Expanding Consciousness

With Mat Wood (Derbyshire, United Kingdom)

Science and Spirituality



It could be said that one of the most exciting developments of our time is the union between spirit and science. These two aspects of the human experience, while being seemingly disconnected share more connections than they do differences, being more like counterparts than conflicts. Many discoveries within modern science are coming to document the songs that the spiritual wisdoms of ancient cultures have been singing for millennia, broadening the scope of general human understanding as a result of this union. 

mat1When implementing both aspects of this union within our daily lives, there are times when the mechanistic view of science tends to be favoured.  This makes sense, as it adept at logical rationality and provides evidence in areas where a spiritual approach would require more use of imagination, such as examining things from a broader and more abstract perspective.  If science adheres strictly to this recipe in an effort to arrive at an exact outcome, than spirit is being more creative with the ingredients in efforts to discover something new. Science is using logic and going with what we know to carefully foresee the destination, whilst spirit is using faith and taking a risk, with confidence in a desired arrival. In this way, science can be seen as masculine, as it travels in a straight line between A to B, while spirituality and its feminine nature looks at things through a more holistic lens rather than linearly. Spirit observes the whole; science focuses on the details.

Taking this further down the road of counteractive relationships, we can observe that positive - masculine energy is the counterweight to negative - female energy, it is the yin to the yang, the hot to the cold, and what science is to spirit.  Please note, we are using positive and negative here in the scientific sense, not as a judgment but as a descriptor for the two literal states of energy, just as one might reference the number negative one in an equation without meaning any disparagement.

It is said that as a species we are mainly left brained, which is to say that we utilize logical thinking,mat2 masculine energy more than we use the right brained methods of creative, feminine energy. From this point of view, we favor observing with a smaller point of focus over a larger sense of awareness, focusing on the finite rather than the infinite.It can be said that for this reason that esoteric knowledge and mysticism were swept under the rug so that more finite disciplines such as science could thrive. It is this act of favoring figure over background, which has brought us to the point of requiring a re-sync of the two counterweights in order to balance the picture so we can move forward.

There have been many amazing technological advances over the past hundred years, advances that have surged humanity forward, dramatically impacting standards of living in ways both good and bad. Our access to resources so readily available provides us with immense benefit and a heightened sense of ease, but at quite the cost to our planetary body.  Whilst we have grown accustomed to this increased availability of resources and heightened standard of living, developments which are largely responsible for many of our technological advancements, it is also the poor management and unequal division of these resources which is responsible for most if not all of the turmoil we face in our modern era. To merge scientific progress with a spiritually holistic and compassionate approach would promote the well needed rebalance and give us the best of both worlds by allowing one polarity to compliment the other in unity, looking out fortomorrowwhile remaining in the present moment.

The foundational wisdoms of all spiritual practices teach us about relieving suffering, which is exactly what the advancements of science and technology have sought to achieve in their pursuit of a better life. In some cases, this act of relieving suffering rarely extends equally beyond our focus on what is in front of us as individuals, favoring finite solutions to a limited range of problems.  For example, we may focus upon helping our immediate family or local community, rather than looking out for the infinity of everyone and everything.  Of course, we must also recognize that it if we extend our perspective to include all mankind, it is difficult to find a set of practical actions to take that will alleviate suffering for all.  Favoring both extreme and abandoning the other perpetuates an imbalance within the system.

mat 3Viewing our life as a string of events, of a long line of causes and effects, promotes the outlook that each experience is a motion that carries us through to the next, life becomes a series journeys without actual arrivals or destinations.  This outlook can result in a lesser appreciation for the now, since it is only just one link in the chain.  As a result of having too broad of a perspective on our own life, we miss out on the finer details that are before us in every moment, and miss out on the truth that we can only ever act in this particular moment, right now.  The obverser reflects a Carpe diem attitude- live fast die young approach:  each day is an ‘end’ and should be treated as such.  This leaves very little room for appreciation of the bigger picture.  Neither extreme will work, but balancing the two enables us to view the larger picture of our life journey even as we appreciate the celebratory moments of achieving our goals.

In this context, technology can be viewed in many forms: the creation of the wheel, of language, of pencil and paper, of the processors which enable modern computers, even of the internet which makes it possible for these words to be read across the globe almost instantly.   The nature of technology is much broader than the typical science fiction notions many of us think about.

We may use more externally oriented instruments like telescopes to observe galaxies on the macrocosmic scale or we may use technologies of a more internal nature like psychedelics to explore the microcosmic universe. We may embrace methods of electronic communication to connect in what could be seen as more concentrated and efficient methods, when compared to the broader more full-bodied connection of physical contact.  It is clear that, no matter how we approach technology, there is a time and a place for both masculine and feminine approaches, highlighting the need for an acceptance between the two; a unification of figure and background to give us the whole picture, rather than just a part of it.

It is exciting to see the global progressions as we venture further into the fairly unexplored fields of discovery that unify spirituality and science through studies that reveal internal and external reflections of reality. An example of which could be the use of EEG brain interface equipment, which continues to illustrate to us through increasingly quantifiable ways the mechanics of the human brain and the interconnected nature between internal and external experiences. Studies, which are shining greater light on the health benefits that age old disciplines such as meditation and psychedelic practice, have on the mind and body. Approaching these counterparts from a more holistic perspective continues to reveal to us their complimentary nature and emerges further strength in the foundational path from which we can progress.

Further understanding the unification of polarities in this way allows us to see the interconnected nature between other dualistic relationships like hot and cold, inverse and obverse, light and dark, and so on.
It is said within science that there is no such thing as cold, only the absence of heat. Equally we could say there is no such thing as darkness only the absence of light.
In spirituality it is said that there is no such thing as hatred, only the absence of love.
In its own way, science confirms this through saying that the processes of evolution can never go backwards; contrary as global conflicts may seem, evolution can only go forward and multiply. We may encounter hiccups, though these are but obstacles on our path forwards, not actual backwards motion. This process of an expansive pursuit forward can be seen as self-love. Within this example then, it can be seen that science and spirit are sharing the same perspective, singing the same song whilst on opposite sides of the same coin.

It is said within many spiritual practices that Prana, consciousness, or life force energy is the basis for all that is, the fabric of our very existence. To comprise the molecular structures that we view on a daily basis in the physical world such as our bodies, there is a necessary concentration of this energy. It is also said within many spiritual practices that this concentration, Prana or life force energy is a manifestation of awareness.
An awareness, which culminates and divides in order to learn more about itself from a broader perspective. This same state of foundational awareness is often referred to as the state of emptiness or void-ness: a state without an object of awareness, that is not devoid of awareness itself. Just as a wave could be seen as an individualized object within its surroundings, this state refers to a state, which refers purely to the surroundings without separate objects within it, like a calm ocean without any waves.

mat 5In the same way, we can be aware of ourselves reading these words, and by objectifying that through awareness we become aware that we are aware of ourselves reading these words. Almost as if such a level of awareness were a separate object itself, we arrive at a scenario similar to that of the Russian doll, which is comprised of smaller versions of itself. 

In this way of viewing the interconnected nature between an object and its surroundings; such as a figure within its background, a concentration within an expansiveness, or a tool such as technology within its purpose of human advancement, the concentrated knowing that is our conscious awareness is a manifestation of its surroundings; the basic level of awareness known as the expansive emptiness or void-ness, the wave comprised of the ocean.
This could be seen as the pearl of singularity inside the clamshell black hole of emptiness. So too, in the same way that we see this concentration of consciousness to be a manifestation of awareness, we see that something-ness is an aggregation of nothingness, that hot can be seen as an accumulation of cold and that science can be seen as the years of cumulative research brought to us by the collective consciousness of spirit.

The somewhat unnecessary distinction that is created between the two unconsciously advocates imbalance and discourse. As is stated in the Buddhist school of philosophy known as the Madhyamaka, impermanent collections of such causes and conditions are designated by mere conceptual labels. Whether we are referring to labeled disciplines such as science and technology, the conditions of our daily scenarios, or phenomena in general, viewing all things with this transparent lens and seeing their causal nature free from a dualistic perspective serves to keep us aligned and synchronized with the most beneficial path forward.

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Comments (2)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is very well put together stuff. A nice blend here of what happens in the mind and then manifests out to create a reality. yes, i agree, we are primarily a left brained world, but as will all things, the tide will sway the other way someday.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is very well put together stuff. A nice blend here of what happens in the mind and then manifests out to create a reality. yes, i agree, we are primarily a left brained world, but as will all things, the tide will sway the other way someday.

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