The further one grows spiritually, the more and more people one loves and
the fewer and fewer people one likes.
– Gale D. Webbe, clergyman and author (1909-2000)
It almost seems as if there is something missing from this quote, something additional that the person who captured the quote originally neglected to include.
But first let’s consider the concept of spirituality. In this sense of the word, we generally agree that spirituality refers to the incorporeal, that which is not a material part of nature. Whether the supernatural part of spirituality could be pure energy or something entirely separate from our understanding of reality is debatable.
Mostly it’s debatable because science tends to think of energy as something that may be harnessed to do work. Dark energy, a recently invented term to describe why the universe is apparently blowing apart faster than ever before, is accepted as energy because it’s a force that is actually doing something. As God or the supernatural can’t be proven by science to actually do anything (especially any kind of work), science disavows the supernatural as being pure energy.
Just because God or the supernatural can’t be proven by science to do work does not mean that it doesn’t exist, only that science cannot deal with it because it’s beyond the realm and purview of science. Science works almost entirely within the proverbial “box” thinking. Anything that does not fall within the “walls” of the box does not exist and will not be considered seriously by science.
Spirituality, by its definition, includes something that is beyond matter and beyond the thinking box of science.
What does it mean, if a person has grown spiritually? It means something that people who insist upon living their lives within the box cannot understand. They can’t even grasp the possibility or potential because–whether they realize it or not–they deny the possibility of existence beyond their box.
Imagine someone who has grown up living in one house. The person has never left that house, ever, in 35 years. All that person knows of the world is what he experiences in that house and what he sees out the windows. He comes to believe that what is inside the house is real, what he can see outside of the house may or may not be real (the way we think of movies), and what he may hear about what he cannot experience or see simply does not exist. It could not exist, he believes, because he has no way to comprehend existence beyond his experience and his senses.
Growing spiritually means experiencing beyond what box thinkers can conceive could be real. A person who has grown spiritually passes among people who have no grasp and who have had no inclination to understand or experience anything beyond the box walls of their lives. The spiritual person may love others in their life, recognizing them as part of the wholeness that is total existence. But he may find them hard to like because they are so simple, so limited, so ignorant.
A person who has grown so he or she has the ability to live in a spiritual existence will not dislike anyone. Yet they have no need to like others either. Does a grain of sand feel the need to like and be liked by other grains around it on a beach? The grain of sand, like the spiritual person, lives in a wholeness of everything, where sand, plants, animals, people and even the person himself is a component of the whole of existence.
We know that when plants and animals and people die, their bodies get recycled so the atoms that formed them become part of something else. We know that matter (stuff) can be changed into energy (such as by burning) and energy into matter (as proven by Einstein’s famous equation). It’s called the Law of Conservation. Nothing disappears, though it may change its form. What exists, continues to exist, whether as matter or as energy.
Box thinkers, non-spiritual people, believe the basic physics of this concept, but refuse to acknowledge its implications, its consequences for our lives and for all of existence through all of history. Is there nothing beyond matter and energy? If so, then there is nothing to you other than body cells and energy. That means nothing that is “you,” no personality, no non-physical life, nothing that can form relationships with others. Could a cell of your body or potential energy within your gut form a relationship with other cells or other forms of energy within you or elsewhere? Most of us would say no, meaning that there is more to us than cells and energy.
Spiritual people live in two dimensions (or universes, if you will), one tangible and sentient, the other totally beyond the senses and understanding of box thinkers. Moreover, the latter is beyond the comprehension of themselves. Yet that lack of understanding, that intangibility, that failure to grasp is not frightening. It brings peace.
Spiritual people cannot help but love others, all others. They are not afraid of what they don’t understand. After all, what they don’t like or understand about the tangible world is only temporary, an existence in transition. What matters to them is real and does not change markedly. It’s beyond understanding, outside the box.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for teachers and parents who want to help their children understand the realities of the world and realities beyond their understanding, but still within their ability to experience.
Learn more at http://billallin.com