To argue his case, Forman focuses on the Pure Consciousness Experience which would be consciousness without content, but fully aware of itself. His argument is a strong one, though I need to re-read it to get some of the finer points, especially those about Kant and Hursserl. Forman also includes autobiographical experiences which I think help his case.
Patanjali and the Forman From birth to the age of three, our bodies unlock the secrets of motor movement. From the age of two years to ten years, we have the formation of thinking patterns and personality; a worldview begins to form.
By the time we reach high school, many of us have formed rigid opinions of the world around us, blinders that limit the scope of the universe. Several psychology texts assert that the best time to expose a child to a musical instrument for instruction is around the age of five or six, and that a person has much greater difficulty learning to play an instrument after the age of twelve or thirteen.
Imagine the mind as being a sponge, and pure thought as the pool of water that it sits in.
It can only hold so many ways of thinking, limiting the further intake of new thoughts. Yoga offers a method of wringing out that sponge so as to be free of old, stagnant thought patterns, thus allowing the intake of new thoughts which must also be squeezed out.
The retention of those thoughts is unfavorable. They mix with pure thoughts and taint them. This is what the Yoga Sutra defines as the turnings of thought. The goal of Yoga, as stated in the second aphorism, is the cessation of the turnings of thought Miller When the mind is objective, like a perpetually dry sponge, one is open to a mystical experience and can see a pure thought for what it is.
Stephen Katz and Robert Forman have two conflicting views on the nature of mystical experience.
Katz believes that it springs from our past experiences and learnings while Forman argues that it is transcendental of language and thought, and can strike regardless of whether you believe in it or not. If we examine this debate under the context of Patanjali s Yoga Sutra, we see the inherent truth in Robert Forman s notion that mystical experiences can include a pure consciousness event or an objectless consciousness.
When we look at the practice of yoga, we are told that, its purpose is to cultivate pure contemplation and attenuate the forces of corruption, Miller It is one s goal to achieve this state; the fact of the matter is that we are not in a constant state of pure contemplation. Our background and habitual modes of thought prevent us from reaching this state.
The Yoga Sutra is a guide that teaches us how we can attain this state, so it is clear that it does not exemplify Stephan Katz s theory that there are no pure or unmediated mystical experiences.
If a mystical experience is a result of one s own views of the world, as Katz suggests, then why does Patanjali s text insist that we have to place ourselves in a state of pure contemplation?
Patanjali feels that it is necessary to shed all the subliminal impressions. They gather as we move through life and create the filter that Katz believes all mystical experiences must pass through. It is stated in the Yoga Sutra that subliminal impressions are held together by the interdependence of cause and effect, Miller Life is but a long series of events causing and affecting other occurrences; our personalities are defined by the way we choose to react to those situations.
When Katz claims that, there are no pure experiences, he does not describe the qualities of a mystical experience but rather the natural state of a person who does not practice Yoga.
On the other hand, we have Robert Forman s ideas about the mystical experience, which clearly oppose poor Stephen Katz s rejected misconceptions. Forman states that, the key process in mysticism is not like a construction process but more like one of unconstructing.
He couldn t be more correct, and he has all of the Yoga Sutra to support him. In the first step of becoming a yogi, one must renounce all material possessions, one s caste, one s family ties as well as displacing oneself from the standards of society.
From the time of our birth, we are shaped and molded. Our parents are agents of society; since they exist and participate in it, they bring back some of its views which are inherently limiting to the individual, to protect us from the other individuals.
These limitations are imbedded in the morals and actions taught to us.William Wainwright distinguishes four different kinds of extrovert mystical experience, and two kinds of introvert mystical experience: Extrovert: experiencing the unity of nature; experiencing nature as a living presence; experiencing all nature-phenomena as part of an eternal now; the "unconstructed experience" of Buddhism.
Stephen Katz, with his argument that mysticism must be studied as a function of language, is in effect arguing that mystical experience is a construct of the mystic, that is, a socio-linguistic construct.
Oct 02, · This came from a religious studies academic by the name of Stephen Katz who published a book on it in the late 70's. Another scholar/practitioner by the name of Robert K C Forman came out in opposition, which lead to the Katz-Forman debates, and ultimately the founding of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.
Armstrong's comment is insightful because the same could be said of mystical experience itself ROBERT ARP experience of union itself must be able to talk about the experience of the One with other persons).
epistemology. It looks like you've lost connection to our server. Please check your internet connection or reload this page. mystical experience would very likely show it to be an artefact of the last two centuries of European s cholarship, “there d o seem t o be exp ressions, experiential reports and practices th at.