Self-Transcending Experience (Narrative & Analysis): Part 2 from Administrator's blog

Background Motivations for My Views on Consciousness (by Chris Nunn): Abstract: I wish to show here that my theories, and my life in general, have been greatly constrained (though I would say enlarged) by a few, brief and unusual experiences. Equally clearly, the content of the experiences reflected to some extent my cultural and personal history. Can they be regarded as no more than a culturally determined curiosity, perhaps a bit like the dancing manias of the Middle Ages or the recent epidemic of ‘alien abduction’ experiences? My personal answer to that question is: ‘No. The experiences truly reflected aspects of Reality that we don’t often perceive and the culturally determined part of their content was just the icing on the cake – how Reality was able to express itself within my particular, very limited mind.’ That’s why I feel it has not been a waste of my time to try to build ideas that promise to integrate experiences of this sort with more mainstream Western understandings, for theories foster observations and, thus, sooner or later, fuller appreciation of truths about ourselves and our world.

How Often or How Rarely Does A Self-Transcending Experience Occur? (by Syamala Hari): Abstract: Almost always, the self is involved in our perception of the world, thinking, and actions, but it does momentarily step aside now and then. I describe below a few of my experiences of self-transcendence that seem quite ordinary with nothing mysterious about them and they are all of short duration. To explain how the self is present or not in an experience, I describe some properties characteristic of the self such as its sense of personal identity and ownership of action. Manifestation of these properties in an experience indicates the presence of the self and absence of these properties indicates its absence. In an act of observation, full attention paid to what is being observed seems to push every thought, including the self, out of the conscious mind and keep it fully occupied with the act of observation. A characteristic property of the self-transcendent state seems to be that one can only recognize such a state as being free from self, but one cannot prove that it is so because the outward effect of the state may be the same as that of an alternative state where the self is present.

Self-Transcendence as a Developmental Process in Consciousness (by Roland Cichowski): Abstract: After an introduction describing certain difficulties in relating the nature of self-transcending experiences, I give a narrative description of three successive episodes in which a certain relationship and development over time can be discerned. This is followed by a discussion of the impact they have had over the course of my lifetime together with observations on how they have affected my outlook. These experiences have led me to the view that it is more likely that it is consciousness generating the illusion of a material reality than a material reality generating consciousness. I consider self-transcendence to be understood as a stage in the development of the consciousness of each human being, and ultimately in the development of humanity as a whole.

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