By Jo Mooy
Many refuse to bridge the gap between science and religion. They consider it an either/or scenario, where one or the other defines what we call reality. One belief is concrete and fact-laden, while the other is faith-based or worse, woo-woo. Yet throughout the ages, teachers of the arcane proclaimed that the esoteric teachings would be validated when science realized that an “unknown something” (think God) was behind all manifestation (think “Reality”), and science and spirituality would merge.
Backing up that claim, a late 19th century Sufi master said, “If scientists touch the summit of their knowledge they will agree with the mystic that the point behind the whole of creation, the whole of manifestation, is a subtle trace of life that can be found. That trace is movement or vibration.”
Scientists began to question creation even as religious fundamentalists adamantly affirmed that God created the world in seven days. Can the two converge? The academic world was stunned when Cambridge University scientist John Polkinghorne, a member of the elite British Royal Society, left the scientific community to become an Anglican priest. He left to study the questions that he felt science could not answer, saying it would allow him to “see the world with two eyes.” And so he did, blending science with religion when he said, “Science cannot tell theology how to construct a doctrine of creation. But you can’t construct a doctrine of creation without taking into account the age of the universe and the evolutionary character of cosmic history.” His words echoed those of the extraordinary physicist Albert Einstein, who said,
“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind!”
What’s Behind Creation?
By the 20th century, science began to understand that there was something subtle behind the whole of creation. That study of the subtle unseen was called Quantum Physics. But something even more challenging to the scientific mind was coming out of the new study. It was called Quantum Mysticism, a term associating metaphysical and mystical beliefs with the theories of quantum physics. Some physicists had difficulty separating science and mysticism, which was generally debunked as pseudoscience by many researchers.
But the truth is the leading quantum physicists credited their scientific findings to their studies of the mystical Vedanta teachings.
The physicists were careful not to use the word “God” in their research articles. Instead, they substituted the word “whole” to represent the concept of consciousness because anyone suggesting that “God” (however defined) was behind creation was treated with ridicule.
The researchers of Quantum Physics, though, were intent on proving existence emerged from something. So they began searching for something called “the God Particle.” In 1964 Peter Higgs proposed a theory describing a universal field, similar to an electric or magnetic field, that interacted with all particles. This field gives particles their mass or density. But how to prove it? Enter the Hadron Collider at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland!
Particle Physicists used the Hadron Collider to learn what happened at the moment of the Big Bang. They were determined to find out what everything is made of and how the pieces fit together. They knew that the universe was made out of 12 particles of matter held together by four forces of nature. They had discovered an exquisite mathematical formula explaining why the sky was blue, why the sun shines, and every other question imaginable. But the formula could not identify the missing element of the one “super force at the beginning of time” that they were looking for. That is until the Collider showed them that the whole universe was made up of a “Field” that gave particles their mass or density. (Think form.)
Particle physicists had presented a new scientific view of religion’s creation story. The Universe, given 13.7 billion years to expand, cooled and produced 75 percent hydrogen and 25 percent helium. Exploding into light, hydrogen and helium formed stars where carbon, oxygen and the elements of life were created. Now, almost 14 billion years later, we have planets, DNA, technology, and people who search for God, not just through religion but through the laws of physics.
So where does this leave the non-scientist or the non-religious? Perhaps some are still caught on one side of the discussion or the other. But for others the gap is disappearing as science and religion merge. Scientist Polkinhorne said he wanted to “see the world with two eyes.” Perhaps it can be seen with more than two eyes. Science and Religion present a view of “reality” and of “God” that is based on a set of physical laws or on faith-based opinions. Those views are two sides of the same coin. But, what if there’s a third way to see reality or God? What if we look at reality and “sense” God through actual experience? Or “intuitive” perception?
The Big Questions
Mystical teachings say we can never really “know” God. We can go down the rabbit-hole intellectually through research, but that doesn’t really answer the three big questions: What is God, Who is God, and Why did creation happen? Those questions can only be answered through insight. In a deeply reflective or meditative state, the insight comes in a flash. It exalts us. And, it happens so fast that we convince ourselves that we “know.” In truth, the insight disappears faster than our realization of the fact that it happened. And, it only takes us close enough until our mind, tilling on the insight, runs aground once more on the notorious mental merry-go-round.
But the memory of the experience does remain. And that memory of the insight is what propels the mystics, the scientists, the religious, and the seekers to continue the quest of searching.
Author’s Note: The Higgs Boson Scientists, octogenarians, were just awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics on October 8, 2013.
Jo Mooy has studied with many spiritual traditions over the past 40 years. The wide diversity of this training allows her to develop spiritual seminars and retreats that explore inspirational concepts, give purpose and guidance to students, and present esoteric teachings in an understandable manner. Teaching and using Sound as a retreat healing practice, Jo was certified as a Sound Healer through Jonathan Goldman’s Sound Healing Association. She writes and publishes a monthly internationally distributed e-newsletter called Spiritual Connections and is a staff writer for Spirit of Maat magazine in Sedona. For more information go to www.starsoundings.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org