The Sacred and The Spiritual

Anil Mitra © June 8, 2010. LATEST REVISION © March 04, 2013

Home | Contact


Introduction. 2

Some ideas regarding spirituality. 3

What is spirituality?. 3

Spirituality and the individual 4

Spirituality and the community. 4

Sources of spirituality. 4

Spirituality as being andor becoming. 4

Spirituality and the sacred. 5

Spirituality and the mundane. 5

Spirituality, science, and common sense. 5

Secular humanism.. 5

Spirituality and religion. 5

Religion—the institutions and the ideal 6

Spirituality and metaphysics. 6

A Universal metaphysics. 6

Being. 7

Law.. 7

Universe. 7

Domain and complement 7

The Void. 8

Fundamental principle of the Universal metaphysics. 8

Basic consequences. 8

The concept of Logic. 8

Liberation and Logic. 9

The variety of being. 9

Universe. 10

Identity. 10

The normal 10

This world! 11

Doubt, faith, and hypothesis. 12

God. 12

Method. 13

Grounding. 13

Journey in being. 14

Incompleteness of ideas. 14

Essential transformation of being. 14

Journey in being. 14

Elements. Process / present. Ideas / intelligence / experiment. Enjoyment / nonlinearity. 15

Characteristics. Adventure / pain. Realization / dissolution. Transformation without end. 15

Meanings of ‘Journey’ 15

My life—my quest 16

Nature and the quest for vision. 17

A tradition of nature inspiration. 18

Nature / dream.. 18

In the shadow of mountains. 18

A shared Journey / in being. 18

Inner worlds. 18

The dimensions of the journey. 20



The idea of spirituality arises in connection with the thought that the world is a larger or greater place than the world of immediate appearances

The goal of spirituality is, first, to know and discover the greater world—the Universe. Is there an actual world that is greater than the world of common knowledge including science? If so, the aim of spirituality overlaps the aims of natural science and metaphysics. Perhaps, however, the greater world is not material but an inner world, a world of psyche; in this case spirituality and psychology overlap. Perhaps the greater world has outer and inner aspects; in that case the two may interact—perhaps the best knowledge results from their mutual and interactive cultivation

A contrary view is that there is nothing but fiction beyond the immediate world. Truthfulness requires that this possibility be acknowledged at the outset of a spiritual search; and the acknowledgement may empower the spiritual search

The actual situation is more complex. An individual may hold a position with a degree of commitment—the commitment may be ‘hard’ or ‘soft;’ he or she may be partial to more than one position; the degree of commitment my vary according to context and emerging awareness and knowledge; we think we know how to evaluate the positions (e.g. with reason) but, finally, regarding knowledge all Being, it is perhaps the case that we have no anchor or foundation

In addition to knowing or knowledge, spirituality has an ethical dimension: to know or judge what is good or ‘higher,’ and what is not good, in the Universe. ‘Judgment’ implies temperance since our moral sense may be limited (but can grow.) Spirituality does not stop at knowledge and morals but seeks, in addition to discovery in these dimensions, to cultivate what is good (‘higher’) in thought, behavior, and being. I.e., spirituality pervades everyday life; and in its ultimate form it is about realizing ultimates. Because knowledge of world and morals may be limited, it is probable that these endeavors shall require experiment in action and self-transformation

Spirituality has an individual side—the individual’s relationship with his or her own being and with all being. It may be a personal or individual search or relationship. The individual may turn to the tradition—science, metaphysics, religion, traditions that claim spiritual insight—for inspiration. Since, as is probable, the entire tradition does not know the entirety of being, the individual search has an extra-personal value: the individual may contribute to the tradition

The objective of this essay is to present a somewhat original view of the nature of the Universe and of spiritual life in which the word ‘spirituality’ will be deemphasized, not because the idea is empty but because the implied separation of the spiritual and the worldly will be seen to entail distortions. Instead of spirit, we emphasize Being—not because it is better or ‘more spiritual than spirituality’ but because it is a neutral and therefore non-prejudicial term (it will be necessary to shed Being of non-neutral connotations that it has acquired)

The rather new view is presented in the final section Journey in being; it is based on the development, in the second section, of A Universal metaphysics. This metaphysics is ultimate in a number of ways described in the development (this claim is transparent—explicit demonstration is provided so that readers may evaluate the claim.) Therefore the possibilities of the Journey in being are also ultimate

The metaphysics shows where we can and should be ‘hard’ with our views and where we have no choice (in truth) but to be soft

What is the view to be presented in this essay? A foundation is provided in the section on metaphysics, and the view itself is developed in the section Journey in being. The view that will emerge has the following characteristics, (1) The world of spirit is not a separate world—there is precisely one world, one Universe—and the word ‘spirituality’ is somewhat superfluous, (2) There is no limit on the variety of being and to be fully alive is an adventure in discovery and realization of being and includes discovery of and emphasis on what is of value; this adventure subsumes the notion of spirituality. It is not said that the traditional notion of spirituality is without merit but, rather, that that merit is part of a more comprehensive and complete exercise that is rooted in the (one) world

The discussion begins with some ‘awareness raising’ exercises that I used to improve my understanding

Some ideas regarding spirituality

The present section does not present any particular view of the nature of spirituality. The function of this section is to raise awareness of common views on spirituality so that the present view may be seen to address a range of relevant issues. Therefore, since it is not its intended function, this section will not provide detailed or specific answers to the issues it raises. In any case, although some concerns may be partially addressed, definitive answers to the issues require the developments in metaphysics and therefore it would be premature and ill-informed to attempt such answers in this section.

What is spirituality?

Spirituality—What is it? Different things to different people! But is there one meaning (or perhaps a few core meanings) behind the many manifestations? What would it take to provide an acceptable answer to the question of a single meaning?

A generic conception of spirituality may be given. It is very reasonable to assert that there is a world of higher value. The world is more than that which we know; this ‘more’ may be actual, psychic, or both; and, if both, there may be a relationship between inner and outer. The idea of spirituality, which has relations to science and metaphysics, is to know the greater world, know what is good in it, and to cultivate the good in thought, behavior, and being

Individuals differ as to the nature of this ‘greater world.’ Some hold that it is an actual world of spirit, e.g. a world of an afterlife—in a heaven or in a union with the ultimate. Others hold that there is a spirit world that pervades this world but that it is perhaps not accessed and perhaps inaccessible to the senses. Others hold that there are higher reaches of spirit in the sense of mind or psyche which uplift the conduct and experience of life; for such individuals the term ‘spirit world’ is metaphorical. These conceptions of the world of higher value are not exclusive. The metaphorical spirit world may be held to reveal the actual spirit world; alternatively, it may be held that the only spirit world is a metaphorical one. From our traditions of thought we sometimes think or feel that, even if we do not know, we have tools to know. However, there is a deep sense in which mind or psyche—cognition, feeling, emotion—does not get outside itself to find an anchor that provides stability and definiteness

Spirituality, then, concerns the spirit world—its nature and means or ways to access it. Certainly, religion provides one way of spirituality. In the present day, many people who acknowledge a spiritual dimension and a need do not turn to religion. Could it be said, however, that someone who is spiritual is also religious in some sense? That would depend on the conception of religion. Particularly, it would depend on whether religion referred exclusively to the traditional religions

Although it is reasonable to assert that there is some spirit world—actual andor metaphorical—not all people agree; for such people spirituality is a fiction

Science appears to define the world, to set limits to the possibilities. In the metaphysics developed below, it is shown, without contradiction with science, that the Universe is without limit in its variety. That is, the variety of being is infinitely greater than revealed in science. The idea of spirit, the higher or the luminous, does not require another world; it is revealed via mind, explored via being; the word ‘spirituality’ becomes superfluous

Spirituality and the individual

Spirituality and the individual—the search or quest for the spiritual

Spirituality and the community

Spirituality and the community—a shared quest

Sources of spirituality

Sources of spirituality—sacred places: places of inspiration and vision, places of wonder and worship, texts and rituals; spiritual ‘leaders;’ individual inspiration

Sources of spirituality—practices—meditation / yoga, shamanism / vision quest, mysticism… the spiritual catalysts; experiments and explorations

Spirituality as being andor becoming

Spirituality as a state of being, versus action, versus quest; prescribed versus experiment in light of insight, reason, and tradition; accomplishment versus path

In an open Universe, spirituality (as for religion) seeks not only state but also process; not only a fixed conception of the spiritual and the sacred (the higher) but also the meanings of these ideas

Spirituality and the sacred

Spirituality and the sacred; what is the sacred? Depending on the view of the Universe, the sacred is (1) On a material, limited view: a higher (highest) realization of the human psyche (even on the material view, there is openness,) (2) On an open view of the Universe, a higher (highest) realization of (human) being

Spirituality and the mundane

Spirituality and the mundane; what is the mundane? Is spirituality distinct from the mundane? Above? Manifest? Seeing the mundane in all its powers—the invisible made visible; education of gnosis and perception

The idea that the mundane and the sacred are distinct is emphasized from the limited material view of the Universe in which the world is mundane while spirit is an affair of the psyche. The spiritual improves the mundane but is distinct from it. Spirituality is practiced on Sunday mornings

On an open view, the mundane and the sacred are (will be) seen to be indistinct. The spiritual is the realization of the sacred; the sacred as immanent in the mundane; and in the elevation of the mundane. The spiritual infuses the week

Spirituality, science, and common sense

Spirituality and science—what is science and, specifically, what is its domain? Is it the entire Universe? Is today’s science final—answers from the nature (philosophy) of science and the history of science?

Spirituality, science, and common sense—some views. (1) All being is plain to see: there is no sacred, no spiritual world either in reality or in the psyche. (2) All being is plain to see: if the powers of perception are sufficiently acute. (3) A world of spirit is consistent with science of today or the future even though science contains everything because we do not have the computational power to see all the implications of science. (4) There is a world of spirit (and more) beyond science—at least the science of today (it is difficult to predict what the science of a thousand years from now will be like if there is one)

Secular humanism

Secular humanism—the view is that at bottom the world is the world of some science, that the goal of life is to live rewarding lives whose meaning is enhanced and interpreted in terms of by the sciences, arts, humanities, and a psychology of depth… and productive lives of shared endeavor… in which traditional religion and spirituality may be sources of inspiration but not of the nature of the real

Spirituality and religion

Spirituality and religion—is religion but one way of spirituality? What is religion? Is religion to be defined by example from the traditional religions? Study of traditional and experimental religions and spiritual ways. Or is religion to be defined by a concept that includes appropriate aspects of tradition but is not limited to them? An ideal concept perhaps but not limited by the limits of tradition… a concept that is not necessarily that of a pure institution but distanced from the ‘corruption’ that is hard to avoid in real institutions?

Religion—the institutions and the ideal

Idealized conception of religion—religion is the exploration and realization of all being, especially what is revealed to be of value, and necessarily experimental, by the individual and the community, and is powered by all dimensions of being—individual and communal powers (not limited to intellect or to mind or psyche in any limited sense and which may engage ‘body’ in its manifest and invisible aspects)

Spirituality and metaphysics

Spirituality and metaphysics—what is metaphysics?

The religious cosmologies: generally, we cannot here regard these as serious metaphysics; still, they are certainly possessed of suggestive and psychical value. Cosmologies of Hinduism, Brahman is Atman, lie on the cusp of the dogmatic, the speculative, and the rational

Pre-modern views of metaphysics—Aristotle: the study of being-as-being (note emphasis on being as unspecified rather than some particular kind such as mind or matter)

Speculative metaphysics—the metaphysics of Hegel and others

Rational metaphysics—the metaphysics of Kant (Kant’s goal was dually transcendental and rational and though he fell short of his goal, his insights were immense; Schopenhauer fell somewhere between rational and speculative metaphysics)

Analytic philosophy—the rejection of all speculative metaphysics and, in its early history, of all metaphysics—metaphysical speculation is not just wrong but without meaning; later the resurrection of metaphysics as a metaphysic of experience

European and other philosophies—variegated: the old questions are important but the old approaches must be refined (Heidegger and modern theologians,) or rejected: existentialism, no more grand narratives but local stories (and of course much more.) Thinkers of an analytic persuasion reject much of European thought as empty; this is probably a function of the academic turn of philosophy but also affects the analytic enterprise. Struggle is important even if meaning is vague (critique of analytic philosophy: while clarification of meaning is important, rejection of the invisible is impossible even according to the great rationalist David Hume. ) A final observation: speculation in metaphysics is analogous to hypothesis formation in science. It is mere speculation that is to be rejected; speculation is essential for creation of new ideas but must be followed by or occur in parallel with reason and whatever tests are available

A Universal metaphysics

This is an abbreviated version

The metaphysics is demonstrated. It reveals a Universe that has no limit of variety, extension duration. In other documents (Journey in being—visit and follow the link ‘In process version’) it is shown that the metaphysics explicitly captures the depth or foundation of being; it implicitly captures the breadth or variety. It is shown that there is no other metaphysics (except pretenders)


Being. Being is that which is there (exists somewhere and some-when.) There is being


Law. There are patterns. A law is our reading of a pattern that has some degree of universality. A Law is that manifest pattern


Universe. The Universe is all being. This concept of the Universe exists (more precisely there is a definite Object that corresponds to the concept and therefore the same word ‘Universe’ may be used to refer to both concept and Object.) The Universe exists. The Universe has no outside. Therefore, the Universe which is all being exists (in the sense somewhere, some-when) and contains all Objects and all Laws

Interesting consequences: Since there is no outside, there is no God or power that creates (created) the Universe. It would be a logical contradiction for there to be a God or external creator of the Universe. It is logically necessary that any God should be part of the Universe and not prior to or outside it

On the possible. What does it mean that something is possible? If something actually obtains then of course it is possible. What does it mean that an imagined state of affairs is possible when it does not actually obtain? It means that the state of affairs could obtain. What is the meaning of ‘could?’ Could there be flying elephants? Given the bulk an elephant, a flying elephant on earth would probably violate the laws of physics. If gravity were 1/320,000 of its present value a 20,0000 pound elephant would weigh 1 ounce and, if it were in an air chamber maintained at atmospheric pressure, it could probably use its ears to fly (at least clumsily—seeing an elephant learn to fly might be amusing to watch.) A flying elephant is normally a physical impossibility-on-this-earth but not an absolute physical impossibility. A flying elephant is logically possible because the laws of physics are not laws of logic. What does it mean that something should be possible relative to the Universe? That it could occur? Since there is no outside to the Universe, since there is no other circumstance ‘does not but could obtain’ has no meaning when talking of the entire Universe. Relative to the Universe, then, the only measure of ‘could obtain’ is ‘does obtain’—i.e., the only measure of ‘possible’ is ‘actual.’ Whatever is possible must be actual. It is trivial that the actual is possible; therefore, relative to the Universe, the actual and the possible are equivalent. This development is rather formal but is later seen to be significant

Domain and complement

Domain. Any part of the Universe may be called a domain. There are domains. The complement of a domain is the part of the Universe that is not part of the domain. Given a domain, there is a complement. If a domain exists (i.e., if there is an actual domain corresponding to a concept) the complement exists

Interesting consequences: The existence of creative forces and gods within the Universe does not violate the concept of Universe. It is not a contradiction of the concept of Universe (or of logic) that one part of the Universe should create another part. Though now seen as merely logically possible, these logical possibilities acquire material significance in what follows

The Void

Void. The complement of the Universe, which contains all being including all Objects and Law, is the absence of being which contains no Object or Law. From the existence of domains, conclude that the complement of the Universe, now labeled the Void, exists

Consequences are so varied and momentous that they occupy a number of sections that now follow

Consideration of entailments begins with a restatement of the above conclusion regarding the Void

Fundamental principle of the Universal metaphysics

Fundamental principle of the Universal metaphysics. The Void which is the absence of being exists and contains no Object or Law

Basic consequences

Basic consequences. If from the Void there is some state of being that does not emerge, that constitutes a Law of the Void. Therefore, every state of being must emerge from the Void. The Void is equivalent to every state of being. There is no limit to the actual states of being. There is no limit to the variety, extension and duration of being in the Universe. The Void and the Universe are equivalent. The Void state is a state of the Universe. The Universe alternates between the Void and manifest states. If the Universe is in a Void state, a manifest state must emerge (why there is and must be something rather than nothing—called by Heidegger the fundamental problem of metaphysics and unsolved in modern metaphysics thus trivially resolved and as seen in the publication Journey in being this allows the real problem of metaphysics and its meaning to emerge: To determine the Objects that have being which is significantly though not quite as trivially resolved )

The concept of Logic

The concept of Logic. The previous section contains a certain imprecision. What does it mean to refer to a ‘state of being?’ We can talk implicitly. However, if we talk explicitly then we have some concept (conception) of a state of being. Then: if I have a conception of a state of being, it must exist (somewhere, some-when.) But what if my conception is ‘an apple that is green and not-green?’ Surely an apple cannot be both entirely green and entirely not green? The principle of non-contradiction, a principle of logic, states that an assertion cannot be both true and false. The concept of logic—in one of its conceptions and as distinct to science whose assertions can be false—is that of necessary truth. However, ask why can an apple not be green and not green? Even if the assertion seems absurd to me, there may be exceptions that I cannot imagine. Every ‘axiom’ of logic has been criticized—even non-contradiction which is most basic (in common axiomatic systems its violation entails ‘inflation:’ every assertion is true; still there are non-inflationary systems that allow violation of the principle.) Therefore, since we are not entirely sure of the validity of any principle, turn tables, and define Logic to be that which conceptions must satisfy in order to have the possibility of referring to something. This conception, Logic, appears to be empty since it seems as though it is a mere definition but it is not empty since the traditional and modern logics are approximations to it. We can now assert that the only limits on the conceptions of being are the limits of Logic; or: there are no actual limits on being

Therefore states of affairs exist if they satisfy Logic (principle of variety) and only if they satisfy Logic (concept of Logic.) The only universal law is Logic; or: there is no universal Law; or: metaphysics and Logic are identical

Liberation and Logic

Commonly logic is seen as restrictive; men admonish women for not being logical; women admonish men for maintaining an exclusively logical façade (these are of course stereotypes in terms of which sexual politics sometimes play out but men and women could liberate themselves from these chains: as Jung suggested a good objective for a personality type is integration of the opposite or the shadow)

Here, we see Logic as being the most liberal of all ways of seeing—all limits. The distinction is What is allowed by Logic is real (liberal) versus Only what is required by logic is real (nothing is real, real conservative)

Because of the connotations of ‘Logic,’ perhaps a new word is indicated. Because of the power of the concept, I currently choose to retain the old word

The variety of being

Details of the variety of being include the following

There is an infinite number of cosmological systems. An infinity of systems is identical to ours and in the same time and place (this violates the principle of identity of indiscernibles but that principle is not logically necessary.) An infinity is identical to ours except time or place. There are infinitely many systems that are similar to ours. On some systems the stories of the Bible are true (except contradiction,) on others the stories of Koran are true; this gives no particular support to their truth on Earth. Repetition addresses Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return while also saying something regarding the idea of karma

There is an infinity of systems that exhibit an unlimited variety of forms and ‘physical laws;’ there are annihilator systems that annihilate a cosmos in an instant; this annihilation function can be performed by the Void; there are even now ‘ghost’ systems passing through ours with barely a whisper

The identical systems may be ghosts but the interesting case arises when they are not and there may be consequences for coherence and (at least apparent) self-interaction. Every cosmos is an atom, every atom a cosmos

These varieties probably pale before the actual variety: the transition between the Void and manifest forms is simultaneously one of absolute indeterminism as well as absolute determinism (defined in the non-traditional sense that every possibility is realized; and the transition has incremental variation and selection as well as single large step variations to mostly unstable but occasionally near stable, near symmetric states—a perfectly symmetric, absolutely stable state would constitute eternal being and be a violation of the existence of the Void that can and will annihilate every state of being—except the Void itself whose ‘annihilation’ is itself)

Every particle of being has an interaction with every other particle (which may be so small as to have no normal effect)


In the development of the metaphysics the Universe will be conceived as all being (over all duration and extension; and thus there is one Universe.) There is some initial arbitrariness to how the Universe should be conceived. Should the Universe be thought of as the empirically known world or perhaps the physical universe or the universe at a slice of time? In such cases it is not clear that there is one Universe. Or should be go with Johannes Scotus Eriugena and conceive the Universe as everything that exists and everything that does not exist—over all time and space? Eriugena’s conception is intriguing but it raises the possibility that the Universe does not exist (since the only concepts for which there are no Objects are those that are logically impossible, the phrase ‘everything that does not exist’ in Eriugena’s definition is superfluous and his definition is equivalent to the present one.) It will turn out the Universe as conceived here is the one that enables the development of the metaphysics (and is therefore conceptually and instrumentally sound)

This is in fact a familiar theme—the theme that conceptual or descriptive simplicity determines ‘facts.’ We now know that the Sun is at the center of the solar system (the correct claim is that the center of the solar system is its center of mass but because the Sun is so massive that the two centers are close.) However, we know from the concept of relative motion that if one object has a motion relative to another then the second can equally be described as having motion to the first. What is the resolution of the dilemma? It is simply that the simplest description of the dynamical behavior of the solar system emerges when the Sun is taken to be its center (and this is why the Ptolemaic description with Earth at the center is so complex)

That every particle interacts with every other gives dynamic meaning to the phrase ‘one Universe’


Finally, and of especial significance to the journey, there is what I have called the principle of Identity and is also an element of Vedanta: the individual is equivalent to and will realize all being (in the external world and already in the depth of the internal)

The fundamental principle implies that every individual will realize ultimate being (though perhaps not in ‘this’ form.) I have called the latter assertion the principle of identity

While this principle is directly implied by the fundamental principle, it is also implied by the fact that every particle of being interacts with every other particle

The normal

The normal. Does this not seem to violate all common sense, all we know about the stability of the world, and what we learn from science? No. I will not go into details but the basic argument is that of David Hume. In fact the emerging metaphysics requires our world; science reveals our world and is required by the emerging metaphysics; but our world and science do not project to all being; what we think of necessary (except Logical necessity) is merely very probable over local scales of extension and duration; similarly the impossible (except Logical impossibility) is merely very improbable; but in the infinity of being our cosmos recedes into being but a speck among a greater variety

The normal. The metaphysics appears to contradict science and common sense; in fact, however, the metaphysics supports what is valid in science. Science describes normal behavior; normal necessity is characterized by high probability in an appropriate domain and not by strict necessity

The reader who wishes to see a logical argument that the metaphysics does not contradict science and common sense is referred to the thought of David Hume (an enquiry concerning Human Understanding, 1748.) Hume’s argument is that there is no logical necessity to any projection of the patterned behavior to the entire Universe. Simply, if we have not experienced the entire world we cannot know from logic that the entire world fits any expectation from observation. Thus it is entirely consistent with science (and logic) that there are ghost worlds, that the universe of modern science is a speck in relation to all being (it does not follow from this consistency that ghost worlds and so on exist such an inference is not made here.) Still, many persons will have an intuitive objection to infinite arrays of ghost worlds (and other aspects and implications of the metaphysics.) It is therefore perhaps important to understand the nature of this intuitive or psychological sense

Our immediate world has certain patterns and structures and it is natural that our cognition should be attuned to it. We would hardly be able to function otherwise. This is one source of resistance to the unfamiliar. However, our cognition has another facet. It is characteristic of human being to be able to adapt to new environments—physical, cultural, aesthetic, moral and intellectual. The tension between attunement and the ability to re-attune may make for strangeness and difficulties in transition but the ability is there (it is perhaps adaptive that such transitions should not be too easy.) Another related source concerns not just the patterns but our pictures of the world as a whole. This picture may be intuitive; it may be informed by science or religion. It is intrinsic to its being a picture-of-the-world-as-a-whole that there is nothing outside it. Therefore the normal imagination may feel unspoken resistance at the idea of something outside that picture

On the other hand a scientist whose picture of the world may be explicitly wrapped up with his or her science may feel explicit resistance to another picture. I do not want to paint a picture of scientists that is too limited or too black and white. Of course scientists question their intuition and of course scientists have philosophical interests (some more than others) but it is also a phenomenon within the scientific community that there is reaction, perhaps natural reaction, to new scientific theories—especially those that revise our fundamental conceptions of nature

I hope it is recognized that it is not my objective in these paragraphs to be merely critical or to paint a caricatures. My objective has been to identify sources of the stability of intellect and to point out that such stability typically entails intuitive and sometimes explicit dissonance with views that go against an ingrained or prevailing view

This world!

I wonder—is my interest in the ultimate a detriment to myself or to this world? Do I owe the world my time spent on more immediate concerns?

There is a moral answer. Perhaps it is the case that every individual should make some immediate contribution; and it is also perhaps the case that everyone deserves some enjoyment. The social world requires sustenance but one of the points to life, at least in my view, is enjoyment. I have worked as a teacher in various universities for over ten years and have provided care for nineteen years in a psychiatric hospital (perhaps I am lucky that I enjoyed that work.) For enjoyment, then, I have a passion for ideas, for nature, and for people (and these passions are interacting—some inspiration for ideas comes from nature and people)

There is a second moral answer. I believe that ideas contribute to the world as much as more immediately practical work. It is more than that ideas have practical consequences. Ideas contribute to appreciation, enjoyment, and the quality of life. And enjoyment is practical because it improves the quality of ‘practical’ work. Not everyone finds ideas to contribute to their enjoyment. Human beings are varied in their propensities. I think it enough that some people get enjoyment from ideas

Finally there is a somewhat metaphysical answer that questions the meaning of the phrase ‘this world.’ 15,000 years ago the typical human niche was the immediate hunter-gatherer environment. Today we are a global community; some of us have aspirations to space travel and colonization (it seems impractical today but considering the transition from 15,000 years ago it I do not see why it should remain impractical)

It is perhaps a metaphysical thought that the immediate and the ultimate are intimately connected. I had intuitions and glimpses of the Universal metaphysics many years ago. It was only in 2002 that I had the insight that permitted transition to reason. The landscapes initially revealed were experienced as strange and wonderful. The Universal metaphysics reveals, perhaps even more powerfully than modern science, the intimate and awesome connection between big and small, the infinite and the infinitesimal, the eternal and the moment. Today, the intellectual aspect of the ultimate has become more commonplace for me. However, under the right circumstance wonder returns—sometimes without expectation, sometimes stimulated by beautiful music, sometimes sparked by a white cloud in a blue sky over green hills, and sometimes occasioned by a glass of wine. I am perhaps fortunate that wonder at the infinite has not dimmed wonder at the immediate world of small things—a blade of grass in spring, a feminine shape, an evening sky

In a subsequent section I reflect upon the reflection in psyche of connections between the Universe and this world

Doubt, faith, and hypothesis

One source of doubt already addressed is the apparent contradiction of science. Another is the magnitude of the conclusions. The latter is not a logical doubt but it is one that makes criticism especially important

The main doubt concerns the proof of existence of the Void. In the longer document, Journey in being, a number of alternate proofs are given; yet doubt is not entirely eliminated

Faith is therefore introduced, not as belief in unproven or absurd ideas, but as that attitude that is conducive to the greatest outcome. Given the magnitude of the metaphysics, it may be regarded also as a hypothesis under whose illumination ultimates may be approached, realized. In Section Journey in being, realization is not given to a being in its present form even though it is guaranteed in some enhanced form. Even if the demonstration of the metaphysics is valid, faith is conducive to realization


From tradition we receive various notions, conceptions of God. Animism. The God of the Bible and the Koran (even though Christianity proclaims monotheism, the Bible is full of manifestations of the one that are treated deistically.) The non-God of Buddhism. The polytheism of Hindu practice; versus the abstract conceptions of the philosophies of Hinduism

Philosophy / theology. Personal God. Abstract. Humankind-Universe distinct from God. God as force; significant; omnipotent and so on. Pantheism (everything is God.) Panentheism (God is in everything.) Atheism: no God. Science is often taken to suggest no-God, but Hume shows this immensely wrong (the inference.) The proper evaluation of traditional plus reflective plus scientific reason and experience so far is that metaphysics and God are open

Psychology. God as embodying human principle; the highest; ideal to which ideal human psyche aspires

What is derived from these thoughts? The suggestion that God / no-God and the nature of God is to be posited. That we know what the concept of God should be and that our response shall be to accept / reject / claim ignorance. That God is so high that we can name but not think God. A patient in a psychiatric hospital says ‘I am God;’ we label him delusional; philosophically, however, we should be labeling ourselves ignorant for deploying flat / archaic notions of God. Philosophical thought allows us to think we have achieved sophistication whereas we merely stake out some positions (perhaps eliminating some from reason.) The psychological principle is interesting but does not exclude realism with regard to God

Metaphysics. The metaphysics shows that, with some restrictions, e.g. no God the mover of the entire Universe, the concept of God is open. Reason suggests (adaptation) that some notions are more probable. The concept and being of God is an adventure of discovery, thought and realization. This is entailed by Journey in being / metaphysics that provide some framework but leave actual discovery / realization open to and requiring adventure and discovery (the framework is already seen in Vedanta which lacks the logic / detail / realism of the present development. The Journey is taken up below. We may think of God as the high or highest principle that lies dually in the world of value and Being; however, we will approach the Journey without use of the word ‘God.’ It is useful, however, to have some discussion of God because what is valuable in the idea may then be seen to be subsumed in the Journey


Metaphysics. Abstraction—I know the Universe with perfect faithfulness because detail that is capable of being distorted is suppressed; this does not require suppression of the fact of distortion.  Concept and system formation—experiment with concepts and articulated systems of concepts, especially analysis of and experiment with meaning and choice of concepts

Local disciplines. Methods for the metaphysics may be applied to the local disciplines; if detail is suppressed, abstraction may result in perfect faithfulness; however, detail is sometimes needed and then perfect faithfulness is not achieved. Sources are the local disciplines and their methods. Framing by the metaphysics enhances development of the disciplines and their methods. Every context of knowing has inherent limits that may be approached


In this very brief version, critical analysis of the foundation of the metaphysics remains barely touched. In full versions, a mode of abstraction is the key to foundation. The metaphysics, however, remains abstract. Human (animal) experience and, especially intuition, provide an approach to grounding in human being. In this meaning, which derives from that of Kant, intuition is our extraordinary but common faculty of common knowledge such as the ability to perceive in terms of space and time. In this brief account, ‘intuition’ is used in other sections in a different and more common day-to-day meaning

The metaphysics provides a chimera of a foundation without foundation. It is shown in other documents (Journey in being) that there is in intuition / experience a given that requires no proof. A brief version of this proof is given in the previous Sub-section Method. The foundation of the metaphysics is therefore absolute and in showing this the fallacy of foundationalism-in-something-else is shown

Journey in being

This section is the substance of this essay. The metaphysics is foundation

In undertaking a journey in being I have not thought ‘this is my spiritual journey;’ instead I have thought ‘this is my journey of discovery and transformation.’ However, at least parts of the journey could be thought of as spiritual

In the journey, however, spirit is neither emphasized nor de-emphasized. The virtue of reference to Being is that it includes all aspects of the world and makes no artificial distinctions between this and that world. Identity with the ultimate necessarily includes what spirit there may be. As seen the way to the ultimate is not linear. There are side travels, dead ends; an apparent dead end may later open up; goals and ideals change as terrain is covered, vision expands; the process is an end; these are the characteristics of the journey or adventure in being

The discussion is brief. Brevity is good because it shows the whole in clear relief. Brevity is possible on account of the Universal metaphysics which provides direct answers to many issues of spirituality and renders others superfluous

Incompleteness of ideas

Ideas have been important in my life but have not been my single passion or goal. I like to say that I have three passions: ideas, people, and nature. I am passionate about some forms of art; a list of interests could be continued but, on account of my incomplete knowledge of what is there in the entire Universe (inner-outer) I should perhaps say that my passions are Be-ing and Be-coming. When my ideas reached an ultimate form, I had the following idea—even though I have seen some aspects of the ultimate, thought is a shadow in relation to Being

Essential transformation of being

The idea emphasized a personal importance of what I had begun to call a Journey in being. It was remarkable that thought showed that the possibilities and actualities of being are without essential limit

Journey in being

Journey in being. Every individual realizes and becomes the foregoing variety (even if not in ‘this form;’ this is shown in the metaphysics.) That this happens is necessary; that it should happen without effort (trying, journey, discovery) is immensely improbable in comparison with the quest ‘for being’ (rooted in metaphysics, local disciplines and practices, intelligence and design.) The metaphysics suggests ways; there is further suggestion and support from the accumulated tradition of knowledge and insight including that of modern culture (humanities, science, instrumental and depth psychology) which are enhanced by experiment and metaphysics. The religious, spiritual, mundane path is the Journey in being

Necessity and normalcy. We have seen that this is necessary and normal. We tend to live under the implicit reign of standard paradigms; to see in those terms; and thus secular men approach the end of life, confirm this secular reality as the reality with no outside and therefore no thought of an outside, of the outside here revealed (as also in mystic and other insight.) These men confirm and affirm the light that has guided their lives and they die, happy or sad, with the hint of a greater truth diminishing to zero

The ultimate. In this brief version, on account of the open view of the Universe, the idea of higher and highest are specified implicitly. The tradition and the present developments suggest directions of sacred being. Actual realization and discovery are the journey in being

Elements. Process / present. Ideas / intelligence / experiment. Enjoyment / nonlinearity

The metaphysics, even when supplemented by local disciplines of our traditions, suggests approaches to realization but does not show a clear path to realization. The metaphysics and other considerations suggest that the likelihood of realization is immensely enhanced by (1) Being grounded in enjoyment of the present, (2) Ideas alone are insufficient and incomplete—there will be use of ideas and intelligence to guide activity and essential experiment and transformation, and (3) Enjoyment of process and acceptance of its probably essential nonlinearity. ‘Nonlinearity’ does not mean that there will be no goals or directions but that goals and direction will be subject to re-vision and re-conception; and there will be dead ends and fresh starts; and side travels perhaps taken up for their own enjoyment; and there will likely be diversion and dissipation that, instead of remaining in a shadow region, may (or may not) contribute to and are (or not) the journey

Characteristics. Adventure / pain. Realization / dissolution. Transformation without end

Adventure and enjoyment are essential; pain is neither sought nor avoided. There is always realization and dissolution. Non-being and ultimates are impermanent. Process and the possibility of adventure and transformation in endless vistas remain

Because ideas will inform the transformations the concept of Being remains instrumental in the journey of realization. And because I remain in ignorance of the actual variety and its infinity, Being serves me as simultaneous reminder of my ignorance and of potential

Meanings of ‘Journey’

I use the word ‘journey’ in the following senses

First, it is the story of the author’s journey of discovery in ideas and realization of being. Discovery has covered much terrain from the tradition of ideas and working out of systems; I have worked in the light of many ‘paradigms’ from materialism, to evolutionism, to idealism and finally shed all paradigms to arrive, finally, at a place which is not informed by paradigm. The essential virtue of being as I use it is that it simply refers to what is there without saying that it is of this or that kind such as matter or mind or word or value. There have been numerous fresh starts, forks, side trips, dead ends, resumptions of approaches abandoned. Realizing the conceptual value of being was one of the early points in the creation and discovery of the metaphysics and related developments. ‘Journey’ is appropriate to the discoveries. The ideas are now mature and though the result of a process they are presented systematically in Chapters titled Intuition through Worlds (and later in Method.) Realization and transformation have some basis in the metaphysics; however, transformation proper is in what I hope is an early stage. Therefore, the Chapter Journey has both in-process and systematic aspects. ‘Journey’ is appropriate to the early work in transformation and I anticipate that it shall continue to apply to the continuing adventure

In a second sense the Journey in being is the universal realization of ultimates in identity by an individual and through ideas and essential transformation. In a third sense ‘Journey in being’ is the title of a particular narrative. Perhaps my experience may provide some motive to other persons in their own travels. I expect, however, that every process will have universal as well as unique aspects (the infinite variety of being.) Some individuals may find the words ‘spirituality’ or ‘religion’ appropriate to the endeavor. I am comfortable with the use of these words except for certain of their connotations. ‘Spirituality’ is sometimes suggests another realm—another dimension or an inner and personal space; the metaphysics shows and my personal inclination suggests that there is a single connected realm; and that, of course, there is a world of inner experience and while sharing that experience is a matter of choice, I hold and the metaphysics shows that there is an essential connection between the ‘inner’ and the ‘outer,’ and that sharing is in the enterprise is important. Regarding religion, I reject the thought that received pictures define the Universe even though they may provide glimpses of parts of it. On account of ‘endless variety’ dogma aborts experience and discovery. ‘Journey in being’ reminds me that realization shall not take place only in light of the great traditions of thought but that despite this greatness the tradition remains a speck and that discovery in ideas and being shall remain ever essential

My life—my quest

My life—my quest. I can now say, because I now realize: my life has been a quest for being and vision, for becoming and perceiving (there has been of course much diversion and much dissipation as well and I cannot say that the diversion and dissipation has been inessential; there has been enjoyment and emptiness in love and work; but, now less and now more, the quest has been ever present)

Roots. My father was materialist-atheist (toward the end he wished that he could be otherwise;) my mother was spiritually inclined, rooted in this world, inspired by elements of Christian (and other) faith taken non-dogmatically. Although my formal education emphasized science and mathematics and technology, and then the humanities, I was at no time entirely persuaded that there is no spirit world (somewhere along the way I arrived roughly at Hume’s argument against the necessity of all contingent truth even when such truth is practical in many day-to-day affairs and therefore may seem all pervasive.) I was exposed to Christianity over twelve years of school (Carmelite nuns, Jesuit priests;) my father would take us to the traditional religious festivals of West Bengal (the main popular festival, ‘Durga Puja,’ takes in autumn, toward the end of the season of rain;) I was exposed to the mythology and a little to the philosophy of Hinduism; and I must have absorbed something of the tradition by immersion in the culture of India and, particularly, of West Bengal. Traditional belief did not speak to me at a conscious level (today, however, I am able to see and hear truth in tradition even behind dogma) and therefore my cultivation of the spiritual was unnamed, private, and significantly unconscious. However, I was not untouched by religious art, architecture, places, and ritual

Early thought. My early thought emphasized the material side and evolution; this side dominated but did not suppress the other side. This thought matured by 1986-88; by 1989-90 I became dissatisfied with ‘materialism;’ though significant, I began to see evolution and temporality as inadequate bases for philosophy and metaphysics. Evolution (process) and materialism are not self-contained

Then. It was then that I began a search for being as a whole. The story is long the paths multiple and varied. I thought that, on account of its neutrality, the idea of being might liberate my thinking from its inclination toward substance and particularly to scientific materialism; and that an atemporal view might provide the foundation for which I had previously turned to evolution. I searched through consciousness for a view of being beyond time; I felt that equivalence of Void and Being was the answer to such a view; and that this position would be the basis of an understanding of All Being; this remained intuitive. Intuition received support though not confirmation from science. Theoretical physics (Newtonian gravitation) shows that ‘something from nothing’ is not absurd: creation of a cosmos does not violate conservation of energy when negative gravitational energy balances matter energy.

Nature and the quest for vision

Nature and the quest for vision (and spirit.) Mystic vision. One day, 1999, summer, carrying a pack up the Stuart Fork Trail, Trinity Alps, N. W. California. Brown earth, sunlight through trees, climbing, no effort, birds in an out of sunlight and shade: a calmness occupies my being and, at once, I know: zero = one = infinity (metaphor,) I feel: I am all being, I experience: all as one, interconnected. This is of course mystic insight but not proof

Positive reason. The ever present rationalist side now asserts itself in a positive way. It does not say: absurd; it says: but how do you know in a way that can connect to the everyday. You can connect to the everyday by talking in terms of common ground: making the invisible visible. That is precisely what science and reason do (positively; and not merely in their paternalistic negativistic mode; note also that I am, on one side, reflexively rational—while also other—and therefore this talk of science and reason as an element in the invisible to visible is explanation in terms of a conscious level of what was significantly instinctive)

An aside on over-rationality. The negative application of rationality aborts the positive. It is occasionally necessary, often good (and of course sometimes not good,) to suspend the rational to allow emergence of truth (which may then be affirmed by reason.) Clearly some judgment and risk is involved in suspension of rationality; sometimes a brief suspension is sufficient, other times years is required between suspension of the negative application of reason and the emergence of truth via imagination, insight and positive application of reason. Judgment (and fortune) are there in that the entire picture is never entirely within conscious reason which can only take in a part of the picture; risk is there, perhaps, in that the period of suspension may displace other things and may exceed that of a lifetime leaving the individual with a quest unfulfilled. This is a risk that an individual takes in the hope of realization, perhaps in the service of life as a whole; perhaps, though, the process is its own reward. Even in fulfillment, the process is fulfillment

Another example of inspiration in nature. Go back to 1986. Two weeks in the Trinities. I had been seeing material / evolutionary explanation everywhere. In the Trinities, I arrived at a complete vision of this kind of explanation which, upon return home, I thought and wrote out as a narrative Evolution and Design (which I now see as immature and not well written but which contains some insights; I have learned much from this and many, many exercises of the type)

Nature has been inspiration and insight in my life over and over; it is natural to me; when I was a child and even today, landscape is spirit as is sky and ocean; nature has ever been inspiration for ideas as well as when facing a life problem (the nature of being, thorny personal relationships.) While I talk of the inspiration of nature as though it were merely inspirational, perhaps its greatest instrumental strength for me derives from the fact that nature is for me psychical and physical inspiration

A tradition of nature inspiration

A tradition of nature as inspiration. I grew up in India where, perhaps unlike the West, there is an ancient tradition of ‘forest wisdom.’ The tradition of turning away from society and its chains on vision to nature and its positive inspiration, freedom, and liberation from the chains of social constraint (with consequent return to society to share insight) has points of contact with the vision quest of shamanism (in India there is the samana or forest ascetic, example: Buddha.) I do not know that there was a conscious influence on my development

Nature / dream

1978. Earth was invaded by an alien swarm / Who left behind a deadly fallout / Humans went to live below / The surface of earth— / Shutting behind them doors of steel /  / I sought others—but found none… / I lived by Mountains, Lakes / Winters, Snows and Red Sunsets / I sought for / And was able to arrive at / Some understanding of Truth /  / Years later when / Survivors emerged, / I was able to communicate / What I had learned

In the shadow of mountains

In the shadow of mountains. Now, 2002, October: I approach my favorite coffee shop just after dawn in Weaverville, Trinity County, California. I have been experiencing the night and dawn sky amid the hills when suddenly, again, I know (an approach to resolution of the impasse in intuition.) I had been trying to show that the universe (the cosmos, the universe of science…) is equivalent to the Void; now I see that I must look directly at the Void and its properties; immediately I see that the Void contains no law: this was the insight that enabled the transition from intuition as mystic insight to the common ground of reason. The full realization and development of the significance of this insight has taken a number of years (see the longer document Journey in being for developments in Intuition, Metaphysics, nature of Objects, Cosmology, Local Studies, Journey and its ways including the way of nature-vision, and Method)

A shared Journey / in being

A shared Journey in being—society. I do not suggest that this way, whatever it is and as including the way of insight in nature, of intuition and imagination and this common ground of reason, is the way. I look forward to action; to a shared journey

Inner worlds

The phrase inner world means, roughly, the world of the psyche. We think of ideas and emotions as having a different mode of being than things (in material terms, even if they have a material signature in brain processes they are not or do not seem to be material.) Later, we will see this mode of thinking to be in error. We will later see that experience and other Objects of the psyche do not have a different mode of being. Of course, there are differences and it will be necessary to identify the difference, to show that it makes for the nature of experience, to explain how it makes for the seeming divide between experience and what is experienced, and to show how the difference / apparent divide does not constitute a different mode of being (e.g. material versus mental)

In this section the interest is exploration of the inner world

A first reason for the interest is that that exploration may provide clues to the nature and variety of the Universe as a whole. We read in Vedanta of the identity between Atman and Brahman, between self and Universe, between experience and the real. If we feel discomfort with this identification taken literally, that is a good thing: if we accept a faulty formulation of relations between world and experience, then conclusions based on that formulation may be incorrect. However, it is true that the world of phenomena lies at the intersection between knower and known. That statement is obviously rough and perhaps metaphorical because there is not a clear dividing line. Perhaps I have a picture of a human being with a boundary and what is inside the boundary is inner. But inner / outer does not have to do with body / world but with experience / experienced. And my picture of the human picture is again of my mind and it is the reality of such pictures that is being called into question. It is therefore invalid to make any general claim of faithfulness or lack of faithfulness regarding knowledge from the incomplete character of ‘pictures’ of the world or of the divide between knower and known

In later developments we will see that there are cases of partial and implicit faithfulness—cases in which even the meaning of faithfulness is not clear. It will also be seen that the Universal metaphysics is founded upon the universal and necessarily faithful Objects. One source of this conclusion will be an analysis of aspects of the ‘inner world’

Another reason for interest in an inner world lies in the ideas of ‘dreams and demons.’ Here ‘dream’ is roughly synonymous with imagination whether sensual or symbolic and includes actual dreaming. Demons include fearful images but also refer to any block to knowledge or realization of what is potential (including a rewarding life)

In terms of the Universal metaphysics, dreams and imagination have an obvious literal significance

However, as an individual with limits I also have an interest in dreams and other aspects of vision as transformational (in inner and outer worlds, in psyche and body.) Similarly, I have an interest in demons as blocking transformation

There are many traditional and modern approaches to dealing with such issues (and there are doubters who think it all a waste of effort.) As a non-expert I have interest and doubt. My doubt, however, is not that it is a waste (or not a waste.) It is the doubt of ‘What is the return of such interest. What is a good instrumental approach—is there any. I do not make any recommendations for myself and therefore cannot at present make any recommendations for others. I have a sense, however, that the best approach may be to experiment in light of traditional systems, catalysts to transformation (meditation and a host of other activities,) and modern ideas. I have attended a number of presentations on transformational approaches and my typical reaction is ‘uh’ or ‘makes sense but I do not know.’ Look at the table in the next section to get a brief sense of what I have found useful so far. I will continue to experiment. I feel that I am a beginner despite deep experience with what may be labeled mystic vision. I must explore further because I do not yet know any final path to realization. However, I know from the Universal metaphysics that there is a way and I am reasonably well convinced that (a) There are effective psychic approaches to insight and transformation beyond the merely cognitive and (b) It is essential to engage with my entire being (and to recognize that the being / psyche divide is not clear)

The dimensions of the journey

A higher world?

The notion of the journey is one that arises from within ‘this world;’ if it accesses higher aspects of the Universe, it does not reject the world. This is the Tantric notion of chöd

However, it is not essential that there should be one emphasis for all people. Individuals are different in their propensities and the world is enhanced by the presence of a mix of kinds

The dimensions of the journey

Here are some dimensions of the journey. Items marked (*) are in-process; those marked (**) have substantial completion. Detailed explanation is in Chapter Journey










Material world


Mind / psyche (spirit) / nature


Of psyche


Cognitive, feeling, mystic


Ideas / discovery (experiment and selection in ideas)

Natural science**


Development of local disciplines*


Sciences of symbolic systems—Logic* and mathematics*

Social science*


Participation / analysis* / charisma

Psychology* / depth


Awareness, feeling. Mystic**, meditative*, catalytic vision quest; integration with world, nature**


Personal transformation (psychic, physical) and healing*


Traditional sources: myth, religion, shamanism, art, literature, music…



Includes Objects**, Cosmology**, Local worlds* (development of local disciplines*)

Of being and value


Becoming / transformation (experiment and selection in being)

Experiments with artificial being


Hard / wetware. Experiment / evolution. Idea / computation

Shared journey
and inspiration




Values / action

Possibilities revealed and undertaken


Catalysts and Quest for transformation. Traditional sources

Goals—process, the present, adventure in unending variety, universal identity


Civilization / nature

Table. Dimensions of the Journey versus Mode of transformation. Explanation will be given in Chapter Journey. Items marked (*) are in-process; those marked (**) have substantial completion. Some items are repeated

Method / approach

Ideas. See the section Universal metaphysics, sub-section Method

Being. There is a dynamics of being that is analogous to the methods for the ideas. The process, possibilities / necessities of realization are framed by the Universal metaphysics. The approach is that of experiments in transformation that are framed by informed by the local disciplines (and everyday knowledge.) Risk is unavoidable but the local disciplines / everyday knowledge minimize unnecessary risk. The dynamics begins as trial and error; it is then possible to cultivate the dynamics itself. Sources of information include traditional approaches such as vision-quest and mystic vision and emphasize catalysts to vision and transformation

Value. Value falls under being and ideas

Examples of the use of the dynamics of being. The development of the ideas (concept and systems formation including inspiration from mystic vision, abstraction) are an example of the dynamics. Further examples fall under the areas: (a) Identity, Personality and charisma (b) Dynamics of mental functions and—self—awareness (c) Body, healing and medicine and (d) Discovery and development of the dynamics

The longer document Journey in being has a more complete and detailed development