Mystical Experience - The Interconnection of Everything: Spiritual versus Religious

(I have modified the Blog title to focus on the Mystical Experience which I view as being Spiritual)


On October 24, 2013, I posted a poem entitled “Spiritual but not Religious” on CS Poetry Corner:


I also posted it as a blog on December 20. 2013:


In my view, there is a clear distinction “Spiritual” and “Religious” that I wish to express in this blog.

I am aware that some may not agree with my interpretation of the terms which is as follows:

Spiritual

The term “spirit” suggests an active living force or energy which may be termed “life energy”. This energy pervades all living things, whether animal or plant. Some may wish to restrict the use of spirit to human beings only. Yet, what is the justification, if any, for such an anthropocentric view?

Spirituality entails a personal awareness of one's connection with the life energy of all living things, whether plant or animal. This awareness is based on direct experience or insight, independent of any dogma or religious teaching.

Such an experience may occur as a mystical feeling somewhat similar to Jane Goodall's experience as mentioned in her Earth Day 2018 message:

“There was a moment when I was in Gombe National Park and it began to pour rain, and then the rain stopped and I could smell the smell of wet hair on the chimpanzees and I could hear the insects singing loudly, and I just felt absolutely at one and it was a sense of awe and wonder.
Out in the rainforest you learn how everything is interconnected and each little species, even though it may seem insignificant has a role to play in the tapestry of life.”

(courtesy of Google)


Religious

The conventional view of religion is a system of beliefs or dogma pertaining to a supernatural deity or deities, referred to as a god or gods.
God is viewed as an anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism -
an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.
(Merriam Webster Dictionary)

To be religious is to have an understanding of certain concepts and the relationship between them as espoused by religion. This is the backbone of theology. One may attempt to seek a deeper experience beyond the conceptual level but it must be firmly tied to the relevant belief system or dogma.


The term “religion” may be viewed in a general sense and in a specific sense.

In the general sense, it is viewed as an aspect of culture, regardless of its specific details. I think that it is from such a perspective that some nonanthropomorphic systems like Buddhism, particularly Zen, may be classified as religion.

However, in the specific sense, Zen goes beyond any dogma or belief system which is a characteristic of religion:
“No dependence on words and letters. Directly pointing to one’s heart, Seeing into one’s own true nature and thus attaining Spiritual Awakening.”

Tribute To Connecting Singles

Amid the corridors of the internet
There's a website called Connecting Singles
It's portrayed as a dating site, and yet
Some folks are there merely to intermingle

It's a mix of different nationalities
Which gives it an international flavour
It features attitudes of all varieties
Ideal for a study of human behaviour

There's a mixture of blogs, forums and poetry
In which all are free to participate
Some do so very unassumingly
While others tend to argue and debate

Some interaction is innocent banter
With others, it can get to a heated stage
Where sparks fly that sometimes ignite a fire
Some get burned while others get in a rage

The site moderators seek to maintain order
And to prevent things from getting out of hand
So please be mindful of your behaviour
Else in Connecting Singles jail you may land

Anthropomorphism, Theism and Atheism

When the term “God” is mentioned, it seems it is generally assumed that everyone has a clear and common understanding of what it refers to.
But is this really so?

Could it be that there are significant differences in what different persons perceive as God?

I think that it is very important to closely examine the answer to this question in fairness to those who consider themselves to be atheists, and also theists, since these terms are both related to the notion of God.

We define ourselves as beings, that is, human beings. A being is a living entity, endowed with some type of life force which may be termed spirit. Each human being is said to have such a spirit (or soul). God is also normally perceived as a spirit.
A human is viewed as a being at the natural level whereas God is viewed as a being at a higher level, referred to as the Supernatural level.

I wonder if viewing a human being as an entity at the natural or human level and viewing God as an entity at a higher or supernatural level somehow seems to suggest that God may be viewed as a superhuman being. In other words, God is viewed as having human-like attributes, but at a higher or superhuman level. Essentially, this is an anthropomorphism.

Anthropomorphism (Merriam Webster Dictionary):
an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.

In the Bible, the book of Genesis states that God created man in his own image. George Bernard Shaw said: “God created man in his own image and man has returned the compliment”. That is, man has created God in his own image, with human-like attributes.

Is it possible that one can have a direct apprehension of that spirit (or force) which religion (theology) refers to as God, without viewing it in terms of human or superhuman attributes, that is, natural or supernatural? One simply views it directly as some phenomenon and is contented to apprehend it at that level.

I think most persons would agree that there is some sort of order or principle in the working of the cosmos. Perhaps having a direct awareness of this principle in action is having a realization of the very “essence” of what is commonly termed God. Scriptures or religious teachings attempt to put a “form” to this "essence" and view the essence and form as being synonymous and co-existing with each other. Both are essential from the religious perspective.

If a person has such a direct awareness, that is, of the “essence” without having an interest in the teachings or dogma of any religion, is such a person an atheist or “godless” - a term which, to many, has negative connotations such as evil-mindedness and an uncaring attitude towards others, etc.?

Does one need to believe in God as defined in the dogma of religion in order to love others and to have a caring attitude toward them and, more importantly, to express this attitude in action?

Some of the world's notable philanthropists are atheists. These include Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.
There are several well-to-do theists who profess a caring attitude toward others but do little or nothing to express it in action.

Do you view the term “God” as an anthropomorphism?

I have seen comments by some individuals mentioning the term “higher power” in this regard.

What is your personal understanding, if any, of the term “God”?

Love Is A Decision

I wrote and posted the following piece on Poetry Corner on Jan 7, 2016:

Love Is A Decision
(Author: socrates44)

Love is not based on a feeling only
There must also be a clear decision
Passionate feelings may die off early
Showing it was just infatuation

One should not need another as a crutch
But be able to stand on one's feet
This will allow each other space as such
And enrichen the sharing when both meet

A love relationship has its demands
It does not ensure smooth sailing always
Be mindful of this in each circumstance
And it will help you survive the rough days

The one that you love should be your best friend
Someone with whom you can share everything
A person upon whom you can depend
In situations that can be trying

As time passes, both of you will change
For change is inevitable in life
Do not consider this as something strange
Learn to adjust and avoid any strife

True love is the most precious emotion
That a person can engage in sharing
It fills the heart with blissful elation
Giving one's life a rich sense of meaning
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Posted: Jan 7, 2016

About this poem:

"Love is a decision, it is a judgement, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgement and decision."

- Erich Fromm - (The Art of Loving)


"But let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow."

Kahlil Gibran – (The Prophet)
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Brain Teasers 13

Name the type of fish indicated in each case:

1. Change one letter in bullet

2. Insert one letter in surgeon

3. Change one letter in tampon

4. Insert one letter in car

5. Choose and combine syllables from Linda and Margaret


6. musical sound

7. complainer

8. radio station selection

9. bird's roost

10. owned a pier


Attempt as many times as you wish.

Have fun!

(Answers will be posted later)
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Disabled Comments Blogs

A lot has been written about “Disabled Comments Blogs” lately.

My suggestion re the same is that the viewer should be informed up front that such blogs do not allow comments, and not at the end of the blog as is the case currently.

I think that persons may be attracted to the blog based on its title and accompanying introductory statement(s), and may wish to comment on it only to find out at the end of the blog that it does not allow comments.

One way of doing this is to put “Comments Disallowed” or a similar phrase in brackets just after the title of the blog on the blog listing page.
This will require the input of CS staff.
Perhaps the system can be programmed in such a way so that when the blog poster ticks off the “comments disallowed” button before posting the blog, this will automatically trigger the action to add “Comments Disallowed” or a similar phrase in brackets just after the title of the blog on the blog listing page.

Anyone who chooses to open and view the contents of the blog is free to do so, knowing fully well that it does not allow comments.

If a blog poster may not be available for a period of time to “mind” the blog by responding to comments soon after they are posted, I do not see the need to disallow comments during this time. Such comments will still be there waiting for responses when the poster returns.


What do you think?
All comments, including other suggestions, welcome!
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Brain Teasers 12

1. What does January 1, 2020 and the fruit of a certain palm tree have in common?

2. “A chicken in a car and the car can't go.” Name the place suggested.

3. What does ripping a piece of paper into pieces and crying have in common?

4. After a long wait, what place did the hitchhiker exclaim when he saw an automobile approaching?


Attempt as many times as you wish.

Have fun!

(Answers will be posted later)
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Hello darkness, my old friend - my signature song

The Sound of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

The song, The Sound of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel (who are my favourite singing duo of all time) has always held a deep attraction and fascination for me, ever since I first heard it in the mid 1960s.

Besides the superb music, I felt instinctively drawn to some deeper message in the song.

In the first line, darkness is viewed as a friend:
“Hello darkness, my old friend”

This appears to be in direct opposition to the view that darkness is something to be avoided: it is typically associated with evil. Its opposite, light, is associated with goodness.


Darkness and Silence:
blank pages (substrata) of human sensory awareness:
seeing (vision) and hearing (sound) respectively.

Vision:
Darkness provides the background on which the action of light waves is manifested. Such action may be perceived as visual images by human consciousness.

Sound:
Silence provides the background on which the action of audio waves is manifested. Such action may be perceived as sounds by human consciousness.


Smithsonian magazine states:

“Astronomers have compiled evidence that what we’ve always thought of as the actual universe—me, you, this magazine, planets, stars, galaxies, all the matter in space—represents a mere 4 percent of what’s actually out there. The rest they call, for want of a better word, dark: 23 percent is something they call dark matter, and 73 percent is something even more mysterious, which they call dark energy.”



In view of the above-stated scientific information, I have finally come to some understanding of the deeper message of the song for myself.

Darkness and Silence are the primordial states of the universe or cosmos.

Light energy came into existence some time after the big bang. Prior to that, darkness permeated the universe.

Even at present, 96% of the entire universe is dark. I have always felt a deep peaceful sense of unity with the universe, which by extension is with fundamental darkness, and I can see now that this underlies my deep-seated attraction to the song.




What message, if any, does the song have for you?

Also, the title of the song is The Sound of Silence.
What is your understanding of the phrase "sound of silence"?
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Party Time

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was a university student in Canada. There were several other students from the Caribbean during that period. Occasionally, we got together to “party” as a break from our studies and to enjoy ourselves. Those are some of my fondest memories from my university student days.

Please allow me to take you on a trip back in time to such a party.
The music is in three parts.
Yours truly will be the DJ!

Part 1
We'll begin with upbeat music to get you moving and “working it” on the dance floor.

Part 2
Then we'll cool down the tempo , still swaying a bit.

Part 3
Finally, we'll slow things down for close dancing to put you in a romantic mood.

Here we go!


Part 1











Part 2








Part 3





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Hypnotism

In 1982, I was enrolled as an evening class student in a Psychology 120 course at the University of Manitoba, Canada. The lecturer mentioned the topic of hypnotism. He said he had some experience with it. He requested our permission to participate in an exercise in hypnotism. There were over 100 students in the lecture room.

He asked us to remain in our seats and to interlock the fingers of both hands in front of our bodies and to keep them in that position. I do not recall his exact words after that but I think it was a statement that our fingers would remain interlocked. Then he asked us to “unlock”our fingers.

I can vividly recall my surprise and amazement at what transpired after that. About seven or eight students, still in their seats, and with alarm in their voices, stated they were unable to “unlock” their fingers. The lecturer requested them to come to him at the front of the class. Then he touched their interlocked fingers and they became free.
He did mention that some persons are more susceptible to hypnotism than others.

Have you or anyone that you know personally ever been hypnotized by someone else, similar to what happened to the students as described above?


I know that hypnosis is also used as a form of therapy to treat anxiety and depression.

It is used in regression, where persons are “taken back” to some past stage in their lives, and are able to describe certain past events that they experienced; this may be part of their therapy.

Some are taken as far back as “previous lives”. Several books have been written that claim to describe past lives of various persons. Some sources quote this as evidence of reincarnation.

What do you think of hypnotism?
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How Big Pharma's Money Is Affecting Our Health And

Turning down a prescription from your doctor might not seem like a smart decision. However, recent research revealing the influence of pharmaceutical companies on doctors in many disciplines makes it clear that your prescription may have less to do with your health and more to do with a paycheck.

The most powerful pharmaceutical companies in the U.S. are paying doctors, teaching hospitals and other organizations to sell their products. In fact, in just over a year, these companies spent $3.49 billion in disclosed payments.

Even more, common names like Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer spent significantly more on marketing than they did on research and development of their drugs, with the former spending more than double, and the latter spending 72% the difference – and these companies aren’t alone, 90% of pharmaceutical companies are prioritizing marketing.

“Big pharma” is going above and beyond to ensure their products are being consumed by Americans, and their efforts have been successful. The U.S. spends $1,112 per capita on prescription drugs – more than any other country, and four times more than Mexico.

As well, in 2010, the U.S. consumed 99% of the world’s hydrocodone and 88% of oxycodone – two common painkillers – when only accounting for 5% of the world’s population.

Dr. Gordon Schiff suggests that doctors and hospitals should take a “conservative prescribing” approach which recommends prevention and lifestyle changes as opposed to prescription drugs. As well, education on the adverse effects of these drugs will help to prevent the influence of these companies.


For further details, see:


How_Big_Pharmas_Money_Is_Affecting_Our_Health_And_Our_Wallet/
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Londonderry Air (Danny Boy)

The lyrics of the song “Danny Boy” were written by an English lawyer Frederic Weatherly in 1910. The melody or tune, however, existed centuries before as an old Irish air.

“Ayre, also spelled air, genre of solo song with lute accompaniment that flourished in England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.”
- Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Weatherly modified his lyrics to fit the rhyme and metre of this air which was named Londonderry Air in 1894 by Katherine Tynan Hinkson who set the words of her “Irish Love Song” to it.

Irish Love Song

Would God I were the tender apple blossom
That floats and falls from off the twisted bough
To lie and faint within your silken bosom
Within your silken bosom as that does now.
Or would I were a little burnish'd apple
For you to pluck me, gliding by so cold,
While sun and shade your robe of lawn will dapple,
Your robe of lawn and your hair of spun gold.


Londonderry Air

The original air is believed to date back to Rory Dall O'Cahan, a blind Irish harpist who lived in Scotland in the late 17th century.
Folk legend says that Rory, having collapsed drunk one night by the riverside, heard fairies performing a melody on his harp. He then performed the tune as O'Cahan's Lament.


It originated from County Londonderry in Ireland (now in Northern Ireland).
The place name Derry is an anglicisation of the old Irish Daire (Modern Irish Doire), meaning "oak-grove" or "oak-wood".
As with the city, its name is subject to the Derry/Londonderry name dispute, with the form "Londonderry" generally preferred by unionists and "Derry" by nationalists. British authorities use the name "Londonderry", while "Derry" is used by the Republic of Ireland.





Here is a harp version of the air, probably similar to that played by Rory Dall O'Cahan:




Although I have never been to Ireland and it is unlikely that I ever will, “Danny Boy” holds a very special place in my heart because of the sheer impact of its enchanting melody. Listening to it on the radio as a boy was an experience that captivated my attention and virtually took me to the scene where I could hear the haunting sound of the pipes calling in the glens and down the mountainsides.

My favourite version of it is one in which the focus is on the intonation and nuances of the singer's voice and not on any musical accompaniment.

It has been recorded by multiple artistes.

My favourite version by a male singer is by Johnny Mathis:




My favourite version by a female singer is by Deanna Durbin:




What is the original message and meaning of song?
Here are some meanings attributed to it:
–a parent sending a son off to war
–a mother/father saying goodbye to a son
–a girl saying goodbye to her sweetheart

What are your thoughts on “Danny Boy”?

Do you have a favourite singer's version of it?
Please share it with others by posting the video.
Or just state the singer. Others can post the video for you.

I welcome input, particularly from our Irish friends, of any additional information, including historical details, re “Danny Boy”.
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