This article was written before the spiritual experience that occurred on March 13, 2015.
It isn’t enough for me to establish a social science of love.
I want to go further and locate that spiritually-based social science in a cross-cultural spirituality.
The particular social science I choose to work in and from which I’d draw my examples is the social science of love. But here I want to look at its “fit” within spiritual studies generally.
Social science proceeds by observable phenomena. “Observable” covers a much broader range today than it might have even a few years back. Telepathy, clairvoyance, automatic writing, etc., extend the range of our senses and soon we’ll be seeing their range extended further.
Nonetheless the material of social science continues to be what’s perceptible to me. Based on my perceptions, I form an impression or idea of the matter, reach a conclusion about it, make a decision on it (if necessary) and respond to it. I share what I notice with you. This is the way my consciousness operates. I simply take this mode of operation and apply it to the social-scientific pursuit.
Another way of saying this is that the social science of love, at least, would proceed through personal awareness. It’d involve participant/observers engaging with themselves or each other, making of themselves and others an object of awareness, sharing their noticings, and comparing notes.
By “participant/observation” is meant that:
- We are the workshop participants.
- We are also the observers of ourselves and others.
- We participate in experiments from a place of self-awareness and personal responsibility and communicate what we see.
- We conceive of life itself as a game of moving from ignorance to knowledge, from separation to unity, and from no love to universal love.
Gone would be ordinary paradigms that stress a rigid objectivity. In the new social sciences, objectivity and subjectivity would blend and collaborate in an integrated consciousness.
Participants would aim to move effortlessly back and forth between observing and participating, between being objective and being subjective. An integrated response would not be a question of “either/or,” but of “both.
The sharing of noticings is not to position ourselves as competitors but as corroborators and collaborators. The whole moves forward by a process of ever-increasing transparency and awareness.
Sharing leads to an experience of mutuality, unity, and harmony. People who’ve shared deeply together tend to feel they’ve gotten to know each other; they’ve met; they’re fully expressed or they’ve been heard. A meeting of the minds and hearts has occurred, and trust has been established.
This spiritually-based social science would be embedded in a cross-cultural spirituality.
Spirituality proceeds by faith where observation leaves off. The final truth, I’m told, cannot be known through a process of sensing and observing but through a process of unknowing and surrender.
The road of faith is the road we all must travel past a certain point because the One is unknowable to its creatures. Only God can know God, (1) a mystery, so it’s said, that will be revealed to us at the last. It’s the ultimate answer to the question: Who are we? (Knowing the answer won’t help you. Realizing it would.)
For spirituality to be cross-cultural, it would have to bring all existing religions to a point where there was basic agreement on eternal verities. Or the widest agreement possible with the added proviso that the truth of those verities themselves must submit to every available test for accuracy and be itself established.
Here’s an example of a matter on which universal agreement would have to be sought: What or who is the Self?
The identity of the Self as the Christ, the Atman, the prince of peace, the pearl of great price, the treasure buried in a field (the field of the body), Fire the Son of God, the inner Sun, the firebrand plucked from the burning or the lamp that’s always burning on the altar is an example of a matter that (1) is known to all religions and (2) would be important to reach agreement on across religions.
From there we could separate the Mother and Father from any misinformation or dogma that surrounds them and describe “them” (they are One) in a way that all religions could also agree on.
Next we could establish agreement on what the purpose of life is: my own sense of it is that the purpose of life is enlightenment, knowing the truth of our essential and eternal identity. God’s purpose in setting up the game of life was for God to meet God in a moment of our enlightenment.
From there we could establish agreement on the fact that a quiet mind brings peace, that unconditional love brings harmony, and that Self-Realization brings fulfilment of the purpose of life.
Once we reach the level of practice, we might see endless variations as people push out and push forward the frontiers of knowledge.
It’s my job to provide a picture of what could be. I see no obstacle now or in the future to social science and spirituality working seamlessly together.
(1) “[The] absolute cannot be realized or experienced by another; only the absolute can realize itself.” (Sage Vasistha in Swami Venkatesananda, ed., The Concise Yoga Vasistha. Albany: State University of New York, 1984. 46.)
“Only God sees God.” (Muhyideen Ibn Arabi, Kernel of the Kernel. trans. Ismail Hakki Bursevi. Sherborne: Beshara, n.d. , 48.)
“Only grandeur appreciates grandeur: and God realizes God.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Anon., Life of Sri Ramakrishna. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama, 1977; c1924, 47.)
“Only God can know himself.” (Swami Brahmananda in Swami Prabhavananda, The Eternal Companion. Brahmananda. Hollywood: Vedanta Press, 1970; c1944, 205.)
“This space I produce that My Glory shall be revealed; yet I alone Realize that Revelation.” (Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Pathways Through to Space. A Personal Record of Transformation in Consciousness. New York: Julian Press, 1973, 18.)