Archive for the 'Mysticism' Category

evidence of Collective Unconscious (Archetypal) Memory

Posted by Pelgrim on 6th June 2010

Empirical Study of Associations Between Symbols and Their Meanings: Evidence of Collective Unconscious (Archetypal) Memory Related Papers

D. H. Rosen, M.D. , S. M. Smith, Ph.D. , H. L. Huston, B.A and G. Gonzalez, B.A

College Station, Texas

D. H. Rosen, M.D. Professor of Analytical Psychology, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, and Professor of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A & M University. Author of numerous publications, and general editor of Fay Book Series in Analytical Psychology. In private practice. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

S. M. Smith, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychology, Texas A & M University. Author of numerous publications on human memory research. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

H. L. Huston, B.A Second-year graduate student in clinical psychology (PhD) programme, Texas A & M University. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.

G. Gonzalez, B.A Texas A & M University. Address: Department of Psychology, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, Texas 77843, USA.


Jung postulated the existence of a collective unconscious that is common to all members of the human family (Jung 8, par. 3), and he makes a distinction between the personal unconscious ‘and an impersonal or transpersonal … collective unconscious because it is detached from anything personal [and is entirely universal]’ (Jung 4, par. 103).

Jung further posited that the collective unconscious contained archetypes: ancient motifs and predispositions to patterns of behaviour that manifest symbolically as archetypal images in dreams, art, or other cultural forms (Jung 10). Harry Prochaska writes:

An archetypal symbol rises from the deepest layers of the unconscious…. The archetypal quality in those instances where it occurs is recognized by the sense that the expression transcends specificities of time and space and ‘speaks’ to common human experiences…. Cultural expressions must transcend the boundaries of their own cultures to become genuine archetypal symbols which are recognizable as such in other times and in other places. (Prochaska 17).

We can infer that associated with the collective unconscious is a collective or archetypal memory that has its basis in biololgy, a result of the psychic evolution which parralels physical evolution.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]


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Brain waves and oneness experience

Posted by Pelgrim on 16th October 2009

What follows is an excerpt from a television program aired on October 7th, 2009 by German television station ZDF. It takes a skeptical viewpoint in trying to debunk God and Faith. They also address an interesting scientific experiment which tries to research what happens in the brain during deep meditation in which the state of oneness is experienced by the believer. The program brings this up in an attempt to give a natural explanation of a deep devotional experience. The problem is however that the program misses the deep mystery of consciousness, especially the duality of a brain wave field created by the matter of our neurons and how in this experiment synchronized wave patterns produce a perception of being at one with the underlying reality of our universe, which in turn is also based on a matter/wave duality.

When our brain wants us to focus on certain parts of our visual perception, neurons in the prefrontal cortex fire in unison and send signals to the visual cortex to do the same in order to become synchronized, directing our focus of attention. Source

During meditation we do not focus our sensory perception, still our brain waves become nearly completely synchronized by which the boundaries between inside and outside dissolve.

Science and religion has a hard time understanding the paradox of Jesus the God-Man, uniting two perfect natures in one person, fully divine and fully human, one in essence.

The skeptical view:

Abenteur Forschung
Brain Research Brain and God

Is faith measurable?
Every year millions of believers go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the hope of a cure, and all united in the belief in the power of a miracle. In 1858 in the grotto Massabielle the Virgin Mary appeared several times to the peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous. A vision, a fantasy, a perceptual illusion? Researchers are on the trail of the phenomenon. They want to find out exactly what happens when such a phenomenon occurs, and how faith can actually be created. Visions or apparitions are a particularly intense form of spiritual experience. Faith is apparently widespread in many different cultures as a universal principle. Does Faith have a material basis?Researchers are now looking in the brain for measurable traces of faith and religiosity. Experiments suggest that certain areas are more active in the brain during religious experiences than others.

What happens during a vision?
Meditation Is the brain of a believer distinct from that of non-believers, and how does our brain work, while we believe? During an observation brain researcher observe nuns during prayer in MRI. The aim is to find out what events occur in the brain during intense spiritual meditation, prayer, and if that leaves specific traces, so to speak, religiosity has a “place in the brain.” The comparison is striking: The brain of a person in prayer is different from a non-worshipers. The result: The activity of the brain during prayer varies by region. Fast passive is the center, with which we orientate ourselves in space and perceive. It is surprising that this region is supplied much less with blood during the prayer than, say, in resting subjects who do not pray. Some researchers see in this shut down of orientation the reason why prayer is often perceived as closeness to God.

The art of meditation
The Interest of science for Buddhist monks. In Buddhism meditation has for 2000 years placed meditation at its center. Many experienced monks train their brains in their lives often more than 10,000 hours. They describe their feelings as “one with the environment”, the borders to the outside world seem resolved.

That makes researchers interested. As neurophysiologists measure the brain waves of a monk in meditation, they are surprised: The brain waves vibrate remarkably uniform at a certain frequency. Die researchers draw the following conclusions from it: stimuli from our sense organs lead to nerve cells which continue to corresponding brain centers, there arises the perception of our surroundings. During the meditation changes the pattern. The derived excitation now shows nearly synchronized waves. A condition which probably completely changes the perception.
This provides the explanation for the brain researcher of what the monks during meditation experience: that the boundary between interior and exterior dissolves. This creates the feeling of being in complete harmony with the environment.

A matter of faith
Some scholars see in these results also a clue for the explanation of religious phenomena. As potential triggers they suspect specific excitation patterns in the brain. Some even go so far that they think they can selectively induce such visions. A converted helm is the ultimate tool for their experiment: It generates a weak magnetic field, and aims to stimulate such a small target area of the brain. The subjects should describe directly, which results in internal images. Some indeed report religious phenomena, others see mysterious luminous phenomena in the sky, UFOs or even extraterrestrial visitors. Again the images are determined by the individual cultural background. For example only those who have a strong religious commitment report corresponding appearances.

Source: ZDF Abenteur Forchung

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The Life’s house

Posted by Pelgrim on 26th March 2009

“Teacher”, the pupil said, “when I venture on the path of the spiritual journey what will happen to my life’s house?”

The teachter paused to scoop water from the brook and after a pause looked at the pupil and said “Our house will be shaken to its very foundations upon what it is build, it will come tumbling down around us. When we move on the contours of our old house are fading and instead we experience the promise of a house and a whole city without walls. The struggle is that our eye cannot perceive the air separating the inside from the outside, but that is just the illusion we cling on to.

To unearth the vision that lies beyond our grasp and reunite the light of the eye to its true source that shines brighter as a thousand suns and still is kinder than the sun in the sky.”

From a work in progress based on Psalm 119, 54
- working title “Songs from the wilderness””, H. Blum

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The field of trouble

Posted by Pelgrim on 24th October 2008

Confronted with the grief of a student over the distress that has befallen him, the student asked him “why teacher, doesn’t the love of God protect us from harm?”

The teacher looked in the distance and answered “As his word teaches everything in life returns to us, so that should direct our ways. In life everything that befalls us is an opportunity to learn and I needed still a lot to learn about the essence of life as in His love He gave me many opportunities to learn. Sometimes a lesson is painful and only that pain can occupy our mind. If we widen our view the necessity to learn presents itself.
We are never alone in our times of distress. The field of trouble is also a door of hope as long as we allow His light to penetrate our darkness.”

From a work in progress based on Psalm 119, 54
- working title “Songs from the wilderness”", H. Blum 

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Michelangelo - reflections

Posted by Pelgrim on 9th September 2008

I read in the past about a letter of Michelangelo in which he tried to describe to one of his supporters the immanent nature of God in creation by the following analogy:

Place a candle between two mirrors, how many reflections do you see?

I am still looking for the original source of that analogy. Help is appreciated.

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do not say ‘water-water’

Posted by Pelgrim on 8th September 2008

The Talmud tells of four sages who entered the “Pardes,” the mystical orchard of spiritual elevation reached only through intense meditation and Kabbalistic contemplations. The greatest of the four, Rabbi Akiva, said to the others before entering, “When you come to the place of pure marble stone, do not say ‘water-water’, for it is said, ‘He who speaks lies shall not stand before my eyes.’” The Ari z”l explains that the place of “pure marble stone” is where the higher and the lower waters unite. Here one must not call out ‘water-water,’ as if to divide the higher and lower waters. “The place of pure marble stone” is the place of truth–the Divine power to bear two opposites simultaneously; in the words of Rabbi Shalom ben Adret: “the paradox of paradoxes.” Here “the exaltation of God” and His “closeness” to man unite with the “lowliness of man” and his “distance” from God.


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Posted by Pelgrim on 27th July 2008

“Teacher” said the pupil “Why is it that the most zealous in the search for God’s Kingdom are capable of the most horrific extremes and rigid legalism?”

That, my son, is like this pond; what do you see when you look into it?”

“I see myself, teacher”  

 Now what do you see if you hit the water with your stick?

“then, teacher, I only see troubled water!”

That my son is the problem with the mirror of the soul.

From a work in progress based on Psalm 119, 54 - working title Songs from the wilderness, H. Blum 

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Ketubbah le-Shavuot by poet Israel Majara

Posted by Pelgrim on 4th April 2008

Ketubbah le-Shavuot by poet Israel Majara (c.1550-c.1625)

the day appointed by the Lord for the revelation of the Torah to His beloved people…. The Invisible One came forth from Sinai, shone from Seit and appeared from Mount Paran unto all the kings of the earth, in the year 2448 since the creation of the world, the era by which we are accustomed to reckon in this land whose foundations were upheld by God….

The Bridegroom [God], Ruler of rulers, Prince of princes, Distinguished among the select, Whose mouth is pleasing and all of Whom is delightful, said unto the pious, lovely and virtuous maiden [the people of Israel] who won His favor above all women, who is beautiful as the moon, radiant as the sun, awesome as bannered hosts: Many days wilt thou be Mine and I will be thy Redeemer. Behold, I have sent thee golden precepts through the lawgiver Jekuthiel [Moses]. Be thou My mate according to the law of Moses and Israel, and I will honor, support, and maintain thee and be thy shelter and refuge in everlasting mercy. And I will set aside for thee, in lieu of thy virginal faithfulness, the life-giving Torah by which thou and thy children will live in health and tranquility. This bride [Israel] consented and became His spouse. Thus an eternal covenant, binding them forever, was established between them.

The Bridegroom then agreed to add to the above all future expositions of Scripture, including Sifra, Sifre, Aggadah, and Tosefta. He established the primacy of the 248 positive commandments which are incumbent upon all…. and added to them the 365 negative commandments. The dowry that this bride brought from the house of her father consists of a heart that understands, ears that hearken, and eyes that see. Thus the sum total of the contract and the dowry, with the addition of the positive and negative commandments, amounts to the following: “Revere God and observe His commandments; this applies to all mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12.13). The Bridegroom, desiring to confer privileges upon His people Israel and to transmit these valuable assets to them, took upon Himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, to be paid from the best portions of His property….

All these conditions are valid and established forever and ever. The Bridegroom has given His oath to carry them out in favor of His people and to enable those that love Him to inherit substance. Thus the Lord has given His oath. The Bridegroom has followed the legal formality of symbolic delivery of this document, which is bigger than the earth and broader than the seas. Everything, then, is firm, clear, and established… I invoke heaven and earth as reliable witnesses. May the Bridegroom rejoice with the bride whom He has taken as His lot and may the bride rejoice with the Husband of her youth while uttering words of praise.

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Shavout - feast of weeks

Posted by Pelgrim on 4th April 2008

Shavuot (or Shavuos, in Ashkenazi usage; lit. “Festival of Weeks”) is a Jewish holiday that occurs on the sixth day of the Hebrew month of Sivan (late May or early June). It marks the conclusion of the Counting of the Omer and the day the Torah was given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It is one of the shalosh regalim, the three Biblical pilgrimage festivals.

The date of Shavuot is directly linked to that of Passover. The Torah mandates the seven-week Counting of the Omer, beginning on the second day of Passover and immediately followed by Shavuot. This counting of days and weeks is understood to express anticipation and desire for the Giving of the Torah. On Passover, the Jewish people were freed from their enslavement to Pharaoh; on Shavuot they accepted the Torah and became a nation committed to serving God.

Shavuot has many aspects and as a consequence is called by several names in the Torah. These include Festival of Weeks, Hag ha-Shavuot, Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10); Festival of Reaping, Hag ha-Katsir, Exodus 23:16), and Day of the First Fruits, Yom ha-Bikkurim, Numbers 28:26). The Mishnah and Talmud refer to Shavuot as Atzeret (a solemn assembly), as it provides closure for the festival activities during and following the holiday of Passover. Since Shavuot occurs 50 days after Passover, Christians gave it the name Pentecost (”fiftieth day”). Wikipedia

This is considered a time for self-examination and repentance, during which one avoids exuberance. On the very first Shavuot, the Creator revealed Himself to Israel as a nation, in a mass epiphany, that briefly welded the six hundred three thousand+ souls of Israel into one united consciousness, where each soul was concerned only for the others, with no thought for itself. To stress the unity of this experience, the Torah describes Israel in the singular “VaYachan Mul HaHar” (and IT) [rather than they] camped opposite the mount. A beautiful, rabbinical expression for this inner disposition is, “K’ish Echad, U’B'lev Echad” (as one man and with one heart). In this atmosphere of awe of the Creator,
and love for others, Israel accepted the Torah (the blueprint of Creation) and the commandments therein, unconditionally (Na’asseh V’Nishma), as its eternal law. One of the most important implications of having received the Torah as an absolute obligation is that, as far as obedience is concerned, it precludes initiative. While we can struggle to understand and interpret to our hearts contents, we are not allowed to add to Torah, or detract one jot from it.

In many Sephardic congregations, prior to the Torah reading on the first day of Shavuot, a ketubbah le-Shavuot (marriage certificate for Shavuot) is read, as a symbolic betrothal of God and His people Israel. The terminology of this piyyut (medieval poem), in its various versions, strongly recalls that of the traditional prenuptial document (specifying the conditions agreed upon between the two parties; known as tena’im) or the marriage certificate given by the bridegroom to the bride at the wedding ceremony, known as ketubbah).

The hymns which compose this ketubbah le-Shavuot are based on the verses: “I will betroth you unto Me forever; I will betroth you unto Me in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in compassion. And I will betroth you unto Me in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord” (Hosea 2:21-22); and “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel” (Jeremiah 31:31).

Shavout - I will betroth thee forever...Some texts describe the marriage as being solemnized symbolically between the Torah (the bride) and the people of Israel (the bridegroom). God, as the bride’s father, gives as dowry the 613 commandments, the Bible, Talmud, and other sacred writings. Moses presents as dowry to his son (the people of Israel) the prayer shawl and phylacteries, the Sabbath and festivals. The contracts are witnessed by God and His servant Moses.

In other versions the “Prince of princes and the Ruler of rulers” presents the Torah to the bride as dowry and in His love He gives her the Oral Law as an added portion. The bride responds affectionately,”We shall do and we shall hearken.” The contract is dated the sixth day of the month of Sivan, in the year 2448 from the creation — according to tradition the day on which the torah was given. The Mishnah1 comments that the wedding day of King Solomon (Song of Songs 3:11) refers to the day of the giving of the Torah. The heavens and the earth witness the marriage certificate.

The most widely used text of a ketubbah le-Shavuot is that of the prolific Safed mystic and poet Israel Majara (c.1550-c.1625). Many of his piyyutim are founded in the liturgy of oriental Jews. This hymn is included in the Sephardic prayerbook for Shavuot.

1 Taanit 4:8

From: The Shavuot Anthology, ed. Philip Goodman (Jewish Publication Society of America, 1974, 1992).Translated by Solomon Feffer. 

Jewish Heritage Online Magazine - calandar

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Do not I fill heaven and earth?

Posted by Pelgrim on 18th November 2007

Jer 23:23 [Am] I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

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