while this is a real problem, it's not a simple one and it's one spirituality often looks at closely.
>>6876 Dogma excusing crimes and wilful ignorance are not problems exclusive to religion. Any codified system presents the same opportunities, such as the horrors committed in the name of freedom.
>>6878 Anthropomorphisation is not always a pitfall. We give the gods faces that we may know them. More than that it's a human pitfall and there's wisdom in it's exploration. Also, just because you have a god doesn't mean you have to listen to them. My god is a liar, a cheat and a thief. I wouldn't trust him if he manifested personally let alone some fuarrrk trying to be his mouthpiece.
Anything can be twisted and used for ill ends. More than that avoiding a belief because you're worried about the consequences is cowardice. If there are or aren't gods has nothing to do with anthropomorphisation or mouthpieces. If you believe in gods or not, do so because that's where you find truth, consequences be damned.