What is truth? This is an important question, but an even more interesting question is how do we decide truth? Often, we think of truth as objective and measurable, but my truth might not be yours. And aren’t there different layers of truth as our minds expand and our understanding deepens? Truth can take on different forms. In this technological age, we have so much access to information, opinions and ideas. Yet, there seems to be little wisdom to be gained. How do we know what to believe? Is it a story that only the five senses can tell us; a story that can be replicated and reproduced through the scientific method? Or maybe it is a story that can only be told when we embrace our multi-sensory nature; a tale of intuition, artistry, emotion, and mythology?
Some individuals think these stories are in direct contrast to another, and that only one can exist. Then, there are many of us that are desperate to find a way for them to converge into a single truth. Let’s consider for a moment that we do both science and spirituality a disservice when we want them to mesh. Perhaps, one doesn’t need to fit neatly into the other; rather they are parallel paths, and they both tell stories of truth. Each one provides us with a different offering and a way to understand the universe, and each is equally important to us navigating our lives with context and purpose.
Religion and/or spirituality is primarily a faith-based worldview that encompasses a belief in one or more deities, sacred or supernatural beings and looks to experience and understand the underlying connections of humanity. It is the language and the stories of our soul. These are truths that live beyond our understanding of space and time, reason, and logical thinking. It is through faith and our experience of the mystical and multi-dimensional realms that give meaning and purpose to our world. These truths are not easily quantified or explained as a string of data, but they help us to understand who we are to one another and more importantly, who we are to ourselves.
Science, on the other hand, is riddled with doubt and skepticism by its very nature. It aims to be faithless and only infers knowledge from observation and experimentation of the physical and the natural world. It tells us how our 3-dimensional world operates within the confines of time and space and gives a fairly accurate way to measure and predict the universe’s behavior. Our scientific knowledge has given us huge advances in our technology, extended our lives and allowed us to build the infrastructure of our modern world. To dismiss science and the gifts it has brought humanity would be foolish. If science explains the how or provides us the mechanism by which things work; spirituality then sheds light on the why or the purpose for our being here.
Each path to truth has its limitations, and it is important to understand them. Science does an excellent job explaining to us the actions of a single ingredient or the statistical truths of large populations, but it can’t tell your story. And more than that, it cannot know the story you tell yourself. There are so many aspects of the mind/body relationship, our subconscious mind and our energy dynamics that can’t be measured and accounted for. All of these factors contribute to our unique biochemical make-up. These acts of consciousness determine our potential and can never be accurately tested or represented fully by the scientific method.
A faith-based worldview also has its limitations. It can find itself entrenched in dogma and rigidity and can often fail to explain why something manifests the way it does on the material plane. We must not forget that our souls chose the confines of this 3-dimensional world. If spirituality is about the why, then there must be a purpose in that. We are given these dense physical bodies with an immutable soul that is limited by the physical laws of nature. Can we embrace its limitations as a means to our growth and discovery? After all, we have a whole spectrum of dimensional frequency to explore and delight in, even in the minutia of daily life. Neither view can fully encompass humanity’s truth, but if we stop moving from a place of either /or and move into the space of both/and, the world does not have to be reduced down to the sum of its parts. Its truth and meaning can remain as both an explanation and as an experience.
For example, let’s take the creation story. There has been a huge debate about it being addressed alongside the Theory of Evolution in science class. Opponents consider it anti-science and many Christians believe it should be a critical part of our education. Maybe the creation story does not belong in a science classroom but has a very real place in our education anyways. It is the mythology of our creation and maybe that story is just as important as knowing the chemical constituents of the Big Bang theory and the evolution of our species. Can we live in a world that can appreciate and see the value that science has to offer, but also know that we need to provide humanity with the tools to connect and express our souls? A way for us to understand the universe, society, culture and ourselves through language, art, mythology, archetypes and energetics. This knowledge is embedded in our DNA and our collective consciousness even though it can’t be measured.
Perhaps, we have been going about it all wrong, trying to find a way to combine science and spirituality. Maybe faith and doubt should remain complementary. Even though their paths may not converge anytime soon, we can still appreciate that they share different levels of truth while valuing one just as much as the other. We are spiritual entities in a physical body – a body that is bound by gravity, time and space and in so many ways these natural laws hold true. Then, there are truths in the mystical where our souls are not bound by the confines of our 3-D world. Instead of trying to mesh the worldviews, we should celebrate both and understand the truth contained in each of their respective planes of existence. There may come a day when science and spirituality are one, but in the meantime, let’s let them co-exist and not quite so eager to reduce the big everything down to the sum of its parts. The mystical should stay as an experience rather than an explanation.
Originally published in OMTimes Magazine