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  • Roger - Dr Roger Prentice 6:55 am on August 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Awareness, , Connection, , Contemplation, , Spiritual practice   

    The Tree of Contemplative Practices – which ones work for you? 

    This wonderful ‘tree of contemplative practices’ has been updated since I last looked at the relevant site;

    Tree of Contemplative practices new version

    My personal grateful thanks to all those who contributed to this wonderful ‘tree’. To go to the site to see much, much more click HERE

     
  • Roger - Dr Roger Prentice 6:15 am on July 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Culture, Encounter, Experience, Extremism, Faith, , Heart, Heart-stuff, Humanization, , Intellect, Intellectuality, Inter-faith, Islam, Islamic, , , , Mystic, Mystical, , , Mythos and Logos, Problems in Religions, , , Reason, Redemption, Reflection, , Religion definitions, Religious intolerance, Rememberance, Right action, Socialization, , , Taliban, , Theology, Ultimate reality, Worldview   

    “What exactly is religion, how’s it distinct from spirituality and what’s it for?” 

    signpost

    QUESTION: “What exactly is religion, how’s it distinct from spirituality and what’s it for?”

    Here are a few notes;

    1 “What is religion?” – Religion is organised spirituality –

    a) self-organized, integrated, focused consciousness (+ or -) in the case of the individual,

    b) group-organized in the case of sects etc.

    2 “What is spirituality?” – Spirituality is that which isn’t physical.  Includes the intellect!

    3 “Again what is spirituality?” – Spirituality is feeling (heart) – preferably supported by reason, and right action.

    Dawkins = ultimate narrow view

    Karen Armstrong & Terry Eagleton = broad view

    4 “Again what is spirituality?” – Spirituality is encounter and experience in how we relate to the unknown and unknowable – to Ultimate reality + reflection.

    Subsequent to encounter spirituality becomes the eyes with which we see, the ears with which we hear

    Belief, objectively true or false, is the meaning and motivation we derive from encounter, and allied experiences + reflection + study.  This provides our worldview.

    5 “What is mysticism?” – Mysticism (the real stuff c.f. self-delusion or mental illness) = the heart of spirituality, and (the means to) true religion –

    ”Mystical experience…..does not seem to me to be anything other than first-hand religious experience as such. This is, however, the core of religion…..…the explanatory function of religion is secondary and derivative.” (Hick)

    6 “What is the worldview that each of us has?” – Our worldview is how we ‘read’ the world. Our worldview includes that of which we are conscious, plus that which derives, less consciously, from enculturation & socialization.

    7 “How is our worldview formed?” – Enculturation, socialization, beliefs and world-view determines our identity – and therefore our actions.  (E.g. –  Taliban – no school for girls, blow-up priceless Buddhist sculptures!)

    8 “What is the process of true religion and spirituality?” – Becoming more fully conscious of Oneness, and its implications, and acting accordingly, gives us a sharpened sense of  our purpose.  This also links to Abdu’l-Baha’s definition of faith as ‘Conscious knowledge + right action’.

    9  So religion =

    a) PERSONALLY – encounter experiences, inc. of Ultimate Reality, and reflectively what we make of them

    b) SOCIALLY – any agreed set of relationships, teachings and customs held in common with any religious group of which one has membership, to which we subscribe.

    10 Rituals, prayer, meditation & other practice = remembrance + short-cuts to possible encounter experiences (but thoughts of the washing or shopping may get in the way).

    11 Progress in spirituality is measured by regularly bringing oneself to account – in relation to the standards of your spirituality, world-view and religious group/s (if any).

    —–0—–

    Etymological issues:

    The English word “religion” is derived from the Middle English “religioun” which came from the Old French “religion.” It may have been originally derived from the Latin word “religo” which means “good faith,” “ritual,” and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin “religãre” which means “to tie fast.”

    Start doing your own research:

    One good starting point is provided by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.  See HERE.   Two of the definitions I like best from this source are;

    George Hegel: “the knowledge possessed by the finite mind of its nature as absolute mind.”

    Attributed to Paul Tillich: ‘Being religious is “the state of being grasped by an ultimate concern” 

    Others are see HERE;

    The Religious Tolerance group tell us that David Carpenter has collected and published a list of definitions of religion, including:

    1 Anthony Wallace: “a set of rituals, rationalized by myth, which mobilizes supernatural powers for the purpose of achieving or preventing transformations of state in man or nature.”

    2 Hall, Pilgrim, and Cavanagh: “Religion is the varied, symbolic expression of, and appropriate response to that which people deliberately affirm as being of unrestricted value for them.”

    3 Karl Marx: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

    Don Swenson defines religion in terms of the sacred: “Religion is the individual and social experience of the sacred that is manifested in mythologies, ritual, ethos, and integrated into a collective or organization.”

    4 Paul Connelly also defines religion in terms of the sacred and the spiritual: “Religion originates in an attempt to represent and order beliefs, feelings, imaginings and actions that arise in response to direct experience of  the sacred and the spiritual. As this attempt expands in its formulation and elaboration, it becomes a process that creates meaning for itself on a sustaining basis, in terms of both its originating experiences and its own continuing responses.”

    5 He defines sacred as: “The sacred is a mysterious manifestation of power and presence that is experienced as both primordial & transformative, inspiring awe & rapt attention. This is usually an event that represents a break or discontinuity from the ordinary, forcing a re-establishment or recalibration of perspective on the part of the experiencer, but it may also be something seemingly ordinary, repeated exposure to which gradually produces a perception of mysteriously cumulative significance out of proportion to the significance originally invested in it.”

    He further defines the spiritual as: “The spiritual is a perception of the commonality of mindfulness in the world that shifts the boundaries between self and other, producing a sense of the union of purposes of self and other in confronting the existential questions of life, and providing a mediation of the challenge-response interaction between self and other, one and many, that underlies existential questions.”

    CONCLUSION to QUESTION: “What exactly is religion, how’s it distinct from spirituality and whats’ it for?”

    “What exactly is religion,”

    Religion personally = spiritual experience i.e. sacred, ‘transcendence of self’ or ‘encounter’ experiences, inc. of Ultimate Reality, PLUS the organizing of doctrine that the group does with doctrines, ritual etc.  Individual religiosity might be highly consonant with the official group – or less so. Why?  Because ultimately people choose to believe what they will.

    Religion socially/organizationally =  any agreed set of relationships, teachings and customs held in common with any religious group of which one has membership, and to which we subscribe.  The ‘to which we subscribe bit’ because many Catholics don’t agree with e.g. no-contraception and I once found that 40% of a class in a RC school believed in reincarnation!  

    In groups religious people may be more or less spiritual (or truthful or hypocritical) than those who are not religious!

    “how’s it distinct from spirituality and”

    Religion is a) ways to institutionalize organized spirituality and b) ways for maximising the chances for more religious experiences, and for hearing good reflection on such experiences.  Moral behaviour and service action should follow!  Spirituality is a natural and almost omnipresent part of being human like philosophising, creating, loving or breathing.  Spirituality does necessarily need religion but, at best, can greatly benefit from it.

    “whats’ it for?”

    Religion, and responsible spirituality, are means to help us become more fully, positively and integratedly human in order to be of service to others.  In doing this we develop higher-order qualities and virtues.  It is not unreasonable to suppose that the absolute form of such qualities and virtues are the names and attributes of God, and that in acquiring them to an above average degree is worthy of the appellation ‘truly religious, truly spiritual’.

    -0-

    To read the full article by the Religious Tolerance group go HERE

    Reference:

    Hick, John, (1981) Mystical Experience as Cognition in Understanding Mysticism, ed. Richard Woods, London: The Athlone Press – p423

    My final question – “Why are there so many religious intolerance groups?”

    Dr Roger Prentice – main site = http://www.pre.me.uk

     
    • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi 5:18 am on July 22, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator, this paper I presented at the 1st Int. Conf. on Revival of Traditional Yoga, held at The Lonavla Yoga Institute (India), Lonavla, Pune in 2006. The Abstract of this paper is given below:

      The Universe includes everything that exists. In the Universe there are billions and billions of stars. These stars are distributed in the space in huge clusters. They are held together by gravitation and are known as galaxies. Sun is also a star. Various members of the solar system are bound to it by gravitation force. Gravitation force is the ultimate cause of birth and death of galaxy, star and planets etc. Gravitation can be considered as the cause of various forms of animate and inanimate existence. Human form is superior to all other forms. Withdrawal of gravitational wave from some plane of action is called the death of that form. It can be assumed that gravitation force is ultimate creator. Source of it is ‘God’. Gravitational Field is the supreme soul (consciousness) and its innumerable points of action may be called as individual soul (consciousness). It acts through body and mind. Body is physical entity. Mind can be defined as the function of autonomic nervous system. Electromagnetic waves are its agents through which it works. This can be realized through the practice of meditation and yoga under qualified meditation instruction. This can remove misunderstanding between science and religion and amongst various religions. This is the gist of all religious teachings – past, present and future.

      AND

      ‘In Scientific Terminology Source of Gravitational Wave is God’ I have presented this paper at the 2nd World Congress on Vedic Sciences held at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi on February 9-11, 2007. The Abstract of this paper is given below:

      For Centuries, antagonism remained between science and religion. Science and spirituality require to be fused. An integrated philisophy is to be developed. It is written in the scriptures that entire creation is being maintained only through love or force of attraction. In Persian it is known as quvat-i-jaziba. It is on account of this force that the entire creation, which come into existence through the combination of small particles and atoms, is being maintained and sustained. The creation or universe includes everything that exists. In the universe there are billions and billions of stars. They are held together by gravitation and are known as galaxies. Sun is also a star. Various members of the solar system are bound to it by gravitation force. Gravitation force is the ultimate cause of birth and death of a galaxy, star and planet etc. and various forms of animate and inanimate existence. Gravitation force is the ultimate creator, sustainer and destroyer of the universe. These are the three attributes of God. Providence has located within the human body a spiritual faculty. When this faculty is developed like physical and mental faculties we find that Truth-the goal of science and God-the goal of religion are one and the same thing.

      • Roger 3:13 pm on July 23, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Anirudh

        Thanks for sharing the outlines of your fascinating papers.

        I’m not qualified to dialogue with you on your subjects but I do have a few things to share that I hope will interest you.

        May I reply in the next day or two?

        Roger

    • Roger 6:50 am on July 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Anirudh

      1) I thought you might enjoy this quotation. It speaks of love very much as gravitational force. Most interesting to me, as an educationalist, is the fact that the writer presents the affective as the driver and realizer of the cognitive – as well as ‘that which makes of the parts a whole’ (one of the major questions in Holistic Education). What do you think Anirudh ?

      ”Abdu’l-Bahá on Love
      Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the diverse elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.1

      1. Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá (Haifa: Bahá’í World Centre, 1982), p. 27. ‘

      -0-

      2) Does this guy’s work have any relevance to your work?

      http://www.spaceandmotion.com/

      3) I’ve written some 40 posts that are about (more or less) the raising of consciousness;

      http://sunwalked.wordpress.com/category/consciousness/

    • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi 3:19 pm on July 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Roger. Truly, Love is the Creator and Sustainer and Source of Love is God.

    • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi 5:43 am on July 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      According to His Holiness Huzur Maharaj, the Second Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith, “Love or Force of Attraction (i.e. the Force of Cohesion) is the Param Tattva or the chief ingredient of the creation, i.e. the entire creation has come into existence out of Love and is sustained by Love and in the same manner, all the activities of the world are being carried on by means of love or interest and affection”.

    • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi 7:11 am on November 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Black Holes and Indian Sriptures

      It is said that John Michel predicted the existence of Black Hole in 1784. But its description is available for hundreds and thousands years back in the scriptural texts of Indian Origin.

      What are black holes? The kind of star implosions are black holes. Inside a black hole is nothing except a point of singularity. This is a result of the dying star continually collapsing into itself, becoming denser and denser, until it is a point with no radius and infinite density. From here again a huge explosion, big bang, occurs and a new creation comes into existence.

      Lord Krishna (about 3000 B.C.) says in Bhagwadgita:

      “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason, and also ego; these constitute My nature eightfold divided. This indeed is My lower (material) nature; other than this, by which the whole universe is sustained, know it to be My higher (or spiritual) nature in the form of Jiva (the life-principle)…all beings have evolved from this twofold Prakrti, and that I am the source of the entire creation, and into Me again it disappears”. -7.4-6

      “…during the final dissolution all beings enter My Prakrti (the prime cause), and at the beginning of creation, I send them forth again”. -9.7

      The above discourse of Lord Krishna clearly indicates about the process of Implosion and Explosion.

      In the terminology of Religion of Saints, Black Holes are termed as Mahasunn, an infinitely vast region at the top of the Brahmand. Mahasunn is also known as Par Brahm Pad in the terminology of saints. Saint Kabir who was born about 600 years ago in 1400 A.D. used this term in His Discourses. His Holiness Soamiji Maharaj, Founder of Radhasoami Faith has also given a very detailed description of this mysterious region at various places in Sar Bachan Nazm (Poetry).

      I am fully convinced that the views of religious beliefs should be given due consideration on Cosmological research.

      His Holiness Soamiji Maharaj (1818-1878)describes Mahasunn in Hidayatnama in Sar Bachan Nazm :

      Having sojourned there and having enjoyed the glory thereof for a very long time, the spirit of ` this Faqir moved on, in accordance with the instructions of the Guides. After traversing five arab and seventy-five crore yojans upward, the spirit entity effected ingress into the bounds of Hahoot and witnessed the panorama of that region. There an expanse of ten Neel is enveloped in darkness.

      The depth of this dark region cannot be fathomed. The spirit went down one kharao yojans, still the bottom was nowhere to be found. Then the spirit turned upward and proceeded on the path chalked out by Guru. It was not considered advisable to go down right to the bottom of this region I his region is called Maha-sunn There are four extremely subtle sub-regions there, the secrets whereof have not been revealed by any Sant. There are prison cells for the condemned spirits, ejected from the court of the True Supreme Being. Although these spirits are not subjected to any trouble and they perform their functions by their OWN LIGHT, yet, as they do not get the Darshan of the Lord, they are restless. However, there is a way of their remission also. Whenever Sants happen to pass that way with spirits reclaimed from the lower regions, some of these spirits fortunately get Their Darshan. Such spirits go along with the Sants who very gladly take them to the court of the Lord and get them pardoned.

      His Holiness Soamiji Maharaj writes : “Mahasunn is enveloped in dense darkness. Four hidden or subtle sounds are audible there.” (vide Sar Bachan Poetry, Genesis and Dissolution of Creation, Bachan 23, Shabd 1, stanza 79). I have already stated in my above comments that the descriptions of Mahasunn had sharp resemblance with those of black holes.

      Now the Astronomers have clained to have heard the sound of a black hole singing. The Black Hole is playing “the lowest note in the universe,” said Dr. Andrew Fabian, an X-ray astronomer at the Institute for Astronomy at Cambridge University in England.

      Dr. Fabian was the leader on an International Team that used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to detect the black hole’s notes as ripples of luminosity in the X-ray glow of the cluster. (Vide Hindustan Times, New Delhi, September 17, 2003, p.12

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