“It is doubtful whether any two selves have offered themselves exactly the same image of the truth outside their gates: for a living metaphysic, like a living religion, is at bottom a strictly personal affair—a matter, as William James reminded us, of vision rather than of argument. Nevertheless, such a living metaphysic may—and if sound generally does—escape the stigma of subjectivism by outwardly stretching itself to a traditional school; as personal religion may and should outwardly attach itself to a traditional church. Let us then consider shortly the results arrived at by these traditional schools. …
“The most obvious and generally accepted explanation of the world is Naturism, or naive realism. …Naturism states simply that we see the real world, though we may not see it very well. It congratulates itself on resting in the concrete; it accepts material things as real. …
“Such an attitude as this may be a counsel of prudence, in view of our ignorance of all that lies beyond: but it can never satisfy our hunger for reality.” ~Evelyn Underhill
Image of Truth
It is very likely true that each of us has their own image of what the physical world is. However, that doesn’t mean there are many different physical realities, each of them real. It means that we each interpret the reality differently, but it is only one reality. While it is true, according to quantum physics, that the observer affects the observed, it is but a mask of reality that is observed, and it is only that mask which is altered by the observer. The actual reality is not affected.
A Living Metaphysic
I agree with Underhill that a valid metaphysical philosophy must be a living one. Religion also must be living. That means that all religious truth cannot be locked up in a book, the Bible, Koran, Upanishads, or any other. The books can only hold a temporary truth. In a living religion, things change. Likewise, a metaphysical philosophy cannot be locked up in a book, tablet, or ancient scroll. While we can find much of value in them, a living reality constantly changes, so the philosophies must be able to change as well. Such changes are never drastic, yet they are real. So a living metaphysical philosophy is one based as much on actual experience as on books and scrolls.
Naturism is the philosophy that says what we see around us is essentially reality. While there may be some slight distortion or things that we can’t see, what is see is what is there. At least, that is what it generally meant when Ms. Underhill wrote of it and that is the definition we will go by for this article. Today, it is more often considered a synonym for nudism.
Today we talk of Materialism and Pantheism as being essentially the same as what was called Naturism. Materialists believe that matter is reality and the only reality. There is no spirit worlds or invisible worlds beyond matter. They may believe in a god, but it has to be a material being of some sort. Pantheists believe not only that the physical world is the one and only real world, but that it is divinity itself. The universe of matter is their god. A Naturist could be part of either philosophy today.
Hunger for Reality
Despite the firm belief by many in these forms of materialism, the hunger for reality remains. Many feel that there must be something more to life than what they are experiencing, or aware of with their physical senses.
The more materialistic among them may feel that it is a lack of material possessions that causes this hunger. They then make all possible effort to collect as much matter around them as possible, often throwing ethics and morality out the door in the process. Yet despite the accumulation of matter that is the envy of many a black hole, they still feel as if something is missing.
The more fanciful among them are often found in Facebook spiritual groups expressing the idea that they are Starseeds, aliens from planet X, or just asking “Am I the only one who thinks he doesn’t belong on Earth?”. That question generally gets dozens of “No, me too” type of responses. But no matter the approach, the hunger for reality remains.
Fill the Void
People try many different ways to fill the void, the emptiness they feel. Greed is just one false path taken by many. Another is sex. Making frequent sexual encounters, often casual sex with no commitments may feel good when you’re doing it, but just like collecting material goods, collecting sex partners never solves the problem and the void remains. And sex addiction, whether with one partner or many, depletes your supply of life energy preventing you from rising to something higher, something that can satisfy that hunger for reality.
The only thing that can truly fill the void and satisfy the hunger for reality is a spiritual awakening. The recognition that there is more to reality than matter is the starting point. You do have to accept that as a possibility, of course. If you can’t at least be open-minded about it, you will never find the truth. But once you have accepted that a spiritual realm might exist and that you can awaken your own spiritual faculties to allow you to experience those realms, you are on your way to satisfying the hunger for reality.
Many spiritual schools today teach that the only way to awaken those faculties is with meditation. While there is nothing wrong with practicing meditation, the idea that it is the only or even the best, way to awaken the spirit and soul is debatable. Nearly all spiritual people recognize the concept of a third eye, a spiritual eye which is usually believed to be the pineal gland. This tiny gland in the brain is activated with light. That is a known fact. Does meditation fill that gland with light? No, it does not. So something else is needed. That something has become popularized as “Sun Gazing”. But not all sun gazing is equal. Snakes and birds look at the sun but never become spiritual. You have to look at it in the right way and with the right attitude. In short, you have to attune to the proper frequencies. Then sun gazing can awaken those spiritual faculties and satisfy that hunger for reality. The awakened all know that the spiritual is reality because it is permanent and not veiled. The material is constantly changing and is temporary. So awaken to the permanent world of spirit.