Hinduism and Psychology

Discussion of the nature of Ultimate Reality and the path to Enlightenment.
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Trevor Salyzyn
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Hinduism and Psychology

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:49 am

Everyone has some experience with the astral plane, whether or not they are aware that such is what it is when experiencing it. It is tied to dreams and drugs, and is our capacity for an ecstatic trance.

Astral projection is our first encounter with the weird, a plane separate from the raw material plane of survival. If it is sufficiently deep, we wallow in the abyss, terrified. The way out of the Abyss is through the root chakra: our fear, caused by our astral movements, blocks us from grounding ourselves sufficiently. Those who cannot of their own volition escape to the first wheel are madly paranoid, and may require medicinal intervention.

The next chakra wheel is the capacity for pleasure. It is known as the "sacral chakra", and is blocked by feelings of guilt. These feelings of guilt make it difficult to live in a pleasure-seeking utilitarian mode. When one opens the sacral chakra, one experiences greater emotional range, and a deeper sense of connection with others.

There are parallels to yoga psychology in the West. For instance, the five stages of grief mirror the seven stages of chakra development, and Maslow's hierarchy also shows growth toward a particular end. It's difficult not to know in theory what the highest level of yoga practice is, even for a beginner. A person can understand the highest principles of non-attachment yet still not have a complete understanding. It takes a lot of development to go from student to yogi.

The top of the ladder, rather than hide it, should be recognized at the beginning. The goal of opening chakras is to awake one to the infinite. It is the loss of all attachment; a state of enlightenment if you will. From the base of the ladder it may seem magical, but it is anything but. To be falsely enlightened is, however, insanity. The deeper one sinks into false enlightenment, the more lost one becomes.

Certainly, this is to say that there are more than one states that are commonly referred to as enlightenment, and that all but one of these merits the title. Someone who is lost before opening the first chakra, that is to say someone who has never experienced any astral states (through drugs, meditation, or dreaming) lives in an incomprehensible world of schizophrenia. Likewise, someone who has never unblocked the second chakra wheel is trapped in a world bereft of pleasure. Medically, it is known as depression. It is easier to escape from depression than it is from schizophrenia, but it requires a careful re-examining of one's fundamental assumptions about one's relationship to the world.

Of course, there is a world of difference between academically grasping the problems that lead to depression and so forth, and falling between the cracks into a deep understanding. Someone who visits depression from an astral plane is tortured by their thoughts. Someone who passively thinks about, say, suicide, may as well have never experienced suicidal thoughts. There is something of a tragic hero in a man or woman who takes on the challenge of opening as many chakra wheels as possible, including the painful ones.

Unlike the second and first chakras, the third "solar plexus" chakra is active. It is where we choose the life we want to live, and where we build up the confidence to express our will in personally meaningful ways. It is where you recognize that we are all different and that the best life is one of balance, whatever that means to ourselves. It is blocked by shame.

The fourth, "heart", is an awareness of others and our interconnectedness. Love guides us through out lives. What prevents love from flowing through our lives is grief. One must be able to let love go to find new love. Here the goal of balance is in the foreground..

The last three chakras are less physical and more spiritual. The throat chakra expresses truth, and is blocked by lies. One has fully left the dark night of the soul and joined the human plane. The brow chakra expresse insight and is blocked by illusions. And the final chakra is the crown chakra: pure cosmic awareness, blocked by earthly attachments.
A mindful man needs few words.

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Russell Parr
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Re: Hinduism and Psychology

Post by Russell Parr » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:44 pm

Hey there Trevor, thanks for sharing. I think it should be mentioned that models like this can be helpful as long as it respected as merely a model to assist further understanding, rather than a guideline to adhere to as gospel.

Besides that, for fun, I'd like to have a go at this and give my own short reinterpretations of the chakras, as a model for ascension, from the bottom up.

1) The root chakra is characterized by fear, the most basic motivating force. Those stuck in this realm are paranoid lunatics. As this chakra is located near the backdoor, these people have really shitty lives.

2) Those who are awakened up to the sacral/pleasure chakra live a purely hedonistic existence, constantly search of that next high, be it through sex, drugs, etc. Dragon chasers.

3) Intuition becomes more defined for those awakened to the Solar chakra. The gut feeling that there is something more, something better out there arises.

4) Compassion is developed at the heart chakra. The desire and will to help others at one's own expense arises. Those who are advanced no further than this point lack proper judgement, and a full heart without discernment is treacherous.

5) The throat chakra facilitates speech. Those awakened this far are able to express themselves freely, and with passion.

6) Proper judgement is developed in the mind chakra. It is only those that are awakened here that are able to utilize the driving forces and motivations of the lower chakras towards a higher, intelligent purpose.

7) Those with an awakened and activated crown chakra are opened to and accepting of spirit. A profound appreciation of the Infinite beyond is developed. Enlightenment is attainable. Very few reach this far.

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jupiviv
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Re: Hinduism and Psychology

Post by jupiviv » Sat Nov 19, 2016 2:20 am

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:Astral projection is our first encounter with the weird, a plane separate from the raw material plane of survival.
Why do you call it weird? It's really just the topos noetos, the world of ideas and truths as manifested in the mind.

Interestingly I'm a Hindu (genealogically and officially), but I've never heard much talk of chakras within any context. This concept evidently has its place in the Hindu canon, but recognition of it seems to have petered out amongst the Hindus themselves. It's only western enthusiasts who seem to talk about it these days. I'm sure there are gurus in India who are well-versed about it though, and who earn their keep peddling it to the aforementioned.

I once met an American yoga teacher in Varanasi early this year who said he paid $10000 to some guru for teaching him "new techniques". When I asked him what those were he prevaricated. Over the course of the conversation he also informed me that he earns more than six figures annually, which surprised me because he was travelling via rail to a city that could be reached by air from Varanasi itself. Apparently he was going to see another guru to learn even more new techniques, and his schedule wouldn't allow him to wait for the next available flight. I also asked him whom he would vote for, and the answer (not surprisingly) was Hitlary.

Nowadays, Varanasi seems to have become a foreign tourist hotspot. You can't move for millenial hippies meditating on some ghat, with a hotel guide masticating betel leaves a few feet away. The young women though are generally quite attractive. I don't know if its the hippie/spiritually interested demographic specifically but there are some fine ass hynas walking around.

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Trevor Salyzyn
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Re: Hinduism and Psychology

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:18 am

Russel Parr,
I like the model that starts at insanity and then ascends to enlightenment. I plan to discuss this with my aunt (a PhD in psychiatric nursing) to see how well my model stands up to the medical mythos. Both of us have been involved with psychiatry for long enough to know that there are problems with the basic assumptions. My quasi-Hinduism, hopefully, opens up room for better diagnosis. I believe that the problems with psychiatry necessarily stem from mistakes in psychology. If you've ever talked with a psychologist, you can see all the bullshit the experts believe.

jupiviv,
I wonder how many of the seekers would be deemed mentally ill. (This is a criticism both of psychiatry and of seekers.)
A mindful man needs few words.

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jupiviv
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Re: Hinduism and Psychology

Post by jupiviv » Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:28 pm

Trevor Salyzyn wrote:jupiviv,
I wonder how many of the seekers would be deemed mentally ill. (This is a criticism both of psychiatry and of seekers.)
Only the ones who are citing spiritual pursuits as reasons for enlisting in the free shit army. Or maybe the ones who take the esotericism too far. The goal of psychiatry is to persuade patients to stop believing in things that make them unacceptable to the majority of people. I doubt the foreigners in Varanasi would be unacceptable to the majority of people in their native countries.

Anyways, the beliefs that are considered problematic in psychiatry are by and large genuinely so, but a tiny minority is not. Since psychiatrists aren't wise, they aren't qualified to recognise the value of the latter and so their influence is harmful in those cases. But since the former is the majority, bad definitions are probably not a valid criticism of psychiatry. The goal of psychiatry seems to be to show people how to be contented and productive, and I see nothing in your chakra-based view that would contradict that goal. That's a criticism by the way!

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Trevor Salyzyn
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Re: Hinduism and Psychology

Post by Trevor Salyzyn » Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:03 pm

jupiviv wrote:The goal of psychiatry seems to be to show people how to be contented and productive, and I see nothing in your chakra-based view that would contradict that goal. That's a criticism by the way!
The chakra-based view is not necessarily a damnation of mental illness. Anti-psychiatry failed, and even the most logical of anti-psychiatrists sound like Scientologists. Rather, it is something that can be used to speak in parallel and practical terms about the medical establishment's version of the story.

After some thought, I wrote a second draft:

------------------

The label "schizophrenic" comes with a lot of baggage, most of it negative. The label itself is misunderstood by the patients who have to undergo the life-changing diagnosis. One's own mind is called into question.

There needs to be a way for doctors to explain quickly and clearly to an average person, what the label actually means.

As far as I can tell, schizophrenia is all-encompassing fear. It's like a phobia that never ends and never has any reason to be. This fear makes it difficult to survive in as complex a world as ours.

To change gears, the Hindu religion speaks of seven primary lotuses, or chakras, along the human spine. There are hundreds of chakra points throughout the body, but for the purposes of clear communication, only seven are relevant.

At the base of the spine lies the basal chakra. When it is open, one is able to handle affairs of life and hygiene with competency. Fear can block it up; the goal of psychiatry is to keep it open, with chemicals if need be. A basal blockage is schizophrenia.

Next is the sacral chakra. It is blocked by guilt, and when blocked, leads to difficulty dealing with pleasure. This is major depression.

Further along is the solar plexus chakra. It deals with the ability to choose one's own path and to be self-confident. The block that keeps this closed is shame, which causes worry. Psychiatrically, it is known as anxiety.

There are further illnesses, but I don't believe it is useful to treat someone medicinally after they are capable of making moral decisions. Psychiatrically speaking, only the basal, sacral, and solar plexus chakras are relevant.

The question is whether or not someone with a blocked 4th chakra, heart, is capable of being moral. This chakra deals with love and self-love, altruism, kindness, and respect. It is blocked by grief. Grief makes it difficult to be open to new love; it blocks overall feelings of morality. Someone with a blocked heart chakra is sociopathic. Can animals be moral?

After sociopathy, the challenges relate to deeper spirituality. The throat chakra, number five, deals with truth. Learning to discern truth from lies is the primary challenge. Just as the heart chakra teaches us compassion, the throat chakra teaches us logic.

We have traveled from the depths of the purest Physical plane, through the Astral plane of dreams, the Celestial realms, and the plane of Balance. Now we look to the Human realms.

As Alexander Pope said in his Essay on Man:

"Created half to rise, and half to fall; Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all; Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled; The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!"

Above the plane of humanity is the plane of austerity, signified by the third eye. It deals with intuition, and thus is set against the falseness of illusory being. One sees and one understands. One's higher-level ethics (justice, fairness) sits here.

The final chakra is the crown chakra. It is blocked by attachments. All that has to be known is known at the sixth, brow chakra. The crown chakra manifests when the understanding of one's oneness gifts us with an occasional feeling of infinity. Although it is a shame that one cannot be cosmically aware at all moments, this is only because all things pass. Even the bulk of experience will occasionally fade into the past, and enlightenment will be realized again.
A mindful man needs few words.

oliev
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Re: Hinduism and Psychology

Post by oliev » Thu May 18, 2017 11:33 pm

When human realized ( about three thousand years ago) that the voices he thought he was hearing in his head came not from gods but were happening in his head, an explosion of philosophical enquiry into Ontology began. Serious attempts to formulate a consistent and comprehensive model to account for the cognitive life of the living, especially human, started in earnest. Samkhya Philosophy is the first.

Most people most of the time are so engrossed in just making it through the day that they hardly pay attention to the mechanism of cognition let alone to be in touch with the ontological being instigating the cognitive life.
Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is a compendium of aphorisms which delineates a disciplined methodology for recognizing the difference between the cognitive mechanism and the bright illumination of "life itself" that energizes the cognitive quest for survival.

Yoga Sutra of Patanjali talks about Asanas as a comfortable physical state of the body in which the meditator can rise above, as it were, the "weight" of the body to dwell on the questions of what the mind is and how it functions.
In other words, Samkhya Karika and the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali are ancient textbooks on Cognitive Science in India.
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