Thursday, May 22, 2008

THE “HEAVEN-HELL” DEBATE: How Religion Has Always Generated Dualistic Beliefs, Part Seven

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An Advaita Vedanta realization, enlightenment, nisarga yoga site discussing non-duality (nonduality), your original nature, and dwelling in the natural state as revealed by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

FROM A SITE VISITOR: Hey Floyd, I love your site!! Well, I was programmed by catholicism and I'm still having trouble realizing that there is no heaven/hell... I still have a fear that I may create my own hell or that there might be a hell.. How can I deprogram myself from this fear? Are you positive there is no hell?? peace and love alex?

F.: You admit that you were “programmed by catholicism” and you want to be “deprogrammed.” Here is what some have shared in regards to deprogramming:

Deprogramming can involve an attempt to coerce a person to abandon blind loyalty to a group (such as a religious or spiritual or political group). In extreme cases, deprogrammers have resorted to kidnapping and confinement during the deprogramming process.

In many cases, professional deprogrammers have been hired by family members to abduct their children, remove them from whatever groups have brainwashed them, and subjected them to intensive sessions that can involve coercion or exit counseling.

In cases where the deprogrammers are unsuccessful, the result is that the programmed persons are even more dedicated than ever to their beliefs and/or group, no matter how illogical or insane the teachings and behaviors of group members and leaders might be.

Understand that once a “mind” is formed after persons are programmed and “brainwashed” with concepts, it becomes an easily-accomplished task to exercise “mind control” over such persons, especially by the use of manipulation and fear-producing reminders.

If the term “deprogram” is used in its broadest sense, it can refer to the freeing or liberating or enlightening of programmed and conditioned persons by eliminating the ideas and beliefs and concepts that they were taught during their impressionable years. Typically, varying degrees of force were used to the extent that persons were threatened with punishment (or even damnation) if they questioned anything they were told by adults.

Of course most adults are as susceptible to being programmed as children. The process is on-going as adults are fed new concepts by religious and spiritual and political leaders.

By contrast, consider the Advaita teachings which use no coercion or force but merely invite persons to question their beliefs, to see where their blind loyalty has trapped them in ignorance, and to understand the way in which their learned ignorance has removed all choice and is driving them blindly to think and talk and act in ways that are nonsensical.

The Advaita teachings invite persons to see that, if they are driven, they have no choice. [Consider: there are three places you can be in an automobile if you are driven and one place you cannot be: you can be in the passenger seat, in the back seat, or in the trunk. Where you cannot be is behind the steering wheel. Being driven, you have no choice. You cannot choose where you will go, when you go, or how you go.]

So it is with programmed persons. All persons are programmed with beliefs and concepts, so all on the planet are being driven by concepts and ideas that have no basis in reality. Why do persons attack those who offer an alternative view?

As in the case of the professional deprogrammer who fails to deprogram a person who has been programmed, when persons are presented with any challenge to the belief systems that they take to be a key part of what “makes them who they are,” then that challenge will usually only solidify in the “minds” of persons the beliefs that they cherish as a result of programming and conditioning.

Advaita can involve “deprogramming” if the term is used in its broader sense and if it refers to “the freeing or liberating or enlightening of someone by eliminating the bogus ideas and beliefs and concepts that they were taught during their impressionable years.”

The difference is, a professional deprogrammer has an agenda and will not be objective about determining if the readiness to be free is present in the programmed individual. The Advaita teacher is likely to send away far more than she/he will invite to stay and to continue to try to grasp the Advaita teachings.

There will be no coercion, no agenda, and no desire for a particular outcome. There will most assuredly be no threats of damnation or punishment.

To the contrary, the Advaita teachings offer a way out of the mindset that traps persons in the notion that, if they question the nonsense they were taught, they will be forever damned and punished or tortured.

Interestingly, the belief among the religious and some spiritual persons is that the torture will supposedly be imposed by the same “god” who—they are told in a contradictory fashion—loves them “unconditionally.” Please enter into the silence of contemplation. (To be continued)


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