I went to get my eyes tested recently and was given a new prescription. I waited for my new glasses to arrive and was then surprised to find how different and how strong the new lenses were. Basically, I was seeing double and trying by will to correct my vision. I thought it was the fault of my brain not to adapt. I trusted the doctor more than my own eyes!
Eventually the reason emerged: the doctor had forgotten to put a prism in the lenses that I needed in order to see straight. Without it. I was living in a world of dualism. When the corrected glasses arrived, my vision became more attuned with the unified consciousness that I am trying to live. Clarity and unity of vision: we have three eyes, body, mind and heart
The domination of materialistic science has had many consequences for the way people see and interpret things. It claims ‘objectivity’ – meaning the exclusion of the subjective factor– but this is unproveable and unachievable in its own terms. It also creates an impersonal, false ego-centred reality which lies behind many inhumane uses of technology – shelling Mariupol, bombing civilian targets or using chemical weapons among them.  Materialistic science, fanatically applied, does not respect the truth that true science serves because it denies the wisdom and science of love.
Materialism is short-sighted and will always see double. For example, it denies the disturbing effect of the observer in any experiment. It does not see its own shadow. And it rejects evidence of a higher level of consciousness – mind and spirit – existing distinct from the brain. Today many brilliant scientists see the duplicity of materialism but dualism is still embedded in dominant scientific – despite all the discoveries of quantum physics.
In western Christianity materialistic science divided religion and science. But unlike the Church in the modern era, Sufism never had a problem with acclaiming the new discoveries of science. It saw science as exploring the immense diversity which God created in order to manifest His unique oneness. Mystics of all traditions understand that science, contemplatively practiced as it should be and as our own Marco Schloremmer explains – is another means to love and understand God better.
As we watch the technology wreaking death and misery in Ukraine each day there is no clearer lesson of how we can be imprisoned in double vision. And it shows the need to restore the prism of contemplation that we need to see one and see straight.
Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2022