Occultism, Esotericism and Meditation

Frank takes a sceptical look at occultism and esotericism and asks, what is their  connection with meditation.
Apparently, on the 21st of December we entered the age of Aquarius.
Astrologers have been lining up to deliver earth-shattering news like “It`s the beginning of a new age of peace and brotherhood” or  issue slightly darker warnings: “The upset that Pluto has caused is not going to go away, even if the pandemic will be brought under control. Limitation in material circumstances will become a permanent part of life for many of us” , as if such information about the future couldn`t be easily gleaned by a quick read of the daily news.
This stuff all comes under the broad umbrella that is “New Age thinking”, which postulates that the world has an esoteric or occult, hidden side to it that can be accessed by those with the spiritual abilities by using a variety of techniques and practices. These are often channelled or accessed intuitively from a higher source or by following a system of instructions passed down by past adepts  of the subjects.
In the Oshosphere, apart from astrology, we have the karma mechanics of  Human Design telling us what kind of model we are driving and how to get our spiritual crankshaft going. Then there is the Enneagram which can enlighten us on such important matters such as why Donald Trump is like he is: Because he is  a typical 8 (whereas Biden is a classic 5). We have Arjuna  John Hogue endlessly churning out `predictions` that are  about as accurate as a guy tossing a coin.
Despite the flakiness of all this, groups of people who, with no apparent sense of irony, identify as `truth-seekers` lap this stuff up without question.
My sense is that this kind of occult/esoteric  thinking  chimes perfectly with the current post-truth political climate and the rise of the conspiracy theory as higher truth.  Whatever you `feel` is right must be right because you feel it. Simple. Any difficult questions are simply ignored, derided and  dismissed. In this, Trump becomes a perfect icon of newage consciousness. Pretty much a guru. (There literally exist gurus who support and promote Trump , but I will not go into that here).
I guess it comes down to whether you have an investment in these esoteric systems and ideas. If you make money out of them, teach them, promote them, get a spiritual  identity out of  interacting with them or just simply go along with them because the people you know do. All of which smacks strongly of the Emperor`s New Clothes or simply another form of conditioning and group-think.
Osho alternated from speaking  for and  against occult/esoteric ideas throughout his life.
He never equivocated in this way about the centrality of meditation.
My question is:
What has occultism and esotericism  got to do with meditation?
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32 Responses to Occultism, Esotericism and Meditation

  1. Lokesh says:

    Frank says, “This stuff all comes under the broad umbrella that is “New Age thinking”, which postulates that the world has an esoteric or occult, hidden side to it that can be accessed by those with the spiritual abilities by using a variety of techniques and practices.”

    I would not limit this to New Age thinking. Mr G and Mr O were promoting the idea that there is an esoteric or occult, hidden side to life that can be accessed by those with the spiritual abilities by using a variety of techniques and practices. In fact, their whole teaching is based on this premise. Osho was very much influenced by ‘The Work’ of theses two pioneers. Then again, Plato could be viewed as the progenitor of such thinking when he strolled along the dusty lanes of ancient Greece over 2000 yers ago.

    Frank mentions the Human Design System. This system was created by Ra Uru Hu…just plain old Ra to me. In general I have never been attracted to astrology, which does not mean I do not see its merits. Ra tried many times to get me interested in his Human Design System in the early days, before he realized he was barking up the wrong tree. What is remarkable about Ra’s story is how he managed to make a fortune from his ideas before he died. Today, many people make good money from interpreting people’s Human Design charts. Good luck to them.

    Frank concludes by posing the question, “What has occultism and esotericism got to do with meditation?”
    I would say it depends on what one interprets meditation to be.

    If one googles occultism you are liable to be shown something like the following:
    “In the broadest sense, the occult is a category of supernatural beliefs and practices, encompassing such phenomena as those involving mysticism, spirituality and magic in terms of any otherworldly agency. It can also refer to other non-religious supernatural ideas like extra-sensory perception and parapsychology.”

    Such things might well be encountered in deep meditation and I daresay harnessed by yogic adepts. I can’t honestly say any of this has much to do with my own life. Although, I might add, there are certain special days where it might.

    As for esotericism, I would say that this has something to do with how I perceive life, although I am not a great meditator. Basically I try to be aware of the ‘I am’ although most days I am dreaming most of the time. Ah, well, I’m not the only one….

  2. satchit says:

    Occultism and esotericism are mind-systems and toys.

    Meditation is the awareness that they are toys.

    • frank says:

      Yes, but don`t forget that a lot of those toys are board games.

      High-ranking seekers are very partial to ‘Monopoly’ where you try to own all the spiritual real estate and ‘Risk’ is a good one for those bent on world domination.
      ‘Cluedo’ has been popular for a while (was it Dr. Ginbottle with sack of benzos in the Samadhi or was it Miss Scarlet with a hypodermic in the cellar?).
      ‘Stratego’ speaks for itself really.
      Good old ‘Snakes and Ladders’ is a reliable one for all wannabe seekers who are trying hard to clamber and slide up the greasy pole of enlightenment .
      Younger seekers will probably go more for stuff like ‘Grand Theft Ego’.

      As you say, all in all, viewed from the lofty heights of enlightenment, they are all simply Trivial Pursuits.

      • frank says:

        Btw, as I`m sure you`re aware, Snakes and Ladders does have its origins in religious maybe even, occult thought.
        https://www.hinduismtoday.com/education/games/Snakes&LaddersGameBoard.pdf

        • frank says:

          As Mahasattva Bruce Forsyth used to say, “Good game, good game.”

          • frank says:

            I think Satchit has a point.
            Eso/Occult stuff has a game-like quality. The basic diagrams of Astrology, Enneagram, Kabbalah and Human Design really do look like games, especially the HD charts which look very much like a roulette wheel to me.

            Meditation seems to be a different type of game. Maybe something like, as Alan Watts pointed out, related to that most primary and universal kids` game the world over: Hide and Seek.

            In the adult version, every so often some player shouts out: “I`ve found him!”
            The other players go: “Where was the rascal? We couldn`t find him anywhere.”
            And the first guy replies, “You guys were looking in the wrong place, he was inside me all along.”

  3. samarpan says:

    Frank, what do you mean by the word “meditation”?

    • frank says:

      Samarpan,
      I just do the simple version.
      Noticing stuff. How it seems to be arising by itself, thoughts, feelings, sensations, breathing etc.
      Noticing how the `outside` world also arises by itself.
      Noticing that it is a similar process, maybe two aspects of the same thing.
      Doing that at various times throughout the day. That sort of thing.

      How `bout you?

  4. Lokesh says:

    Does remaining open have something to do with draughts? Or is that just by playing tiddly winks?

  5. Because this is sannyasnews and I don’t feel like a sannyasin any more, so, dear friends, let me say a proper goodbye and wish you a very happy journey in an almost empty train!

    My time is over with Sannyas.

    • satchit says:

      Who cares about if you are a sannyasin or not, Shantam?

      There is no train.

    • Lokesh says:

      A short post from Shantam, that raises questions.

      If what Shantam says is true, what was his crusade all about?

      What does a sannyasin feel like, in order to feel they are, in fact, a sannyasin?

      Yes, there are very few passengers on the SN train just now. That could well pass. There are always times on a train’s journey when there are less passengers. Does that necessarily mean it is time to get off the train? What’s the problem with less passengers? After all, it allows more space.

      • frank says:

        The poor guy obviously spent too long on the spiritual gravy-train.
        Developed a one-track mind.
        Like a runaway loco on the Circle Line.

        His delusions about being a ticket-inspector on a train bound for glory have finally been shunted into a siding.

        It`s the end of the line, but tbf, it was pretty obvious from the beginning that he was a train wreck.

  6. Lokesh says:

    Definitely not Casey Jones.

  7. frank says:

    I`m no Nostradamus.
    But I`m willing to make one prediction:
    The world ain’t going to get any less weird going forward…

    Btw, seen this?
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-8027307/Priyanka-Chopra-portray-Indian-born-convicted-bioterrorist-Ma-Anand-Sheela-upcoming-movie.html

    • Lokesh says:

      She certainly looks a lot more attractive than Sheela did.

      • frank says:

        True.

        The director, Barry Levinson, is the guy who did Rain Man.
        So maybe Priyanka Chopra will have to do some Dustin Hoffman-esque method-acting to really get into and feel the part, like doing a few uppers and downers, the odd shot of speed up the arse etc. to get the look?

        • swamishanti says:

          I have heard that the young Priyanka Chopra drops into Sannyasnews from time to time.
          Unfortunately, I get the impression that most of her ideas about Osho and Sannyas may have been influenced by reading Sheela’s books – and watching the Netflix series. Therefore she cannot see past the Rolls Royces and thinks sannyasins are a group of gullible idiots.

          And Sheela is still a clever manipulator. Even Swami Anand Arun was recommending her book ‘Don’t Kill Him’ in an interview I watched with him and Sheela recently which I found difficult to believe. But perhaps that’s just because he hates Amrito and Jayesh, or he suspects foul play in the death of Vivek and Osho.

          Perhaps, she could at least try interviewing Osho’s doctor Amrito to get his account of events (as the ‘Wild Wild Country’ directors never bothered to try to do) or asking Sheela’s husband of that time Jayananda, for an interview, or listening to the ‘Love Osho’ Podcasts (there was an interesting two part interview with Max Brecher recently which explores the relationship between Osho and Sheela, amongst other things) to get some of the stories of sannyasins, try reading Oshonews, (where there are over 500 first hand accounts of events at the Ranch) or perhaps even try reading some of the other books by sannyasins other than the dubious accounts of Sheela or Jane Stork.

          I enjoyed reading ‘In the Eye of the Hurricane’ by Devakant not so long ago, and have always appreciated his flute work , alongside other musicians on several Pune Two recordings.

          • swamishanti says:

            Perhaps they could use this as a poster for the new movie:

          • swamishanti says:

            Devakant’s book is also interesting as he divulges a little of his relationship with Vivek.

            And from reading the book I get the impression that Vivek had intended to write a book on her life with Osho – which is a great shame, I thought, that this had never happened. As it was surely she who knew him most intimately on a personal, day-to-day level.

            • frank says:

              Shanti, you say:
              “I have heard that the young Priyanka Chopra drops into Sannyasnews from time to time.”

              Yes, and also, she came round to my house a couple of days ago demanding sex. I had to close the door on her and remind her that it was lockdown.

              • swamishanti says:

                Poor her. And she flew over all the way from the States as well.

                • frank says:

                  I googled her and oddly enough, she is now in the UK, where she got fined a few days ago for flouting lockdown rules. My God, it was her at my door! I thought it was just the girl from down the corner shop taking the piss!

                  Seriously though, quite a few celebrities and famous spiritual people do browse Sannyas News, of course.

                  For example, Swami Arun is a obviously big fan of Anand Yogi and Swami Bhorat and clearly plagiarises them for his sermons.

                • swamishanti says:

                  Well, the UK isn’t always a bed of roses for those who arrive from far off lands.

                  Last time I was in London I recognised the dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, who was singing about his arrival in the country as he moved along the pavement: “Inglan is a bitch….“
                  https://youtu.be/isMjvRpAckU

                  And then he went on rhyming as he walked, swinging his arms rhythmically:

                  “Oh ye people of England
                  Great injustices are committed upon this land
                  How long will you permit them, to carry on?
                  Is England becoming a fascist state?
                  The answer lies at your own gate
                  And in the answer lies your fate ….“

                  I think it was one of his rhymes about a teacher from New Zealand who was living in the UK, Blair Peach, a member of the Anti-Nazi League who was beaten to death by the Special Patrol Group, specialist group within the Metropolitan police during a demonstration opposing the rise of the far- right National Front in the area of Southall in West London in 1979.
                  (‘Reggae Fi Peach’) :
                  https://youtu.be/zrDfELIu8Lw

  8. satchit says:

    Poor Shantam left too early the train.

    We are on the train to Nowhere.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9EgOtbsKCI

  9. Klaus says:

    Wherever you roam – we welcome you – to:

    ‘Crackerbox Palace’
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ac34Khe-fc

    We’ve been expecting youuuuuuuu.
    (George Harrison)

    I was so young when I was born
    My eyes could not yet see
    And by the time of my first dawn
    Somebody holding me they said

    I welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
    We’ve been expecting you
    You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
    No matter where you roam know our love is true

    While growing up or trying to
    Not knowing where to start
    I looked around for someone who
    May help reveal my heart – someone said
    While you’re a part of Crackerbox Palace
    Do what the rest all do
    Or face the fact that Crackerbox Palace
    May have no other choice than to deport you

    I welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
    We’ve been expecting you
    You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
    No matter where you roam know our love is true
    It’s twoo, it’s twoo

    Some times are good, some times are bad
    That’s all a part of life
    And standing in between them all
    I met a Mr. Grief – and he said

    I welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
    Was not expecting you
    Let’s rap and tap at Crackerbox Palace
    Know that the Lord is well and inside of you

    And we, welcome you to Crackerbox Palace
    We’ve been expecting you
    You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
    No matter where you roam know our love is true

    You bring such joy in Crackerbox Palace
    No matter where you roam know our love, know our love is true.

    Isn’t it lovely?

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