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ChloeB

No man shall see God and live?

136 posts in this topic

Just so you know, quoting a fictitious book with no evidential foundation is not going to sway my mind of logic and reason.

Also, your "experiences" can easily be explained by the following...

Chemical releases in the brain

Auditory hallucinations/visual hallucinations

Coincidence, however miraculous they are.

Also, I'd like to hear your experience that so bluntly override any scientific/logical explanation because, chances are, they don't.

Look, I understand your attitude. A strong "practical" outlook is necessary to establish and maintain ourselves in the world, and particularly in young adulthood. Your outlook is understandable, but I have to say you would not be bothering with this discussion unless there was an incipient stirring in you that constitutes a 'nagging doubt' that there is 'something' to this 'secret that cannot be betrayed'. A lot lurks in the background in the human mind, and its promptings are all the more subtle when the rational faculty has the upper hand. This impression I am getting of you is supported by your request to hear the detail of what I alluded to earlier, I will decline to do that at the moment on the basis it would be purely anecdotal and unverifiable, which you clearly, and rightly, do not accept as sufficient evidence.

Edited by Habitat

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Look, I understand your attitude. A strong "practical" outlook is necessary to establish and maintain ourselves in the world, and particularly in young adulthood. Your outlook is understandable, but I have to say you would not be bothering with this discussion unless there was an incipient stirring in you that constitutes a 'nagging doubt' that there is 'something' to this 'secret that cannot be betrayed'. A lot lurks in the background in the human mind, and its promptings are all the more subtle when the rational faculty has the upper hand.

I am still interested in hearing of your experiences that defy all scientific logic and reasoning. :tu:

Also, with regards to your editted segment...

What was the point in even mentioning the experience if you know prior to that that I do not accept anecdotes as being sufficient evidence?

Edited by Alienated Being

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I am still interested in hearing of your experiences that defy all scientific logic and reasoning. :tu:

I edited my previous post to explain why I will desist from that for the present. Suffice to say, I am not a person to jump to premature conclusions, and it was only some time after the death of a loved one, and many, varied, and repeating inexplicable manifestations that started soon after her death, but continue still, that the realisation dawned that there were no rational explanations that could begin to cover even a fraction of it. Another thing that has greatly changed my view of reality is a series of pre-cognitive dreams of such complexity that their fulfillment would seem so utterly improbable as to be laughable, that did transpire in reality, sometimes years later. These are the kinds of experiences that deliver you to the point of being 'beyond instruction' about phenomena that are routinely discounted by conventional wisdom.

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I edited my previous post to explain why I will desist from that for the present. Suffice to say, I am not a person to jump to premature conclusions, and it was only some time after the death of a loved one, and many, varied, and repeating inexplicable manifestations that started soon after her death, but continue still, that the realisation dawned that there were no rational explanations that could begin to cover even a fraction of it. Another thing that has greatly changed my view of reality is a series of pre-cognitive dreams of such complexity that their fulfillment would seem so utterly improbable as to be laughable, that did transpire in reality, sometimes years later. These are the kinds of experiences that deliver you to the point of being 'beyond instruction' about phenomena that are routinely discounted by conventional wisdom.

Pre-cognitive dreams does not indicate the existence of God, nor the possibility of a God, under any circumstances. Psychic ability and God are two entirely un-related topics. I have had several pre-cognitive dreams, and by no means do I believe these to be the result of divine intervention. There are many individuals of varying religions and beliefs that have had these experiences.

As for these manifestations... again, these could easily be chalked up as delusion or hallucination (or, in the case of multiple witnesses, mass hysteria/hallucination). You would be surprised at the complexity and capability of the human mind.

I have had many experiences in my life, many "spiritual" experiences, experiences that most would consider me to literally be blessed by God as a result of occurring.... but, I know deep down that it is merely nonsense.

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And ego? No, you're thinking about the light. You can't see your own body... or to be precise, what you see isn't anything you've seen before. You don't glow, you are part of the glow, even as you know you are not the source of the glowing. It's all about the light.

That's a great description. You don't glow, you are part of the glow, and you can't see your own body, maybe you can't see where you begin and something else ends......that seeing this, the separation appears to have been an illusion, one created by the ego. And this leads me into saying something about Habitat saying the sword was to cut bonds of family and as Buddha did the same. I've said before, that's pretty selfish to me, but as I think about it more and I've read more things and just time has passed, I think what is cut, what that sword may have been destroying, what the true face of God destroys is that idea that you were ever separate at all (you don't glow but are part of the glow) that the attachment and the clinging was ever even necessary and the freedom of suffering is the realization of that and that part of you dies. I used to think and have trouble with some of that, giving up attachments was just telling you to not to care, to hell with everything, and if that's all these guys are saying, they aren't worth repeating as far as I'm concerned. Screw everyone, seek enlightenment, let no one get in your way. I told Habitat before these weren't productive for people as guides to living, but I don't think that's what they mean or their teachings probably wouldn't have stayed around so long.

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I agree with Chloe, esoterically when we battle the Ego we do so with a sword.

The world we treat with tenderness and love, but for ourselves we maintain a ruthless vigil it makes perfect sense to be armed and ready for battle.

In terms of the manifestations of the Ego within us, they are our mother, father, brother, sister, friends and foes - all the emotive attachment that exists within us that we have labelled thus are ego. This is difficult to accept and harder to comprehend - but Chloe has put it quite well I think.

The example of Buddha is perfect and the nature of the story of his life is deliberately posed to present exactly what you have said Chloe, I have heard this before and I agreed then and agree now that when you take the cause to it's absolute roots, this is the case - it is not for lack of love that Buddha leaves his family, it is that attachment is not love-it is an unworthy substitute and the only true expression of love available in that circumstance is to find a means to free his family and mankind from attachment - the sacrifice of leaving is a key to the prize. This is why the opportunity to leave is provided and guaranteed success - a mist envelops the entire court and everyone sleeps as Buddha quietly departs, he is not hindered in any way - the ego is put to "sleep" esoterically too.

That's probably one of the hardest things to grasp, that attachment is not love. To me, that's always been what the deeper meaning of sacrifice meant, sacrifice of the ego, putting the ego to sleep. I don't think it means to stop caring about others, but don't cling or grasp on to them. Jesus even tells Mary Magdalene as much.

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Chloe, Scriptures state that the God-being mentioned here, showed himself in the form of a human being numerous times to Moses, Abraham, and to quite a few other people at different times. Also, it is evident that this God-being seems to have the ability to appear in many different "forms" to people. In this instance

Exo 33:11 ... Jehovah would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.

Earlier, an event is briefly described where Moses and other elders of Israel saw God (in an unspecified form), on the top of the mountain:

Exo 24:9 And Moses went up, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel.

Exo 24:10 And they saw the God of Israel. And
there was
under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as the essence of the heavens for clearness.

Exo 24:11 And upon the nobles of the sons of Israel He did not lay his hands. Also they saw God, and ate and drank.

There also is the instance where all the people of Israel (at the foot of the mountain) saw "God's glory" on the top of the mountain, in the form of "a devouring fire".

Exo 24:15 And Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. Exo 24:17 And the sight of the glory of Jehovah
was
like devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the sons of Israel.

Chloe, in the instance which you bring up here, Moses asks God to show himself to Moses in all of God's glory ...

Exo 33:18 And he said, I beseech You, let me see Your glory.

... But God tells Moses that that is impossible:

Exo 33:20 And He said, You cannot see My face. For there no man can see Me and live.

However, God proposes something else to Moses, as a sort of compromise:

... Exo 33:23 ... you shall see My back parts. But My face shall not be seen.

How does the above explanation sound?

That sounds good, Karlis. So Moses was aware that in the tent when they were talking like friend to friend, that wasn't the true face of God and later asks to see the real deal and that's when God no man can see his true face and live. I don't think I got that in the first place where they were talking that God was appearing in some altered form, but yes, I think I see now what it was saying. Thank you. :)

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Pre-cognitive dreams does not indicate the existence of God, nor the possibility of a God, under any circumstances. Psychic ability and God are two entirely un-related topics. I have had several pre-cognitive dreams, and by no means do I believe these to be the result of divine intervention. There are many individuals of varying religions and beliefs that have had these experiences.

As for these manifestations... again, these could easily be chalked up as delusion or hallucination (or, in the case of multiple witnesses, mass hysteria/hallucination). You would be surprised at the complexity and capability of the human mind.

I have had many experiences in my life, many "spiritual" experiences, experiences that most would consider me to literally be blessed by God as a result of occurring.... but, I know deep down that it is merely nonsense.

You are altogether too dismissive, you think you are right, I know you are wrong. That thread where you promised $10,000 for 'proof' of God set a standard of 'evidence' that would embarrass James Randi! You are engaged in an internal dialogue where rationality is warring against the irrational, if the former held sway entirely in your mind, you would not be bothering to trumpet these opinions, it would hold no interest for you whatsoever, I mean what sort of person obsesses over that which he knows doesn't exist ?

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That's a great description. You don't glow, you are part of the glow, and you can't see your own body, maybe you can't see where you begin and something else ends......that seeing this, the separation appears to have been an illusion, one created by the ego. And this leads me into saying something about Habitat saying the sword was to cut bonds of family and as Buddha did the same. I've said before, that's pretty selfish to me, but as I think about it more and I've read more things and just time has passed, I think what is cut, what that sword may have been destroying, what the true face of God destroys is that idea that you were ever separate at all (you don't glow but are part of the glow) that the attachment and the clinging was ever even necessary and the freedom of suffering is the realization of that and that part of you dies. I used to think and have trouble with some of that, giving up attachments was just telling you to not to care, to hell with everything, and if that's all these guys are saying, they aren't worth repeating as far as I'm concerned. Screw everyone, seek enlightenment, let no one get in your way. I told Habitat before these weren't productive for people as guides to living, but I don't think that's what they mean or their teachings probably wouldn't have stayed around so long.

ChloeB, you are surely a 'seeker', and like the rest of us, feeling our way along a poorly-lit path. Only out of the strong calling of a greater and wider care and love than that restricted to our largely accidental immediate personal circumstances, should anyone take up their 'cross'.

"He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."

To explore the path of enlightenment out of curiousity, seeking mystical ecstasy, or out of academic interest, or to acquire some advantage in the world to employ against others, is in error and doomed to fail. The hallmark of the true pilgrim is an effusion of love, not personal ambition. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven" strongly implies that this is a prelude, not an end in itself.

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You are altogether too dismissive, you think you are right, I know you are wrong. That thread where you promised $10,000 for 'proof' of God set a standard of 'evidence' that would embarrass James Randi! You are engaged in an internal dialogue where rationality is warring against the irrational, if the former held sway entirely in your mind, you would not be bothering to trumpet these opinions, it would hold no interest for you whatsoever, I mean what sort of person obsesses over that which he knows doesn't exist ?

So, you're saying that everything that I said in my previous post regarding the hallucinations, delusions, and pre cognitive abilities was all wrong? That it IS evidence for a "god"? I beg to differ.

Hm. Sorry that I base my views on logic and reason, instead of investing all of my hope and faith into some omnipotent, omniscient fairy-tale being...

And, I just find the topic interesting, especially in terms of how so many people base their religious experiences on a god, instead of incorporating logic into their theories.....

Also, I never said that I knew for certain - nobody KNOWS for certain, and I have continuously exercised this notion; however, logic, science and reason HEAVILY outweighs divine creation in terms of probability. We have logical, scientifically sound arguments based on real evidence (ie. fossils, DNA, physiological composure, etc) whereas the existence of god is based on nothing more than a mere book. To believe in God, you would have to accept these possibilities.

1. He simultaneously controls and manipulates every atom in the universe.

2. He simultaneously answers prayers and can intervene in daily human affairs of seven billion people

3. He provides miracles.

4. He cures the sick

5. He always was; there never was anything before him.. which, in all honesty, is absolutely ridiculous considering that nothing ever just is. Something has always came from another.

From what I have gathered, god is sadistic and biased, which is hardly the behaviour I would expect from a creator.

I am also confused as to why Jesus is portrayed as being white with red hair, when he hailed from Bethlehem... that's something else that I was thinking about today while talking with my school's security guard.

Edited by Alienated Being

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AB the "possibilities" may be "endless" but they are also pointless (IMO) without faith in something greater than ourselves. I understand that many in this life don't believe and cannot believe without proof. What I don't understand is why many, if not most in that category here at UM feel the need to be offensive and condescending toward persons of faith. Your comments are mild compared to some... I've not noticed any over zealous proselytizers here hounding non believers.

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AB the "possibilities" may be "endless" but they are also pointless (IMO) without faith in something greater than ourselves. I understand that many in this life don't believe and cannot believe without proof. What I don't understand is why many, if not most in that category here at UM feel the need to be offensive and condescending toward persons of faith. Your comments are mild compared to some... I've not noticed any over zealous proselytizers here hounding non believers.

I don't believe in being condescending towards people, but rather the religions that they follow. When I have children, I'm not going to raise them in a household exclusive to one religion; I will raise them to be independent thinkers, to choose what they want, and follow whatever they wish. However, I will encourage logical thinking... you can be sure of that.

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I am satisfied that pre-cognitive dreams exist, and also that human personality persists beyond death, both from DIRECT evidence satisfactory to me. The implications of both of those discoveries for me are immense, and the exclusively rational outlook has just no answer to it, other than a mouthful of sawdust, or insults citing hallucinations.

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No.

The story of Jesus killing is found in Thomas’ Gospel Of The Infancy Of Jesus Christ, not in the Gospel of Thomas

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I am satisfied that pre-cognitive dreams exist, and also that human personality persists beyond death, both from DIRECT evidence satisfactory to me. The implications of both of those discoveries for me are immense, and the exclusively rational outlook has just no answer to it, other than a mouthful of sawdust, or insults citing hallucinations.

Exactly, I too am satisfied they exist - I am also satisfied that no religious dogma, new-age type explanation as them being a particular "psychic" phenomena nor science has a handle on why they exist.

But each person who experiences them does eventually know why within themselves.:yes:

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Chloe

Screw everyone, seek enlightenment, let no one get in your way.

The Gautama who did that in the story was unenlightened. In the same story cycle, he goes back home after his enlightenment, and "gives his son his inheritance," a place in a monastery.

After about two and a half millennia, what actually happened is hard to reconstruct. If the story cycle is even a dim relfection of the actual events, then there are guesses to be made.

Gautama may well not have been a prince, but could easily have been an oligarch. That would fit with the political development of the time. We can also be confident that the enlightened Gautama was on cozy terms with the top-dog social class. The distinctive material institution of Buddhism is the monastery. To have monasteries, you need land, and fair-sized parcels of it. Gautama could only get land through gifts from landowners. So, there is a limit to how much he could have outraged the mores of that class, publicly betraying both his parents and his children.

There is a social institution in India that allows a two-part career: early on, someone fulfills their social duties. Then, starting in "middle age," they retire to pursue spiritiual matters. Gautama has been said to be the ever-popular "about thirty" when he set out. In Jesus' case, that may well have been his forties, so maybe Gautama, too. Anyway, chances are pretty good that he had had children, and they were old enough for the larger family to look after them when he left. His wife or wives would have been provided for, assuming they were still alive.

The Sermon in the Benares Deer Park is fairly clear, I think, that the enlightened Gautama has seen a middle way between thoughtless indulgence and thoughtless embrace of death-in-life. Part of his take-home message is to live without a way that anyone might get in.

Joe Campbell said something along the lines of this is it. If you can't find eternity in the midst of being alive, then you're not going to find it anywhere else, either. Certainly not pie in the sky when you die, the dead-end of Joe's culture. The dead-end of Gautama's culture was dying alive, loosing attachment by cutting off what's attached, and he spoke against it as clearly as Joe spoke against sky-pieism.

what the true face of God destroys is that idea that you were ever separate at all

You have an exceptionally interesting point there. One distinction between the Protestant churches and the older Christian orthodoxies is that the older churches can explain why anybody would want to go to Heaven, apart from the alternative being so much worse.

Orthodox "Heaven" is union with God, conceived as the natural ultimate yearning of the human soul. The Greek word for it, theosis, connotes becoming God. That never quite happens, theoretically you are always distinct from God, but ever less and less distinct from God.

It is the Western term for that, what is said to be the same thing as theosis, that bears on your thread: the Beatific Vision. To see God as he really is, in this view, then, is to become God. "What the true face of God destroys is that idea that you were ever separate at all"

There is one big difference between East and West concerning access to the theotic vision. There is no limit in the East to how close you can get to God during this life, just the eternal limit that you will never be absorbed completely. In the West, except in the last generation, you must die to experience the Beatific Vision. "No man shall see God and live."

-

Edited by eight bits

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You will not die. But upon truelly viewing "god", then yes the ego dies. So in a sense it's true. The problem is that you have come back to recognize you had the experience in the first place.

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Interesting thread, I don't understand is why disbanding attactchments becoming recluse, hermits etc brings you closer to god? How so?

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Interesting thread, I don't understand is why disbanding attactchments becoming recluse, hermits etc brings you closer to god? How so?

"I sought Thee at a distance, and did not know that Thou wast near. I sought Thee abroad, and behold, Thou wast within me."( St. Augustine)

Christs's insistence that the "Kingdom" was within us, that the Supreme Good was already present, however dormant and overlain by our pre-occupations with "the world", is a standard motif of mysticism. Accordingly, that God should be uppermost in you, depends on discarding that which is not of the divine nature, by shunning distractions that would involve you in intercourse with it. There is nothing to be acquired or added, just subtracted, and that would include the 'normal' life in society. So it is that mystics have retired to caves and places of minimal external stimulation. There, however, they still must deal with internal promptings and memories, which are as potent an obstacle as direct interaction with the world. But another aspect of mysticism that is clear, is that any residue of selfishness will bar the way. Unless love and purity of heart, and complete passivity reigns in you, the barriers remain in place. Can you imagine yourself, according to Christ's prescription " changing to become like little children, or never being unable to enter the Kingdom " ? For most, their ego will have nothing to do with such retrograde (as it sees it) nonsense. "Thy will be done" excludes any plotting on our part. It has to be acknowledged, however, that the oblivion of the senses which is inherent in such an excursion has obvious dangers to life and limb, though anything in life has it's risks. "Many are called, but few are chosen" conveys the difficulties, as does "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."

But like any course in life, in the end the choice rests with us, we have to make up our own minds. Even if prevailed upon by others to do things we don't much want to do, it was our decision to acquiesce. In the end, any enterprise still requires faith that at the other side of it, will be a more satisfying life, transformed for the better, as a better servant of humanity.

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Interesting thread, I don't understand is why disbanding attactchments becoming recluse, hermits etc brings you closer to god? How so?

Hi Lion,

I do not think it has anything to do with being a hermit. We are in the world and we discover God within ourselves via the experience of being in the world.

As to disbanding attachments, following the things of the material world fascinates and occupies our mind. The more enthralled with the things of the world we are the less there is of our mind that is empty and clear to experience the true nature of what is placed before us and therefore to experience the presence of God.

The above two things can appear to contradict each other but it is not so.

For example:

You are given an opportunity to drive a Ferrari on a racetrack, you can experience the thrill of all that it is capable of and the joy of speeding around a racetrack, the adrenalin rush etc. Intrinsically there is nothing of attachment in the experience itself - it is a moment of freedom and joy that is all - pure joy is divine.

However, if you do not have the means financially or physically to repeat this experience but the desire to do so is awakened in you then what you now experience is suffering because you are attached to having that car and the experience that comes with it. You may, depending on your level of attachment, do many things to try to revisit that experience. In more extreme cases, you may sell all your things to buy the car or take out finance you cannot afford. In the most extreme levels you may set aside your morals and lie, cheat or steal to gain the funds to have this thing you "want". People even go so far as to murder for money to have the things they want. So attachment blinds and enslaves those people to it's will.

Another example:

You have a dear friend. You love this friend. If you examine why you love this friend you discover that it is because they make you laugh and understand you. Suddenly a circumstance arises where they do not understand you and instead you are brought to tears by them. If it is attachment to the laughter and understanding that has made you love them then that love will be gone and there will instead be suffering that you have not received what you are attached to receiving from them. Instead you will now hate this person or at the very least be angry and resentful toward them.

If there was no attachment ie: reasons based on what a person or thing fulfills in you then you are free to see each situation for what it truly is - you can love a person just because people are intrinsically worthy of being loved regardless of how they behave. If there is no expectation in you for another to behave a certain way to be of value morally, emotionally or spiritually then you experience the freedom to love truly and unconditionally in the space where that expectation may once have existed.

We see the problems of not understanding the difference between love and attachment throughout the world every day.

- Fathers in some countries are attached to the Pride their daughters give them if they behave well but will kill them for the sake of retaining that Pride if they believe they are "shamed".

- Couples fall in love, marry, have children and suddenly no longer love their spouses - the attachment to the first thrill of love when each party was wooing the other is not being fulfilled, each party believes the other has changed and they do not "love" what has changed aka: it does not "fulfill" them.

- Entrepenuers who work night and day to have the things they want, make millions - much more than they could ever need, yet continue to seek ways to make even more money for love of money itself - these extreme attachments have well documented results I think - and if the money is gone? The suffering is as deep as the love was when there was plenty.

- Artists etc who love their work but suddenly find there is no work, the well has dried for some reason. Everything good thing they believe about themselves is attached to their creative work - they are attached to the affirmation of their worth the work provides, these type of people will suffer horribly if they cannot do what they love.

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Oh sorry in short he says an alien race was responsible for the creation of humans and the various references in the Bible to God and the Angels and even Demons can be attributed to E.T.s

Now I'm not saying I buy into that I'm merely using that as a reference to point out how it's all about interpretation.

Spoiler alert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now I know how the book ends.....................thanks. <_<

*just kidding* :rofl:

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Hi Lion,

I do not think it has anything to do with being a hermit.

I think the "Imitation of Christ" demands it, for an interval at least, although there is no guarantee it will be fulfilled, or even that the pilgrim will survive it. There is no reaching the peak without it, though we may have risen into the foothills already. But, unless one is "called" it is premature to entertain such a course. When one has had his fill of the attractions of the world, when what once entranced us has lost it's savour, is when the awakening is most likely to appear. The jaded personality struggling to find meaning in what occupies others, is the most likely subject. Hence, "When the disciple is ready, the Guru will appear."

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I think the "Imitation of Christ" demands it, for an interval at least, although there is no guarantee it will be fulfilled, or even that the pilgrim will survive it. There is no reaching the peak without it, though we may have risen into the foothills already. But, unless one is "called" it is premature to entertain such a course. When one has had his fill of the attractions of the world, when what once entranced us has lost it's savour, is when the awakening is most likely to appear. The jaded personality struggling to find meaning in what occupies others, is the most likely subject. Hence, "When the disciple is ready, the Guru will appear."

Yes, for the resolute that have come to a particular point of the road, the next step is clear. What I have highlighted is why I responded to Lion as I did - to entertain such a course, is by extension to have expectation and attachment to the notion - unless or until that next step is clearly understood without attachment/expectation etc.

It is as you have said in a previous post "Many are called, but few are chosen". The space to experience the divine or God must be available first, for most people that is a lifetime endeavour on it's own - there will be signs, dreams, synchronistic events etc on the path which become more clear as time passes.

Many have been as fascinated with the seclusion or vigil in the desert as any worldly fascination. It is very common for a person to take a radical step in their search for God due to the desire of their Ego to have that experience - an oxymoron if ever there was one, but the Ego will not accept that, it can and will desire the experience as much as it desires the things of the world.

I highlighted the last sentence because I discovered the truth of it in my life, we all have a teacher, we are all students - ask and you shall receive. BUT a true teacher will never ask you to follow, only how to find evidence for what is true and how to experience and experiment, how to question and review so that each step is one based on knowledge not belief.

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Hi Lion,

I do not think it has anything to do with being a hermit. We are in the world and we discover God within ourselves via the experience of being in the world.

How does that experience in the world constitute a conclusion that god is within? Secondly the so called god within (elevating man to god), is it god? Are you god? Is it a part or essence of god? If there is a god within us then god is no longer a metaphysical concept but a physical concept, then within the scope of scientific discovery. Yet we know god is beyond scientific scope in it's entirety as a sole tool to provide an answer about his existence because god is metaphysical, yet here we have the metaphysical residing in the physical, waiting to be discovered, how is this so? How can metaphysical and physical be one and the same?

As to disbanding attachments, following the things of the material world fascinates and occupies our mind. The more enthralled with the things of the world we are the less there is of our mind that is empty and clear to experience the true nature of what is placed before us and therefore to experience the presence of God.

I agree to an extent, however it's seems to that all attachments need to be shed in order to get close to god, why? How do you know it brings you closer? There are others who feel gods presence who lead lives with healthy attachments and feel just as close.

The above two things can appear to contradict each other but it is not so.

For example:

You are given an opportunity to drive a Ferrari on a racetrack, you can experience the thrill of all that it is capable of and the joy of speeding around a racetrack, the adrenalin rush etc. Intrinsically there is nothing of attachment in the experience itself - it is a moment of freedom and joy that is all - pure joy is divine.

However, if you do not have the means financially or physically to repeat this experience but the desire to do so is awakened in you then what you now experience is suffering because you are attached to having that car and the experience that comes with it. You may, depending on your level of attachment, do many things to try to revisit that experience. In more extreme cases, you may sell all your things to buy the car or take out finance you cannot afford. In the most extreme levels you may set aside your morals and lie, cheat or steal to gain the funds to have this thing you "want". People even go so far as to murder for money to have the things they want. So attachment blinds and enslaves those people to it's will.

This is basically unchecked desires and attachments. You can draw two lines in the sand, the first a metre long and the second continues for maybe 100 metres. The first line represents our lives, very short, the second line represents our desires, which continue for longer, meaning our lives a short and desires are great, thus if unchecked, they can be disastrous but kept in check then one can make that short life worth while etc. Just because the pure joy of driving a ferarri cannot be repeated, does not mean one will then suffer, because someone who keeps his desires in check can find joy from the memory and that one experience, which will stay with him for the rest of his life, he sees it as a positive not negative that he can not repeat it, he find contention and joy in ever having the experience. See it depends on your mindset and world view. Your example is example of desires going unchecked, but to say shed them all and your attachments to get close to god, I don't agree. We have a duty to god and duty to our fellow man, ourselves, families. These bonds, attachments and desires have to be kept in check otherwise they takeover.

You have a dear friend. You love this friend. If you examine why you love this friend you discover that it is because they make you laugh and understand you. Suddenly a circumstance arises where they do not understand you and instead you are brought to tears by them. If it is attachment to the laughter and understanding that has made you love them then that love will be gone and there will instead be suffering that you have not received what you are attached to receiving from them. Instead you will now hate this person or at the very least be angry and resentful toward them.

Again it depends on the mind, if it's shallow and superficial it will find attachment to things based on things which have no lasting value. I love everyone for the sake of god, my duty to god is to love him and my duty to man is to love them and love for them what I love for myself. So in loving man I also fulfil my duty to god as well. However at no point is my love devotion etc greater for anything besides god.

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The metaphor of the "Night Journey" that doubtless refers to the mystical retreat of Mohammed, is yet another example of what invariably precedes the eruption into history of the figureheads of the great religions. The only scholar that could have failed to notice it, would be no scholar at all.

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