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Complexity/Simplification of Religious/Spiritual Practice

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by SalixIncendium, Nov 8, 2017.

  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    I have studied forms of religion and spirituality that range from quite simple to quite convoluted.

    I suppose these questions might apply to those whose follow less dogmatic or have moved to less dogmatic belief structures, but anyone may feel free to participate in this discussion.

    Do you feel as you become closer to your understanding or realization of you and your understanding of your conceptualization of God, do you find that your use of tools and your practices in your religion or spirituality become more complex or more simplified?

    In other words, as your understanding or realization grows, do you...

    ...incorporate more or less deities into your beliefs?

    ...find that you pray or meditate more or less often?

    ...use more or less tools, such as altars, incenses, stones, offerings, statues, pictures, divination tools, etc.?

    ...attend group services more or less often?

    ...incorporate more or less associations, such as elemental, astrological, numerological, symbology, etc.?


    Do you find you remove from of the above some and add to others? Does your practice remain the same?



    Now, after having considered all of this, why have your practices become complex or more simplified as your realization or understand has grown?
     
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  2. ajay0

    ajay0 Well-Known Member

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    The greatest truths are the simplest.

    Hence the progression in terms of spirituality is from complexity to simplicity, from multiplicity to unity , and from concepts to non-conceptual awareness or love.
     
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  3. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    Just sit.
     
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  4. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Simplified.

    The more clearly I perceive the "reality of God" the more easily I can align myself with it, and the less I need to use the 'intellectual and spiritual tools' of ideology to maintain that alignment. It's not that it's necessarily easier, I think it's just more automatic.
    The more undefined "deity" becomes, the more effective it becomes. Because it is in the mystery that we find the value. The greater the mystery, the greater the value. The less defined "God" is, the more variable and effective my idea of "God" can be relative to the specific conditions in my life.
    It's more internalized and automatic. My faith in the Divine becomes more and more a part of who I am. So I don't have to 'practice' at it.
    I think it's a false dichotomy. A musician "practices" for years to acquire the skill of playing an instrument so that he won't have to "think about it" as he plays. The skills become a part of him. And so the playing of the instrument becomes a natural expression of his being.

    It's not "more or less complex", it just becomes more automatic, and more 'natural'.
     
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  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    This is a fairly specific application of complexity/simplification in one's religious practice in that it deals specifically with how one's knowledge of the gods impacts it. For a polytheist, things inevitably go in the direction of "more complex" if by "more complex" we basically mean "has developed relationships with more gods." But I'm not sure that's the best way of framing it.

    I don't really think of my practices in terms of complexity/simplicity; those terms are relative and a bit on the nebulous side. Instead, I recognize how my understanding of things is refined and transformed over time in a more general sense. I also become better able to articulate things, which I can do either in complex or simple language. Many of your follow up inquiries relate to language - languages of symbolism and association - which I can use or not as the mood strikes. I can't say I incorporate more or less as what I do depends on what I want to do at the time.
     
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  6. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Hmm.
    The more I understand and apply teachings to my life, the more simple and reflective I see things. I dont need a lot of material items I thought I did so I donated many things away. The Dhamma is complex depending on the sect. Nichiren Buddhism is simple but Tibeten Buddhism. Thst is complex. I like the latter. It helps simplify my life when The Dhamma is explained in more detail.

    Actually, more. Tibetans, from what I gather, sees deities as objects of concentration rather than gods in abrahamic traditions. Using images of gods and bodhisattvas that mean varies things help with concencration. As real beings, I dont believe in gods.

    I meditate more often. Anaylitical meditation works best with me. Some do visualizations but I find that distracting. I cant learn much from watching my breathe. I can go to yoga classes for that.

    All. Incense vary rare. I light candles instead. Less scent.

    If I spoke Veitnamese, Id attend them more often. If in my area, more often than most. Many temples here are on private property. Its open to worshipers on new and full moon, specific holidays, and yearly celebrations.

    I never understood any of these. Many Buddhist traditions use them. I dont have a guru or teacher who speaks English that can explain it. I want to go to a nearby monastary but because I cant drive, Id have to save at least $200 to go and thats not by cab.

    I stopped practicing "spells" and sun worship. I still pray to my family every so often. We have a yearly ancestor celebration I want to go to more often.

    Simplified because the things I have prevent me to learn about attachment and self growth. The rituals are somewhat complex because I like structure.

    Nice questions.
     
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    My meditation gradually becomes more universal as I strive to see God in a flower, in people on the street and so forth.
     
  8. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    61242"]...use more or less tools, such as altars, incenses, stones, offerings, statues, pictures, divination tools, etc.?[/QUOTE]

    'Tools' are the symbolic expression of an aspect of faith, and have value only as far as they remain so.

    Meditation becomes completely free of dogma.
     
  9. Blastcat

    Blastcat Active Member

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    Complexity/Simplification of Religious/Spiritual Practice

    Reply part one:


    _____________________________

    "Do you feel as you become closer to your understanding or realization of you and your understanding of your conceptualization of God, do you find that your use of tools and your practices in your religion or spirituality become more complex or more simplified?"

    I do not care to use a concept of god in my religion.
    ____________________________

    "In other words, as your understanding or realization grows, do you..."

    Of course, the more I realize stuff, the more I grow as a person.
    ____________________________

    "...incorporate more or less deities into your beliefs?"

    I haven't incorporated a deity into anything in 50 years, give or take.
    ____________________________

    "...find that you pray or meditate more or less often?"


    I don't pray.
    I meditate many hours a day.
    Of course, I do an active meditation. I do many.
    One favorite of mine is called "doing laundry".
    _____________________________

    "...use more or less tools, such as altars, incenses, stones, offerings, statues, pictures, divination tools, etc.?"


    I always need a prop. But I didn't always.
    I use sticks, bonzai, empty canvases, empty text boxes, lots of filling up of the empty, I take photos of the smallest wildflowers, write poetry and philosophy, and play music instruments. Music is a good one. So is the bike path in the park.

    All of these props.. give me something to focus on.
    ____________________________

    ...attend group services more or less often?

    Oh never. Yuk.
    I do all of my religious practice quite alone.
    ____________________________

    "...incorporate more or less associations, such as elemental, astrological, numerological, symbology, etc.?"

    HAR HAR HAR
    The more spiritual I get, the less superstitions I need.
    _____________________________

    "Do you find you remove from of the above some and add to others? Does your practice remain the same?"

    I don't know what that means.
    My practice changes from day to day.

    Some days, I do not practice at all.. sometimes, I really have to "get things done".

    Meditating is hard work.
    _____________________________

    "Now, after having considered all of this, why have your practices become complex or more simplified as your realization or understand has grown?"

    The more I do something, the more I save time.
    So, yes, experience does confer savings.

    None of what my religion is about has to do with any nonsense.
    I don't pretend to know it all.

    I don't even preach about my religion. No proselytizing.
    This is as far as I have ever preached my own brand of religion.

    I think my religion is swell, by the way.
    Amen.
     
    #9 Blastcat, Nov 8, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
  10. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    It seems to me, the deeper you get, the simpler it becomes -- without becoming simplistic.
     
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  11. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    So Salix I'll do my best to respond to your questions.. in "italics"
    SalixIncendium asks:

    as your understanding or realization grows, do you...

    ...incorporate more or less deities into your beliefs?

    My belief has always been in one God

    ...find that you pray or meditate more or less often?

    My prayer life is pretty much the same daily. I set aside at least half an hour daily.

    ...use more or less tools, such as altars, incenses, stones, offerings, statues, pictures, divination tools, etc.?

    I use no tools really. As a Baha'i I sometimes use prayer beads to daily chant ninety five times "Allah'u'Abha" but also can use my hands and fingers in counting rather than prayer beads.

    [​IMG]



    ...attend group services more or less often?

    Our Baha'i community meets regularly and I've attended regularly for years.

    ...incorporate more or less associations, such as elemental, astrological, numerological, symbology, etc.?

    Baha'is don't use astrology, elements, numerology. We do have Calligraphic renderings of the Greatest Name in most of our homes and sometimes on rings or medallions.

    [​IMG]


    Do you find you remove from of the above some and add to others? Does your practice remain the same?

    I would say that my practice has been pretty much the same over the years. Our daily obligatory prayers have instructions with them that we follow.
     
  12. MrMrdevincamus

    MrMrdevincamus Voice Of The Martyrs Supporter

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    NOTE TO FORUM MEMBERS. SORRY FOR THE LENGTH OF THIS REPLY. MY SKILL OF WRITING AND THE USE OF ECONOMY OF WORDS (AS MY E GRAMMAR TEACHER WOULD SAY) ELUDE ME

    I have found because I came to religion by the way of science my belief system* is complex by necessity. (I call it primitive Christianity, and the title no longer fits the system btw). First its broken into two parts, the spiritual side and the physicist side, by physics I mean ruled by natural guidelines. I am a deist in one side and an Christian on the other. One side can be explained and vetted by physics and logic. The 1st side is based on deism with the centerpiece being an intelligent designer. The second side is nearly traditional Christianity, I call that part my personal view and I believe it primarily on faith. How can anyone prove the existence of a being that is by definition not material or physical. And physicality is the only thing science accepts, ie empirical evidence. However that is slowly changing, science is growing a long nose and is being somewhat dishonest with itself in one or two of its disciplines imo.

    The same deity but with different flavors.

    I pray every time my mind starts to wonder. Jesus said pray continually. I mediate less often because it is not needed in the same way a Buddhist requires mediation to become enlightened. The way I understand the bible is the more pure ones faith is the closer one is to God. And for a science minded person that is perhaps the very most difficult thing about Christianity to apply. Faith. With the faith of a mustard seed (about the size of this period '.') one can influence physical reality ie move a mountain. So you see, no one on earth today* has very much pure faith imo.

    * In the time of the old testament one man was taken directly to heaven (that should read Enoch did not see death) his faith had become so pure*. Hebrews 11:15; By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.



    After a stint using sacrament* and ritual** I now require only faith. However artwork as well as jewelry*** gives some 'comfort'.
    * I used and experimented with psychoactive substances and fasting for quite a long time, but for the last eight years I haven't needed them. I do think an altered reality was very effective in allowing me to understand how a spiritual world can work.
    *** I wear a crucifix and have some minor body jewelry, may get a minor body modification soon.

    About the same. I never was a devout church goer. That was because I interpret some scripture a bit differently than main stream pastors and scholars. I have read extensively about the time and culture Jesus ministered in. The cannon helped and nearly killed the true meaning of Christianity so there too I am different. I also have a different take n the book of (Johns) Revelation than most pastors etc. I finally decided that God wants us to learn the truth and anyone can do that with the resources we have today.

    When I had an NDE the experience reinforced everything. It 'jelled' over ten years of study* and allowed me to truly accept Jesus Christ as my PERSONAL lord and savior, it was the final piece of the puzzle that convinced me God was real, more real than the things we consider real, because every physical object will turn to dust and the universe will die a heat death (probably). God and his realm is eternal and will never die, the same as anyone that accepts his offer of eternal life.

    I began life in the bible belt and was a devout non activist atheist. After high school and after a stint in the army I went to College and began being turned against atheism by my severely radical leftest professors. I guess my natural adolescent rebelling would turned me against any authority. Long story short the more I learned about science the more it clicked with spiritually despite what the 'God is dead' professors said. I almost desperately searched for truth and that search led me to dabble in most of the major religions including satanism and European witchcraft.

    I kept coming back to Christianity. Christianity appealed to me for too many reasons to list here. However I will answer any questions (about the reasons)I have 'Christianity for about 8 > 10 years. The beautiful thing about Christianity it can be as simple as accepting Jesus Christ and repenting for past sins. Or it can be complex enough that only by over ten years of advanced schooling one can say he is an expert in one area of Christianity. Its up to you brother and sister, its up to your thirst for truth. I wanted to learn everything I can. Sorry for the length I am sure I have put everyone to sleep!

    ; {>
     
    #12 MrMrdevincamus, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  13. MrMrdevincamus

    MrMrdevincamus Voice Of The Martyrs Supporter

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    'Primitive Christian' Means we reject supersessionism.
    In Christianity 'seeing' God in the beauty of nature is called the 'Doctrine of Revelation'. A saying is ; " God speaks through Creation". I feel closer to God when looking at the night sky. The stars look like diamonds with white, yellow, blue and red in attendance.The beautiful blue ones are my favorite, and are usually large 1st gen stars.

    The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
    Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they display knowledge.
    There is no speech or language
    where their voice is not heard.
    Their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world. (niv)

    ...Psalm 19:1-4

    ; {>
     
    #13 MrMrdevincamus, Nov 15, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  14. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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  15. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    I went from nothing into something, and essentially that has stayed the same. Outwardly, more complex, but inwardly simplistic.
     
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