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The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments

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The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Daniel M. Ingram 9/6/09 5:42 PM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments My Fragile Ego 9/7/09 5:45 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments My Fragile Ego 9/7/09 5:46 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chuck Kasmire 9/7/09 7:18 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments David Charles Greeson 9/7/09 8:18 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/7/09 8:25 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/7/09 8:33 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/7/09 9:59 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/7/09 10:00 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/7/09 10:00 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/7/09 10:10 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Kenneth Folk 9/7/09 10:27 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Gozen M L 9/7/09 10:40 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/7/09 10:42 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/7/09 11:04 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments My Fragile Ego 9/7/09 11:37 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/7/09 12:09 PM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Wet Paint 9/7/09 6:03 PM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Wet Paint 9/7/09 6:09 PM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/8/09 2:04 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/8/09 2:14 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Trent S. H. 9/8/09 2:24 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/8/09 2:39 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments David Charles Greeson 9/8/09 3:26 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments David Charles Greeson 9/8/09 3:44 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Wet Paint 9/8/09 8:03 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Dan Bartlett 9/8/09 10:55 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Wet Paint 9/8/09 11:09 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Chris Marti 9/8/09 11:31 AM
RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments Daniel M. Ingram 9/8/09 7:14 PM
Forum: The Big Issues

Haquan and I were having a discussion at TBH and I thought some people might be interested in looking at what was happening there, as it related to here:

http://www.thebaptistshead.co.uk/forum/topic.php?post=1080#post1080

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 5:45 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Daniel

Thanks for posting this link.

I see two issues here. One is claims to attainments. The other is buddhists being disturbed by the extreme views propagated by actualists and whether such views have a place on this site.

Why are claims of attainments so threatening? To me what is worse than claims of attainments is misplaced confidence. What can we be truly confident of in this life? Direct experience. Period. Confidence in any ideas or philosophy is misplaced unless it is ones own philosophy derived from direct experience and open to change as new experience arises.

I do not hold to the absolute superiority of arahatship or actual freedom, but instead am open to the exploration of both ways of seeing. You could say I have no dog in this fight. emoticon

But I see battle lines being drawn, and I sigh at the inevitability of it. If you have ever thought that words fail to do justice to nonduality, you've barely scratched the surface of the inadequacy of words to describe the affective-free state to someone in an affective state who doesn't recall an affective-free experience of their own.

To challenge love, imagination, being itself... forget magick, this is the devils work. This will get you burned at the stake. These concepts challenge parts of us which take years to let go and find equamnity in the prospect of no-being. I am speaking from direct experience here.

I have personally found that the meditative/investigative journey of actualism is in keeping with the spirit of this site, in much the same way that people from a magickal background or a christian background can discuss practice here too. Let's not presuppose an endpoint of development whether arahatship or otherwise, but instead be open to all forms of development.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 5:46 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Perhaps at some point in the DhO's evolution there can be a sub-forum for the investigation of no-being (or whatever you want to call it). Bernadette Roberts also speaks of the elimination of the affective faculty.

As always, I suggest people investigate these things for themselves rather than taking a philosophical position based on book learning. If you are not interested in investigating it, so be it. In that case, I suggest remaining open to possibilities.

Or don't. It's up to each and every one of us.

Craig

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 7:18 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi Craig,
This whole situation is problematic for several reasons and I don't feel the claims of attainment are separate from the actualist content. Here is why:

-Having people judge their own attainment and then presenting information (from that attainment position) may be very misleading and confusing to themselves and others (if their attainments are false). Judging ones own attainments without some sort of verification is like me going out and declaring myself a Math Professor because I personally sense that I 'get it' (pick your profession).

-Once you say something like “I am an arahat and there is this state beyond that or different from that which is such and such a way” - Well, if you really are an arahat that is interesting to explore. If on the other hand you are not and what you are experiencing is subtle third or some entirely other state – how does this help anyone?

-My own fourth path was verified by a senior spirit rock teacher, Daniel's by Titmuss (if I recall correctly). I don't know about Alan but everything he has said post 4th path experience I can relate to. Can you see a difference between this kind of verification and someone reaching that conclusion on their own?

I think the actualist stuff is worth having a section for. I also think that those who are proponents need to be really careful what they project onto or read into the content. My personal view is that Richard (from the actual freedom site) made the same mistake that some here are making and confused 3rd path with 4th and then when he got to 4th he felt he had gone beyond awakening. I base this on my reading of some of the material and my own (verified) experience of 4th. Others here (Adam West) came to a similar conclusion. I am all for open discussion but let's do it from solid ground.

-Chuck

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 8:18 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Ha! So you went there, did you, Dan?

Normally it wouldn't be my style to directly challenge people's attainments - makes em defensive, and it can dissolve into a silly little argument: "Yes I am," "No you're not." "Yes I am" etc. Ultimately, they have to figure it out anyway. Where I get annoyed is when you have people who claim the highest level of attainment also seem to have less phenomenological awareness than I do - when I'm not claiming any such attainment. (theprisonergrecco would be an exception here - he reported his experience accurately) - but they are supposed to be better at that than I am. So you have on one hand, people who claim to have extremely high authority, whom *I* can tell are not paying attention to the subtleties of their own experience - and don't attempt to answer the questions I raise - and are also telling me to shut up because they're an arahant and I'm not. It's sort of like an ad hominem argument in reverse. I started the discussion because I'm interested in the subject matter, not because I wanted to establish a pecking order. I would like my words to be judged on their own merit - and I *will* judge peoples words on their own merit without reference to status or attainment. I've been mucking around with this stuff too long not to.

The discussion regarding the ideas on absolutefreedom.com are peripheral - those are just my opinions, take them for what they are worth. I do strongly feel that way, but I'm not pretending to *know*. Part of the reasons for my concern have to do with some ideas about the enlightenment process posted in another thread which I reference in that post - basically you need to look at what the end result of any spiritual development system is before you invest years of your life in it - because you *will* believe in it at the end of the day.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 8:25 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Honestly, folks, there are things, ideas, practices, that are just plainly and clearly not those in which a reasonable person will want to engage. Everything doesn't require personal experience to know that it's just not what we want to do. When claims are made that are, as Chuck said, only validated by personal experience and further, those claims and the related philosophies and practices are proffered as the Real, the Truth, the Absolute nature of things ,ESPECIALLY when those things are so clearly not reasonable or when they violate our basic knowledge of what it is to be human, whether scientific or common sense based, then those things are not what I personally want to have anything to do with.

You could, for example, tell me that becoming dog-like (yes, like a real dog) is the key to existence, relieves me of all the negative human characteristics that have plagued humanity for ages, makes me live only in the present, and so on. All that said, I just wouldn't want to go there. Prima facie.

So, based on everything I can reasonably ascertain about the AF movement, including the stuff that gets offered up here by some, I have absolutely no desire to experience it, practice it, or be a part of it. Now, you can call me intolerant if you want. Biased. Predisposed. Blind, stupid, whatever. Yet, it is quite clear that AF is not in the mainstream or anywhere close to it. It's not Buddhism. In fact, it criticizes us Budddhists for being dupes, and that's on the AF web site. I do encourage everyone here to visit that site to see for themselves just how cultish AF appears to be.

Sometimes people just get confused. Some find it really, really hard to say "I don't know." I would challenge everyone to be quite skeptical of that which so clearly makes little or no sense from a very common sense angle, especially when so few seem to be able to "get it" or related to it.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 8:33 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"Where I get annoyed is when you have people who claim the highest level of attainment also seem to have less phenomenological awareness than I do - when I'm not claiming any such attainment."

That's a great point and can't be over-emphasized. Common sense coupled with some life experience is an extremely powerful tool. If we fail to use it we do so at our peril.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 9:59 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hello,

Anyone else notice that whining about claims to attainment is also cyclical? Haha. Look, this is a pretty abrasive post, and I apologize in advance for that. I am simply bored with holding my tongue in regard to the obvious arrogance, cynicism, close-minded narcissism that seems to reoccur here every couple of months. It's an injustice to myself, this community, and yourselves to continually act in such a hypocritic, immature manner.

First off, I don't mind holding my tongue about actualism, but I will also not be coy about it if it is directly spoken about. In this case, I will say that the shifts that come about through actualism are so starkly different than that of enlightenment that the differences are impossible not to see if witnessed experientially. There needs to be less reading, and more practicing. It is like the difference in walking around butt-naked through a city in daylight hours compared to walking around in a field fully clothed in the middle of the night. You'll notice a little bit of a difference in the situation. The irony of this is that the cynacism is lost on those of us practicing it, because we did verify it through our experience, whereas the doubters have not. The hypocrisy is absurd and is an injustice to the folks doubting, not to the folks exclaiming "holy crap try this out, it reduces the suffering in your life."

(Cont.)

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 10:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Enlightenment was not tough with this community as a source. It's as if the DhO community is in some sort of doubt-ridden coma at it's own success that it needs to flog itself repeatedly simply because of the memory "holy hell, it was really hard without these resources." The paths are clearly different, they've been clearly laid out, they aren't that confusing with the right mind-set, discussion, practice, and reading, and anyone can do it in half the time that they think they can. Each person's doubt is their own, and it is not helping to reduce a single person's suffering.

David, you are not only misinterpreting my statements, but also Tarin's. You are taking them out of the context of the moments they were made, and also out of context with what actualism is. You're picking and chosing parts to make sense and parts that don't. Why? Because you don't understand actualism! Can you not see that? If you haven't done the practice, haven't had experiential results, and haven't spent hours and hours thinking through and testing the theory, then you can't even begin to talk about it. Lastly, your final comment about belief is yet another obvious way I know you're clueless about this topic. You don't need to believe actualism, it's a fact that you experience and live moment after moment. That's the whole point of actualism for pete's sake; to forsake imagination and affect for the actual world.

(Cont.)

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 10:00 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Chris, you mention "clearly violate our basic knowledge of what it is to be human." And this is another grand irony that shows that you have not taken the time to open your mind to what the practice is talking about, let alone do it. Normal human experience to me looks like mental illness. It's twisted and delusional to a sickening degree. Just because everyone else is hallucinating 24 hours a day in an attempt to feel differently about something that isn't there, doesn't mean it's right. And that also doesn't mean it's bringing any sort of peace to this planet. (Quite the opposite). But let's not dwell on that. Instead, ask yourself "does enlightenment (the thought "we are all just awareness") violate "normal human understanding" more than "you're just a flesh and blood body?" Afraid so man; enlightenment is far more a violation of basic human understanding than actualism could ever hope to be. Perhaps you should give it another look, this time using the common sense you hold in such high regard.

Trent

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 10:10 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"Normal human experience to me looks like mental illness. It's twisted and delusional to a sickening degree."

I rest my case.

Trent, good luck to you, best wishes, and may you go in peace for all mankind.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 10:27 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Dear Friends,

I've held my tongue long enough in the (I now see) mistaken belief that others would spontaneously come to see what is so obvious to me. That was then. This is now. I'm going to give it to you straight: The world was created by a Being whose Greatness lies beyond the imaginings of even those of you who still have the capacity to imagine. (Those of you who no longer have imagination will, of course, take my word for it.)

http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/

I think that if you will just read the letter at the other end of this link, you will see for yourself that what I say is true. Better yet, try the worshiping rituals for yourself and you will soon find, as so many of us have, what is Real, True, and Indisputable. Please keep an open mind and do not let your common sense interfere. Having personally attained, last week, to All That Is and More, I feel qualified to speak authoritatively on these matters, so please contact me directly if you are in need of a daddy or if I can facilitate your Complete Atrophy in any way.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to witnessing your dissolution.

Yours Truly,

The worshiper formerly known as Kenneth

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 10:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Well, I must admit that I was extremely skeptical at first.

But when I looked at the quantitative evidence shown on that website in the line graph "Global Average Temperature vs Number of Pirates" I was convinced beyond all shadow of a doubt.

Isn't science amazing?!

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 10:42 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
BTW, Trent, you need to study human history. It's littered with ideologues who thought they had a better way, a new advancement, a political, spiritual, a mystical answer to the bane of human existence -- humanity! People have died for those romantic and ultimately just plain wrong ideas. And you should be very, very careful about what you say. Words have meaning and they matter. I like Buddhism because for all it's talk of enlightenment and attainment it does not, repeat, does not, pretend to have a more-than-human/better-than-human/other-than-human answer that is the answer to all our ills. It does not reject humanity's most important, defining aspects. It does not assert that human emotions or things like imagination need to be shed like dead skin. It says we need to understand ourselves on the way to understanding others. That, my friend, is an idea, a compassion, that can change the world.

And please, I don't need to practice AF to read the web site and see what's up with it. I don't need to practice Buddhism to figure put what it's all about. I don't need to be a John Bircher to know what makes a John Bircher tick. I have a brain and the cognitive ablitities I've managed to develop over time. There is, after all, an intellectual understanding to pretty much everyting that has merit and just plain makes sense. Your argument is like bringing a box of rocks to a gun fight.

Happy to be what you now call mentally ill and long, long time FSM worshipper extraordinaire,

- Chris

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 11:04 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Kenneth, I laughed so hard. My mom loves the spaghetti monster and actually teaches it in Kansas classes (gasp)! To further the hilarity, you're the only guy on the DhO who has created a dharma community and named it after himself. Haha, you slay me good sir :p.

Chris, really dude, you can stop talking down to me any time now. Projecting the totality of human insecurity onto me every post is just not necessary. The bottom line is this: I don't just feel that I care about a human ideal, I actually care about the human race. I don't give a crap about human ideals or how human begins define themselves, they never live up to those expectations, and that's part of the problem. I reject humanity's fundamental assumptions, because the fundamental assumptions are part and parcel with war, crime, poverty, murder, rape, and all other manner of preventable distress. I am not saying Buddhism or any other spiritual idea is bad; after-all, I did them and still help others to do them. I just think this one is more important. It's my choice to place emphasis, and I have the authority to do so because I have experienced both.

Your hard-headed, pithy "good-bye" lines underline your essential illness. You're stuck on yourself and defined by the things that I say say you should challenge. Of course you're happy about those self definitions; but the byproduct is that you're also perpetuating the sorrow and malice of this world by doing so. Are you proud of that?

By the way, what is with you guys and drama? I feel like a horrible actor in here =(.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 11:37 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
[edited, removed comments to Alan because I should have replied in another thread]

Trent, while I agree in principle with everything you've posted so far in this thread, I think you should consider where you're writing from. Letting malice take hold of you and then giving free reign isn't doing you any favours, and it's not presenting actualism in a fair light, as actualism isn't about ranting, it's about the absence of ranting.

CheleK I'm interested in exploring how you see similiarities between what RIchard is presenting, and 4th path as you experience it.

I hope we can avoid this discussion turning into further flame war. It really doesn't benefit anyone, and those readers still early on in practice get really put off by this type of thing.
Daniel, this is what the Dharma Underground was meant for?

Best regards
Craig

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 12:09 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Craig, there's no malice in me today my friend. I simply mentioned that line because I have no idea how other people will feel about my words. After-all, I am not them. It was absolutely no intention of mine to harm anyone in anyway whatsoever.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 6:03 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Author: Adam_West

Hey guys!

Interesting that it was Dan who posted the above link. I am currious as to his motivations. I am wondering if he is starting to get a sick feeling from what DhO has become or been dominated by: all the very natural, normal and well documented juvenile fantasies of grandeur in the form of attainment claims and authority thrown about, enabled by the entirely separate matter of Dan's wonderful 'can-do' philosophy, practice and personal experiences. We have here two interesting extremes: the traditional 'can't-do' or very difficult to do without supernatural - enlightened - hierarchical master-student assistance; and at the opposite end of the spectrum, anyone can just sit down in the privacy of their own home, and with minimal to no practice, realize with absolute certainty, the truth of reality, and thus speak authoritatively on any and all very complex matters on any number of human domains of knowledge. As if anyone of us could take a weekend workshop and become certified brain surgeons, then go round tell all the other brain surgeons they were, are and always have been completely wrong in how they do things and what they should achieve. If you'll forgive my speculation, I suspect many will recognize the sophomoric similarities of the behaviour, flights of fantasy and self-indulgence around here.

[Cont.]

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/7/09 6:09 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Author: Adam_West

My opinion is it's not a big deal insofar as we all go through this as we mature to some degree and our cognitive distortions self-correct to varying degrees through the natural process of reality-testing as we experience more of life. Of course, 'not knowing' is the human condition - both enlightened and unenlightened - which is the heart of the matter - the epistemological gap. The implied or explicit claims of 'certainty', infallibility or finality are particularly childish and indefensible in any sophisticated domain of discussion.

It 'is' a problem insofar as this site becomes increasingly irrelevant and uninteresting when dominated in such a way; really harming its credibility. It is no wonder so many senior people are leaving.

In kind regards,

Adam.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 2:04 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Trent --

"Chris, really dude, you can stop talking down to me any time now. Projecting the totality of human insecurity onto me every post is just not necessary."

I find it is necessary at times to honestly point out the obvious. But, see, it's not my insecurity that's being protected here. Frankly, you couldn't be more transparent and you embarrass yourself every time you reach into your excuse bag for another way to deny the reality of what's going on here. No self indeed.

"Daniel, this is what the Dharma Underground was meant for?"

The answer, Craig, is obvious, but the place has been hijacked by non-Buddhists, or very confused Buddhists, or very naive Buddhists. I'm not yet sure. See, I actually believe Trent when he says he means no harm, but that doesn't mean through his words he's not causing any harm. It should be obvious by now that this AF stuff goes well beyond the original intent of these message boards. It's sad, really, that the many here have to suffer for the sins of the few.

This needs to be addressed, and the sooner the better. It cannot be swept under the rug. That's not what Buddhists do. I'm sorry it's painful.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 2:14 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Hi,

Chris, that is quite disrespectful. I have not said anything of the such about you or your views. Considering the degree you misunderstand me, I can't imagine I am transparent (you're projecting your worldview onto me). Further, I do not feel embarrassed at all, I know what I stand for and have no need for uselessness such as that.

Adam, I gotta say that 90% of the things you've said are either not happening, or are so completely dramatized and blown out of proportion as to make them uselessly invalid. Really, do you even post here unless it has something to do with policing other people's views? That goes for 90% of the people involved in this little "calling out fest."

It happens every time one of the 5-6 of you gets a little bit bent out of shape. You come rolling in all high and mighty with your judgmental attitudes, push out the few of us who actually come to the site to help people, and then disappear as quickly as you came. If you aren't attained, understanding, or confident enough to field the questions of this community, then you have absolutely no authority to challenge me or try to backwards rationalize that others are somehow outside of the vision of the community.

Really, all of your "obvious" realizations are arrogant as all hell, and the combined drama of the witch hunting gang is what is driving people away. And again, the most ridiculous part of that is that when people like myself go missing, NOTHING GETS ANSWERED.

So here's a proposition, I won't lay claim to anything, and I will answer nothing, if the witch-huntin posse can field the practical questions of this community as well as I can, without vague or ambiguous BS and without cramming your views or practices down their throat. So there you have it, a nice little way to get me out of your hair: step up to the plate.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 2:24 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
...Really? The whole reason this community exists is because Buddhists are great at sweeping things under the rug. Seriously, bringing dogmatic alliances into this is not going to help your cause. And it's not painful for me silly; clever though, for sure.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 2:39 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
" If you aren't attained, understanding, or confident enough to field the questions of this community, then you have absolutely no authority to challenge me or try to backwards rationalize that others are somehow outside of the vision of the community."

This is an important point. What I'm very confident of is that I don't know a helluva lot of things, and I'm thus not willing to throw stuff against the wall on the hope that it might stick. In my world saying "I don't know" is a mark of honesty and the beginning of true expertise. It is from that place, and that place only, that we learn.

BTW - do you really need an external authority to obtain permission to question another?

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 3:26 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
You know, really, you should never take anything personally... And none of my comments have been intended to be personal.

Just so you guys understand my background and where I'm coming from:

The sort of stuff that Alex refers to is the very thing that drove me out of mysticism in the first place over 20 years ago and forced me to conclude that it was a waste of time, and that mystics were exotic experience junkies at best, and deluded egomaniacs at worst. At least with practical magick, there was an objective standard I could judge my own progress by - the operation either works or it doesn't. That was very attractive to me. ( Luckily, interacting with Duncan and Alan, and reading Daniel's book has gotten me to re-examine things and I know that there is true value here).

Now if you start doing magick, you begin reading occult books, and you inevitably run into other magicians, pagans, etc. Many of them claim some level of high attainment - every other one of them is the Grand Poobah of something or other. How should I put this? Well, I don't want to sugar-coat it... The vast majority of them are morons, and the vast majority of occult books are complete drivel. All these people indulging their fantasies about having high status and magical powers, teaching people the "Truth" - sometimes it feels like playing Dungeons and Dragons, without the plot. Now mind you, there are some *amazing* people out there in the minority as well - and many of them do not make a big deal about their proficiency.

So my general approach to interacting with them is to keep an open mind and assume that I have something to learn from everyone, even it it's not what I wanted to learn - and to completely ignore any self proclaimed titles or attainments. If someone is worth their salt, I find out pretty quick. What I find is that the true adepts respond to my questions and comments enthusiastically - Cont

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 3:44 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The truly proficient people may debate a point with me - but it is generally with a good-natured ton, rather than a defensive one. Often we find the disagreement was based on semantics, etc. They tend to reference their own experience, rather than dogma.

Where I immediately get suspicious is when I start hearing that I shouldn't question them, because of their level of attainment. Or that I'm wrong and they are right *because* of their level of attainment, rather than for some other, logical reason. The pattern is familiar - they don't respond to pointed questions or counterexamples, and they get mad because I'm questioning their ultimate authority on the subject, instead of trying to get to the bottom of the actual subject matter, or even correct my (possible) misconception. These people are inevitably full of crap. Period.

Now my proficiency or level of attainment is really no one's business but mine - ultimately I'm only accountable for myself. I have no interest in anyone thinking that I'm "high level" or whatever. See - I want my ideas to be challenged. Because if *I'm* full of crap, not only do I want to know - I *need* to know.

You know, if you can't bear the thought that maybe, just maybe, you're completely full of crap - you probably are.
D

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 8:03 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Author: telecaster

Wow. As an almost completely non-enlightened person (no path attained ever) none of this makes any sense. None.
I'm not saying stop talking about it (and on the other similar current threads) because I do enjoy reading it and trying to figure out what you might be talking about. Really, I do.
When posters are talking about basic practice questions and answers I can usually follow along, but, I think when people who are first path or beyond start to talk about more detailed ideas that you'd have to be first path or beyond to relate to, I am lost. It really is like you are in a different world talking about things that mean nothing to those of us still back here in this one.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 10:55 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I wouldn't worry too much telecaster: bear in mind this is a complex discussion involving spiritual attainment, enlightenment and actual freedom, and that this is pretty much the only place on the internets where it's happening. Deep stuff, new territory for everyone.

I think understanding basic practice is much more important to your well-being, and eventually your conceptual understanding of all this, so your energy is being suitably utilised :-)

P.S. I don't really think I attained a better understanding of any particularly detailed ideas after first path. It's really about a dropping away of doubts and increasing confidence, both "felt", rather than directly translating to some new knowledge. In my experience anyway. If you want to message me more about this I'd be happy to chat as I'm wary of drifting off topic here...

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 11:09 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Author: telecaster

Please don't take my comment as a negative one. I'm not worried at all. I'll know what I know when I know it. I enjoy trying to figure it all out. And I think it's cool that this discussion is happening.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 11:31 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"... bear in mind this is a complex discussion involving spiritual attainment, enlightenment and actual freedom, and that this is pretty much the only place on the internets where it's happening."

Well, not exactly. I think Mike is quite capable of making his own judgments about this conversation. Maybe not the parts about arahatship and the arcane details of the two paths, but he can certainly read through the posts and see that under that more technical stuff is a discussion about what it means to be an expert in something, and how experts are peceived and valued. That part of this dicsussion may be more important than the other part, frankly. It's what several of us are keying in on, anyway, and it speaks to some very practical, useful things, like how do you decide which experts to listen to, and why? We all have to make those decisions.

RE: The Baptists Head Blog and Claims to Attainments
Answer
9/8/09 7:14 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I am going to weight in:

I think that Trent and Tarin see a lot of value and inspiration related to the AF thing at this time, and this is interesting, as they are both smart and dedicated practitioners.

Plenty of other smart, dedicated practitioners could care less or find this AF stuff actively repulsive, naive or off-track.

Thus, experts will have to disagree.

Now that this is done, let's let those who are interested in AF have a place to talk about it to their hearts content (see new website Insight/AF discussion sub-category), and for those with different views, they can talk about those.

I have come to the conclusion that lots of people just don't get into the same things and this is normal and we shouldn't freak out about it.

Is their interest in AF the logical progression from their attainment of their self-proclaimed arahatship? Is this just the last dying gasps of things in anagami-land? Are Trent and Tarin geniuses who are forging into rare territory or deluded juveniles run amuck who need meds and their own sandbox? We aren't going to sort all this out here, so get over it.

These things require long personal conversations, and if you really care so much about these things, I suggest you talk in person for a few hours, and I am guessing everyone would learn something and re-connect with the kind, thoughtful, skilled, dedicated humanity of the person on the other end of the phone, rather than flaming each other with little regard for the fact that every person here is really trying their best to deal with their own suffering and striving for their own best guess about what will constitute good practice and attainments.

In short, back to practical things that help people attain what they personally wish to attain, please!!!!!

D