What Is Metaphysics?
Concerns Beyond the Material World
The word Metaphysics comes to us from Ancient Greece, a combination of two words: Meta meaning over or beyond and physics meaning the physical, material world. Thus, the combination refers to such concerns that are beyond or transcend the material world. In the common way of speaking, such questions are considered religious, spiritual, or possibly philosophical, depending on the person asking them.
Purpose: The Path of Truth
Metaphysical beliefs, therefore, are the result of passionate endeavors to find purpose in our human existence, searching for a balanced interpretation and explanation of how things really are and what we are. A person could be considered metaphysical if his or her focus is on an experiential, subjective path of truth, seeking the true essence of Being that is in alignment with the Highest Truth and Love, regardless of the name given.
Metaphysics contributes a fundamental level of understanding derived from experience and advanced intuitive knowing on how things “really are.” However, when considered from the spiritual perspective, metaphysics is not only the pursuit of Truth; it also offers service to the greater good of humankind.
Ultimate Truth, God, or Awakening
At the University of Metaphysics and University of Sedona, Metaphysical teachings are based on over half a century of Dr. Paul Leon Masters’ research on consciousness and mysticism; Dr. Masters’ teachings emphasize the individual’s search for and discovery of Ultimate Truth, God, or Awakening within the center or nucleus of the human mind, heart, or inner self—the experience of which leads to the awakening of life-improving potentials in the individual person and society collectively.
The Definition of Metaphysics in Dictionaries
In contrast to these constructs, the definition of metaphysics found in most dictionaries or universities indicates that it refers to a branch of Philosophy that deals with First Cause(s) and the true Nature of Being. That subject, often under the label of “Speculative Philosophy,” is taught in philosophy departments of most academic universities today. The focus there is the search for objective truth about existence through the rules of reasoned discourse and argument. As such, this pursuit fundamentally rules out those answers found subjectively or by way of the inner self. (For more information about this course of study, consult the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)
Fields of Interest in Metaphysics
In the everyday world, however, today the word metaphysics encompasses many fields of interest. When one expresses an interest in metaphysics (sometimes referred to as New Age subjects), that interest may be in any one or a combination of the following subjects: Spirituality, Mysticism, Awakening, Life after Death, the Soul, Reincarnation, Meditation, Yoga, Extra-Sensory Perception, Dreams, Jungian Psychology, Parapsychology, Astrology, Self-Help Studies, Positive Thinking, Near-Death Experiences, to name the most popular.
Spiritual and Experiential Exploration of Reality
The common denominator of these and all similar subjects deals with a spiritual and experiential exploration of Reality that will likely not be provable by science or rationalistic argument, although in some cases science is currently being used by some to find support that such experiences actually exist. Still, the basic denominator is the search for truth, purpose, and meaning in life, which metaphysicians believe can be found through spiritual questions and personal experiences (such as when meditating). In a more absolute sense, we like to think of Metaphysics as dealing with the basic questions of life asked by anyone who has truly paused to reflect on life—whether, for example, there is a meaning or purpose to life; whether there are universal truths that can be found or proven; whether God exists; whether humans have a soul, and if so, why; whether pain and loneliness are inevitable in life; whether one can truly find the way to happiness.
New Thought: a Metaphysical Religious Movement
Most, if not all, Metaphysical practitioners today have a pivotal point of some sort of Spiritual Philosophy in whatever system or teaching of Metaphysics they are engaged. The success of such spiritual movements as Unity and Religious Science stimulated the birth of many independent churches and teaching centers along metaphysical lines. Because of a commonly shared spiritual philosophy held by Unity, Religious Science, and many independents, the term New Thought was adopted to denote a metaphysical religious movement.
If we were to travel from one metaphysical teacher or organization to another, we would find people focused on a wide range of different experiences and teachings, all under the larger umbrella or label of Metaphysics: consider yogis, mystics, astrologers, positive-thinking teachers, meditation teachers, spiritual energy healers, self-help teachers, and so on. These searches also are focused on how such knowledge benefits both individual and collective human life on this earth.
The University of Metaphysics, the University of Sedona, and the International Metaphysical Ministry (IMM) regard all of these practitioners and fields as being in relation to its curricula, degrees, and affiliations with its students and graduates. It is not the position of either University or its parent body, the International Metaphysical Ministry, to favor one phase of the study of Metaphysics over another. It is our belief that there are many paths humans may travel on the way to finding Ultimate Truth and Awakening.
Dr. Paul Leon Masters
In 1959, an independent named Dr. Paul Leon Masters began the teachings of what would evolve into the University of Metaphysics and the International Metaphysical Ministry. IMM has joined Unity and Religious Science as one of the major metaphysically oriented movements that comes under the description of New Thought. The principle difference between IMM and the other major New Thought denominations is that IMM ordained ministers are free to choose their own operating names, making IMM therefore very unique indeed in the field of metaphysics, religion in general, and in New Thought. IMM ordained ministers can also choose what they teach and how they operate. The one provision is that the basic metaphysical teachings of the organization and its founder are still an integral part of what is shared with the public.