Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Experiences and Interest in philosophy and spirituality

I think it is wrong to think philosophy can not go together with spirituality. I also think it is wrong to assume that when a person is interested in philosophy, he would not be interested in the spiritual or the religious.

Expérience

Expérience (Photo credit: Saturne)

The world itself presents itself in a succession of pure experiences which we should see. We can either ignore what is going on in the world or look at it question the what and why’s and how’s. Often the human beings can not qualify these experiences in a way by which all would agree with.

Should we not recognise that those things which come along our way are always felt and undergone by our own self, which was constructed by previous experiences and learnings. In a way this may give us always the way of the subjective choice and subjective sense or experience. Each is simply a pure impression that is made upon us at some point in our life, where we do have a certain education or development which shall obey the laws of our state at the moment.

Experiences and Impressions

Reality appears to us first as an unqualified multitude of original impressions that cannot be compared or ordered in anyway without our previous learnings. Is our experience not mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars?
Living in this world we can not do without seeing what is happening around us. We can not merely observe the things, and not bring them into thought-relationships.

The things which happen in our lives shall give us our experiences. Those experiences will create senses and shall be our best teacher, experience being the mother of wisdom. To take on any qualities or relationships whatsoever thought or reason must act upon them. It is the process of thought that attributes qualities to pure experiences and relates some experiences to others to build an understanding of the world.

Conscious or unconscious direction with second nature

Our way of thinking or the process of thought should proceed through certain ways be it our conscious or unconscious direction. Our brain should go on working, considering what happened and analysing everything. Probably it shall order everything, classify it. This using some organic laws of interconnection. These laws are part of the world of thought itself and not completely within our control. Pure experience presents itself in a spontaneously emerging stream and thoughts grow out of that experience making it distinguishable to us and situating it in relationship to the rest of experience.

Some do consider the process of thinking not a human activity. We may say that thoughts emerge out of pure earlier experiences and are dependent on our upbringing or rearing and the language we learned, both becoming a second nature.

Out of body experience

Out of body experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our religious thinking and being should also become such a second nature. From the Bible we can learn that the ‘soul‘ is not an external element in our being. Many Christians and Muslims imagine there are a good and a bad angel sitting on our shoulders and talking to a soul which can go out of our body when we die. For them this human soul is to be a phantom-like inner being that contains our conscience and moral fibre. It is the element which can let us do good or let us do bad, under influence of other spirits called either angels, for the good ones, and devils, like Satan and Lucifer, for the bad ones.

Breath given by Creator

Those people forget that it was God Who blew his breath in the nostrils of the first man and woman, to bring them to life. The Pneuma or spirit in those first human beings was not something separate from them. It was their breathing, their being itself.

The soul is not a specific element as such but the transcription of the inner being and the thinking which happens by ‘electronic actions’ in our brain and by breathing. Without breathing we shall not be able to give oxygen to our brains by which they will not be able to work, and with a non-working brain we are as good as dead.

You could say that the soul is our “background of our being”. This ‘being’ has to be fed to stay alive. And because it is not a material element it has to find its food in the immaterial. therefore we as human beings should also give food to the immaterial elements of our being, our “body and soul”.

God gave breath to all creation, but the difference between man and the other living organisms is that god has given more power to man. He has received the power to think, to make choices, to make decisions, to give names and to handle like he wishes to do. But all his actions will create experiences, be it nice or bad ones. He shall have the choice to learn from them or to continue his life without learning more from those things that overcame him.

Material and immaterial being and understanding

Like the soul in an immaterial thing, our thinking its coming to understand something is an abstract element. Understanding is “an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking.” This knowing is a natural product of the process of mind and it is bound up in, and limited by, language. {Coleridge}

Coleridge asserted that it is a process that requires no “self” to enact. It is a natural process of the lawful interaction of mental elements, a simple unfolding of the characteristics of the mind in nature. But I do think we do have a responsibility and we do have the choice and power to have the self to come to understanding.

I believe when we do open our mind to different thoughts we can enable ourselves to learn more. I also believe this is one of the tasks God has given His creation in the Garden of Eden. We can only give the plants and animals name and classify them in groups when we do have the knowledge and skill to do so. This would not require that we all have the same certificate of proficiency or that we may excuse ourselves when it is not in our domain.

Given brains and reason

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, wher...

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, where a homonculus sits in a person’s head seeing and hearing everything that he experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because God has given us brains to use, we should use them. So we should think about matters and question things. This questioning things may fall under philosophy. Today many may say “Reason is a direct product of the reasoning faculty.”, but that is not taking the Creator in mind. He had a reason to place human beings on this earth having a brain to reason. Reason is a direct product of the power of creation, Who Himself is Spirit. God is not a man of flesh and blood, but a Spirit without a beginning and without an end. His breath gave us spirit, making us capable to reason, to become reasonable figures in that Created World.

It is not an “accident” that reason comes to us. Reason is breathed into us by the Creator. Though many may think it is just something what happens accidentally, it is something which is in-breath in our human constitution. It may appear spontaneously without warning or precursor, but it is grounded or part of a growing seed, which can only come into existence when the person is willing to use his brain. It is from all the previous experiences, the teachings a person got, that he or she shall be able to think. Though this would not be possible without the Power of the Most High, the Spirit God. Without Him we are nothing. It is the Holy Spirit Who can give us ‘spirit’ to think about matters and to come to reason. God has implanted ethic thoughts in us. He has created us all in His image, so we all do have certain elements of the Supreme High Being. We do not all have the same elements, but somehow we all received enough elements to become full human being who can think properly and who should be able to find God. The Reason as such becomes Spontaneous Knowing. We all have received the power to get to Knowing. Some may think it is not an understanding that is constructed through any thought process, but they should remember the Creator who build in His creations the possibility to think and to come to conclusions. In our inner being we do have the key to come to understanding. It is the direct and self-authenticating recognition of truth.

Different ways to go giving different opinions

From the beginning of the world mankind questioned the Spirit God and for that reason Jehovah God gave man the possibility to work it out himself. Woman would bear children in pain and would find they all could be different, going their own way or helping each other. All had to make their own decisions and could think their own way. God allowed it to be so.

Because we all went different ways on the paths which lay in front of man, different opinions came into the world, and people could choose between many theses or postulates.

The direct knowing of truth is build in by the Creator and could happen spontaneously and also compulsively. The reasoning faculty is ‘knowing’ itself. It is not a process that leads to knowing. This implies that there is some part of us that simply knows the truth and cannot help but know it. But we are stubborn beings, though we do not want to admit it. We have direct sense impressions – smells, tastes, sensations, sounds and sights – which simply appear in awareness. We don’t call them into being and we cannot alter or avoid the way they present themselves. Ideas and intuitions also – upon their initial appearance – share the same unalterable immediacy of presence.

With this awareness of things, matters and background knowledge, we can hear others and see what others do or create. Seeing what happens in the world we can not ignore the inner language of thought. We can only deny our interpretation of experience, not the fact of having it.

Trying to perceive more knowledge

So we may experience a lot of things in our life, encounter lots of publications and thoughts. By tackling our taste to get more knowledge,we are not going against God His wishes. The opposite I would say. We should learn and we should try to get more knowledge.

With philosophy we may come into the domain of the seekers who search to get more wisdom, knowledge and understanding about reality. Did or do not many philosophers try to get to answers about life and about why and how things are? They do like to offer an explanation of the way things are where spirituality is a description of a position that we as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Trying to become one with self and environment

Experience

Experience (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

In the action of Spirituality a person tries to become One. Bring mind, soul, thinking in unison with his being, material body. By the spiritual action we do want to go to the source from which everything else originates, whilst by the philosophy we want to come to an understanding why and how human being went away from its source and how it can come back to this source again.

While Philosophy is generally in the mental state of consciousness, the mind taking efforts to know, the spiritual would love to come to that Source of knowledge, believing that there exist something more than the material being its consciousness that exist above the mental ranges.

Trying to transcend domain of rationale and intellect

Moral philosophy

Both the philosopher and the spiritualist may be willing to come to knowledge which transcends domain of rationale and intellect. The philosopher not so much concerned by the own individu or individual, person, character, his identity, but preferring to give objective pictures of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. Even in moral philosophy generally what we get is an explanation of why certain things are right and others wrong. What we don’t get is someone telling us that we should do the right thing. What we do with morality is left in our own hands.

Spirituality resides in higher regions and has much more to do with the own subjective personality. From the subjective point of view the spiritualist tries to go deeper into himself, looking for the realm of truth there and not as such by others. He knows that the soul is in each of us and is inseparable joined together with flesh and blood. In that casing of human flesh there is our way of breathing and thinking, spirit and moral judgment.

Trying to Relate things

We may be interested to see how we can relate to things, and therefore we can look what philosophers do have to say about that. Spirituality wants to go a step further than just knowing how things are related with each other. It tells us how we should be in relationship to the way things are. It can show us how we should react and by knowing what actions we do have to take we also shall be able to choose if we are willing to use such a knowledge to take on an attitude and to build up a religious field. Spiritualities always include philosophical explanations of the world, but those philosophical aspects are the backdrop for the main event which is direct instruction about how to live.

Door to transcendence

Understanding, intellect and the mind is one door to transcendence. From philosophers we can learn a lot, and we should take the opportunity to learn from their writings. But they will never be able to give the full answer. They mostly do not look for The Divine Source. In our normal consciousness people are so caught up with their emotions, sensations and thoughts and their own mind, they get full of themselves in the emptiness of the world. They become so active that there is no room for the Divine. There the spiritual person wants to go against. He wants to have his wondering not taking him to put Him in the chains of life.

No reason to be afraid of philosophy

To see clear
Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians should not be afraid that the philosophy would carry people away from the Divine. When this would happen it is because the person is not prepared to sincerely look for the Divine. Often the person going away from religion is because he does not see clear the difference between philosophy, religion, religiousness and spirituality.

The philosopher may have the love and intellectual search for wisdom. The spiritual minded person knows or believes there is something extra in our life than just the knowledge of the material world. The spiritual person does want to find knowledge to come to wisdom, but understands that wisdom is more that putting all facts together. To come to spirituality there must be more than the willingness to come to understand the own being. Besides the willingness to come to get to know the inner-self there is the love and opening of their hearts for the wisdom and the willingness to have it taking part in the relationship with others.

Sister and brother

We should understand that the religious person may like to look into philosophy and at the same time may look into spirituality. The two approaches can marvelously be like sister (heart) and brother (brain) in the process of coming to the point of Being part of the One on one side and then Becoming part of the big thing on the other side – in being active in life.

Relationship of unity and Oneness

So, I would say, do not mind letting philosophy going hand in hand with spirituality and making a person to become religious in the good sense of the word, finding and loving the Only One Who is One and wants us to be one and worshiping the Right One in a relationship of unity and Oneness.

The only thing a Christian should be careful for is that he does not get carried away with human thinking, but keeps himself concentrated on the sacral and spiritual matters, looking for the Most Important Being making our self being possible to be a being, the Only One God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

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Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

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Additional reading:

  1. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  2. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  5. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. Separation from God in death, the antithesis of life
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  9. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  10. Wondering
  11. Believing to understand
  12. Light within
  13. Let tomorrow be sufficient
  14. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  15. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  16. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  17. Know by trying
  18. Knowing where to go to
  19. Think hard before you act today
  20. Disappointed expectations
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Put on the whole armor of God
  23. Weapons of our warfare
  24. A call easy to understand
  25. Getting of at the fence
  26. Hope as long as you live
  27. A goal is a dream with a plan
  28. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  29. Be humble like Christ
  30. The way God sees us
  31. Two forms of Freedom
  32. Altar everything in life
  33. Duty of encouragement
  34. Establish Priorities
  35. Luck
  36. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  37. Nothing noble in the flesh left to itself
  38. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  39. Created to live in relation with God
  40. God’s promises
  41. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  42. A love not exempting us from trials
  43. Call unto God so that He can answer you
  44. Life in gratitude opens glory of God
  45. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  46. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Sheol or the grave
  52. Satan the evil within
  53. Soul
  54. Destination of righteous
  55. Destination of the earth
  56. God’s design in the creation of the world
  57. God His reward
  58. Is there an Immortal soul
  59. The Soul not a ghost
  60. The Soul confronted with Death
  61. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  62. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  63. God wants to be gracious to you
  64. Invitation to all who believe

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Preparedness to change

When we are looking for the reasons why we are here and what we have to do why, we should try to get an open mind and to look at all sorts of things, wondering what others think and why.

Today many of us are not pleased with what is going on in the world and would look to see some change. But before we can see some change we ourselves do have to be willing to change as well.

English: Matthieu Ricard in Tibet Français : M...

Matthieu Ricard in Tibet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthieu Ricard, scientist turned Buddhist monk and a best selling author, translator, and photographer, who has lived and studied in the Himalayas for more than 35 years. says:

if we want to change, obviously we need to need to first act on the emotions, and this will help change our moods, which will eventually stabilize as a modified temperament. In other words, we must start by working with the instantaneous events that take place in our minds. As we say, if we take care of the minutes, the hours will take care of themselves.

To be able to act on the emotions first of all we do need to recognise these emotions and secondly should make ourselves able to distance from them to examine them properly. Mostly we are inner-bound with our own actions and reactions, guided by our way of thinking and our traditions. How we are brought up as a child is going to be the basic foundation for our analysing and feeling.

So one of the key points has to do with the way the chaining of thoughts occurs, the way one thought leads to another.

That what happened in the past, the things we encountered in previous days and years, the things we heard from our parents and beloved ones, will give us ideas of what had happened, what decisions where taken, what the consequences where.

Ricard says:

‘You can look at your experience like a fire that burns. If you are aware of anger you are not angry you are aware. Being aware of anxiety is not being anxious it is being aware.’ By being aware of these emotions you are no longer adding fuel to their fire and they will burn down.

Would it therefore not be bad to look in the past with other eyes? When we have found the Word of God and got into the readings of the Bible, would this not give an other insight? When we then would look back we should have, with our ‘other eyes’ an other viewpoint. It would not be so much a ‘staring back’ but better a ‘‘reviewing back’  and a  ‘retraining back’ .

When we instead of staring are overlooking everything ‘from outside’, with a neuter attitude, we will be able to take distance in person from the facts and the emotions. Sometimes it is better to put away the emotions to come to a better view and better understanding. Our personal feelings often blind us. By taking personal distance we would be able to let its apparent solidity melt away and let personal bounded thought vanish without giving birth to a chain of other personal thoughts.

The point is not to try to block the arising of thoughts – this is not possible anyway – but not to let them invade our mind. We need to do this again and again because we are not used to dealing with thoughts in that way. We are like a sheet of paper that has been rolled for a long time. If we try to flatten it down on the table, it will roll again the moment we lift our hands. This is where the training takes place.

says Matthieu Ricard who thinks we do need to practice Buddhism, but overlooks that in Christianity we should have the same reflection as our Master Teacher Jeshua (Jesus Christ) who looked to this world from the viewpoint of his Father, the Creator God. We also should always wonder “What Would Jesus Do” (WWJD) and “How Would Jesus React” (HWJR). How would Jesus meet with others, talk to sinners, help those in need?

What Ricard says abnout Buddhism is also true for us, who call ourselves Christian:

“We are talking about how to help society. If we aspire to contribute something to our society – to achieve a new vision of things – we need to begin with ourselves. We need to decide to transform ourselves, and that can come only through training, not through fleeting ideas.

To fulfil our life goal we do have the infallible Word of God, which can give us insight and guidance for future days. To benefit from it we only should have to open our eyes and put away our previous predisposed ideas of our own self in this world. All bias we should abandon and liberate our mind by letting the Word of God shape us in all integrity. Merging the ideas of several minds, looking into the Word of God and than using our own emotional Intelligence we can let the Holy Spirit work in us by allowing time for Him to be in us, bringing contemplative practices into our own world, the workplace and therefore into the world. To be able to become transformed by the Bible, we should be willing to take time to concentrate on the Word of God and to let it come into us personally.

Psalm 119:105 "Your Word is a Lamp to my ...

Psalm 119:105 “Your Word is a Lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Photo credit: UnlockingTheBible)

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Please read:

  1. Wisdom from Matthieu Ricard > original Wisdom from Matthieu Ricard
  2. and: “Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama“, Daniel Goleman
  3. A living change
  4. Time for global change
  5. Only I can change my life
  6. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  7. Character transformed by the influence of our fellowships

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English: Emotions Q-sort

Emotions Q-sort (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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    A friend wants to know if I’m still Christian. Yes, I am. Everything that I’m referring to from science and new age and Buddhist teachers is complimentary with Jesus’s teachings. I posted a couple of the most important Christian practices–in my opinion, 1 John (NIV) and the Our Father prayer are essential in Christian belief.
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