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"Cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest incitement to scientific research" and "the most important function of art and science [is] to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are capable of it." Albert Einstein [1]

Introduction

Sometime in the year 2003, during the Easter holidays, I had a series of powerful "mystical" experiences, what I now call Connection Experiences. From a phenomenological, theological, psychological, and sociological perspective, these experiences completely blew me away. The experiences were totally unexpected, and, I have to say, initially unwelcome. Like many scholars who have these experiences,[2] I neither expected nor anticipated the events. Although raised a Catholic, I had observed the hypocrisy and violence at an early age and rejected it. Even though I fiddled around with alternative systems throughout adolescence (Eckankar, Buddhism, Zen, etc.), I eventually entered university where I gradually accepted the dogmatic truth of atheism--God was a stupid idea, and human spirituality was, at best, a remnant of a more primitive time, and at worst, a delusion, oedipal regression.[3][4] I neither wanted, needed, expected, or accepted anything religious to happen. But then, "it" happened. I had a powerful Connection Experience, and then I had more.

At that time the initial experiences occurred, I had three choices. One, I could pretend they didn't exist and that I didn't have them. Two, I could attribute the experiences to psychosis. Three, I could embrace them and try and figure out was going on. Since there was a certain amount of dis-ease in the first connection event (frankly, it was a terrifying Clearing Experience, pretending it hadn't happened and continuing on with my career was an attractive option. On the other hand, the experiences were literally mind-blowing, providing deep insight[5] and opening up entirely new realms of thought, conception, and experience to me. Clearly, there was more to it than self-delusion or some kind of psychosis.

Ultimately, as you will gather as you browse through this online lexicon/textbook of human spirituality and connection, I didn't attribute the experiences to psychosis, nor did I try to pretend them away. I just couldn't. The experiences, which were easily repeatable, were obviously real, and had real and verifiable outcomes for me and, as I learned later when I began the literature review, others as well. The initial experience, which was a Nadir Experience characterized by deep Catholic rooted fears and profound Nadir Experience, blew my socks off and totally changed me and my life. Later on, I began to see the initial experience as a successful Clearing Experience, which is an experience where a deep-seated fear that prevented connection, in this case, a Catholic fear, was suddenly and permanently cleared. I'll go into the details of this experience at some other point. Here I will just say that once the fear was cleared, my mind began to develop and expand beyond the Normal Consciousness I had lived within until that point. I started a journey that challenged my scientific materialism and started me on a two-decades-long path of discovery, analysis, and synthesis. I was like Michael Harner, Oscar Ichazo, Agehananda Bharatati, Ram Dass, and other scholars who had "crossed over" into the mystical realms and had come back excited, interested, and wanting to talk.

It was this "wanting to talk" that was a problem. I did want to talk. I broached the subject with colleagues here and then but was never really able to break the ice, so to speak. The problem was two-fold.

On the one hand, the language that was available to discuss the experiences was imprecise, tainted by all sorts of bias and misconception, and characterized by considerable Nomenclature Confusion.

On the other hand, most discussions, even those which presumably provide a sophisticated take of the topic, seemed confused and undeveloped.[6] Scholars (and even practitioners) could not distinguish between Connection Outcomes and Connection Experiences, and didn't have a sensible understanding of Consciousness. There was a lot of talk, and a lot of EPMO, but nothing was really capturing the essence and contours of my experience or practice. It was a conceptual and theoretical mishmash that wasn't really providing a sensible rubric for study.

As a consequence of the confusion, broached discussions were often simply dismissed out of hand. I couldn't talk "mysticism" and "mystical experience" without being called a space cadet, or being told it wasn't "serious" scholarship. People simply did not want to understand.

This was a problem I knew that what I had experienced was important, not only philosophically, spiritually, and psychologically, but sociologically as well. My experiences were profound, healing, and transformative, and I was not the only one. There is considerable anecdotal and scientific evidence pointing to the many positive Connection Outcomes that arise as a consequence of these Connection Experiences.

My solution is to try and develop a framework, nomenclature, and research map that would allow everybody to talk about these ubiquitous human experiences[7] in a psychologically, sociologically, and spiritually meaningful, but neutral fashion. I wanted words that would neither trigger immediate skepticism, or lead one-off into ungrounded realms of mystical musing, like can sometimes happen to those who spend a lot of time engaged in Connection Practice. I also wanted to bring some unity to the field. Humans have been having these experiences for centuries and as a consequence, every culture has at least one, sometimes more, set of terms to describe Connection and what one experiences and learns. It became clear as I read that these people were all talking about the same things, but that none of these people were talking to each other. I wanted to change all that.

This online resource, this SpiriWiki, is an attempt to bring a grounded coherence to the study of Connection Experience. This online textbook and spiritual lexicon[8]. It is my attempt to sort out the initial experiences, and the Connection I have been practicing for well over a decade, in a sensible and scholarly fashion and to contribute towards a "more sophisticated religious language coordinated with the scientific data," as suggested as necessary by Timothy Leary.[9]

The SpiritWiki is not here to "conceal meanings," as is sometimes the case,[10] but to clarify and reduce Nomenclature Confusion, encourage research and discussion, teach, and, dare I say, liberate from the shackles that bind and disconnect us.[11]

Overview

The SpiritWiki is organized into several main sections of research/study, all related to connection. These are Connection, Healing, Human Development/Human Potential, The System, the nature of Consciousness, and Cosmology.

Connection

Let's face it, these hidden laws [of mysticism] are hidden, but they are only hidden by [your] own ignorance. And the word mystical is just arrived at through people's ignorance. There's nothing mystical about it, only that you're ignorant of what that entails" ― George Harrison

Connection is the main topic of this SpiritWiki. Connection refers to the phenomenon of Connection between the Spiritual Ego and Bodily Ego, sometimes called mystical experience, peak experience, transcendence, depending on the strength of the connection. Connection may be continuous or discrete. A discrete connection is a short term Connection Experience that can be measured along five Connection Axes.

A Connection Experience may be a positive Zenith Experience or a negative Nadir Experience. A Connection Experience may lead to many positive and some negative Connection Outcomes. Sometimes, when the Bodily Ego is heavily damaged, Connection Experience can lead to Connection Pathology and even Connection Catastrophe.

Connection is a common and ubiquitous human experience[12] that happens to everybody at least once in their lives, but that some people actually pursue, through various forms of Connection Practice, using various types of Connection Techniques and [Connection Appliances]], and often using powerful Connection Supplements.

Connection is an ongoing human concern. Through the centuries many Connection Manuals have been written, from various cultural, scientific, and religious perspectives. Connection manuals are designed to help guide and facilitate the expanded Flow of Consciousness that occurs during connection, and to help individuals overcome Connection Obstacles. Connection manuals are often a part of various Connection Frameworks.

The LP offers the LP Connection Framework to help facilitate and guide individuals towards stronger, cleaner, uncorrupted, and healthier connection experiences.

Healing

Connection requires a healthy Bodily Ego. Humans are born with a healthy (but undeveloped) bodily ego but, as a consequence of Toxic Socialization, the bodily ego becomes damaged, defensive, and diminished.

A damaged, defensive, and diminished bodily ego cannot handle The Flow of Consciousness that occurs during connection. Consequently, a damaged bodily ego will disconnect from its own Spiritual Ego in order to preserve its ability to function and navigate reality.

A damaged Bodily Ego, an unhealthy ego, is an ego with a damaged sense of self, damaged perspective, corrupted will, and distorted imagination (see the LP definition of Ego). A damage bodily ego is susceptible to various Connection Pathologies, including complete Egoic Collapse

Since the bodily ego may be damaged by Toxic Socialization, in order to achieve strong and persistent connection, healing is often required. The LP offers an LP HEALING Framework that provides a framework for a self-directed healing process.

Note that Connection Experiences often facilitate the healing process. [13] [14] [15] Methods of gently improving connection will be useful to healers helping others achieve stronger connection.

Human Development

The Regime of Accumulation

Creation Templates

How to Navigate

Related Terms

Syncretic Terms

Syncretic terms are simply terms with similar, often identical, meaning to the SpiritWiki terms I've developed. By browsing the syncretic terms, you can see that despite cultural and religious differences, humans the world over have been talking about Connection and Connection Experience for thousands and thousands of years.

As Harner suggests, paleolithic cave paintings may be the first records of early Shamanic style[20] Connection Experiences.

A Final Word

At this time, this online resource is very much still in development. New concepts and ideas are flowing in, definitions and discussions are being refined, and new research, resources, and backing citations are being added all the time. The reader should bear this in mind. There are many rough sections, many sections that consist of little more than notes and ideas, and many areas that need supporting research and discussion. The resource is progressing, however, and it is, with moderate haste, I feel, becoming a useful distillation of Human Spirituality and a modest contribution (I hope) to connecting the dots and moving the discussion forward.

To use this resource, simply choose one of the topics below. Read and follow the links provided to explore terminology, concepts, and practices.

Footnotes

  1. Einstein, Albert. The World as I See It. Kindle. Samaira Book Publishers, 2018. https://amzn.to/2NR8B6z.
  2. Zaehner. Mysticism Sacred and Profane. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969. https://amzn.to/2LcdkCl.
  3. Freud, Sigmund. Civilization and Its Discontents. New York: W.W. Norton, 1961. https://amzn.to/2STCpQT.
  4. ———. The Future of an Illusion. New York: Anchor Books, 1964. https://amzn.to/2EZqqgZ.
  5. William James notes "The simplest rudiment of mystical experience would seem to be that deepened sense of the significance of a maxim or formula which occasionally sweeps over one. "I've heard that said all my life," we exclaim, "but I never realized its full meaning until now. James, William. Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature (p. 332). Kindle Edition. https://amzn.to/2SQZ7Jv
  6. White, John, ed. What Is Enlightenment? St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 1995. https://amzn.to/30bVany.
  7. Sosteric. “Everybody Has a Connection Experience: Prevalence, Confusions, Interference, and Redefinition.” Spirituality Studies 4, no. 2 (2018). https://www.spirituality-studies.org/dp-volume4-issue2-fall2018/files/assets/common/downloads/files/4-2-sosteric.pdf.
  8. Ernst, Carl W. “Mystical Language and the Teaching Context in the Early Sufi Lexicons.” In It’s Not Just Academic! Essays on Sufism and Islamic Studies, 181–200. California: Sage, 2018. https://www.academia.edu/4416944/Mystical_Language_and_the_Teaching_Context_in_the_Early_Sufi_Lexicons.
  9. Leary, T. “The Religious Experience: Its Production and Interpretation.” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 3, no. 1 (1970): 76–86. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.1970.10471364. p. 341.
  10. Ibid. p. 184.
  11. As Ernst says, "...the fundamentally transcendental orientation of the symbols and terms of mystical teaching is liberating.... The model suggested by the Sufi lexicons condenses mystical experiences in terms designed to reveal the experiential possibilities to those prepare for them." Ernst, Carl W. “Mystical Language and the Teaching Context in the Early Sufi Lexicons.” In It’s Not Just Academic! Essays on Sufism and Islamic Studies, 181–200. p. 196. California: Sage, 2018. https://www.academia.edu/4416944/Mystical_Language_and_the_Teaching_Context_in_the_Early_Sufi_Lexicons.
  12. Sosteric, Mike. “Everybody Has a Connection Experience: Prevalence, Confusions, Interference, and Redefinition.” Spirituality Studies 4, no. 2 (2018). https://www.spirituality-studies.org/dp-volume4-issue2-fall2018/files/assets/common/downloads/files/4-2-sosteric.pdf.
  13. Bidney, Martin. “Epiphany in Autobiography: The Quantum Changes of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 60, no. 5 (May 2004): 471–80.
  14. Miller, William R, and Janet C’de Baca. Quantum Change: When Epiphanies and Sudden Insights Transform Ordinary Lives. New York: The Guildford Press, 2001. https://amzn.to/2D1gYZo.
  15. Bien, Thomas H. “Quantum Change and Psychotherapy.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, no. 5 (2004): 493.
  16. Sosteric, Mike. Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press., 2016.
  17. Ruyle, Eugene E. “Mode of Production and Mode of Exploitation: The Mechanical and the Dialectical.” Dialectical Anthropology 1, no. 1 (1975): 7–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00244565.
  18. Ruyle, Eugene E. “Mode of Production and Mode of Exploitation: The Mechanical and the Dialectical.” Dialectical Anthropology 1, no. 1 (1975): 7–23. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00244565.
  19. See Sosteric, Mike.“A Sociology of Tarot.” Canadian Journal of Sociology 39, no. 3 (2014). https://www.academia.edu/25055505/.
  20. Harner, Michael. Cave and Cosmos: Shamanic Encounters with Another Reality. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2013.

Contact the author at michael [ @ ] lightningpath.org