Conceptual vs. experiential

  • “Self or consciousness does not make the passage to the other shore or cross over. Rather, the crossing is the body and senses acclimating to life without any experience of self or consciousness and all that it implies.” Bernadette Roberts

This is from the mouth of someone who purportedly has first-hand experience of what she speaks of and is not philosophical or conceptual according to her.

This entry in a recent discussion/debate in an internet blog started it all for me. A question that surfaces with some frequency on reading around  the topic of awakening/non-duality, including  New Age spirituality, and which is very much in the limelight nowadays (and has been so for a long time). It centers on the distinction or dichotomy: knowing/experiencing, or intellectual/experiential, or thinking/feeling (though this last pair seems to overstretch a bit).

Notice, for now, the expressions: ‘first hand experience’… ‘not philosophical or conceptual’ Continue reading

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Pantheism, agnosticism/atheism — and advaita

I have devised this classification for reference: Modes of pantheism

(Divine pantheism; Natural pantheism; Spiritual pantheism; scientific pantheism)

Brad Neil, proponent of nonduality

Modes of pantheism

Within the range of categories given, I find myself somewhat ambivalent:

  • I most closely align with natural I believe the physical universe is all that there is, and that there are eternal forces and energies at play. I do not believe in the supernatural.
  • Scientificpantheism is least applicable to me because I really don’t have a problem being labeled an atheist. In my opinion, atheism and pantheism are almost (but not quite) two sides of a coin.
  • But when I’m feeling in my best of moods, I think I fall under spiritual or divine When my mood is high, I sometimes experience an awe and a gratitude that gives me a deeper feeling of connection to existence.

More generally, self-labels that I do not find objectionable include pantheist, nondualist, agnostic, atheist, and skeptic. However, I have none of these words tattooed on my forehead, and I reserve the right to change my thinking at any time. Continue reading

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How many of you agree with the theory that our consciousness ends when we die?

(There’s of course nothing called ‘Soul’ of a person that goes on to live forever in afterlife. I’m an atheist. I person believe that when we die, our brain and the entire body shuts down, and we meet an end. Those of us who experienced anesthesia knows how it feels when our brains are inactive.)


M. I for one do not agree. Bodies decay and die, not so consciousness. The whole is greater than the part, and that whole can be called ‘life’, ‘existence’, or ‘consciousness’ – none of it reducible to the physical or material. All bipolar concepts, such as life-death, good-bad, one-many, mind-body, ‘you and I’ (‘me and the other’) are false – just concepts. There is only totality (‘what is’), namely, existence or being – not many existences (existents), but one existence; not many loves, but one Love Consciousness and reality1535525_676806255693789_2147234899_n. And all of us are in essence, that is, in reality, existence and love – they are not ‘two’ (love being Plato’s higher ‘eros’ or desire) once plurality is ‘seen’ for what it is: a deception or narrow vision.

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Goose flies with avocets, photo — Dear Kitty. Some blog

This photo shows a barnacle goose flying with avocets. The photo is by duyfje from the Netherlands. Related articles Wadden Sea breeding birds, new research Bird breeding news from Texel island Avocets raise a cheer at Saltholme Bird-friendly farming in the Netherlands Avocet chicks delight visitors to RSPB Fairburn Ings Saying No to Beautiful Bahamas […]

a través de Goose flies with avocets, photo — Dear Kitty. Some blog

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Yes, to the greatest extent. What greater admiration can there be than that of Beauty itself? Love, for Plato, is the attraction all creatures have for a variety of things, and in man it is the love or craving of the soul for the beautiful. The mind of man ascends from love of the physical to the intellectual love of absolute Beauty (Symp. 210 a – f). The higher eros is what does that, being irresistibly attracted by what is beautiful. Cf. ‘Therapeia’, by R.E. Cushman, a wonderful book.

Addendum: From the perspective of Advaita Vedanta (and, why not? from every philosophical and esthetic perspective – Aesthetics being a branch of philosophy) Being or Existence (satya) is the most lovable, and it is equivalent (another name for it) to the Spirit or Atman inherent in Nature, i.e., in all forms of life including man*. One can trace a parallel between the Platonic and the Shankarian or Advaitist traditions.

  • As a generic, inclusive, word ‘man’ is, of course, old, passé
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Advaya lll

To the Eastern ways of liberation the most important discrimination possible is the one between ‘the two levels of reality’: between the level of the timeless, the discrimination less, the always-present (Reality with capital R), and the level of the manifesting, which continuously is changing, with birth, growth, decline and death. A multitude of definitions is possible for this second level, varying from ‘total illusion’ to ‘temporal reality’.

The order in which both levels are mentioned here is not arbitrary. Although of course terms like ‘first’ and ‘second’ level are ultimately not true, one can still say that it is essential for the realisation of one’s true nature to first dedicate oneself totally to what is always true, to what is ‘always already the case’: called ‘first level’ here. The fact is that if you continue to focus your attention to the particulars of the individual simultaneously, this will form a hindrance to the view of your nature that is always present. Continue reading

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Why the name Advaya? ll (Philip Renard)


The term advaya (or its equivalent, pu-erh in Chinese, fu-ni  in Japanese and gnyis-med in Tibetan) is being used explicitly in a few traditions which, because this explicitness, could be together called ‘the one advaya tradition’, ‘the one direct way of liberation’. These traditions are:

In the first place, a few Buddhist ways of direct teaching, namely Zen (originally called Ch’an) from China and Japan, and Dzogchen and Mahamudra from Tibet. Next to these are two traditions from India: Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism. It needs to be mentioned that in many original texts of both Advaita Vedanta and Kashmir shaivism, the term advaya has been used more frequently than its synonym advaita.

These traditions distinguish themselves by strongly emphasising, more than other traditions do, the non-conceptual as the ultímate truth, and the necessity of the immediate experience of this truth. In this respect, the mentioned Buddhist traditions are in fact more related to the ‘induistic’ Advaita than to the more dualistic schools within Buddhism. Continue reading

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