As a young child, I grew up believing in God in the most stereotypical sense: an all-powerful and all-knowing eternal source who would give me what I want if I was good and prayed for it, and punish me and judge me for all my wrong-doings, with a love similar to that of a parent towards his child. As I got older, I began to question a lot of what was taught in my faith, and for several years I no longer believed in anything; however, I always knew there was something greater and that, I chose to discover on my own, through years of meditation, religious studies and scientific research.
Now, as an adult, the faith I have and speak about is no longer a blind faith; rather, it is a faith of great depth encompassed by a sense of spiritual understanding- stronger and more solid ever before. This evolved faith is a combination of human psychology and physical science, in conjunction with my personal experiences. Science is catching up to the fact that we are all made up of energy, as is everything else, an energy that always was and always will be, that can be neither created nor destroyed. The same energy that all living beings have within them, the same energy as the eternal source of the universe, and the same energy that is still beyond any understanding that the human mind can fully comprehend…because consciousness does not arise from the mind.
As new research continues to emerge on this topic, I believe it is important to remain open to alter your belief systems but carefully choose what you believe and then stick to it with unwavering faith.
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” -Buddha
Dr. Gary Schwartz, a PhD graduate of Harvard University, professor of psychology, medicine, neurology, psychiatry and surgery at Yale University, director of the Yale Psychophysiology Center, co-director of the Yale Behavioral Medicine Clinic, and author of more than four hundred scientific papers and over eleven academic books, discusses the link between consciousness and the mind in the interview below. When it comes to the science of consciousness and understanding how faith and science go hand in hand, he is an expert on providing scientific evidence that consciousness is much more than the brain.
After moving to a new city, losing my job and home, suffering through the death of a loved one, and loss of a relationship all in the same year alone, it is not surprising that for a brief time I yet again began to question everything I had ever known. This short-lived existential crisis resolved fairly quickly, only as I began to comprehend that the brain does not create consciousness, as materialism theories state. Post-materialism theories show evidence that in near-death experiences after brain activity has seized, neurons are still firing to show what scientists perceive to be consciousness. This is in alignment with both my scientific beliefs as well as my personal experiences during meditation, and this is the foundation of my spirituality.
The research and findings of Dr. Schwartz, along with various other post-materialism experts on the topics of science, faith, psychology and consciousness, continue to show similarities in that of the traditional religious concepts of God and the modern understanding of spirituality. The magnificent and eternal capacities of the human mind and spirit go beyond any words I can ever express on here, but one thing is for sure: There may not be something greater “out there”, but there is most definitely something greater “within”, and each of us has the ability to tap into this powerful energy and inner peace and be much more than we could have ever imagined.