Mind Matter
It has often been claimed that the material world plays a subordinate role and must take a back seat — behind mind and spirit, or even behind the supernatural world.

However, this move carries dangers since it threatens to steer the gaze inwards a little too much. Thus, Goethe rightly remarked that "Know thyself" is often no good advice: rather, he argued, we urgently need to look into the mirror that other people hold up to us. The trick here is to distinguish between those individuals who are well-disposed toward us and who themselves are far along in their development, and those who are pursuing their own destructive agenda and threaten to draw us into their downward spiral.

No, withdrawing into our own minds is not a solution and quickly leads to irrationality and subjectivism.

The mystic at least has the advantage here of acknowledging a divine or spiritual world and thereby presupposing an external truth to which he has access through introspection. Indeed, if this access is genuine, contact with the higher world prevents the arbitrariness of pure subjectivism. However, there is a risk of self-deception: then the mystical access to the higher world becomes a merely theoretical argument for rejecting the inconvenient truth as it is reflected to us from the outside.

A better path is to recognize the material world as vital and to take it seriously. At the same time, however, we must see it in light of the Higher that appears to us in it and through it. The key to the mystical thus lies in the experience given to us by the material world. What points beyond it is our gaze, the reading of our experiences, our vision behind the appearances through the appearances. It follows inevitably that an exact understanding of the material world is also and especially necessary: it is here that science, common sense, and the mystical converge.

However, this vision, this view of the material that transcends the material, does not depend only on the intellect, but is located, so to speak, at the intersection of thought, subtle emotions, and the body. To use a crude but helpful image: our entire body is like an antenna that is receptive to higher impressions. These higher impressions can inform our emotions and thinking in a sensitive way — adding an extra layer to our perception of the material world, a layer that points beyond the material.

In this image, we participate comprehensively in the processes of the living cosmos — from our particular perspective and position. It is therefore necessary to improve our ability to perceive the higher via our material existence. It follows: working on the emotional fabric, on the body, and on knowledge and understanding, all are important to strengthen the transcending view. In this way, we also avoid desecrating the material world by devaluing its meaning in favor of an exclusively symbolic interpretation, of which Nietzsche so forcefully warned.