Special states of consciousness

Is it worth inquiring into so called moments of enlightenment? Weird states of consciousness? Insight experiences? Or should they be kept personal?

I imagine the Christian believer who has gone through something weird, out of the ordinary and difficult to explain when compared to what we usually experience - and concludes that they have had a “personal experience with God/proof of the divine”.
Is it healthy (psychologically) to have some secret, personal truth, that proves to myself that what I have concluded to be true, is definitely true?
Or is all dogma a burden, no matter how wonderful, no matter how much security it procures?

Subsidiary question : is there such a thing as a special state of consciousness that doesn’t seem special at all? For example, can the movement of fear subside, and whatever sensation be left to die also, quite simply, without any notion of the spectacular?( or maybe this extra question can be more tidily addressed here )

It is very easy to deceive oneself. Krishnamurti tells the story about the judge who gave up his career and went and lived in the forest for like 25 years and was meditating and had all kinds of experiences and thought he was a free being, enlightened or special.

He comes and hears a K talk (bummer for him, lol, he lost his special consciousness) and realizes that he has been deceiving himself for all of those years.

K said it takes a very serious person, someone with great integrity, to realize and admit their mistake like this. Especially, since they wasted so much of their life, over 25 years in this deception.

So yes, these kind of experiences, states of consciousness should be looked into, questioned, doubted, and not just accepted as enlightenment. For it is so easy to deceive ourselves.

A Christian believer, I have known a few, can so easily imagine and create visions of Jesus or talking to Jesus or Jesus saving them, etc. I knew this one Christian believer who was still working in his late 70’s as a bus driver, not because he wanted to keep working, but because as a younger man, fervent in Christ, he believed and knew that the End Times were coming soon and because of that, did not pay anything towards Social Security and lived as if he were going to die soon. In the end, it wasnt the end times and his belief was mistaken, and now he still has to work to survive, get by.

Experiences do happen, they seem real, but I doubt there is any proof or can be proof they are real. As you rightly state, it still is subtly a dogma, no matter how beautiful or wonderful it is, it is still a burden and must be let go of, cannot be held still, for all experience comes and goes, is not permanent.

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This is long, but this is worth reading I feel. It is from Commentaries on Living volume 3 Chapter 2
‘Self-Knowledge Or Self-Hypnosis?’ :

The visitor said he had held a government position that was good as far as it went, and as he had had a first-class education both at home and abroad, he could have climbed quite high. He was married, he said, and had a couple of children. Life was fairly enjoyable, for success was assured; he owned the house they were living in, and he had put aside money for the education of his children. He knew Sanskrit, and was familiar with the religious tradition. Things were going along pleasantly enough, he said; but one morning he awoke very early, had his bath, and sat down for meditation before his family or the neighbours were up. Though he had had a restful sleep, he couldn’t meditate; and suddenly he felt an overwhelming urge to spend the rest of his life in meditation. There was no hesitancy or doubt about it; he would devote his remaining years to finding whatever there was to be found through meditation, and he told his wife, and his two boys, who were at college, that he was going to become a sannyasi. His colleagues were surprised by his decision, but accepted his resignation; and in a few days he had left his home, never to return.

That was twenty-five years ago, he went on. He disciplined himself rigorously, but he found it difficult after a life of ease, and it took him a long time to master completely his thoughts and the passions that were in him. Finally, however, he began to have visions of the Buddha, of Christ and Krishna visions whose beauty was enthralling, and for days he would live as if in a trance, ever widening the boundaries of his mind and heart, utterly absorbed in that love which is devotion to the Supreme. Everything about him – the villagers, the animals, the trees, the grass – was intensely alive, brilliant in its vitality and loveliness. It had taken him all these years to touch the hem of the Infinite, he said, and it was amazing that he had survived it all.

“I have a number of disciples and followers, as is inevitable in this country,” he went on “and one of them suggested to me that I attend a talk which was to be given by you in this town, where I happened to be for a few days. More to please him than to listen to the speaker, I went to the talk, and I was greatly impressed by what was said in reply to a question on meditation. It was stated that without self-knowledge, which in itself is meditation all meditation is a process of self-hypnosis, a projection of one’s own thought and desire. I have been thinking about all this, and have now come to talk things over with you.

“I see that what you say is perfectly true, and it’s a great shock to me to perceive that I have been caught in the images or projections of my own mind. I now realize very profoundly what my meditation has been. For twenty-five years I have been held in a beautiful garden of my own making; the personages, the visions were the outcome of my particular culture and of the things I have desired, studied and absorbed. I now understand the significance of what I have been doing, and I am more than appalled at having wasted so many precious years.”

We remained silent for some time. “What am I to do now?” he presently continued. “Is there any way out of the prison I have built for myself? I can see that what I have come to in my meditation is a dead-end, though only a few days ago it seemed so full of glorious significance. However much I would like to, I can’t go back to all that self-delusion and self-stimulation. I want to tear through these veils of illusion and come upon that which is not put together by the mind. You have no idea what I have been through during the last two days! The structure which I had so carefully and painfully built up over a period of twenty-five years has no meaning any more, and it seems to me that I shall have to start all over again. From where am I to start?”

May it not be that there is no restarting at all, but only the perception of the false as the false which is the beginning of understanding? If one were to start again, one might be caught in another illusion, perhaps in a different manner. What blinds us is the desire to achieve an end, a result; but if we perceived that the result we desire is still within the self-centred field, then there would be no thought of achievement. Seeing the false as the false, and the true as the true, is wisdom.

“But do I really see that what I have been doing for the last twenty-five years is false? Am I aware of all the implications of what I have regarded as meditation?”

The craving for experience is the beginning of illusion. As you now realize, your visions were but the projections of your background, of your conditioning, and it is these projections that you have experienced. Surely this is not meditation. The beginning of meditation is the understanding of the background, of the self, and without this understanding, what is called meditation, however pleasurable or painful, is merely a form of self-hypnosis. You have practised self-control, mastered thought, and concentrated on the furthering of experience. This is a self-centred occupation, it is not meditation; and to perceive that it is not meditation is the beginning of meditation. To see the truth in the false sets the mind free from the false. Freedom from the false does not come about through the desire to achieve it; it comes when the mind is no longer concerned with success with the attainment of an end. There must be the cessation of all search, and only then is there a possibility of the coming into being of that which is nameless.

“I do not want to deceive myself again.”

Self-deception exists when there is any form of craving or attachment: attachment to a prejudice, to an experience, to a system of thought. Consciously or unconsciously, the experiencer is always seeking greater, deeper, wider experience; and as long as the experiencer exists, there must be delusion in one form or another. “All this involves time and patience, doesn’t it?”

Time and patience may be necessary for the achievement of a goal. An ambitious man, worldly or otherwise, needs time to gain his end. Mind is the product of time, as all thought is its result; and thought working to free itself from time only strengthens its enslavement to time. Time exists only when there is a psychological gap between what is and what should be, which is called the ideal, the end. To be aware of the falseness of this whole manner of thinking is to be free from it – which does not demand any effort, any practice. Understanding is immediate, it is not of time.

“The meditation I have indulged in can have meaning only when it is seen to be false, and I think I see it to be false. But…”

Please don’t ask the inevitable question as to what there will be in its place, and so on. When the false has dropped away, there is freedom for that which is not false to come into being. You cannot seek the true through the false; the false is not a steppingstone to the true. The false must cease wholly, not in comparison to the true. There is no comparison between the false and the true; violence and love cannot be compared. Violence must cease for love to be. The cessation of violence is not a matter of time. The perception of the false as the false is the ending of the false. Let the mind be empty, and not filled with the things of the mind. Then there is only meditation, and not a meditator who is meditating.

“I have been occupied with the meditator, the seeker, the enjoyer, the experiencer, which is myself. I have lived in a pleasant garden of my own creation, and have been a prisoner therein. I now see the falseness of all that – dimly, but I see it.”

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Just to clarify : Experiences are real - in the sense that it happened. I think what we are actually questioning (when we doubt their veracity) is whether our interpretation of the experience is correct.

eg. If I feel all blissed out when participating in some church ceremony, am I on solid ground when I conclude that this means that the holy ghost is therefore real?

One of the “rules” of meditation that has continously been drummed into me, has been : no goal. And this ties into the problem of so called weird “enlightenment experiences” - we want them before we ever personally experience such things, and even more so once we have.

Also, if they do occur, we certainly tend to interpret them in light of our own cultural conditioned mythology (which for me was always K & zen) - and also they do seem to line up suspiciously with what we have been told, they are often “Aha! Of course, c’est evident!” moments - difficult to ascertain whether this is because we have touched some actual truth or whether our conditioning has just revealed itself in a weird way.

Yes! I’d guess that the enlightened state for every tradition has some of the flavor of that tradition.

I have read some Zen but never practiced it. From what I read from Shunryu Suzuki he seems to stress “no goal.” That sitting is enlightenment itself or something like that.

I am curious, do you practice Zazen sitting/meditation? If so, how long do you sit a day and can you describe it for layperson like me, what you do? I know K is pretty hard on all forms of systematic meditation, including Zen Meditation.

Also do you feel Zen and Ks teachings are compatible?

I personally have never had any spiritual experiences or visions or enlightenment experiences, so cannot talk about them. But hopefully if I ever have any such experience, I will question it, doubt it, know it is just an experience that comes and goes and is not permanent or anything to get too caught up in, like I have arrived, haha.

Yes, daily for about 20 years now - I’ve even set up a group in the small village where I live. Usually once a day for about half an hour - though there are periods where I get all serious and decide I should be sitting more.
The system of zazen is thus : you sit down. And when you realise that you are doing something else, you let go of whatever that is asap and check whether you’re still sitting down properly (ie. not all tensed up, twisted and unbalanced). One very real problem is boredom (there always seems to be something more important or exciting that needs to be done).

Both say that meditation is essential (K does advise that one should sit down quietly everyday) and that a goal is counter-productive, and methods are nonsense (especially seeing as there is no goal).

The first step I suppose in meditation, is to come face to face with yourself. And we could say that is the only step, though this relationship is a changing affair, a movement of learning. Though some might say that once the self becomes tasteless and unexciting, space opens for everything else.

In relation to sudden, astonishing states of consciousness, my current practise described above, is in no way a catalyst. As far as I can tell, these kind of weird experiences are tied to periods of constant doubt/questioning and at least 1 or 2 hours of meditation a day.

There is a long potential inquiry hiding in these 2 statements alone. Is enlightenment necessarily some weird or special experience? Can it be done standing up? :joy:

This sums it up well I feel, very concise and to the point. Thanks for sharing, answering my questions about Zen and K.

If you havent already, there is a great book about Zen and K is mentioned in it, it is called “Ambivalent Zen” by Lawrence Shainberg. He is the brother of David Shainberg, who dialogued with K and Bohm, and is mentioned in the book along with Lawerences father who introduced both brothers to Krishnamurti. It is great, fun reading and I personally sided with David and the Father, haha, over sitting Zazen like Lawrence chose.

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They’re as real to the brain that is having them as anything else is.

It’s the nature of wishful thinking to get what you wish for if you persist in wishing. It’s the booby prize of success.

To see the truth in the false is seeing all that is presumed to be true in the light of what actually is.