human essence

3 years, 6 months ago

What do you think is at the heart of human essence? Can other people ever know what lies within the soul of another individual? Can an individual ever really know his or herself beyond the surface material projections bestowed upon them?

I would argue that relationships that people form outside of the context of a family are based off of surface concepts…sharing hobbies, skills, interests, taste in music or clothing. I myself would like something deeper because I am aware that there is more to what we as humans know exists,although I am not going to pretend to know what that is.

I imagine that in the afterlife (if such a thing exists) all living things wander in a place free from our shallow conceptions of touch, sight, taste,sound or feeling and only then can souls truly be experienced. People may spend a lifetime attempting to afford themselves the luxury of self actualization by peering into what makes them feel: music, art, love, and the human experience.

What if self actualization can only occur when the soul is separated from the self- not through death, not through introspection, extroversion or constant reflection, but in an ability to think without the guidance of words and feel without the urgency of emotion? To utilize one’s mind and body experience, disregarding interpretation for an experience devoid of recycled thought in favor of embracing the purity of obscurity?

June 6, 2011 at 7:07 am

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Profile photo of Jim Jim (@jimm) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

Hi Stephanie
Could you ask the question like this……?
Who are we without our story?

It’s something which interests me greatly. I feel that we are all much alike without our stories, and that is the bond of humanity that we share.

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Profile photo of Matt P Matt P (@mkp843) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

Maybe we are all the same aside from our surface level conceptions.. What I don’t like is when ppl want to stay on the surface, although I don’t know how to get away from the surface so the surface is prob the best place for me… don’t mind me lol.. I think it takes a lot of insight to get away from the surface basically…

This video really opened my eyes… A nuero-scientist had a stroke, and was analyzing herself throughout her stroke.. she walks you through it and it’s amazing.. It got me thinking we really need to see what our brains are all about.. she makes so much sense to me.. I think you will like it and is pertanent.

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Profile photo of Stephanie Thoma Stephanie Thoma (@smt888) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

@Jim~ I agree that our stories bond us with the rest of humanity. What I was wondering about extends beyond humanity and could be inclusive of the debate: are people born with personalties? If not then our stories definitely play a starring role, but I wonder about the sense of self that one has at birth and how deeply 2 people can really “connect” in relation to how in-touch an individual is with his or herself.

@Matt~ You bring up an interesting point about us all being the same. That’s something that at least is definitely fought in American society where individualism rules most. Insight is so subjective…do you think it’s found through experience/old age(wisdom) or introspection? Thanks so much for sharing the video, it was definitely insightful and I’m passing it along to friends.

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Profile photo of Matt P Matt P (@mkp843) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

The zeitgiest film touches on some awesome points… It said how genetics are only a small factor and that enviornment is the real issue… So my understanding after watching that video was that the the enonomic system, home life, and culture ppl are subjected is what creates their minds. It brought up America individualism as well, saying that it’s just an endless hike to the top basically, which is promoted from a profit system, instead of acknowledging that recources are finite, and that we are essentially one organism. Some ppl are geniune psychopaths (1 in 100 I think), but I think other than that, the majority of ppl have the same goals and feelings….

I don’t think it comes from old age, look at how natural life flows through children sometimes, so perfectly, just made for it… I think it’s more on the lines of barred from you, instead of found in life… probably a combination of the two tho

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Profile photo of Sam Sam (@samson) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

Steph-
This is probably my favorite questions to think about and meditate on. And i have found alot of believable answers to me at least in the “Tibetan book of the dead”. I strongly advise reading it if you like this subject as much as I. a basic summary of it is that after death your soul leaves your body, and only those souls that have realized that they have died will continue through a journey to nirvana, where as those that have not realized they have died re-live their life (when you die you re-live your life in a flash) and afterwords continue a 49 day journey in which the soul goes through trial and eventually finds a new vessel where it can repeat its process. There is ALOT more to this but this is the basic. The book also takes a flip and says that this is the temporary life we must live through that connect life and death and not the after life as we call it.

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Profile photo of Matt Matt (@mattattack) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

First off, I do not believe in an eternal soul. Because of this, I believe that the essence of our being is merely existing and experiencing life. Look up Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception and go to page 12 -14, if you are so inclined, and basically what he talks about is how everyone is their own separate island universe. We act and react to each other but there is no way for any being to intimately share an experience with another being. We may have similar experiences but a persons experience and the feelings that went along with it are limited strictly to their mind.

As for a self actualization, I don’t think that “recycled thought” or feelings are bad things at all. I am an extremely feeling person and without them what would we be? What do you believe makes up our soul if not our emotions? I feel an afterlife made up entirely of just sitting around mingling with other blank consciousnesses would be incredibly boring!

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Profile photo of Camron Camron (@camron) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

This place of an afterlife free of “shallow conceptions” can be lived today in the here and now. A heaven on earth, so to speak. I cannot show you how, it can not be expressed through words. You must see what’s in front of your own eyes and experience the state of being “purity of obscurity” Realize that what you are searching for IS.

As for if souls can see one another. Yes, but it is rare for someone else to see your soul when you yourself can not see your own. Yesterday I was suffering very deeply but I pushed aside my feelings and I practiced an hour of massage on a classmate. Afterwards we were talking about how strange transference’s of feelings and experiences can happen on a massage table. She hesitantly admitted to me that the moment I touched her she felt like “a knife had stabbed her heart.” She had felt a glimpse of my soul that day. Take it for what you will.

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Profile photo of Austin Austin (@austindcramer) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

My cousin is a massage therapist and she says she feels that same way after every massage she gives. Maybe thats intense contact and physical and emotional transfer of energy means something.

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Profile photo of Morgan Morgan (@m17lee) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

I think about this topic often while daydreaming. I believe in something deeper in all of us. I think it’s very possible to touch another’s soul, but sometimes it can be rare to have a level of complete understanding between both souls to comprehend and allow it. Both souls have to be open-minded and allow it to happen persay. You won’t be able to reach out to someone who doesn’t believe in such things or think that they shouldn’t happen. A lot of people block themselves from it unfortunately. I think that this is what love does to all of us. Love connects our souls on a deeper level than just touching the surface.

I do believe in an afterlife, but I also believe that you are going to go where you think you are going. You create your own afterlife. Believing in something gives it power and allows it to become. Life is all about learning. That’s my personal “Why are we here?” answer. We are here to learn and become a “higher existence” (I had to make the pun :))

I also believe you make your life the way you want it. You can change things to make your life better, no matter what anyone else says. You have the power to make a heaven on earth for yourself and for others. You have to be able to see the beauty in everything around you and the beauty in every living thing to really make a happy life for yourself. You may live like a king but you aren’t going to enjoy it or appreciate it without seeing beauty and love in all life.

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Profile photo of Morgan Morgan (@m17lee) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

@Sam – who is the author of that book. There seems to be a number of publications in different years with different authors. Which version were you specifically referencing?

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Profile photo of Nigel Hewitson Nigel Hewitson (@entelechy) 3 years, 6 months ago ago

The ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’ is not “authored” in the normal sense. It’s like asking, “Who wrote the Old Testament ? It’s a collection of writings.
The concept of reliving your life again post mortem is not unique to Eastern thinking. The Greeks believed each person has a ‘Daemon’ (It’s where we get the modern ‘Demon’ from – Christianity “demonised” the Greek idea.) A Daemon is best understood as a kind of Guardian Angel, with one vital difference, your Daemon is another aspect of you – not a separate supernatural entity. At times of great stress or danger the Daemon is believed to guide or warn us. We’ve all heard stories of such things. In the west these tales are viewed as stories of ‘Angelic’ intervention. The idea of Daemons is attractive because it does not necessitate belief in a personal God and all that entails. The Daemon neatly fits in with ideas of the unconscious. We know that a high proportion of brain activity is not readily available to us in our every day lives. It seems quite feasible that our ‘Other Self’ could manifest as a disembodied voice warning us of danger, the sub conscious having access to resources above and beyond our conscious every day self. At the end of our lives it appears that our Daemon appears to us and prepares us for a kind of “Life Review.” This, as reported by people who have undergone near death experiences, is a real time review of our life. The Daemon seems to act as a guide/teacher. When the moment of death approaches inhibitory neuro-chemicals are released which slow down the persons perception of time. The nearer the moment of death the slower their perception of time becomes. Finally, they become locked in an eternal last moment as their life is re-run, examining what they did and seeing what lessons have been learnt from it. How can we know this ? Well, as stated earlier, there are reports of NDE’s (near death experiences). Also, regarding the brain being slowed down, we have reports of this from people with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. People who suffer from this have reported experiencing a subjective slowing down or freezing of life when they have an attack. One woman, who was having tea with a friend in a coffee shop said, “I felt/heard a popping noise. Then I noticed that everything was frozen ! It was like watching a film which had stopped. Afterwards I found this state lasted for about a minute. But, to me it seemed a week passed as I watched the tea frozen in mid air above the cup !” This type of experience is not understood by neurologists, but it is acknowledged as real.
So, “What does all this mean ?” If we have a Daemon and they are with us all our lives, and at the end they revue our life with us, surely this suggests an afterlife; or at the very least reincarnation ? Who knows ? One thing I can guarantee though is that all I’ve told you is real, has been reported by numerous individuals, and seems to be evidence for something. What that something is I don’t know; maybe I’ll ask my Daemon ! What do you think ?

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