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#2717 - Thursday, February 1, 2007 - Editor: Jerry Katz  

Nondual Highlights  

Past issues, search engine, and link to send to your friends:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights    


Three articles. One is human interest letter. The second is an excerpt from Swami Abhayananda's new book, Mysticism and Science: A Call for Reconciliation. The third is a link to the home page of Lee Lozowick.    


    "sail4free" writes on the citycamping list:  

==========
I don't know if you've heard about SecretPost but a guy got started
handing out 3,000 postcards (and hiding them in library books) which
invited complete strangers to share their secrets creatively. He
asked that their secrets be true AND something they had never before
shared with anyone else. They had to pay their own postage. The
level of creativity on many of these cards is simply incredible. I
borrowed the book from the library yesterday and missed my bedtime
last night reading all the cards. One person confessed that an
innocent person has been in jail for two years (with nine to go!)
for something THEY did. One card had some cool old four-cent stamps
with arrows pointing to the stamps and an inscription, "I got these
stamps as a child and I've been saving them all these years to send
to someone special. I never found someone . . ." But the one that
hit me the hardest was a picture of an old man holding a toddler.
At the top it read something like, "I was three and my Dad liked it
when I combed his thick red hair. One day he asked me to do it and
I said I didn't want to. He went away and I never saw him again."
==========
Under the picture, he wrote, "I'm 63 and some days I still think
it's my fault."
==========
Our culture utterly fails far too many people. With this constant
barrage of advertising and brutal marketing which endlessly
glorifies the excesses of youth and fitness and beauty and wealth --
and the ultimate result that on some level we all end up believing
we're too old, too fat, too ugly, too poor. Yet instead of taking
some comfort from our commonality with each other, way too often we
suffer in silence and numb our pain with addictions -- to alcohol,
drugs, sex, food, unhealthy relationships. Then we incarcerate and
attempt to punish some more those so weak they fall prey to their
addictions. But we're all weak in some area of our lives or
another. We all have infinitely more in common than we'll ever have
in difference. It's a VERY thin line which separates the criminal
mind from any one of us. So why do we cheat and lie and judge and
nurture our addictions and put others down and lock 'em up in
cages? I think it's because we intuitively know we're not REALLY
any better than anyone else, but we're so desperate to avoid
acknowledging that oh-so-obvious reality -- we will do ANYTHING to
obscure it and blot it out of our minds.
==========
sail4free
==========
Perhaps my dead comedian friend Bill Hicks had the right angle, "If
you work in advertising or marketing; causing us all to work at jobs
we hate just so we can buy shit we don't need (okay, I'm adlibbing
here . . . that last part is stolen from "The Fight Club") -- do the
whole freakin' world a favor -- just kill yourself."* (There is no
punch line so don't scroll down looking for it.)

==========
*(Okay . . . I'm not REALLY advocating that you kill yourself (even
though Bill was) -- a small flesh wound will be pennance enough.
Could you just find something else -- anything else -- to do for a
living? Something with the potential to actually provide some
benefit for humanity? What a concept, eh?)
 


    "... it is time for science to acknowledge the existence of such “revealed” knowledge, and to accord it the status of gnosis, while attempting to reconcile its own findings with the view of reality put forward by the gnostics." --S. Abhayananda    

MYSTICISM AND SCIENCE:  A Call for Reconciliation by Swami Abhayananda  

Mysticism and Science is my latest book, and will be released in February, 2007.  It was written out of a recognition that science, and most especially physics, required a larger perspective that could only be provided by gnosis.  Science is limited to reliance on empirical and demonstrable evidence, and is utterly lost without the larger framework that only gnosis can provide; and so I've made some suggestions in this book on how the two might co-exist and be reconciled.  Causality, the origin of the cosmos, the phenomena of quantum mechanics, the synchronous correlations between quanta, and the similar corelations between planetary energies and human subjective states, and many other contemporary issues are discussed in what I hope you will find a fascinating and revealing book.

O Books, February, 2007; U.S. retail: $19.95  

http://www.swami-abhayananda.com/id1.html

Here is an excerpt from this book:

I intend to offer in this book a way to answer all the possible

questions about the origin and manifestation of everything that exists,

including consciousness. It is a vision that is backed by the

experiential confirmation and the testimony of a notable few seers

who have lived throughout the past several millennia. And though

scientists have ignored it for all this time, it is a worldview that

demands at least as fair and considered a hearing as that afforded to

the Superstring theory. It requires, however, the acceptance of two

complementary modes of knowledge: science and gnosis.

 

Science And Gnosis

 

Philosophers have long argued over just what constitutes

“knowledge”. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), who is considered the

final authority on epistemology, denied the possibility of the

knowledge of ultimate reality. God, he said, is noumenal, and cannot

therefore be understood by means of scientific knowledge, which

relies on the confirmation of sense data regarding the phenomenal

universe. This much is fine and true. He states further that God can

only be understood through “moral faith”; i.e., belief based on

speculative theory. He did not acknowledge or even consider that

there might be a direct means of knowledge (gnosis), open only to

mystical insight, that reveals the truth of God and the universal

manifestation. But I would suggest that gnosis is not only a

legitimate and valid means of knowledge, but a means which is

necessary to complement and provide a conceptual framework for

science.

 

Science obtains knowledge through deductive reasoning and

through experimental evidence; i.e., the accumulation of sense data.

Gnosis obtains knowledge through direct perception in the state of

identity with the Source. Gnosis does not consist of metaphysical

speculation or doctrinaire expressions of religious faith; like science,

it relies on direct perception, an experimental confirmation. Gnosis

does not consist in a subject’s perception of an object. It is a

completely unique kind of knowledge in which the duality of subject

and object is dissolved. It takes place in eternity, beyond all such

opposites. Gnosis thus transcends all of the categories of knowledge

postulated by Kant.

 

Gnosis is possible only when the subject and the object merge;

it is the knowledge possessed by an individual when he or she

transcends the activity of the limited ego, and becomes consciously

merged in the Absolute, in God. Now, such knowledge is extremely

rare; it is the province of the mystics. It is absolute knowledge which

bestows absolute certainty. It goes without saying that science, in its

search for demonstrable evidence relating to the cause or causes of the

universe, has never yielded certainty; and, in principle, it never can.

Only gnosis can bestow absolute certainty regarding the origin of the

universe.

 

Yet there exists, and has existed for a long time, an intractable

warfare between science and gnosis (mysticism), involving differences

that appear on the surface to be irreconcilable. Each side in this

war focuses singly on its own methodology of knowledge-gathering;

each studies its own literature exclusively, and declares its own

position to be based on experience. However, the experience of the

scientist and the experience of the mystic are derived from different

methodologies, different modes of knowledge. Science looks to

reason and sense data, while the gnostic, or mystic, looks to interior

contemplation. One is objective; the other is subjective. They each

seek knowledge and certainty, but in dissimilar manners; the one by

science, the other by gnosis.

 

Both of these words, science and gnosis, are of Greek origin,

and mean “to know”, but the knowledge is of two kinds. Each kind of

knowledge has a long and well documented history: science has

developed over the centuries through the positing of rational theories

and the rigorous accumulation of physical data, modifying its position

as reason, observation and data dictate; gnosis is also based on

experience, but it is experience that is extra-sensual, supra-rational,

and which comes only to a consciousness conforming to the gnostic

method. Science is confirmed by evidence derived from empirical

observation; gnosis is confirmed by evidence derived from

introspective revelation.

 

Science, for example, has determined, through inspired theory,

reason, and observation, that the universe of time and space began as

a singularity referred to as “the big bang”. Scientists have determined

over the past century or so that at some point, about 15 billion years

ago, an enormous amount of energy was released and expanded to

create our universe. These scientists have even determined the

temperatures and rate of acceleration of this energy in the first few

seconds and minutes of its release, and have cataloged the material

particles which were created as this energy cooled and solidified.

They are also convinced that, prior to this “big bang”, nothing else

existed – not space, not time, not matter; but only this concentrated

and unmanifested energy. They have further determined that

approximately four and a half billion years ago remnants of an

exploding star within this expanding universe, a supernova,

condensed into our solar system; that sometime during the next few

hundred million years, single-celled organisms bearing a molecule

called DNA emerged on planet Earth; that these microbes then

evolved, resulting in a prodigious display of living creatures,

including Homo sapiens. It appears that our species, homo sapiens,

emerged fairly recently, that is to say, in the last 150,000 years.

To this scientific theory mystics (gnostics) have no objection,

as it is consistent with the knowledge obtained through gnosis. But it

doesn’t go far enough if we are interested in knowing the true

beginning; i.e., where did this initial energy come from? Gnosis is

able to provide the answer to this question. Science, however, is

forever barred from providing such an answer, as science has limited

itself by definition to empirically provable phenomena only. Gnostics

have “seen” that the Source of all energy is noumenal. And since the

Source of the energy which expanded to produce this universe is

noumenal and not phenomenal, science is precluded by definition

from its discovery. “Noumenon” is defined in Kantian terms as “a

thing in itself, unable to be known through perception but postulated

as the intelligible ground of a phenomenon.” The intelligible ground

is unknowable by science, but knowable by gnosis. Gnosis alone is

capable of determining the reality of the noumenal from which all

phenomena arise.

 

Gnosis results from the elimination of the ego-mechanism by

which a person is limited to a separate individual identity. The egomechanism

is a subtle mental obscuration that structures a false

identification with the biological and psychological processes of

individuation. Thus, instead of the real I-identity that is universal,

one is limited to a false artificial identification with these isolated

biological and psychological processes. The eternal Consciousness

which is essentially one thereby becomes perceived in the awareness

of the individual as a separate identity. This ego-mechanism may,

however, under special introspective circumstances, be eliminated,

immediately revealing to the human awareness the one eternal

Consciousness, which is the real substratum of all individuated

consciousnesses.

 

This experience of expanded awareness has occurred in

numerous individuals throughout history. Some of the best known in

the Western world are Jesus, the Buddha, Plotinus, Meister Eckhart

and John of the Cross; but there are many more. They have described

this experience of the one eternal Consciousness variously as “the

union with God”, “the extinction of the ego (nirvana, samadhi)”,

“enlightenment”, “entering the kingdom of God”, or the “mystic

marriage of the soul and God.” These experiences and their content

are universal however, and are identical. The evidence for the

occurrence of such a transcendence of the ego and the subsequent

emergence into the awareness of and universal identity with the

unitive and eternal Consciousness is overwhelming. It seems to me it

is time for science to acknowledge the existence of such “revealed”

knowledge, and to accord it the status of gnosis, while attempting to

reconcile its own findings with the view of reality put forward by the

gnostics.

 

More could be learned objectively about the obscurative and

limiting ego-mechanism under which we all suffer, but its proper

means of study, it seems to me, is subjective. The elimination of the

obscurative and limiting effects of the ego-mechanism can only be

accomplished by an introspective focus – whether by means of a

dualistic devotional practice or by intense self-examination.

Examples abound of representatives of both introspective methods

who have obtained the ego transcending results.

 

But science, to its detriment, does not acknowledge this fact;

indeed, science does not even acknowledge the possibility of gnosis.

Whatever is outside the purview of empirical science is regarded by

its representatives as either nonexistent or simply unworthy of study.

This is where the difficulty of reconciling science and gnosis begins.

It is much like the position of some Middle Eastern countries who

hold that reconciliation with the country of Israel cannot occur since

they do not recognize the right of Israel to exist. If there is to be

reconciliation between science and gnosis, gnosis must be

acknowledged as a valid means of knowledge.

 

One has difficulty imagining that scientists will ever accept the

declarations of mystics as science; and they needn’t. But, as human

beings interested in comprehending the whole of reality, they would

do well to accept them as gnosis, as providing information through an

alternate and complementary mode of knowledge that is essential

along with science to a complete understanding of reality. The

alternative is to remain forever locked in the mystery of a partially

known and wholly incomprehensible universe.

 

Both of these two areas of knowledge, science and gnosis, must

be acknowledged as valid means if we are to have a comprehensive

overview of reality. As Albert Einstein once noted, “Science without

religion [gnosis] is lame; religion without science is blind.” This is

more than merely a vague platitude; it is an insightful recognition that

there are two distinct modes of knowledge, each of which, without the

other, is incomplete, and both of which are required in order to

comprehensively describe all aspects of the total reality.

The question then arises, “who speaks for gnosis?” or “what

statements constitute true gnosis from among those statements by the

many pretenders to gnosis?” And this is, perhaps, where the true

difficulty lies. The answer is that it is the true mystics who speak for

gnosis; it is the statements by those who have truly “seen” into the

noumenal that constitute gnosis. And how do we separate out the true

visionaries from the pretenders and from the many vastly diverse

belief systems which presently circulate? Unfortunately, there is no

easy or foolproof answer to that question. But, in gnosis as in

science, there is a consensus among recognized authorities (mystics)

on which we may rely. In my book, History of Mysticism, I have

discussed the views of many such recognized mystics and shown that,

despite the differences of language and culture, mystics throughout

history have unanimously agreed on the elements of the noumenal

reality.

 

For so many centuries science and gnosis have tread separate

paths, scarcely acknowledging one another. And yet there must be an

end to this isolationism. How long shall science pretend that the

subtler mode of knowledge simply does not exist? In the past,

religious faiths have often been in doctrinal opposition to the

conclusions of science, and have had to adapt over time to the

scientific view. The Copernican revolution, Galileo’s observations,

the Darwinian revelations, and many other scientific pronouncements,

were resisted by the establishments of religious faith, and were many

long years in being accepted and assimilated by them; but gnosis has

never had a quarrel with science. It has simply not been

acknowledged as existing apart from religious faith.

 

How can the revelations of Plotinus, Meister Eckhart, John of

the Cross, and others in the Western mystical tradition simply be

ignored? These few have been greatly multiplied by the addition to

our knowledge of the lives and teachings of the great mystics of the

Eastern traditions. Have they not all taught of the noumenal Source?

And have they not, after their linguistic differences were accounted

for, all presented identical truths?

 

These two camps, science and gnosis, have vied with one

another over the centuries for the mind of the populace. And, for the

past several centuries, science has been in the ascendancy in this war

of ideals, and has dominated the attention of all of Western

civilization. While I acknowledge the necessity of both of these two

modes of knowledge, and have a deep love for science, I am a

gnostic, not merely by conviction, but by experiential familiarity; and

I wish, therefore, to present in this book a clarification of the

knowledge obtained through gnosis as a guide to all those scientists

and philosophers dedicated to the discovery of truth.

MYSTICISM AND SCIENCE:  A Call for Reconciliation by Swami Abhayananda

http://www.swami-abhayananda.com/id1.html

 


 

Lee Lozowick woke up one day in 1975, and everything that was known as his life was gone. There was only a madness for God. He has been teaching since the 70's. Perhaps his best known student is Mariana Caplan. This is Mr. Lee's home page:

http://leelozowick.com

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