Our best description at this time…

One of the subjects that is most exciting to me is the intersection of “spirituality” with those that ruffle against the term. There are widely varying degrees of reaction to the term “spirit”, and I revel at the chances to discuss the subject.

A quote came across the wires recently…

”Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” – Carl Sagan

I love Dr. Sagan’s work, and his quote aligned with something I thought just days earlier, the title of this post. As a student of both science and spirituality, I, too, have feelings of skepticism and am sometimes quick to challenge ideas that are either outside my current comprehension or beyond my imagination. Yet, I have to remind myself of the countless times that I’ve proven myself wrong, being compelled to admit that there is always more than I can imagine, that wonders never cease, and that I am fundamentally limited up to what I’m willing to consider.

I find that science, for me, has become a wonderful tool to describe life; it’s no longer just a fascination or a curiosity. Our growth in intellect and understanding develops at an incredible rate, an ongoing source of fun and surprise.

Yet, are we really certain that there is an end to this pursuit? Do we really believe that at some point in the future, science will describe everything there is? Or is it possible that we will continually be discovering more depth, more expansiveness to this existence, that will perpetually require more science to describe it all?

I’ve arrived at an attitude that science is one of our most powerful ways to describe life, yet it is only “our best description at this time.” There are numerous instances where scientific understanding has had to change due to further or more accurate findings. There are instances where science has been “proven wrong”, and in those times, we do our best to reconcile our thoughts and feelings related to those “facts”.

Apply this same attitude towards spirituality, and towards the many diverse religious practices that exist, I propose that they, too, are “our best descriptions at this time”. I suggest that we take these all with a grain of salt, a willingness to continue discovery, and an openness to embracing more of what our limited minds have yet to imagine.

I encourage this, not just at the level of humanity, more more importantly at the level of each individual. I’m the first to admit that I won’t have the answers for everybody I meet; in fact, I can only rely on the proof of my experiences that show what has or has not worked for me. Thankfully, I can also rely on the words and experiences of other trusted advisors in my life, and I bring all that to bear for the benefit of the person in front of me.

We’re all in this together, though, this life where we flounder, achieve, succeed, and fail. I believe our best approach is to make our best plans possible based on our fullest understanding of ourselves and our situations, then apply our best efforts towards them with honesty, respect, and love. That may be an oversimplification, but it’s, for today, my best description at this time.

The intent of Personal Branding

I wrote this as a response to Sally Hogshead’s post on Facebook (here) where she asked:

Opinions, please: What problems or pitfalls do YOU see with the whole notion of “personal branding”?

I think “personal branding” is a poor choice of words; useful for kickstarting the paradigm, but failing in the long term for the reasons stated above.

There’s been a shift from the production line mentality, being nameless in a vast corporate sea (along with its “golden years of retirement” model) to entrepreneurship, personal responsibility with a far broader scope, and a recognition of individual power. “Personal branding” has been the catch phrase for that, and, as with most other things, it has been used is widely varied ways.

Beware bundling the struggles of personal branding with the sordid examples in some popular media. The point isn’t to gain celebrity status per se, but to honor your individuality and value to yourself, your organization(s), and society. No one else will do that for you (unless they’re paid).

Personal branding is about owning the responsibility of your self, and self-image, fully.