Most people who are interested in the use of crystals and minerals for spiritual growth and healing come to the practice due to purely subjective experiences. Perhaps you’ve had an unexplainable, powerful experience while holding or meditating with a crystal or stone. Or, maybe you received a vibrational healing that had profound effects on some level of your body, mind or spirit. It may be that you are just inexplicably drawn to stones and you have no idea why.
My own very personal and subjective experiences with stones as a child and, later, a life changing experience during the first crystal healing I ever received, sparked a deep love and fascination that has only deepened over the intervening years. It is the purely subjective experiences of my students and clients that daily confirm for me that crystals and stones, and the natural forces of the Earth, do indeed have a powerful impact on the whole human being– physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
By its very nature, subjective experience is personal. Often it cannot be effectively shared with others because the English language– as rich as it is– falls short when attempting to convey what we experience on the very deepest inner levels. Having worked with people around the world has shown me that other languages have this shortcoming as well.
As a writer, I have a particular sensitivity to language and the definitions of the words that we use to convey our thoughts and feelings. Most of the struggle inherent in the process of writing is a struggle to find the specific words that will allow the reader to understand what the writer is thinking and feeling within their subjective universe. Conveying meaning can be a dicey proposition because words can carry multiple definitions that can vary by region and the cultural origins of both the writer and the reader.
Language itself developed so that humans could communicate with in a way that allowed subjective information to be transferred to, and understood by, another person. The only language on Earth that has developed without variations in definition is the language of mathematics, which is used as the basis for much of science.
Language is representative of the culture in which it developed. It is not only shaped by the people that use it, but it shapes the minds of those that use it. The very way we think is influenced by the primary language we use, and the definitions we hold for words. And so we begin to see the split between those humans who use science as the basis for their communications and those who use more subjective language.
So what? How does this have anything to do with crystals? Well, it has everything to do with how we communicate our understanding of crystals with one another. It also is a primary reason why many mystics and scientists have such a difficult time wrapping their heads around one an others’ world views.
I’ll mention here that I am not a bona fide scientist. I studied science in school and at college at a very rudimentary level. Most of what I have learned about science (and about crystals, for that matter) has come from self-directed study. I have always had a fascination for the sciences, especially theoretical physics and human anatomy and physiology. I am not, however, a degreed authority on either.
With that said, as I began my journey of learning about crystal healing, spiritual growth and other mystical avenues of thought, I noticed something disturbing. The definitions for many of the basic “scientific” concepts that are bandied about in these circles are completely wrong. I’m not talking about “your truth- my truth”. I’m talking about just plain incorrect. Such concepts as “vibration”, “frequency”, and “resonance” are often used in ways that are just plain not-right. The definitions of these words as they are used in the subjective realm of spirituality have become corrupted from their objective definitions.
It’s no wonder that these objectively defined words have crept into our mostly subjective modality. We seek to find common language so that we can express our experiences with one another. What better language to use than the objective language of science? Unfortunately, the misuse of many scientific terms has us looking like “airy-fairy-healy-feely-woo-woo-crystal-lickers” to scientists, while to us they can often appear to be “inflexible-right-brain-attrophied-narrow-minded-materialistic-spirit-bigots”. I don’t mean to imply sweeping stereotypes of scientists and mystics. There are many scientists with developed spiritual awareness, and plenty of mystics who really do have a good understanding of various branches of the sciences. However, when we misuse a scientific term in an attempt to explain mystical experience, we actually deepen the divide between these worldviews, rather than bridging it.
Imagine going to a foreign country and thinking you were asking for food when, in fact, you were asking for sex. How might that color your interactions with people there? Some might find it funny and entertaining. Others would be deeply offended. Everyone is going to be confused about what you are actually trying to convey.
There are some very basic scientific principles that could– in theory– help to explain why we have such powerful subjective experiences when we engage crystals and stones. But, if we incorrectly use the language, we are no further in explaining these experiences in an objective way than we would be if we were simply making up word definitions (which in some cases we are).
The desire to explain subjective experience using objective language is natural. In fact, it is the basis for the increasingly disturbing trend toward prescriptive crystal healing (which I’ll rant about at a later date). I believe it is important to explore scientific theory to help understand our subjective experiences. It is also important for those who strive for an objective worldview to recognize the value of subjective experience. I don’t believe, however, that these two world views are ready for marriage. Perhaps they should try living together for a while first.
Crystal healing is, in its best sense, a holistic approach that includes physical, emotional, mental and spiritual experiences which are primarily subjective in nature. Science is a worldview the encourages specialization, compartmentalization and as objective an approach as is possible– given that outcomes and interpretation will always be affected by the subjective perspective of the scientist.
If we are going to use scientific terms to describe our work, it behooves us to use those terms correctly and to understand– at least a little– about the theory that underlies those terms. By using language correctly, we will be able to correctly convey our ideas and understanding in a way that is less open to misinterpretation and may further the understanding of everyone.
It’s not necessary for crystal healers to explain themselves to scientists. We don’t need to justify ourselves using their language. But, the very fact that we attempt to do so means that we have the responsibility to at least learn the language before we create more confusion than we resolve.
In future posts, I’ll explore how we misuse some of the terms we’ve borrowed from science, and how a more correct understanding of those terms can actually help us to be more effective in our work. We’ll also explore purely subjective experiences and information that cannot and probably never will be explained by the scientific world view. Both are valid. Hopefully this will enable us to communicate more effectively with the world at large, and to build a bridge between these two seemingly opposed world views that are actually just two sides to the same coin.