A NEW DEFINITION OF THE MEANING OF "METAPHYSICS"

Traditionally, the word "Metaphysics" comes to us from Ancient Greece, where it was a combination of two words - Meta, meaning over and beyond, and Physics. Thus, the combination means over and beyond Physics. In the definition found in most dictionaries, Metaphysics is referred to as a branch of Philosophy that deals with First Cause and the Nature of Being. It is taught as a branch of Philosophy in most academic universities today under the label of "Speculative Philosophy ."

In today's world, however, the word "Metaphysics" has become a description of many fields of interest. When one expresses an interest in Metaphysics, that interest may be in any one or a combination of the following subjects:

Philosophy, Religion, Parapsychology, Mysticism, Yoga, ESP, Dreams, Jungian Psychology, Astrology, Meditation, Self-Help Studies, Positive Thinking, Life After Death, Reincarnation, etc.

The common denominator of these and all similar subjects, of course, deals with an exploration of Reality, and in the idealistic sense, how such knowledge may benefit human life on this earth, both individually and collectively. If, then, this is the aim of such interests, it is why most professional Metaphysical Practitioners regard Metaphysics as a Spiritual Philosophy of life. All but a very few practitioners in Metaphysics today have a pivotal point of some sort of Spiritual Philosophy in whatever system or teaching of Metaphysics in which they are engaged. It is important to understand this, especially when reviewing the legal technicalities of being a professional Metaphysician.

If we were to travel from one metaphysical teacher or organization to another, we would find people engaging in different things, all under the label of Metaphysics. This could be a wide range, such as yogis, mystics, psychics, readers, astrologers, channels, mediums, positive thinking teachers, meditation teachers, grapho-analysts, spiritual healers, self-help teachers, UF0 enthusiasts, etc. The range is wide, but, again, the basic denominator is the search for truth, purpose and meaning in life, which cannot be isolated from basic spiritual questions. All of these fields, therefore, are regarded as part of Metaphysics by the University of Metaphysics, in regard to its Doctoral Degree and to its other programs and affiliations with its students and graduates.

It is not the position of the university or its parent body, the Inter national Metaphysical Ministry, to take one phase of study over another, as it is the belief of the university that there are many paths a human may travel on the way to finding Truth. There is an old proverb which states, "No matter what path a man may travel, it is My Path; no matter where he walks, it leads to Me ."

In a more absolute sense, we like to think of Metaphysics as dealing with the basic questions of life, i.e., the relationship of man, mind and the universe, which leads to answers to the age-old questions of anyone who has truly paused to reflect on life by asking the most fundamental questions of all -- "Who am I; what am I; where have I been; and, where am I going?"

Excerpt taken from 
The International University of Metaphysics

 

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Another explanation below provided by the 
American College of Metaphysical Theology

What is Metaphysics?

Metaphysics is the science which investigates first causes of existence and knowledge. It seeks to explain the nature of being and the origin and structure of the world, uniting man's physical, mental, and spiritual character into its true nature of holism.

Through metaphysics, an applied psychology of religion has developed which has influenced the work of ministers and teachers in handling the emotional and physical problems of youth and maturity, and in dealing with the sick and dying. This facilitates a closer relationship between the work of the psychologist and that of the spiritual healer. In fact, the Doctor of Metaphysics, or Metaphysician, binds them into one, so that he is both psychological counselor and spiritual comforter and healer. The true Metaphysician is a combination of teacher, healer, and counselor, and espouses universal spirituality.

Many of our problems can be attributed to confused ideas and ignorance of our true interests. The great objective is to discover the laws of nature, to which we must adjust. Clarity of thought and moral insight are thus critical because all processes, including those of thought, rest on the firm foundation of truth.

By living day to day with metaphysical principles through the awareness of your thoughts, you discover that your are not a "victim" of circumstances. Instead, you acknowledge that life follows a natural pattern according to conscious and subconscious thoughts. Becoming consciously aware of that thinking is a fundamental principle of metaphysics.

 

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The Science of Metaphysics

Why do I speak of a "new" science of metaphysics, when schools of metaphysics have been around for centuries (the Rosicrucians) or millenia (the Yogis)? Metaphysics (as the term is used by transpersonal psychology, not philosophy) is not new, but a science of metaphysics would be something new. We can not assume that any or all of the ancient schools of metaphysics give us the truth. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't, and it is only with our experience in the here and now that we distinguish between truth and illusion.

One must give up scientific method and the Western mind (individual worth, critical mind) to become a modern Yogi or Shaman or Buddhist. Is it worth it? Even if the Yogis or the Chinese acupuncturists sometimes know the truth, it is only by using scientific method today that we know that.

Metaphysics is the study of consciousness, the one thing we all know. Any worldview which leaves no place for it is false by reductio ad absurdem. Everything other than experience is an inference or hypothesis. I do not attempt to explain or define "consciousness," and do not think it is possible to do so in terms of anything else. Instead we define other things in terms of it. For instance, I define the "Soul" as "a seat of consciousness." It is not the mind and not the body, so where do we go to study it? To mysticism and symbolic revelation.

Do we know that the Soul is distinct from the Mind? The nature mystic, like myself, finds temporary union in the consciousness of the wind or the mountain. Yet, the wind and the mountain are not alive, and have no Minds. So, consciousness and Mind do not necessarily go together. Even the greater part of our own Minds is off-limits to ordinary consciousness.

It was William James, the American Philosopher, who was the first modern Western intellectual to realize that the very same mystical states pop up in every culture, under every religion, every period of time. In other words, they are reproducible. Therefore, we have the beginnings of a science of the Soul. The Yogis call mystical states "Samadhi," which just means "union." Union is exactly what it is, a temporary union with another island of consciousness. I have experienced three of the ten Samadhis, and I shall stick to what I know. So this is only an introduction to the study of the Soul, also known as Metaphysics, not the last and complete word on the subject.

Samadhi saves us from solipsism. Solipsism means "knowing only ones own sphere of consciousness." The fact that the union is complete, though temporary, leads to the hypothesis of ONE. From One we came, and to it we shall ultimately return, when the stars come raining down and the galaxies collapse together at the end of time into the "big crunch." This is the Unitary Worldview. So Metaphysics is also the study of divinity.

One of these mystical states shows us the divine purpose which runs through all things. This state is sometimes called Cosmic Consciousness (see Richard Bucke's book by that name), but I prefer to call it The Illumination of Fire, since one distinguishing feature of it is the sensation of being filled and surrounded by fiery colored light, ranging from orange to red to violet.

I experienced it at age 31. A single pattern runs through all things, the meaning of life, the divine purpose of spontaneity, creativity, and grace. This is the divine purpose, not a divine plan. There is no one word for it in English. It is the glow of innocence. It is the first crisp evening of fall or the first warm day of spring, with the Mockingbird singing ecstatically and the first flush of green on the trees. It runs through all things. It is the spontaneity of a child playing alone in her sandbox, inventing the game as she goes. It is the grace of a flower, far more beautiful than it needs to be. It is the peak moment of an athlete, surpassing all expectations.

So, the study of the meaning of life is another part of Metaphysics.

If there is divinity and a meaning to life, why do bad things happen to good people? This is the classic problem of evil.

And how do we know that any of this can be treated scientifically? Well, we know that mystical states are reproducible, in much the same sense that supernovas are reproducible. And C.G. Jung shows that symbolic revelations are also reproducible.

C. G. Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst, was the first modern western scholar to take the content of symbolic material seriously. Freud was interested in the symbolism of dreams, but only as symptoms of neurosis, and not something worth studying in its own right. Jung was first to recognize the universality and reproducibility of the language of symbolism. In Man and His Symbols, Jung shows us the same archetypes in the untutored dreams of contemporary children, in medieval alchemy, in Hindu mythology, and in Persian folk tales. Joseph Campbell and Alan Watts have continued and extended this study of a vast and strange inner world, little appreciated until quite recently. How does Jung account for the universality of symbolic themes? He sees it as evidence for the collective unconscious, which I have called "the waters of life," or "the ocean," a realm of consciousness which could be called the collective Soul of humanity. Where is this collective Soul? Everywhere. Nowhere. Soul and divinity are not in nature, and thus have no size or position. Nature is in Soul, rather than vice versa. This is the Unitary Worldview.

The study of symbolism led Jung naturally to an interest in divination techniques, which are methods of retrieving or selecting symbolic material. He was struck by the apparently meaningful pattern that arose from random events, because all systems of divination have this in common. They all begin with random events, such as shuffling cards or tossing coins. There is a deliberate attempt to remove any possibility of conscious control or foreknowledge from the selection.

Yet something apparently meaningful and significant arises. Jung began to find such patterns of "coincidence" in his own life and in the lives of his patients, and coined a new word for it, "synchronicity." If synchronicity and divination are real and not some kind of illusion, then we have a mystery, but one easily understood if nature is a thought in the Soul of divinity. To put it another way, divination gives us one way to make an objective test of the Unitary Worldview.

Reproducibility and ruling out alternatives are the essence of scientific method, and it can apply here as well as anywhere.

Recall that I define Mind as "the non-physical part of a person, as seen by someone with really good HSP (like Karagulla's Diane)." And I have defined Soul as "that which is conscious." This also turns out to be the definition of divinity, since all the myriad pools of consciousness are at root ONE, as the droplets of Ocean are all Ocean. Then, what is "Spirit?" I define "Spirit" as the creative combination of that part of the Mind (it may only be part) which reincarnates, taking the center of consciousness with it. Thus, Mind+Soul=Spirit. What then is meant by "Spiritual Evolution?" Both the studies of UFOs and of Yogis leads to the belief that the normal functioning of the Mind can be changed. Thus, the Chakras can be modified, as can the flow of psychic energy through the Nadi (known to the Chinese as Meridians). The Mind can change the body; the Soul can change the Mind in fundamental, structural ways. In this way, a Yogi may be able to gain conscious control over levitation, apportation, dematerialization, and various other powers.


Copyright Thales of Miletus 1999
Thales Microuniversity Press
ISBN 0-914312-00-9

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