odysseus wrote: ...
... I find it strange that modern, educated westerners not have a clue and are so close-minded even if they live in a quite liberal society. ...
One problem of some educated, liberal societies and people is that they have an inherent bias toward materialism, reductionism ...and a type of humanism severely restricted by those very principles.
Anti-theism, anti-religiousness, anti-spirituality, are attitudes fostered and encouraged in some highly educated sectors, including the educative sector itself. An adolesecent, bellicose form of the "new" atheism is quite popular in "sophisticated" society today.
So it is not all that surprising that, in certain quarters, anything to do with the Spirit is being dismissed as false, archaic, outmoded, stupid and outright dangerous. It's become "the thing to do"; the "correct" way of thinking.
This is why contemplative schools and practices are looked askance at - they "smell" of forbidden mysticism, spritual transformation (with its insistence that spirit is real) ... and of course, "God" in any of His/Her/Its various forms. The materialist intellect is aghast with horror at such developments.
This is why, in these circles, meditation - at most - might be acceptable, if divorced from its spiritual roots
- as a means of mindfulness and relaxation, but certainly not as a means of experiencing a (non-existent) Transcendent.
This is why religious and other non-ordinary experiences get reduced to brain activity. I once read a materialist's statement that mapping a religious experience via brainscan imagery actually shows us the religious experience itself. My counter, that the map is not the territory - that the scan shows only the neural correlates of the experience, but not the experience itself, which is by nature only seen and perceived by the experiencer him/herself - fell on deaf ears.
Hence, the Buddha, Bodhi, Nirvana, Samadi, Satori, Gnosis, Jesus, God, the Spirit, the soul, and a plethora of other ideas, conceptions, terms, and/or compendia of experiences of the religious or non-ordinary type, make many "educated" people uncomfortable, to the point of anger and vicious mockery. They (rightly) take such things to be flags, as signposts that point away from brains and material interactions, and toward the Transcendent - and therefore feel irritated, if not threatened, when others sincerely bring up such subjects.