What is True Nature?

Posted on 20 July 2005

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Each of us is drawn in our own unique way to the spiritual life. Perhaps a personal crisis suddenly forced you to ask deeper questions about existence. Maybe your longing for more meaning in life gradually increased to the point where you could no longer ignore it. Or you might have simply exhausted all other options.

It may seem paradoxical at first, but science can also lead one to the spiritual life. The ancient Greeks called the study of the nature of things physics. Like ancient physics, modern physics is the search for an understanding of the universal principles and laws that govern the world. It looks beneath the surface of things to discover their true nature, or what the Greeks called their physis. Since the desire to know the true nature of things is fundamentally a spiritual longing to know Reality, at the root of physics is the seed of the spiritual life.

Modern physics, however, is not the physics of Reality, but the physics of the material world. Although it has answers to questions about the nature of matter and energy, it can not answer questions about the nature of your own awareness, the nature of God or Reality. There is more to the nature of things than what is contained in the laws of modern physics.

True nature, thus, has a double meaning. On the one hand, it refers to the true laws of the natural world, i.e., modern physics. On the other hand, it refers to your own true nature, or the true nature of God or Reality. So, in its most general sense, the true nature of things is at once both physical and metaphysical, scientific and spiritual. And, more profoundly, this hints at the possibility that, ultimately, your own true nature has some hidden identity with the true nature of the world.

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Posted in: Philosophy, Science