One of my favorite quotes is one that may or may not have been said by Albert Einstein.
It reads, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
Coming from a theoretical physicist, I find this statement to be particularly intriguing. The perceived and irreconcilable gap between matter and the intangible has mystified many scientists and philosophers from the earliest days of antiquity, and to some extent, continues to do so to this day.
Physical existence and its copious demands on our time and energy by default ensues a kind of stagnation in the depth of our consciousness. Due to an apparent lack in the human condition, we are unconsciously primed to view ourselves and the world through a lens with scarcity as the focal point.
Of course, as soon as the threat of a void hovers like a menacing cloud on the horizon, the motivation to hoard our resources or to acquire more blinds us to anything outside of that narrow lens—and this has been an unassailable and indisputable fact for us all. Scarcity is, perhaps arguably, the core and the seed from which all other maladaptive beliefs and corresponding behaviors stem from. Therefore, we tend to focus on the material world to the exclusion of any and all others, utilizing and overestimating the idea and relativity of time, the five physical senses, and the linear tool that is the analytic mind—unconcerned and even downright unaware of the more deeply-seated hole in our hearts.
However, despite the intergenerational patterns that have held us back since time immemorial, a greater number of us are now beginning to awaken, questioning the old order as well as the nature and purpose of existence itself. Furthermore, a portion in that population also seeks to cultivate a more personal connection to something beyond the tangible that is also unencumbered by dogma and fear—that is, a connection with what we refer to as the metaphysical.
Why this compelling desire? The answer, I believe, consists of three parts:
1. We are physiologically hard-wired in an evolutionary sense to need and desire belonging and self-actualization. This has been confirmed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow in his design of the hierarchy of human needs.
2. Many of us feel not-so-vaguely dissatisfied with the mundane and want to escape from it and therefore seek answers to deeper questions.
3. Human consciousness and the condition of life on this planet as we know it has become in most cases utterly intolerable in a multitude of ways—perhaps in part due to intergenerational traumas, poisonous collective beliefs, and previously established orders.
Whichever the case, this overarching need to grasp for more is debatably vital and even necessary for us to honor—even as some reputable scientists today continue to grapple with major questions regarding the exact origin and nature of consciousness.
Meanwhile, as it is true that there are and always have been many people who relish in the unknowable, most of us continue to remain skeptical regarding those same questions that these scientists still can’t quite answer and either shun or ignore all kinds of synchronicities and other occurrences.
Fortunately, I am not and have never been one of those people. My connection with most things spiritual has always felt intrinsic to my way of thinking and moving through this world. I hardly know where or how it began, but the unquenchable thirst to experience and understand things beyond the surface constitutes a significant portion of my psyche. I’d even go as far as to say that I cannot and do not gain any notable satisfaction engaging in the material world more than is necessary for my own maintenance and physical preservation.
Recently speaking, I’ve noticed that the more sense of meaning and connection I attempt to derive from the outside world, the less peace I actually find. Nothing “out there” seems to satiate me—at least not for long. Wherever I go, there I am, and if my consciousness has become obscured, I inevitably carry that state of being with me into whichever place or situation I happen to be in.
In the past, I used to unconsciously escape a feeling of emptiness through feeding love addiction, which led to some codependency, through complaining, comparing, judging, and avoidance via feeding a desire to escape through travel—believing that if I were only anywhere other than where I was, I’d find the answers through some life-altering epiphany whilst standing before a mountain in the middle of nowhere.
At the worst of times, I even filled this perceived state of emptiness with painful thoughts about heartache and the overall meaninglessness of existence that on some occasions made me fantasize about death. Not too long ago, I found myself lying in bed one morning in a depressed mood. After a torrent of dark thoughts swept through my mind, I heard myself say, I can’t handle my life. Just as quickly, however, I began to realize how absurd a thought that was. Then, I said to myself, how could I not handle my own life? Life is not “out there,” life is in here. All the things I call “my life” are only narratives I’ve created that are stories I continue to tell myself. Those narratives are not even real. The only thing that is real is what I can consciously perceive through the five senses in the here and now. The rest is mind-chatter via judgment. With that, I got up and went for a drive to a favorite place.
While there, I marveled at the seemingly newly discovered calmness I felt from within and chewed on a cornel of truth that was rapidly coming to make itself known to me. It dawned on me: when I clear the clutter and make space for pure presence, I could be nothing but sitting in my car as I was right then and there in a parking lot overlooking a green space and feel an inexplicable inner aliveness in everything and everyone around me.
In those fleeting yet nonetheless spellbinding moments, I recognize that although I am only an infinitesimal piece of the universe, I am also interconnected with all other beings and things in it. Together, I realize, all beings and things constitute the concept of God or “Source” and that, I know, is a powerful insight beyond measure.
It is also in these small moments of presence that I feel a sudden and bountiful expansion of unconditional love fill each and every crevice in my chest; a love, I reason, that is far deeper than any I could ever feel for any one person, place, or thing alone. In that space, all things enlighten and evolve in me because I know that all things essentially pass through me first.
Then, I feel an alert peace swim through the currents of dissension and intuitively understand that all matter and events “out there” are relatively benign compared to what I already have within. I become conscious of my body as a spacesuit and my mind an efficient computerized device that simply aids in my navigation through this world of duality and form.
The real me, I know, is beyond name and matter and thus cannot be conceptualized.
Although I cannot measure it, I can experience it firsthand through accessing this state of awareness, and that in itself is the foundation of empiricism.