Nietzsche says we should think of life as an experiment. Our success and failures are just a way of the Universe trying to find out something. What do you think?
A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions ― as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.
― Friedrich Nietzsche
To begin with, I think you’d agree this quote prompts several comparisons and questions. Nietzsche’s concept of actions as questions and experiments seems like the concept of detachment in Buddhism.
Is there any advantage to viewing life as a series of experiments and questions? If there is an advantage, does it distance you from ownership of things and ideas? We’d have to say yes. This way of thinking keeps you from taking a position. When you “take a position” you automatically feel the need to defend it. Thus, you are more judgmental, less open-minded.
Also, doesn’t the thinker approach have similarities to the scientific approach? Here, the researcher conducts tests. Then formulates conclusions based on the results of the experiments? This is in contrast to cherry-picking data to fit a preconceived conclusion? What do you think? Again, we’d have to agree.
Life as Questions and Experiments
Attempting to find out something is the essence of what we call spiritual exploration. So, the above quote aligns nicely with our philosophy. Spiritual exploration is the use of processes for exploring consciousness.
Inner work is the process of questioning our awareness and experimenting to see what is in the psyche. When we use methods to change awareness or explore other states of consciousness. When we meditate, it is a way of asking questions about the boundaries of awareness. When we meditate, we are experimenting with consciousness. There are several types of seated and moving meditation that accomplish these changes.
Actions as experiments and questions also include the effects of several critical thinking tools. A comparative analysis is an excellent example of this kind of process. This is a scientific approach to comparative religious study. This process enables you to confront the boundaries of their own beliefs by comparing them with the components of other systems. The study of logic and mathematics also expands our awareness.
Viewing life as a series of questions and experiments gives you a unique perspective. It leads to the path of exploration. This is one way to describe spiritual exploration. This what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. This involves several processes we call spiritual technologies.
Spiritual technologies are methods for exploring consciousness. They are processes that can change or expand our awareness. Some of them are also doorways to higher states of consciousness. In short, spiritual technologies are methods of change. These processes result from eons of research by cultures around the world. Using these tools is what we call spiritual exploration.
Moreover, the tools stand up to the test of science. That’s because they are repeatable. Several produce measurable changes in our physiology. It’s important to realize what spiritual exploration is not.
To emphasize, spiritual exploration is not a belief in religious dogma or doctrine. So, anyone from any background can use them. They do not require belief in any religion to use them. This means they are available to anyone that can follow a process. It’s like baking a cake. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious.
There are many ways to list these methods. One simple way is to divide them into four main groups. You could list some of these tools in more than one group.
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Healing Practices
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools. However, analytical processes are vital to the spiritual quest. This is because their use enhances our reasoning ability. This helps us to think more clearly. In turn, this helps us avoid many of the common obstacles. The two tools in this group are Logical Reasoning and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice. It’s especially helpful for those new to the spiritual path. And, we also come back to review them regularly. This keeps them fresh in our minds.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning. This article summarizes logic. It shows how people misuse logic to sell us ideas and beliefs. Next, is spotting logical fallacies. This module provides practical examples of the most common logical fallacies. The last module, the logical axioms, ties everything together.
Comparative Analysis is another valuable analytical tool. This is a systematic approach to research based on the scientific model. It is a method that compares ideas and beliefs from different worldviews.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. Here we also learn why it is so important to use emotional checks. It helps us research with the least amount of bias and prejudice.
Above all, the use of logical reasoning and comparative analysis will sharpen your ability to discern fact from fiction. So, these aren’t just for research. You’ll find a use for these tools every day. Besides their use with religion, politics the are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. Modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others was and remains a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram with its nine processes of consciousness.
The core of the Enneagram Personality Profile is a series of questionnaires. If you provide honest answers, you will get an accurate profile of our personality. Furthermore, the scientific method of testing verifies the accuracy of this tool. The system goes beyond identification into deeper thought processes and beliefs. It integrates spiritual and psychological understanding. It will lead you to an understanding of the source of your personal power.
When you say spiritual practice, many people think of meditation. Seated and moving forms of meditation are the centerpiece of spiritual exploration. The practice of meditation is now common knowledge. Both seated and moving meditation bring many health and wellness benefits.
Seated meditation is the heart of many spiritual practices. This includes a range of tools from basic Mindfulness Meditation through Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). And, also includes more advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali. It also includes more contemporary processes for grounding, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Moving meditation is action together with a heightened level of awareness. So, this includes a range of activities involving the mind-body connection. Using these modalities helps improve our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This group is a mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group of processes starts with the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation. It also includes lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory. Another important tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows. This is your best coach. It also includes exercises like automatic writing. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list separately because of their importance to awareness.
The Shamanic Journey is probably man’s first spiritual technology. This traditional method is at the core of many indigenous cultures. And, so, it serves as evidence to the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but all use essentially the same formula. Rhythm is a key element that regulates heart rate and breathing. Then the mind projects an inner world providing the lucid journey. A Shaman is a person who guides people through this journey in the spirit world. However, you can take this inward journey by yourself. This tool for changing awareness uses a range of seated and moving forms.
This is one of the ancient technologies that people have tried to rename or rebrand. They do this to make the Shamanic Journey more marketable. So, some people know it as guided meditation or creative visualization.
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet from Indonesia, or Reiki, and Shiatsu from Japan. Vedic medicine is also available along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group. Our overall health and wellness affect every aspect of life.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. Then they find it is an enjoyable way of giving back and helping others.
Life’s Questions and Experiments
If we think about life as an experiment of consciousness, it gives us a unique perspective.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality