Connecting science and spirituality: Some insights from physics

We have long thought that science and spirituality must never mix, but there have been numerous instances when researchers, and scientists have turned to spirituality to find inspiration. What is the universe made of? How did it begin? Where does it end? In this article written by Zeera Merali, she shows us that there may be more connections to science and spirituality than we imagine.

Some Important Highlights

  • Over the years, there have been various attempts at discovering the connection between modern cosmology and non-Western thinking.
  • Werner Heisenberg, the founder of quantum mechanics, met with Indian poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore in 1929 to discourse on the parallelisms between Eastern philosophy and science.
  • In 1975, Fritjof Capra published The Tao of Physics which developed a popularized version of the marriage between physics and mysticism.
  • Physicist Abhay Ashtekar continues to this day to uncover startling similarities between his scientific practice and his Buddhist beliefs.
  • Cosmologist Andrei Linde, co-founder of the inflation theory, finds a harmony between cosmology and the ancient Hindu philosophical school Advaita Vedantra.

Concepts Discussed

  • Quantum theory
  • Schrodinger’s equation
  • Wheeler-DeWitt equation
  • The problem of time
  • The eternal universe
  • Quantum entanglement
  • Loop quantum gravity

Why It Matters

The Philippines is a highly spiritual country with over 90% of the population belonging to a church. While walking down the street, ask anyone, “do you believe in God?” and you will almost immediately get an instant “yes!”

In recent surveys in the US, it was discovered that more and more millennials are turning away from religion. We can’t say the same thing for the Philippines. When Pope Francis came to the Philippines in 2015, young and old, came out to listen to the outdoor mass he gave. They braved, not just the weather, but the millions of people, and the hours of traffic and hassle this event caused.

In a small study conducted by the De La Salle University (DLSU), they discovered that the Filipino youth is still engaged in religious practices. But such religiosity may be changing. Like the millenials of the rest of the world, Filipino millenials are no longer the passive faithful. They are actively engaged in social change, and are drivers of fluency and authenticity in their own churches. The DLSU study also demarcates the “religiosity” of previous generations to the “spirituality” being exhibited by Filipino millenials today.

But just like millenials of other countries, the Filipino millenial is also people of science. They are also “educated, tech-savvy, well-travelled, and cosmopolitan in their choices in life”. This article from Merali explains why millenials just might be in the right path. It is then, imperative for Filipino millenials to read this article, and hopefully, prompt them to begin research on the new sciences such us quantum physics, astrophysics, etc. in order to discover how exactly the world is changing.

As more and more millenials are dabbling into various spiritual practices, it is important to note that this world where we live in today is the world where we can effect change. This is the world where we can make dreams come true. In his interview for the article, Ashtekar said that the effect of deep meditation is so profound it could cause you to “lose your motivation, or fire in your belly”. One might be tempted to go the extremes – either completely deny the experience or to succumb to it. But there is so much the world can offer, so many more realities we can discover, if only we are present to them.

…the theories that you pursue with a passion are not the ones that seem right based merely on mathematical grounds, but must also ‘tell something to your heart’.

Zeera Merali

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