Whether you realize it or not, the subject of a Higher Power affects your life. It affects how you perceive reality. It shapes the way you value things and people. Thankfully, you have the power to control this. See how and why you should.
The concept of a Higher Power stretches back to Animism, the idea that some divine essence is within everything. It infers that some force is guiding or directing things. And, we want to know how things work. So, seek answers to the meaning of life. This goes hand in hand with questions about who we are and why are here. That’s why the following discussion will help you. We think it will help you answer these deep questions.
Three approaches to a Higher Power
First of all, there are three distinctly different approaches to this subject. Probably the easiest way to understand the differences is to answer the question. “Is the Higher Power known by reason, faith or experience?“ Or, is it a combination of these? Please pause a moment. Before you proceed, take time to write down your thoughts. Everyone will have different answers. Above all, there are no wrong answers. Your answer to this question will depend upon many factors.
Furthermore, your answer will probably change over time. We are constantly reframing or affirming our perceptions and values. This happens in two ways, either consciously or unconsciously. We make changes consciously when we use our intellect to review facts and then decide. Changes to our thinking can occur unconsciously. This happens when we are subject to brainwashing. Psychological manipulation can frame our thoughts, values, and behaviors. And, we don’t even know it’s taking place.
If observe your social environment you’ll probably see a great deal of programming. And, you’ll see how some of it revolved around this idea of a higher power (either directly or indirectly). Manipulating people using this concept is a common tactic in religion and politics. For that reason, this discussion will help you recognize this type of social manipulation. And, then you can also assist others.
Approach by Reason
The first approach is by reason. People who like this approach want objective answers. The prefer rational logic and the proven sciences. The classical proofs of the cosmological existence are the starting place for their quest. This leads almost always to more existential questions. Is there really a need for a Higher Power? Does the world or our universe need one or more to operate it? How does it relate to theological beliefs like the afterlife? It also begs questions about human nature. For example, is morality proof of some type of divine intervention? Or, is morality part of our DNA? Then again or perhaps morality is simply a logical necessity for civilization? Are morality and belief in a higher power independent subjects?
Answers to the above are beyond any scientifically verifiable evidence. So, you need a good understanding of logical reasoning to develop sound conclusions. This lack of proof does not satisfy the burden OF proof. The classic argument from ignorance is a guiding principle. The absence of evidence is not proof of absence. Hence, the correct use of inductive reasoning will provide answers in degrees of likelihood.
We highly recommend you add logical reasoning to your truth-seeking toolbox. We are all different. Your research may provide different conclusions. A lot will depend on the sources of your data. Also, we have different skill levels, backgrounds, personalities, and instincts. Our life experiences are all unique. So, our conclusions about a Higher Power will likely be different.
Approach by Faith
Almost everyone who prefers faith has some religious beliefs. They assert faith is the only approach to a Higher Power. Faith is believing in things without evidence. Admittedly, this takes considerable effort to maintain. The modern world surrounds us with resources and facts. Training the mind to pick and chose between ideas and facts is stressful. Attempting to reconcile facts that don’t align with what you believe results in the mental tension and discomfort of cognitive dissonance. This is also known as the religious headache.
This group is skeptical of scientific, rational, and logical proofs. They also reject experiential methods. For this paradigm, the Higher Power is a mystical persona. For that reason, the approach by objective data and rational thinking processes are just man’s wayward wisdom. Similarly, the approach via experience is a fabrication of man’s imagination.
So, the lack of proof is actually proof of their faith. Faith alone is the only true path to Divine revelation. Generally, this group rests its authority on sacred texts of some kind and the leadership of a charismatic leader.
You shouldn’t discount the use of faith in your own methodology. Faith and hope are the basis of a positive outlook. Every plan has the expectation it will succeed. Furthermore, faith and hope help us through life’s adversities. These attributes help us overcome obstacles. For that reason, faith is also a useful component of your truth-seeking machinery. Not as an excuse to ignore the facts, but as a means of regulating attitude.
Approach by Experience
Last but not least are those who assert a Higher power reveals itself through experience. This is a purely subjective vantage point. In its pure form, it is the counterclaim of the above two approaches. It’s the position one cannot approach the subject by reason or by faith. Because both reason and faith are subject to corruption or the invention of man. Here the direct experience of the divine provides all the proof.
These types of divine encounters have some common attributes. Terms like “oneness” and “transcendent silence” are common among these types of Eureka” experiences. Practitioners use a number of spiritual technologies to obtain this knowledge. Interestingly, people who have near-death experiences also report similar revelations. So, it would seem that this type of experience is common. People who are drawn to this approach believe such experience is proof of some type of divine energy or Higher Power.
Many ancient cultures spent considerable time and effort investigating these processes. These mental activities sometimes including psychoactive substances for the purpose of shifting consciousness to non-ordinary states. The goal here is to connect directly with the Universe or Higher Power(s).
The above outlines are pure extracts of these approaches. Certainly, there are people who ascribe to just one of these three methods. And, sadly it seems like they are becoming more extreme in their opinions and actions. Thankfully, there are also many people moving to a more holistic approach. We think using all three approaches is beneficial. It makes your spiritual journey more well rounded. It helps make you more open-minded.
If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. Also, you may be interested in learning about our blended learning process. This is our curriculum which we use to teach several mind-expanding tools. It also aligns the Hero’s Journey. This is the term Joseph Campbell gave the pattern of consciousness development. Our learning process is available in two forms. You can take part in the virtual learning module or in our workshops.
Image by Unsplash.
This article is an excerpt from – How to Find the Truth (2001) by JJB