April 24, 2023
SF Gate

When You Are Complete, You Will Be Real.


When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

By Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP, FRCP and Menas C. Kafatos, PhD

We often think that science and religion—or spirituality—are opposites. Hard-headed facts and impulses of the soul seem to have nothing in common. Lab experiments can tell us nothing about God. But if you stand back, science and spirituality are projects with the same goal: to completely understand reality.

If this really is their common goal, both share the same failure, which is the failure of incompleteness. Pursuing the Holy Grail of science, which is known as the Theory of Everything, was doomed to be incomplete when “everything” is defined as the physical universe. No room is made for the entire world “in here,” the realm of the mind and emotions. Science deliberately cuts off that world in order to remain purely objective, another doomed effort.

Pursuing the path of spirituality, even if you don’t use the word God, still winds up facing the source of creation as something inconceivable. Take any important value from ‘in here” that makes us human, and its beginning and end, its purpose and meaning, are totally mysterious. To feel love is a cherished emotion, but pure love, infinite love, and divine love, which are the domain of spirituality, are beyond comprehension.

There are other ways that science and spirituality share the same dead ends. Neither can say how space, time, matter, and energy came into being. Religion might point to Gods’ will and science to “something from nothing,” but both are just verbal gambits.

The incompleteness of science and spirituality leads to two fearful conclusions. The first conclusion is that following either model will always lead to a dead end. This problem is mainly important to theoretical physicists and philosophical theologians—in other words, the vast majority of people won’t be concerned.

The second conclusion, which is much more personal, tells us that an incomplete explanation of reality means that we will never be real. Part of every person’s life today consists of heeding science (when we use a smartphone, Google a question, tackle a new technological breakthrough) or else heeding spirituality (when we contemplate death, wonder about the existence of God, worry about the state of our souls). Bounding back and forth in this way, we have answers for almost everything, but no answer is completely valid. The issue is daunting enough that the famous astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington declared, “I am afraid of the word reality.”

Let’s expand spirituality to include higher values like compassion, empathy, insight, personal growth, beauty, and ultimate truth. Few people turn to science about these matters, even though they are crucial to being fully human. No matter how enticing it is to spend your day at video games, texting, streaming movies, and watching television, incompleteness comes to roost when you finally face your humanity and mortality.

But what is the alternative to shifting back and forth between two incomplete models? The answer is to choose no model at all. Once you accept that you are incomplete, you start to see that the only way to be real is to be complete. Half a loaf will never be satisfying. But being complete seems far out of reach when you have been conditioned to shift from one model to the other as the situation calls for.

Science and spirituality are seen as opposites because opposites rule everywhere—light and dark, good and evil, happy and sad, male and female, young and old, smart and stupid, sane and insane. The Buddhist precept that pain and pleasure are bound up in each other applies to all opposites. Try spending a day not using words that have opposites, which means you will not say I am happy” or “I am sad,” “I like this” or “I don’t like that.” It is nearly impossible.

No one tries to go beyond opposites for all kinds of reasons, most of which come down to conditioning. We do what our parents and everyone else have done in this never-ending game of opposites. The Buddhist precept about pain and pleasure being bound to each other leads to a simple conclusion: Stop trying to get more of one and less of the other. You will only seesaw between the pleasure that is out of reach and the pain that cannot be avoided.

Unable to break out of our patterns, almost no one obeys the precept to stop running after pleasure and avoiding pain. There’s a fear that life would simply become blank, a featureless landscape without enjoyment. But this fear is misplaced. The truth is that you don’t have to try to be complete, because you are already complete. The point of not running after pleasure and away from pain isn’t self-denial. It’s all about “stop running”— in a word, allow the active mind to rest easy and see what happens.

There is no model for completeness, because none is needed. Existence is complete by its very nature, and since you can’t exist as a human being without being consciousness, your awareness is also complete. You cannot alter this fact, but you do have a choice to turn your back on it.

When someone thinks in terms of science, they haven’t turned their back on spirituality; they’ve turned their back on completeness. The same is true for people who seek to be spiritual. A saying from the New Testament that rings true, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?,” leads to an opposite correlate: What does it profit you to gain your soul if you lose the whole world?

The underlying reality behind every experience is wholeness. To be here now, having any experience, can be an expression of wholeness. But you need the experience for this to be true for you personally. You have already had glimpses of wholeness in those moments when the burden is lifted and you relax into a blissful moments of love or beauty, or when you feel that you belong and are valued, or when life suddenly makes sense, or when you lose all fear, or when you feel part of a design that embraces Nature itself.

These glimpses don’t change our lives because they lack one essential thing: a vision of wholeness. “Ah, now I see” should be the reaction we have to any privileged moments. Reality has revealed itself, and at that instant you are real, too. Who you are merges with existence itself. This should be everyone’s normal state, just as everyone’s aim should be to stop accepting a life based on the illusion of incompleteness.

DEEPAK CHOPRA MD, FACP, FRCP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a whole health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.  Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 91st book, Total Meditation: Practices in Living the Awakened Life  explores and reinterprets the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual benefits that the practice of meditation can bring.  For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution. His latest book,  Living in the Light co-authored with Sarah Platt-Finger. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” www.deepakchopra.com

Menas C. Kafatos, PhD is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics at Chapman University, conducting research in quantum physics, philosophy and spirituality, mathematics and logic, astrophysics and cosmology, climate change and related hazards. He works on issues related to reality, the role of universal consciousness, universal mind, for natural laws that apply everywhere and form the foundations of the universe, for scientific understanding, and spiritual non-dual awareness in everyday life. His doctoral thesis advisor was the renowned M.I.T. professor Philip Morrison. He is a senior academic professor and director of the Institute for Earth, Computing, Human and Observing and has authored 350 articles, is author or editor of 22 books, including The Conscious Universe Looking In, Seeing Out, Living the Living Presence, Science, Reality and Everyday Life, and is co-author with Deepak Chopra of the NYT Bestseller You are the Universe. www.menaskafatos.com 

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