Greg Kasarik

"Act with Empathy"
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Mysticism is an ancient form of religious practice in which practitioners seek spiritual communion with the Divine. Arguably the majority of religious traditions have coalesced around the experiences and teachings of a particular mystic, or mystics. Community of Infinite Colour, is a religious organisation that encourages members to engage in experiential exploration of the Divine through following the mystic’s path, 

The core of Community of Infinite Colour practice is centred on The Principles. These provide a basis from which people can explore the Divine and have themselves arisen out of transcendent states achieved during mystical exploration. The Principles are not a set of dogmatic beliefs that members are expected to adhere to. Rather they are a framework to guide adherents within their own spiritual journey, as they discover their own spiritual path for themselves.

Given the currently controversial nature of the use of Transcendent Compounds for religious purposes, it is perfectly reasonable to inquire as to why these are considered so important to the religious practice of members of Community of Infinite Colour.

The reasons why this is so, are tied to the nature of the experience generated by Transcendent Compounds and the way in which these experiences serve to make The Principles real in an experiential, as opposed to simply theoretical or intellectual way. This linkage should be unsurprising, given that many of the insights that led to the recognition of The Principles were obtained through a variety of different transcendent experiences and they are more akin to Mysteries, than dogmatic assertions.

The Principles themselves stand as a strong rebuke to both the concept of absolute certainty and the emotional feeling of certitude. They highlight the simple and unavoidable truth, espoused by Descartes, that nothing can ever be known for certain beyond one’s own sentience and that to hold to certainty in an infinite universe is to cling to error.

The Principles are more than just recognition of the folly of certitude. They are also a guide for how we can act ethically towards others and how we can best decide the likely truths of the particular universe that we inhabit. At each stage, the use of Transcendent Compounds, along with other means of achieving transcendent understanding can assist a person to experience The Principles. This provides understanding of how best to incorporate their meaning into a spiritually meaningful and personally productive life.

The Uncertainty Principle and The Divine Principle

To experience a Transcendent Experience, whether through meditation, Transcendent Compounds, Near Death Experience, or other trigger, is to experience a connection to the Infinite Divine. One is filled with an overwhelming sense of breathtaking awe and an almost vertigo like sensation at the shear immensity and power of existence. The sensation of impending madness might be felt and may be a very real sensation that one is about to lose one’s sense of self. That to step fully into the Infinite would be to step into an abyss from which one might never return.

Thankfully, people do return and having gazed on the Infinite face of the Divine and having done so, they often report how the experience has radically reshaped their world. While none can ever fully grasp the full implications of living within and infinite reality, or “Infiniverse”, there is often an implicit recognition that what was previously certain is no longer and even what is considered “certain” is only provisionally so. This aspect of transcendent experience gets to the heart of the Uncertainty Principle. In experiencing transcendent reality, people begin to realise that the “Truth” really isn’t out there and that claims of certainty are little more than ignorance, or arrogant posturing.

To have this experiential awareness of uncertainty is important, because for most people, the search for spiritual meaning is in very many ways a search for ultimate truth. The Uncertainty Principle teaches us that there can be no Ultimate Truth and many people find this to be not only confronting, but highly distressing too. Without any hope of certainty beyond their own existence, they feel lost and cut adrift from those things that seem to matter most. But the nature of the transcendent experience is such that it reassures experiants that it is OK to not have the answers; it reinforces the possibility that certainty equals possibility and that possibility equals hope.

It is clear that one of the major problems that besets the modern world is that people are far too keen to hold to rigid and dogmatic viewpoints regarding things that cannot be proven. Most obviously, this occurs within the religious context, where people will claim that their god, or gods favour, or oppose particular behaviours, people, or things and then seek to impose their beliefs upon others. This dogmatic and philosophically irrational approach to interpersonal and community relations is one of the biggest causes of conflict today.

But once one understands that nothing can ever be certain and recognises the truth of the Divine Principle: “god can never know if god is God”, it becomes much harder to impose one’s religious views on others. Once we recognise that “God” is not in a position to hand down moral commandments from on High, much of the force of those teachings is lost. Yes, a person might view a particular behaviour as immoral, but without the force of God to back it up, it is nothing more than an opinion about the right way to live one’s life.

With no possibility of any ultimate moral arbiter, it is up to each sentient to determine an appropriately path. The Ethical Principle, “Act with Empathy” and similar guides, such as the “Golden Rule” promote tolerance and understanding of others. It is hardly rocket science to note that with empathy, we find a reduction in the antagonism, violence and extremism associated with the majority of religious dogmas.


The Spiritual and Psychological Principles.

In demonstrating that there can be no “God”, one is forced to radically reconstruct the concept of religion. The current monolithic, dogmatic and inflexible traditions must inevitably give way to a conceptualisation of the Divine that not only allows, but demands individual interpretation.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the nature of the experience generated by Transcendent Compounds helps Community members to more fully understand why this must be so. One of the defining characteristics of a transcendent experience is its “ineffability”, or its inability to be described in words. It is simply impossible to describe the Infinite in words that represent discrete chunks of meaning. Not only can’t carry enough information, but there can be no common reference point with people who have not had the experience. Even with those who have also had transcendent experiences of their own, there can be no guarantee that they are describing the same qualia, or conceptualisation, even if they appear to be doing so. After all, what are the chances that two people exploring the Infinite of the Divine will arrive at exactly the same place and even if they did, what are the chances that they will interpret it to have the same meaning? Like tourists in Paris, some will note the beautiful architecture, others the beautiful food, while still others will remember only the beautiful women.

The recognition that no person can ever communicate a genuinely spiritual experience underlies the “Spiritual Principle”. It is vital that people understand that their own spiritual experience is not only unique and that attempts to convey its detail are doomed to failure. There is simply no hope of another understanding all of the complexities, subtleties, nuances and even contradictions contained within a particular transcendent experience. Once this understanding is achieved, people are likely to be much less concerned with communicating their understanding of the Divine as being the “correct” one. It is senseless, immature and controlling to seriously expect others to believe something that can’t even be properly expressed.

This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t attempt to communicate the gist, or underlying truths that have been perceived. Doing so not only makes for entertaining and vibrant conversation, but can assist all concerned with contextualising their experiences and understanding. But for a person to believe that they have somehow perceived an ultimate “Truth” that all others should be required to accept is not only wrongheaded, but demonstrates a failure to grasp even the most basic understanding of The Principles.

Another reason for the importance of recognising the validity of the Spiritual Principle is that it offers a glimpse into the reasons why many religions seem to invariably become mired in dogmas and intolerance to people who view the world differently. Assuming no duplicity (although it would be foolish to pretend that a significant number of religious gurus aren’t con artists, cynically exploiting the vulnerable), one can surmise that the founders of religious traditions are generally those with a mystical bent, who experience a significant and perhaps life changing spiritual revelation.

Equipped with such a revelation, many will become gurus, seeking to instruct others as to the meaning of their experiences and “revelations”. Unfortunately, few appreciate that the transcendent nature of their experience means that they can never fully communicate their ideas to their followers. In turn, disciples will never appreciate that the message that they thought they received from their Teacher was not the intended message. Followers of the original disciples will in turn reinterpret the message, never realising that they are unwitting participants in a game of Chinese whispers, where every player has an undeniable certitude telling them that they are “right” and everyone else is “wrong”.

This process can easily be seen within the early Christian Church. Jesus was fervent, reforming Jew, who told his followers that “until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter will pass from the [Jewish] Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5: 17–18). But within four centuries of his death, his name had been attached to a brand new theology that bore only passing resemblance to his own strongly held faith.  Even within his lifetime it was clear that he wasn’t getting his message across to his followers (Luke 9: 44-45) and seemed to find their failure to understand somewhat frustrating.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was another mystic, who laid the foundations for the successful faction of the early followers of Jesus was forged by yet another follower with a mystical bent, rather. It was St Paul, a man who never even met Jesus, rather than the Apostles of the Jerusalem church, who translated his own mystical experience while on the road to Jerusalem into the seed that became the Christian message to the world. Paul’s writings describe conflict among the emerging followers of Christ and demonstrate the truth of the Spiritual Principle. For example, in Galatians (2:11-14) he describes the fallout over the vexing issue of circumcision of gentiles and how the Apostle Peter acted hypocritically, once members of the Jerusalem church came to visit.

Paul at least understood the mystical nature of his experience, if not its full implications. He used his mystical experience to interpret the message of Jesus and in doing so, he founded a new religion, perhaps never realising that his message had taken a sharp turn from the original.

Despite his best intentions, Jesus’ fundamental message had been lost within only a decade of his death.

The issues highlighted by the Spiritual Principle are compounded by the fact that transcendent mystical understanding is rare among people who aren’t specifically orientated towards and open to these experiences. Mystics, with their focus on the Divine are often people who seem to be somewhat disconnected from the concrete reality that most people inhabit. But it is precisely these concrete thinkers, who are necessary for the establishment and administration of any religious organisation, particularly as it grows and develops its own bureaucracy.  Inevitably, religious organisations will become inhabited mostly by people with a bureaucratic mindset and little attunement to the mystical. Indeed, most will be unaware of the mystical base of their own tradition and will often seek to persecute and condemn those who would seek to engage with a mystical rather than dogmatic understanding of the Divine. This rejection of the mystical by authoritarian religious hierarchies seeking to impose uniform, inflexible dogmas has ensured that today most religious believers have never had anything resembling a transcendent experience and only believe in their God because of cultural, social and psychological reasons than they do for experiential ones.

With no personal connection to the Divine, these believers are inevitably cut off from the Divine. With no concept of the sheer overwhelming vastness of the Divine and the implications inherent in the Spiritual Principle, they will never realise that what they believe can never be what their founder sought to teach. This inevitably leads to a black and white perception of reality; an ossified and soulless spirituality, where belief in dogma is held to be the overriding virtue and “truth” is held to be found in accepting dogma that only displaces the Divine, rather than engaging with it meaningfully.

For this reason, the use of Transcendent Compounds and other means of achieving transcendent states is an important part of the religious practice of Community of Infinite Colour. In connecting with the Divine and experiencing the truth of the Spiritual Principle in a personal way, adherents work to mitigate the hubris that assumes that they know the fullness of a particular guru’s spiritual insights. In learning that they cannot communicate their own transcendent, spiritual experiences, they also learn that so too can nobody else. Ultimately, the spiritual path is one that can only be taken by the individual and each supplicant to understanding of the Divine needs to reinvent the wheel afresh.

This need to reinvent the wheel, with respect to spiritual understanding also highlights what should be a simple truism, but is often lost by those who would seek to engage in doctrinaire religious battles. The Psychological Principle identifies this truth: That belief is subjective and  people will believe what makes sense to them. Irrespective of their loudly stated beliefs at prayer meetings, or in the home, all people have a core understanding of the Divine that is a reflection of their personality, their journey through life and their hopes, aspirations and fears. For example, irrespective of dogmatic theological positions regarding issues of heaven, hell, abortion or contraception, believers the world over take positions that are different to that espoused by their clergy, imam’s and gurus, even if it is only in the silence of their own hearts. Indeed, many do so while failing to realise that their belief has subtle and nuanced differences from the dogma that they claim to adhere to.

The psychological principle manifests itself most obviously before, during and after a transcendent experience. With the exception of unintended experiences, such as Near Death Experiences, or even St Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus, transcendent experiences are frequently encountered by people with an existing disposition towards them. Achieving such an experience through meditation often requires years of practice, while achieving one through the use of compounds should involve voluntarily consumption. Because of this, the experience is usually only open to people who seek it and work towards it.

Similarly, the experience, particularly when using compounds, is moderated by a person’s personality and expectations. Those whose circumstances, situation, or personality are more attuned towards the negative will often experience something different from those more attuned to the positive. The former may be more likely to experience negative imagery, or feelings, when compared to the latter. Similarly, bedrock beliefs about the nature of the universe can influence the perception of the experience as it occurs. For myself, my belief in a Divine lies at the core of my being, so I interpret the experiences as representative of an underlying metaphysical reality that can only be glimpsed, but not grasped. Others, whose understanding of the universe is as atheistic as mine is theistic, interpret what seem to be identical experiences through a secular prism of interesting brain chemistry that has no fundamental metaphysical implications.

While it may seem odd that two people describing what seems to be the same sort of experience (for example, the sensation of time ceasing and the conceptualisation of one’s self as an infinite sentience that spans many lives), interpret it differently, this merely highlights the fact that people will interpret the world in ways that make sense to them. I strongly suspect that there is nothing that would make me interpret these experiences in a secular, reductionist manner, and the same may very well hold true for my ardent atheist friends. (Although, as an aside very few people interpret Near Death Experiences as anything but mystical. I suspect this probably has something to do with the often inescapable conclusion during the experience that one is dead!)

Few people realise that the real work of any transcendent experience occurs after the event. This is when the experience is integrated into the personality and depending on the nature of the experience this can be a long and sometimes difficult process, particularly if certain aspects of the experience conflict with, or throw doubt on previously held beliefs or behaviours. But the final integration will be something that will make sense to the person and they will resolutely continue with this process until they have achieved some resolution. Integration may involve radical changes to previous beliefs and attitudes. It will almost certainly contain apparent contradictions and questions. Irrespective, the end result will be something that the person can call their own and be fully and truly unique to them, irrespective of how similar it might seem to the beliefs of others.

The importance of going through these processes for members of Community of Infinite Colour is that they bring the Psychological Principle to life. Once Transcendence has been achieved, the subsequent journey is inevitable, if not entirely predictable. By going through this journey for themselves, members gain appreciation of the fact that spiritual awareness is a highly personal journey and that they can’t expect others to see the world through their lenses. Furthermore in putting their feet on this path, they become aware that this is one journey that all people need to undertake for themselves. Particularly if they ever hope to achieve a deep spiritual awareness that some might hubristically call “Enlightenment”.

For the record, I would suggest that “Enlightenment” is simply the ongoing process of being aware of how much you don’t know. The greater this awareness, the more profound the wisdom.

The Psychological Principle teaches us that not all people who embark on this journey will adopt the viewpoints entailed by The Principles. For some, the truth that other people will believe things that make sense to them will be lost along the way, as people fall victim to their own egos, fears and prejudices. Many will become caught up in the power and reality of their experiences and their certitude and own sense of Righteous Purpose will ensure that they forget that no glimpse of the Infinite can ever be the Infinite. Many will seek to impose their spiritual “truth” on others, thereby promoting intolerance and adding to the misery of the world.

While disappointing, this is to be expected and is in itself in line with the Principle of Life. Life is about the journey and each person will choose a journey that mirrors who they are and the particular aspects of the infinite that they wish to explore. Indeed, the entire process of figuring out what makes sense to a person is a key part of the journey of life and is to be embraced wholeheartedly.

When we acknowledge that, “Life is about the journey” and that “there can be no destination”, we implicitly acknowledge the right of each individual to choose their own path. The right to make their own discoveries. The right to make their own mistakes. To take the authoritarian approach that treats people as if they had no right to make their own journey and choose their own destination is to treat them as children, not as adults; it is to treat them as sheep, not sentients. So long as their behaviour is in line with the Ethical Principle, “Act with Empathy”, they should be allowed to find their own destination within this life.

Within this context, it is important that people who are inducted into the use of Transcendent Compounds within the Community of Infinite Colour are aware of The Principles and are encouraged to see their own personally powerful and transformative transcendent experiences as merely a reflection of underlying “truth”, rather than its embodiment. While their journey may find them rejecting this realisation, Community of Infinite Colour has a responsibility to do its best to ensure that those who place their trust in the organisation are encouraged to use their experiences to produce positive outcomes in the world.

Similarly, in understanding that people will believe what makes sense to them, Community members can grow to appreciate the perspectives of others and the futility of wailing against those who seek to persecute, or harass them for their beliefs. Ultimately, the project of embedding The Principles into mainstream societal norms is one that will not be completed during our lifetimes, or even those of our immediate descendants. Spreading the ideas, tolerance and ethics contained within The Principles is the task of generations.

Many people who are raised within a particular religious paradigm will not question it and will certainly not hesitate to arbitrarily impose their understanding of the world on those around them. Being mired in certitude, they will be emotionally certain that their persecution of those they disagree with is the will of their “God”. They will see the Divine Principle as an attack on the very core of their selves and lash out accordingly.

This is to be expected and accepted. These are the people who for whatever reason are incapable of looking beyond their own blinkered worldview. If born to preceding generations, they would have crucified Jesus, laughed at Buddha, assassinated Ghandi and fought Mohammed. They will struggle to preserve and impose their ideals, failing to realise that everything is transient and that change is the bedrock of long term stability.

However foolish and limiting this particular worldview might appear to others, this is their journey and they will continue to believe what makes sense to them wishing it were otherwise, or retaliating in kind will not achieve the sorts of lasting change that is the driving ideal of the Community.

Life wouldn’t be worth living if it weren’t for challenges such as this and what better and more worthy challenge could there be than seeding tolerance and humility as core societal values? The irony, of course is that eventually The Principles, or something very similar, will come to dominate religious discourse, at which point those who oppose us will just as fiercely oppose those who might seek to replace them with some new conceptualisation of the Divine.


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