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If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?

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This is worth watching all the way through.  The really interesting stuff starts at about 18min.

Derren takes a total of 15 minutes to give this atheist a hugely powerful religious experience.  He uses basic hypnotic techniques.  It's obvious her experience is not fake - no one acts that well.  So if that can be done in such a short space of time, imagine what other things might be imagined to be real.

Are all the states and stages imagined?  Are all the goddesses and deities imagined?  Are the siddhis imagined?  It would be quite conceivable to think that such experiences could be manufactured with the skillful use of hypnosis.  Immerse yourself in the right books, the right environment and the self-hypnosis starts....things start to happen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51B8MzcxOX0

What I'd be very interested to know is whether someone like Derren could have hypnotised her into what we call the jhanas.  In the linked video he emphasized gratitude and awe.  But say he emphasized pleasure, spaciousness, body disappearing and a nimitta... what would have happened?   Personally I think we could manufacture the very same experience as described in the buddhist texts.  Keep in mind the sudden power of her reaction - it overwhelmed her, and it was all imagination.  Add a few lights and some pleasure... boom!... jhana.

I haven't been on Dho for ages because whichever system of spiritual growth I investigate I tend to come across a very high incidence and
prevalence of mental illness which is very off-putting.  However I do still do my concentration work, when I remember.  Hello to everyone.

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 7:28 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
It's not hypnosis, at least I don't think so, well it is.

It's just work, energy and problem solving. A spiritual practitioner will invest or believe in an imaginary problem, and apply energy towards it, any breakthrough is a validation of the problem, and the solution, this causes a release of energy.

The release of energy is experienced as nirvana, or cooling. It doesn't matter whether the problem is real or fake, as long it is believed and plausible. In most cases the problem is not real: dukkha (life isn't suffering, as long as you're doing okay, and even if you're poor it's not shitty), or the afterlife (which isn't real). Neither is the dark night, or insight disease a problem, they are both imaginary.

This might be why surrounding yourself with a spiritual community and books is necessary. The only problem is, this becomes addictive. A practitioner will inevitably experience a drag in energy, which causes them to believe more of the solution is needed. It becomes an addiction, so they pour in more time and energy, in order to achieve the high again.

Eventually they might abandon their families and work and do this full-time, that is called monkshood.

A widening gap will be experienced, especially, when real-world problems remain unsolved (the problem is that there are no real-world problems to solve, since life is very simple, and easy), and the practitioner resorts to spirituality more, thereby making it more difficult to function. This is doubly worse if the psychosis (enlightenment or the practice itself) is seen as valid and worthy, and thus encouraged or venerated.

You have to remember that the 21 Century called into question a lot of the superstition of religions and mythologies of the past, but still some of the element of the veneration of gurus and mystics remain, this is why we still have the New Age, and things like anti-materialism (so called "anti-science" or "anti-materialist-reductionism") and "Quantum psychology", etc. Monks and most gurus are parasitic, non-productive members of society anyways, some of whom do outlandish things and cross the boundaries of the law, when their cults get out of hand.

A lot of these New Age beliefs bring into it pseudosciences, all these are employed to solve imaginary problems that need no solving. This applies to all therapy, psychology, etc. Especially neuro-linguistic programming.

Psychology and therapy are not needed to cure human organisms, there's nothing wrong with you, as a person. You are doing fine, and know what you're doing. The body automatically self-regulates. Notice how prior to the 1900s, there was no such thing as psychology, and all of our ancestors prior to that time were dealing with way worse traumas.

The purpose of psychology is once again, drama. Since life is easy, we need to stir the pot and create problems, in order to solve them. Living today is super simple, and easy.

All life is just sitting down, eating, sleeping, fucking, and death. And work. That's it, there are no problems beyond that. And there never will be. It's not even difficult to do at all, all this seeking and problem solving is only for drama, and entertainment. And story-making.

It may be that in the future, people will also look back and realize that some of these cults that were masquerading as forms of ancient and shrouded, or occult wisdom (with nothing behind them, just deceptions). And were really forms of money-making, or ego-tripping, notice how enlightened gurus tend to become alienated (or lonely), and then act out in strange ways, often to throw off the framing of them as enlightened or perfect, it seems to be a way to avoid being put in a box. Sometimes they drink themselves to death.

These remnants and pockets can be damaging because people will buy into these beliefs, and make this kind of thing a full-time thing. It should not be that way, another problem is that life may not present too many challenges without the problems that need to be solved, and so some practitioners may seek enlightenment purely out of boredom or for drama. Notice how many posters here are middle-class and have ordinary lives, this search may generate excitement for them. Paths can be ticked off, etc.

But absent the whole mess of anything sought, you will discover that there isn't much to do, at all, in fact there's nothing to do. No problems, no enlightenment to seek, nothing to get up off one's ass to do. Everyday you just brush your teeth, pack your suitcase, and when you come home, sleep and repeat. And life just works itself out and lives on its own.

Ultimately the solution is just to stop practicing and solve ordinary, real world problems like: physical fitness, work, school, family relationships, friends, social life, getting laid, laundry, bills, cooking, grocery shopping, hygiene, cleaning your room, errands, etc

Which provides more tangible confidence, because if those items and tasks are ticked off and completed, they are much more fulfilling and satisfying, because they were the ORIGINAL causes of one's stress.

And thus they boost real-world confidence too!

Go figure!

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 7:32 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
You will notice how most spiritual seeking is a disease of privilege anyway, being pursued by middle-class people, and up. Poorer people have no time for these kinds of things. The same goes for the Internet, people who troll forums and post comments on "enlightenment theory", or politics, or which form of government is best, or people who complain about society, or discuss sociology (and society) and all those things. They don't have lives, they have way too much time on their hands. All thinking, problem-solving, abstract discussion of anything, is useless and does not apply to the real world. Each day only present one or two problems for each person, and if they are immediately dealt with, .e.g. usually homework assignments for college students, there will be no problems.

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 7:44 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
Also, even getting laid is not a problem either, or socializing (learning social skills). Because both happen instinctually (and automatically), because we are human beings. Notice how none of our ancestors required guidebooks or training to do either, they just did them. That's how all of life is like.

This may make life seem boring, which is why people create intractable problems to solve them.

Edit:

Some people who pursue this full-time and too intensely, end up leading sedentary lifestyles, like Richard or the Buddha and his monks. The reason is because of the widening-gap issue, although in both cases their seeking was the result of trauma. It's just overthinking things, there are no problems in life, because most of them can be solved. If they can't, they can't really be problems.

The Buddha was motivated to solve the problem of old age, sickness and death. Which he claimed he did, but those aren't problems, and he stilled died at an old age from sickness. Richard wanted to cure the existence of an entity, and probably thought himself to death, or whatever.

But either way the point is, none of those are problems, they are just solutions, to problems that don't exist. The Buddha still had to eat and sleep, and so he formed a begging system. Richard just lives off his pension, and is retired. But like, problems like "suffering", the world, social justice, economics, none of those are real, and no one has solutions to those problems. You can only interact with them through your computer screen.

Even if you invest in this solution, the physical world will still remain here, and so will your problems, so thought, in all its beauty and abstractions cannot change the world. It can only poke at it. Everything else will still be here, so yes, it's all in your imagination. 

I'm sure the Buddha, if he wanted, could have dropped everything and gone back to being a princely ruler, but instead he chose to validate his solution and remain a monk.

Cheers.

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 8:34 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
Edit: This post was meant more for JJ, not CCC

Is the baseline experience that people like Darren take to be normal where there is an intensely active self-narrative a product of the imagination as well?

I think the placebo effect is stronger than we assume, but there is still a narrative around the placebo effect in this video as 'real' or 'not real' according to New Atheistic scientific materialism, when the issue of truth of experience could be taken to be irrelevent: is it useful? Is it cool? Is it neat? Is it fun? Are other frameworks in which to view this stuff where you bypass the question of 'Are jhanas just brainwashing?'

Hi JJ,

Thanks for the answers.  I can see sense in a lot of it.  Just address your basic daily problems, if possible - nice and simple.  However, problems can't always be solved very easily, and that's why I'm a big fan of looking into causative psychological factors. 

By the way, the poor definitely do have time for religion!  More so than the middle classes.  The Catholic church for example is massively invested in south America and African continents, and parts of Asia.  Hinduism in India. 

But the original question of whether jhanas could be created hypnotically.  What do you think?  Bliss and ecstacy would be worth pursuing because it's so good for the body. 

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 8:49 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
Hi Ryan,

Here's my thing.  Jhana (bliss, ecstacy) happens because the brain stops.  Most of what the brain does in normal waking and dreaming is negative and obsessive.  So we just pick a single object and focus on it so that the negativity and obsessions stop.  Jhana happens only because we forcefully stop the crappy discursive thinking.  That's all it is. 

Say Derren said "you will find your mind focussing very easily on one thing.  It will find it easy to have complete and utter absoption with this one thing and nothing else.  Just this one thing".  And then he just watches for happiness in the facial features then "and you can feel the comfort building, and joy.... building into bliss".  Does this create the same bliss?  I guess it would. 

I'm sort of changing things slightly as I go.  I like the idea of jhana even though I've never experienced it.  Was wondering if a skilled person could guide someone into it quickly.  SOmeone like DB.

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 8:48 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
I think it would too. I edited my post because I meant to reply to JJ and not you. But irregardless, I just made a post on American Yoga because of this same exact line of thinking, where I assumed the benefits one gets from Yoga asanas could very well be acquired with other physical movement, even something like running. So I definitely think there could be a large placebo effect, and is something I'm somewhat trying to exploit already.

Another way to look at it is, I have limiting beliefs about what will happen with my practice. Is this in a sense a 'spell' that is withholding unfolding?

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
8/30/15 9:35 PM as a reply to The Poster Formerly Known As RyanJ.
I'm just getting back into yoga!  Funny you should say that.

I don't believe the poses have any great significance, but jogging is just 'pounding concrete' without any stretching or relaxation.  I believe the body houses stress and can be released through stretching.

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
11/2/15 1:06 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Hi Ryan,

Here's my thing.  Jhana (bliss, ecstacy) happens because the brain stops.  Most of what the brain does in normal waking and dreaming is negative and obsessive.  So we just pick a single object and focus on it so that the negativity and obsessions stop.  Jhana happens only because we forcefully stop the crappy discursive thinking.  That's all it is. 
Good point.  I think many in meditation are very attached to the idea that what they do is special and/or better than what the regular 'rabble' of humanity does.  Hence the idea that the same thing could be accomplished in 2 minutes by an accomplished  hypnotist and an easy to hypnotise type of subject is going to a be a rather irritating attack on the egos of many.  But IMO the jhanas (the marjority of them) are not mystical or even special, they are mood/energy states that people experiences often but usually have less control over.  Part of learning about the mind is learning about these natural states. 

RE: If Derren can convert an atheist, what else might be imagination?
Answer
11/10/15 8:05 AM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Hi Ryan,

Here's my thing.  Jhana (bliss, ecstacy) happens because the brain stops.  Most of what the brain does in normal waking and dreaming is negative and obsessive.  So we just pick a single object and focus on it so that the negativity and obsessions stop.  Jhana happens only because we forcefully stop the crappy discursive thinking.  That's all it is. 

Say Derren said "you will find your mind focussing very easily on one thing.  It will find it easy to have complete and utter absoption with this one thing and nothing else.  Just this one thing".  And then he just watches for happiness in the facial features then "and you can feel the comfort building, and joy.... building into bliss".  Does this create the same bliss?  I guess it would. 

I'm sort of changing things slightly as I go.  I like the idea of jhana even though I've never experienced it.  Was wondering if a skilled person could guide someone into it quickly.  SOmeone like DB.


Can't wait for DB.  Despite his razor sharp perception and enormous processing ability, DB's thinking around the topics of spirituality seem very limited, even a bit child-like.  I'm going to try this with someone tomorrow. Will report back.