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On Truth: Science, Religion and Spirituality

 

standingFollowing on from the "evening with Zingdad" in which I offered you a shared journey through "Truth", I would like to offer you some additional thoughts on the subject of of Truth. You don't have to have experienced that evening with me to enjoy this post.

 

There are three ways, that I have encountered in this world, for people to find what is true for them. These are: science, religion and spirituality. I’d like to look at these three, compare them, and tell you which of these I have found to be useful (and why). And which I find to be of no use (and why). I think this is a vital topic of discussion for anyone trying to make sense of themselves and their world.

 

I also think it will greatly simplify our interactions with each other if we know, upfront, what our own truth filters are… and what the truth filters of those we are interacting with are.

 

So if you are ready to take a great deal of the pain and frustration out of your interactions with others… read on!

 

Here is a good way to understand the difference between Science, Religion and Spirituality:

 

Science

There is a story. The basis of the story is testable and verifiable by anyone who does the same steps with the same equipment. You (or anyone else) can know for yourself if the story is true if you go through the steps and observe the same outcome. That is how science works.

 

Religion

There is a story. The basis of the story is not testable and verifiable because it happened to someone else and you cannot replicate it. You are asked to believe this story without any evidence. You might also be threatened with much pain if you do not choose to believe the story. That is how religion works.

 

Spirituality

There is a story. This story is happening to you. You can tell others about it and others can tell you their story. You may or may not find commonality, but no one is asking anyone else to believe their story because it is THEIR story and everyone understands that each person’s story is different. That is how spirituality works.

 

What Works for Me

Right off the bat I would like to say that I find Science and Spirituality both to be profoundly useful as truth filters. And that I have no use whatsoever for religion.

 

Here is why.

 

When I am trying to understand the world around me to find ways to do what works, then the scientific method is most useful. I use the scientific method to find solutions to all kinds of problems. Making the self-sustainable systems of my home work. Getting the best yield out of our organic food garden. Finding solutions to health challenges. Everything that is outside of myself that needs to be looked at, understood and responded to is benefited by the scientific method. And when someone else communicates a solution they have found to a problem I am wrestling with, I can test it, see if it works and perhaps also improve on it. This is the science that Lisa and I are engaged with every day. It’s the science of doing what works. And it is profoundly useful.

 

But I find that there is also a non-material component to my life. Every challenge that I encounter is also a communication between Arn, the earth-born ego persona, and Spirit, the non-local eternal beingness that we all truly are. Every challenge is an opportunity for me to seek deep within myself for some change, some growth, some letting go of the old and reaching for the new. If I listen to my heart and respond to the challenge correctly, then I am transformed by my interaction with the challenge. I find gratitude for the challenge. And, since I have extracted the deepest worth of that challenge, I find I do not need to face it again.

 

If I deal with the challenge on the material level only, as a science or engineering problem only, then I find that challenge cropping up again and again, often in different guises.

So, for myself, I find the best approach to life is to address it with both science and spirituality.

 

The spiritual component is personal to me. It is my inner-truth as relates to my inner-world. It is about the relationship between this mortal creation called Arn and the divine within.

 

As personal and private as this relationship is, I can tell you about it. As I do in almost all of my writings. But, unlike Science, there is no way for me to prove it to you. Because my spirituality it is about me, not about you. Unless of course, you decide to try what I say for yourself. Unless you are willing to create similarly to that which I am. In which case you might find yourself in spiritual resonance with me. You might find that you know the same things I know. Then this same spirituality becomes about you too. Because you create it to be so.

 

So, you see, we can share a story about the world around us using science.

 

We can also, if we are both open and willing and neither of us trying to force or coerce the other, share stories about the spiritual world within us using spirituality.

 

But the only way we are going to share any story at all using religion is if we are both willing to surrender our truths and accept something outside of ourselves as being more true than anything we can know via either science or spirituality. Obviously many, many, many people are willing to do that. I think it’s odd that they do. I don’t understand it at all. But it’s not my job to understand others. So I accept that this is what they are doing and discern that this is “not for me”.

 

I'd like to invite you to give some thought to the things you hold to be true. Which of these things are "externally verifiable" and therefore scientifically true? Which of your beliefs are consistent with your own deepest truth inside your heart and therefore spiritually true? And which do you believe because some external authority said so and are therefore religious truths?

 

You might be surprised to discover how many self-limiting and non-serving beliefs you can let go of by going through this exercise!

 

Saving Yourself From Frustration

In the introduction to this post I suggested that you could take some of the pain and frustration out of your interactions with others by understanding your truth filters. Here is how I do that:

 

Now that I know I find my way to the truth of things vie science and spirituality... but not via religion... I simply use that as a filter. When someone else is talking about what they find to be true, I make my own assessment. Is the basis of their story science, spirituality or religion? And yeah, that is usually pretty easy to discern. If the basis of their truth is religion, then I make the choice to disengage with the story. I don't argue or debate. I don't attack or defend. I disengage. Because there is nothing in any region for me. And I have no need or desire to try to change their mind. So I smile and walk away. If they pursue me with it, then I disengage with a statement like:

“I believe that we each get exactly what we believe we will get. I believe that this is true, even if we don’t believe that. I furthermore don't believe that I wish to create for myself the same as that which you are creating for yourself. So I'll leave it at that."

 

This way, I don't end up having fruitless conversations about things that don't serve me. Which saves time and energy and allows me to spend that time and energy on wonderful, enlightening, enriching conversations that lead to mutual growth and expansion.

 

So I find it really useful to know, when I first encounter a story: is this science, religion or spirituality?

 

 

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Comments  

# Brent 2016-05-02 03:07
Hi Arn,
A few things occurred to me as I was reading your piece. Firstly, there seems to be a distinction in this sort of debate between fiction and non-fiction. Religion is obviously an outright fiction that has been developed to co-opt people into other people's games, as you have pointed out before, and at best it gives some solace to those who are either incapable of unwillingly to think about the state of the world and their lives and at worst it is an insidious system of control and domination. The main premise of religion might be summed up as, 'don't bother thinking about it, believe what I say'. On the other hand science and spirituality are not outright fictions as they are based on the premise of 'come try it and see for yourself'.
However, as 'this reality is an illusion' and absolute truth is not possible within this illusion both science and spirituality are attempts to comprehend something which is not comprehensible from our perspective. They may be better paths to follow in moving towards 'a truth', but I can understand that some people derive great benefit from all paths. Of course, I too see no point in trying to engage with people in endless circular discussions which are defined in arbitrary terms of reference that were handed down thousands of years ago. I just accept it and try not to resist it.
The other thing that occurs to me is that it might be difficult to delineate just three approaches to truth. Metaphysics seems to straddle the line between science and spirituality, depending on how one looks at it. Writers like Fritjof Capra and Patrick Flanagan have taken scientific rigour to spiritual questions and come up with non-traditional (from a mainstream perspective) explanations.
Ultimately the 'truth' of the world is not, as far as I can tell, to be found in a purely logical answer or by unlimited faith, but outside (and inside) the box, and all points in between.
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