Throughout human history, spirituality has been a vital component to the daily lives of countless people. It has enabled us to connect with a higher power, gain greater insights to the nature our own being, and feel a general sense of peace and belonging. In the modern era, we hear so much about the importance of being spiritual, whether or not we choose to be religious. We also hear about a general shunning of metaphysics.
Metaphysics is often brushed aside as pseudo-science, whacky-woo-woo-stuff, or even all together nefarious. This attitude has been around for the only the past few hundred years and is relatively new to whole of humanity’s spiritual development. Mankind has been exploring its spirituality for millennia and metaphysics has always been an integral part. Though it is downplayed or cast aside, metaphysics still plays a vital role in our daily lives, whether we realize it or not. To understand this, we must first take a look at the individual roles taken by spirituality and metaphysics.
Spirituality is an individual process whereby one attains a connection to something that is greater than the individual. It can be found through a myriad of organized institutions or small gatherings of people. Perhaps the most profound moments of spirituality are found in quiet moments of solitary contemplation. While there may be many different doctrines about the practices of spirituality, the goal seems to be the same – to gain a greater awareness and connection with a numinous reality beyond the physical.
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These spiritual techniques are personal practices to train the mind, to perceive and interact with subtle forces within and without the physical body. This can be done through prayer, meditation, or ceremonies. There is no end the methodologies you can use to attain a heightened state of awareness and connectivity. All that is important is that you find what works for you in order to gain an ever-increasing awareness. That awareness will lead to a greater connection to things beyond your limited perception of self. This is where metaphysics comes in. Where spirituality is a passive internal process of introspection and personal development, metaphysics is the process of understanding the ever changing phenomenological world around you.
Metaphysics has a long history, as well. Since the dawn of time, mankind has sought a way to interact with the spirits and gods. This was done through seasonal ceremonies, shamanic activities and spiritual healing. The shaman or other spiritual healer would make a connection with spirits to relieve a body of its pains and bring in healing. These early metaphysical practices were just the beginning.
As mankind’s awareness of the world changed, so too did the means of metaphysics. As the ancient astrologers watched the skies, they noted the movements of the celestial bodies. They offered recommendations to coincide with celestial workings. For centuries, alchemists sought the secrets hidden in mundane materials. As they sought to change base metals into gold, they also sought to bring the common mind into full spiritual enlightenment. The goals of spirituality and metaphysics have always been interlaced.
At the same time we achieve a greater spiritual connection, our perception of the world and universe is enhanced. With this enhanced and higher understanding, we increase our ability to effect change in beneficial ways. Spirituality raises the consciousness and increases the awareness of the connection to the world around us. Metaphysics helps to understand that connection and bring our influence into the surrounding world.
The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita reflect this relationship when Vishnu explains to Arjuna the different types of sacrifice. The sacrifice of inaction is indeed sacred and important. It is the practice of meditation, contemplation and introspection. Even more sacred and important is the sacrifice of action. This is simply doing things in the world though noble deeds and manifested intentions. Here we see the spirituality of introspection and contemplation coming together as the metaphysical through the manifestations of intentions.
Scholars of metaphysics will note that even non-spiritual people can affect the world in metaphysical ways. Being as these people do not have a connection to their higher beings, the outcomes are not always as intended. It is through the achievement of a higher state of consciousness that one can positively and willfully shape their world.
It is important to note that it is difficult to be spiritual without being metaphysical. To be a purely spiritual person, one would need to be a monk living in a solitary retreat or a monastery. As you are a being of the world living in the world, spirituality and metaphysics will always go hand in hand. As your spirituality increases, so too does your connection with all things. This intimate connection then leads to an increased ability to manifest your intentions in accordance to your will.
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