If you are reading this you are a human and you evolved from a shrew-like creature into your current hominid experience roughly 65 million years ago. You have evolved three times, not including all the plant and fish work you did in the oceans before reaching mammal status. Your brain evolved from the reptilian, through the midbrain, to the cosmic extravaganza known as the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the tool of all tools. There is no limit to what this spectacular piece of bioware can think up and experience. The past three major brain developments occurred unconsciously, since (by logical deduction) we were missing the piece that allows for logical deduction. But now that we have it, will the next evolutionary shift happen in full awareness of itself as we change? Is it possible to consciously experience evolution?
Quantum Physics, while attempting to investigate matter, discovered that matter turns into conscious space at the smallest level. Human evolution on a physical level is now expanding into a metaphysical conscious process which yoga has known ‘unconsciously’ all the time. It turns out that rather confounding things happen to matter when you pick at it. After taking a rock and smashing it down to its very last, itty bitty little atom, science figured out how to smash that atom as well and have a look inside. The cerebral cortex then developed the tools and math for viewing the properties of matter beyond visual capacity. What Quantum Physics, (the study of the very small) discovered is that if you take a bit of matter and follow it alllllll the way down, you find that its most basic state of ‘existence’ is an immaterial field of possibility to exist in all places at once. They call it superpostion and the math ticket into that wacky carnival requires a sound schooling in Probability. A tourists peek into the Quantum tent would explain that the rock you started smashing is actually made of empty space containing the potential for existence. Let’s say that again… The very solid rock in your solid hand is comprised of atoms which are comprised of very unsolid wave functions of potential emptiness. And furthermore, scientists have discovered that the questions they asked about that last tiny bit of rock don’t just influence the answer to their questions, the questions themselves actually determine the characteristic existence of the rock. So wait… if the rock was there first- (which it was, because we picked it up and started smashing it), how can our questions about it be what bring the rock’s most elemental form into existence? This leads to a discussion of a witness which starts to make scientists shift back and forth a bit and chose their words carefully.
Foregoing an answer to that last conundrum, science is basically saying that stuff starts to get weird when we get small with it. It would be easy at this point to draw very poetic metaphors about life from this scientific (if not spiritual) crisis. And it certainly does start to sound a bit magical when objects, including the basic components of our own bodies start vibrating string-style in superposition states across manifolds of spacetime roiling through vast fields of probability that only exist when we (who don’t technically exist) look at it. It would be very tempting for that cerebral cortex of ours to get carried away with what is reality and what is completely fabricated fantasy. If what they are saying about the nature of an atom is true, then apparently ‘existence’ is no longer a criteria for scientific study, right? So anything goes, right? A quick google ad search for ‘quantum physics’ confirms that yes, anything goes:
Anything goes if you can get the funding and it is subject to unbiased peer review. Our imagination is the basis of good science. But quantum physics does not apply to the macro dimension so any comparisons we may make with it to our daily lives will be strictly poetic, not practical. The weirdness occurring in quantum mechanics does not negate or threaten what we know to be true about the physical world, which Isaac Newton so gracefully (and rather handsomely) unveiled in the 1680’s. Quantum Mechanics only says that physical objects leaves physicality once we smash past the atom. So we still have to stop at our Newtonian stoplights and brush our Newtonian teeth if we are larger than an atom. Science is not saying that ‘magic,’ and chakras, and auric fields don’t exist. Good science would never say something so conclusive with a lack of evidence. It is saying that these metaphysical notions, if they do exist, are not measurable as yet, and should be investigated with strict neutrality.
In this way, practicing yoga and meditation should be a neutral experiment with no specific desired outcome except to see what is what within. Doing yoga in an effort to achieve a specific experience is not good science. Yoga practice is an open investigation of the content of your mind and the flexibility of your body. It may or may not lead to a peaceful mind. It may, in fact, aggravate you to no end for many years. But by willingly exploring the limitless quanta of the human mind through breath, sound, movement, and discipline we consciously participate in our own evolution.