Most scientists do not even recognise the esoteric, much less acknowledge it as a genuine field suitable for study and exploration. This is as it should be, since science is but a reflection of humans, and most humans do not perceive the esoteric side of the world. However, a very small, but growing, number of researchers are starting to take more of an active interest in this topic. And even now there are quite a few interesting, sometimes amazing, experimental results. Many of these results have not been replicated or sanctioned by the mainstream of science but nevertheless you may want to consider them as representative of what may be possible.
Science and the logic it is founded upon are as much a belief system as any other set of ideas put forward by humans. The persuasiveness of science is that it has power to predict and control our surroundings. Likewise, logic is the basis for one of the fundamental ways in which we think. Still, neither of them is guaranteed to be the final answer in describing how things really are. Western society, in particular, is so logic-based in its way of thinking and acting that the assumption of science as the "truth" of what is and isn't real, is quite literally a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because socially, we all buy into such a paradigm, it has vast power to shape our lives. This is entirely analogous to the effects that the major religions have in organising social life and thinking.
Anecdotes and tales from all of the world's religious literature as well as from living spiritual masters, point to another reality altogether. It is as if science has looked into a room's window from the outside, and because there appears to be no easy way to make out what is in the room, it has contented itself with measuring and controlling the features of only the window. Spirituality deals largely with the deeper aspects to be found within the room itself. In fact, science already possesses much of the technical ideas and relations to explain--at least modestly--the general features of spiritual experience. However, the current explanations have mostly been assembled by researchers who themselves have no direct knowledge of the deeper levels of spiritual experience and so it is quite understandable that they tend to explain spirituality mostly in social and psychological terms rather than considering that there may also be spiritual dimensions that need to be dealt with as well.
Limits of the current scientific model are probably indicated by the following results which show that actions can have effects spontaneously across great distances.
Chaos theory is a modern development that helps to model many of the more complex ( non-linear ) behaviours found in our world. One important part of the model shows that what appears to be random action can in fact be caused by natural and knowable laws. So for instance the flutter of a human heart or the ever-changing pattern of flying geese can be understood and mostly predicted. The natural extension of these ideas to include further realms of existence beyond the physical world, suggests that what appears random in this world--over and above what chaos theory may account for--can possibly be known much more precisely in a more subtle world. So for instance the visions and predictions of psychics can be taken as being at least partially based on more subtle information than that available solely in our everyday world.
The best way to presently understand mystical experience is in terms of associative systems. These are models whose rules follow patterns that are not logical in the ordinary sense of the word. Examples include neural networks and holograms. Some examples of association from common experience include:
The main worth in such metaphors lies mostly in their ability to open and free the intellect from the tyranny of logical conditioning. Due to overwhelming spoken and unspoken societal pressure to adapt to conventional standards of belief, we find it almost impossible to genuinely accept ideas and experiences that are very much outside of the norm. Even if we develop and can articulate a broad-minded philosophy that accepts such notions as other realms of existence, we still find it a major chore to restructure our deeper emotional conditioning. Still, it requires little stretch of the imagination to extend scientific models in a heuristically plausible way to accommodate spiritual phenomena. And this is a first step on the way to personal, and social, investigation and discovery of spiritual reality.
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