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When Science and Spirituality Collide
Science and Religion Are On the Same Page!
In a world that has been defined as following the natural laws of "Survival of the Fittest," and requiring competition, where do concepts of sympathy, love, compassion, cooperation, and community come into play? The reality is that those who pledge allegiance to competition because of Darwin's observations in his book Descent of Man are really only listening to Aldous Huxley's interpretation of the material. In truth, "survival of the fittest" and "competition" are only mentioned twice in this book, whereas cooperation, connection, and community are mentioned 95 times. When we look at humanity as being a part of nature, we do not have incredibly long and sharp teeth; we don't have thick skin or large muscle masses; we have the ability to work together. It is in working together that we have become the most successful. This is why there were hunting parties; no single individual could bring down large kills by himself (and I don't say "himself" to be sexist; early hunting parties and even those in existence in many aboriginal tribes are made up of male groups).
Okay...So, we are cooperative. What does this have to do with religion?
All of the world's great religions--from Islam, to Buddhism, from Hinduism to Judaism, from Wicca to Christianity, teach that the heart is the center of all actions. In Buddhism, there is a saying that tells us that a tree grows on its roots. If you change the root, you change the tree. A human being grows in the heart. If you change the heart of the person, you change the person. Is that really the case? A research center called the Heart Math Institute, located in California, explains that the brain receives many more messages than it receives. In fact, many messages the brain receives come from the heart. The researchers measured the interstitial beats of the heart, the pauses we hear in the heartbeat between each "lub-dub" sound. What they found is that in those interstitial beats, there were messages being sent that corresponded to fear, anger, sympathy, etc. These signals were then received by the brain and responded to. This is done in such a way that it creates a measurable electromagnetic field around a person, and that these electromagnetic fields then react to others' electromagnetic fields. This is why you can think about a person and not even say anything out loud, and that person will get in touch with you. It's as if they know you needed to talk with them. The heart, in essence, is the source of connection between all people.
The Heart Has Its Own Intelligence
the Heart Math Institute researchers have concluded that the heart is smart in its own way. It is in the heart centers that intuition appears to initiate. In its intelligence, we can recognize that we are more than robots made of meat, following the dictations given to us by our "brain computers." We are much, much more than machinery, much more than competitive, and inherently "wired," if you still want to think of yourself as a kind of robot, detached from nature, for survival of ourselves at the expense of others.
I would like to counter, however, that life is inherently different than machinery. In the documentary "I Am," created by Tom Shadyak, one scientist describes the scenario as the following: If I am a really great mechanic, I should be able to take my car and pull it apart piece by piece, laying each component out on my driveway. I should also then be able to put pieces back into the car and drive off effortlessly down the street. If I am excellent surgeon, and I take my dog and cut him up into little pieces and expertly connect each component exactly like it was, he will never bark at me again. Yet, the way in which we have created life for ourselves mimics machinery much more than life, and this has been the case since the onset of the Industrial Revolution.
World Religions, since the onset of looking beyond our own lives as being enough and needing a way to describe and explain our natural world, has consistently taught cooperation, empathy, and compassion as the keys for not only human survival ,but also in our own striving for happiness. Therein lies the problem: How can we define or even know when we are really happy?
The Myth of Happiness
If we are lost in the wilderness, caught in the rain, freezing, wet, and hungry, and we run across a cabin with lights on and smoke curling from the chimney, we can knock on the door in the hope of being let in. Let's say for argument's sake, we are let in. The person who owns the cabin invites us in, gives us warm clothes, a comfortable place by the fire and a bowl of hot soup. With very little stuff, we feel happy instantly.
The myth, then, is that with more stuff we will feel happier. One billion dollars will make us so much so happy, therefore ten billion dollars will make us ten times happier. The reality is, it doesn't work that way. Bill Gates does not live in a state of eternal bliss, as much as such a life has been advertised as the essence of success, it also separates the wealthy to the point where they are disconnected to every person and every thing that has made it possible to amass their vast empires (for lack of a better word). It is even more shocking when such wealth can be amassed and right down the street is a person living in absolute poverty, starvation, and sickness.
When there is too much being built to the point of deteriorating the resources that the rest of the organism shares, it is defined as cancer. There is a way to cure social cancers, and that is to remember that we are not disconnected at all. The very natural fabric that has been researched and will continue to be researched dictates otherwise. We require each other in order to survive. We cannot leave one person out of the equation.
Energetic Ripple Effect of Connection
So What Can We Do with this Information?
When we live in such a way that we are aware and connected with our heart energy and messages, we are living in a state of peak performance for our bodies and our minds. Perhaps it is this kind of existence that has led many to believe in the concept of a soul--it is simply a way to describe the state where we are functioning at every physiological, psychological, and emotional levels in exactly the way we were naturally designed to do so.
I am not saying that we need to live in a world of absolute socialism, where everything is divided equally among those who are not in a position of power, as that is also just as corrosive and destructive as any other system we have come up with. But we can overcome isolation when we reach out and act compassionately toward one another. The Dalai Lama was given the chance to offer his thoughts about what will ultimately save mankind as well as the planet on which we live and utterly depend. His response was quick: "Critical thinking followed by action." That is my challenge to you: Continue to think of ways in which you can make a positive difference for those around you. Follow up your ideas with specific action. We have the opportunity to change the conversations about humanity's existence. It doesn't take politicians or people with an incredible amount of money; it takes us working together in cooperation and understanding.