Enter Into Joy

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Science and Spirit

“Science without Religion is lame. Religion without Science is blind.” – Albert Einstein

Conflicts and dialog around “science vs. religion” are so prevalent that there are journals on the subject. I often have trouble distinguishing between them - maybe I’m so primitive each seems like magic. But they’re directions for life, and both have taught me by direct experience. Religious folks have questioned belief in evolution; scientists have questioned “superstitions” that can’t be proven. Somewhere in the middle seems best. 
For most of my life, an interest in science prevailed over religious pursuits. I didn’t really understand prayer until I took up meditation about five years ago. But much earlier, I had glimpses of an unseen world. Before I was out of high school, I was a fairly avid hunter. One day, walking down a cornrow, hoping to scare up a pheasant, I came face to face with a deer. His round black eye, not three feet away, stared into mine for a moment before he turned and melted back into the corn. I saw something magical there - I saw myself. I didn’t shoot anything but tin cans and clay pigeons after that.
I went to college and studied geology. Standing at the base of a cliff, I learned that each layer, not much thicker than the page of a book, formed over a long winter, when ice covered the surface of a lake. The water was still, and the clay that washed in from summer storms slowly settled to the bottom. Roots from trees way above me ended in layers that formed before written history. Digging my pick in the clay, I found snail shells unlike any existing today - that species didn’t survive. The idea of time stretching back to eternity began seeping into me. The spirit in that deer’s eye was placed in a time context. But where is it going?
At the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago, 1893, Swami Vivekananda, representing India and Hinduism, created a sensation. His words, beginning with “Sisters and brothers of America…” had seven thousand people on their feet. Although steeped in Hindu tradition, Vivekenanda stressed the importance, and spoke with the conviction, of direct experience. On evolution, he said:  “If you carry evolution to its logical conclusion, there must come a time when that power that was in the amoeba, and which evolved as man, will have conquered all the obstructions that nature can bring before it, and will thus escape from all its environments.”  Pure spirit. 

– Kelly Nash
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