This article will discuss the scientific method and how it can be used for working with spiritual pursuits to validate experiences and develop tools, methods, and processes that work while eliminating the things that don’t.
So, exactly what is the Scientific Method?
Wikipedia says that the Scientific Method is “a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry is commonly based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.” That is a pretty broad statement but has some key points in it. Let’s talk a bit about them.
Some of the important terms used are:
- A Body of Techniques
- Investigating Phenomena
- Acquiring New Knowledge
- Correcting / Integrating Previous Knowledge
- Measurable Evidence
So, this means it is not just one way of doing something but it can be many different things that you do to investigate or test if a phenomenon is real or imaginary. You use the techniques to validate your ideas and concepts. You use them to develop new understanding or to gain deeper insight into things you may already know. You can also use them to determine that something you thought might work is actually not working at all.
Prior to the development of the scientific method, there was no formal way to consistently test and validate theories. Many incorrect ideas gained widespread acceptance, which with some relatively simple testing could be proved false. It was not that long ago that people thought the Earth was flat, that the sun was the center of the universe and that manned flight was impossible. Scientists needed a way to fact check their ideas and submit them to the rigor of experimentation, test and peer review.
The process is rather simple. First, you begin with an idea or concept, some question of how things work. Next, you devise one or more tests that can validate your hypothesis. You then carefully execute the tests and document the results. You then analyze the results and check the results, without any bias. From the results, you can then draw some conclusions.
For example, I might believe that water expands when frozen. So, maybe I decide to carefully measure 100 samples of the exact same amount of water into prepared containers. I would then use a ruler and measure the level of the water in the containers. I would then put the containers in a freezer for a fixed amount of time and then measure the level of the ice in the containers and compare the results to the original measurements. Then, I perform the experiment keeping careful notes and ensuring that there are no outside influences or things to contaminate the results. After observing the water level rise in each of the 100 samples, I conclude that my hypothesis is correct, that water does indeed expand when frozen.
This same approach can be used to test and validate our experiences in the spiritual realm. Granted, many of the things that we do cannot really be measured in the same way as scientists testing the way the physical universe works. Science has yet to develop an easy way to measure the size of the soul, the wavelength of an aura or the amount of chi energy flowing through chakra.
Even though we don’t have good ways to measure the precise results of things, we can apply a very similar process to our actions. The following are the steps to take:
- Define a Goal
- Set Intentions
- Define Experiments
- Observe Results
- Analyze Results
- Draw Conclusions
Step 1: Define a Goal
In any type of working you are doing, be it meditation, light working, or a spell, begin by defining your goal for the activity. Are you trying to get rid of a headache? Need some insight about how to handle a tricky relationship? Trying to attract some much-needed money? Your goal should not be too specific, just a general idea of what you want to achieve.
Step 2: Set Intentions
The next step is to focus your mind and fix the goal into your being, mentally and emotionally. Open yourself to the experience and expect success. That is setting your intention.
Step 3: Define Experiments
Define the method for your actions and what you will do and how you will do it. If you are going to meditate, do you use any specific posture or mantra? Do you visualize anything or use any keywords? Do you use incense or candles? Do you play music? Do you use a mandala or other visual focus?
Be sure to record all of this “setup” information in your a journal including the date and time, goal, the weather, conditions, and other relevant information.
Step 4: Observe Results
In your journal, record any observations you have of how the activity went. Did you have anything interesting happen? Any phenomena occur? How did you feel? Were you able to get into it or did you have any blockages? Did you have any special insights or messages?
Record the results of the activity in your journal. Sometimes it is instantly notable. Other times, the results may not manifest immediately. It could take minutes, hours, even days to see any results. Did you achieve the defined goal?
Step 5: Analyze Results
Let some time pass. Sometimes it is best to give a day or more for things to really soak in and get absorbed. It depends on the nature of the work done. But, at some point in the not too distant future, go over your notes. Read them back and try to remember what you did. Look at the results. Did you succeed or fail? If you succeeded, how well? If you failed, how badly? Did you learn anything as a result? Go back over all the notes and look at the conditions at the time of the activity. Was there anything that could have contributed to or taken away from the success?
Step 6: Draw Conclusions
The main thing to determine is: did it work? That doesn’t necessarily mean you achieved the goal. Sometimes failing to achieve the goal still allows the activity to work. Try to answer these three questions:
- What went well?
- What could have been done better?
- What could you do next time to make it more successful?
So, the tests and validations may be very different, the process and the approach is similar to the Scientific Method. The goal is to have a repeatable process to do the various workings that allow you to determine if they work and how to improve them. If you try to apply this process in all of your spiritual development activities, you should find that you are making great strides forward.
Yours in Light,