Inspiration

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Inspiration

Postby Bob » Sun May 02, 2021 9:37 am

When I was a small child, I would often wake up and panic because I could feel a shell around me, and it seemed to be suffocating me in the darkness. I could feel my eyes, but they were glued shut and my eyelashes were wet with some kind of sticky substance. I screamed in the night and panicked because I had tactile sensations but didn't know where I was or that I could breathe if I just calmed down. The darkness seemed to have gradations of black and grey, and then a light seemed to emerge from behind that darkness and arms reached out for me, calming my breathing just by being there. I could feel warm water on my face, washing away the stickiness around my eyes and opening the darkness until the incoming light made me squint, and I could see those arms and the face that belonged to them. I felt like the world was back, even though it had been me who had been away, drunk on sleep and shrouded in a dream world. That is where I returned to when sleep overtook me again and the light blurred and dimmed with the touches of the blankets that were wrapped around me. Voices whispered assurances and drifted away, and I was gone again. Although I didn't know where this darkness was, I felt safe, and I could breathe again.

I suppose that I had conjunctivitis at that time, although I do not know because I was very young, and it was more than once. The experiences remained in my memory and I still dreamed of it in later life. It was above all the experience of darkness, with a light that seemed to be behind the blackness, but slowly shone through that stirred me. It was almost a religious experience, or perhaps the ground of religious experiences later on. A sense of awe, later of the sublime or the ineffable accompanied me without clear guidance. I don’t remember my family being particularly religious. Meeting my Methodist Great Aunt was at least very other-worldly, and we moved to a new house so often that there were many other things to discover. There was also a sense of healing in that memory that came to me later when I heard of the story about Jesus healing a blind man, and of belonging. When those arms pulled me out of the shell in which I felt trapped, I came home again. And the experience lasted only in my imagination over decades, ephemeral as the dream at night.

Many religious people I met later on in life were very dismissive about my interpretation, except one who warned me that the devil also gives us dreams, but also said that I may be very attentive to the inspiration that God gives us. I have probably conflated many impressions to one, and I feel that this has happened a lot in my religious experience. But could this be that which gives us a religious tingle? It seems to be very present in the middle of the night, when I wrote the words above. Or in solitude, whether amongst people or alone in one’s proverbial “chamber”, on a cushion, or in a prayer. In difficult times it made me ask myself whether it is all just made up, but this led me to avoiding the middle of the night and solitude. Then it didn’t happen, of course. However, religion is also community, which people want to be vibrant and resilient. Jamie Wheal, the co-author of the global bestseller and Pulitzer Prize nominated “Stealing Fire”, said in a video talk, religion has to “make sure that the signposts and footpaths to the wishing well remain weeded and uncluttered” so that other people can go and look for themselves. “So, sacraments that provide initiatory experience seem like they’re probably an important piece of keeping tradition alive, and progressive versus static, or stagnant and retrospective. And then we need stories.”

I think that the dismissiveness of religious people has been as a result of insecurity. I regularly got the idea that people were saying that I wasn’t better than others, which wasn’t what it was about. It was about personal experience rather than the experience of other people thousands of years ago. It was about that whisper that is heard after the earthquake, the thunder, and the fire. I feel that the stories of the past show us what to look out for, just not in the way many religious people interpret it today. The stories are inspirational, but instead they are made to represent something that was back then physical, material, graspable. That whisper is between the lines. It happens after the event when one is relaxing. It happens when we are not poised and ready. Likewise, it happens on a bus, in a train, or in the sauna. That whisper could just as well be my imagination, but it says something of meaning. That is why you cannot prove anything, as non-religious people demand. You can just be inspired and live accordingly.
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Re: Inspiration

Postby Dan~ » Sun May 02, 2021 7:29 pm

I used to see eyes in the dark when i closed my own eyes.
White impressions in the black.
They seemed to be watching me and paying attention to my existence.
I felt neutral about them.
Later in life it stopped.

Most recent, i have been focused on alien souls.
But i don't go into details about this,
due to fear of a miss understanding.
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Re: Inspiration

Postby iambiguous » Sun May 02, 2021 8:17 pm

Bob wrote:When I was a small child, I would often wake up and panic because I could feel a shell around me, and it seemed to be suffocating me in the darkness. I could feel my eyes, but they were glued shut and my eyelashes were wet with some kind of sticky substance. I screamed in the night and panicked because I had tactile sensations but didn't know where I was or that I could breathe if I just calmed down. The darkness seemed to have gradations of black and grey, and then a light seemed to emerge from behind that darkness and arms reached out for me, calming my breathing just by being there. I could feel warm water on my face, washing away the stickiness around my eyes and opening the darkness until the incoming light made me squint, and I could see those arms and the face that belonged to them. I felt like the world was back, even though it had been me who had been away, drunk on sleep and shrouded in a dream world. That is where I returned to when sleep overtook me again and the light blurred and dimmed with the touches of the blankets that were wrapped around me. Voices whispered assurances and drifted away, and I was gone again. Although I didn't know where this darkness was, I felt safe, and I could breathe again.

I suppose that I had conjunctivitis at that time, although I do not know because I was very young, and it was more than once. The experiences remained in my memory and I still dreamed of it in later life. It was above all the experience of darkness, with a light that seemed to be behind the blackness, but slowly shone through that stirred me. It was almost a religious experience, or perhaps the ground of religious experiences later on. A sense of awe, later of the sublime or the ineffable accompanied me without clear guidance. I don’t remember my family being particularly religious. Meeting my Methodist Great Aunt was at least very other-worldly, and we moved to a new house so often that there were many other things to discover. There was also a sense of healing in that memory that came to me later when I heard of the story about Jesus healing a blind man, and of belonging. When those arms pulled me out of the shell in which I felt trapped, I came home again. And the experience lasted only in my imagination over decades, ephemeral as the dream at night.

Many religious people I met later on in life were very dismissive about my interpretation, except one who warned me that the devil also gives us dreams, but also said that I may be very attentive to the inspiration that God gives us. I have probably conflated many impressions to one, and I feel that this has happened a lot in my religious experience. But could this be that which gives us a religious tingle? It seems to be very present in the middle of the night, when I wrote the words above. Or in solitude, whether amongst people or alone in one’s proverbial “chamber”, on a cushion, or in a prayer. In difficult times it made me ask myself whether it is all just made up, but this led me to avoiding the middle of the night and solitude. Then it didn’t happen, of course. However, religion is also community, which people want to be vibrant and resilient. Jamie Wheal, the co-author of the global bestseller and Pulitzer Prize nominated “Stealing Fire”, said in a video talk, religion has to “make sure that the signposts and footpaths to the wishing well remain weeded and uncluttered” so that other people can go and look for themselves. “So, sacraments that provide initiatory experience seem like they’re probably an important piece of keeping tradition alive, and progressive versus static, or stagnant and retrospective. And then we need stories.”

I think that the dismissiveness of religious people has been as a result of insecurity. I regularly got the idea that people were saying that I wasn’t better than others, which wasn’t what it was about. It was about personal experience rather than the experience of other people thousands of years ago. It was about that whisper that is heard after the earthquake, the thunder, and the fire. I feel that the stories of the past show us what to look out for, just not in the way many religious people interpret it today. The stories are inspirational, but instead they are made to represent something that was back then physical, material, graspable. That whisper is between the lines. It happens after the event when one is relaxing. It happens when we are not poised and ready. Likewise, it happens on a bus, in a train, or in the sauna. That whisper could just as well be my imagination, but it says something of meaning. That is why you cannot prove anything, as non-religious people demand. You can just be inspired and live accordingly.


Tell me this isn't a classic example of how a religious or a spiritual bent isn't the embodiment of dasein.

A unique set of "personal experiences" predispose all of us to go in any number of directions.

And, given the staggering immensity of the mystery that is at the very heart of existence itself, sure, a God, the God, my God is certainly one possibility.

In my view, only someone hopelessly naive would rule out religion altogether.

But then there are those who insist that only their own whispers count here. They conjure up things like Heaven and Hell and visit all manner of persecution on those who refuse to worship and adore their own God. And, sometimes, even their own rendition of the same God!

And then the part where something -- anything -- is available in the way of connecting the dots between leaps of faith to God and actual proof that a God, the God, my God does in fact exist. Again, with so much at stake on both sides of the grave.

And then [for me] the most important part of all: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=196522
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: Inspiration

Postby Bob » Mon May 03, 2021 5:56 am

iambiguous wrote: Tell me this isn't a classic example of how a religious or a spiritual bent isn't the embodiment of dasein.

Why, what would it bring you?

iambiguous wrote: A unique set of "personal experiences" predispose all of us to go in any number of directions.

And, given the staggering immensity of the mystery that is at the very heart of existence itself, sure, a God, the God, my God is certainly one possibility.

In my view, only someone hopelessly naive would rule out religion altogether.

I agree. I think the only critical stance is that one doesn’t know. However, and that is what I am trying to include in what I say, inspiration is often a fleeting experience, built up out of a myriad of other encounters that may be conflated to an idea. The idea is, however, if it is inspirational, generally new, or a reminder of something.

iambiguous wrote: But then there are those who insist that only their own whispers count here. They conjure up things like Heaven and Hell and visit all manner of persecution on those who refuse to worship and adore their own God. And, sometimes, even their own rendition of the same God!

Of course, which is the criticism that I have included in the above. Often, a conversation doesn’t take place, but rather insecurity checks in. People, who want to talk about their experience, are suspect for having it. The tradition that slaps people down for having any other interpretation of what they experience is an ideology. And is in danger of stagnation and retrospective solutions for new problems.

iambiguous wrote: And then the part where something -- anything -- is available in the way of connecting the dots between leaps of faith to God and actual proof that a God, the God, my God does in fact exist. Again, with so much at stake on both sides of the grave.

And then [for me] the most important part of all: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=196522

Jamie Wheal asked in the video I watched whether we have to review our ideas of God. In the past the Gods were sometimes tricksters, which goes against the idea of an unchanging God, but encompasses the problems we have with evil. I had to think that this is probably the only way we can get around the problem that I know of.
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Re: Inspiration

Postby Bob » Mon May 03, 2021 5:59 am

Dan~ wrote:I used to see eyes in the dark when i closed my own eyes.
White impressions in the black.
They seemed to be watching me and paying attention to my existence.
I felt neutral about them.
Later in life it stopped.

Most recent, i have been focused on alien souls.
But i don't go into details about this,
due to fear of a miss understanding.

Our imagination can dream up anything, and does so for a number of reasons. Sometimes, like the dreams I had, it is a conflation of encounters and experiences that formed a synthesis of meaning.

When it is to be inspirational, it needs to show us a way forward.
The only wisdom we can hope to acquire
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Re: Inspiration

Postby felix dakat » Mon May 03, 2021 1:34 pm

Bob

It sounds like you were having a hypnagogic experience possibly related to conjunctivitis as you stated. As more people share these experiences, it is becoming evident that they can be more meaningful to an individual than is generally recognized by the public.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: Inspiration

Postby Bob » Mon May 03, 2021 2:33 pm

felix dakat wrote:Bob

It sounds like you were having a hypnagogic experience possibly related to conjunctivitis as you stated. As more people share these experiences, it is becoming evident that they can be more meaningful to an individual than is generally recognized by the public.

Hi, yes I think that anxiety or insomnia could have been at the root of the experience, but I have the positive take-away that lingered for some time at the back of my mind. I get the feeling that inspiration emerges out of various experiences, confrontations, and sources, and form either into positive or negative drives. Now, what we have been talking about, that not only does something happen to us, but that we are contributive to that happening, seems to be happening here too. The interaction is uncanny in many ways.
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Re: Inspiration

Postby encode_decode » Mon May 03, 2021 2:41 pm

Inspiration...

I don't underrate inspiration just like I don't underrate hope.

Hope as it turns out is essential to our general operation as thinking beings.

I have a feeling that inspiration is something pretty special.

:D
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Re: Inspiration

Postby felix dakat » Mon May 03, 2021 6:09 pm

Bob wrote:
felix dakat wrote:Bob

It sounds like you were having a hypnagogic experience possibly related to conjunctivitis as you stated. As more people share these experiences, it is becoming evident that they can be more meaningful to an individual than is generally recognized by the public.

Hi, yes I think that anxiety or insomnia could have been at the root of the experience, but I have the positive take-away that lingered for some time at the back of my mind. I get the feeling that inspiration emerges out of various experiences, confrontations, and sources, and form either into positive or negative drives. Now, what we have been talking about, that not only does something happen to us, but that we are contributive to that happening, seems to be happening here too. The interaction is uncanny in many ways.


I didn't mean to pathologize your experience in any way. Hypnagogic experiences can open up an imaginal world of meaningful archetypal significance that can indeed be a source of inspiration. Although often seen as trivial to the "they", hypnagogic imagery can provide a window into the uncanny depths of being that is usually not accessible to our average everydayness.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: Inspiration

Postby Bob » Tue May 04, 2021 6:15 am

felix dakat wrote:I didn't mean to pathologize your experience in any way. Hypnagogic experiences can open up an imaginal world of meaningful archetypal significance that can indeed be a source of inspiration. Although often seen as trivial to the "they", hypnagogic imagery can provide a window into the uncanny depths of being that is usually not accessible to our average everydayness.

Don’t worry, I didn’t take it that way, but there are numerous examples of pathological processes that can have a spiritual importance. When I was in my twenties, I developed a Coccyx fistula that had to be surgically removed, with a very painful follow-up treatment. During this time, I translated the book "Haben oder Sein" (To have or to be) from German and began to research Christianity and Buddhism after restless nights during which I had the feeling I was been told something.

Later I suffered a thrombosed haemorrhoid which led to two surgical procedures in a Catholic hospital where I discovered the chapel and combined meditation and contemplation on a daily basis. This was also a six-week stay with a lot of pain, but I had spiritual experiences there. There have been many instances when I experienced a spiritual development in combination with a struggle or with pain. This includes the dark night of depression.

There have been other examples of inspiration, of course. On the return journey from a youth bible camp from South Wales, we were caught in a storm aboard a small ferry, after which my fellow travellers only retained horrific memories of fear and sea-sickness. I was strangely calm in that experience, resting upon the half-understood bible readings, learning more from the brown mass of sky and water, rolling around me, ripped through by lightening, than from the letters on the page. But clearly, I had taken something in from those readings, which in the drama of the storm became exciting.

Hypnagogic experiences could well be a piece of the puzzle.
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Re: Inspiration

Postby felix dakat » Wed May 05, 2021 2:14 pm

You remind me what my experience confirms but I would like to forget, that religious inspiration, although itself ecstatic, is so often (always?) based in suffering.
The purpose of my life would seem to be to express the truth as I discover it, but in such a manner that it is completely devoid of authority. By having no authority, by being seen by all as utterly unreliable, I express the truth and put everyone in a contradictory position where they can only save themselves by making the truth their own.
Soren Kierkegaard– Journals, 432
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Re: Inspiration

Postby Bob » Sat May 08, 2021 4:11 am

A friend of mine asked me in a conversation in which I was blurting out my ignorance, whether I had heard of this quote:

"Not he has religion who believes in a holy scripture, but he who has no need of one and could well make one himself." — Friedrich Schleiermacher, Über die Religion. Reden an die Gebildeten unter ihren Verächtern (1799).

This was my answer to him, after a long consideration of Schleiermacher’s work:

I think I know what the quote means. It came to me from a wealth of impressions, from the text of the book (although the long convoluted sentences are a real challenge), but also the comments and information about his life.

It wants to say that we humans experience the things that happen, and we experience ourselves in the midst of it. And if we pay attention, and are receptive, we experience the grace of God in strange ways that are as different as the circumstances in which we live. It is also not something we can grasp, and yes, sometimes we experience grace far away from the church or Bible, in places where we don't suspect it, or in circumstances we deem inappropriate. When something like this happens, the experience joins the accounts of God's grace that we find in the Bible.

This is to say that organized faith often misleads us, just as doubt does when we are sick or when we fail, because we want something tangible, something predictable, something concrete. We think if we do this or that, it had to happen, but it doesn't work that way. Grace is given, the Spirit blows where it will, and we humans, when we experience it, long for it to happen again.

When Elijah climbs the mountain in search of his God, he is asked: What are you doing here? And he is given nothing but a whisper, a low whisper. But, he knows what to do. I believe that Schleiermacher, in the hustle and bustle of his time, found the calm and the clarity that we often lack.
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