Mysticism/Discussion on mysticism
Does God exist, what is God and what is the path to God?
Debate on Mykath.de (2013)
Nils: A mystic is in dialogue with God. He or she can feel the Holy Ghost within and around him or herself. He or she lives in the light of God. The mystic allows the self to be lead by God.
A person must choose between God and the world. The Holy Ghost can only fill a person when the person is free of worldly, materialist-oriented thoughts, The person must empty the self of attachments and the ego and become empty so that the light of God can flow within him or her. In mystic theology, Dionysius Areopagita, who lived around the year 500, concerned himself with the topic of the experience of God. According to him, the human spirit longs for God. Through the three steps of inner cleansing, enlightenment and unity the recognition of God can be reached.
OpusX (atheist): Up to now the believers I’ve met were simply certain in their belief and haven’t searched for proof.
Nils: Those who truly believe don’t need proof. But he must have found his way to his beliefs somehow. In this phase he needs arguments supporting this belief. Many Christians today are made uncertain through material influences. They need good reasons to believe. In my view, the main reason for the downfall of the Christians in Germany is that the churches don’t give any more good reasons, any good arguments to believe. For this reason, the mystic proof of God is very important.
Claudia-Jutta (atheist): So the experience of God is real?
Nils: How do you recognize a real experience, encounter with God? I have my experiences with comparing what the Holy texts of mankind say about that. Afterwards I could relate what I had personally experienced to that. One has to be honest though, with oneself. One has to have clear wits and understanding when perceiving. Everyone can consider each of those who has born witness to God, and figure out whether this one is believable. I personally find Jesus believable, as well as Buddha, Socrates, Laotse, Ramakrischna, Teresa of Avila, Master Eckhart, Saint Frances, Saint Paul, and many others. I refer not to myself, but of those who have born witness to God. Enlightenment and experience of God are described well in literature. In certain cases it can be difficult to differentiate between a fake experience and a real one. I have never experienced conscious errors up to now, but there are varied degrees of enlightenment. What I have experienced often, is that someone thinks his or her degree of enlightenment is the highest and his or her way is the one correct way. One can make this mistake easily, because one finds it difficult to imagine an even higher state of enlightenment.
Claudia-Jutta: Could it be that during my deep relaxation experience a few years ago as I just sat there and was happy I could finally breathe easily again (and a frequency of breathing that could be a dream for the rest of my life), that I was closer to “Him” than a mystic?
Nils: You were not closer, rather you were going in the right direction. Maybe it was already an enlightenment experience. You have to describe your experience more closely. There are many levels of enlightenment. Relaxation and deeper inner peace is the first step. When you continue on this way, you will have even deeper experiences. I started using autogen training and thought it couldn’t go further than that. As someone asked me if I could see God during meditation I laughed. Later I didn’t laugh.
Einer (atheist): God is not to be comprehended?
Nils: God is a mystery and is not to be comprehended or described, rather is to be experienced. But one can find words that lead up to this mystery. That is what Jesus, Buddha and many others have done. The further you are in your experience of God, the less you can say about it, until you are only silent and other people sense your spiritual presence.
Gingganz (catholic): If you are honest with yourself, then you will recognize that we don’t know anything about this Jesus. It isn’t even certain if he lived at all. Written proof doesn’t exist. Contemporary sources from the time he supposedly lived don’t exist sufficiently either. What exactly is it that you find believable about Jesus?
Nils: We know some things about Jesus. Especially what it says in the Bible. I compare the contents of the Bible with what I have experienced myself. I recognize that the teachings of Jesus are consistent with what I have experienced. In this way it is an authentic spiritual teaching, no matter who it comes from. Someone wrote the text. And this person lived. That is indisputable. And this person knew the state of enlightenment and the way there. That is especially clear in the telling of the sermon on the mount.
GermanHeretic (atheist): The only argument that religion brings is political.
Nils: Forced conversion is very successful when one has political power in a country. In the Islamic countries that is how Islamic comes to be so widely practiced. In Germany we have a more free country, with freedom of opinion and freedom of religion. In such a society, those who have the better arguments and the more attractive offerings are heard. If Christians cannot argue properly in favor of their beliefs, they are not as viable any more. That’s what we can see at the moment. I think the situation will get better if Christianity is more geared toward its mystic tradition.
Korri (evangelical): I believe the Christian church consists of those who believe and follow Jesus.
Nils: There we are of the same opinion. God doesn’t differentiate between catholic and protestant Christians. God sees the heart of a person. He sees whether someone really follows Jesus, and if a person is serious in his search for the truth, for inner peace and inner harmony and happiness.
Volker (atheist): For me, the ”Mystic Proof of God’s Existence” served as proof for many years. Not because others told of this, but because it touched upon my own experiences. I can still understand those who believe in God because of such experiences. Interesting is that mystics have experiences which seem to reflect their own cultural circle. As I told my ZEN master what I experienced in my childhood, he said exactly these two sentences, “I know that there are many who experience that when intensively meditating. Then, one should continue to meditate and the hallucinations will go away.” My master was a Japanese man, more of a Taoist, who doesn’t adhere to any religion. Hindu mystics tend toward Pantheism, ZEN mystics see unity awareness as a phenomena of the own mind, Buddhists see Nirvana, Christians see their God, pagans nature or their God, Chinese mystics the Tao, etc.
Nils: For me, the mystic Proof of God’s Existence is still all the proof I need. But I accept that one can interpret the experience in various ways. You follow the Zen- path. That’s fine. I allow everyone their own way. Enlightenment is the center of life. There are various ways to reach it and to interpret it. It is still a mystery. It goes beyond words. One has to experience it, then one knows what it really is.
Volker: In my experience of Unity, I met the “spirit of my childhood” again with the recognition, “man, that’s me!” The key is to recognize one’s self, and everything is already there. Every ”recognition” of God is an appearance of one’s own self.
Nils: Words about God are always false, because the experience is not describable. Words about God are only theories about God. God goes beyond words. I accept your theories. As you are following the way of enlightenment, there is nothing there to criticize. At the same time, you should allow me my words and theories. They are my way to God. In the case you are attached to your words and theories, then I would doubt the depth of your experience of enlightenment. At a particular level, one sees that enlightenment goes beyond all words.
Volker: God is endless and eternal, that is something one cannot comprehend as a human.
Nils: Very good. Then we are of the same opinion. The center of the mystic proof of God is that God is a mystery. One cannot make an image of him. Every image leads to confusion. On the other hand, we need the images that lead to God. Such images allow one to speak of God and enlightenment. They are helpful for many. Master Eckhart recognized that one lets go of images at the deep level of enlightenment, that one must go beyond his own image of God.
Volker: I had the experience that I was one with the world, and the only spirit in this world was my own. Some would like to then interpret themselves as being God, I am not such a person.
Nils: That’s fine that way. Everyone is allowed to follow the way that is helpful for him. When you write that others take that to be God, you basically accept the mystic proof of God’s existence. It is just not a helpful theory for you at the moment. You follow a different system of terms than the Christian one.
Volker: Only because the experience was so amazingly impressive -Reality is nothing in comparison- it doesn’t have to contain a “higher truth”.
Nils: Don’t set yourself up to be caught in new dogmas, such as that God doesn’t exist. Others call that God.
Volker: The following, dear mystic, is my confirmation for what you say. Spirituality is the passion to find the truth.
Nils: Very good.
Volker: Those who bind themselves to a certain conviction are unable to search for the truth, because they believe they already have it.
Volker: You may take me to be an atheist, but I only follow my own Gods, not yours.
Nils: I don’t really see you as an atheist. You are a spiritual person. You are a spiritual atheist. That’s possible too.
Volker: Every religion is the exact opposite of spirituality.
Nils: Unfortunately there are often power struggle-based developments which are going in the wrong direction. But generally, the Christian church is needed to spread the good aspects of Jesus. We shouldn’t condemn the church, we should improve it. Problems appear when Christians get lost in their dogmas. That’s a problem of every religion. They need mystics and truth searching people in order to renew the religion, keep it up to date and to stay relevant.
Volker: A Catholic priest goes to a Zen master to learn. Finally, the priest reaches the highest level of enlightenment. The master asks him, “what have you experienced?” The priest replies. “It was unimaginable! The entire universe melted into one, until there was only God. Then how was your experience?” The master: “It was unimaginable! The entire universe melted into one, until only I was there.” The priest: “you have experienced it differently from me. I only saw God!” The master:” when you understand, then you will realize that we both saw the same thing.”
Nils: Wonderful. That is exactly the way it is. The experience of enlightenment of all enlightened is the same. But they describe it differently. And when you say, that only you were there, I also see that as correct. It wasn’t the usual, normal Volker. It was his higher self. And this higher self can also be described with the word “God”. The drop of water dissolved in the sea. And despite this, he still exists. I use the words “to live in God, to be one with God.”
Volker: The God of the bible is defined in such a way that it isn’t possible to have an experience which points to this God. Finally there cannot be a human experience that depicts a way to this God.
Nils: I see that differently. If you look carefully in the bible, it shows the way to this experience of God. Moses went the way of calm and peace. He lived in the desert for 40 years, alone and apparently did his spiritual practice. That points to the experience of God. In his enlightenment he saw the light in the world (God in the burning thorn bush) and recognized that the true self (the attachmentfree self) is the goal and way to God. Further, he threw his staff to the ground which changed into a snake. That is a symbol for exercises which awaken the kundalini energy (which is typically represented as a snake). The staff is the spine of the human, which is the path the kundalini energy takes to reach the head. Then bliss and enlightenment arises. The person then acquires special spiritual powers, healing, energy transfer, the fruits of the holy ghost.
In contrast, the way of Jesus from a spiritual perspective was a completely different one. Jesus acquired his enlightenment energy (the Holy Ghost) from John the Baptist. If someone practices as a Yogi for many years, then he gets special spiritual energy and can transfer these to people whom are ready for them. John the Baptist activated the Kundalini energy of Jesus through his baptism. Jesus then meditated for 40 days and nights in the desert. Then Jesus arrived in enlightenment. The devil (ego) disappeared and the angel (energy) served him. He could use his own truth to teach other people and help them with his energy.
We can develop spiritually when living aside from the chaos of the world around and instead living in calm and contemplation, as many monks and nuns do. Or we can get energy transferred to us from spiritually highly developed people. The energy really comes from God, or directly from God as would hold with Christian thinking. An enlightened doesn’t create from himself, rather through God. He lives in God and gives the energy of God onto others. That is highly visible in the church services of developed, realized saints.
One particular, special point is to be found in the way of Jesus. And that is all-encompassing love. The practice of all-encompassing love is a chance to arrive in unity consciousness. We find five main techniques in the Christian way: the way of peace and calm (contemplation, meditation), the way of all-encompassing love, the prayer (mantra), thought work (positive thinking), and energy transfer from saints and Jesus (blessings).
GermanHeretic: May I briefly quote Wikipedia: ”transcendence (from Latin, transcendentia, ”to go over”) is the philosophy and theology of the characteristic beyond the realm of perception through the five senses and their material accompaniment and to be independent from them.”
Nils: Transcendence is difficult to describe. God is experienced in silence. Through prayer and meditation one can arrive in a higher state of consciousness. At the same time, a new form of perception develops. One sees through the eyes God as light in the world. One senses God as light, peace and happiness in the self. One achieves heightened abilities such as the ability to heal other people.
Wikipedia: As mystical experiences, individual, inner experiences of a person go beyond what is seen as typical daily consciousness and in certain ways is gone beyond this and a particular, intuitive, perspective into the unified nature of reality is achieved. It deals with a type of spontaneous breakthrough of consciousness from a subjective-relative to an objective-absolute basis.
josef (catholic): The immeasurable, ordered depth of the world is proof of the existence of God. And the encountering of humans with the holy ghost of God is a second proof.
Nils: John 14 refers to this. Philip says to Jesus: give me experience of God, then I believe in God. Give me energy of enlightenment as John the Baptist gave to you. Jesus could have done that if Philip was ready for it. But Philip’s heart wasn’t pure enough yet, so Jesus couldn’t give him the spiritual energy requested.
After Jesus’ enlightenment, angels served him. The angels are a symbol here for spiritual energy (the holy Ghost) that can be sent from a distance to help others spiritually. God deals through Jesus. For me, Jesus is the presence of God which deals directly in this world. Jesus possesses abilities which a non-enlightened person can hardly begin to imagine. The more enlightened one is, the more one can also have a part of these abilities. That is also described in the bible, and is experienced in oneself as an enlightened being. According to Paul, one receives the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, friendliness, kindness, loyalty, gentleness and self-control. Just for those reasons, it is worth it to strive for enlightenment.
Marcellinus (atheist): That isn’t proof.
Nils: My mystic proof of God corresponds with what is in the Bible. In John: 14.8 Philipp bids Jesus to give him an experience of God, so that he can believe in God. It takes a deep experience of God to comprehend what God is. One can only speculate about God beforehand. You define God as something that doesn’t exist and then assume that God doesn’t exist. You see God as an old Man in the sky. For something like that there can be no proof. God is a mystery.
GermanHeretic: And how can you differentiate as an unenlightened between the real and the only supposedly enlightened?
Nils: For someone who is unenlightened it is difficult to differentiate. You can orient yourself around whom the majority considers enlightened. That Buddha was enlightened is something most people agree with. One can read what Buddha said. One can then compare his own experience with that. It is very important that you are honest with yourself. Otherwise your ego will trick you.
Volker: If we are talking about a purely transcendental God, then Kant was correct. A 100% transcendental God cannot be proved or disproved. But from that point, most believers make a big mistake. I know this because I’ve made the same mistake: the Christian God is not 100% transcendental. If only a little bit of immanence exists in this God, which is what most believers believe, then God’s existence can in fact be basically proven.
Nils: Correct. God’s existence can basically be proven. How that can be done is written down in John 14.8 ”Lord, show us the Father, that’s enough for us.” In order to believe deeply and truly in God, then an experience of God is enough. God is a mystery. With means steeped in science and logic one can only approach this to a certain degree. One can find indications that point toward God. But one can only grasp God when one has had a transcendental experience. Then it is a belief that is supported by knowledge. For all Christians whom have never had their own experience of God, Jesus is the witness for God. God is proven through Jesus Christ.
Volker: No enlightened person can say the least bit about things which are found outside of his or her head.
Nils: If enlightenment is the way of the deepest happiness, peace and love, then it is already enough to strive for enlightenment and to experience God. Through enlightenment one arrives in higher consciousness and then gets special abilities. Enlightenment is not just in one’s head. You connect with God, with a higher field of consciousness that also exists outside of you, beyond your “own head”. And one can deal through and with this higher field of consciousness. One can observe the self as a spiritual person and recognize that one has the extraordinary abilities which make it clear enlightenment is not just in the head.
Volker: There are unexplainable healings, for example spontaneous remission of cancer. Some can be explained with simple, natural causes such as false diagnosis. We know that the body has abilities to fight cancer. Yes, and I think that belief in healing convinces a person that healing has taken place. “It is your faith that helped you”, as Jesus supposedly said. Not religious belief, but belief in oneself or a particular method of healing. When an ”enlightened” person thinks he has supernatural abilities, then he should go to James Randi and find the abandoned million dollars. He can then donate the money to charity. But as long as none of the “enlightened” achieve this, then I refuse to believe such people with such supernatural abilities exist. I can still remember well, that one of the course participants asked my zen master if one can get supernatural abilities. The Zen master began to laugh. If one has these special abilities, then they should be able to demonstrate this.
Nils: The main point of the spiritual way is enlightenment and not just some special spiritual abilities. For this reason, I can understand why the Zen master laughed at the question if one can get special powers through meditation. In Zen Buddhism, one doesn’t reject this, but doesn’t concentrate on this because enlightenment is the main thing.
All speculation about God, life after death and spiritual abilities lead one away from the main thing. One realizes this when one has achieved enlightenment. Then one recognizes what God is. Then one can see the special spiritual abilities and use them. In science there are those who oppose and those who are for this. You can only really be convinced through your own experience.
There are enlightened people at various levels of enlightenment. Particularly interesting is that some enlightened have abilities and others don’t. It seems enlightened without higher abilities exist, and those with also exist. In my perception of what occurs, you first arrive in enlightenment, and then rise to various levels of enlightenment which are tied to this. That’s how I think it happened with Jesus. He achieved enlightenment after being baptized by John and meditating in the desert. And through crucifixion he went to a still higher level of enlightenment, after which he could say “I have all of the powers of the heaven and earth. Be sure : I am with you for all days, until the end of the world.” Jesus reached the level where he can see all people and can lead them and connect with them spiritually and mentally.
Many enlightened masters report of their experiences with this level of merging of omnipresence. I have experienced this ability when dealing with many enlightened masters. They could appear to me in dreams and give me information that I didn’t have before. I always check the information I receive, as a onetime atheist I am critical towards such things. And I always find reasons to believe in these apparently “supernatural” abilities. With myself personally, I observe how these abilities continue to develop, and I still check up on this critically. I always find indication that these abilities do in fact exist. At the same time, I realize this is difficult to prove to others. But my conclusion overall is that these abilities do exist.
Volker: Ever since I had my experience of the unity of all things, I’ve looked for an explanation for this. The most plausible is that one can show what is happening through brain scans. There is a part of the brain which is responsible for differentiating between itself and it’s outside environment. Newborns are not born with the ability to differentiate, they learn it. During meditation, this function is shut down.
Nils: I have experienced particular spiritual abilities myself. That is the difference between you and I. We’re different people, we’ve had different experiences. There’s this discussion also in Buddhism and Hinduism. There are two great schools of thought. Buddhism is the way of self-enlightenment and Buddhism is the way of enlightened helpers (Bodhisattvas). Yoga without prayer and Yoga with prayer. We will not be able to decide who has won this discussion, and we will also not need to. Also, scientifically the situation is not as clear as you think. There are enough scientists with differing views and differing research.
Brahman (buddhist): Mysticism and enlightenment are on the fringe of the Christian belief system. In Buddhism it’s a different story. Enlightenment and mysticism play a central role in eastern religions.
Nils: Pope John Paul II was a mystic, in my opinion. The current Pope Francis is engaged for the poor of the world. I welcome that. Jesus was a mystic. If the church comprehended that, then they could also be successful as a religion with the world today. At some point they will understand the mystical aspects of the Bible. Jesus meditated on the mountain. This way, he found his way to a transfiguration. For a mystic, that is easy to recognize. Jesus meditated for 40 days and nights in the desert. He didn’t just sit around or run around confused in the desert. If someone is really touched by the holy Ghost as Jesus was after his baptism, then one reaches a deep and joyful meditation.
GermanHeretic: I don’t trust one thing: when someone says their way is for everyone.
Nils: I agree. If you think I believe my way is the only way and THE way for everyone, then you’ve misunderstood my point. I actually believe the opposite, which is that there are many ways to enlightenment and to God. Every religion has several ways to it. That is even the Catholic stance since the II Vatican. “The Catholic church doesn’t reject anything that is true and holy. With sincerity it considers every way of dealing and living, every text and teaching, in which several things differ from what we personally hold for truth and what we teach, but often we see a ray of truth in that which differs from our own traditional beliefs which also enlightens mankind.”
I would go even further. I follow the enlightened Catholic priest Bede Griffiths, according to whom all religions are part of a greater whole. That is exactly my personal experience. I read in the texts of all religions, comprehended the essence and found my own way. I represent the position of the individual spiritual way. That can be the way of Buddhism, of Yoga, of philosophy, of a nature religion, of a mixture of all religions, but also the Christian way with its various branches of teaching.
It depends on whether one is honest, serious and persistent in their spiritual undertakings. One bust be persistent in his personal way of the principles of truth, wisdom and love. One finds God, enlightenment, inner peace and inner happiness when one listens to the voice of his or her inner wisdom. One has to follow his or her consciousness. One has to follow his or her own sense of what is right. One has to combine good sense with inner sense. Enlightenment stands above all. But in a deep enlightenment experience I asked myself how one can find the way there. What terms can one use to describe this way? In its essence, one can describe this with truth and love.
The problem most people have is not they follow various religions. The problem is that they really believe in material happiness and not in inner happiness. They orient themselves toward false goals and for that reason do not find their way. Furthermore, most people only practice their religion on the surface. They do the material rituals without wanting to change themselves on the inside.
GermanHeretic: And your way is first of all just your way.
GermanHeretic: I believe right away that your way works for you.
Nils: Thank you.
GermanHeretic: But it lacks objective validity. That is why expressions such as “that is the only way”, or “ follow me, otherwise it won’t work” are completely irrelevant. Jesus said such things, and for that reason he isn’t a role model for me.
Nils: I don't believe that Jesus really said that he is the only way to God. This was put in his mouth later by his followers. Jesus wanted to turn the Judaism of his time from a formal spiritual practice to a real one. He taught the way of love to God and all people. First in John’s evangelism hundred years later the notion that Christianity is the one way to God arose. Jesus didn’t know or plan anything regarding Christianity. He didn’t intend to start his own religion. He wanted to remain a member of Judaism. The development arose after his crucifixion. Later there was a sharp division between Jews and Christians. In this conflict, this phrase of the St. John’s evangelism arose. The truth is, that all religions have saints and a way to God. Judaism and Moses are a way to God. We should see the phrase in the St. John’s evangelism symbolically. One has to decide for the spiritual way and not live primarily from the perspective of materialism. One needs an enlightened master like Jesus. One has to develop his or her characteristics which lead to enlightenment.
GermanHeretic: Siddharta is completely different. He said, ”I offer a way that works. Follow me, and it might work. But it could work when you go your own way.” That is much more acceptable.
Nils: Buddha and Jesus said the same. Jesus offered the Jews and later followers of other religions the way of all-encompassing love. He didn’t force anyone to go that way. Love doesn’t force. It loves. It helps. It is tolerant. It is non-violent. That is also what he says in the mountain sermon. Jesus was non-violent and gentle.
GermanHeretic:. If Jesus was real. What he really said no one really knows.
Nils: There are many Enlightened in the world. Mostly they say the same thing as Jesus at the heart of the matter.
Einer: There is only one thing one “must” do, and that is to die at some point.
Nils: Everyone has to die when the time comes. The big question is where it goes afterward. The consciousness at death determines where one will be after death. The characteristics of inner peace, love and happiness well developed will cause the person to go to a happy place after death. Characteristics of a person such as foolishness, addiction, hate and ego madness will take the person to a corresponding place after death. It is a great advantage to live spiritually. One harvests richly in the afterlife and on earth. A wise person can only go the way of wisdom.
GerhardIngold: I quote the bible the same way I quote Kant, Nietzche, Marx and others. There are ideas from each which I consider good, less good or completely wrong. But I never quote the Koran, the Tora, the NT, etc as if they contain the word of God. Rather, I quote them the same way I quote every book.
Nils: It’s helpful when you are inspired by the Holy Ghost. I would say that it is helpful to comprehend the Bible with the intellect and with wisdom. Wisdom means deep knowledge. Those who know enlightenment and have experienced God can comprehend the Bible at a deeper level.
GerhardIngold: It’s a fact that no one can argue effectively that God exists. At the same time, no one can argue that God does not exist. But generally atheists have the most conclusive arguments.
Nils: Atheists argue that God does not exist. It’s possible to argue from that perspective and to demand a proof of God. This proof exists. There are millions of people who have experienced God. One can experience God. So God exists. The big question then is what does one experience and what is God, exactly?
Discussion Jesus.de 2013 (evangelical forum)
Nils: The mystic knowledge of God is the basis for the mystic proof of God. The term “proof” is used a lot. God does not allow himself to be proven on simple terms because God is greater than the understanding of the human. But one can find good reasons to support the notion that it is in good sense to live as a spiritual person.
swift: If something isn’t proven, then you don’t need to belive it. Solid proof of God would do away with belief.
Nils: It has nothing to do with getting rid of belief, rather with strengthening it. Many people doubt God today. They need good reasons to believe. That’s the point here. It has to do with good arguments for the spiritual way. There is nothing more to it, nothing more to setting out to prove God’s existence. God isn’t just some imagining, some fake thing, rather there is God and God can be experienced. There are plenty of witnesses for that, plenty of people who have experienced that for themselves . If you can and don’t want to experience for yourself, then you have to believe in his witnesses such as Jesus, Moses, Paul, Areopagita, Master Eckhart. In that regard, it remains belief, but with a good reason to believe. Only when you’ve experienced enlightenment and God can your belief become “knowing”.
rap2:. The real point of life is happiness. What other worthy goal is there for our short time on earth?
Nils: Correct. We should live in a way that makes us happy. And at best, all together with one another and for one another. The highest happiness can be found in enlightenment, in the mystic unity with God.
rap2: And if someone really knows the Bible, mystical experiences can be useful. Then one can really place them, and get a sense of what is truly happening!
Nils: Mystical experiences are a blessing. They help us along our way. They allow us to recognize our way. They are a taste of the paradise that is to come.
Hesse23: The community of saints are all believers.
Nils: That’s a theological theory which is partly correct and partly false. It is correct in the sense that the Bible is a way to holiness and directs us to paradise. In that regard, all Christians are potential saints. But they are often far away from really seeing that through. When I consider the sins of the Christians of today and the past, then it’s clear to see that not all believers are holy. There are witch burnings, inquisition, forced conversions, child molestation, crusades, war crimes, and torture… what do these have to do with holiness or saintliness? A bad person is no saint, rather a bad person, even if he is a Christian.
Hesse23: Believers don’t strive toward completion. You mix things up that don’t have anything to do with one another.
Nils: I know that in Christianity there is a debate surrounding the term ”saintliness”. I orient my thinking around Jesus who referred to striving for completion in the sense of enlightenment and holiness, saintliness. Matth. 19,21. “If you want to be complete, then sell your belongings and give the money to the poor. Then you will be a treasure in heaven.
Wikipedia:. ”The Christian theology has a double concept of saintliness: the saint is an incorporation of God himself. In the New testament this view is modified. Now it is the holiness or saintliness of Jesus that effects those who follow him. Christian saints show that they are already a step further in grace, but that it is possible for everyone to also achieve that grace. “
P (atheist): It’s only physical chemistry and brain processes.
Nils: What exactly is the enlightened experience? Does it deal with just brain processes, or is connected with a real higher power? I experience God as a higher dimension of consciousness that exists behind the material cosmos, where time and space have no meaning. God is omnipresent and all-knowing. Those who are connected to this higher power have a piece of these abilities. They can go beyond time and space. They can demonstrate abilities such as thought transfer, clairvoyance and healing.
hhi: What are spiritual exercises?
Nils: Spiritual exercises are meditation and thought work. In thought work we exercise through our enlightened role models. Then we develop positive characteristics such as inner peace and all-encompassing love. Prayer is an important spiritual exercise. Prayer can be a form of thought work or meditation. Teresa von Avila called meditation the prayer of calm and peace. She prayed to God and connected to him. Then the spirit of God flowed within her, her thoughts became quiet and she rested in a clear-headed state of the bliss of God.
Central to this is the statement from the sermon on the mount: ”Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” The point is to be pure of heart. The heart is meant as the center of the soul. To be pure in the soul, we need exercises for the body and the mind as well. One must work through the tension and energy blockages in the body and the mind. When the tension disappears, happiness, love and peace can develop within. Then you can arrive in the dimension of God.
There are many different exercises. Which ones work for you has to be tested for yourself. I’ve tried a lot of things until I found the right ones for me. An obstacle to true progress is practicing without putting your heart and soul; just going through the motions without sensing anything. Praying can be a good mental exercise. But if we just speak without feeling, then praying won’t bring us to God. Terasa von Avila only needed to think of the prayer “Our Father” once, concentrated on it, felt the deeper meaning of the words and was in happiness, bliss, God, enlightenment.
Spiritual exercises for me are living life in calm, to go for walks, to read the Bible, to pray, to avoid negative thoughts, to practice positive characteristics such as love, peace, and happiness. At the center of the spiritual way there are two things: the love of God and the love of one’s fellow man. God can be found in meditation and contemplation, love of one’s fellow man can be found through positive thinking and doing good deeds. To say it briefly, meditation and positive thinking will bring you to enlightenment and to God.
Momoko: It sounds a lot like ”you can save yourself through work.” It’s enough for me that Jesus died for me.
Nils: Self-salvation is not possible. Enlightenment occurs through grace. What one can do is to purify oneself. Then God will take his time and fulfill the rest with grace, as God chooses to do so. “blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” God loves those who work for blessings, not the lazy. If you don’t work on yourself, you can’t expect blessings from God.
It’s a big argument among Christians as to whether one can become a saint through good deeds. Catholics emphasize the importance of good deeds and many evangelical Christians love to do nothing. From my perspective, both positions are correct. One has to walk the spiritual path with balance and understanding. Mostly it is correct and important to intensively practice prayer contemplation and helping others, to read the Bible and to visit church services. But sometimes it can be good to just be relaxed and leave things to God.
The way to enlightenment is normally so that one has to work intensively at the beginning. Right before you break through to enlightenment, often you have to just leave things to God. But there are also people who reach God through intense inner cleansing. There are many ways to God. If you connect to God every day through prayer or reading texts, and listen to your voice of inner wisdom, then you will find the way that is right for you.
Sanduhr: The question is what would be different with you personally from the other schools of thought which are just as focused on practice.
Nils: I’ve tried it out on myself, and that’s enough for me. My main principle is the individual way for each person. People are all different and live in different situations. What could be good for one could be bad for another. For me, I notice that it’s good to practice spiritually. It doesn’t do me good though to see things dogmatically. I need a middle road of spiritual practice with meditation, prayer, thought work, some joy and enjoyment in life, doing good, and finally just leaving things to God, trusting God. But there are some people who need strict discipline. The first Christian hermits have found that both of these ways are effective. That was the first test along the way of saintliness and enlightenment.
Momoko: What does it mean to you to be focused on God?
Nils: You have to decide between God and the world, between the spiritual way and the material way. To be focused on God means to live basically, according to spiritual truths. It means that inner peace, all-encompassing love and wisdom are the main points of life. How one does that exactly can vary.
Momoko: The Bible doesn’t say anything about working on ourselves. The Bible says GOD changes us. God can only do that when I stay in contact with him (pray, meditate, etc) but with you it seems the focus is on YOU doing things, that YOU work on yourself, instead of letting GOD work.
Nils: I pray and let God lead me. I let God work on me. I let my inner voice advise me as to what specific exercises I should do. There is the active and the passive spiritual way. It depends on the individual, as to which way is right for him or her. An active person will interpret the Bible differently from a passive person. Let us take this sentence as an example “blessed are the merciful at heart, for they will strive toward mercy.” I interpret that as a call to action. This action will change a person on the inside.
Sanduhr: To love one’s fellow man is an attachment in a sense.
Nils: It depends on what type of love that is. The center of the spiritual way of life is the rule of love to God and to all other beings. I interpret that as concentrating on God and love. We have to find our own balance of calm and love. When we use up our energy just on love, we get burnt out and don’t come to the light. On the other, all-encompassing love is a good way to overcome the ego and to arrive in unity consciousness (the consciousness of God). The best way for me to grow consists of living away from the world in a sort of isolation, to do good for others, and to practice spiritually by reading, praying and meditating, all in the right amount. This amount has to be found each day, as it can change, and that by sensing and using wisdom.
Sanduhr: Those who love from God, will be stronger, the more they love.
Nils: If we anchor our existence in God then light will flow into us and we can pass this love to others without using it up as it comes from God. An enlightened lives this way, and for an unenlightened person it is a way to practice. If we lose our inner peace and calm when we are doing things, then we are no longer centered in God and use up our own energy when giving to others.
Sanduhr: The people around you are those you encounter directly, but they are not all beings.
Nils: That’s an important point that is often misunderstood. In order to come to a mystical experience of God one has to love all other beings, including one’s enemies. Only all-encompassing love can bring one to the all-encompassing love of God. It deals with more than just the people you meet and are thinking about. It could be those starving in Africa and Indian, the victims of the terrible wars in the world and the many poor in the world. We know that at least through the news and TV. They need our help and our love. We help others as much as possible without overwhelming ourselves. We would like all people to live in light, to be enlightened and to come to paradise after they die. If we approach others from the perspective of all-encompassing love, that will bring us to love, to the peace of God and to happiness.
Momoko: There are many saints. This forum is full of them. I, for example, am holy. I belong to God.
Nils:s To me, a saint is an enlightened master. Only. Only they have the true fruits of the spirit within them (love, peace, patience, friendliness, goodness, loyalty, gentleness, self-control.) The rest of us are just on the way to this completeness of being, but we are not there yet. When I consider my fellow Christians, I don’t see much of this completeness and saintliness. Most protestant Christians don’t even pray once a day. How should someone become a saint that way? The Catholics are more honest, they honor their saints and look to them for knowledge and know they are not that far along yet.
Momoko: Blessings are something one cannot work towards.
Nils: That’s correct, but there’s a connection between one’s doings and of being blessed by God. That is also expressed in the Bible that the human being has to choose between God and the world. To choose God means to live consistently spiritual. That means one needs to work on oneself. And then one will be blessed.
Momoko: The term “enlightenment” isn’t biblical.
Nils: The Bible mentions perfection, following Jesus, becoming a saint, and being full of light innside, to live in light and to radiate light. There is the following passage of the Bible, “God is the one who enlightens my darkness.” (2. Samuel 22:29). “The true light, that enlightens all humans, came into the world.” (Joh. 1.9) “With you is the source of life, and in your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9). “Jesus spoke once again to them and said: I am the light of the world. Those who follow me will will not change in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you." (Luke 11.36)
Momoko: God doesn’t need perfectly enlightened people, whom are always nice and good and calm and quiet, but he loves us dirty and crazy, weird and spiteful.
Nils: An enlightened person can have quirks and mostly DOES have them. What makes an enlightened person different is the light of God. HE or she is full of the holy Ghost, is full of peace, happiness and love. He or she feels the light of God and radiates it into the world. With the Evangelist Luke it says: “Jesus went up with them to pray. And while he prayed, the look of his face and his clothing changed to a radiant white.” (Luke 9,28-36). That is how it is with the enlightened.
Momoko: Who is Jesus, in your opinion? Just an enlightened person?
Nils: Jesus is an enlightened person. That is the result I have come to after contemplating the Bible. But he is not “just” an enlightened person. There are several steps, levels of enlightenment. Jesus incorporates the highest level because he taught all-encompassing love. Enlightened masters have differing spiritual abilities. In my view, Jesus had the highest abilities, as he is omnipresent and has the ability to lead us all spiritually.
Momoko: I’m not a physicist but I am rather sure that a physicist can’t just sum everything up with the quote from the quantum physics for everything “supernatural.”
Nils: I’ve discussed this topic often with physicists. In physics, there are communities of two groups, the atheists and the spiritual people. There is a growing group of spiritual scientists, especially quantum physicists. Their arguments are very good. Don’t insult Professor Hans-Peter Dürr. The atheist physicists haven’t even dared to do so. He is a recognized scientist.
Wikipedia: Hans-Peter Dürr (October 7, 1929 in Stuttgart) is a German physicist. In addition to nuclear and quantum physics, elementary particles and gravitation, epistemology, and philosophy, he has advocated responsible scientific and energy policies. Until Fall 1997, he was the diretor at the Max-Plank-Institute for physics (Werner-Heisenberg Institute) in Munich.
Meli77 (Atheist): What makes Jesus believable for you?
Nils: I believe what Jesus said because his words make sense. He describes experiences I’ve also had.
Meli77: And where is the Bible proven?
Nils: The main point of the Bible is enlightenment, the way to God, life with God. Otherwise there are a lot of historical references in the Bible which were right for the time in which they were written. We have to use the Bible wisely, and apply it to our situations today.
Meli77: How do you differentiate between fakes and real enlightened masters?
Nils: A good indication is whether something is believable. We have to look at the entire behavior of a person and then compare their experiences with what it says in the Bible. Which spiritual gifts do they have? Inner peace, all-encompassing love, mental clarity, joy?
Basically one can orient oneself to the criteria in religious texts. When Moses saw the burning bush, I know he was enlightened. As an enlightened, one sees the light of God in the world. Moses saw the burning bush and light all around. When Moses threw his staff to the ground and it changed into a snake, I know that is a symbol for the awakening of enlightenment energy. The enlightenment energy is also represented as a snake, that winds itself around a tree (the spine).
When Jesus was transformed during the prayer on the mountain, I know that he was enlightened. You don’t directly see the light, you feel it. You feel it in you and around you. And sensitive people can also feel it from you. They can tell they are in the presence of a holy person. Jesus was an enlightened person with aura full of light.
Paul described criteria such as joy, peace, and love. That’s how one can recognize enlightened people. Especially important is the consciousness of unity, or the consciousness of God. One feels connected with God, the world, and other people. One develops special abilities.
Meli: I am satisfied, am I enlightened? OK, I can’t do any miracles, but does that matter?
Nils: If you are completely satisfied, that’s good. But that’s not enough for enlightenment, although you are on the right track. You should meditate and love all other people. Miracles do not necessarily accompany enlightenment, maybe they are possible at a higher level. Jesus could perform miracles, as could Moses. Buddha also. I could name many enlightened masters who could perform miracles. But the point is experiencing God, not miracles. Enlightenment is first of all just one way to live happily. It depends on inner peace, happiness, and love. Those who are enlightened live better than those who are not. Doing miracles is just a side ability. In some religions it’s taught that one shouldn’t just perform miracles because one can.
Sanduhr: In my Bible, the angel of the lord appears in the burning bush.
Nils: The angel is God himself. Otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. And it’s also clear that God himself answers out of the burning bush.
Sanduhr: Is there a devil?
Nils: In my view, there are bad souls, bad energy, and bad thoughts. But, at a deep level there is only God. The devil is a symbol for the ego that is dissolved with enlightenment. I take that from the story of Jesus praying (meditating) for 40 days and nights in the desert. The devil disappeared after that. In Buddhism there is a similar story with Mara.
Sanduhr: What did Adam and Eve do wrong?
Nils: In my view, Adam and Eve were at the level of a child. They were enlightened, without being aware of strong energies in themselves and without being able to do deal with those energies properly. They had to lose their enlightenment and go out into the world in order to become true adults and to learn how to combine enlightenment with a life in the outside world. One can easily hold onto enlightenment when living away from the outside world. But as soon as you go out there and are confronted with all the chaotic energies, you lose your enlightenment. It is a delicate art to be able to be peaceful and enlightened when you encounter aggressive people, more so when they attack you directly. Also, being addicted to sex one can fall from the grace of enlightenment. That could have also been the problem with Adam and Eve.
GoodFruit: God promised us that when we look for him, he will allow us to find him.
Nils: I believe that too.
GoodFruit: Skeptics are always appearing, demanding proof. It should be possible to give them this proof, miracles HAVE occurred.
Nils: That’s how it is. The proof has appeared several times. There are thousands of experiments regarding thought transfer and clairvoyance. Miracle healings have been documented in Lourdes.
XHelghastX: You seem to regard atheists as the enemy.
Nils: Not at all. I was an atheist in the past, and my son is an atheist. Atheists can also arrive at enlightenment. Atheists can also experience God, even when they would likely call it something else. According to Pope Francis, atheists can also go to heaven if they are good people.