“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.”
- Joseph Campbell
What is “Developing a Personal Cosmology”?
Everybody has a personal cosmology (philosophy of life), but for most of us, it is acquired unconsciously, from family, school, media, churches, etc. Science can help in developing a conscious cosmology. The scientific method operates in one of two ways: the inductive method and the deductive method. Induction is the technique of examining specific data and inferring a principle from it. Deduction begins with an accepted principle and then applies it to a new situation. The science of personal growth consists of balancing induction (things you figure out for yourself) and deduction (applying your own or others’ insights to new situations).
How do I practice “Developing a Personal Cosmology”?
In constructing your personal cosmology, let the players, events and lessons of the “River of Life” exercise be your raw data.
1. On one sheet of paper, write five principles that you are freshly inferring from these data.
2. On a second sheet of paper, write five principles that you learned either from others or from your own previous insights that seem pertinent to these data.
These ten principles will be some of the key elements of your personal cosmology. Examine the inductive and deductive principles to determine which ones are liberating you and which ones are imprisoning you.
Challenges and commitments of this practice
Responding to life is a dance between the inductive and deductive steps. Inductively inferring a brand-new principle is the way of creativity and is hugely satisfying. Deductively applying an old principle from your own or another’s repertoire is the ability to recognize that the new situation has many features of a previous one and can benefit from older experiences and the lessons they taught. This practice requires a commitment to working toward making every decision conscious, enabling you to develop your unique personal cosmology from your examined experiences, a cosmology you consciously access.
Tips for reinforcing this practice.
• Both inductive and deductive principles can sometimes be faulty. Thoroughly examine both.
• The beauty of using a previous principle (yours or someone else’s) is that you can attach to an established wisdom network. The danger is that it may no longer be relevant.