Spiritual Depth Perception (Blog)
Use this thread to discuss the following entry from Steve Pavlina's blog:
Spiritual Depth Perception
I found that that article cleared up ideas I have been having as of late...
I move my learning through various different cultural traditions, from paganism to science
I used to practice wicca using various deities and symbols to manifest intention,
What most people do not understand is that these deities are archetypes for aspects of conciousness,
Sometimes this is more appropriate than say affirmations, whereas sometimes other methods of manifesting are appropriate.
Just because I enjoy quantum physics doesn't mean I cannot utilise paganism as and when i need it...
I think It's important to consider all points of view, each have value...
Its like painting- You need a full range of colours to respresent what your painting fully.
Somehow I couldn’t understand the process Steve explained to get hold of spiritual perception. All his other articles I read were very easy to understand. This one I am unable to. If someone can simplify this I would be grateful.
I like that
Thanks Adrienne :)
I think simplified it just means that seeing the world from a multiple range of perspectives is beneficial...so ask yourself what would he/she/christian/hindu/scientist do?
You wouldnt want to just experience the world through smell
So why would you want to restrict your perspective in this way
GREAT post Steve! The best one in months IMO.
how is it the best one in months? I see this comment on a lot of different Steve articles. What does it mean?
OH what a fool I've been.
The Gift of Fear by Gaven De Becker came to mind while reading this article. It's been a while since I read that book but I do believe it recommended that before you go out the door you tell yourself that you are ready to fight, for those who lack confidence in personal security. This puts someone in a fighters attitude, more ready and alert for possible dangers.
There is major downsides to this attitude of course. Opportunities for friendship, enjoying scenery and relaxing the mind when they are clearly available are lost when in a fighter's lens. I can see all too clearly everyday who has identified themselves too much in a certain belief system or type of personality, lacking this tool their single dimensional life lacks a certain flexibility, or perhaps the word beauty is more appropriate.
"I can only enjoy things like this". "I would never be able to enjoy or be able to use something like that". This lack of perspective hampers opportunities not only materially but mentally as well.
Einstein's quote is applicable: "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--people who enjoy trying new things or creative types are bound to find this much more acceptable to their taste.
Fabulous blog... this lines up exactly with the heavy issues we've been tossing around in my classes as of late. Does a scientific viewpoint make for a better life than a strictly religious one? Why does philosophers perceive an ontological desert as better than a jungle? Why do we value efficacy in our theories over something else that might be the truth? The fact that we're applying filters to our thought, filters that are most times more arbitrary than we'd like to admit, is blatant upon reflection. I think this observation really gets to the heart of why various ethical theories and viewpoints fail to capture common sense in its entirety and how switching filters, or focusing on understanding them rather than adopting them, can capture common sense, or at least make a much closer approximation.
Thank you for delving into this, Steve, you've helped me out. Almost like my consciousness influenced your writing ;)
Great post, although i skimmed it... (^_^)
That is the point of opening your eyes and your ideas. Some people find funny that there is a theory and a fact that there are aliens, ships and space wandering worms.
UFO NASA Discovery Vibrating Spinning Worm Orb Morph - Google Video
YouTube - UFO NASA's unexplained tether overload incident
that there is Illuminati conspiracy, that there was an a-bomb long ago before egipt faraonic empire was even born, that we are much more than this flesh and blood, that there are more than google of dimensions and universes, etc etc...
The fact is that unless you open up your eyes or better yet your third eye you will never experience even the smallest particle of absolute consciousness. Like Steve has said life is a beautiful meal and if you miss even one of the senses you will have great problem to perfect it, you can't even perfect it with all your physical senses let alone if you miss one of them.. now think how much senses are you missing if you attach your self to only one plane of reality?
We should all strive to explore our senses and broaden our views. That is why i like this community! :)
I agree with the part of the article that says we should not identitfy ourselves as the lense.
However, if you are saying two contradicting beliefs are equal ie atheism and theism, I don't see where your coming from Steve. Either there is a god or there isn't a god. Either there is meaning in life or there is no meaning. Do you believe that both sides of a contradiction are true Steve?
Steve, this from your blog...............
For many situations I find a subjective belief system incredibly useful. When the objective viewpoint is giving me confusing data or mixed signals, considering the subjective side often provides tremendous clarity. But in some situations it’s just the opposite, and I find an objective framework more suitable. I do my best to focus on the right tool for the job, knowing that my senses and beliefs are only low-res maps of a high resolution reality.
This seems to contradict the main theme of your podcast 'The True Nature of Reality' how can you spend years trying to figure out what you believe, decide on SR and then now say 'I now accept every different kind of idea and float between everything as it suits me'????
I've also seen you comment that SR is just a view point and not the truth? Further contradiction I think, how can you accept SR on any level and then say it's not true??
Steve, you have many people (2M+) a month searching for answers, sharing your views. You can't expect people to adhere to your site when you state something as a belief of yours and then say, you believe everything.
I think you're on a very slippery slope my friend.
Learning and fish
Steve said this somewhere in his article:
'If you learn to think the way someone else does in a certain area, you’ll tend to behave similarly, and you’ll likely achieve similar results.'
Fish are like this. I watched this science show a few weeks ago. A marine biologist found that fish learn how to avoid predators and find food by swimming with schools of fish. Within that school, there are older, more experienced fish, and the younger fish learn what they need to know from them. However, due to overfishing, the older fish have been fished out. This leaves the school with no trained fish, and they don't survive long in the wild. Many fish face extinction this way. The same thing happens with fish grown in a fish farm; something like 5-10% of the fish released actually survive.
But the biologist found that he could train them, and what they learned, they retained. That particular species of fish he was experimenting with actually retained their knowledge for a year. They live for 2-3 years, so that's pretty long for a fish.
I just thought that was some trivia that made me think, and that I wanted to share it with you on this forum.
My job isn't to convince people to follow any particular belief system. It's to stimulate them to consider possibilities and create their own maps.
Let the ideas from this site impact you, and decide which are helpful to you and which aren't.
I'm reminded of the four (or eight) most important words I've learned:
You may be right.
I may be wrong.
My life certainly changed when I opened to that possibility! :)
Seriously though... relax, Max (damn rhyming ;)). To tell you the truth, Steve frequently confuses the bejesus out of me. There is a lot he says that make sense to me, but there is quite a bit that just blows my mind and leaves me confused for days, weeks, and sometimes even months. I’ve also questioned Steve’s motives before, and had thoughts cross my mind that would have been similar to what motivated you to write your above post. But despite all of that, I’m still here. Why? Well, there is much I could say on that subject, but let me spare you from my endless jabbering and give you an analogy:
In weight training, despite what people may say, the goal of lifting weights is to break down your muscle fibres and actually inflict damage to your muscles. This damage is often painful, unpleasant, and generally doesn’t feel good. It can leave you feeling sore for days after you inflicted the initial damage and often temporarily hinders your ability to function.
So if weight training causes so much pain and discomfort, why do people do it? The answer's easy: To grow. People intentionally inflict pain upon themselves in an attempt to improve an aspect of their physical body. You see if you never do any damage, you will never grow. And much like weight training, if you never endure a little confusion, disbelief, and mental conflict, you will never really progress in terms of your intelligence. And what most people don't understand is that this confusion is a blessing in disguise. Without it, you wouldn’t know where the holes are in your knowledge, you wouldn’t have questions to ask, and you wouldn’t experience the satisfying understanding and mental clarity that comes as a result of that questioning.
Personally, I’m genuinely grateful for those who challenge my thinking and cause me to step back and say, “hmmm, that just threw a figurative spanner in the mental works”. I’ve run this pattern a few times now, and only recently have I started to not only see it as a positive, but also embrace the confusion and no longer suffer from it as much as I used to. Previously I’d avoid things that confused me as well as things I didn’t agree with, but now I embrace them. And you know what? Nothing but good has come of it.
Now it’s been no easy task to reach the point of being able to feel the confusion and be able to think of it as help, not a hindrance. Quite the contrary; it’s been long, it’s been hard, and I’ve had to endure a whole lot of uncomfortable and mentally “painful” confusion. But was it worth it? Absolutely. For now I not only function more efficiently then I did before, but life is more enjoyable. But the truth is life was always enjoyable, it’s just that rather then accepting it as something that simply is and reaping the benefits, my labelling of confusion as “bad” and “unpleasant” caused me to develop patterns of resistance -- patterns that limited my enjoyment of life and feeling of wellbeing.
Now when it comes to Steve, I can't be sure whether or not the blog/forum he writes accurately reflect his personal beliefs. Perhaps they do. Perhaps they don’t and he's trying to scam us all. Perhaps Steve purposely writes some of his more controversial material to cause confusion. But you know what? Who cares! Regardless of whether or not Steve’s intentions are “noble”, I personally find Steve’s writing to be extremely helpful, and judging by the amount of traffic he receives, I’m guessing there are others who would agree.
But it doesn’t matter what I, or thousands of other people think. What matters is what you think. And on that note, I will end this post by encouraging you to explore your thoughts. And I mean really explore them. Dig to the roots of your thinking. Take your logic to its conclusion. Ask “why” you think what you do about Steve. Ask “what” it is that causes you to think like that. Ask “how” you came to those conclusions in the first place. Then question whatever it is you dig up, and question why Steve may have said something the way he did. Write through it in a word processor or a paper notepad if it helps. Do whatever it is to empty the content of your mind into your conscious awareness.
I think what you’ll find will fascinate you. If not now, maybe later. Now I know my post may not make all that much sense, but hopefully in time, it will.
I still like your account name. :)
Steve, I found this article very interesting. However as someone who would classify myself as an atheist I find it particularly difficult to go about exploring some of the religions of the world, particular ones that seem wrong on so many levels. For example the Bible has at least one example of accepted genocide, coupled with numerous examples of women being regarded as lower then men. Why should I bother reading a book that contains and stimulates acts most people would call evil?
"huck finn" uses the n-word, yet we still read and see great value in it.
"lord of the rings" is all about boys, yet women still find meaning in it.
not every sentence of a book has to be on target in order for the book to have some good stuff in it.
i think the point is that, even if you dont particularly believe in a judeo-christian god, you can ask yourself "what would a really cool christian think about this situation?" and that can be a very useful thing.
i myself am no christian, but i think about jesus's laid-back groovy approach to people (except with those moneychangers in the temple!) and get inspiration from it. and even though i resoundingly rejected the catholic church in my youth, i still like to go to mass every now and then for the pure sensual pleasure of it.
sometimes i also imagine, what would ralph nader do? how would margaret mead look at this? can i dance about this situation? can i sing about it? what might i feel like after i take a walk and think about this? what if i were st. thomas aquinas taking a walk and thinking about this? etc etc.
lots of times, approaching a problem from multiple points of view gives me fresh insights and renewed energy in dealing with it. throughout history, people in different cultures and different ages have developed infinite ways of looking at the world. some are better in some situations than others.
for instance, you might not want to paint a picture to figure out how to heal your broken arm -- you might want to start with standard western medicine for that one, as standard western medicine is very good at that sort of thing. but that same doctoring can not help you out of a spiritual funk, whereas painting might.
that is of course a very simple example, but the point is, there is no need to choose a single lens for your entire life, and in fact you limit yourself by doing so.
being able to fluidly move between different points of view that serve you in different situations is a huge boon to self-esteem (i am not my opinion - i am something beyond that) and also to your personal effectiveness in figuring out what you're here for and growing the stones to do it.
Wonderful article. Clear and succinct.
I admit that the title "Spiritual Depth Perception" put me off at first -- I expected the article to be esoteric and a bit new-agey. But I'm glad I read it.
The main point of the article, I feel, is a cornerstone of personal development. It's a very simple concept. Nothing hard to grasp. But if your views are limited, and you identify yourself with one lens, it's very difficult to understand how a multi-lens viewpoint is useful, or is even possible.
Many of these lenses contradict each other. How can you be an atheist and spiritual at the same time? Christian and Buddhist?
While I currently identify most strongly with the atheist, object reality lens, lately I've been adopting other viewpoints. I've had a hard time explaining to people how I'm simaltaneously athesit and buddhist. How I percieve reality objectively and subjectively. "Yes, I'm aware that I'm holding contradictory ideas in my head. But they fit comfortably there... I just can't explain how..."
Steve, your metaphor (spiritual viewpoints as sensory functions--sight, smell, etc.) and your inclusion of a few down-to-earth examples (how you are able to simaltaneously hold a vegan and non-vegan perspective) made the idea of holding contradictory viewpoints seem simple and intuitive.
Lastly, I'd like the point out that the second to last paragraph ("We all have a tendency to fear and resist the unknown, so the notion of giving your beliefs so much flexibility may give you pause...") has an incredible amount of truth to it. A whole book could written about it.
This looks like a way of optimizing spirituality. If you have enough tools (religions), then any problem or choice can be viewed from X perspectives and allow you to make a much more conscious decision. If you understand enough viewpoints and practice with them enough, you'll get a feel for which decisions go best with which religion.
That is what I got out of that blog entry. I did enjoy it, but I feel that Beyond Religion, that podcast from a few months ago, was superior. Obviously, you can cover more in a podcast than in a blog entry, but it was definitely a nice supplement to the podcast and gave some new ideas. It is a very unorthodox way to look at religion, expecially from all the viewpoints of, "I am an...," but it does make a lot more sense than binding yourself to the "one true faith." Good blog entry and keep them coming...
Hard to explain without knowing exactly what you're confused about. But here are some ideas to help you see what Steve is talking about. Once you've gotten the hang of learning a different perspective, you start to see the benefits. But it's sometimes hard to see good in viewpoints that contradict the ones we hold. And it's hard to accept - after you've studied a viewpoint, understood it, and then decided that it's not true - that this false viewpoint can still have advantages.
Practice understanding other viewpoints. If you're an artist and thing that the greatness of the universe lies in the human soul, take an astronomy class or a physics class, and see if you can find some part of you that agrees that the universe is a pretty darn cool place outside the human soul, too. You don't have to agree with the scientists. And you may, in the end, decide that you still think the human soul is more impressive. But see if you can understand where they're coming from. If you're a scientist who thinks humanities majors are fluffy and full of BS, do the opposite.
Study a religion you've never studied before. You don't have to convert. But see if you can understand what they're saying to the point where you could explain it to a buddy using examples from your life. (Like, "This religion says that every bad thing happens for a good reason. Like on my trip when the bus broke down, but it meant we got to see a Kachina dance when we otherwise wouldn't have, so it turned out to be a good thing.")
Take a truth that you hold to be self-evident, like "You can't learn foreign languages as an adult," or "There is a God," or "Anyone who has money stole it from someone else," or "Our purpose on this earth is to help other people." Find someone who disagrees with it. Ask them to explain their viewpoint to you. Don't argue, and don't interrupt except to clarify. You don't have to agree with them or change your mind, but you have to accept that they believe this thing, and it works for them, so there must be some benefit to it.
When I was in high school, we had an essay assigned to us that was something like this:
Pick three disciplines or ways of knowing the world, such as scientist, historian, anthropologist, or theologist. Explain how each of them might view and think of:
a) A flower
b) A statue
c) A photograph
d) um... I can't remember what the other one was. Make something up.
At the time, I thought it was a fairly pointless essay. But after reading Steve's post, I think the purpose of it was to show how a very simple object (I mean, it's a flower. What can you disagree on about a flower?) can mean very different things to different people.
Learn a foreign language. There are often grammatical forms for concepts we don't even use in English. Or words that we don't have a word for. (Some of which we should... like the French phrase for, "The insult that is perfect for the situation and would devastate your opponent, except that you thought of it about 30 seconds too late.") Language reflects people's viewpoints, and learning it can help you learn about other perspectives.
Hang out with people from different walks of life. This could be as complex as traveling to Baghdad or Calcutta, or as simple as going to a restaurant in a lower-class or higher-class part of town. Talk to someone of a different ethnicity, religious background, country.
Do a 30-day trial pretending that some belief of yours is not true. Adopt a secret identity as an atheist, or an upper-middle-class CEO. You don't have to actually believe that there is no God, but say to yourself every day, "If I thought that there were no God, what would I do today?"
Try a few of those ideas, and see what happens. What I usually find is that there's parts I think are a bit loony, and parts I think are really helpful. From LDS church, I took the idea that the whole point of having an omnipresent aspect of God is so that God can always be there to help you out ... so try ASKING FOR HELP! I've mostly ignored the ideas that women are inferior to men and that genealogy has a say in your afterlife. From Buddhism I've taken the ideas that you must be aware of the consequences of your actions, and that people often have no clue what would make them happy. But I reject the idea that abandoning the physical world is the ideal. The Hopi believe that the creator put them on the top of a rock in the middle of the desert because it prevents them from being lazy and self-indulgent: when you have to scramble and pray every year in order to have food, you're very unlikely to turn your back on God. I keep that in mind whenever I face hardship, or whenever I'm tempted by materialism -- but I'm not sure that I believe that the Hopi's dances keep the earth spinning properly on its axis. The Dinee believe that the most important thing people can do, the #1 priority in every life, is to live in Hohzho - which is translated as beauty, or as peace, or as harmony, or as unity, and which encompasses all that and more. Every moment should be lived in beauty. They also believe that the presence of a corpse causes disease - which was true prior to the invention of soap, but is a bit outdated now, imho.
So see what works for you. You don't have to throw your old beliefs out, but be open to the idea that there are other good ideas out there. As carenkh says, I might be wrong - you might be right.
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