The article reproduced below was originally written by Aida Askry, Ph.D. in September 2011.
Many years of research and studies have shown that metaphysical practices have both physical and metaphysical effects. Metaphysical sciences have played an important role in humanity and its progression during the many years of human life experience on planet earth. For as long as humans have been experiencing their environment, nature, and other beings, meditation has been of the most common metaphysical practices. In my understanding, the main goal of meditation is to make contact and communicate with the reality or the higher consciousness whom has a complete idea—a whole perception and knowledge—of the reality as a whole.
Perhaps the idea of meditation began from the early stages of human development in physical form through very basic questions out of curiosity: why, how, where, and what. Over time, Humans, as Thinking Beings, further developed this basic questions into a philosophical perspective that had a noticeable effect on their physical reality. This eventually created a faithful perception of their metaphysical beliefs. In order to understanding how meditation affects the physical and metaphysical reality, it is essential to first review and understand the philosophical anthropology of human beings and their understanding of themselves in their reality paradigms.
Studying the philosophy and phenomenology of the human personality in both West and East during past and present times facilitates understanding of the reasons why meditation was created. Furthermore, these studies help us to realize meditation's effects on human reality paradigms in both physical and metaphysical life experiences. The idea of reconnecting to nature and first source (Nirvana) in humans has been inspired mostly by Buddhism and its philosophy of human nature in eastern world.
One of Buddha’s main teachings is that human beings are unhappy because of confusions and illusions of reality; both being obstacles on their way to understanding their real identity, true selves, and potentials. From birth, human beings are taught the answers to their questions of who we are and what our potentials and limitations are. Buddha’s philosophy teaches us that these limitations are only created by humans through false beliefs and distractions. In this method of meditation, human’s thoughts and beliefs are subject to change through Self-realization and Enlightenment.
Another inspirational philosophy of the East in relation to meditation and creation of new understanding of true self and reality is the mystical philosophy of Rumi. Teachings and philosophy of Rumi, which is known as Sufism, has taught enormous spiritual lessons about the nature of human beings from the time before birth, the time of life experience, and final reunion to first source or God after death. Rumi’s poems are about transformation, wholeness, and coaching the human spirit. His self-directed meditation techniques offer many ways to unlock the soul’s potential and walk a path of wholeness reality. Rumi states his human life experience in his book The Mathnawi of Jalalu'ddin Rumi this way:
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels bless'd; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e'er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones,
To Him we shall return.”
On the other hand, in philosophical teachings of the West, the studies of Immanuel Kant and his philosophy have offered some remarkable fundamental principles of Metaphysics to the Western world. The most famous questions Kant brought to Western society are questions of who we are: Who is the whole man? Where are we coming from? Why are we here? Where are we going after death? What can we know? What ought we to do? What may we hope? These questions played a very important role in awareness and understanding of metaphysical life to the Western culture. Kant’s "I think" versus Descartes’ "I am a thing that thinks" awakened the attention of western society to discover infinite selfhood through Kantian Meditation.
Years later, the work of Kant was followed intelligently by Martin Buber, who had offered a new paradigm of reality for human nature and human environmental experience through his theory of an "I-Though" relationship as opposed to an "I-It" relationship of the human to his life experience. By understanding Martin Buber's meditation and philosophy of I, Thou, and the Infinite, Western societies became closer to a meditation of wholeness and reconnection to first source. This invisible bridge between Western and Eastern oneness meditation and understanding of the wholeness eventually connected the East and West, bringing them into one as humanity. This bigger picture of life, experienced by more people around the world through meditation, created a massive awareness of wholeness, changing the reality paradigm for both physical and metaphysical human life paths.
In today’s world, the separation of Eastern and Western metaphysical beliefs has been reduced by the influence of the idea of oneness, or unity in diversity. To build from this understanding, it is necessary for all human beings around the world to not only understand metaphysical and physical reality paradigms, but to practice this new reality of universal oneness. This can be done through metaphysical practices such as Meditation, which affects reality paradigms in both physical and metaphysical forms under positive circumstances to expand the human’s life experience as a whole.