By Steven E. Hodes, M.D.
Physician to Meta-Physician
On some level we are all metaphysicians. Although we usually live our lives from day to day, from stress to stress, there are times when we step back from the mundane and ask ‘Is there any purpose to existence?’ Frequently such questioning occurs at times of traumatic transition–birth, death, separations, divorce, firings and other highly significant, deeply emotional events.
Herwith I share some of insights I teach in my Contemporary Metaphysics courses:
*Acknowledge the innate desire of all of us to make sense of reality. Perhaps this arises from some primal fear of death and suffering. Traditionally religion has filled this role–science, as well, has arisen to uncover the mysteries of the physical universe.
*Acknowledge the value of skepticism versus blind faith. Seek evidence for your beliefs whenever possible. Don’t believe everything you read or hear, but don’t deny the possibility of extraordinary experiences of those you know to be reliable and sincere.
* View specific religious dogmas and doctrines from a historical/cultural and political perspective. Regard them as choices rather than ultimate truth–see religions as languages–suited to those who choose them but not as mandatory beliefs than can or should be imposed on others.
*Consider the healing aspects of religion. Understand the value of ritual and community that religion offers to allay human suffering and fear.
*Familiarize your self with some of the literature regarding the paranormal. Do not reject them without personally exploring the evidence for NDE [near-death experience], psychic abilities, the parapsychological literature, clairvoyance/remote-viewing [CIA and espionage funding], ADC [after-death communication], reincarnation, medium experience.
*Read the most reputable. Seek literature on these and related subjects as described by rational, highly-educated individuals who offer their own experiences and evidence for the validity of otherwise dubious subjects. Many of these began their investigations from the position of deep skepticism and have applied a rational ‘scientific’ approach to these subjects.
*Consider the Physical Brain and Concious Mind. Explore notions of the nature of mind/consciousness and its relationship to the possibility that it can exist separate from the physical brain. Consider the proposal that consciousness is a primary constituent of the universe itself.
*Take a soulful approach. Consider the notion of the soul and its relationship to the mind.
*See an expansive universe. Consider the notion of a Cosmic Intelligence or Mind which finds its description in a variety of terms including God.
*Be aware that there will be those highly critical and intolerant of such exploration. They are usually those who are deeply, blindly religious, or committed atheists, and closed-minded skeptics.
*Explore the findings of contemporary science. Biology, physics, cosmology which are leading many scholars and scientists to view the universe as living, interactive and organic rather than inert and machine-like.
*Examine your own unusual experiences. Explore those that have paranormal or spiritual elements. Find similar examples in the writings of others–share these topics with trusted friends and associates
*Encourage others to reveal their own private experiences. Give them a safe, non-judgemental opportunity to share. They may have supressed out of fear of the negative reaction of others.
*Find the metaphysical balance. Understand that the Metaphysical Postulate will limit your understanding of paranormal/spiritual phenomenon. It states that the further away you are from such an unusual experience, the less likely you are to believe it to be true. It applies to the lack of credibility of some TV shows, books and public speakers. It emphasizes the need for personal exploration and discussion with those who have not bias towards fabricating any experience.
*Consider Meditation and Prayer. Explore meditation and prayer as vehicles for touching your intuitive nature.
*Understand death as a transition. Begin to view death as a transition to another realm of consciousness and gradually lose fear.
*Explore the concept of karma and reincarnation. Consider them as explanations for the nature of reality, of the moral imperative, of the Golden Rule for behavior
*See the lessons in life. Regard life’s difficulties as challenges your soul undertook for the purpose of spiritual growth and evolution.
*Understand that evolution is the nature of the universe. It applies equally to spiritual and physical processes.
*Understand that life’s tragedies are not punishment for sin.. They are extraordinary opportunities for overcoming–seek the gifts of joy and beauty that replenish our soul.
*Admit we live in a broken world. Regard the universe as incomplete, broken and in need of human intention and completion. See yourself as a co-creator with Divinity.
*Let in God in human form. Understand that in the midst of suffering, others offer their love as Divine representatives.
*Understand healing as a metaphor for the human experience. Healing can be seen as a description of both the process and goal of all life. Healing becomes a perfecting of our souls as well as maintaining our physical bodies. Healing means viewing ourselves as part of the universe. It transcends the traditional notion of the physical body and must incorporate the mind and soul as well.
*Be open to explore alternative or complementary approaches to healing. Check things out, while maintaining the skeptics view to unsubstantited or unstudied claims.
*Honor medicine for all it’s good. Do not reject the tremendous achievements of science and technology in the relief of physical suffering. Rather, integrate them within a broader context which includes a holistic perspective.
*Embrace the role of metaphysician. It is a gift of human awareness. Enjoy the process of uncovering the nature of reality.
© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006
Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com