Note: My maya-gaia website, evolving since 1997, is a chronicle of my passing all considered opinion
through the lens of my Nirvikalpa Samadhi with both an open-mind and healthy skepticism.

Approaches to the question of what is reality,
enlightenment and consciousness?

Arguing phenomenal theories of mind- In contemporary philosophy physicalism is most frequently associated with philosophy of mind, in particular the mind/body problem, in which it holds that the mind is a physical thing in all senses. In other words, all that has been ascribed to "mind" is more correctly ascribed to "brain". Physicalism is also called "materialism", but the term "physicalism" is preferable because it has evolved with the physical sciences to incorporate far more sophisticated notions of physicality than matter, for example wave/particle relationships and non-material forces produced by particles.

The hard problem of consciousness by David Chalmers but see Center for Cognitive Studies Daniel C. Dennett expresses doubts that Chalmer's separation of hard and easy problems of consciousness is helpful.

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences by Max Velmans, 2007 Abstract: Where dualists believe that experiences have neither location nor extension, while reductive and ‘non-reductive’ physicalists (biological naturalists) believe that experiences are really in the brain, producing an apparent impasse in current theories of mind. Enactive and reflexive models of perception try to resolve this impasse with a form of "externalism" that challenges the assumption that experiences must either be nowhere or in the brain. However, they are externalist in very different ways. Insofar as they locate experiences anywhere, enactive models locate conscious phenomenology in the dynamic interaction of organisms with the external world, and in some versions, they reduce conscious phenomenology to such interactions, in the hope that this will resolve the hard problem of consciousness. The reflexive model accepts that experiences of the world result from dynamic organism-environment interactions, but argues that such interactions are preconscious. While the resulting phenomenal world is a consequence of such interactions, it cannot be reduced to them. The reflexive model is externalist in its claim that this external phenomenal world, which we normally think of as the "physical world", is literally outside the brain.

Arguing trans-consciousness theories- Ontology The part God plays is the subject of the classical philosophies of Plato and Aristotle. Descartes is transitional and says- "God"' is to be construed as "Reality" but once he has got him out of his solipsistic prison, his role is small. God made Descartes, and can be relied on not to deceive him, but otherwise leaves him alone, to get on with mathematics and natural science on his own. With Kant, Spinoza, Leibniz, et al the Ontological arguments merge with the Cosmological system and metaphysics.

All non-dual traditions and their post-modern derivatives go beyond merely defining ultimate reality to propose methods by which it can be experienced. Within some, the concept arose early-on that our mind is the agency which clouds over absolute consciousness (Atman/Brahman)- and under the spell of Maya creates the illusion of a material world. In particular- Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, a sage whose teachings are derived mainly from Vedanta and Advaita- teaches a path of self-inquiry or jnana yoga by which realization is to be attained by becoming progressively aware of a body of (sic) irrefutable properties of consciousness.

But some of the "facts" from which he draws his fundamental propositions seem open to question, such as- the apprehensions of our wakeful minds are no more real than those of our dreams. This conclusion rests solely in the similarity in the felt reality of events in each dimension but ignores the infinite dissimilarities between the two conditions. In another leap of logic- our memory of remembering nothing in deep sleep is evidence that it is equivalent to an experience of ultimate consciousness. Some of the absolutes of defining what is real is that it is unchanging, permanent and infinite which patently disqualifies our bodies and minds and the entire material universe- certifying the reality of Maya through a circular logic. Realization is attained through an intellectual yoga that constitutes a process of Sahaja samadhi. This is vastly superior to the temporary "trance" of Nirvikalpa samadhi of the perennial non-dual tradition of Moksha (nor is it a transcendent gift or gracing) because in Sahaja a natural opening (or death) of the mind occurs resulting in a permanent "experience" of ultimate consciousness or "self" wherein all bad vasanas are shed and we become fully realized.

Another sage of a more Tantric tradition, Sri Aurobindo, offers another jnana yoga and is disparaging of both the "trance" of samahdi and the principle of Maya and teaches an integral discipline for enlightenment by realization of the Supermind.

From Zarathustra to Ken Wilber [Scribd Preview] Lives and Works of Prominent Mystical Philosophers by Desiderio Valacco.

Periphyseon [Scribd Preview] Unravelled the secrets of exsistence and transcendence by John Scottus Eriugena part 1-3, English translation.

Arguing integral spirituality theories- see Ken Wilber - creating a body of post-modern philosophy whose goal is to attain a plausible reality paradigm which synthesizes science, metaphysics, ontology and phemenology. A number of disciplined approaches such as Transpersonal Psychology, New Physics and Consciousness Sciences are evolving various Theories of Everything (TOE) that attempt to quantify many of the ephemeral features in the non-dual philosophical landscape. I have yet to really examine any of these approaches as they seem way over my head- so I will simply refer my readers to Google various terms such as 'integral spirituality', 'consciousness science', 'transpersonal psychology', 'new physics', 'quantum consciousness', etc.

Integral Spirituality by Ken Wilber, 2007. Direct link to Wilber's chapter passionately critical of Erwin Laszlo's Science and the Akahic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything, 2007 plus Fred Alan Wolf, system theory, holograms, quantum vacums- charging that all are symptoms of boomeritis and an expression of imperialistic (egocentric) crusades and personal narcissism.

The Integrationalists and the Non-Dualists by Peter Holleran - a thesis presented as an imaginary conversation between contrasting points of view on the relationship between realization and transformation. Presented in excerpts that Maya-Gaia finds especially useful for integrating the Nirvikalpa Samadhi experience particularly in regards to support for the theme I put forth in The Godhead Experience and elsewhere that awakening is not an award for right practice of jnana or bhakti or any other yoga but is an unqualified gift of God's grace that appears to arise in synchronicity with a state of absolute desirelessness (and subsequent free-will to surrender).

SAMADHI ANECDOTAL ACCOUNTS Examples of the variety of scenarios that manifest in the state of duality that precurses the transformation of consciousness into the non-dual state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi and how these projections can color whatever realization paradigm the experiencer may compose.

SAHAJA AND JIVANMUKTA QUESTIONS- a further examination of Hindu and Non-Hindu views of Jivanmukti and the identity and character of the supreme samadhi.

MORE LINKS TO INSIGHTS TO SAMADHI- which are essentially distinct from NDEs or OOBs in that consciousness tends to manifest the non-dual and contentless nature that characterizes the state of nirvikalpa samadhi



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