Last time I wrote about indexing, or how our actions allow us to point to and access deeper aspects of experience and reality. It was a pretty heady conversation, so it’s worth grounding it in some data. If what we do makes a difference in how we experience the sacred, then that should show up, right? We should be able to notice the difference in some tangible ways. No single study will prove this point, but to get an idea of the type of study I’m talking about, check out this research from Germany.
Two psychologists from the university of Zurich, Anne Berthold and Willlibald Ruch, set out to see if people who practiced their religion were more satisfied with their lives than those who claim a religious affiliation but don’t practice. They were also testing whether such differences also showed up in people’s kindness, gratitude, forgiveness, and what made people happy. As you might guess, practicing made a big difference. In fact, those who were affiliated with a religion but don’t practice didn’t differ at all from those who weren’t religious. But, like most of these studies, we can’t just take these findings at face value.