Friday, January 04, 2008

Cultic Diversions from Self-enquiry

Well, that was an interesting week.

Sorry for dropping the ball on this blog. In part, it's kids home from college – the good part. In another, not so good part, I ended up finishing out my time on the Lightmind Forums before they closed for good. Made the mistake of getting into it with Gaddy there, my long-time mean-spirited foil, and boy, was that a mistake. Rather dispiriting, but what the hell did I expect? As I mentioned, I need to get out of the forum world in any case, and I guess this should have been taken as a sign.

But do I listen? Nooooooooo. Somehow, I get an email from an MSN forum, just some little link to a post on the afterlife of animals (don't ask), which out of lame curiosity I follow, and end up getting into a thread there. For a little background, this MSN forum is called “Reality Checkpoint”, and it has an archive of channeled material written by Kyle Griffiths (forum handle “spiritrebel23”) who has a very interesting thesis he has been pursuing for over 20 years. He originally published his ideas in a book called “War in Heaven” in 1988, which as manager of the old Dawn Horse Bookstore in San Rafael, I got a mailer for, ordered some copies of, and bought one myself. The book is rather remarkably fascinating in creating a complete, internally consistent, if somewhat paranoid vision of the history of religion, past and present.

The thesis of War in Heaven is that almost all of religion and spirituality is basically a false front for a massive scam run from the astral planes by perverted souls he calls “theocrats”. These souls are no different from ordinary human souls, except that they have learned how to stop reincarnating by feeding off the energies of other souls on the astral plane, and the energies of humans on the physical plane, who they develop a parasitic relationship with, called “religion”. The basic idea is that all religion is essentially the creation of these theocrats, who convince humans to worship them, give them energy, and keep them alive and growing on the astral plane. To keep this going, the theocrats induce humans to enter into a passive trance-like state through prayer, chanting, ritual, and all the various methodologies of religion. During this trance state, theocrats are able to both feed off human energy, and send subliminal messages to the humans which reinforce this state, and which develop into a whole set of religious cosmologies and moral systems which become codified as various forms of religious tradition. He describes the evolution of this theocratic basis for religion from early shamanism to traditions of human sacrifice, animal sacrifice, and then monotheism and other more stable religious systems, and finally to the modern era of extra-religious systems of politics and modern technology, all built on the same model of theocratic mind-control. Griffith has gotten all this information from channeled “guides” who belong to an astral-based group called “the Invisible College” that has been fighting these theocrats since about the 13th century, and who come from other planets, and are responsible for everything from the Renaissance to modern science to the secular revolution and popular democracy.

I could go into more detail, but I won't. If anyone is interested, the entire text of “War in Heaven”, along with plenty of updates, is available here. (The chapters are numbered, but not in order. Scroll down to the bottom for the beginning chapters). A good summary by another member of the group is available here.

Now, I had been quite impressed with the book back in 1988, and kept its ideas in mind over the years. I felt the guy was onto something, even if it didn't seem like the whole picture. Certainly there's plenty of reason to see some kind of psychic vampirism as a big factor in a lot of religion and spirituality, but it's a bit of a stretch to suggest that all of it is built that way. In any case, I didn't pay much attention to it again until this past summer, when I found these links again, reread the material, and thought about posting on their forums, and asking a few questions. I never got around to it, until I got this little email about the animals, went there, perused the forums, and found this thread here, which is basically a very harsh critique by Griffith of a near death experience (NDE) by this guy Mellen-Thomas Benedict, who had a very powerful NDE that is posted on his website. (I'd recommend reading it for its own merits. Quite an interesting NDE many seem to consider one of the best out there). Griffith in no uncertain terms finds Mellen's experience to be an example of very sophisticated modern theocratic deception, using cosmic visions of oneness and love to fool us into thinking that there is anything going in the astral realms other than theocratic abuse. Looking for forum-action (fool that I am), I began posting there in response, because I felt that Griffith was being quite unfair to Mellen, and labeling even what I would consider good and positive spiritual experiences and messages as theocratic.

You can read the thread here if you like. It degenerates pretty quickly. I gotta admit, I wasn't expecting this to happen, and in part its my fault, because pretty quickly I start realizing these guys have created a very insular cult-mindset around this material, and just aren't interested in questioning their basic assumptions, or feeling any need to examine the bigotry implied in their criticisms of others, like Mellen. (And as is my way, I wasn't shy about pointing this out). It's an example once again of how the cult mind operates, and excludes everything that doesn't mesh with the received wisdom of the cult. I really go into it for a few days, and as you can see if you read the thread, it ended up with me being banned. Form your own ideas. It's a shame in a way, because like I say, I think there's some merit to the ideas in WiH, but they just are one slice of the realities of this universe. An important one, I think, but one that is relegated to oblivion, I gather, by the close-mindedness and cultic exclusivity of its advocates. Kind of like Adidam in its own way.

Anyway, it's all a little embarrassing to me, and the real question is, what's any of it got to do with self-enquiry? The short answer is, nothing. In many respects it just represents my own ability to get distracted from self-enquiry by whatever gets into my mind. And I certainly noticed that over this time, my practice of self-enquiry has been much weaker and I have felt the effects of that – weakened energy, subtle fascination, mild irritability, slight depression, etc. It's a sign of my karmas, my tendencies to get into stupid shit like this and become distracted by conflicts with other people. In this case, it's much worse than anything you'd find on Lightmind, where most people at least were very much engaged and open to questioning themselves. In many respects, it's good that it turned out this way. I got my views on the WiH material clarified and deepened, and being banned will keep me from wasting any more time on these guys.

Still, it's not a bad set of ideas. Even the criticism made of higher spiritual experiences as potentially being abused by astral theocrats isn't something I dismiss. It's just that there's far more to it than that, and far more to the universe than these hellish lower astral planes described by Griffith.

So, maybe I'll get back into focusing on self-enquiry, and return this blog to its intended purposes. Not that I mind a little commentary on other spiritual matters like this now and then.

Update:

I want to add that I'd discourage people from posting on the Reality Checkpoint forums in response to my contributions there. I don't want to flood those guys with any more traffic bringing questions and opinions they might find disturbing. Clearly they don't want that kind of attention, and I don't want to encourage it. So feel free to read the posts, but only respond there if you're really interested in their program. You have to get Kyle's permission to join in any case in order to post, and I don't think he'd like that if it was inspired by our thread. That said, do as you wish, naturally.

5 comments:

mayagaia said...

I've spent the last couple of years in a fairly intensive effort to rationaly integrate a Nirvikalpa Samadhic experience I had over 35 years ago. My modis operandi is to subject accounts of realization from various religious disciplines and contemporary
"knowers" and see what "sticks" based on my revelation. I can see why the Mellon-Thomas Benedict account has been embraced so ardently because embedded in its convuluted scenario witnessed from a state of dual consciousness are many of the revelations found in the non-dual traditions. But my issue regarding its credibility as
original source is the fact that it issued from a consistantly dual state of consciousness. In the case of Ramana- I take issue with his change of heart regarding the significance of Nirvikalpa Samadhi to realization as he developed his
discipline for Self-inquiry where he eventually dismissed it as being
no better than a "drug experience or going to sleep" He further confused the issue by adopting the Sikh sahaj and redefining it as a superior state because in rising to it all (bad) vasanas are destroyed. In my opinion he simply failed to understand that authentic NS is just the start of
the immediate challenge of integration- where only few assimilate tradition to the degree that they become jivanmukta or tahagata and most reamain partially enlightened but all having experienced the same samadhi.
Realize this may not stay posted but liked your posts on the forum where you were eventually banned!
My website is at>
http://geocities.com/maya-gaia
Cheers mayagaia

gniz said...

Hey BY,

Good post. I read the entire thread you pointed to at the War In Heaven site.

I found the thread itself to be interesting in the way that watching a couple of people punch each other can be interesting.

The rest of the site gave me an uneasy feeling...

I think that staying away from argumentative and futile discourse is probably a positive step, as is coming back to the practice of enquiry.

I also found your description of your OBE or whatever you call it, to be really really interesting.

I've had a lucid dream experience that was pretty "out there" but thats about it.

Aaron

muralidharan said...

Mantra repition is called japa. When one is on top of a hill and is afraid of heights, one will become peaceful only on climbing down and reaching the ground level.
When the world disturbs one, when one is too much immersed in the business, work, troubles etc (called samsara), then one becomes peaceful only when one gives all these up. Sleep gives temporary relief. Relaxation helps temporarily. Meditation helps temporarily. But japa makes everything pale in comparison to it. Why? because it equates everything to one thing. It is advaitic in nature. It integrates the differences. It does at the level at which one wants to do or is capable of. If one wants relief from business, then do japa saying money money money and then it makes one peaceful. If one wants relief from hunger say food food food and it will solve your hunger. Actually any nonsense sound for ever will put one to peace. Why? It is only because, in the absence of repetition, one who is not used to being calm and quiet and still (and that is a samsarin or a busy person or a business person, including the seekers and sadhus and saints and seers) will go back to business. They are unable to do nish kaama karma or in other words do work without any wavering of the mind. They cannot work without singing. They have to worry. So japa is like choosing a level of existence and sticking to it to the exclusion of everything. Once that wears out one is immediately one with everything and there is only one but there is no one to know that. There is none. That is the beauty of japa. Then when somebody shakes you, you then wake into individuality, to repeat this again.

maya-gaia said...

Just a note that the maya-gaia website has been relocated to http://maya-gaia.angelfire.com

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blog. Know it has the potential to widely disseminate whatever new inspirations you care to share.

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