PERSPECTIVE is largely a matter of everyday conditioning

by Terry 37 Replies latest jw friends

  • trevor

    You see Terry,

    your reply says so much about your approach to things of the mind. You seem to be stuck in one gear playing the same song over and over. That is to say you approach all of life’s challenges in the same way like a mechanic who thinks that he can fix anything with his tool kit. Anything that does not fit in with your preconceptions is attacked and dismissed.

    You have done what you were trained to do as a Jehovah’s Witness. You find an obscure and remarkable story of someone with a grapefruit sized tumour in his brain and then by association rubbish the idea of meditation. You then add that, ‘Smiling, drooling and utter bliss come at quite a cost no matter how you get there.’

    Where on earth did you get your idea of meditation from?

    The fact that meditation has been abused by religious gurus and not benefited a man with a brain tumour is not a rational argument for avoiding meditation or other altered states of consciousness. The young hippie guy who went to a Hare Krishna commune find his bliss, was clearly misguided.

    The purpose of mindful meditation is not to find bliss but to place the mind in a state of heightened awareness and concentration that allows greater access to our whole mind and emotional responses. Our mind has many gears and there are many types of meditation.

    I have worked for many years as a psychotherapist using among other things the tool of hypnosis. I can assure you that your fixed idea of how your brain works is very limited and ignores your total minds potential.

    I take many highly intelligent, yet sceptical people like you through therapy. They come to me because their lives have led them into a cul-de-sac and are unable to think their way out of the pain and frustration that they live with.

    Cognitive therapy, which would appeal to you, is very useful. At the same time, teaching the person concerned to expand their mind allowed them to approach their problems from a different perspective. Teaching them to be able to put their mind into a different state of consciousness helped them to change their lives. They do not drool or grow brain tumors.

    The changes they achieve are so outstanding that my clients come to me through recommendation from many professional people including doctors.

    You are able to dismantle and rebuild most of the illusionary ideas that this world likes to entertain, with stunning clarity and logic. This though is only one brain function - the application of logic combined with a good memory.

    It is shame that you have such fixed views about how the mind works. To be intelligent with a highly developed logical mind is commendable. To be brilliant requires engaging the whole mind which is more than just linear thinking.

    I shall continue to enjoy your posts and the ‘logic absolute’ that your type of mind brings to this board.

  • Open mind
    Open mind

    Eagerly awaiting Terry's reply. I can identify with both perspectives very much. I'm looking forward to, hopefully, an informative, respectful dialogue.

    Terry, I have a question for you:

    Have you ever REALLY given meditation a fair shake?

    Or has it always been from the JW-trained perspective. I think back on my days of JW omniscience when I would confidently tell someone at the door, "Yes, I've carefully examined all the world's major religions and none of them have as much to offer as the JWs." or something like that. My "careful examination" did include more than the "Mankind's Search for God" book. But, as a JW, my examination was always with the biased approach of "what can I find wrong with this religion". Don't get me wrong, I still don't 100% embrace ANY religion, but I can see SOME good points in just about any one.

    "Meditation and turning off one's thoughts is not an achievement. Sure, it will relax you."

    That right there is a pretty good reason to further investigate it.

    Here's a video link to a lecture and Q&A session by film director David Lynch at UC Berkeley a couple years ago. It's about 1.5 hrs long. It peaked my interest in meditation. When/if you have the time/desire I highly recommend it. He has bought into a particular "brand" but he doesn't try cramming it down anyone's throat.


    p.s. I love my JWD initials.


  • lalliv01

    Terry asks:

    Is it possible--ever--to escape our perspective?

    Terry,I don't believe that we can escape our perspective, no! But I do believe we can and should change our perspective when appropriate. I find that when something happens in my life that brings sadness or disappointment to me, if I just remember to take the perspective that in a few years I'm going to be gone and that nothing bad that is now making me feel bad is going to matter then, I begin to heal.

    I remember when my son scratched my new automobile with his bike, oh how that scratch hurt me (this happened some 30 years ago). I was so angry with my son and I was sad and quite depressed. My defense to this unhappiness was to remember that that car was someday going to be an ugly piece of junk, no sense in wallowing in that, at the time, present day depression.

    I suppose perspective is what we can make of it, sort of like walking a mile in someone else's shoes.

  • Homerovah the Almighty
    Homerovah the Almighty

    Interesting post Terry

    I would have to say as for myself, I was raised a JW from birth, so the blinders were certainly in place as I was growing up, when I did finally remove them

    as a young adult I guess you could say I was a doubtful agnostic, now I'm a critically minded atheist.

    To this day I'm very glad that I did take the blinders off, for the reason it let myself digest what was really out there for my own eyes to see,

    and draw my own conclusions on subjects, the effort was certainly worthwhile.

    After scrutinizing many religious beliefs I personal have come to the conclusion that any spiritual belief of any variety is potentially damaging and counter productive

    in a humanitarian sense.

    It is my sincere hope and desire that others too will finally remove the blinders and accept reality for what it is, it would truly make it a benefit for all.

  • Terry
    The purpose of mindful meditation is not to find bliss but to place the mind in a state of heightened awareness and concentration that allows greater access to our whole mind and emotional responses. Our mind has many gears and there are many types of meditation.

    If you turn on your TV or Radio and tune it in-between stations you get white noise. In other words: no content.

    Meditation is tuning your mind to no content.

    This is heightened "awareness"?

    Awareness of........what? Awareness is content driven.

    Intelligence is specficity driven.

    The non-specificity of meditation is as relaxing as the white noise of the TV between stations.

    The above box quote makes claims for "heightened awareness" which "allows greater access to our whole mind and emotional responses."

    Sounds good, doesn't it? But, when you go from the general claims to the specifics of particulars the entire testimonial collapses into sweet nothings.

    Our brain makes our mind possible because the chemistry needs a place to happen. But, the access question is a kind of mechanical metaphor which we might want to reconsider.

    Access to our "whole mind and emotional responses" would actually mean what, exactly??

    Our information and our response (physically) to the values we place on that information (emotion) are not a matter of access. It is a matter of intelligent organization toward a purpose.

    What do I mean?

    When we encounter information it is our personal responsibility to vet that information and dismantle it and place the various parts where they belong. An organized thinker knows what he is putting where. A disorganized thinker is merely receiving everything equally and the "processing" is passive/not active.

    The untidy condition of our mind is a disorganizing principle. It comes from failures to vet, sort, correctly lable and store what we will consider data.

    Meditation won't help!

    It is a whole lot like rushing to make an appointment and forgetting where you left your car keys. You just didn't pay attention in the first place. You didn't have just ONE PLACE where the keys are supposed to go. You have a habit of leaving them darn near anyplace and you lose them.

    Meditation may, in that instance, be like sitting calmly in a chair and going over in your mind all the possibilities. But--really now!

    Organizing your mind is a far, far better strategy!!

    Emotions, by the way, follow our value system exactly. If we consciously assign values to everything we are never at the affect of misunderstood "feelings" we can't sort out.

    No, I'm afraid being untidy, disorganized and random are not optimum ways of thinking and using your brain.

    Tuning between stations so you can find all the station is just a silly notion.

    Wild claims can be made for any practice. The reality of it comes down to this. People who claim a greater awareness are touting a subjectivity and not an objectivity.

    I've had friends who told me, for instance, they can "understand" music so much better when they are smoking marijuana. Well, they certainly think and feel like they do subjectively. However, realistically speaking--they cannot come up with a comprehensible demonstration of fact which belies such "understanding". No, I'm afraid it is subjective masturbation posing as supra-reality.

    Meditate away. I won't hold it against anybody. Do as you please and claim what you will.

    There are folks who think they can "Learn while they sleep" by playing CD's as they snooze which "teach" this and that.

    They fool themselves, of course. We all know why too. You must actively work at concentration on SPECIFICS in order to sort and store meaningful content in the brain.

    There are no shortcuts to knowledge, fact or understanding. No. Only claims.

    Meditation is a fuzzy procedure with fuzzy claims which cannot be tested.

  • Caedes


    In certain parts of the world, for example, people eat monkey brains by trapping a live monkey in a special table and then cracking open its skull and eating the contents! Yummy or disgusting? Normal to people who do it all the time; disgusting to the rest of us.

    Recounting legend as fact? That doesn't seem like you!

  • nicolaou

    ~~ settling down with a big bucket of popcorn to enjoy the Terry and Trevor show ~~

    Seriously guys, you both argue your case well - it's joy to see intelligent debate like this on the board.

  • OnTheWayOut

    Can we get a fresh and objective start on looking at Jesus, Christianity, other religions, or religion itself? Or, are we doomed to recycle variants, opinions, hearsays and prejudices parading as Truth??

    Some of both.

    In a country revolving around "Christian" morals and holidays, it is hard to imagine belief in many gods or
    still treating women as secondary citizens (...well, for some). The only real look at other religions in the
    U.S. is the "latest fad" look at Zen or Mysticism. Muslim conversion was a fad of decades ago here.
    Scientology is one of the more latest fads. Atheism was popular and still has many advocates.
    Right now (as well as in the past) it is popular to learn about Christianity from the "DaVinci Code" outlook-
    that we don't know everything about Jesus accurately, but just what the Roman Catholic Church passed on.

    It seems that there will always be some who don't follow the trends, though. A local ex-JW said
    "Jehovah's Witnesses make more people into atheists than any other following." Or some start examining
    a trend and learn on their own to make decisions based on their discoveries.

    I love when some say they are "spiritual" and not religious. Many of them attempt to understand the universe
    and enlighten themselves, but others just mean that YOU CANNOT CHALLENGE THEIR VIEWS because it
    is a personal thing.

    People are all over the map on this. I was in Greece in the 1980's on a tour of the Temples of the various gods.
    I asked a tour guide, "Does ANYONE still believe in these gods?" She laughed and quickly denied it. But
    today, some would quickly deny some of the mainstream religions and scoff at believers, priests, missionaries, etc.
    "You actually still believe ______, why? Think for yourself." I express my opinion when asked, but I try to
    be understanding. I say that I was in a mind-control cult for 2 decades, so how can I judge others for their beliefs?

    For me, my perspective is that Jesus was not what JW's taught me that he was. I am heavily influenced by the fact
    that I was wrong for so long. Now, I accept that most of the historians believe the man existed, but wasn't the
    legend that the Gospels made him out to be. Going back to King David, the same is probably true- an exaggerated
    legend of a man who stole the crown of an insignificant kingdom from Saul. Prior to David, much of the legend is
    total fabrication from slight truths or myths.

  • Terry


    In certain parts of the world, for example, people eat monkey brains by trapping a live monkey in a special table and then cracking open its skull and eating the contents! Yummy or disgusting? Normal to people who do it all the time; disgusting to the rest of us.

    Recounting legend as fact? That doesn't seem like you!

    I think it was around 1987 I watched that horrid film FACES OF DEATH in which the monkey brains were eaten!

    Your question made me go searching around the various websites.

    The varying opinions leave me wondering if what was depicted is actual or staged. I can't really say.

    THE STRAIGHT DOPE by Cecil Adams included this snippet:

    The customs guys shot a monkey out of the tree. You can't just shoot a monkey sitting in a tree, because they don't fall. They rot up there, hanging on. So first you shoot to get the monkey to jump. Then when he's scrambling, you shoot him & he'll fall.

    We don't see any monkeys in the tree & don't see one on the ground--we figured he missed & Tony was joking about lunch. A while later as we're leaving, the Indonesians near the boat shed have a beach fire going & are cooking something in a big pot--and on a tree we see a monkey skin.

    The driver taking us to the ferry terminal tells us that monkey meat is good. The brains are eaten raw, but he doesn't eat monkey ever since he saw one skinned--skinned ones look EXACTLY like human babies!

    OK, so they weren't eating the brains. But we've established that Asians eat monkeys they've killed on the spot. Inquiring later, Brooks was told that while consumption of monkey brains is now generally illegal, the Chinese still eat them whenever they can get away with it. What's more, he had a friend, D., whose father, a 'baba' (ethnic Chinese), had eaten monkey brains himself. Here's what D. says his father told him:

    The monkey's head was supported by its neck in a bracket, two pieces of wood with a semicircular hole on each side such that when you put them together, they form a complete circle around the animal's neck, allowing the head to be exposed above the plank. The hair around the head is shaven with a shaving razor. A small chisel and a hammer is used to quickly chisel a circle around the crown, and the top part of the skull is removed. A teaspoon is used to scoop up the brain, which is immediately eaten. This has to be done before the monkey dies.

    According to D., this happened in 1948 or '49. Pops, now deceased, was an eyewitness but didn't say whether he'd partaken of the brains himself. Possibly he was jerking his kid around, but I've heard enough similar stories to make me think this is legit. Brooks, at any rate, remains on the case. We'll let you know what else we find out.


  • Terry
    I love when some say they are "spiritual" and not religious. Many of them attempt to understand the universe
    and enlighten themselves, but others just mean that YOU CANNOT CHALLENGE THEIR VIEWS because it
    is a personal thing.

    Well, you hit the nail on the head.

    The Catholics only have to listen to the Majesterium of the Pope and Cardinals.

    The Protestants decide for themselves by going to the buffet table of divergent opinions.

    There is no actual there---there.

    You make it up as you go along and--if challenged---make up your hermenutics on the spot!

    Ahhhhh---religion. It is like any other fetish. It makes no sense specifically, yet--it gets the person suffering it very excited indeed!!

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