Chapter 1 -
What Is Spirituality?
In this overview of the search for spirituality, I do not want to isolate any one social theory or group of people. I wish to take a broad approach to spirituality drawn from the perspective of western civilization that also includes valuable insights from the East. I use principles that apply beyond western culture since I address many universals that are a natural part of human life. Yet, the basic hypothesis I explore here is that spirituality is both something apart of as well as reaching deeply into or beyond the humanly natural way of living. It is the something sought for to satisfy the elementally deep yearnings hidden in each human heart around the world.
This book presents a personally integrated synthesis of what I have learned about life and its relationship to spiritual reality. I realize that millions believe that the words “spiritual” and “reality” cannot be put together. Their bias a priori causes them to operate and process life without recognition of spirituality as something that might exist independently of human fabrication, whether that fabrication is considered to be a product of individual emotionalism and/or some form of social group think such as the varied religious institutions found in cultures around the world.
I will not be able to overcome the objections of someone demanding proof from within the current limitations of scientific instrumentation or who rejects the principle that reality beyond the physical may be probed using the tools of reasoning. I will not try to prove everything that I infer from the evidence I have observed, borrowed from others and/or experienced personally. In addition, I realize that though my conclusions are stated factually, many of them cannot be verified in this life or dimension. Just like you, I will need to die in order to experience what happens afterwards, if anything. A number of people believe that they have solid personal experience with what comes after death, but I have some cautions concerning this evidence, which I will discuss later.
Reason is a viable tool for probing spirituality because the human mind naturally includes spiritual capacities beyond the limitations of scientific instrumentation. I address this capacity repeated within the context of what I term Natural Spirituality. In other words, people are naturally equipped to perceive and interact with at least one dimension more than science can measure, replicate and describe. This makes the human mind the most appropriate, and probably only, instrument available for exploring a spirituality that incorporates scientific observation and laws into a metaphysically extended conceptualization of ultimate reality. I state these biases up front. I also strive to make my biases openly admitted without burdening the written discussion between us with an intellectualized fog of philosophical arrogance and purposed obfuscation to hedge my bets.
Throughout the history of humanity’s multiple experiences in cultural development, the mentally different ones among us have often been associated with the spirit world. In the early tribes and urban centers, people who exhibited traits of what's defined today as mental health problems (up to and including medically certified insanity) were often viewed as bearing the deviant qualifications required of a society's prophets, seers or religious representatives to the holy or unknown spirit world around us.
Consequently, a large part of the difficulty of beginning and continuing any spiritual quest today is this heritage that associates spirituality with human oddity. The fact that spiritual matters are different from ordinary life means that spiritual people are expected to be strangely different from normal people. There could be nothing further from the truth.
Today, most accept that the natural environment originally inspired a great deal of what has been taught as spiritual knowledge. Logic presents an explanation that, out of scientific ignorance, early men and women sought spiritual reasons for natural phenomena that either scared them, left them in awe or that provided them with survival sustenance. This association rightly or wrongly continues into modern times, but the inspiration for the search has understandably changed with the times.
The fact that the scientific method has produced rationally researched explanations for much of the natural universe that was previously understood poorly has tended to obscure rather than elucidate spiritual questions. Our scientifically oriented western values have in effect shoved the case for spirituality further to the fringes of respectable society. For example, many human mental conditions previously viewed as spiritually enabling are now attributed to genetic malfunction, to infectious or degenerative disease or to some chemical imbalance of the brain's necessarily essential neural transmitters. While these factors account for some of the evidence for a metaphysical dimension of experience, they do not discount the superabundant testimony for the human experience of the spiritual that has been accessed and understood by billions of people over the ages. I believe that these mountains of testimony exist because the human mind comes equipped with a spiritual dimension or component that cannot be directly detected, described, measured and analyzed by scientific methods.
Because of the traditional association of spirituality with mental and/or social deviance the biased perspective of modern cultural mores does not encourage one to explore spiritual issues with any sense of confidence. To science, the spiritual realm does not exist: there is a materially measurable, observable and repeatable physical explanation for everything. The obvious result, of course, is that spiritual matters have been generally devalued to an equality of irrelevant emptiness that is allegorically aligned with ignorant myth. In the materialist philosophy, spirituality is only an existentially perceived reality and not transcendental, absolute truth. It may be emotionally satisfying, but it is otherwise impotent and irrelevant to an exploration of an integrated, universal reality.
The search for a truly spiritual dimension of life must carefully evaluate the evidence experienced and presented by others. We must agree together that calling something a spiritual phenomenon or fact does not make it so. Also, simply because a phenomenon or class of information may be unknown or known, explained or unexplained by scientific investigation does not automatically qualify it to be assigned to the realm of the spiritual or metaphysical. Something that is not scientific is not automatically spiritual, and something that is spiritual is not automatically unscientific. Thus, broad human experience most simply defines spiritual truth and substance as the reality encountered beyond the boundaries of the five senses of humans and the four dimensions of space-time. Metaphysical reality also encompasses that which cannot be understood through the current capabilities employed by scientific research for a secularly rational explanation of the non-material spiritual realm of the universe.
To begin with, let us define spirituality as any actuality that is found to exist and extend beyond the capable detection of the biological five senses of man that it is not limited or bounded by the four dimensions of space-time. Whereas the physical realm of the universe is bounded by the above definition, the metaphysical is not. Therefore, spirituality is a metaphysical actuality encompassing that which cannot be fully understood through the current investigative capabilities employed in studying the material realm of universe, which includes both the physical universe and the metaphysical. Alternatively, we humans have referred to these two realms within the continuum of ultimate reality as the natural and supernatural – granted that a number of psychospiritual systems do not consider mortal life in the flesh, or perhaps even the material universe, to be a part of reality.
In the final analysis I believe that there is no confrontation or mutual exclusivity between good science and true spirituality.
There is some overlap in their study since science is definitely used to explore spiritual phenomena. If the spiritual realm is indeed a true reality and not pure imagination, then at some point we will find a unification of the fields of natural science and supernatural metaphysics. Later in this book, I discuss some of these overlaps and apply them to the socio-spiritual and psychospiritual phenomena (or problems) of human life.
In my self-explanation of a unified universe of science and metaphysics within the western Judeo-Christian tradition, I hypothesize that the natural border between the two is the speed of light. Based on Einstein's work, the speed of light seems to be the defining variable of the fourth dimension, which is time. Thus, it is also the border of eternity, which is a universally attributed characteristic of the spiritual. Light is a universal symbol of the spiritual. Almost every culture links light to spiritual goodness and associates darkness with spiritual evil. The Bible, for example, states that God is light. In the verses below, the divine nature of Jesus is called the “Light.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)
Statements equating God or the spiritual with light are more than symbolic. They project a literal truth that may be understood from a scientific as well as a theological perspective. Assuming there is a Creator, such a being must be more than anything created, so God is not quantified or bounded by the metaphor or by the actuality. The Greek connotations of “Father” as “Source” become illustrative of this point. In some sense, all of the universe must have been sourced from somewhere, or it has just always been. This fact is the inspiration for pantheism, but God as being an everything abstraction is not the only answer. The personness of the Creator does not need to reside in, be composed of or be totally defined by the creation.
Thus, the physical characteristics of light in its full spectrum of electromagnetic energy provide many, deep insights into the nature of God and the heavenly realms. Just as one form of light energy extends and overlaps into the next as bounded by frequencies and wavelengths, so the metaphysical dimensions extend and overlap with the physical. Just as some instruments can only measure certain segments of the light energy, just as our eyes only see the narrow bands we term visible light, one may rationally extend dimensions beyond the speed of light – beyond the reach of our best scientific instruments – and conceive of an increasing power beyond the boundaries of time called eternity.
When the metaphysical realm of the divine is literally understood as being an extension of the electromagnetic spectrum or light, then spirituality becomes digital because light is digital. Thus, Digital Spirituality is a conceptual approach to understanding the nature of things that unifies the universe as one congruent fabric of ultimate reality. There is a metaphysical continuation of what science can observe and measure in the physical realm as the electromagnetic spectrum or radiation. This means that energy levels of light exist beyond the speed of light observed. For example, my inventor friend Herbert Stollorz theorizes that the rainbow includes 5 bands of colored light visible to metaphysical beings in addition to the 7 bands we can see in the physical realm. He has designed a number of hi-tech devices, many of which work with the electromagnetic spectrum and some of which are incorporated into particle accelerators or “atom-smashers.”
These energy levels make up the eleven dimensions of reality postulated within the academic world of quantum physics by the string theory of everything. All of reality emanates from the twelfth level, the Father Source of All called God. Each of these eleven dimensions represents a descent in power intensity or frequency from the presence of all to the absence of all. If left alone, the universe would gradually cool to absolute zero and cease all activity according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The mysterious Black Holes also present the vortex of nothingness as a negative magnet to what has emanated from the start of the universe usually referred to as the Big Bang.
Therefore, the spiritual realm may be briefly summarized by stating that spiritual entities such as God or gods, angels and demons are from the parallel dimensions of the universe that can be found to exist beyond the speed of light.
Many call it heaven; others consider it a parallel set of realms. Perhaps it is both and more. Physicists theorize that the multiple dimensions co-exist in an interactive gestalt structure. Subatomic particles seem to disappear from space-time’s 4 dimensions and then reappear. Where do they go? It is similar to electromagnetic energy emissions that radiate across the spectrum, emitting power at all bands from infrared through visible light to ultraviolet. To all of this physical science, we need to add free will. Human beings co-create reality by their individual and collective power of decision as exercised. What we think, say and do has impact across the spectrum of physical and metaphysical reality.
Illustrating the application of the first hypothesis, one would say that God and the righteous angels live in heaven but visit this world. When they do so, they cause disruptions or warps in the natural laws of the material universe. Some of these irregularities are referred to as miracles. Due to their rebellion, the Devil and the demons have been consigned to this temporal realm, being expelled or "fallen" from the "heaven" beyond light's speed yet they still "vibrate" at or beyond light speed and so retain their metaphysical composition and supernatural capabilities. Thus, to a human being’s natural senses, there is no observable way to differentiate between a righteous or a rebellious angel - both could appear as light at manifestation but never fully materialize in substance.
Jesus made this distinction in describing His appearance to His disciples after His own bodily resurrection:
See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. (Luke 24:39)
The digital nature of light being on or off, white or black, present or absent, inspires the calling of this integration of everything, Digital Spirituality. Light is digital by design and in function. Its physical digital properties and behavior has become the foundation of many modern technological marvels in the world of nuclear science, medicine, computers, communication and entertainment. Because light is digital, it can be mapped and regulated through binary mathematics where each numeric place is either on or off, present of absent. Simplified, this is accomplished by power being present or absent, full or null, yes or no, a source or a drain (sink). Light breaks down further like a decision tree because the null force of the dark or black energy is stable or neutral. Similarly, the nucleus of an atom is made up of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. The neutrality of the null or off position means that it is composed of equally powerful positive and negative charges.
In the Bible, God possesses eternity in a state of pure and undefiled love. As Creator, he is the ultimate source of all light and power. He is “on” or “yes” – otherwise known as the “fullness of the presence.” The other spiritual power is the “off” or “null” – the lord of the dark light, which itself is composed equally of an indivisible mixture of good and evil. In other words, the dark light is itself digital, being the next step down in the energy hierarchy.
Balanced to nothingness, this spirit of light and darkness cyclically powers the material universe. Known as the life force, it is commonly symbolized by the female-male, dark-light, yin-yang. Since fallen angels have been cut off from direct access to the eternal light of God’s throne in heaven, they need to get power through some indirect source or “black” light, being defined as consuming and absorbing light into a metaphysical void analogous to astronomy’s black holes. To the mortals in the material dimension the light side of the life force or dark light looks the same as the light of God, which is the structural basis of all spiritual deception.
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds. (2Corinthians 11:14-15)
Thus, God represents an autonomous, independent source of light, while angels are dependant on an external source of power. The obedient angels absorb “good” or “white” spiritual light directly coming from God’s presence and rebellious angels tap into that power indirectly through the life force, which comes from God in some way. The operational survival of fallen angels obliges them to steal the “black or dark” aspect of light energy's spiritual derivative in the universe of space-time, which is also the spiritual spark that empowers biological life. The life force is the spiritual essence that makes the difference between life and death running in parallel with what can be observed and known about life’s metabolism by using scientific instruments and methods.
That which steals life from another is evil.
It is evil whether the theft is one of property or of the life force. The spiritually predatory activity of depleting the “light” side of the life force in both human and beast exacerbates negative, depressive or rebellious feelings, illness, and/or evil thoughts and deeds. The demonic predation of material life gives the fallen angels something like a "high" even as it enables them to survive and operate.
If the theft of life is complete, it obviously results in the death of the victim. It is this spiritually predatory activity of depleting the “light” aspect of the life force of both human and beast exacerbates evil thoughts and deeds even as it enables the fallen angels and their servant beings to survive and operate. They are driven by the same needs of self-preservation as we experience on earth because their existence is an earth-bound realm of spirituality.
In the natural universe, evil has become almost universally associated with darkness, which is the result of light energy's removal or absorption. This stolen/absorbed light energy enables fallen angels to operate. It is usable because the life force is the thermodynamic derivative of the full spectrum of metaphysical and physical energy that residually remains from God's original creation of the observable, natural universe from the "nothing" of His power transferred from beyond light speed. It is through the recycling of natural matter and energy that God designed a self-sustaining universe of seemingly long to eternal duration. Most astrophysicists believe that the universe’s clock will eventually wind down according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Even the speed of light exhibits a slowing down.
It follows that good spirituality is not dependant upon taking life from another – in whole or in part.
Ultimate goodness is life well lived in the genuine expression of a love that is unselfishly unconditional and undemanding. Such spirituality does not generate external needs at the expense of others. It exemplifies the principle that life engenders life – in whole or in part. It gives without loss or creation of a needy self.
Healthy spirituality is as concerned with and contributes to the growth and well-being of others in balance with self because the lives of all are priceless and thus incomparable. They will not be subjected to the devaluation of commodified exchange. With healthy spirituality, material considerations are separated from the person’s identity as far as temporality is separated from eternity.
Many cultures, past and present, teach spiritual principles of a life force shared by humans and animals. The life force is the physical dimension’s spiritual energy presently vibrating at the speed of light, which is also known in eastern traditions as ki, chi or prana. The names and specific characteristics may vary, but the primary characteristics and core functionality of the life force transcend ethnicity and religious tradition. Understanding and balancing the life force provides a key entry point to spirituality that I term Natural Spirituality. Due to the pervasive influence of Greek philosophy, western religious traditions have obscured the biblical references to the life force and confused it with the concept of an independently animated consciousness called a soul. The Bible plainly reveals its presence when read in the original Hebrew and then Greek.
I have presented this brief overview of a real and not merely perceived universe built on a Judeo-Christian biblical foundation to illustrate a reasonably rational possibility that the world or realm of the spiritual just might not be ignorant imaginations dreamed up to explain what is presently unexplained by science. It is a matter of perspective in one way and so much more than that in another. From any side, it can be seen as an issue of ignorance. Science may be ignorant of the realm beyond light's speed, and the primitive may be ignorant of scientific explanations or principles derived from systematic examination and repetitious testing.
Faith is a spiritual tool that works. Human faith is spiritually neutral in nature. It does not discriminate in what it can work on. By itself, human faith is neither good nor evil.
It may produce works of the flesh, works of humanitarian kindness or even the state of righteous grace. How faith works and what it can yield when wielded is determined by the metaphysical context in which it is applied or exercised as well as by the source of its inspiration; therefore, simply believing in a spiritual truth or event is not proof of its validity or even that it actually occurred. The human capacity for misplaced faith is the source for our individual and societal proclivity of embracing artificial realities from collector or investor valuation frenzies (bubbles) to miraculous healings of psychosomatic conditions.
Some spiritual encounters just happen. No one is looking for them to appear, but they do. Spirit beings have their own agendas, and they do not necessarily depend upon human faith to execute their missions. This type of genuine, uninvited spiritual encounters is rare, which is why they become the stuff of religion. I term such spiritual events Pneumagenic Spirituality because they are generated by the spirit being(s) or force itself.
Throughout human history, people have sought answers to their questions and problems from the other side. Perhaps they wanted to know the future. Perhaps they wanted to heal some disease or injury. Because spiritual matters cannot be directly and objectively understood by applying the scientific method, there has always been a perceived need by ordinary humans to have some kind of help to initiate spiritual encounters. This necessity of third party professionals (such as priests, priestesses, mediums and shamans) to gain insight and/or entry into the realm of the spirit has always proved to be problematic. Due to the individually experiential nature of most spiritual encounters, issues of dependability, honesty and verifiability automatically are a part of a searcher-initiated encounter. These problems also plague the academic researcher. They arise whether one is dealing with material aids, recorded knowledge or human experts and agents.
In some cases those seeking initiation into a spiritual circle may receive the opportunity for a spiritual experience or encounter from a master teacher or “guru” who provides a mediating link into the realm of the metaphysically unknown. In the most remarkable spiritual experiences, the encounter's impact extends beyond an individual to embrace and involve the lives of others. This extension to third party inclusion may consist of the simple presence of one other person, a small group or even a large audience of witnesses who stand outside the circle of a focal person's or group's encounter. Sometimes those who make up the circumference may themselves perceive and participate in the spiritual atmospherics as participant observers of the encounter.
Now this is not to say that every "spiritual" encounter is real.
Some are purposefully faked by professional "spiritual mediums or guides" in order to defraud the ingenious of their money. Besides an experience of some inexplicable or awesome natural phenomenon, the sensed or imagined spiritual encounter could simply be a mental condition psycho-chemically induced or emotionally imagined.
Perhaps the most common source of confusion in identifying a bona fide spiritual encounter derives from general ignorance about spirituality. There are a lot of sincere, self-deluded people who will represent something to the searcher as being a spiritual activity, charm or event when it is nothing of the sort. Others are unwittingly introduced to potentially harmful spiritual encounters. Some of these introductions are purposed in spite of known dangers because a victim may be desired for some dark ritual mandated by another person’s perceived need or desire for power. More commonly the searcher participates in an activity or thought behavior that is purportedly used to approach the metaphysical realm, but the net effect to him or her ends up being, "Is that it? Is that all?"
The point is that at best, not everything in the world of spirituality is as it seems, and matters are made worse when not everything presented as spiritual is genuinely so. Altogether, the more you mix these theoretical matters with true encounters, the more difficult the search becomes. This difficulty drives the searcher to seek help in his or her quest, which, unquestionably, often leads to a certain amount of deceit and disappointment.
Naturally, this kind of experience sours the search for spirituality, often to the point of terminating it or deciding that it is not worth the material and/or psycho-emotional cost. To both young and old discouraged victims of spiritual deception, the existence, validity and desirability of spirituality evaporates. For them human life becomes devalued, limited and bitterly disappointing. Bitter disappointment may be followed by hopelessness. Habitual hopelessness leads to a loss of engaged vitality, and one’s personal identity may be swallowed by a passing emptiness, a void of destroying darkness that exists to consume the unique beings of humanness.
Yet, there does remain a naturalistic spiritual dimension to life, which is readily accessible to almost everyone: we are universally rejuvenated deeply from contact with the "wonders" of the natural world. The exact nature of the renewal experience varies - as does the experience itself. Such psychospiritual renewal is demonstrably real. It is palpable, and its effects on us can be measured as well as perceived personally. From underwater swims with manatees or whales to the panoramic view of the world from a mountain top at sunset, biological life is a wondrous miracle barely explained by all that advanced scientific research has to offer. I call this kind of phenomena Natural Spirituality, and a real spiritual force empowers it.
Recent medical research is beginning to provide scientific substantiation for the efficacy of many "alternative" methods of healing. The Bible and many other religious and/or philosophic writings from around the world discuss the neutrally balanced spirituality of this natural life force under various names and contexts. It is one of the exemplary areas where scientific and spiritual research is converging. In this meeting, some of the misbeliefs on each side are gratefully lost to the truths being proven.
The balancing and application of this mysterious will to life is a central principle in many approaches to natural healing of body, mind and soul. Although "alternative" healing therapies usually come bundled with a philosophical or religious context, they are in fact universally neutral when the practitioner’s focus is on balancing the powers of the life force in order to enhance the biological health of the patient.
I will discuss this aspect of spirituality later in more depth. For example, one should distinguish between natural life force therapy of mind and body versus the so-called "soul" therapy that may accompany alternative health practices. The difference between the two is that the use of natural spirituality (life force enhancement) in health applications is intrinsically different from the pneumagenic encounters and operations that are utilized in reading, monitoring and treating the health of one's "soul." It is also different from the transformational interaction with the divine Spirit of God.
As binary mathematics have helped us to better understand and access the natural universe through digital technology, digital spirituality will provide the binary perspective to understanding the spiritual universe - what it is and how it works in your life or the lives of others. However, to begin with perhaps the clearest way to continue in our search for spirituality is to first define what spirituality is not.
Spirituality is not materialism.