Originally posted by jaywill
In the book [b]The Latent Power of the Soul Watchman Nee discusses how the use of latent soul force and soul power had penetrated into all religions.
He speaks of the namegerial powers of the soul that Adam was created with - strong soulical powers of the mind. These innate human powers were buried deep within man when man fell. These powers are not ...[text shortened]... ose seeking further information should read The Latent Power of the Soul by Watchman Nee.[/b]
I would not use the word “soul” just because of diverse religious ideas and connotations. I would just use “mind” (both the conscious and the unconscious, somewhat functionally understood). But that doesn’t seem a necessary point for argument here.
I see your point—and will just accept your spirit/soul distinction as part of the Christian paradigm without argument there either. (It seems certainly accurate to say that all sorts of “occultic” stuff has invaded religions across the board.)
Where we differ, I think, is here:
The deception for many is that they mistake this latent soul power for God or for spirituality.
I think that the introduction of “exoteric” ideas such as God is precisely where the danger of illusion lies. [Of course, your understanding of “spirituality” and mine are also different; mine does not depend on a theistic Holy Spirit.]
This is exactly the point of the Zen masters’ dismissal of makkyo
. I am not as dismissive of such things, just because I think they can provide some rich aesthetic expressions.
The following is from something that I posted on another thread:
James Austin, in his book Zen and the Brain calls this reflexive interpretation. He identifies four different “categories of experience” in an unfolding sequence attending meditation (or, the so-called “mystical experience” ):
“1. Raw experience. These first features are not thought about, they happen. They are theologically neutral, and lie far outside any of the person’s prior beliefs, expectations or intentions.”
—I have described this as simply being aware prior to thinking or conceptualizing about it all.
“2. Reflexive interpretations. These are original interpretations which the person formulates spontaneously either during the experience itself or immediately after.
“3. Incorporated interpretations. These contain references to features of the experience influenced by that particular person’s prior beliefs, expectations, and intentions.”
—Somewhere between 2. and 3. in Austin’s schema may be what I have previously called “immediate translation”. This is where the mind forms conceptual content from the raw experience: e.g., that one is experiencing an encounter with Krishna or the risen Christ. Austin comments: “Alan Watts noted that devout orthodox believers have so automatically associated the imagery of a lifetime of icons with their emotions that these symbols then seem to lie at the core of their mystical experiences.”* [Austin, p. 22.] However, I have known people whose “immediate translation” seems to have drawn upon other symbols embedded in their consciousness, that stemmed from a different religious paradigm than the one they were theretofore most familiar with.
“4. Retrospective interpretations. These contain references to religious or other doctrinal-type interpretations not formulated until much later, after the experience ends.”
[Quotes from Austin, pp. 21-22; italics in the original.]
* It should be clear that by the term “mystical” I do not mean anything supernatural or occultic. I really simply mean that raw experience described by Austin.
Now, I am wondering if a forceful spiritual experience (which you might call a “soul-experience” ) can result in a kind of post-hypnotic suggestion preserving the content of Austin’s 2. and 3. (where I would say that makkyo
This is a separate question from the one of whether or not childhood conditioning produces post-hypnotic suggestions. (This would seem to be more what Alan Watts is talking about; though years of adult-conditioning might apply as well.)
I am asking both questions, really.