A Brief Introduction to the Mental Inner Workings of the Spiritual Seeker
“The only true wisdom is knowing that you know nothing”
A hypothesis is what is often used in Science as the scaffolding which helps you to define and create your experimental methodology. It comes before any sort of empirical proof and is built primarily out of axioms which arise from the implications of previous experiments combined with the intuition of the scientist. When exploring the realm of higher spiritual truths, it is important to understand that, at least initially, you will be dealing primarily with hypotheticals, and recursively, it can be hypothesised that this is by design.
Through the act of living our lives, we are forced to make choices. These choices reflect the conscious or unconscious existential hypotheses that we are working with. I say this to point out that the procedure outlined in the paragraph above is an inescapable and universal activity that every living human being engages in either consciously or unconsciously.
Those in search of existential, philosophical or spiritual knowledge are people who have become conscious of the above mechanism and have begun to disrupt and examine its preexisting configuration. Some awaken to find themselves in the trenches of nihilism. Others awaken to find themselves biased towards a belief in some higher power which they have yet to fully question. It is through this event of self-reflexive consciousness that one begins to define their own truths.
This is the start of how a spiritual seeker begins to construct their own hypotheses about the nature of the universe. Through applying the scalpel of skepticism to their pre-programmed beliefs bestowed upon them by society and cutting until they are left with almost nothing to be certain of.
When the above operation has been self-administered. The person is given the opportunity to reconstruct his belief system in any way he sees fit. In this article, we will examine a few ways by which a spiritually minded individual may construct and bolster a fortress of logic which supports a spiritual belief system and way of living.
There are infinite vectors by which someone can arrive at spiritual hypotheses, but I will try to abstract and expose the fundamental elements of this process to show more of how this is performed broadly, rather than focusing on an individual historic case of how a specific person might stumble onto a spiritual path.
To begin; One of the most fundamental and powerful hypotheses supporting the spiritual way of life is the idea that spiritual truths may be occulted by purpose, by design, and as a law of the universe. This is powerful because it attempts to address the lack of empirical proof that would be used to scientifically verify spiritual truths.
What would be the purpose or design behind hiding spiritual truths from people? Surely the world would be a much nicer place if upon birth everyone got slapped in the face by some irrefutable proof of the reality of spiritual truths. No one would steal or kill or do anything immoral if they knew for certain that the karma of these actions would follow them around until they have repaid every last penny of the damage they were responsible for. In this universe, no one would dare misbehave. So the hiding of spiritual proofs being something that supports the idea of spirituality seems like a contradiction.
The spiritual seeker must construct and append additional arguments and hypotheses in order to counter this rebuttal. Those arguments go a little something like: “well, perhaps the universe that we know is designed as a sort of training simulation which was made with the purpose of creating, expanding and evolving the phenomenon known as “consciousness” — and perhaps one of the best ways of truly cultivating consciousness is by letting it figure itself out. Any direct proof of spiritual realities would be like a parent doing their child’s schoolwork for them, and would lessen the efficacy of the training program“.
My use of the word consciousness, in the paragraph above, is not to be understood literally in the same way it is found in the dictionary. One of the other hypotheses to be found in spirituality is the idea that consciousness is not just the act of raw observation, but can be expanded to higher-degrees of perception which can include faculties such as empathy.
Now this set of hypotheses and arguments, when seen in isolation, are not very convincing. Its job is to patch a hole in a boat, not to construct an entire boat from scratch. It’s almost certainly not the most atomic axiom to propose to a pure skeptic, as (to continue the analogy) it requires a preconstructed boat with which to patch in the first place. Nevertheless, it is an important insight, and could still be used as a starting point for some people to begin their journey of spiritual experimentation if they feel so inclined.
Now all this may come across as “pithy”, as “airy, fairy”, as “pointless musings” or “detached from reality and empiricism” or even “insanity”. Perhaps someone in a rush to their 9–5 job would ask “What’s the point in making up any of these silly language games if they cannot be proven? “– well, they are hypotheses, and they are attached to an experiment. The experimental apparatus is yourself and your life, and the empirical evidence is the resulting outcomes of your choices. A spiritual practitioner is an experimenter knee deep in carrying out their experiment. They are flying on faith, and living a certain way in order to understand the outcomes of applying their life force in a certain way. That’s the be all, end all, concrete substance and outcome of these thought experiments, and they are related to the great mysteries of your life.
There are much more arguments for and against the methods that someone might use to bolster a life founded on spiritual hypotheses. Covering them here would bloat the scope of this article. however, as the title states, this was intended to be an entry point for both myself and any readers into the nature of spirituality as I attempt to understand it.
Watch this space for part 2, in which i will try to abstract and describe the core elements of a spiritual mindset from a broader perspective, while also tackling some of the skeptical questions that target perceived root issues and flaws with spiritual philosophies.
If you’re interested in topics similar to ones covered above and want to chat, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org — Additionally, I’m not a qualified mental health professional but I offer my own brand of guidance and support for anyone adrift in the tumultuous waters of what the community calls the “spiritual awakening process”. So feel free to reach out via email if this applies to you.
Thanks for reading, i hope you have an amazing day. :)