There are, in fact, two connections between science and mysticism. The first has to do with similarities in their methodology. Just as scientists maintain that the truth of their theories can be verified by anyone who conducts the proper observations and experiments, mystics maintain that the Truth of their teachings can be verified by anyone who is willing to undertake the appropriate spiritual disciplines and practices. Thus, the difference between
science and religion is not (as many people have supposed) that one relies on empirical investigation and the other on blind faith. Rather, the difference lies in the domains to be investigated and the kinds of truth to be verified.While scientists focus their investigations on the behavior of objects in consciousness, mystics concentrate on the subject to consciousness—that 'self' or 'I' to whom the objects
appear. And while scientists seek to develop ever more refined and comprehensive theories about how reality works, mystics seek to Realize a Truth about its fundamental nature that lies beyond the grasp of any theory whatsoever. It should be noted that, far from placing science and mysticism in conflict, these differences between their respective domains and functions are actually what make their compatibility possible.

Not only do science and mysticism possess parallel methodologies, but mysticism can actually provide a coherent spiritual/philosophical understanding of how science works. One of the key teachings agreed upon by mystics of all traditions concerns the relationship
between consciousness and its objects—the very relationship which (as we have already seen) lies at the heart of the philosophical crisis in modern physics. What the mystics claim is that the distinction between the subject to consciousness and objects arising in consciousness is imaginary. In reality, Consciousness (God, Brahman, Buddha-Mind, or Tao) constitutes the Formless Ground out of which all forms arise as inseparably as waves arising from a single ocean. Thus, mystical teachings pick up precisely where modern scientific theories leave off. And so it is here, at this juncture between their two domains, that an actual continuity between science and mysticism begins to reveal itself. Once this is grasped, the problem of constructing a new worldview boils down essentially to a question of formulation: Can the continuity between mystical teachings and scientific theories be expressed in a single, rigorous language comprehensible to both?

DIFFERENCES

The truths which science yields are conceptual truths, arrived at through a combination of thinking and experiencing. As such, they are also and inevitably relative truths, subject to revision and change as our thoughts and experiences change. But the Truth to which mystics bear witness is an Absolute Truth—one which, as the Hindu
sage, Shankara, says, "is beyond the grasp of the senses," 14 and which, Ibn `Arabi writes, "cannot be arrived at by the intellect by means of any rational thought process." This Absolute Truth can only be known through a third mode of cognition—called variously Enlightenment, Realization , or Gnosis —which transcends both thinking and experiencing. In fact, it is precisely our ordinary ways of thinking and experiencing that veil this Truth from us, for as Buddhist master, Huang Po, writes: Blinded by their own sight, hearing, feeling and knowing, they do not perceive the spiritual brilliance of the source substance. If they would
only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like the sun ascending through the void and illuminating the whole universe without hindrance or bounds.Dionysius the Areopagite says of the Christian mystic's Enlightenment: Renouncing all that the mind may conceive, wrapped entirely in the intangible and the invisible, he belongs completely to him who is beyond everything. Here, being neither oneself nor someone else,one is supremely united by a completely unknowing inactivity of all knowledge, and knows beyond the mind by knowing nothing.

In other words, the Truth to which all Mystics testify is of an entirely different order than the truths formulated by science. When Jesus said, "Know the Truth and it shall make you free," 18 he wasn't talking about the theory of relativity. And when the Buddha said, "The gift of truth is the highest gift," he wasn't referring to quantum physics. There are quite a few seekers out there today who think that discovering mystical Truth is simply a matter of "shifting your paradigm," or learning a "new worldview." And while it is certainly valuable to examine your worldview and to investigate new paradigms, it is also crucial to remember that, no matter how revolutionary a worldview may seem, or how compatible with mysticism a paradigm may be, worldviews and paradigms always remain conceptual constructs. But the Absolute Truth revealed by Gnosis lies beyond all concepts, all paradigms, and all worldviews, whatsoever, into that Ocean of Silence at the Heart of the World.

Author's Bio: 

Alexis karpouzos is an Greek-born philosopher, poet and author, founder of the international center of learning, research and culture in Greece. He has published twelve books in Greek and four in English: 1.The self criticism of science, 2. Cosmology: philosophy and physics, 3. Universal consciousness: The bridges between science and spirituality, 4. The end of certainty. The themes of his books relate to: General Philosophy and Ontology, History of Ideas, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, Educational Philosophy, Cosmology and Physics and Social Sciences.