Spiritual authorities agree?

“All genuine spiritual authorities agree that such transcendental experiences cannot be awakened by any material stimulus or experience, including ingesting substances like LSD and other “mind-expanding” drugs.”  This according to my well worn paperback copy of ‘Chant and be happy’, my current exploration into Buddhism and chanting.

My dilemma is that while I know that some authorities are totally against such stimulus or experience, I know for a fact that scientific research has showed that a single trip on LSD in laboratory conditions result in a transcendental experience that can easily be understood as meeting God. Most of the subjects explain their trip as deeply religious and spiritual, and when they were questioned about how the experience rated against any other, almost half of them maintained that it was the most enlightening of all their experience, even twenty years after the research.

I also know that we have discovered flow, which according to Wikipedia is described as: “the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity. Proposed by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the positive psychology concept has been widely referenced across a variety of fields.

1095865_74207826_crAccording to Csíkszentmihályi, flow is completely focused motivation. It is a single-minded immersion and represents perhaps the ultimate in harnessing the emotions in the service of performing and learning. In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled, but positive, energized, and aligned with the task at hand. To be caught in the ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety is to be barred from flow. It is the same mindfulness as ecstatic lovemaking, the merging of two into a fluidly harmonious one. The hallmark of flow is a feeling of spontaneous joy, even rapture, while performing a task.”

And I know that flow is an experience that can be triggered by stimulation. By exposing any person to a repetitive task you can trigger flow by making sure that certain conditions are met, conditions like; the action must be repetitive in nature and involve some kind of skill; completion of the repeated action must be followed by sensory feedback; and successful completion of the action must be rewarded.

The Wikipedia entry further goes on to say that: “Csíkszentmihályi may have been the first to describe this concept in Western psychology, but as he himself readily acknowledges, he was most certainly not the first to quantify the concept of Flow or develop applications based on the concept.

For millennia, practitioners of Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism have honed the discipline of overcoming the duality of self and object as a central feature of spiritual development. Eastern spiritual practitioners have developed a very thorough and holistic set of theories around overcoming duality of self and object, tested and refined through spiritual practice instead of the systematic rigor and controls of modern science.”

I therefore cannot agree with my copy of ‘Chant and be happy’, at least not where that is concerned.


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