“Here the practical man, who has been strangely silent during the last stages of our discourse [on spiritual development], shakes himself like a terrier which has achieved dry land again after a bath; and asks … ‘What is the use of all this?’
“’You have introduced me,’ he says further, ‘to some curious states of consciousness, interesting enough in their way; and to a lot of peculiar emotions, many of which are no doubt most valuable to poets and so on. But it is all so remote from daily life. … How… is it all going to help me?’
“Well, put upon the lowest plane, this new way of attending to life—this deepening and widening of outlook—may at least be as helpful to you as many things to which you have unhesitatingly consecrated much time;” ~Evelyn Underhill
The Practical value of Higher Consciousness
What Ms. Underhill wrote some decades ago is even more true today. While there are those who are beginning to recognize the value of spiritual development and achieving higher levels of consciousness, there are a larger number even more completely devoted to materialism who see no value at all in such things. While spiritual schools and spiritual teachers naturally want you to value such development for spiritual purposes, there is considerable value in it to be found in the mundane world of matter and materialism.
A little fact I read some years ago (I don’t remember where) says that while most of us expect business leaders and executives to act based on facts, studies, statistics, and other scientific methods, a large number of them actually rely in making their decisions on intuition. What’s more, those who rely on intuition to help them make their final decisions are more often correct then those who rely entirely on empirical science. And if you are not one of those people who has a strong intuition, you needn’t despair: developing your spiritual side will give you that intuition.
Underhill points out that we are willing to spend considerable time and money on other activities, particularly a formal education, yet we can learn more from spiritual studies and higher consciousness. Here is another part of that; developing our spiritual side and achieving higher states of consciousness can actually help us in those studies by improving memory, concentration, and the ability to distinguish truth from opinions, or complete nonsense. That spiritual development might also help you make better decisions regarding the fields of study you choose to engage in.
You may also find your physical health improving as a result of these studies; not because they improve your physical health directly (though they may to a small degree), but because they make you thing better. In thinking better, you will realize that eating should about supplying your bodies nutritional needs and change your eating habits accordingly. You may also feel a need to start exercising regularly if you hadn’t been doing so. If you think of the great spiritual leaders throughout the ages, you will find that few of them were lazy or significantly overweight (I know Buddha is sometimes depicted as such, but I think the real man was not fat).
In terms of success on the material level, the person who has developed higher consciousness may not be particularly wealthy, but they will rarely be poor. Those studies will intentionally turn you away from materialism, but you don’t need to give up all creature comforts. Psychic Edgar Cayce was known to tell his assistants not to worry about money, God would provide, and in his case, that attitude worked. Whenever he got to a point where his helpers and family were afraid bill payments would be missed, an unexpected check would arrive from someone Cayce had helped in the past.
So yes, development of our spirit, soul, and Higher Consciousness has practical value as well as spiritual.