I had bet on science to answer my existential questions-who am I, what is reality, what is truth. Twenty years later I have come to realize that scientific knowledge is a dead end, in fact all knowledge is useless when searching for the absolute truth.
” A fascinating feature of the Absolutes — in fact, a defining feature — is that there is no way to get there from here, that is, from within the physical world. There is no gradual, step-by-step path to go from relative truth to absolute truth, or to go from a long period of time to eternity, or from limited wisdom to the infinite wisdom of God. The infinite is not merely a lot more of the finite. Indeed, the unattainability of the Absolutes may be part of their allure. The final defining feature of these Absolutes, Lightman notes, is their unprovability by the scientific method. He writes:” Yet I did not need any proof of what I felt during that summer night in Maine looking up at the sky. It was a purely personal experience, and its validity and power resided in the experience itself. Science knows what it knows from experiment with the external world. Belief in the Absolutes comes from internal experience, or sometimes from received teachings and culture-granted authority.” (Popova, n.d.)
Mystics and poets are more in touch with reality than scientists. Reality, as it turns out, is an experience. It is to be lived and felt. Thinking about Reality is not the same as experiencing reality. Jane Goodall’s poem The Old Wisdom evokes the feeling of what it is to discover that the sky, the stars, the earth and the entire Universe is within us; within the Eternal I. What is real and true is within us waiting to be experienced.
The Old Wisdom
By Jane Goodall
When the night wind makes the pine trees creak
And the pale clouds glide across the dark sky,
Go out my child, go out and seek
Your soul: The Eternal I.
For all the grasses rustling at your feet
And every flaming star that glitters high
Above you, close up and meet
In you: The Eternal I.
Yes, my child, go out into the world; walk slow
And silent, comprehending all, and by and by
Your soul, the Universe, will know
Itself: The Eternal I.
Mystics are proof that Absolute Truth is experienced. It is a felt truth. it is not a thing, a thought or an idea. It is a feeling. It is a knowing not knowledge. Various saints such as Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and mystics such as Rumi and Ramana Maharishi have experienced absolute truth and are proof that there are levels of consciousness beyond our normal waking states. Buddha and Christ were highly evolved mystics who embodied higher states of consciousness.
Truth hides in plain sight. We search for it in objects and material things, we personify it, we give it a name, we build churches, mosques and temples about it, and we fight wars and kill others in the name of one’s conception of absolute Reality. But we are mistaking an idea of Reality for Reality.
At the end of my search I was expecting a resplendent God revealing herself with trumpets blaring and heavens parting. Instead what I found was a bust, a zero, sunya, nothing. Reality is formless, indescribable, without beginning or an end. I can’t touch, smell, hear, taste or see it. But, I can feel it.
There is a difference between knowledge and knowing. All knowledge is limited. Reality cannot be understood through the intellect. Reality is a knowing, it is a feeling.