We all have beliefs about the nature of “God,” a term that to me is synonymous with “ultimate reality.” If you believe that the physical universe is all there is, that’s your hypothesized God. Alternatively, if you believe that there is a spiritual reality apart from materiality, then that’s your hypothesized God.
I’m interested in how you are trying to turn that hypothesis, whatever it might be, into certainty or near-certainty. Specifically, what is the One Thing you do that is most central to your pursuit of truth and meaning?
By “do,” I mean that this One Thing is an action you perform that can be described to others. It is something specific that another person can do, just like you. In other words, it’s a God experiment. This is how you have chosen to seek answers to the big questions of life.
Reading an article today in the online New York Times, “Scientists Speak Up on God and Science,” helped spur me to ask this question of Church of the Churchless visitors. A scientist is quoted as saying, “Belief is never an issue in science.”
For Dr. Miller and other scientists, research is not about belief. "Faith is one thing, what you believe from the heart," said Joseph E. Murray, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1990 for his work in organ transplantation. But in scientific research, he said, "it's the results that count."
So, how are you seeking results that would help answer the God question? There may be lots of things you’re doing. What, though, is the One Thing that is most important to you? Maybe you haven’t gotten meaningful results from your God experiment yet. Maybe you don’t have a theory about why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s fine.
Again, I’m interested in the doing—not the theorizing or believing. I’ll try to make this more clear by sharing my own One Thing. It may be that nobody else will choose to leave a comment to this post describing their One Thing, but I hope some people will.
For me, spirituality and the search for truth isn’t an abstraction. It’s really real. If my search doesn’t involve doing something concrete, I’m building spiritual castles in the sky, not in reality. So here’s my One Thing. I’ve shown you mine; will you show me yours?
I meditate for an hour every day. Sometimes in one chunk, sometimes in two half-hour blocks. My meditation chamber is in a walk-in shower that we don’t use often (definitely not while I’m meditating). I sit on a pillow, put an eye mask and noise-deadening headphones on to lessen sensory stimulation, and meditate away.
I use two meditation techniques: (1) I repeat a single word. That slows my thinking down. My goal is to be conscious of my own consciousness, not of anything else. I figure that if reality is everywhere, then if I can get in touch with the core of what’s most real about me, I’m getting closer to universal reality. And (2) I do nothing. I just open myself up to whatever is there in my inmost consciousness. Usually that’s also nothing. Sometimes, there’s something.
During the rest of the day, apart from the meditation hour, as much as possible I try to mentally repeat that word like a mantra, or just remain mentally quiet. Easier said than done, of course. I figure that the less I think about what I’m experiencing and simply experience it, the more real those experiences will be.
And that’s about it. I could go on and on about all the fancy metaphysical theories that support my One Thing practice, but what’s most important is what I do, not what I hypothesize about what my doing will lead to, or why I do it. Like the scientist said, “It’s the results that count.”