At first glance, these three words don’t seem to belong together. Spirituality and love do, of course. In fact, many of today’s most dynamic and growing spiritual movements draw their power from re-establishing the link between spirituality and love, a link that seems to have been lost by so many organized religious institutions and leaders.
But what does science have to do with spirituality and love? The answer is TRUTH. This statement requires some unpacking.
We value science because, for our popular culture and for many individuals, knowing something scientifically is the closest we can come to knowing the truth, the absolute, objective nature of things and events. In my most recent book, Joyfully Shattered: A Physician’s Awakening at the Crossroads of Science and Spirituality, I share the true story of my personal journey that brought me to the surprising conclusion that science is in the early stages of proving spirituality true. This outcome is all the more startling because I was raised in a passionately atheist family. Growing up I knew atheism to be the absolute truth and looked down on anyone foolish enough to believe otherwise. This lasted into my twenties when I encountered the first of what would become a long stream of events that have taught me the world is not as I learned from my parents or my science textbooks. Scientists on the cutting edge of diverse fields are discovering facts about the world, what I call data points, that cannot be explained by today’s scientific theories. For a good scientist, when theory and data don’t agree, the data wins. We are in for an exciting ride ahead as science increasingly proves what today we call spiritual to be truths about the way the world actually works.
But what about love? How does love belong in this trinity, especially with science? In Joyfully Shattered I tell of the forty-year journey that led me to a startling conclusion: The truth about who we are, the very essence of who and what we are, is LOVE. Love is an act. Love is an emotion. But love is also an ontological fact about our existence. Science has not yet proven this statement to be true, but I strongly suspect that before the scientific revolution we are undergoing right now is done, science will have proven this to be true. Hang on for the ride.