Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spiritual Entanglement

I am a a dabbler in physics and quantum mechanics, and I've been fascinated by the scientific principle of Quantum Entanglement, I won't go into details suffice to say that the theory implies that electrons are connected to each other and have an effect on each other regardless of their proximity in the universe, i.e. they are entangled with each other's cause and effect relationships. I've coined a phrase in my spiritual vocabulary that goes along with this scientific observation: Spiritual Entanglement.

I've been amazed time and time again at how many things are entangled in my spiritual sojourn. I got up this morning and picked up Thomas Keating's little book The Human Condition. It had been some time since I read this, and I thought it might speak to me in my current Lenten context. The major line that struck me was: "Here we are under the influence of unconscious drives of various intensity that in turn influence our decisions and relationships with other people and foul them up" (24). After reading Keating, I picked up my Methodist Lent devotional and the text for today was Matthew 11:25: "[You have] hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes."

I saw this verse in a new light today. How hidden are the drives and urges that originate from my false self? Very! I'm realizing that my past efforts to become wise and learned only assisted in covering up the reality of the way things are in the Kingdom of God. At this point in my journey, I'm finally sensing that it's not my job to "fix things." It is only my job to demonstrate a life lived in the true-self, i.e. a life reflective of the image of God. It was when I saw this life in the true self demonstrated by fellow members of this community that I was able to drop my nets and follow the contemplative path. Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina are returning me to an age of innocence where I am free to accept reality and be proactive in my true self as opposed to being reactive in my old/false self.

Does this mess with your electrons any?



living stones said...

Mark, thank you for this very insightful, very stimulating entry. I'm grateful for your investment in this kind of sharing. And I'm excited about what God is doing in us as indiviuals and in our inter-relating. Indeed, we are "entangled," and I'm grateful!

Sarah said...

Interesting thoughts, Mark--I never thought I would see the person who would pique my interest in physics and quantum mechanics!

What fascinates me is how, even with our numerous "unconscious drives" or tentacles of sin or twinings of false self in which we are so easily entangled, when we open our eyes to the Reality that is, we find that we are so much more intertwined with God and His plans. Even when we're so self-absorbed that we don't see Him working, we can look back later, having our eyes opened, and see how He was weaving Himself and signs of Himself through the sin and pain and falseness of the place we were in.

Mark Wills said...


That's a wonderful insight and reflection. I'm glad I could pique your interest in science too! :-)

On the Process and Faith lectionary web site they have the following blurb that seems to sum up "spiritual entanglement":

"Process theology sees the universe as creative, interrelational, dynamic, and open to the future. God is relational, present in every moment of our lives and in all entities and levels of being. The world is interconnected, in effect a giant ecosystem where what harms or blesses one, harms or blesses all."

This kind of entanglement is really starting to develop in my faith experience.

Thanks for sharing!


John Orzechowski said...

I really like this idea of redeeming the word "entanglement" from its negative connotations with all of our false entanglements and instead using it to recognize our interconnectedness with God and each other. It's a new way to look at it for me. Thank you!

living stones said...

Mark, The creativity of using physics and quantum mechanics to get at the things of the spirit both delights and challenges me. Thanks for giving me a fresh way to think about interconnectedness. When you answered Sarah by quoting from the Process and Faith lectionary web site, I was particularly struck by the image of "a giant ecosystem where what harms or blesses one, harms or blesses all." Wow, I want to be more alert and careful but also slower and less tense. Like you said, "it's not my job to "fix things." It is only my job to demonstrate a life lived in the true-self, i.e. a life reflective of the image of God." Amen!

Thanks for sharing,

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