The news of the loss of Robin Williams is saddening. I however can't help feeling that it is the shared delusion of a better place to go that was likely the cause. This is not a new idea as suicide to speed along the journey to "heaven" that caused the church to announce that it was a sin. Those who say religion isn't harmful if practiced alone I believe are mistaken or have never lost a loved one who was alone with their ideas of a better place. Maybe this idea is ill timed, but I have seen many instances where life was lost due to someone hoping for the promised land because their ideas were allowed to manifest unchallenged.
Just my thoughts
It's sad to loose such a great comedian and actor.
It was very sad when one of my brothers killed himself, and it appears it was mostly because he couldn't be as perfect as mormonism wants you to be, and those he knew were also not as perfect, especially the girls he dated.
Thanks K.H. Ky. Another brother tried to kill himself a couple of times, but must not have been sure about it, as he failed. I think anyone that is sure about suicide can easily make it work.
I think he's happier now, as he just married for the third time, and this one is not a looker like the other two. That says to me that he's learned to go by more than looks.
She is religious, so his chance of breaking out of religion will be reduced, but I guess that's better than killing yourself.
How sad for you. And how did you cope with the empty spot in your life?
Not sure how I cope. Gardening is probably the most important. Watching new life sprouting from old.
A beautiful way!
In a way, even if there's no afterlife, death is like heaven. I mean, we think of death as this dreadful and depressive event, but that's only we're here still thinking about it. When you die, there's nothing left to think about, worry about, nothing to have anxiety for, consciousness we might assume completely ceases. That would be a "better place" for some individuals.
Perhaps this is what meditation is truly about, the cessation of your volition, and there are individuals that have discipline themselves while they're alive to enter into a sort of death-like state of mind. Meditation is sometimes referred to "the art of dying now."
Perhaps you've heard of Rick Strassman's book "DMT: The Spirit Molecule," he speculates that the NDE may be a natural induction of endogenous N,N-DMT, that the dying brain is flooded with DMT, and you undergo a vast psychedelic experience or "mystical experience."
Terence McKenna had experienced DMT over 70 times in his lifetime (smoking the pure compound), and I want to quote something he said below, because he speaks from the perspective gained from a composite of all these psychedelic journeys into the nature of consciousness...
"You are going to die, and when you die, you are going to undergo a metamorphosis of some sort, that's not particularly going to be designed to perserve your humanness or what you call your humanness or to set you on a cloud with lier and gown for the rest of eternity, but that actually the greatest adventure, the greatest adventures still lie ahead. And intimations of immortality are vouchsafed by these plant hallucinogens. Why this should be? Why it should be possible to get a look over the great divide? I have no idea. I think about these things constantly. My life is mostly questions."
You're right, not exactly what theists are preaching. I have another way to think about it which I'll link you to, 'cause I sort of brushed over the topic of the "white light" in a different thread which I'll link here.
There's a lot of things to be said about it. You mentioned this experience as a brief experience, for all we know it is an eternity. It could be that consciousness somehow implodes in itself, like matter into a black hole, and it just falls forever... or you know, it may be an evanescent and fleeting moment that passes and then consciousness blanks out for all eternity, as you said.
You mentioned this experience as a brief experience, for all we know it is an eternity.
Perhaps there's a delusion of infinite time in that short time while the brain is dying. Maybe dying affects one's perception of time.
In Hinduism, from the standpoint of Brahman, time ceases to exist. I've been able to relate to a lot of eastern scripture and poetry because it seems to overlap with the experiences I've had with psychedelics, and I often wonder if "nirvana," "samadhi," or "satori" is one and the same with the experience that psychedelics induce, because the description of these experiences share so many qualities.
Of course, this experience isn't easily described, and some often will use the word "ineffable," but nevertheless attempt to describe it. I believe if someone were to coin the more perfect analogy, it may not retain this peripheral position in our culture and society as it does today.
I've described it dozens of times before in various threads, but I recently found a word that somewhat sums it up. Panesthesia. This is a word that means the sum of all sensations experienced by a person at one time. In the psychedelic experience, you can have a similar impression where you're in a state of mind that is somehow all possibilities cognized, the entire gamut of experience occurring at once. And, of course, that's not easily described. More commonly heard analogies are "one with everything," or "non-duality," as in the dissolution of the subject-object boundary. The subject of experience, and the objects that are being experienced completely dissolved into a unity.
This is more akin to what people are attempting to describe in the mystical experience. It's not profound awe one gains in staring at a waterfall, or the witnessing of a birth or death, or standing at the edge of The Grand Canyon, it's transcendent of all these experiences, because it is, in a way, the entire spectrum of experience, every possibility to be experienced all happening at once. It's a sort of blow out of the mind, a colossal altered state of consciousness in which all these other experiences, like standing at the edge of a waterfall, are merely aspects within it.
So, when it's said of the standpoint of Brahman, this ultimate state of consciousness, that time stands still, it is because one receives the overwhelming impression that all past, present, and future have coalesced into a single point. That everything from that perspective is static, unchanging, unmanifest, and timeless, because it is, in a way, everything that could ever happen going on at once. So, there's nothing left to be done, there's no where to go, there's nothing to say, etc.
I find it interesting in Hinduism that you will come across concepts such as nirvikalpa samadhi which is defined as "the final dissolution of consciousness into Brahman where it can no longer return to the lower states of consciousness, no longer return to 'maya,' the illusion of duration, the illusion of being a bodily being in a determined universe." It's as though in this view consciousness retracts into whatever higher dimension it came from in the first place. It's sort of the opposite of what you're saying here, Laura. I mean, I don't posit any of this as true, of course, but it's interesting food for thought. It's the opposite in that we may be deluding ourselves in this moment, that we are separate entities trapped in the duration of time when actually that's the illusion, and the "ultimate reality" is this other realm where all these possibilities are already played out. It's often said of Brahman, the Godhead of Hindu religion, that Brahman sleeps and dreams that it's all these universes within the multiverse, and all the separate entities, each and every one of us. Every node of consciousness is a subset within Brahman, a fractal adumbration of Brahman, Brahman as the "final Self of all selves."
It's sort of like Michio Kaku's layman's explanation of M-Theory, that the 11-dimensional hyperspace can be thought, by analogy, as a "place where all possibilities are contained," and the manifest universe are vibrations on strings which select notes from this higher dimensional plane. So, our 3D universe is a slice of a higher 11D continuum in the very same way that a circle is a slice of a cone when it transects it. So, in order to have the illusion of experience, you cannot play all the notes at once, but select patterns of notes to give way of our perception of the universe as we see it from our humanly perspective.
Does any of this make any sense or am I rambling on about nonsense? It's sort of like an acosmist point-of-view where reality as we know it is completely rejected as illusion, an illusion because it's only a temporal three-dimensional slice of a higher dimensional source; and instead only the absolute, unmanifest is real. Unmanifest, perhaps, because it does reside in a higher dimension, and absolute because it's completely static, timeless, and the source of all infinite possibilities that are frozen in a higher dimension.
Matt, I've done some meditation and I know many people who have done it or are doing it. This is the first time I've heard it described as the art of dying now.
Leave it to the French to refer to an orgasm as "le petit morte" or the little death. It's so true.