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 (1)
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 method? 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 spiritual exploration. So, the above quote aligns nicely with our approach. Spiritual exploration is the use of processes for exploring consciousness.
Inner work is a way of questioning our awareness and experimenting to see what is in the psyche. When we explore other states of consciousness, we are, in effect, experimenting. When we meditate, it is a way of asking questions about awareness’s boundaries. 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 process is a scientific approach to comparative religious study. This process enables you to confront the boundaries of their own beliefs by comparing them with other systems’ components. 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, and it’s one way to describe spiritual exploration. This quest is what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey. This journey involves several processes we call spiritual technologies.
Spiritual technologies are tools for developing and exploring consciousness. They are processes that can alter, change, or expand our awareness. Some of these methods open doorways to higher states of consciousness.
These processes come from eons of research by cultures around the world. We use the term spiritual exploration to describe these powerful methods.
We select the best of these ancient methods for our blended learning process. These processes are time-tested by generations of use, and they stand up to the rigorous tests of science. Several of these methods produce measurable changes in our physiology. These physiological markers differ from normal waking, sleeping, and dreaming states.
Spiritual exploration is not about faith or belief in a religion. They are processes that anyone can use. All you do is follow a process. We like to think of it just like baking a cake. When you want to bake a delicious cake, you follow a recipe. If you use the right ingredients and follow the directions, you get something delicious. The processes of spiritual exploration are formulas or ingredients for exploring consciousness.
There are many ways to list these methods. We divide these tools into four major categories:
- Analytical Tools
- Awareness Expansion Tools
- Modalities for Healing
The study of spiritual things seems like an odd place to find analytical tools, but these analytical processes are vital to our spiritual quest. Their use enhances our ability to use common sense and logic.
These tools help us think more clearly and make better decisions. And, so they help us avoid many of the common obstacles in our path. This group’s primary tools are Logical Reasoning, Comparative Analysis, and The Enneagram of Personality.
The study of logic is the first tool we use in our group practice, but these methods help anyone seeking the truth. We encourage our participants to create a reminder on their smartphone to review these tools every month. Reviewing these tools regularly keeps them fresh in our minds, and that’s when they become useful in spotting ploys and deception.
We use a set of three related tools. The first tool is Logical reasoning, which summarizes the basic use of logic in language. It shows how people misuse arguments 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 by contrasting how science and mythology differ in their approaches to presenting the truth.
Comparative Analysis is a systematic approach to comparative religious study based on the scientific model. It is a method of comparing ideas and beliefs from different worldviews, and it is another tool we recommend for the new spiritual explorer.
This process introduces the challenge of comparing their beliefs to other worldviews. We incorporate emotional checks to maintain our emotional equilibrium, which helps us think more clearly by reducing interference from our emotions.
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 in religion, politics, they are also helpful with TV and Radio newscasts.
The Enneagram of Personality
The Enneagram of Personality is a cognitive science tool that helps us understand the mechanisms of Ego, personality, and instinct. The best authors and researchers write in easily understandable language so the layperson can understand it, while it is deep enough for any clinician. So it is a powerful system available to almost everyone.
You will find modern psychology and the Enneagram share many of the same concepts and authors. Borrowing and then building on the work of others is a common practice. For instance, Jungian psychology parallels the structure of the Enneagram. It has 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 personality profile. 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 help you understand 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. Meditation is a range of mental tools for exploring consciousness. It has everything from Mindfulness Meditation through Japa or Transcendental Meditation (TM). This group includes more advanced practices like the Siddhis of Patanjali.
Moving meditation is an action with a heightened level of awareness. It involves a high level of mind-body coordination and skill. This modality improves mind and body connection. In turn, this has a positive effect on our health and wellness. This progression includes energy collection modalities like Qigong and Tai Chi. It also includes Forest Bathing and grounding techniques, like Tree Grounding and Sun Gazing.
Awareness Expansion Tools
This category has a diverse mix of tools dealing with awareness and perception. This group includes the Shamanic Journey or Guided Meditation, lucid dreaming, third-eye awakening exercises, and techniques to improve memory.
Another essential tool is the spiritual journal or book of shadows. A journal is your best coach. It also includes exercises like automatic writing. You could list these tools among some groups. However, we like to list them 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. It serves as evidence of the historical importance of the inner quest.
There are many variations on this theme, but 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.
The shamanic journey is one of the ancient technologies 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.
Modalities for Healing
The last group is healing practices. This group includes a diverse set of tools such as Pe Jet, which comes from Indonesia, and Reiki and Shiatsu come from Japan. Vedic medicine is also available, along with other traditional healing forms. Self-care is a vital part of this group.
Using any healing method is a natural outlet for our positive energy. Many people come to the healing arts as a secondary interest. They find it 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.
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(1) Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality
(2) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia