From the most ancient times, human beings have used spiritual beliefs to understand the world. These beliefs have often been dismissed as irrational and untrue. Still, science is recently discovering that there may be something more to them.
Spiritual beliefs and ideas and their scientific basis:
1. Time is an illusion
According to Buddhist philosophy, there is no distinction between past, present and future. Everything that we experience is just a series of present moments, meaning that one time exists within all times. Scientists ridiculed this ancient belief for years until Einstein proved it was actually true.
Physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one. – Albert Einstein
Einstein proved that time is relative. With the proper technology, such as a very fast spaceship, one person would be able to experience several days while another person simultaneously experiences only a few hours or minutes.
We can understand this idea of time being relative by thinking about space. When we look up at the stars we are seeing light that has been travelling for billions of years and observing stars that may have ceased to exist eons ago. In effect, we are viewing the past, though it appears that what we see is happening now.
2. Matter is an illusion
The great spiritual traditions of India commonly teach that the world is Maya, usually translated as ‘illusion’ or ‘unreality’.
This seems at odds with our perception of the world where things seem solid and real. However, the idea that the apparent solidity of objects is actually an illusion is backed up by science.
A physicist is just an atom’s way of looking at itself. – Niels Bohr
Every solid object, including you and me, is made up of atoms. When quantum physicists look closely at atoms, they find smaller and smaller building blocks and more and more empty space. There is nothing solid at the heart of these apparently solid objects. Many scientists note that “matter” seems to consist of tiny vibrating strings of energy.
In other words, the physical world you see around you consists of energy, or more accurately, electromagnetic waves. Electromagnetic waves are fluctuations of electric and magnetic fields, which can transport energy from one location to another. This proves that everything you see is made up of energy. Even your own body is not a solid thing, but actually vibrating energy.
3. Death is merely a change in form
Philosophies and spiritual beliefs around death are numerous, from ideas of heaven to beliefs in reincarnation. However, in modern times, many people believe that death is the ultimate ending leading to complete annihilation of the human body.
But once again, conventional thinking was turned upside down by a scientific genius.
Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. – Albert Einstein
We can clearly see energy changing from one form to another in the world around us. A candle converts wax into thermal energy (heat) and light, a toaster converts electrical energy into thermal energy and our bodies convert chemical energy from food into mechanical and electrical energy to allow us to move.
Therefore, we know that nothing ever really ceases to exist. So, when we die, rather than disappearing from existence we must actually have just changed form.
4. Our thoughts create our reality
From ancient philosophies and spiritual beliefs to new-age theories, many people have believed that our thoughts create our reality.
Though Newtonian science argued that we lived in a mechanical universe where everything could be reduced to cause and effect, some people still believed in the power of the human mind to change the world. And then the field of quantum physics was born, changing the way scientists thought about objective reality forever.
If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet. Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. – Niels Bohr
In quantum experiments, subatomic particles appear to exist only as a wave of probability until they are observed. When this happens, the wave collapses into a single place in time. This is known as ‘The Observer Effect’. This means that the observer has created the reality simply by perceiving it. So, our thoughts and perceptions really do change the world.
5. Love really can change the world
The Beatles may have echoed ancient spiritual beliefs when they sang, ‘All you need is love’. But science has indicated that love may actually be able to change the world. Or at least, positively affect our health.
Science is constantly discovering strange new things in our universe proving that it is a wonderfully mysterious place we live in. Perhaps science and spirituality are not so different after all, and the best approach we can take to all ideas is to keep an open mind.
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