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Old 09-17-2005, 11:00 PM   #55
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,568
Re: Omoto-kyo Theology

David is not specific about which theme of the quoted definitions he wishes us to focus upon. I will hazard a guess that many who read it may unfortunately focus upon the following:

David Valadez wrote:
1 Of or relating to religious mysteries or occult rites and practices.
4 a Mysterious; strange.
b Enigmatic; obscure.

3 Vague, groundless speculation.
2: obscure or irrational thought
But the ground of mystical experience has been notable for the many common elements in its description across cultures. Current research has found empirical neurological evidence that meditation does indeed involve an other than ordinary experience at aneuorlogical level. See for instance:

Dr. Andrew Newberg, a professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, undertook a radilogical examination of the neurological basis of mystical expereince. subject included a Catholic nun and a and practioner of Tibetan Buddhist meditation. He later wrote a book outlining called "Why God Won't Go Way"
One subject, typical in feeling to the rest, described his experience at the time of the neurological investigation thus:

"There was a feeling of energy centered within me... going out to infinite space and returning... There was a relaxing of the dualistic mind, and an intense feeling of love. I felt a profound letting go of the boundaries around me, and a connection with some kind of energy and state of being that had a quality of clarity, transparency and joy. I felt a deep and profound sense of connection to everything, recognizing that there never was a true separation at all."

I challenge ayone to compare the report of this experience to O-Sensei's own report of his three revelatory episodes.

At the time of this reported subjective experience, the radiological examination revealed two significant facts, that the attentional center of the brain was extraordinarily active, and the orientation center of the brain ( which knows where "I" stops and everything else begins) was abnormally inactive.

Lest anyone think this a crock or one- off study, other studies have found similar brain activity changes in religious and mystical experience.

The short answer is that mystical experience is both subjectively and objectively real experience. It is as empirically verifiable in its neurological occurrence in the brain as the difference in seeing red and tasting sour. It is undeniably repeatable; similar techniques have been taught and similar experiences reported in cultures around the world for countless centuries.

It is also an experience maddeningly evasive of content, famously described by the anonymous English mystic as the "Cloud of Unknowing." How does one describe "this" experience in terms of "that" experience, when the experience itself is defined by the loss of the this/that distinction.

This is why people create myth. They have a very real, and very intense experience that is incapable of description by ordinary means. At the same time it is subjectively perceived as a having profound meaning. It is as real and immediate to the percipient as catching an inflamed hangnail or stubbing your foot on the door.

Myth is a way to try to talk about and to communicate to others in language what is, quite literally, unspeakable in itself. This is also why any mythological system is, in and of itself, ultimately inadequate to describe the real experience.

In the practice of the Way of Harmony, O-Sensei set up a martial art (maximizing the attentional faculties) and which trains to make the Attacker and Attacked gradually become less readily distinguishable (eliminating the perceived difference in subject and object). This practice communicates the enlargement of the sense of self beyond the sphere of ego, without the necessity of mediating language.

As I have said before, the work works on us.

Erick Mead
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