But I’ve found myself often wondering….can science provide an answer to everything?
Obviously scientists would love to think so. Based on their understandings of science’s capacity to explain our world many leading scientific minds dispel the notion of Spirit, Soul, God, or some form higher being. Their inability to measure and record such an existence doesn’t allow any room for belief. The issue I see here is a big, glaring lack of personal reflection, one I was guilty of for many years. Until a child only minutes old showed me a bright, new world.
January 7, 2012 my daughter was born on a blistering cold morning at 5:30am. After the chaos of post-birth activities I was put in the position of having my first real “Dad” moment when I needed to sit with my daughter skin-on-skin to warm her new, yet slightly cold, delicate body. During the first moments holding her I remembered reading how newborns are gifted with the ability to mimic their caretakers. This supposedly is a natural mechanism used to create a bond with their parents who will then “oh and ah” over them providing all the things a helpless, newborn baby needs.
As a scientist, I wanted to experiment. I looked down at my daughter and blew a kiss. To my amazement, and immeasurable joy, she blew a kiss back! Immediately my heart swelled and every cell in my being felt electrified and alive. I nearly cried and swore at that moment I would remember this single speck of time for eternity. And I have.
Now, I mentioned that I was conducting an experiment. And when she kissed back I received feedback to form a conclusion about my initial hypothesis. But there was another outcome that far outweighed the significance of that measureable kiss back. It was how I felt when that surge of love unlike anything I had ever felt before moved through me.
How can you measure that!?!? Yes, science can measure that the feeling of euphoric love is triggered by the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine throughout your brain. This seems to give it a scientific explanation, right? But does it really? Can that mere description capture the impact and true depth of what I felt?
Personally, I see no way it’s even remotely possible. No matter how much data you can display for my reading and understanding explaining why I felt that way, nothing can ever measure the actual feeling. Numbers and charts don’t reveal love, they reveal scientific measurements of love. Only you, the one who experiences any emotion, can know what it truly means to feel joy, gratitude, and love.
I would bet that you've experienced something very similar at some point in your life. The idea that someone could reduce your sense of such powerful emotions to the movement of chemicals and stimulation of particular pathways is fascinating....but very limiting. Understanding the "how" of emotions is truly awe-inspiring. It expands beyond the realm of scientific comprehension. And that should be exciting! How awesome would it be to experience a variety of emotions that bring you right back to your heart every single day? How would your life be different if you let your world get rocked by the love from another or, even more so, coming from you towards another or yourself?
We can, and should, feel this in some way every day. Stepping back into yourself, pausing in the moment of awareness, and finding that spark of love and joy taps into the essence of those happiest and deepest memories. Wrapping ourselves in a blanket of love with the smile of our children, laughter of a friend, hug of a grandparent, or caress of a lover should be our primary goal every day.
Push the boundaries of science by catching the moment and digging into the very sensations within every cell of your body. This is truly living and this is where greatness happens!
The crown of knowledge is easily placed on the head of science through our continued exploration and understanding of the existence of this universe and those who inhabit it. But being smart about something isn’t the same thing as experiencing it. Can we validate our experiences in a scientific manner that truly captures their significance? So far, the answer from everything I've read and felt is a resounding “NO.”
My personal experiment with my newborn daughter revealed a great deal to me as a scientist. But what it revealed most to me, was that my role as a scientist was nothing compared to my role as “Daddy.”
What will you feel to push the boundaries of science and, just maybe, go beyond what you ever thought possible?