“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” ~ Carl Sagan, ‘The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark’
In modern times, attempts are often made to use the modern scientific method to infer or prove the existence of a spiritual dimension. Electrodes are attached to the mediator’s head, psychics and remote viewers are tested for accuracy and consistency, and the results of intentions and prayers are statistically measured and quantified.
But what happens when, instead of attempting to use the finite to prove the infinite, we apply the systematic modeling that the modern science methodology gives us over the works of all the great masters? Can we possibly distill a common framework by analyzing the teachings of Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mohammed, Rumi and so many others and resynthesize the findings into a workable hypothesis? A hypothesis so comprehensive that when applied to all of the world’s major religions, it can be mapped across them universally while at the same time encompassing everything from remote viewing and reincarnation to Near-Death experiences (NDEs) and Out of Body experiences?
The true spirit of science, going back thousands of years, has always been a quest for knowledge, for the truth. In fact, the word science comes from the Latin word scient, which simply means “to know”, as in omniscient or All Knowing. The relatively young Modern Scientific Method has its short comings, but it does give us a step-by-step process that includes assumptions, definitions, axioms, postulates and hypothesis and then suggests protocols, methods and techniques to either prove or disprove a given theory.
So if we were to use this step-by-step process to examine what all of the great masters have attempted to communicate, what would these basic axioms, definitions, assumptions and hypotheses be? And which theory would we then isolate and which protocols, methods and techniques would we use to either prove or disprove this theory? And in a truly scientifically-minded approach, research into various spiritual traditions would not only include the most prominent texts, but also all the available information. For example, in drawing a comprehensive comparison between the fundamental messages of Christianity against other traditions, it would be unscientific to exclude the many, many documents that were removed from the bible such as the Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Mary, the Didache, Pistas Sophia, Gospel of Peter, etc.
To begin this process scientifically, we would start with the simple definitions and axioms that we find in every faith. We can take, for an example, a simple definition of truth. If we look at what all the masters have said, you will recognize a definition for Truth as this: The Truth is that which doesn’t change, anything that changes isn’t real. Furthermore, we can take as a working axiom, things like the concepts that we are not our bodies, we are not our egos, we are not our memories and we are not our minds. As in all things in the scientific process, we begin to use these basic building blocks of definitions and axioms to slowly build up a model.
While the Modern Scientific Method rejects reincarnation out of hand because it is absolutely impossible to prove or disprove using their techniques and protocols, there is sufficient evidence in each of the great traditions of the world that reincarnation is real, so it would be unreasonable to exclude it as a postulate in our model. If you look at something like the concept of Original Sin in Judaism and Christianity, which to a lot of people seems like an outmoded mythical concept, all of a sudden it begins to make complete sense when juxtaposed against the idea of Karma in Eastern Traditions.
The one primary concept that seems to be a common thread amongst all Masters is that there is a Self. Atman. God. Cosmic Consciousness. The Non-Dual. Additionally, we can extract from this idea the corollary that, through attaining higher levels of consciousness, it is possible to become Self Realized. What that Self really is, has never really been described (other than through parables), but we can assume it exists. So looking at this model scientifically, we will take the existence of one all-pervading Self as our primary theory. We can take it a step further and apply a scientific truism that, if one human being can have an experience, then every human being can have that same experience. Therefore the basic tenets of the modern scientific process, repeatability and independent verification, are part of our scientific approach.
Once we have scientifically created our model for spirituality, using as a basis all of the great Masters’ works, we can then go back to some of the individual quotes and derive new meanings from them. For example, when Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the light,” he is speaking as a Self-Realized Master and not from the perspective of an individual, separate from the Whole. So, naturally, any self-realized master could speak exactly the same words and none of them would be contradicting each other. You can easily see here how, from one perspective, it appears that Jesus is fostering exclusivity, but, from another perspective he is using a scientific approach. There is only one destination because there is only one Self. At least these are the basic theories, postulates, corollaries, axioms and definitions that we take as our model to prove or disprove.
To get to the truth, we again look scientifically at a cross section of all the traditions to extract the protocols, methods and techniques recommended by all the Great Masters to be used for verification. We are told that, although we are just one, the thing that creates and perpetuates this false sense of separation is the ego. We are also told that reincarnation plays a vital role in perpetuating this delusion, and that part of what prevents us from knowing our true Self is our own mind, which is constantly looking to the world without, rather than the world within. So we know that to conduct our scientific experiment within the prescribed guidelines, regulating things like diet and other activities greatly enhances the possibilities of success.
Ultimately, the one centerpiece method to either proving or disproving the existence of Self is meditation. In meditation, we are able to scientifically train our minds to quiet down to the point where we begin to experience our true essence. When we learn how to find the off switch for our egos, our memories, or intellects and our emotions, we begin to realize that we are much more than just our bodies and our minds and that everything the Great Masters on this planet have ever taught us, has a basis in Truth.
Source: “Science & Spirituality” from Waking Times, by Frank Huguenard. It is shared here via CC licensing. Huguenard is an author, teacher and documentary film producer who specializes in films to do with – you got it – Science and Spirituality. You can see all three of his films, Beyond Me, Beyond Belief and Beyond Reason at his website www.beyondmefilm.com.
Image: Meditation – Into the Mystic, by Ian Burt