(4) Pearls of Wisdom
Why Does the Physical World Appear Real?
If nothing exists, then how is it that things appears solid? It’s because our consciousness (our awareness and beliefs) tells us so. It is playing a trick on us. Nothing is solid, except in our imagination. For example, take a pile of bricks. You can’t see through it. It feels solid. You believe it is solid. If you were to try and break it with your hands, you would injure yourself. Your belief would be proved valid through painful experience. A martial arts expert looks at a pile of bricks differently. He does not perceive it to be solid. He focuses his mind, directs his energy, and smashes it with his bare hand without the slightest pain. His belief is also proved to be correct. Who is right? Both! If your consciousness tells you that something is so, it is. For you.
What Holds It All Together?
If not even the particles that make up the atoms of which matter is formed exist, then what holds it all together? According to Max Planck (1885-1947), the theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory and who won a Nobel Prize for his work on the atom: All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.
What is this force? What can we say about this Mind that is the matrix of all matter? Scientists currently believe that everything came from the Big Bang. Fragments suddenly appeared out of nothing, were flung far and wide, and formed into stars and galaxies. But what was responsible for the Big Bang? If matter can disappear into nothing (black holes), is it also possible that it can appear out of nothing? One thing we know is that the cause of the Big Bang was not physical. In other words, it was spiritual.
Can Science and Spiritual Philosophy Ever Agree?
Philosophers have never had a problem incorporating spirituality into their world view. Neither did the ancient sages of India, China, and Japan. They demonstrated in many remarkable ways that matter is an illusion created by the mind. Some of the ancient writings are astonishing in view of recent scientific discoveries. For example, the Rishis of ancient India knew that the energy out of which matter is formed could not have appeared out of nothing. They anticipated the first law of thermodynamics - which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed and that matter is a form of condensed energy - by thousands of years.
At times, scientists have opposed every aspect of spiritual philosophy. Equally, the religiously inclined often resisted the scientific method, believing that their faith already explained everything there was to know. Clearly, neither viewpoint is tenable, but it’s fascinating to observe science and spirituality getting closer with each new discovery and in places appearing to merge. Nowadays, many who take an interest in the relationship between science, spiritual philosophy, and religion realize that they are in fact quite compatible. Once we accept that there is a creative intelligence from which all energy and matter originates the pieces of the puzzle fall into place.
A Life Force Flowing Through Us
In surveys, when people are asked if they believe in a Higher Power, the majority say they do. When asked what they mean by this, they can’t say. Anyone who watches a flower bloom, holds a new-born baby, gazes at the night sky, or contemplates the ocean senses a life force flowing through us, an energy field of which we are all a part. But to explain why, our intellect is of little use. As Max Planck wrote:
Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. How can a finite being possibly understand the infinite? Should we even try? Isn’t human intelligence too limited to encompass anything so vast? Muslims understand this completely. Allah, the name they use for the Creator, is beyond description. Allah can’t be seen or heard, has no shape or form and no gender, but has always existed, will always exist and knows everything that can be known.
We Cannot See The Creative Force, But We Can See The Results
The creative force can’t be seen or heard and has no smell, taste or texture, so we can’t detect it through our five senses. Should this concern us? No. Much of the physical world is beyond the range of human sensory parameters. Dogs can hear and smell things we can’t, eagles have much better sight, bats sense radar-like vibrations we cannot, and we know from looking into a microscope that there are infinitesimal organisms living on our skin and in our bodies which we can never see with the naked eye. If so little of the physical world falls within our sensory parameters, how much harder is it to visualize intelligence or an energy flow! Take electricity. We can’t see, hear, taste, or smell it, but we know it exists and can put it to good use. Similarly, we can’t detect the creative force through our senses but we can observe the effects. When we appreciate that there is more to life than meets the eye we have taken a big step towards grasping our spiritual nature.
There Is Only One Power Working In The Universe
There is only one prevailing power in the universe. It is the same power that set off the Big Bang and brought the universe into existence. This power is many times stronger than any we can comprehend. We know how much energy is released by splitting a single atom, but that is only a minuscule fraction of the energy that flows through the entire cosmos. This power flows through every atom and every cell of every living thing, including us. It flows through our bodies and activates our minds. We are dependent on it for everything, including our very existence. There is no absence of life, potential, or intelligence anywhere. Consider these words from the spiritual text, the Bhagavad-Gita: ‘I am the Source of all spiritual and material works. Everything emanates from me.’ This Source is in everything – you, me, the things you want in your life and the things you don’t.
The Universe Has a Purpose
The creative force which brought the universe must have a purpose and is taking us in a definite direction. We don’t know where for sure because the capacity of the human mind is so limited. We can only ever see a small part of the picture, but this need not prevent us from trying to make sense of the evidence available to us (as long as we are willing to amend our ideas when new evidence becomes available).
Imagine what it would be like to know where the universe and its offspring, the human race, are heading. What would it feel like to be in harmony with the creative force that drives this journey?