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Kimberly Ashley Jérôme

Karen Kaderarek

Science and Spirit

April 15, 2010

Compassion Connection: The Compatibility of Science and Spirit

Sharing is one of the foundations of human society. It is what enables us to thrive

and move forward into the future. It is the feeling we get when we give; it is the feeling

we receive when we get. Sharing is important, but is only one of the actions of a greater

emotion. Compassion. Compassion is what enables us to give and receive. It is one of

the most important emotions of human kind, because compassion is the link between

science and spirit. Compassion is the basis of spirituality while science demonstrates its

effects. It is the emotion that ties up spirituality and materialism for it refers to both

scientific fact and religious thought. Compassion is medically a very calming and

physically rewarding feeling. It is also the emotions that ancients have been proclaiming

the benefits for centuries. Finally, quantum physics has shown that it is also the link

between spirituality and reality.

Compassion is the feeling of reaching out beyond ourselves is an extremely

beneficial emotion to the well-being of people everywhere. Andrew Newberg,

neuroscientist, studied the different neurological implications of god on the brain. While

completing numerous brain scan studies, he came up with the finding that the

experience of god was important to brain function. It seems that the experience of god

fulfills “self-maintenance and self-transcendence”1 which are “the brain [‘s] two primary

Newberg, Andrew, (
functions.”2 It seems that “contemplating a loving god [...] increases feelings of security,

compassion and love.”3 According to the Institute of Heartmath, the way to achieve

coherence, which is a state of body relaxation and mental alertness, compassion is one

of the main emotions needed. The benefit of using the “freeze-frame” technique to

achieve coherence is a higher collaboration of both the parasympathetic and

sympathetic nervous system which lowers the risks of cardiovascular diseases. It

seems that “care, compassion and appreciation […] improve performance, decision-

making, memory and overall health.”4 “God” can be used to achieve this state of

coherence therefore the concept of “god” is not only good for the “soul”, but for the

material body effects. Although, there is no way to tell if there is a “god” according to

these Andrew Newberg, it seems that any sort of spirituality will help one’s health; the

guiding spirit need not be a religious god for meditation could also compare to this.

Many ancient religions have already understood and asserted the benefit of

compassion. Coherence is achieved through the feeling of compassion and that our

understanding of ourselves as completely separate; “our continuous concern for our ego

and its desires, is actually the greatest impediment to our happiness, while love and

concern for others are the greatest sources of joy and satisfaction.”5 This means that

compassion is what will bring us true happiness and trying to remain separate in our

thinking can only harm us. Singh said that “three things are important: prayer,

meditation and service.”6 These are the things that enable us to focus our compassion

and generate more of it. Meditation and prayer is what would generate the feeling of
Newberg, Andrew, (
Newberg, Andrew, (
The Institute of HeartMath, “The Inside Story”, page 9
Mansfield, Victor, “Quantum Mechanics and Compassion”, page 33
Singh, Mohinder (
compassion according to Andrew Newberg and service would help us to, as the Dalai

Lama said, “extend our compassion to the point where the individual is feels so moved

by even the subtlest suffering of others.”7 All of this compassion would ultimately enable

us to become better balanced. Victor Stenger believes that prayers can have individual

positive effects such as lowering blood pressure, but that “the effect is small at and

indistinguishable from other forms of relaxation that contain no religious or spiritual

element.”8 As Andrew Newberg has shown, although we can not prove the existence of

god outside of us, within us any sort of spirituality serves our health. There is also the

Stenger view of spirituality that comes into question. Meditation can be secular, but

many religions such as Buddhism and Sikhism use it in order to boost their compassion.

Victor Stenger speaks of blind prayer tests where the prayed for and those praying do

not know each other. Compassion could not have been passed on because the benefit

of compassion is reciprocal because one can gain compassion from the other person’s

suffering, but if one is not privy to it the benefit can only go to the person that prays. It

might be the community element of prayer and spirituality makes praying helpful rather

than the wishful thinking that Stenger feels that it is. It seems that there is a certain

connectedness in the way compassion functions. To generate any sort of result there

must be an “atmosphere where one can generate love, compassion, selflessness,

humility.”9 Compassion is beneficial to the body and the soul for materialistically and

spiritually one’s well-being is always very much improved.

Quantum science seems to be the key to bridging both the spiritual world and the

scientific one. Quantum is the science of very small things. Things that we can not see
Mansfield, Victor, “Einstein and the Middle Path”
Stenger, Victor, “God: The Failed Hypothesis”, page 94
Singh, Mohinder (
by are eyes alone. It is the basic fabric of our entire universe. Quantum science is

“where science and spirit come together.”10 In quantum physics there is a property of

matter in which particles can communicate simultaneously without actual messages

being sent because communication is done outside of time and space. During an

experiment on two meditating subjects, with the aid of an EEG machine, researchers

found that once the two subjects came to meditate on the same wave length that they

established “signal-less communication.”11 The experiment subjects continued to have

the same sort of brain waves when they were separate and when a stimulus was

introduced to one subject the other subject’s brain knew the same effects. This is a

great example of what Goswami calls “nonlocality of quantum consciousness.”12 In

regards to ESP, Stenger claims that “the data does not warrant”13 the existence of such

a thing. The experiment on meditation shows that it is possible and relies as well on

compassion. Quantum consciousness is a state in which we come to the realisation that

“we are all one in god-consciousness.”14 In short, quantum consciousness is

compassion. In Buddhism, there is the principle of emptiness. This principle states “that

all subjects and objects exist only in as a complex web of interrelationships”15 meaning

that “ if we can understand the deep connection between emptiness and modern

physics then, since emptiness leads to compassion, we might find that physics indirectly

points towards love.”16 Emptiness which leads to compassion is reflective of the

Chopra, Deepak, (
Goswami, Amit, “God Is Not Dead”, page 84
Goswami, Amit, “God Is Not Dead”, page 84
Stenger, Victor, “God: The Failed Hypothesis”, page 40
Goswami, Amit, “God Is Not Dead”, page 76
Mansfield, Victor, “Einstein and the Middle Path”
Mansfield, Victor, “Einstein and the Middle Path”
quantum principles of nonlocality and entanglement. Giving rise to the idea that

compassion links science and spirit.

This world of the infinitely small is extremely unstable and yet we and everything

that is around us seems to be extremely solid and never changing. Dawkins’ idea of god

is of “a superhuman, supernatural intelligence who deliberately designed and created

the universe and everything in it.”17 When we factor in the materialistic, spiritual and

quantum evidence; the idea of a “god” changes. Goswami see god as “the author of

quantum creation, the free agent of downward causation [that] transcends our ego.”18

This god is a god that works through compassion to give us our health and to show us

how truly connected we are. It is when we try to blind ourselves to this idea that we

suffer either physically or mentally because we are “ecosystem [s] within ecosystem

[s].”19 We are always connected and it is only “the camouflage of the separateness of

macro objects”20 that keeps continues to keep us separate when we are truly one. One

in compassion; one in god-consciousness.

Dawkins, Richard, “The God Delusion”, page 52
Goswami, Amit, “God Is Not Dead”, page 83
Chopra, Deepak, (
Goswami, Amit, “God Is Not Dead”, page 80