A Retrograde Perspective of The Spiritual and the Physical

We are not alienated from the spiritual world. The truth is, it is the physical world that is hidden from us, and the material world is actually what is most esoteric.

Everything we experience comes to us from the mind. If you believe that mind (or soul) is immaterial, that the thoughts in your mind are not entirely made of physical matter such as atoms, then it follows that everything you can experience is also immaterial, since we do not experience or sense anything directly. The physical world is processed, rendered, and presented to us through the apparatus of the mind. Everything we see or feel or otherwise sense is a production of the mind. It is an immaterial representation of the material world.

Thus, we in fact only perceive an immaterial world — made of the same “stuff” as the spiritual world. Our senses are more closely related to the spiritual realm than the physical realm! Whatever the physical world is like, we have never perceived it; we have always perceived a “spiritual representation” of material things.

So the physical world is actually hidden from us and therefore is deeply esoteric, whereas the spiritual world is our ordinary, mundane, daily experience.

This is what I call a “retrograde perspective” (see here for more discussion of this term). It directly opposes what we commonly think about the physical and spiritual dichotomy. And it is a completely valid, yet opposite, way of understanding our experience as human beings.

If the physical world is actually hidden and esoteric, everything we experience being immaterial, then the spiritual world is the most intimate and ordinary experience we can have.

You can give up the desire to have extraordinary or sacred experiences without turning your back on spirituality. Spirituality ought not be mere thrill-seeking but a deep hue that paints your perspective of mundane experience. When you approach spirituality as a hidden and rarely-seen thing, you intentionally alienate yourself from it. At first, this viewpoint might make spirituality seem more exciting and attractive, but a steady stream of rare and extraordinary experiences is inherently unobtainable, leading to disappointment and a weakening of faith in one’s entire spiritual belief system.

But if you let spirituality be ordinary, contained even in the most mundane events, your faith will be supported on a moment-to-moment basis.

And it is inevitable that blind faith serves an unseen master, whose goals are both unknown and foreign to you. Taking the perspective of the immaterial as ordinary experience solves this too. Your faith in spirit need not be blind at all, but the actual mechanism by which you see.

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Journaling My Journey: 4

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In a month I have almost filled a notebook of over 300 pages, learning and developing my beliefs. I find I have more energy to give (for love does all the work — love is a catalyst that does not get drained) and I find myself wanting to reach out to help others.

In my Earthbound life, I would love to help people find their authentic soul beliefs, and help people work out their souls’ purposes. I have done spiritual readings for people for years, often for free, but this is a new direction I am seeking.

I don’t even really know how to go about achieving this. I am not a very social person, so it is hard to imagine how I would reach out to people and connect with those that might need a helping hand in matters of spirituality. I know for myself the benefit of discovering one’s soul truths and living from the soul, and I just want to pass along what little I’ve learned.

Ideally, I would like to work as some sort of soul coach — but for free, because I don’t feel it is appropriate for me to gain from this financially. It is an idea that excites me, although as I said, I hardly know how to start.

Experiencing Complementary Duality

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If ultimate oneness is a flawed concept, as I argued here, then I would hope that we could directly experience complementary duality in action, giving a clue that it is the true nature of things. Ideally, one of our soul senses ought to reveal it (read this post for a description of what the soul senses are). In other words, the complementary duality of unity and separateness should be something we experience and even feel.

And we do. In a very vivid way, our experience of love teaches us about the two perspectives of unity and separation, and how they function, interact, and co-exist.

Love is a complex experience, and I will argue it is actually one of our soul senses. Love is far from just an emotion. It is a deep experience leading to thousands of conclusions about how we ought to behave and treat others. It is an experience we seek to give and receive. As such, it is quite unlike any simple emotion, such as sadness. Moreover, love is a verb too. You cannot “sad” someone, but you can love them. Love is a particular ball of energy that is bounced around, received and given, and felt and enacted by us.

I believe that how we sense love is an experience of the universe being both separate and united simultaneously. Love is a study of complementary duality in action. For love implies the existence of self and other. It is both self-gratifying and gratifying to others. Love is simultaneously selfish and selfless.

As such, love is one of the most primordial forces of the non-material universe. It is then, in the spiritual realm, like elementary particles are in the physical realm: a building block of the universe.

My Cosmology: Discovering The Soul Senses

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I don’t go for the notion that the brain functions as some biological clockwork. The very idea is Newtonian, coming from the idea that the universe itself was fully mechanical and that the simplest of physics would eventually explain everything. However, even science has progressed far beyond this notion, exploring the seemingly absurd laws of quantum theory. So why should our view of our brains be any different than our view of the universe?

When we free up the concept of consciousness from the brain, we allow for the soul. We give spirit some room to breathe and move. And when we stop explaining everything that we experience in clockwork terms, we allow for the discovery of our soul’s powers: its senses and abilities. In this way, a lot of what we experience can be called the senses of the soul, rather than the mechanical phenomena of the brain and sensory organs.

The concept of soul senses is important because we can intuit through them how our soul works, and how we might experience our existence after the physical body dies.

The body’s senses are simply the five that we all learned about in elementary school: sight, taste, sound, touch, and smell. They are the ways we receive information about physical, material things.

The soul’s senses might not seem like senses at first, but they are senses insofar as they are ways we receive information about immaterial things. Here are the best examples I can think of, but by no means an exhaustive list of the soul’s senses.

The Soul’s Senses

  1. Consciousness. This is a sense or awareness of the Self, the thinking soul.
  2. Imagination. This is a direct sense of potential (which is non-manifest, whereas I categorize spirit and physical things as both manifest). Without the imagination, we could not guess about future possibilities.
  3. Knowledge. This is a sense of the Universe itself, a sense of the “other”, and a sense of the logical laws that we experience (such as Newton’s Laws of Motion).
  4. Emotions. This is a sense of the self’s reactions, and I will explain further below.
  5. “Psychic” senses. These are like being able to see auras, which are apparent energies that we do not yet understand.

It might seem curious and odd that I refer to our experience of emotions as being a “sense”. However, I believe emotions are not just biological states, but energies that we feel, which would be why we call emotions “feelings”. They are a sense of our own reactions to circumstances, and they are a real energy encoded in our heartbeats. Emotions are expressed as electric and magnetic fields coming from the heart, and those fields are actually much stronger than those of the brain.

And if we can so vividly sense this kind of energy, it is possible that we can sense other energies too, even ones not yet understood or named. So there is plenty of room in my cosmology for the so-called “psychic senses”. I myself can see what looks like sparks of energy streaming off everything, and auras as well. Moreover, we might be able to sense aspects of the spiritual world that have no physical analogue at all. These senses would tell us more about existence itself, and thus it is entirely worthwhile to pursue discovering what your soul can sense.

Figuring out what the soul can sense and do is absolutely crucial, because remember, the soul is here now. All its powers are available to us, right at our fingertips in this very moment. Why wait until after you die to discover them?

Heartwork: The Desires of the Human Soul

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The trouble is, the soul in this physical life really doesn’t know what it wants. We have to learn, and in this way the physical life is a fantastic kindergarten for the soul.

We often think we are selfish to the core, believing our true desires to be ones of power, being “the best”, and being able to control everything in our lives to get things. But if you really think about it, we want none of this, for to have it brings no satisfaction.

If you could control everything, there would be no meaning to it, and life would be as empty as a movie, for there would exist no honest free will outside of your own, and no surprises for you either. How could you have any sense of accomplishment without some struggle? In the same manner, you wouldn’t want to be the absolute best at anything. Because then you could have no competition, and even if you were given thousands of awards, they would not quite satisfy, because a true judge must have an idea of something even better than what you’re doing. All praise would be meaningless, for instance, if you were the smartest person in the universe, because all that praise would be coming from “stupid” people, so how could you respect it?

So we actually want to be judged, fairly, and we don’t want absolute power or control. We want a bit of struggle and surprise! We don’t want to be God, for that is a very lonely and unsatisfying concept.

Many a spiritual teacher has said, “just be”, and practice “just existing”. But oh! how we hope that “just existing” isn’t the state of our souls after the death of the physical body! We are actually violently, desperately opposed to the idea of just being. The idea satisfies nothing. We want to do something, experience something, and interact with existence in every way we can. I believe what we really want is to be part of a tribe, and to have something to contribute. Actually, we want to not be completely satisfied all the time.

We don’t even want to know all the answers, for we love being inspired by some new idea, and we love the progress of our growth and discovery. Inspiration is an art of mystery — and really, we crave unending mystery. An unending journey. Things happening beyond our control.

In other words, we desire this life we’re living, which is not completely satisfying, and therefore challenging and real and alive and meaningful to us. Isn’t that a laugh? Having desires isn’t evil after all! In fact, a logical examination of the nature of desire shows us how humble our hearts truly want to be: a little soul in an endless universe, free to explore and experience it like a child.

Heartwork: Knowing Your Soul

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The soul, beyond the temporary limits of the physical world, such as space and time, is so powerfully free we can scarcely imagine its full potential. Yet we should thoughtfully investigate it, for the soul is here with us now, and there is no reason to wait until this life is over to learn to use it.

I believe the soul, a conscious energy, must have senses. Otherwise all the soul could ever experience would be its own conscious thoughts. In my cosmology such a disconnected existence, stuck in one’s mind and blind to all else, would be a hellish waste. Since I believe the nature of all things is ultimately connected in relationships and oneness (although through complementary duality I do not deny the appearance and value of “self” and “other”), I must conclude that the soul can sense phenomena beyond its own thoughts.

But what might these senses be?

Certainly it cannot be impossible to discover at least some of these soul senses, because the soul is here with you right now and I believe it contains its full capacity even while we inhabit physical bodies. In other words, nothing is stopping you from putting your soul’s powers and senses to use now. In fact, I think it is crucial that we learn to use them now.

With such mysterious potential at our fingertips it is easy to be overwhelmed or doubtful. Where does one even begin in one’s quest to understand the soul?

I suggest that one first gets into the right frame of mind for connecting to the soul and spiritual energies. I have described this technique before, here, but now I will describe it a little differently. Getting in touch with the soul and spirit requires some quieting of the physical world. The trouble with all senses, both spiritual and physical, is how easily desensitized we become to them. By wanting more experiences or stronger experiences, we lose the ability to sense other, more subtle experiences. So we need to be focused and quiet to better sense what energies the soul offers, at least until we get to know them better.

Visualize yourself  gently letting go of the physical world and all the entropic complications that come with it. Feel all life’s problems and concerns, whether large or small, flowing out of you like a river from your feet. You can let this energy go into the ground if you wish, or just imagine it flowing out of you. Then, before too long (because you might actually start to feel drained by releasing this energy), start to draw the pure energy of potential and possibility and creation from the universe. Draw this energy down through the top of your head and feel its flow into your body. Focus on what you’re doing: letting go of entropy and human drama, and drawing in the essential, free energy of potential.

Try to physically or spiritually feel the energy flowing in and out of your body. I believe this state is one closely mirroring what the freed soul itself experiences.

This technique only needs a moment of your time and focus in order to have an effect and feel some benefit. With practice it can feel incredibly vivid and powerful.

Now that you are in a better state of mind, consider this. How would you, as a soul beyond the physical world (such as after the body dies), decide what you wanted to do and experience? All the power and potential of the soul is here at your disposal right now. What do you want to do with it?

What would you want to do if there were no limits to your existence? If you can imagine what you might do as a soul, freed from the body, you can imagine a greater mission for your physical life. As the true desires of the soul should easily find some expression in the physical world, no matter what they are.

What are the true desires of your heart and soul?