In the “modern’ human, a gap persists between the rational mind and the intuitive and devotional heart.  On the one side, the mind seeks objectivity, seeks verifiable facts.  But it has been imprisoned by the inviolable laws of the scientific religion.  Science’s dogma hems in discerning rationality, drawing a line around what is fair game and what is off limits.

On the other side are the subjective inner experiences of the intuitive heart, the cosmic and psychic experiences that pass through all human experience, though depending on our degree of allegiance to the religion of objectivity we may consider them or discard them without a second glance.  These experiences, separated as they are from the discerning light of the mind, remain for most of us vague, abstract, and shaky.  For when we open ourselves to receive information from the vast array of cosmic forces that populate our universe, we are opening not only to beings and forces that support our growth and love us without end, but to forces and beings on the opposite side of the spectrum and everything in between.  So many, perhaps even all who have sought to explore these inner realms have at some point followed an errant spark down a dark tunnel unwittingly.

Our subjective experience is often a blind groping, hoping that the arm we grasp as guide through the fog supports our best interest.  And when it does not, when we awake as if from a dream to find ourselves lost and far from home, our natural inclination is to eschew the entire endeavor, paint the whole experience as fantasy and head for the surface world where only verifiable material truths are real.

But science, the religion of the mind, even as it pricks and probes and injects and dissects subjective experience, cannot ever really appreciate or understand it.  For when it cuts the experience into pieces, crushes it with mortar and pestle, extracts its nectar and refrigerates it for future investigation, it destroys the essence.  It kills that which it seeks to know, and so it is forever on the outside looking in, theorizing and speculating about the implications of its observations.

Science has begun to come up against its limitations, to see the walls of its self-imposed prison and understand that it is trapped.  But it has yet to find a way out, because the way out is to go within to a realm that it has forbidden and cast away.  Some scientists experiment on the cutting edge, seeking explanation for phenomena that stand in contrast to the immutable laws of science.  But even they tread a tightrope between being mocked as quacks for going to far, or missing their aim by not going far enough.  Many plumb the depths but only with a dive tank that pumps their lungs with the dogmatic vapors of ‘reason’.

It is only by eschewing all presumptions and rigid rules, only by opening fully to the realm of possibility, and diving off of the precipice carrying only the sword of discernment but no shield, no armor, nothing that would block the experience of complete immersion in the inner realm that science will finally achieve its age-old aim of uniting all theories into one cosmic and overarching Truth.

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Mindfulness Teacher
Comment by Shalini Bahl on February 17, 2014 at 12:10pm

A provocative post Matt, thanks for sharing here :)

This gap has been narrowing in mindfulness, where in, the teachings from Buddha so long ago are still relevant more than ever in the modern context and even have neural correlates. You might enjoy the talk by Dr. Richard Davidson that I mention in this post. He mentions in that talk how  the researchers own experience with mindfulness is guiding their research. So it feels like this chasm is closing. And yet there is so much mystery underlying what we have discovered that I think it is only the tip of the ice berg. The science helps to draw in people to try mindfulness practices and once they do start practicing the hope is they will touch the beauty and wisdom in all of us.

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