13 March 2007

Synchrobog: The Truth About Reality

Hurbert Dreyfus, a professor of philosophy at Berkley says, "If you are a reconfigurer, you can't understand what you are doing."

That pretty much sums up my life recently, and also is a disclaimer that if you disagree with me, the basic reality of reality is that I disagree with myself half the time.

However this seems to be straightforward, and most of us who consider ourselves followers of Jesus (or even just people interested in spirituality for that matter) understand that the world in which we live in is not the real world. So my argument is that when one is in an altered state of conciousness, they are more in tune with the real world than the 'real world'. Even those who do don't follow Jesus.
Now I believe that as one follows the Messiah, we have a clearer picture of this other world, but even those outside of Christ that tap into the supernatural have the ability to do things and see things that a carnal mind cannot comprehend.

Before I became a follower of Jesus I spent a brief time tapping into the spiritual world in various forms of witchcraft. Albeit, I was quite a novice, but without going into great detail, even in my short time, I experienced things that my natural mind could not comprehend.

We are immortal beings living in mortal shells. We will last forever, somehow, somewhere. Somehow in Western civilization, modernity, has stripped away some of this mystery. Think "The Matrix" The world has been pulled over our eyes to hide us from the truth - or so Morpheus says. Science, reason, and logic, all have it's place; and a very important place at that, but are we to replace science over the mysteries of the spiritual realm and discard the supernatural as tricks the mind plays on suspecting individuals, Christian and non?

Post-modernity, and the emergent church wishes to re-capture some of this mystery (I would argue most who are a part of this conversation would anyway). Although many churches, mainly charismatic, have an understanding of the supernatural - in short, they are in tune with the alternate reality; Western Civilization, still seems to place parameters upon what that looks like.

How can we, as immortal - yet very finite beings - put a fence around an immortal, timeless, and very infinite God?

As a Jesus follower, I believe that we have the guidelines given to us in the form of scripture, and we have the Holy Spirit living within us to guide, comfort, and give us wisdom in navigating these rocky, murky waters. But we should not dismiss altered states of consciousness in any from; as parts, or even the whole, could be a window to the true reality.

In Celtic Christianity, the followers of Jesus would find, "the thin places", where heaven meets earth. And it was anywhere, not just in a church basement praying in tongues or reading scripture. It could be in preparing breakfast, planting potatoes, fishing, or sitting silently in nature. It could be at a wedding, a festival, or a funeral. The thin places are all around us. We just need to pull the wool out from over our eyes and look around.

This doesn't mean always entering an altered state, but maybe we shouldn't neglect it either. Didn't Paul (most likely referring to himself) write about someone being taken up into the Third Heaven? If that isn't an altered state, I'm not sure what is.


These are the other Synchrobloggers writting about this subject! :-)

Shamanic Vision and
Apocalyptic Scripture
at Phil Wyman's Square No More
Can prayer be an example
of Alternate Conciousness?
at Eternal Echoes
Better Than I Was [at
times], Not Better Than You Are
by Mike of Earthsea
emotionalism vs
at Adam Gonnerman's Igneous Quill
Consciousness of the absurd
and the absurdity of
at Steve's Notes from the Underground
The Unconscious Christian
by Matt Stone
Hypnochristians at
Jamie's More Than Stone
The extreme consciousness of
the Spirit
by Les Chatwin
The Spirit of the Lord is upon
at Mike's Musings


Steve Hayes said...

On reading the various blogs on this topic, I'm beginning to wonder if the term "altered states of consciousness" isn't misleading, or at least inadequately defined.

What exactly IS an "alteresd state of consciousness"? Sleep? Dreaming? Anaesthesia? Taking drugs like LSD?

Anything else?

Sally said...

Excellent post again:
"Although many churches, mainly charismatic, have an understanding of the supernatural - in short, they are in tune with the alternate reality; Western Civilization, still seems to place parameters upon what that looks like"- 100% in agreement with you here- thanks for the challenge.

Rupert Ward said...

I am not sure I like the term "altered states of consciousness", but that maybe just be my evangelical heritage speaking there! But i do think there is something "beyond" the physical world that we can enter. Another example from Scripture might be Peter's trance in Acts.

Living in Scotland, thin places is a big thing here. There does seem some places that it is especially easy to connect with God. Holy Island (Lindesfarne) would be one of those for me - although that is actually in the north of england.

I am also trying to notice Him more in my everyday life, as you say, breakfast, movies, on a walk etc. I have to admit i find this difficult, but it is good to get out of the idea that only place / time we can meet God is at church or when we are intentionally praying etc. I am just finding it difficult to open my eyes enough!

Singing Owl said...

Very interesting post!