If you have researched extensively or even just read our brief notes on metaphysics, you may have concluded that as a term unto itself, it is difficult to define. What is spiritual metaphysics, then?
Having found several definitions, our goal here is to present this topic as simply as possible and with full awareness that such a definition lends itself to many opinions and innately would. We respect your opinions and invite them in the comments section.
As metaphysics is the study of the nature of reality, spirituality refers to the nature of the study of ourselves both as individuals and our connection to the world and universe around us.
Our spirit, or our soul, is something innate to our being and is a constant, our constant inner reality. As some teachers describe it, it is the “I am”. It is the part of us which is unchanged and unperturbed by our surroundings.
How we behave, who we become and what happens to us in our lives and to our bodies is very much a function of how well we remain in alignment with that very fundamental aspect of ourselves. The aim of spirituality is to realign us with that very innate aspect of our being which brings with it an immense sense of peace.
Branches of metaphysics study this aspect of our being differently; it studies the potentiality of our being and how our actions, thoughts and emotions bring about our reality. Some applied scientists (physicists, engineers, molecular geneticists, psychologists and neuroscientists, in particular) have become peripherally fascinated with this aspect of our being in recent decades.
In part, while an aspect of metaphysics is an effort to logically explain the nature of being, spirituality is an effort to connect to the nature of our being and is thus more abstract. The commonality between them is the search for that which cannot be explained, yet as New Age theories began to emerge in the last century and have continued to expand in this century, there does appear to be substantial overlap in conceptual thought and statistical findings.
In essence, spiritual metaphysics describes how our innate being knows how to operate its physical shell in a way that can be constructive or destructive, depending upon the alignment with the perfection for which it is inherently capable. What one feels and thinks impacts the world around them; what many feel and think can have a collective and even more devastating impact.
Studies of the placebo effect demonstrate a statistical difference in spontaneous remissions in patients who believe they have received treatment; that just the perception that treatment has been rendered can alter the outcome. Another study of habitual dieters found one of the distinguishing features among those that maintained substantial weight loss vs those who did not included a sustained shift in their conscious thought pattern (using cognitive behavioral therapy), essentially aligning their thoughts with maintenance of the new weight.
We have all heard the concept of “herd mentality”; when we reflect upon acts of mass violence and destruction, generally both fear and anger have become amplified collectively and individuals within a group discover they are acting in a manner they might not have chosen independently.
Emotional Thought Forms
Our thoughts and our emotions very much influence our behavior and our behavior very much influences the world around us.
In a best-selling book by Masaru Emoto*, he describes experiments and images demonstrating how thoughts and vibrations can change the formation of crystals in water; as humans are comprised of 80% water, this was a fairly significant finding and sparked further investigations now much larger in scope in the human experience. It seems that our thoughts and feelings do matter; they matter a great deal.
Let us start with the concept of emotions, which, once all basic human needs are met, can be the overriding driving force behind human actions and interactions. Emotions and our ability to control and utilize them for good purpose is both the stuff of mental health and spiritual study. At their very root, most religious philosophies and doctrines were developed in societies not just to explain the concept of a God or a Deity, but as a social means of teaching the importance of proper balance of our emotions, natural drives and instincts. In most cases, religious doctrines are taught as methods to preserve peace, foster equanimity and provide comfort within under all circumstances, something we all inherently seek from the moment we are born into this physical world.
As human history demonstrates, sometimes that fundamental goal is lost in the process of defending and protecting differences in our beliefs, losing sight of the underlying message between all of them. Religions, while based upon spiritual principles, neither guarantee spirituality of its followers nor excludes spirituality in others who follow different beliefs. Spirituality is more a “knowledge” of inner being, or inner divinity, available to all and the practical application of it to daily living.
How Can We Look at Our Emotions
Recent research suggests that our emotions are basically an extension of our thoughts in response to a stimulus, with our thoughts being a rapid-fire calculation in a sequence of probabilities and likely outcomes based upon projections born out of experiences or in direct response to uncomfortable physical sensations or perceived threats to our safety.
Emotional responses can be altered; rewiring our traditional circuitry is the basis of techniques such as neurolinguistics reprogramming and cognitive behavioral therapy and, for thousands of years, the basis of spiritual and religious teachings.
For simplicity’s sake, examining the realm of emotions, one can really separate them into the emotions of love and fear.
Love-based emotions would include but not be limited to emotions such as gratitude, appreciation, generosity, patience, tolerance, compassion, acceptance, interest, empathy, serenity, admiration, and joy.
Fear-based emotions would include but not be limited to emotions such as hatred, envy, jealousy, rage, anger, frustration, annoyance, grief, sadness, anxiety, terror, loathing, disgust, disdain, indifference and boredom.
While these two lists are in no way comprehensive, you can see why spirituality is technically aimed at guiding the seeker back to the space where love-based emotions predominate. Through your own common sense and likely your own experience, it is fairly evident that your quality of life is at its best when you can shift your emotions toward the love-based emotions and that you are pretty miserable when residing in fear-based thinking.
Spirituality, either with or without religious teaching behind it, aims to maintain that shift in the balance of your emotions for your overall well-being and that of others.
In recent years, there is mounting evidence that these emotions and the thoughts driving them have a vibrational energy that is transmitted between the senders and receivers in a way that we cannot fully explain but can statistically examine.
The Practicality of Spiritual Metaphysics
In essence, the higher the vibrational energy of the individual, the more positive the outcomes in general. The higher vibrational states being the loved-based emotions and the lower vibrational states, the fear-based emotions does not mean that they do not carry the same ability to cause energetic repercussions. Tremendous force from of fear-based emotions can have devastatingly negative impact, as well. For example, anger and rage can have profoundly devastating consequences both to those on the receiving end and equally (if not more) to the individual carrying it within. While the consequences may not be obvious, it will generally always manifest in another way, such as illness or other loss.
Is this always the case? No, unfortunately. Bad things do happen to good people, certainly. Sometimes, people with misguided good intentions do horrendous things that impact innocent people. There is also something called “collective consciousness” that can influence reality in negative ways that affects not just individuals, but entire populations. This collective energy, so to speak, can have negative consequences on the entirety of a group or population, not selective to only those members in lower vibrational states.
What Do We Really Know?
Does anyone really have all the answers in a way that the entire world could understand?
While it would be wonderful to have a complete understanding of spiritual metaphysics, we are not there yet.
Why then, continue looking for proof?
For an individual to follow a spiritual path, attempting to become a positive vibrational force in their own life is likely a positive thing for their loved ones, coworkers and circle of influence. This is pretty universally accepted.
Spiritually heightened individuals also can become amazing influencers; spiritually inspired and guided individuals who have survived accidents or tremendous obstacles, have become an inspiration to many. There are many examples of this throughout history.
Spiritual teachers abound and discernment is necessary; what resonates for one soul may not resonate for another, but this is where continued work where the applied sciences research spiritual metaphysics has true application.
Demonstrating adequate reliable scientific evidence that spiritual principles can positively influence others and the physical world around us will be pivotal work. Demonstrating that our thoughts have actual physical form, for instance, would have tremendous potential for a common good. Ironically, while skeptics may criticize this type of work, the truth may be that this work is essential for the skeptics.
Developing a common, global understanding of how we can positively influence ourselves and the world around us is a pretty magnificent aim, as it attempts to unite us rather than divide us as a species. It is one realm of study that manages to always inspire us in the process of unfolding.
Krogsbøll, L.T., Hróbjartsson, A. & Gøtzsche, P.C. Spontaneous improvement in randomised clinical trials: meta-analysis of three-armed trials comparing no treatment, placebo and active intervention. BMC Med Res Methodol 9, 1 (2009).
 Long-term weight loss maintenance for obesity: a multidisciplinary approach. Luca Montesi, Marwan El Ghoch, Lucia Brodosi, Simona Calugi, Giulio Marchesini, and Riccardo Dalle Grave Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2016; 9: 37–46.
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