Objective Science and Subjective Spirituality

By Tim Freke

photo: Agnes Bollok Csor

In this extract of his book The Mystery Experience: A Revolutionary Approach to Awakening, Tim Freke explores the ‘deep awake’ state he calls the ‘mystery experience’ or simply the ‘WOW’! He articulates a ‘paralogical’ philosophy which sees life as fundamentally paradoxical. This means to understand deep truths we need to go beyond the ‘either/or’ thinking of normal logic and embrace paralogical ‘both/and’ thinking, which sees life from complementary, opposite perspectives at the same time. In this extract he explore the complementary relationship between the objective perspective of science and the subjective perspective of spirituality.

On our journey we’ve explored the big questions ‘what is life?’ and ‘who am I?’ When we looked below the surface appearances of the universe we discovered the deep mystery. When we looked deeply within we discovered the deep self. Now I want to explore the idea that the deep mystery and the deep self are complementary ways of seeing the primal mystery of being. Let me take you through it.

The Objective Universe

Scientific exploration of the objective world has led to the realization that things are not what they seem to be.

On the surface of things we seem to live in a concrete world of solid things. But when science looks deeper the world of solid objects disappears.

Below the surface there is a fluid world of quantum possibilities.

And beyond that is the unknowable ultimate reality … the deep mystery.

The deep mystery of what-is cannot be described … we can only say that it exists.

The deep mystery is the mystery of being.

The Subjective Self

My spiritual explorations of the subjective self have led to the realization that I am not what I seem to be.

On the surface of things I seem to be a physical body. But if I look deeper into the nature of my identity I see that essentially I don’t exist in the material world.

Below the surface of the self lies the fluid world of the psyche, full of intangible thoughts and imagined possibilities.

And beyond that is my essential being … the deep self.

The deep self cannot be described, because it can’t be seen or heard or touched or imagined … I can only say that it exists.

The deep self is the mystery of being.

Whether I’m investigating the objective world or the subjective self, if I reach into the depths I discover the mystery of being. This is the primal ground of existence.

The Spiritual and Scientific Perspectives
The mystery of being is the primal ground from which everything is arising. We’ve been imagining the primal ground as unconscious awareness, within which life is arising like a dream. In philosophy this view of things has many names. For my purposes I’m going to call it simply the ‘spiritual’ perspective.

We’ve seen that some of the greatest scientists have agreed with the ‘spiritual’ view, but many other scientists take the opposite perspective. They see the primal ground of reality as made up of matter, albeit in a very abstract form. As this is the common understanding of science in our culture right now I’m going to call this view the ‘scientific’ perspective.
Before the development of modern physics, the scientific perspective took the form of crude ‘materialism’, which saw reality as made up of matter. Since the discovery that matter isn’t really there, this has developed into a more subtle understanding of the ground of reality as ‘energy’, which is arising as physical matter.
The spiritual and scientific perspectives appear to contradict each other. But it seems to me that they’re paralogically complementary views of the mystery of being. Let me explore this with you using the field analogy we’ve previously found helpful.

The Primal Field

From the spiritual perspective I see this.

The primal field of being is unconscious awareness, which has become conscious through the forms it ‘dreams’ itself to be.

From the scientific perspective I see this.

The primal field of being is the energetic substance of the universe, which has become conscious through evolving into complex physical forms.

So here’s what we can say from both the spiritual and scientific perspectives.

The unconscious field of being becomes conscious through the individual forms that arise within it.

The body allows a centre of consciousness to emerge in the unconscious field, through which the field of being becomes conscious of being.

The oneness of being becomes conscious through the manyness of beings.

Separate and Not-Separate

From the spiritual perspective I see this.

I am the supreme being, conscious through ‘Tim’.

I am the unconscious field of awareness individualized as a particular ‘I’.

It seems as if my being is separate from the being of others, but actually my ‘I’ is intrinsically one with the being of all.

From the scientific perspective I see this.

I am the unconscious universe that has individualized into this particular conscious body.

I am the universe looking at itself.

The body seems separate from the universe, but it is actually intrinsically one with the universe and could have no independent existence.

So here’s what I see from both the spiritual and scientific perspectives.

I am the unconscious oneness arising as a conscious individual.

I am the universal field of being, individualized as a particular being.

It seems as if my being is separate from the being of others, but actually every individual being is intrinsically one with the being of all.

I am separate and not-separate from all that is.

Space and Time

From the spiritual perspective I see this.

The primal awareness is an eternal presence that doesn’t exist within space and time.

Space and time characterize the dream of separateness that is arising within awareness.

From the scientific perspective I see this.

Einstein has shown that the fundamental reality doesn’t exist in space and time.

Yet we experience ourselves as existing in space and time.

So here’s what I see from both the spiritual and scientific perspectives.

The primal field of unconscious being is everywhere and always.

The forms arising in space and time allow the unconscious field of being to become conscious, so consciousness is limited by space and time.

The One and the Many
Spiritual myths explore the idea that the primal oneness is becoming conscious of itself through appearing to be many separate individuals.

The scientific story of the evolving cosmos is a new version of this ancient myth. It relates how the oneness of unconscious nature has become conscious of itself through evolving into ever more complex forms, until it reaches the human form in which it is conscious of being conscious.

You can download a free eBook of the first part of The Mystery Experience here.

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