Monday, April 30, 2012

An Emphasis on the Spiritual and the Scientific

Re-printed with permission from "The Science of the Soul" (copyright 2011, by Dr. Michael H. Likey)

An Emphasis on the Spiritual and the Scientific

All this title really means is at this point I’d like to really “dig into” what I often refer to as spirit, soul and emotions, in other words the “Spirit” part of “Mind/Body/Spirit”, since it is so utterly and obviously tied into the feelings and emotions of happiness. “Spiritual” in this case will in no way, shape, or form have any religious connotations, but in actuality scientific!

Metaphysics: Philosophy, Science, or Superstition?

One way to explore and understand the all-important “soul” and “spirit”, which we sometimes refer to as the “emotional-guidance system” or “happy-gauge”, if you will, is by way of what some call “Spiritual Mind-Science”, “Mental Science”, “Science of Mind”,  “Religious Science”,  or “The Science of Spiritual Psychology”, often classified as “Metaphysics”.
 Again, is “Metaphysics” a philosophy, a science, or a superstition?

Metaphysics as a Philosophy

According to Herman J. Aaftink, the Founder-Director of the Calgary Life Enrichment Centre, and author of "Brand New Me: The Art of Authentic Living", “metaphysics” is the popular name for the ancient philosophy of Idealism, first taught by Plato and Aristotle about 2,500 years ago. Metaphysics means "beyond physics": it is the attempt to present a comprehensive, coherent and consistent account of reality, of the universe as a whole, including ourselves. Metaphysics is also referred to as a branch of philosophy that deals with First Cause and the Nature of Being. It is taught as a branch of philosophy in most academic universities today under the label of "Speculative Philosophy." According to Aaftink, metaphysics acknowledges a “cosmic”, or “Universal mind” (or “God-Mind”) as the operating principle of order and change as well as the source of all existence.
 Dr. Paul Leon Masters, the Founder/CEO of the two oldest and most respected Universities of Metaphysics in the world, the “University of Metaphysics”, and the “University of Sedona”, both being two of my Alma Maters, states that the word "Metaphysics" has become a description of many fields of interest. When one expresses an interest in metaphysics, that interest may be in any one or a combination of the following subjects: philosophy, religion, parapsychology, mysticism, yoga, ESP, dreams, Jungian psychology, astrology, meditation, self-help studies, positive thinking, life after death, reincarnation, etc. The common denominator of these and all similar subjects deals with an exploration of Reality, and in the idealistic sense, how such knowledge may benefit human life on this earth, both individually and collectively.  According to Masters, if, then, this is the aim of such interests, it is why most professional Metaphysical Practitioners (that is to say, Practitioners of Metaphysical Counseling and Healing) regard metaphysics as a spiritual philosophy of life. All but a very few practitioners in metaphysics today have a pivotal point of some sort of spiritual philosophy in whatever system or teaching of metaphysics they are engaged. If we were to travel from one metaphysical teacher or organization to another, we would find people engaging in different things, all under the label of metaphysics. This could be a wide range, such as yogis, mystics, astrologers, positive thinking teachers, meditation teachers, grapho-analysts, spiritual healers, self-help teachers, etc. The range is wide, but again the basic denominator is the search for truth, purpose and meaning in life, which cannot be isolated from basic spiritual questions.
  The basis for most of these beliefs/perspectives come not only from the ancient Greek philosophers, but also the Hindu mystics, ancient mystical/esoteric Buddhist teachings, and even the Taoist “Immortals” who created the now-popular Qi Gong, Tai Chi, and Kung (or Gong) Fu practices of meditative breathing and gentle physical exercises for health and longevity, in China. Swami Vivekananda, a Hindu mystic who lived from 1863-1902 is considered to be largely responsible for bringing Yoga, again, a series of deep-breathing exercises and poses as a means to maintaining and increasing health and longevity, as well as union with the divine, to Europe and to America, while the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, another Indian mystic made popular by the Beatles in the 1960’s, is considered responsible for bringing “mystical meditation”,  whose purpose is Divine-contact/union, healing, and health-maintenance, (as opposed to “western” or “guided meditations” which are mainly for relaxation, and for eliminating unwanted behaviors/habits) to the west.
  I will be referring to “metaphysics” from the perspective of the practice of “western” or “guided meditation”, self-hypnosis, as well as “eastern meditation” mainly, within this series, as the basis for health. Again, you may look at this as essentially using the relatively untapped potential, or “power” of the human mind, with self-hypnosis or meditation being the key to tapping, exploring, and/or opening it. Therefore, one of the main aims of this series is not so much working with metaphysics from a “speculative-philosophical/spiritual” perspective, but more from a practical and clinical perspective, and thereby supplying to the reader potential tools for healing and health-maintenance through the power of the mind.
 Science has already for many years measured and acknowledged health gains as a result of the practice of western meditation and self-hypnosis for, among other things, stress-management, (which encourages greater psychological “peace-of-mind”) reduced high blood-pressure, increased physical stamina, etc.
The benefits of meditation and self-hypnosis has long been scientifically acknowledged in the treatment of weight-loss, improving self-esteem, stopping/discouraging unwanted habits such as smoking, etc. (Hewitt, 1997)
 I have outlined some of my own research results/experiences with my various clients as a clinical hypnotherapist and doctor of metaphysical science, to further underline the point, in my books "Journey of the Mind, Journey of the Soul" (iUniverse, 2009) and in "The Science of the Soul". (iUniverse, 2011)
 As far as any clinical “proof” of divine contact/union, doctors and researchers such as Newberg and D’Aquili in their book Why God Won’t Go Away, (2002) show brain-scan images of subjects taken while they are meditating and while they are not. The scans taken during meditation show increased activity and blood-flow to the front part of the brain, which is usually involved in focusing attention and concentration, is more active during meditation. This makes sense since meditation requires a high degree of concentration. The second image shows that there is decreased activity in the parietal lobe. This area of the brain is responsible for giving us a sense of our orientation in space and time. One could hypothesize that blocking all sensory and cognitive input into this area during meditation results in the sense of no space and no time which is so often described in meditation, or the term for union with the divine as “no-thingness” in Zen meditation. (Reps and Senzaki, 1998)
Metaphysics as a spiritual way of life will be discussed later in this series, including reflections on contemporary spiritual movements such as “Christian Science” (founded by Mary Baker Eddy, a former patient who was “cured” by P.P. Quimby), “Religious Science”, or “Science of Mind” (founded by Ernest Holmes) and “Unity”, also grew out of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby’s practice and studies of the 1850’s.

Metaphysics as a Superstition

Since metaphysics is largely looked upon as a philosophy, and not necessarily as a science, let’s look at it firstly as a superstition.
 “Superstition” is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as “An irrational belief; any practice inspired by such a belief.” Also: “An unreasoning belief in an omen, supernatural agency, etc.”  As just outlined, the basis of metaphysical beliefs are thousands of years old, and much of the aspects of it (such as the therapeutic benefits of meditation) have long-since been proven by science, as will be outlined shortly. Even the developer of the science of spiritual psychology, Ernest Holmes ("The Science of Mind", 1988) likens metaphysical science to mixing paint-colors: essentially it doesn’t matter who mixes, say red with yellow, the outcome is always orange; or mixing blue with yellow, the outcome is always green; the outcome is always the same, similar to the law of gravity: whoever throws something in the air is guaranteed that the object will descend toward the ground! The outcome is always the same; metaphysics is not an irrational or unreasoning belief with a superstitious or unproven basis: most of the therapeutic effects of metaphysical practices have already been scientifically proven, and much more of it is still being proven even to this day!
 Therefore, metaphysics is not a superstition. It may have started as a spiritually-based philosophy thousands of years ago, but is now grounded in scientific proof.

Metaphysics for Health

The more “practical” application of Metaphysics as a means to better health and healing was rediscovered by the aforementioned Phineas Parkhurst Quimby on the east-coast of 19th century America, via his study of “mesmerism” (or hypnosis), which in turn became the basis of modern-day clinical hypnotherapy and psychotherapy, including transpersonal psychology. Self-hypnosis was later employed by the famous therapist Sigmund Freud on his patients, who, along with Carl Jung, (metaphysician and therapist) also analyzed patients’ dreams as a means of understanding their unconscious mind, wherein theoretically was stored the basis to ill-mental, emotional (and in Quimby’s belief-system, physical) health. The manner in which Quimby employed a combination of psychology, theology, intuition, and mild hypnosis and meditation, was also the basis for “NLP”, or “Neuro-Linguistic Programming”, a now-popular form of psychotherapy made popular and associated with Milton Erikson, although NLP was actually co-created by 3 men (Grinder, Bandler, Pucelik) and developed by many others (Steve and Connie-Rae Andreas, Robert Dilts etc). Erickson was among several that were modeled by the creators (including Satir and Perls), where modeling is the actual basis of NLP… over the decades there has been some rumors and subtle change of perception, and now people equate NLP with Ericksonian hypnosis, which is at best a partial truth. Many also believe that Quimby also contributed to Beck’s creation of cognitive therapy. We will discuss in detail later on Quimby’s methodologies, comparing them in practical terms to some contemporary therapeutic clinical methodologies, my own clinical use of all methods, as well as how the reader may practically employ some of these methods for improving and maintaining health.

What I partially intend to explore in the context of this series are the results of these two meditational groups, in order to outline the workings of the human brain, and more specifically, the human mind; how emotions created by memories rooted deep within the memory-banks of the brain, or mind, affect the day-to-day quality of our life, including goal-setting and health. Comparisons of meditation and hypnosis will follow, as will theological, psychological, philosophical, and metaphysical perspectives and discussions on the implications of defining the existence of God deep within the human brain or mind, and finally how this “God-Power” may be harnessed to encourage optimum health overall.
 Initially, I intend to discuss the experiences and responses of my meditation students, based on the practical research I have done through questions, answers, and discussions with the two separate meditation groups over the last year: what are their experiences (visual, auditory, etc.)? Do they feel/believe they have/are achieving union with the Divine, and if so, why do they believe this? For example, what are the experiences? What other things do the students feel that they are achieving through meditation? How is this manifesting? For example, relaxation, evolution of their soul, progress in their day-to-day lives, etc. Is their intuition (or Divine-guidance) increasing, thereby placing them in a “Divine-Flow” of their soul’s purpose/synchronicity of life-events, etc.? How is this being proven to them? Has the quality of their life overall improved, and if so, in what ways? Do they believe that they are having any paranormal/psychic experiences during meditation, and if so, what are those experiences? For example, experiencing past-lives, angels, guides, etc. How do they feel about these paranormal experiences?
 Are my students succeeding in the concrete or clinical realm/arena, such as in weight-loss, improved self-esteem, etc.?
 Next, what will follow will be a discussion of these answers, and their implications: How useful from a clinical therapist’s perspective have these experiences been?
 How useful from a metaphysician’s perspective, for example, in professional use as a doctor of metaphysics, have these experiences been?
 As stated earlier, I will ultimately describe the various processes which have improved the quality of my patients’ and clients’ lives. They are all happier and healthier on all levels. My recent use of “Mind-Treatments”, loosely based on Quimby’s techniques, and not dissimilar to the aforementioned treatments, have further increased the percentile of healed patients!
 Thus, in writing this series, I intend to emphasize for other metaphysicians and clinical hypnotherapists, as well as for the broad public, the importance/benefits of meditation from a clinical, as well as spiritual/metaphysical perspective, as well as how these findings may affect society as a whole.

Next Time: "The Human Brain-A Primer: Metaphysics as Science"

Dr. Michael Likey discusses an inspiring and transformative topic of a self-help/personal-growth nature based on his book "The Science of the Soul" on his BlogTalk Radio show, and also on his "Daily Meditational Moments" on Spreaker Radio and on his YouTube channel "Soul-Science TV". A Higher-Consciousness Meditation is featured each time as well. Dr. Likey is an international author, and spiritual teacher/therapist. Learn more here:

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