Monday, March 30, 2009

Discussing Quantum Physics

"We don't stop playing because we grow old;

we grow old because we stop playing" - George Bernard Shaw

Thank you for visiting Spirituality and Science! I realize the title of today's post might sound as exciting as watching grass grow to some, but please bear with me. It's actually a jumping off point for future posts about the nature of the mind/body connection and implications in healing. Yes, I will go over very basic components of the science of quantum physics but you can find much more in-depth information(such as Bohr's atomic model and the electron cloud model) elsewhere if you are so inclined. Then we will relate how this science relates to spirituality. So...

What is Quantum Physics?

Basically, it is a branch of science that deals with discrete units of energy called quanta. Quantum physics seeks to understand the fundamental principles of matter, specifically subatomic particles. One tenet of quantum physics involves wave/particle duality. Just as with light, electrons may sometimes behave as a particle and sometimes as a wave. Even more interesting is that studies have found that electrons seem to exist in different places at different times, without moving. Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle also states that a particle's exact position and velocity cannot be known at the same time. The more accurately you can define one or the other, the more the other variable blurs and becomes unknowable. Most interesting to me is that at a fundamental level, these particles are not really individual at all. The energy waves permeate everything around them, creating interactive relationships amongst all particles.

So who cares and how does this impact me?

Great question. Well, we know that the human body is composed of atoms. Science tells us that every atom is more than 99.99 percent empty space, and as noted above, the subatomic particles moving through this space are actually bundles of vibrating energy. Relatively speaking, the atoms in your body have as much space between them as the stars in the galaxy. Despite this, the human cells have an uncanny ability to transcend the "known" limits of time and space. In a study mentioned in Deepak Chopra's book, Ageless Body, Timeless Mind (a great book that blends quantum physics with the mind/body connection), cells were scraped from human subjects mouths and taken to a different lab room. The human volunteer was then subjected to a polygraph (which measures the body's arousal by their skin response) where they were shown pictures intended to cause arousal (either disturbing or sensual pictures). The subjects' skin cells were hooked up to a polygraph in another room (in one case, 7 miles away!) Amazingly, the subjects' skin cells reacted in the same way and at the same time as the human subjects. The cells of the body were somehow still in contact with their body, despite being in a different location!

The nature of energy is quite mind-blowing when you think about it, but this also ties in with the practice of energy work (such as Reiki). I did an experiment with my brother to test the strength of energy sent at a distance. I live in Colorado and my brother lives in North Carolina. I told him beforehand that I would be "sending" him energy (Reiki) at one point over the following 3 days, and for him to notice the time and date that he thought I sent it. I waited until the following evening, and he called within about 5 minutes of my sending it, and told me that he knew I had just sent it then because he could actually feel the energy. Obviously, this is by no means a "valid scientific study" but there are many, many stories out there of healing by distance and I honestly don't think it's as mysterious as it may seem. If energy permeates everything and if we ourselves are not even composed of individual particles; it stands to reason that we are all connected on an energetic level in some way. In the world we live in today, I think it's easy to lose our sense of that connection, but once you look for it, you find it everywhere.

Just some food for thought. I'll go more into the mind/body connection next time and for your reading pleasure, I highly recommend the book, Quantum Healing, also by Deepak Chopra. Practice awareness of your energy field and see if you can feel the surges at times (it's pretty cool). Until next time.....

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Difference between Spirituality and Religion

"When you judge another, you do not define them,
you define yourself."
- Wayne Dyer

While deciding which topic to tackle next here (and I've gotten several great suggestions via email), I realized that before going any further I wanted to clarify the title of my blog. It seems that spirituality is often confused with religion, and I want to give my take on the difference between the two. It goes without saying that this is just one person's humble opinion, and this is ultimately a matter of personal beliefs, but here goes:

I think of spirituality as believing you are connected to something greater than yourself (whether that be a universal source of energy, a god, humanity's higher self, or even the universe itself). A definition of religion that I accept is that it serves as an organizing system of worship that gives a framework to that belief (whether through rituals, prayers, symbols, etc.) I think the organization that religion provides can be helpful to some (a built-in social community), as well as harmful to some (such as when supposedly religious people judge others for purposes of discrimination or hatred towards those who are different). Some religions require very specific beliefs and exclude those who don't share those beliefs. Other religions are much more open and accepting.

Spirituality does not inherently require any specific religious beliefs, and you can find examples of great spiritual figures of various religious backgrounds throughout history. In fact, many spiritual people are not religious at all, and simply believe that we are all part of one another and the universe. Everyone is accepted for who they are and no judgments are made. This blog is for everyone, whatever their beliefs may be, who believe we are all connected in some way. This connection serves as the starting point for many of the issues that have been and will be addressed. We discussed Reiki last week, and how it simply the harnessing of energy to use for healing purposes. I heard from a reader last week how much Reiki helped to change his life, and I promise that the healing energy did not stop to ask him what his religion was.

Try playing around with your energy this week. Smile more at others, think kind thoughts (yes, even about your mother-in-law), meditate (just closing your eyes at your desk for 2 minutes and breathing deeply counts if it's a really rough week), and catch yourself when you find yourself judging someone else (i.e., what was she thinking wearing that dress? Trust me, you won't believe how often you do it!) Your energy changes as you change how you think and's a subtle difference at first, but do it for a week and see what happens. Until we meet again..... :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

What is Reiki?

"Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished. If you're alive, it isn't." - David Bach (author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull)

Welcome to Spirituality and Science! It's been awhile since my first and only post, but I made a promise to myself to post more in 2009 so fear not, my one faithful follower! Hope 2009 is going well for everyone. It's actually been a fabulous year for me so far. As my profile states, I'm a certified Reiki Master and I was just given the wonderful opportunity to edit an entire book on Reiki for my Master Teacher, Marnie Vincolisi-Leichtenberg, who is self-publishing "Finding Your Inner Gift: The Ultimate Reiki 1st Degree Manual." So, as this fits perfectly with this blog content, let's talk about Reiki.

Okay, I admit. I'm from Denver and when someone first described Reiki to me years ago, I thought, oh yeah, that sounds like something those people from Boulder would do. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Boulder (the people and the shops!) but it was not the right time for me to get involved. I had earned my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and was quite content helping troubled teens strive for a better life (ie. not involving jail time). Through a set of weird "coincidences" (which I actually don't believe in, but synchronicity is a whole other topic I'll post about), Reiki found me again and this time I tried it. The simple meaning of Reiki is "Universal Life Energy." It is an ancient method of healing that is believed to have originated in Japan. There are many books that comprehensively discuss its history and uses (such as Marnie's), so I won't go into that here.

Basically, if you can accept that everything is made of energy, then it's not hard to see that your body doesn't actually end at your skin. Sort of like when someone is standing too close to you, and you can feel them in your space. You can - because they are. They are actually standing in your energy field. Your energy reaches out farther than you realize but once you get that, it's actually useful and not so mysterious. Reiki doesn't just heal on the physical level, but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. As the picture above shows, they have been able to photograph the increased energetic pulses coming out of someone's hand while they give Reiki.

So how does it work? Well, my husband "coincidentally" got attacked by a Rottweiler while running the same day I got "attuned" to Reiki. He's a singer/songwriterwho plays guitar and was playing a 4-hour set at a large, local festival the next day. He was able to pull his arm out of the dog's mouth before its' mouth completely engaged, which is the only reason the doctor said he didn't lose his arm. He still had a nasty bite (and has the remaining scars to prove it!) and was in incredible pain. I had only been trained in Reiki for about oh, 2 hours, and thought, well he needs something. He had been supportive of my getting trained but had no idea what the heck it was. I put my hands over his arm (without even touching him!) and he said he felt this incredible heat going into his arm. I did this for about 15 minutes. Long story short, he told me he had absolutely NO PAIN for that day and the next, despite playing guitar for 4 hours straight! I had many other amazing things happen to people during and after Reiki sessions, and have learned so much more in the last year.

If you feel drawn to it, then read about it, learn about it. There are many books that detail its history and usage. It has completely and totally changed my life, which can be unsettling for some as that can mean a different job, different relationship, etc. If you live in the Denver area, check out Marnie's classes through Light Internal at She's an amazing teacher! Feel free to email or post with any stories of your own and I wish you a wondrous year.

Finally, a shameless plug of my now-healed (and dog shy) husband's new band that debuts music from their first CD in downtown Denver at the renowned Walnut Room on Sat. May 16th. Their band is Edge of the World and you can hear some live recordings at Peace! Kristi