by Jim Nolan, Ph.D., President of Southwestern College, Santa Fe
I notice these days that a lot of people in the spiritual counseling world, and related metaphysical worlds, are scrambling like crazy to support their beliefs or teachings by grabbing ahold of the somewhat elusive and esoteric coattails of what they knowingly call “Quantum Physics.”
It is kind of entertaining how many of us somewhat suddenly feel equipped and sufficiently educated to speak on behalf of such a complex discipline as Quantum Physics. (Reminds me of the Interpersonal Neurobiology “expertise” everyone suddenly has, but that is another blog piece altogether…)
I mean, just like that. They know all about it.
Now, silly me, I woulda thought you needed to actually STUDY Quantum Physics, but evidently not. Evidently it is enough to read a Greg Braden book, or overhear a “scientist’s” comments about the topic, or hear a keynote speaker, regardless of discipline or training, wax cross-disciplinarily about spirituality and Quantum Physics.
Me? I’ve read some stuff, but typically haven’t had anywhere near enough background to evaluate its veracity or credibility. It is certainly INTERESTING, no question about that. But I can’t yet join my colleagues in beginning sentences with “Well, Quantum Physics has shown that blah blah blah” or “The Oneness of all things is now being proven by Quantum Physicists.”
“Oh, really? And…you….uh, have a pretty deep, shall we say, understanding of, uh, Quantum Physics theory and research? I, uh, truly did not realize that.”
So my biggest learning continues to be in what Abraham calls “The Art of Allowing.” This fundamentally involves (in part, at least), trying to cultivate a non-judgmental and neutral attitude, whereby I spend minimal time and effort and energy on what The Other Guy is doing, saying, teaching as truth, hawking, or holding onto as a life preserver or as an emblem of his self-identity.
I think if I had mastered The Art of Allowing, I would not have started this blog piece. But alas, I haven’t mastered it. I am still writing this blog. Partly, as president of a graduate school, with ultimate responsibility for the teachings and stuff that gets offered at our school, I can’t help but be a bit of a sentinel at the curricular gate. I need to be able to hold some kind of standard and question the credibility, or basis of what gets offered—not necessarily in judgment, but in a way that students learn, by my/our modeling of informed inquiry, what to question, and how to question it. It ain’t so just because somebody says it’s so.
I just can’t help but notice that a lot of us, when caught in the uncertainty, in the uneasy feeling of not holding an altogether externally-buttressed position, will grab for “science”, or “proof”, or “evidence”, or Einstein, or indigeneity, or alleged ancient-ness of a teaching, or for whatever other perceived luminary or lineage or folklore we can rally to support our position, to make us feel better, safer, more grounded, more empowered.
I don’t blame us for doing so. But one of the utterly magical things I am finding in my 60th year is that these funny human foibles, strategies, crutches and tricks (including my own, maybe ESPECIALLY my own), are more evident than ever to me, by a magnitude or multiplier of probably 5 to 10. People I used to be in awe of, people I still like, and admire, and read—well, increasingly, I can see, and somehow, feel, when they are talking out their rear end, and not acknowledging that their model or theory is a model or a theory, or a metaphorical cosmology myth. I can just see it. And I can see that they cannot. Or do not. Maybe that is a gift of elder-hood. I kind of like it. It is the curtain being pulled back, revealing Oz as a chubby fellow, caught up in himself, but essentially a charming guy with good intentions.
And even beyond that, it’s like having Superman vision. You can see fear and hope from a hundred miles away, even when it is dressed up like a wolf, or a sadhu, or a guru, or a Quantum Physicist, or, say, a spiritual counselor pretending to understand Quantum Physics.