When investigating spirituality, one cannot use conventional measurement and analysis tools. Spiritual investigation is carried out throughout with the use of extrasensory perception. The dimension of spirituality is as methodical and rational as that of the physical world. The knowledge attained spiritually is by accessing Universal Mind and Intellect. Research into spirituality is not dependent on time or place. This science needs a spiritually evolved guide to decipher intricate subtleties of Universal Mind and Intellect.
Just as we cannot use a measuring tape to measure one’s intellect, so also we cannot use physical, psychological or intellectual methods to understand or explore the spiritual realm. This is because of the simple reason that by definition the spiritual dimension is beyond understanding of the five senses, mind and intellect.
We are familiar with gaining knowledge through the media of the five sense organs, namely, eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue, mind and intellect. This is the model in which we conduct conventional research of modern sciences; however, only about 2% of the spiritual dimension is understood by the medium of the five sense organs, namely, eyes, ears, nose, skin and tongue, mind and intellect and 98% of intricate subtleties can be recognized only through subtle sense organs. Subtle sense is commonly known as our sixth sense or extrasensory perception. You can investigate into spirituality only with a highly expanded extrasensory perception. To study science of spirituality, we need highly evolved subtle sense organs, subtle mind and subtle intellect.
In investigating into spirituality, do not attempt to verify the authenticity of a religious artifact by using carbon dating technologies. Spiritual investigation is beyond modern science research methodologies and is not same as establishing connection between religious practice and some sociological or psychological transformation. Investigation into spirituality is not same as validating whether a place is haunted, through advanced technological equipment. In all these occasions, one is trying to measure and understand the spiritual realm with modern sciences. This is known as research and not spiritual research. The ability to measure and understand the spiritual realm with modern sciences is severely restricted and compromises the accuracy or effectiveness of the analysis.
When modern science investigated the cause of jaundice, it found one cause of jaundice was infection. On further study, found out that the infection was caused by Hepatitis virus. Further investigations led to discovery that there are various types of the Hepatitis virus like Hepatitis A, B and C. The subtle analysis of causes of ailments and problems goes in this order, but deepest causes are accessible only with the help of the science of spirituality.
Investigating spiritually reveals root cause of a problem and this cause can be in the physical, psychological or spiritual dominion. Up to 80% of life problems have their root cause in the spiritual realm. Quite often when we see a tragedy occur we hear the phrase, ‘Its God’s will’. However, the root cause behind tragedies such as natural disasters or airplane crashes are primarily in the spiritual realm that in our ignorance we attribute to ‘God’s will’. We can investigate the spiritual root causes of difficulties in life.
The knowledge of even the most knowledgeable person has limitations. On the other hand, Universal Mind and Intellect knows everything about everything. People from any walk of life or nationality experience inspiration after praying following a severe mental block. Many are unbelievably saved from serious accidents after a prayer. If one develops extrasensory perception through spiritual practice beyond a certain point, one is able to get unrestricted access to the Universal Mind and Intellect.
When knowledge is received from the Universal Mind and Intellect one does not need to travel places to do the research. This knowledge is not dependent on the time and space of the event. Whether a specific event happened many centuries ago or is to happen in the future, the nature of the incident and its contributing factors can still be ascertained. Any spiritual research team needs to be led by a person at the spiritual level of a saint or a guru. These evolved beings can access the Universal Mind and Intellect and be absolutely sure that they are not being misguided by subtle bodies or entities. In simple terms, achieving the spiritual level of a saint is like being a Nobel laureate in a certain field in worldly life.
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In the night, we stumble over things and become acutely conscious of their separateness, but the day reveals the unity which embraces them, and the man whose inner vision is bathed in consciousness at once realizes the spiritual unity which reigns over all racial differences, and his mind no longer stumbles over individual facts, accepting them as final. He realizes that peace is an inner harmony and not an outer adjustment, that beauty carries the assurance of our relationship to reality, which waits for its perfection in the response of our love.
“I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t take me at my worst, you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best." ―Marilyn Monroe
Trying to fix when one is not broken. We all do it; a silent prayer to God that he would somehow reshape our face into something beautiful assuming our face was like sculptor’s clay, malleable and still wet and able to become more than what it presently is; seems like possible? Sounds just some crazy idea. It’s not that we are ugly necessarily; it’s just that we aren’t special. We would embrace our whole personality as nothing spectacular, kind of dull, unremarkable. Of course, none had been describing us that way, but we embrace it nonetheless. I was born introvert and my sister, the exact opposite, an extrovert. Although this probably isn’t uncommon, I often wonder if our extreme differences fed our personalities even more. During our teens, she became more and more rebellious while I became more passive and what I would call invisible, never causing anyone any problems or concern.
My sister, naturally beautiful, exuberant, smart and outgoing, was everything I wished I could be but instead, I was an introvert. I took every move across the country as an opportunity to reinvent myself. I was always trying to fix myself even though, as I look back, I’m not sure I was even broken. Had I just embraced my personality at a young age, I might have saved myself from years and years of living an inauthentic life. I believe that this fight, which persists in mind, lead us to much of the depression as a young adult. Why we constantly compare to friends, often forcing to project such image although it grates against our very existence. It is exhausting and leaves us feeling hollow and unable to define who we really are inside. It makes for a hard life, this denial of our true self.
Making decisions based on who we wish we were rather than embracing who we really are leads to shallow relationships, stressful work situations; especially if you’re an introvert who accepts a position geared toward an outgoing, extroverted personality, it can cause you to dread waking up on Monday morning and, perhaps worse of all, it can mean missing out on opportunities that help introverts thrive. This is the same issue, I find with self-help books and magazine articles whose sole purpose is to convince us that we are never quite good enough. It’s a fine balance and one that is in constant flux. However, if we fight against our inherent personalities, seeking to change those very things which define us as who we truly are and buy into the billion dollar self-help industry; we will forever be at war with ourselves.
There is nothing wrong with trying to increase our compassion, overcome our addictions, break our bad habits and enhance our goods ones but change must come from a place of love and acceptance, not of loathing, self-hate or denial. Just let us learn to accept what we as being exactly who we need to be, in the place we are at that very moment and to look at these moments and circumstances as opportunities that can either enhance our life, open our mind, validate or invalidate a belief or even offer a major life-changing revelation. Learning to meditate help to realize that right inside of us is perfection to accept that God is in all of us is to accept that there must be perfection in us as well. Like sculptor Michelangelo, who brought out the beauty that was already inside the stone without destroying the entire stone, we too must search for our authentic selves without destroying everything that makes us.
Partners who can laugh at and with each other have the best medicine. The real marriage of true minds is for any two people to possess a sense of humor or irony pitched in exactly the same key, so that their joint glances at any subject cross like inter-arching search-lights. I’m having lunch with a friend, a woman my junior. She’d like to find the right guy. ‘So what are you really looking for?’ I ask. ‘I’d like it if he was spiritual.” I can’t think of a word more slippery than spiritual, so I ask her what she means. “A sense of humor,” she says surprisingly, and it gets me thinking.
Spirit and humor may seem an odd juxtaposition since spirituality is mostly taken to be a very serious matter. There’s not much irony, whimsy or joshing in Holy Scriptures and spiritual texts, and spiritual people tend to take them selves more seriously than average. I have my own definition of spirituality though. I define it as one’s answer to a family of related questions:
•Knowing I’m going to die, how should I live?
•Knowing that I have to let go, how should I hold on?
•What should I take seriously? What should I take lightly?
•About what should I be sensitive? About what should be desensitized?
Spirituality offers two basic answers to these questions. I follow a third option that doesn’t get a lot of spiritual airplay, and humor–specifically irony–is pretty central to it. The two popular responses to those spiritual questions are:
Take one thing seriously: For example, in monotheism take your commitment to God very seriously. If you do, you never have to die. Take everything else lightly since it’s nothing compared to your commitment to God.
Take nothing seriously: For example, in Buddhism be unattached. Laugh whimsically at everything.
The less popular alternative I embrace is: Take some things seriously and try to guess which ones: Make your life’s work figuring out what to take seriously and what to take lightly as circumstances change. Make your spirituality the ongoing work of cultivating the wisdom to know the difference between what to fight for tenaciously and what to surrender about with a lighthearted laugh. Now if you and your partner take the same things seriously, you’ll be able to laugh together at everything else, though probably with occasional tense moments when one of you is laughing at what the other can’t help but take seriously and if you and your partner both aspire to take nothing seriously, you should enjoy some good laughs too, but again with some sensitive moments, when one of you can’t help but take something seriously that the other partner is holding lightly. Partnerships can bring out the sensitivities in any of us, especially during their formative years after the honeymoon and before sustainable contentment, those years when we have a lot riding precariously on our partner’s tentative respect for us.
When we partner, we hoist our tottering and fragile sense of self-worth up on our partner’s heads. We feel our self-worth elevated. It’s a high. But, having entrusted our elevated self-worth to them we become vigilant, hypersensitive to ways in which they might drop us distractedly, carelessly or out of disrespect. Laughing with each other is bound to make partners feel safer and respected. Laughing at each other can have the opposite effect. Laughing at what your partner takes seriously can feel contemptuous, and there’s nothing more destabilizing to your sense of self-worth than that. Sometimes when we’re laughing at something our partner is sensitive about and doesn’t consider funny we get the liberating but false impression that we’re always light hearted and they aren’t. “C’mon, can’t you take a joke?” we say, as though we always can and they always should. Putting your partner on the spot that way is rarely going to prompt real levity. It’s as bad as saying “just relax!” to someone you’re arguing with. Of course it’s better for partners to laugh with, not at each other. But what about laughing at each other with each other?
People who follow the third spiritual path don’t have some hard and fast formula to follow for what to take seriously and what to take lightly. They’re trying to figure out what to hold tightly and what to let go. They forgo one of the main offerings of popular spirituality, some hard and fast formula for prioritizing one’s life. They’re a bit more confused but they’re also more pragmatic. You can negotiate priorities with them and they won’t throw some Sacred Book in your face as though it already proves what to take seriously and lightly. They may also more humbled by the task of figuring out what to take seriously and lightly. And they’re humbled by the hard and imperfect work they do trying to change their priorities to fit changing circumstances, learning to take lightly what they tend to take seriously and visa versa. They don’t have a formula for doing that either. But they do have a formula for laughing at their predicament. That formula is irony.
Irony means many things. It’s often treated as the same as sarcasm–saying one thing but meaning the opposite–but without the snarkiness. These days irony most often means saying two opposite things at once and knowing that you are, admitting, in effect that you are ambivalent about something, that you’re feeling both sensitive and desensitized at once. Psychologists use the term “Aspirational gap” for the gap between what we are and what we aspire to be. I coined the term “aspirational tense” for the verb-tense we use when we give voice to our aspirational gap, saying what we hope is true, what we’re trying to make true but what isn’t quite true quite yet:
“I’m definitely fine about losing my hair!”
“I’ve quit smoking!”
“I’m so over her!”
“I don’t have doubts about it any more!”
“No that doesn’t bother me one bit!”
If you hear yourself speaking in the aspirational tense, and you find your internal tension slightly amusing, you can laugh at yourself. You can laugh at yourself with your partner who, knowing you, will no doubt hear the tension too. The aspirational tense is the spiritual hazard of taking that third, less traveled spiritual path, juggling the challenges of letting go and holding on, being half-sensitive and half-desensitized; irony is its best medicine.