Spirituality literally means being one with the spirit. Spirit, in general, refers to an ultimate reality which exists beyond the material realm. It cannot be observed or experienced directly through our physical senses. All religions claim to be expressions of spirituality. The religions dominating our society today originated well before the emergence of modern science. The founders who claimed to have experienced the spiritual reality either directly or through messengers, preached what that spiritual reality was like and what individuals should, and should not do if they wish to be one with the spirit and benefit from it. However, there was no way for them to objectively verify what it was. Therefore, for many, spirituality remained mystic, and is still taught in organized religions as a mystical phenomenon.
Most of what is being taught, e.g. God, soul, spirit, heaven, hell, karma, life after death etc, are presented as mystical phenomena. Most are inconsistent with modern science and rational thinking. Hence, to accept and practice what is taught as spirituality demands a blind faith, a faith in God who is said to be seated in a mystical space called heaven and therefore is incomprehensible to the scientific mind, a faith in scriptures of questionable authenticity, a faith in theories which have not been tested and proved by scientific means, a faith in various metaphysical elements which are unobservable, unscientific, irrational and illogical, and a faith in the preachers who do not practice what they preach.
In the modern scientifically trained human mind, such blind faith is almost non-existent. The modern mind tends to question every fact before accepting and putting into practice. Therefore, millions of men and women of such ‘scientific mind’ in modern society are deprived of the potential benefits of spiritualit—benefits which could make their lives more successful, peaceful and happier. However, the good news is that recent discoveries in modern science, especially in quantum physics, biology, neuroscience, transpersonal psychology, and scientific studies on consciousness and near-death experience, are now beginning to shed light on spirituality and de-mystify some of its key elements. It is expected that an understanding of spirituality in scientific terms will generate a new form of faith based not on beliefs, but on clear understanding. Such a faith is strong, firm and stable. Those who have such an informed faith are free from the heavy burden of unnecessary beliefs, rituals, traditions, customs and ceremonies performed by those who are driven by blind faith.
Motivated by faith based on scientific understanding, they know the meaning of each and every spiritual practice, how they work and how they contribute towards achieving their purpose of life. They can choose the practices that are necessary and relevant, and drop others. As long as spirituality remains a mystery and the seekers depend on organized religions for spiritual understanding, they can easily be misguided and misused by the leaders of one religion against another.
This is evident in many parts of the today’s world. Hence understanding spirituality in scientific terms can contribute to achieving world peace. It will also reduce the huge power of the leaders of some organized religious who misuse that power to achieve personal ambitions and to secure political, financial and social gains.
Clear understanding of spirituality in scientific terms will enable many people to see all religions as different pathways to the same goal, and to transcend religion and become global citizens, members of the global human family and an integral part of the universe. Thus, demystifying spirituality is a prime need of this era.
The award winning book ‘Spirituality Demystified: Understanding Spirituality in Scientific Terms’ presents spirituality in scientific terms in a way the modern mind can grasp and accept.
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