Spirituality: the basics

Spirituality explores reality beyond ordinary perception.

This may sound somewhat abstract, but consider the following: ordinary perception, on which most people rely to conduct their lives, only provides distorted representations of minute fragments of reality.

Universal reality is an infinite totality in which everything interacts and nothing is separate. This, of course, is an assumption, but one that is remarkably consistent with many ancient traditions and with modern physics.

Knowing reality in its vast intricate totality is obviously way above our modest cognitive capabilities. Therefore the mental pictures that our brain is able to produce based on the signals it receives through the five senses can only be of limited value. In fact they are mere illusions, like fiction movies projected on the inner screen of our mind.

Yet these illusory pictures are all we have to get by, at least when our mind is working in its ordinary mode. And these illusory pictures of the ordinary mental mode are the material with which our brain thinks, reasons, and develops a body of representations called “knowledge”.
The latter includes science, technology, practical skills, philosophy and religion.

Seen in a broad perspective, human “knowledge” appears extremely crude and fragmented, in sharp contrast to reality, infinitely subtle, with infinite interactions and no barriers or separations.

In spirituality a different mental mode is activated: connection with (universal) reality through channels other than the five senses. Materialists struggle with this concept, since they regard their “knowledge” as the only reliable model of reality, and anything not immediately congruent with it as false or irrelevant.

The rift between materialist thinking and spirituality is reaching new highs. Confronted to the major crisis in known history, materialists persist in believing that human knowledge can deliver technical fixes. People of spiritual inclination are convinced that global problems cannot be fixed as separate issues; for them, only a totally different rapport with universal reality, which includes our environment, our bodies and our minds, can bring harmony to the planet and to human evolution.

This sounds vaguely promising, but how on earth does spirituality manage to establish connection with (universal) reality through channels other than the five senses?

To elucidate this, let us first throw a new consideration in the pot: “consciousness”. We all have some idea of what consciousness means: it is our being aware of existence. Without consciousness, we wouldn’t know that we existed, we wouldn’t feel anything.

But the question is: where does this consciousness reside? In our brain?  In cells,molecules, atoms, elementary particles? Is there consciousness in animals, plants, minerals? Science has paid very little attention to consciousness and practically never questioned what consciousness actually is and where it could reside. Yet, without consciousness, there clearly wouldn’t be any knowledge, nor any science.

Advanced physics puts forward models implying that the universe is essentially made of energy. At the (sub-atomic) level of the “infinitely small” there is no such thing as “matter” as we understand it in every day life, and laws of ordinary mechanics do not apply. Advanced physics tells us that an electron can be at two places at the same time, and that an electron can be here on earth at one instant and on some distant galaxy a fraction of second later. All this is simply unimaginable in the ordinary materialist way of thinking.

So, the universe, according to science, is made up of energy and its functioning is amazingly subtle. The most advanced scientific models are full of gaps and inconsistencies, they fall far short of a global coherent explanation, and true scientists readily admit it. On top of this, consciousness, which is key to the very experience of knowing and understanding, is a mystery, for which no scientific model exists yet.

To progress further, let us throw yet another consideration in the pot: “intuition”. There are many instances where people pick up bits of knowledge via their subconscious though channels other than the ordinary five senses; we can call this intuition.

To some extent it can be explained through physics: it is well established that living organisms, including  the human body, are equipped with electromagnetic sensors. So when, for example, the premises of an earthquake and tsunami give rise to certain electromagnetic signals, humans and animals with well tuned sensors can pick up the signals and be alerted, which  accounts for the premonition of some indigenous tribes and of many animals at the time of unforeseen natural disasters.

Where does it all leave us?

Next to advanced science, we can find inspiration in the wisdom of many ancient traditions, from Tao to native American culture. There is a revealing congruence between many traditions on the essential: the oneness of all, the importance of energy, the ubiquity of consciousness.

In the experience of meditation, which goes far deeper than good breathing and “relaxation”, we are brought in touch with our intuition, and sometimes are able to feel with great strength the evidence of oneness, energy and consciousness.

Some people completely trust their intuition, and rely on it as much as on their five senses and ordinary reasoning power, and perhaps even more. But in so-called “advanced societies” where materialist dogmas are imposed on individuals from an early age, it is not easy to reach a mental state where intuition is granted unconditional credit. This being so, it is useful to “think through” with complete rigour and  honesty the “rationale” of spirituality.

So far, this rationale appears very strong, but does require assumptions, like models in science. Here are the fundamental  assumptions of spirituality:

– the universe is a totality made of energy and consciousness

– nothing is separate; what our mind perceives as individual people, animals, plants, planets etc. are like the waves of a same ocean, a vast ocean of energy and consciousness

– universal consciousness is benevolent and expanding towards perfect harmony.

People who accept these assumptions without reservations or restrictions and allow their mind to completely trust their intuition can rapidly observe in their lives a multitude of signs that confirm the validity of the fundamental assumptions. And they are able to unleash the power of “true love”: the love of all, with no exception, no judgment, no holding back.

At that point they move to a higher spiritual plane.

Notice that amidst the accelerating turbulences of the global crisis (global only at the very modest level of our tiny planet), many individuals seem to be moving towards that higher spiritual plane.

I hope these thoughts give you added comfort to trust you own intuition.

Fear not, trust, and take care.



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