Spirituality is a part of metaphysical systems, thus being always discordant with science (science excludes any metaphysics, because it’s beyond scientific paradigm about ability to falsify one’s theory by physical means). Spirituality is also a part of our mind, our impressionability. Mind’s task is to explore and cope with reality.
I’m not particularly religious but spirituality is strong part of my life. For me any spiritual belief (which presents a wider metaphysical context) should not contradict science. Note, it doesn’t mean that science cannot contradict spirituality but only the other way around. Science is coping with physical, very tangible and objective (observed by many and perceiving the same things, phenomenons) part of reality, while spirituality means to have a set of beliefs or actually a specific, subjective frame of perception on reality. This perception is always personal, even when someone rejects methaphysicality, it is still a bigger frame of perception that holds together everything that we are capable to perceive and sense.
What do I exactly mean by spirituality has to be unanimous with science? Bigger, metaphysical picture should explain whole variety of details that could be explored to some extent by science. Science being limited to non-metaphysical questions, could still contradict itself, working on progress, better understanding, while spirituality must encompass it all. It gives a higher reference frame that binds everything together in reasonable way (meaning: by knowing spirituality we can predict results in reality, in the same way as studying physical laws allow us to predict and cope with physicality). If a spiritual belief is too far away from common perception (studied by science) it has no weight, no strong connection to reality and is useless, sometimes possibly even dangerous. It happened that most of major spiritual belief systems often produce this separated, not connected belief frames.
So what type of belief is believable to me? As I said earlier, spirituality is a personal perception frame that utilizes every person’s ability to conceive reality. Since we all have various abilities and our range of seeing reality is limited, spirituality frame always connects to things we comprehend. In my case this is above all psychology but also other science affairs. For psychology incapable people other mind assets are used.
I want to point out, that it is pointless to force someone to a specific belief frame that is unanimous with that person’s ability to perceive reality, which is base of that concrete belief frame.
How does it work? Let’s see an example, a general one.
A) A belief that supernatural entity was somehow mad or disappointed with people so it brings destruction, punishment, flood to start anew.
It is psychologically disturbing. An entity that suppose to be highest god, a creator of everything, yet he/she/it is emotionally unstable and limited, just like… humans. If I can be generous and forgiving but higher divine power behaves like self absorbed bastard, how it could be wise, how this entity could create such complex universe?
Logically, god made a mistake, he still experiments, he doesn’t know everything, thus isn’t perfect just like… humans. Yet we are expected to trust in his extraordinary, untainted, always ideal wisdom.
Physically, there are natural disasters but there is no slightest evidence of higher force that makes a decision and influence reality. It all could be explained by laws of physics (if all data would be accessible but even with limited access, all points out on simple physics). Sure, we can always say, we are too limited to see all dependencies and interference of supernatural entity but when no one can see ANY tangible connection, isn’t that suspicious? Is it smart to believe in something aside our range of perception? If supernatural entity is beyond that, then how can we be sure of ANYTHING about him/her/it? Belief just for sake of belief without any connection to reality is simply illogical. Must everything be logical? Well, logic could be somehow elastic, although theoretically it shouldn’t be. But since something doesn’t make sense to ME (it is illogical to ME), it would be stupid of me if I had embrace something that contradicts my mind. And if I cannot trust my mind, then there is no way of trusting anything because I could believe in any possible nonsense. There has to be something verifiable to YOU, always.
I realize that I just put my own frame here and try to prove my point, but that is exactly my point, to bring you closer to my way of reasoning. Since in belief about existence of governing supernatural entity/ies I see no connection to reality in any level, it’s just a myth to me.
I also know that this simple, flawed, general example isn’t making any real proof but notice, that many people beliefs in that kind of myths and makes no connection to the reality, they accept it uncritically. Moreover, they try to adjust what they perceive to the myth not the other way around.
B) A belief that there is no supernatural entity that would steer with reality but it is our mind which has that power, meaning: every physical being have some level, some sort of consciousness and by process of thinking (to simplify this example) we create specific conditions around.
On first glance it could also look as baseless as previous case but let’s take a closer look.
From psychological point of view, a process of thinking and feeling has influence on reality.
If we look on humans alone (it suits to non humans as well but let’s focus on something familiar), we are motivated by emotions. No matter of thoughts, emotions gives us the base of our behavior; thoughts are expressions of emotional attitude. Since emotional state changes, our thought patterns changes along. We try to be objective, homogenous in our thinking but we all know that we change our mind depending on current emotion. But connection between thoughts and emotions goes both ways. Different thoughts can trigger different emotional response.
If our mind is dominated by thoughts and subconscious convictions like: “it’s impossible”, “it’s improper”, “I couldn’t do it”, “I can’t handle it”, “if I’d wanted it, conditions wouldn’t allow” (see: “it’s impossible”), “I’m not worth to have/experience/do it”, “I have no abilities to pull it through”, “I have no meanings to pull it through”, “he/she/it/a situation could force me to something I don’t want and I can’t control it”, we create, find reasons (often logical ones) why this is that way. We recall examples of similar cases to prove our thoughts. Emotional response is a resistance: you don’t want to do it, because you see no point and even when you force yourself to do it and then fail, ah, how great argument you have! I knew it! Conviction is even stronger now.
In such case there is no motivation to look for solution because perceived obstacles are too big.
If our mind is dominated by thoughts and subconscious convictions like: “I may don’t know it now how to achieve it, but I can handle it”, “I’ll find a way”, “how to get it?”, “I’ll manage it”, “I deserve/have ability to get it, and even if not, I somehow figure it out how to get it anyway”, “what can I do to obtain what I want?”, “I have control”, etc.
In such cases emotional response is motivation, mental process isn’t stopped; it is devoted to find solution by all creative means. Obstacles are merely temporal issues to solve. The more we actually overcome them, the more confident we can be, that we “handle it all”. Mind’s creative ability to find solution is extraordinary but first we must have emotional motivation to use this part of our brain.
Even when not applying to any metaphysical theory, thoughts of an individual can very strongly influence one’s action, attitude, and influence. Positive attuned person is creative and confident.
Since I am aware of psychological implications and I notice how I think, how other people think and what results we/they get, I can see clear patterns and for me belief that we create our reality by thinking is not a belief but a psychological fact that is observable every day of my life.
If you are in town and look around, everything around you existed before as an idea. An idea that someone believed to be possible to realize so he/she had motivation to look for solution and found it, hence creation of the idea into physical objects like buildings, roads, technical devices, clothes, nutrients etc.
Of course belief in power of thoughts has more implications but that’s another complex topic. Her we discuss merely the relation between acceptable (according to me) spiritual belief and a baseless one.
Shortly speaking, a spiritual belief should reasonably explain results obtained by our actions, thoughts, emotions, how it plays role in bigger picture of universe. Myths about spiritual entities that made some overhead decisions and then rule the reality lacks of any connection to reality that could be observed by me.
If you can observe in your life something different, then such belief could be reasonable. But according to my experience for most people belief comes first, observation and reality as second, thus explaining reality by unsubstantial myths not the other way around. People are brainwashed to specific frame and little of them is aware of it.
Spirituality for me is not just a set of metaphysical theories. It’s something that I feel inside, a connectedness with universe, transcendence, eternity of my mind. It’s not an unsubstantial belief for the sake of belief but something like an additional sense. Just like I can see, touch, smell, taste reality, I could also feel connection with it and I can utilize it with success. Spirituality is and must be practical (psychology and attached to it a spiritual perspective/sense, is extremely useable, because everything in our life is dependable on emotions and how we can handle them); otherwise there is no point to it.
As I explained above personal spirituality (or lack of it) depends on one’s mind ability to perceive reality. Some uses this additional sense and emotional intelligence; others use different aspects of plain intelligence. In latter case, metaphysical, transcendent world is none existent. Of course it’s not always that nicely divided and this spiritual sense is differently developed (tiny sense that there is something greater but we don’t know what so most just accepts most suitable common beliefs of given cultural circle), as someone’s mental abilities, hence variety of beliefs about reality.