|2007-06-22, by John Ringland|
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The Mystic Meaning of Original Sin
This was inspired by
comments from Astrid. She associated it with selfishness and greed; the need
to take from the world. I agree but the original sin, I think, can be clearly
identified, let me explain...
Firstly regarding sin, in all the mystic traditions that I have studied my
understanding of the concept of 'sin' is that it is associated with illusion and
delusion, which causes us to get out of synch with the harmony of the cosmic
symphony. This then gives rise to acts that are out of harmony with the whole
and creates dysfunction and suffering that spreads like ripples through the
interconnected system. The act isn't the sin, it's the delusion that is. It is
only in mystic traditions that were corrupted for political / authoritarian
purposes that this meaning was twisted to mean certain actions that were
prohibited by the set of rules imposed by the authoritarian structure.
As for original sin, I agree, it doesn't mean "in far distant time", it means
the originating illusion as in the root cause of illusion. This operates in each
moment of awareness. As each impression is interpreted by the subconscious it
becomes distorted by false beliefs and agendas. This distorted impression is
then experienced by the conscious mind which is oblivious to the fact that it is
experiencing a subjective impression and it assumes that it is experiencing "the
world" as it is "out there".
It is this last step, called
commonsense realism or naive realism that is the root cause of all further
delusions. NAIVE REALISM IS ORIGINAL SIN. Even with a mind free of other false
beliefs this last step soon fills the mind full of false beliefs. It is the
cause of our "fall from grace".
In reality: “That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which,
like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and
without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman – that thou art.” (Sankaracharya)
In reality the cosmos is an interconnected oneness and we are motions of the
cosmic oneness. But due to the limitations of the senses we perceive things as
objects in space. Everything is bound together by an intricate network of
interactions, which would look like an intricate dance of light flowing in every
direction and interconnecting everything, from particles to people to galaxies
and beyond - this is a vision of the quantum field or the transcendent reality
generative process - it is what I model in my mathematics and
reality generative software.
But through our senses we cannot see the subtle interconnections. The regions
of strong connections appear as objects and the regions of weaker connections
appear as empty space, so things appear like objects in space. This isn't a
problem so long as we know it's only how the senses perceive them. But this is
where commonsense realism comes in - we unthinkingly believe that this
sensory/cognitive impression IS the actual objective reality.
So rather than knowing ourselves as motions of the cosmic oneness and living
in harmony with the dance of light or the cosmic symphony, instead we believe
that we are objects in space. We believe ourselves to be isolated and only able
to act via the crude mechanistic forces that are perceptible to our senses. We
lose the ability to comprehend the interconnectedness of the whole and we don't
think to utilise the subtle interactions via which we can interact in the whole.
I briefly discuss the relationship between
Body, Mind and Spirit in a comment.
"Normal consciousness is a state of stupor, in which the sensibility to the
wholly real and responsiveness to the stimuli of the spirit are reduced. The
mystics... endeavour to awake from the drowsiness and apathy and to regain the
state of wakefulness for their enchanted souls." (Abraham Heschel)
We also perceive ourselves as isolated, fragile objects and we begin to think
'I' and 'me' and thus the ego is born. Then we look out from the perspective of
the ego, which is an agitated thought construct that distorts everything based
upon its agendas, desires and fears. We continue to assume that the distorted
cognitive impression is the objective reality and we slip further into delusion.
Before long we can only conceive of ourselves as objects in space and as
struggling egos within a world of struggling egos.
We create a society based upon these false beliefs and we indoctrinate every
new generation into this superstitious belief system. Without malice we
strengthen their egos and warp their minds - for their own good - so we think.
And generations and centuries of suffering and dysfunction set in as we scratch
in the dirt and fight amongst ourselves when we could be in blissful union with
the entire cosmos. We try to make things better but we know not what we do so we
only make them worse. We think more control is needed but this makes our
delusions more invasive and the dysfunctions worsen.
"To bring Peace to All, one must first discipline and control one's own mind"
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God , and his righteousness; and all these
things [life, health, etc] shall be added unto you." (Bible, Mat:6:33)
All it takes is for one moment to not succumb to commonsense realism. Not
just intellectually circumventing its worst effects but to deeply and
subconsciously not succumb to it. In that moment we know reality as it really
is. These moments are glimpses of reality, they are visions of splendour that
leave us speechless. But they are the reality and the mundane world is an
illusion in our minds. By sustaining our openness to reality we come to dwell in
reality and not in the illusory fantasy world.
"Every second he's bowing into a mirror. If he could see for just a second
one molecule of what's there without fantasizing about it, he'd explode. His
imagination and he himself, would vanish, with all his knowledge, obliterated
into a new birth, a perfectly clear view, a voice that says, I am God.” (Rumi)
"Moods are in the mind and do not matter. Go within, go beyond. Cease being
fascinated with the content of your consciousness. When you reach the deep
layers of your true being, you will find that the mind's surface-play affects
you very little." (Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj)
This opening to reality begins from an open mind - what has been erroneous
translated as 'fear' of the Lord. Fear closes our minds but the original word is
best translated as 'awe', which signifies an open and non-judgemental state of
mind. This lets reality trickle in and erode our delusions until the trickle
becomes a flood and washes away the veil of ignorance and delusion that blinds
us. You can look upon a flower or the face of a lover or Jesus on the cross or
whatever so long as you do so with a mind open in awe of the spirit that flows
behind the sensory impressions that veil it in your mind.
"And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the glory of the
Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we
reflect." (Bible, 2 Corinthians, 3:18)
There is an ancient and exact science of reconnecting with reality - the most
commonly known is meditation - it is the simplest and surest way. The final and
ultimate teaching of Buddha was a very simple practice called Mahamudra (supreme
gesture) - "In Mahamudra all one's sins [delusions] are burned; in Mahamudra one
is released from the prison of this world [entrapment in illusion]. This is the
dharma's supreme torch. Those who disbelieve it are fools, who ever wallow in
misery and sorrow" (Tilopa)
Another mature method is gnana yoga (yoga of supreme knowledge). It "has
nothing to do with effort. Just turn away, look between the thoughts, rather
than at the thoughts. When you happen to walk in a crowd, you do not fight every
man you meet - you just find your way between... When you fight you invite a
fight. But when you do not resist you meet with no resistance. When you refuse
to play the game, you are out of it... It may take a thousand years, but really
no time is required. All you need is to be in dead earnest. Here the will is the
deed. If you are sincere, you have it. After all, it is a matter of attitude.
Nothing stops you from being a gnani [knower of the Highest Knowledge] here and
now, except fear. You are afraid of being impersonal, of impersonal being. It is
all quite simple. Turn away from your desires and fears and from the thoughts
they create and you are at once in your natural state.” (Sri Nisargadatta
“The main purpose of jnana (gnana) meditation is to withdraw the mind and
emotions from perceiving life and oneself in a deluded way so that one may
behold and live in attunement with Reality, or Spirit.” (yogaworld.org
The purpose of spiritual practice is ultimately to overcome commonsense
realism and the distortions of false subconscious beliefs that create the
materialist mechanistic world in our minds and cause us to believe that it is
the objective reality. We have never left reality - we are spirit in motion
right now but we don't know it - the moment we stop fantasising and we overcome
the original sin or root illusion we knowingly dwell in reality.
I discuss all these things in great detail in a recent e-book:
An Information Systems Analysis of Mind, Knowledge, 'the World' and Holistic
Science, it's informal title is "The Red Pill".
Best wishes : )
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