Does character development need to be understood in a correct way? Is there a universal truth about the deeper side to life?
A growing minority of westerners identify as spiritually-oriented. You might be one of them. Spiritual refers to seeing the world around us as more than just material, but also reflecting a transcendent meaning or purpose.
By being religious, I am not referring to the fact that I find the spiritual dimension of life through personal prayer and a relationship with a personal deity.
People who consider themselves more spiritual than religious think differently than those who are religious. They speak abstractly and in an impersonal way about non-material energies and forces.
Research has shown that people who are skeptical of traditional religion tend to be more open-minded than those with a deeper outlook. However, this critical attitude does not automatically mean that they are atheists. Sometimes, the questions are more important than the answers for them.
Some people understand and express their spirituality in a private and individual way that is not tied to any established thought patterns. Others seek meaning in existential, transpersonal and humanistic philosophical traditions to express their spirituality.
Recent research in the United States has shown that 58% of teens and 62% of adults agreed with the statement “Many religions can lead you to eternal life; there’s no true religion.”
Teenagers (born 1999-2005) have a feeling that what is true for others may not be true for them. They are less likely than older adults (born 1946-1964) to believe that someone can be wrong about something they truly believe in. A significant minority of younger people believe that believing in something is enough to make it true.
However, I wonder if this is necessarily true?
Celebrate diversity of beliefs
Pluralism holds that all claims regarding the truth made from different life teachings can be accepted as valid. This belief celebrates diversity. It is reflected in religious education at schools in the UK. This means that you may say your truth is different than mine and again different from theirs. Schools assume that there is one truth about deeper reality.
Although it sounds paradoxical to state that “no single truth is possible”, such a statement can’t be absolute. Affirming all spiritual teachings to be equally valid is like denying each one.
The universal truth about the quiet self
Psychologists examine our behaviour and experience, regardless of spiritual teachings. Because they are scientists, they care about the universal truth of human beings.
They have observed the differences between people with a noisy ego and those with quiet egos.
The loud egos
- They have a low self-worth and detest anything that might suggest they are less than perfect.
- They are more likely to be self-aggrandizing and arrogant, which can lead to difficulties in interpersonal and personal functioning.
- They are loud because they want to please other people, or avoid punishment.
The quiet egos
- They are able to accept their flaws because they have a basic sense of self-worth. They don’t feel threatened easily and can be open and honest with others, expressing their feelings naturally and freely.
- They act in accordance with their values and do a realistic self-evaluation.
The researchers are not making value judgements. They simply describe what I would call a universal truth, a developed spiritual condition of the mind.
State of awakening
Research has also shown that “wakefulness” is a state of higher functioning. This state is characterized by a greater sense of well-being and clarity. It also gives rise to a feeling of connection, wellbeing, and connection. This person has an increased awareness of the world around him or her, a wider global outlook and an all-encompassing sense of empathy for the entire human race. This is a way of being one with all things and part of something bigger than ourselves.
The Waking From Sleep book is a study on temporary higher states of consciousness. It was written by Dr Steve Taylor, a transpersonal psychologist. He examined the experiences and identified the circumstances, activities and characteristics that led to them. These experiences are not uncommon, he concluded. These experiences were linked to an increase and stilling in life energy.
He also wrote The Leap and explored permanent states of wakefulness. He discovered that many people had been experiencing a gradual awakening for a while without realizing it.
Altruism & compassion
Altruistic behavior has been studied by psychologists. This refers to sharing, helping, and cooperating with others, even when it is necessary to sacrifice oneself. There are many common needs that can be addressed, e.g. There are many common needs that can be addressed, such as those of the family, community, country or religious causes.
Mixed motives can also be found. There may also be mixed motives, such as concern for someone’s distress and anticipation of social recognition or a feeling of less shame about not doing something.
Contributing to others’ needs can be a great feeling. This feeling is one of self-improvement.
It seems that regardless of one’s moral or religious upbringing, every person has the potential to be kind, considerate and loving.
One can feel compassion when they are moved by the pain of others and so the desire to help them. Understanding is the key to compassion for others’ mistakes and failings. Instead of judging someone unfairly, this is compassion. An attitude of compassion recognizes that everyone is a work in progress and therefore unskilled acts or temptations of life can be seen within the context of our human fallibilities.
Science seems to support the idea that there is an universal truth about the spiritual side.
As a clinical psychologist, Stephen Russell-Lacy has specialised in cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy, working for many years with adults suffering distress and disturbance.