Spirituality & Light - What/Why the connection?

40 Replies, 7004 Views

"My Body is but Wax and Wick for Flame. When the Candle Burns Out, the Light Shines elsewhere."
  ~ Egyptian Book of the Dead

“Life is a pure flame and we live by an Invisible Sun within us.”
 ~ Thomas Browne

From Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality:

Quote:Luminosity and knowing are frequently mentioned together in mystical testimonies, which can suggest that the two have a basic connection and are not really distinct:

I lost all normal consciousness and became engulfed as it were in a great cloud of light and an ecstasy of knowing and understanding all the secrets of the Universe, and a sense of the utmost bliss in the absolute certainty of the perfection and piercing purity of goodness in the Being in whom it seemed all were finally enclosed, and yet in that enclosure utterly liberated.

(RERC No. 000514, in Beardsworth, 1977, p. 32)

The connection can be made explicitly too. Irina Starr (1991) experienced a light in the objects around her, a light that was “intelligent” in some way:

There was the luminous quality— a light which contained color in the way that a brilliant diamond refracts color, only this color seemed an integral part of the essential substance and not a form of refracted light. The one thing which was, above all, significant was that everything was literally alive; the light was living, pulsating, and in some way I could not quite grasp, intelligent. The true substance of all I could see was this living light, beautiful beyond words.


It is not just knowing that is inseparable from the light. There can be a fusion of qualities in which light, knowing, love, bliss, life, and timelessness come together. A mystical experience in natural surroundings brought a luminosity that united everything within itself:

“we flowed into, became, the great Golden Light— the rocks, trees, etc. and this ‘I’ were no longer just kindred separatenesses. We disappeared. We became the Light which is Love, Bliss. This Light was neither hot nor cold; but Love, Consciousness, Eternity, It”
 (J. P. W., in Johnson, 1959, p. 66).


It seems that luminosity, knowing, love, and bliss are so integral to the mystical consciousness that they are inseparable from it and one another.

What observations can be made on the above? If mystical experiences truly are metaphysical windows, then the reports suggest that luminous quality is fundamental to reality, an intrinsic characteristic of the world at large and of consciousness at its deeper levels. Some mystical accounts indicate that the world was not only flooded with luminosity but seemed to be made of it. While the ascription of experiential light qualities to the external world goes against common scientific and philosophical opinion, there is good reason to suppose that luminosity is no mere epiphenomenal “glow” generated by and confined to brain activity. Ever since early modern thinkers revived ancient atomism and banished “secondary qualities” from the universe, including color qualities, it has become a great mystery how the brain can support experience. However, if the brain is itself an intrinsically luminous structure, part of a luminous world, there is no puzzling mind– body gap between visual experience and the brain, and the problematic dualist split of mind and matter is eased in this regard.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 2 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • stephenw, Typoz
The final lines to Dante's Divine Comedy:

Quote:O everlasting Light, you dwell alone
      In yourself, know yourself alone, and known
          And knowing, love and smile upon yourself!
 
          That middle circle which appeared in you
          To be conceived as a reflected light,
          After my eyes had studied it a while,
     Within itself and in its coloring
          Seemed to be painted with our human likeness
          So that my eyes were wholly focused on it.
 
          As the geometer who sets himself
          To square the circle and who cannot find,
      For all his thought, the principle he needs,
 
          Just so was I on seeing this new vision
          I wanted to see how our image fuses
          Into the circle and finds its place in it,
 
          Yet my wings were not meant for such a flight —
      Except that then my mind was struck by lightning
          Through which my longing was at last fulfilled.
 
          Here powers failed my high imagination:
          But by now my desire and will were turned,
          Like a balanced wheel rotated evenly,

      By the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 3 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Red, Typoz, Oleo
Thank you, sci, your post brightened my day.
(This post was last modified: 2018-05-11, 12:27 AM by Oleo.)
[-] The following 3 users Like Oleo's post:
  • Hurmanetar, Typoz, Sciborg_S_Patel
This post has been deleted.
More from Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality

Quote:Mystical experiences, if windows on reality, suggest that color qualia are indeed intrinsic to objects, filling in their extended geometries. However, unlike Primitivists, we should not expect the intrinsic color qualia of objects to correspond closely or indeed at all to those experienced in sensory vision (Marshall, 2001). For one thing, visionary and mystical experiences can bring translucency, with objects divested of their opacity and the world now crystalline or gem-like in appearance. This phenomenon inspired Aldous Huxley (1999) to inquire “Why are precious stones precious?” in his talks on visionary experience (pp. 190– 209). Translucency is to be expected if objects are known directly, for there would be no obstruction to vision and no opaque surfaces. It follows that opaque colors will be absent, and hues, if present, will have a transparent quality, like colored crystals and beams of spectral light. As Starr (1991) observed, the luminosity out of which objects were made “contained color in the way that a brilliant diamond refracts color”

Quote:In the case of extrovertive mystical experiences, luminous phenomena include a bright light that completely obscures perception of the surroundings but brings special intuitions of the world, or which first obscures and then subsides to leave enhanced perceptions (Marshall, 2005, pp. 68– 71). The environment may look clear but unusually bright, or there can be a hazy brightness. Objects may appear to glow from the inside, and vision may seem to reach into them, as if they have become luminously transparent. In extreme cases, it can seem as if the universe has become translucent and open to view. The light may seem interior to the experiencer, exterior, or both, and it is sometimes associated with a “presence” or “being.” The light is very often white or golden, but other colors are reported too, especially in the early stages. Rainbow hues are occasionally experienced, and there can be sparkling effects.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2018-05-12, 05:28 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • stephenw
(2018-05-12, 05:28 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: More from Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality
I have been lucky to have the experience of being around large furnaces filled with high purity non-ferrous metal. They are particularly beautiful, like a sunset, when being filled.

I have always put a spiritual bent on the emotions evoked by seeing the swirling, translucent molten metal, glowing from the inside out.  Once, many years ago, I was stuck watching a newly installed furnace on a dimly lit factory floor.  The molten metal gave an aura of blue, from what I was told was an ionic charge.
[-] The following 4 users Like stephenw's post:
  • Hurmanetar, Typoz, Doug, Sciborg_S_Patel
Another passage from Beyond Physicalism:


Quote:St. Benedict of Nursia was once deep in prayer at the monastery of Monte Cassino when an extraordinary light appeared to him. It was nighttime, and the monks were sound asleep. Only Benedict was awake, keeping vigil high in the tower that he used as his quarters. As Benedict stood by a window and prayed to God, a great light flashed out from above and dispelled the darkness. But this was no ordinary radiance: it was brighter than the light of day and brought together the created world in its entirety, both heaven and earth. The cosmic vision, which nowadays would attract the label “mystical,” was joined by a more specific, “clairvoyant” perception. Gazing intently into the light, Benedict discerned what he took to be the soul of his friend Germanus, Bishop of Capua, carried aloft in a fiery sphere by angels. Benedict had a messenger sent to Capua, and it was found that at the time of the vision the Bishop had passed away.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 4 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Laird, Valmar, Oleo, Typoz
The above quote rreminds my of Charles Forts ideai of being transported tto the absolute ppositve.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Oleo's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel
Oleo:

The above quote rreminds my of Charles Forts ideai of being transported tto the absolute ppositve.

Hey Oleo, do you have a bit more detail on this? I got this from Sacred Texts Archive ->

Quote:We accept that Venus, for instance, has often been visited by other worlds, or by super-constructions, from which come ciders and coke and coal; that sometimes these things have reflected light and have been seen from this earth—by professional astronomers. It will be noted that throughout this chapter our data are accursed Brahmins—as, by hypnosis and inertia, we keep on and keep on saying, just as a good many of the scientists of the 19th century kept on and kept on admitting the power of the system that preceded them—or Continuity would be smashed. There's a big chance here for us to be instantaneously translated to the Positive Absolute—oh, well—


The Book of the Damned is also free on Amazon (in US), quick glance found this ->

Quote:I should say that our "existence" is like a bridge—except that that comparison is in static terms—but like the Brooklyn Bridge, upon which multitudes of bugs are seeking a fundamental—coming to a girder that seems firm and final—but the girder is built upon supports. A support then seems final. But it is built upon underlying structures. Nothing final can be found in all the bridge, because the bridge itself is not a final thing in itself, but is a relationship between Manhattan and Brooklyn. If our "existence" is a relationship between the Positive Absolute and the Negative Absolute, the quest for finality in it is hopeless: everything in it must be relative, if the "whole" is not a whole, but is, itself, a relation.
Quote:If it is our acceptance that, out of the Negative Absolute, the Positive Absolute is generating itself, recruiting, or maintaining, itself, via a third state, or our own quasi-state, it would seem that we're trying to conceive of Universalness manufacturing more Universalness from Nothingness.

Quote:...happy—I'll sidestep that myself, and try to be intelligible by regarding the Positive Absolute from the aspect of Realness instead of Universalness, recalling that by both Realness and Universalness we mean the same state, or that which does not merge away into something else, because there is nothing else. So the idea is that out of Unrealness, instead of Nothingness, Realness, instead of Universalness, is, via our own quasi-state, manufacturing more Realness. Just so, but in relative terms, of course, all imaginings that materialize into machines or statues, buildings, dollars, paintings or books in paper and ink are graduations from unrealness to realness—in relative terms. It would seem then that Intermediateness is a relation between the Positive Absolute and the Negative Absolute. But the absolute cannot be the related—of course a confession that we can't really think of it at all, if here we think of a limit to the unlimited. Doing the best we can, and encouraged by the reflection that we can't do worse than has been done by metaphysicians in the past, we accept that the absolute can't be the related. So then that our quasi-state is not a real relation, if nothing in it is real. On the other hand, it is not an unreal relation, if nothing in it is unreal. It seems thinkable that the Positive Absolute can, by means of Intermediateness, have a quasi-relation, or be only quasi-related, or be the unrelated, in final terms, or, at least, not be the related, in final terms.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2018-05-19, 07:06 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • Hurmanetar
(2018-05-19, 07:06 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Oleo:

The above quote rreminds my of Charles Forts ideai of being transported tto the absolute ppositve.

Hey Oleo, do you have a bit more detail on this? I got this from Sacred Texts Archive ->



The Book of the Damned is also free on Amazon (in US), quick glance found this ->


Having read the quotes you kindly provided. It seems i maybe guilty of a gross generalisation. I had forgotten how much of an agnostic Fort was concerning metaphysics. 
But im not one to be detered by my own cognitive failings.so I'll press on and say that my intention was someone or thing. Having achived a state parrelling perfection, would be instantaneously kickked up stairs.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Oleo's post:
  • Sciborg_S_Patel

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)