Spirit, Science, and Metaphysics

Spirit, Science, and Metaphysics

Spirit, Science, and Metaphysics

Over the last four years, I moved away from talking about the mechanics of metaphysics and psychic development and focused solely on the more advanced aspects of spirituality, like emotional states, self-awareness, and trauma healing. I began learning astrology, too! But with my recent post about the intersection of those things–Law of Attraction and abuse–I realized that there’s still a lot of interest about those mechanics, so I thought I’d do a refresher post for anyone who is new here, and perhaps package it all up into one neat blog post.

What is spirituality, anyway?

Metaphysics: a branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality and deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. Metaphysics studies the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.

Spirituality is the convergence point between science, philosophy, and psychology, also known as metaphysics. It is not a religion. You can’t be anti-science and truly be pro spirituality, as science is a fundamental and integral part of spirituality. A lot of so-called spiritual people are very anti-science, though, and that actually becomes a block to their spiritual development because they build a belief system around it and it places them in an unbalanced state. In other words, it keeps them out of alignment.

If you pay close enough attention, you’ll find that anti-science versions of spirituality mimic Christian ideologies. Flat Earth theory, for example, often circulates among groups in the spiritual community. It is incredibly anti-science and its foundational precept is that science is attempting to eliminate “God,” therefore anything related to science can’t be trusted.

This is a belief as old as science itself, when the church felt its dominant power being threatened during the Renaissance period and began persecuting budding scientists right alongside witches and pagans who were also being persecuted for gravitating to spiritual concepts. Several of the great early minds in science, including Isaac Newton, were occultists and the same goes for philosophy and psychology. You have to have a bit of a bent toward mysticism to want to study the nature of reality in all of its forms. And what are those forms?

Science is the physical arm of spirituality (body), while philosophy is the mental portion (logical mind), and psychology is the heart (spirit). The holy trinity. You can’t have a balanced, holistic view of our human experience without all three of them working in unison.

Hence what I said earlier about spiritual people who are anti-science being out of balance. They’ve cut themselves off from learning and integrating information about a fundamental piece of the human experience.

Why is religion considered a belief system and these things aren’t? In a sense, religion attempts to dictate reality through a socio-cultural system of designated behaviors, practices, and morals. On the other hand, science, philosophy, and psychology are the study of reality as it naturally occurs. They make and record objective observations (as objective as one can be). Naturally, as we are still growing and evolving, we are still learning and making observations about the nature of our reality.

Our study is not yet complete, and neither is our model of physics, our understanding of the human mind, or our understanding of the human experience, and it likely won’t be within our lifetime. In the meantime, there exists a gap in scientific knowledge about certain aspects of our experiences, such as those of a spiritual and paranormal nature. Some of the experiences that fall under that umbrella can be explained, if not fully then at least partially, but there’s a small few which have yet to be, including human consciousness, and that is what the majority of spiritualists concern themselves with.

Spiritual Laws of the Universe

A very large part of the foundational principles of spirituality are actually built on science, hence why I say you cannot dismiss science and still be spiritual–you would be denying the understandings of foundations of spirituality itself. There’s several fundamental spiritual laws which are based upon scientific laws, mainly as they apply to consciousness. One must understand several fundamental rules of consciousness as part of their studies of spirituality.

Consciousness

Consciousness is our ability to be self-aware: our thoughts, ideas, beliefs. The intangible aspects of ourselves. What is consciousness made of? Where does it come from? This is what we’re exploring when we talk about spirit.

A fundamental principle of spirituality is that consciousness and energy are one and the same. That means that because everything, even the physical matter in the universe, is made of energy, that everything is also consciousness, even if in a latent, non-aware form.

The general consensus among spiritual thinkers is that consciousness exists in quantum form outside of the body (rather than being produced by the brain itself) and that the brain acts as an antenna of sorts.

Science itself does not yet necessarily recognize this, though we are discovering aspects of quantum mechanics that may hint at it. Some scientists are currently exploring the notion that consciousness as science currently views it is produced at the quantum level inside the brain. Stuart Hameroff and 2020 Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Roger Penrose are two scientists examining this hypothesis.

The Law of Conservation of Energy

The Law of Conservation of Energy: energy in a closed system can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another.

We live in a physical universe where everything is made of energy in various forms. This is a scientific fact (facts are objective scientific observations). From this observation, spiritualists assume that consciousness itself must also be energy. As such, consciousness can neither be created nor destroyed. This is a common explanation for the existence of spirits and an afterlife.

The Law of Karma

The Law of Karma can also be encompassed under a couple of existing scientific principles: the Law of Cause and Effect and the Law of Action and Reaction.

The law of cause and effect is the foundation of the scientific process as noted by the man I mentioned earlier, Sir Issac Newton. It states that there is a reason for everything that happens. For every effect, there is a cause, whether we know it or not. And likewise, for every cause, there is an effect, which leads us to Newton’s third law: the Law of Action and Reaction. This law states that when two bodies interact, they apply forces to one another that are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. In other words, this equal-yet-opposite force is a mechanism through which we experience duality.

You see these forces play out in the concept of karma. Every belief, attitude, and action we take on earth sends out a ripple of energy that effects the physical world around us, including other people: cause and effect. Karmic energy is the after-effects of our words and actions–the legacy we leave behind us. When the negative consequences of our words and actions outweigh the positive consequences of our words and actions, our karmic legacy is unbalanced. Those consequences hold a heavier energy, and that heavy energetic legacy is left behind on earth when we die, both in our culture and the people we had interpersonal relationships with, contributing to the overall energy signature of the collective.

Likewise, our beliefs, attitudes, words, and actions often initiate equal and opposite reactions in the people around us: action and reaction. Opposing political ideologies is one clear example. The opposing force rises up in an effort to balance the karmic energy being left behind on the planet.

Just like the law of conservation of energy states, that heavy karmic energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed. We are the ones who transform that energy when we focus on expanding our consciousness and healing the effects that karmic energy has had on ourselves, society, and the planet, thus changing the actions we take and the consequences of them.

Psychology and its various branches, like sociology, are in a way a study of karma, as well as an avenue through which to resolve it.

Time is an Illusion

When people think about karma, they almost always associate it with reincarnation. One of the fundamental beliefs behind the concept of reincarnation is that we must come back to earth in order to balance the karma we left behind in a past life, however, you’ll hear many spiritual teachers telling you that there past and no future, and that the “now” moment is all that exists. So how do we reconcile these two seemingly conflicting notions? Science has the answer!

Thanks to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, we know that our perception of time is intrinsically tied to space and the velocity at which we are moving through it. The faster we are moving, the slower time moves. Once we reach the speed of light, time stops.

Now remember that everything in the universe is made of energy, including consciousness. Light is also energy. In spirituality, we recognize these three things as being one and the same. This means that the energy of your consciousness, also known as your soul, is made up of light. This means that your soul exists at the speed of light. And if your soul exists at the speed of light…that means that it is not bound by time.

Read my previous blog post Time is an Illusion to learn more about this subject.

Therefore, from your soul’s perspective, there is no past or future. Only the present moment. That also means that all of your perceived past and present incarnations all exist concurrently in the present moment, and that the karmic energy of your other lives are being balanced in real-time with your actions in this one.

Now, if you really want to get trippy in terms of karma, you can also take into account the possibility that not only do we have a single reality that we exist in, but also multiple, alternate, parallel realities where some other version of our current and past selves play out additional scenarios of experience other than what we are experiencing from our current perspective, and those experiences are also attempting to balance the karmic energy of other concurrent lives.

As we evolve in this life, we also evolve and balance the karmic energies of all of our connected life experiences. This is why some spiritual teachers say we are here to work off karmic debts and others tell you that you only need to “breathe and be.” Their understanding is coming from two different levels of awareness.

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction is another aspect of the Law of Karma which states that like energy attracts like energy. Let me be clear with that distinction: LOA is not like attracts like. That’s overly-simplistic and leads to a lot of misunderstanding. It is like energy attracts like energy.

How things appear on the surface may look similar, however, the underlying energy and intentions can be completely different. For example, you have two people doing psychic readings. The general assumption is that both people are “lightworkers.” However, one of those people is attracted to this position of authority as a means to gain power, control, and fame, and the other is attracted to this position of authority because they see it as a mission and genuinely want to help people heal. The underlying energies are complete opposites.

So if we want to truly understand the law of attraction, we have to understand it in energetic terms: heavy energy attracts heavy energy. Lighter energy attracts lighter energy. The vibrational frequencies of the energies are a match.

Duality comes from the illusion that there exists a lack of love. We call that illusion fear (not to be confused with danger). Fear-based energy is heavy and dense. Thus, fear-based energy manifests as spectrum of polarity (duality).

For example: total control and total submission exist on the same power spectrum and they are both symptoms of a heavier, “negative,” fear-based energy, one being a hunger for power, and the other being a state of feeling powerless. Thus, these two energies attract because they are the same fundamental energy, and give the illusion of opposites attracting.

When a person is embodying the heavy energy of control, they are attracted to people and situations who are embodying the heavy energy of powerlessness. This is how and why abusers seek out individuals with a lack of healthy boundaries. When an abuser meets someone with a healthy sense of boundaries, they will be repelled from being in relationship with that person because that person’s energy is not a match. Once they test those boundaries and recognize that they can’t consistently penetrate them without consequence, they will move on until they find someone who is easier to exploit.

Trauma energy is unprocessed fear that is lodged in our energy bodies. It manifests as fear-based beliefs, low self-esteem, and chronic anxiety, depression, hate, anger, etc. When that trauma has to do with a family or a social group, we call it generational or ancestral karma.

When we transmute that energy and convert it into a lighter form, that looks like healing trauma, dissolving and releasing energy blockages, having shifts in perspective and awareness, and increasing our self-esteem and capacity for empathy. One might describe this as resolving or releasing karma.

When one has healed that trauma and released the fear-based energy and programming, they will no longer attract those dualistic power dynamics, because they won’t tolerate them. Thus, a person with healthy boundaries is attracted to situations and partners who respect those boundaries.

When we are unaware of or avoiding our trauma, those repeated dualistic experiences trigger us into to recognizing our trauma energy. These repeated experiences are like re-breaking a bone in order for it to be set and healed correctly. When we aren’t paying attention or aren’t aware of the opportunity for healing, the universe and our subconscious mind, via the Law of Attraciton, keeps leading us back into situations and relationships that repeating the patterns to get our attention. Once you start to pay attention, you’re able to engage in the process consciously and end the pattern.

Triggering is a psychological term related to trauma and should not be confused with casual use in spirituality. Learn more.

In this way, you can look at the Law of Attraction as the mechanism through which we experience karma, and psychology as the avenue we use to heal karma and harness the Law of Attraction.

The Law of Attraction is not how we create karma and it is not a punishment for our actions. It’s just a force of nature, like gravity. It exists independently from the human (dualistic) concepts of “good” and “bad.”

So how do we come to create karma and hold trauma energy in the first place?

Read my post on Abuse and the Law of Attraction to learn more about this and the fundamentals behind LOA.

Karma is once again the culprit–the cause and effect of other people’s beliefs and actions, and the societal structures and cultures built around those beliefs throughout history. Unhealed trauma energy begets more trauma energy. It gets handed down from generation to generation. Karma was here before you and it will be here after you, and your actions while you are here contribute to the collective karmic energy on earth and within our own societies and familial lineages.

Therefore, the way for us to end this cycle is for all of us to focus on healing our personal trauma and changing the societal systems and cultures that perpetuate that trauma.

That, my friends, is the mechanics of spirituality in a nutshell.

I hope you learned a lot from this post about how science, psychology, and various aspects of spirituality are interrelated. I highly recommend reading the additional posts I recommended, as they will expand your understanding of these concepts.

Xo,

Ash

 

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New to Spirituality?

Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.

Abuse and The Law of Attraction

Abuse and The Law of Attraction

Abuse and The Law of Attraction

For a community that is supposed to be focused on love, light, and healing, New Agers have invented and contributed to some of the most toxic, harmful, bullshit ideologies on the planet, and nine times out of ten, the Law of Attraction is behind it.

One of those toxic ideologies is that people manifest their own abusive experiences through Law of Attraction, including children. I’ve written previously about the topic of manifesting abusive experiences, but I didn’t go in-depth on the Law of Attraction in that post, which I will do today.

I’m just going to come right out and say it: No. Unequivocally, children do not manifest their own abuse through Law of Attraction.

What Law of Attraction zealots want you to believe, particularly those who are making money from coaching people to manifest the life of their dreams, is that you are the all powerful, absolute creator of the totality of your experience, the God of your own world, and you can have absolutely anything your heart desires–all you have to do to harness this power is think positive thoughts and set an intention about what you want, and the Universal vending machine will deliver it up to you on a silver platter!

It’s bullshit.

Try manifesting a physical living breathing unicorn in your back yard using that ideology and let me know how it goes.

This line of thinking is actually a form of separation consciousness because it downplays, ignores, or outright denies the interconnected nature of our human experiences. Yes, you are a creative being and you have the ability to shape the world around you, but it is not as simplistic as these opportunistic gurus would have you believe.

I’m going to return to the book that I refer to as my bible today, Conversations with God.

Thought + Word + Deed = Manifestation

There’s a reason that magick involves intentions, incantations, and rituals. They are the thoughts, the words, and the actions to bring one’s vision to life.

And not just any ole thoughts…the sponsoring thought.

What is a sponsoring thought? The sponsoring thought is your deeply held beliefs about yourself and the world around you, much of which exists on a subconscious level until you engage in the appropriate amount of shadow work to uncover them. Until that point, you’re manifesting from your trauma, your wounds, and your self-limitations rather than fully-embodied consciousness.

Learn about shadow work’s role in spirituality.

Chances are, the shit you’re trying to manifest if you haven’t done this work is going to be materialistic and egoic and end up causing more harm than good.

Another famous line from Conversations with God:

 

“My will is your will, but your will is not my will.”

What that means is, God wants you to be the creator, and that entails having the free will to do what thou wilt, even if it isn’t in alignment with the highest good, however, what God wills for you is that you rise to your highest potential. Once your will is in alignment with God’s will, you have become the creator.

In simpler terms, once you’ve done the work, your idea about what might make you happy and the things that you desire will be on much healthier footing, and you’ll be able to manifest them a lot easier because they will be in alignment with your higher consciousness, not your lower desires, which typically end up creating nasty karmic consequences–the old “be careful what you wish for, you might just get it.” Watch Wonder Woman 1984 for a general idea of how well that might go…

This is precisely why a lot of the better spiritual teachers out there will tell you that attempting to manifest anything is a useless endeavor until you’ve done the work, and why some witches abide by the three-fold rule (whatever you do comes back to you three fold). It’s why the ancient mystery schools had initiation processes, and its why most orders still do today (If you want to learn more about this, I highly recommend listening to this podcast interview with Damien Echols), and the ones who are trash are just reinforcing toxic positivity, spiritual bypassing, and rampant materialism.

So no, your passing thoughts and random fears are not going to literally manifest if you think about them for two seconds. Or even an hour. It is likely, however, that a great deal of your thoughts and fears are a part of some greater subconscious belief system or attitude which you are helping to perpetuate (and thus, manifest) into the world around you.

The Secret: Prosperity Gospel for the New Age

It’s a much better marketing gimmick if the charlatans can convince you that you’re the singular God of your own universe instead of a part of a divine global collective of interconnected beings co-creating together. It’s the influence of western cultural values that prize individualism above community, domination over cooperation, manifest destiny, and so on. As I mentioned earlier, this is a form of separation consciousness and an avenue to avoid social responsibility. Toss in a heavy dose of capitalism and materialism and you have Americanized spirituality.

But these overly-simplified ideas about Law of Attraction gloss over this important fact: we are not individually the only creator on this planet. We live in a co-created world with other people who are endowed with the same creative potential that we are, and we’re all co-creating our existence every single day, with every conscious or subconscious belief we have that influences our thoughts and attitudes, which in turn influence the words we speak and the actions we take. Our actions directly affect other people in the world around us. That’s precisely how we’ve manifested the world we live in today…and what a spectacular shit show!

Wait–are we responsible for this mess?!

Collectively, yes. Humanity as a whole, throughout time, created this world and all of the fear and trauma and oppression that exists within it evolved out of the unhealed wounds and the unconscious actions perpetrated from those wounds.

On an individual level, we perpetuate that trauma by manifesting–through actions, cause, and effect–from our unconscious belief systems built upon unhealed wounds–or, we heal it by expanding our conscious awareness of ourselves, eliminating destructive belief systems, choosing constructive actions, and taking responsibility for ourselves and the creative role we have in the world around us.

Child Abuse and Ancestral Karma

In a previous post on this topic I wrote:

A child’s first experience with abuse can never be the result of their own thoughts because the experience has never entered into their awareness. Especially when we are children, we haven’t yet fully developed a sense of self–our brains don’t even finish forming until we’re 25–and we are at the mercy of the adult/child power dynamic. Therefore, any abuse perpetrated on a child by an adult can never be the result of Law of Attraction.

Children don’t have the luxury of making their own decisions or truly thinking for themselves. They don’t manifest abuse, because abuse is karmic.

Remember this: karma trumps Law of Attraction every time.

When I say karmic, I don’t mean the notion that karma is some kind of punishment for past (life) transgressions. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Hurt people hurt people?” All of that stuff I just talked about–manifesting from unhealed wounds? The consequences of the “manifesting” we do (a.k.a. the actions we take) from unhealed wounds is our karmic contribution to the collective. Karma is the energetic legacy we leave behind us. It stays here on the planet and affects those who come after us.

Ancestral karma is when that energy is passed down through generations of a family lineage. Child abuse is ancestral karma: a learned pattern from the previous generation inflicted upon the next.

Children come into this world as a blank slate, with no deeply held belief systems. Our parents are the only reference we have for what the world means for the first several years of our existence. We are completely at the mercy of these people’s actions. They have ultimate authority and power over us, and because we need to survive above all else, that means attempting to bond with the people we are dependent upon for survival.

We have no real choice about what to think or believe at this stage of our lives. Abusive adults wield this power dynamic in unhealthy ways, causing trauma. That trauma, when left unhealed in an adult, manifests as more unhealthy power dynamics, abusive behaviors, and/or destructive coping mechanisms, inflicting more trauma onto their children, and so the cycle goes.

You were never responsible for what happened to you when you were too young to think for yourself, and you did not manifest it. Those experiences were inflicted upon you by an adult who held power over you.

So What About Now?

Law of Attraction advocates tout that you attract to you everything that you experience, like metal to a magnet. What if it’s the other way around? What if you’re not the magnet… but the metal? At least for as long as you exist in an unconscious stage of manifestation?

Let’s take relationships, for example: we’re often attracted to people who exhibit the same toxic or abusive behavioral patterns as our parents did.

Those who grew up in a household with an abusive parent or had an otherwise chaotic childhood learned from those experiences that this is what love looks and feels like. And that’s not their fault–it’s the only thing they’ve ever been exposed to. They subconsciously recognize and associate that chaotic feeling with love, and that’s what they are attracted to in potential partners. They probably walk past healthy potential partners all day long and never give them a second glance, or if they do, their coping mechanisms cause the relationship to self-destruct before it ever gets off the ground (ask me how I know…).

It’s not that you’re manifesting abusive experiences for yourself, it’s that you’re responding to your subconscious childhood programming–until you become aware of the patterns.

When we heal the patterns, we become the magnet instead of the metal. We can begin to discard old beliefs, recognize our patterns, heal our trauma, shift our perspectives and attitudes, and take actions that have healthier consequences–both for ourselves and everyone that we are connected to here on earth. We become a conscious co-creator of our collective reality. We liberate ourselves, and each other.

 

Materialistic Spirituality

Materialistic Spirituality

Materialistic Spirituality

Back when I was just coming into my spiritual path, about ten years ago now, the concept of materialism–that is, the valuing of material possessions, fame, and wealth above spirituality–was a very common topic discussed by spiritual teachers.

It was understood that greed and a sense of lack–not just materially, but spiritually: a feeling of being less-than–were at the root of the desire for wealth, power, and possessions, and it was understood that this desire was a driving force behind the imbalances on our planet. We were taught that true happiness does not come from material wealth–it comes from within. That the desire for material wealth is one that is based in ego, and when one does the work to tame their ego, the desire for material wealth subsides.

But over the course of the last ten years, as spirituality has become more mainstream and more and more people discover things like The Secret and Abraham Hicks (Law of Attraction), spirituality and “the work” has become more about changing your mindset to manifest whatever you desire rather than questioning those desires, and treating the universe as though it were some sort of genie in a bottle that exists to grant your wishes.

“Do the inner work and you can have whatever you want!” A new age prosperity gospel. The marriage of capitalism and faux spirituality.

It’s also resulted in swaths of spiritual people believing they can positive-think their way out of addressing systemic inequality like poverty, racism, and patriarchy. You know. Spiritual bypassing and toxic positivity.

I don’t talk about manifesting much because there’s no point in manifesting anything if you haven’t done the work. You’ll manifest a bunch of shit and suddenly realize you’re still a miserable human being. And anyway, one who is manifesting from a place of “less than” will always feel “less than” regardless of what they manage to obtain, and one who has done the work and no longer feels less than will not desire the same things they once did, because they know those things do not bring happiness.

I’m not saying that in order to be spiritual one must take a poverty vow. I’m saying spirituality brings one into true balance with the world around them through the recognition that we are all connected and a part of a whole, only requiring that which meets their actual needs to live a humble and comfortable life, recognizing their place within the community, and above all else, living a life where purpose matters more than success.

These “manifesting” teachers don’t teach you to question your desires or to address their root causes. And if they’re not teaching you self-inquiry, they’re not teaching you self awareness. They’re just teaching you how to delude yourself into believing your ego is right.

Read How to Know if a Spiritual Teacher is Credible.

Xo,

Ash

 

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New to Spirituality?

Look up the meanings behind commonly used spiritual terminology and concepts in the Spirituality Encyclopedia.