Practical Paths

December 5, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Society, Unconscious

Having a religion may or may not mean someone has had an experience that he or she describes as a spiritual experience.  A nonreligious person can have an experience that someone who has a religion might describe as a spiritual experience.  From some spiritual experience perspectives, such as Zen, the landscape I’m outlining is nonsensical.  Consciousness is characterized by spiritual experience.  The nature of your experience has to do with where you choose to identify in any moment.

I would like to posit that choosing to identify with a larger sphere than the self provides a more useful or enhanced experiential model when exploring the ways the universe and the world works.  Consider that presupposing that everything is connected and choosing to identify with that everything–expanding the definition of the self–provides a deepened, more immediate access to solutions characterized by many interconnections.

What I am suggesting is that scientists constrain both their hypothesizing capabilities and their abilities to note solutions to difficult problems by behaving as if consciousness is unimportant when seeking to understand the world.  Where a theorist or researcher chooses to lodge his or her identity or sense of self has an enormous amount to do with his or her ability to intuit outside the narrative, one-to-one correlation, beyond the cause-and-effect solutions that feel intuitive to someone with a sense of self located in a single body relying upon spoken language.

Whereas some scientists and philosophers suggest that there is no larger consciousness and that we choose religion and revel in spiritual experience based upon our social and personal needs, I would argue that the opposite is closer to the truth.  Consider that our abilities as theorists–particularly those abilities having to do with making subtle, multileveled connections–are informed by how much flexibility we exercise when identifying with our selves, our communities and our world.

It would make a certain amount of sense that a young theorist or a practitioner entering a field such as medicine or physics would choose a spiritual path that encourages an expanded understanding of the self.  From a purely practical point of view, exercising an expanded awareness that presupposes interconnection will encourage insight in professions where the variables are complex and interconnected.

Spiritual experience is practical.  I don’t just mean it’s healthful.  Spiritual experience provides a more realistic interpretive frame when faced with experiences characterized by deep complexity and interconnection.  If, indeed, the world is understandable, as I believe it is, then an exercised ability to expand the boundaries of the self provides a reception apparatus calibrated to the world whose information we are absorbing.

So, when considering a profession in the sciences, you might first consider what religion serves your goals.


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