The scientific point of view has gained dominance in our growing world culture by basing its authenticity on an empirical foundation. Yet mystics can point to a different test of authenticity: the broad agreement in subtle perceptions of reality across many cultures and stretches of history. We benefit from the knowledge of the universe and the fascinating intricacies of nature, and we benefit from knowledge of meaning and purpose in the greater life of the cosmos and its implications for meaning in our own lives. An understanding and appreciation of the inner life of the universe can offer an integration of the scientific story of the outer life with the insight of mystics into the inner story, distinguishing the realms appropriate for science and spirituality to explore, and offering hope that they can coexist in mutual respect and harmony, and that each could enrich the other.
William Hassan Suhrawardi Gebel earned a BA in physics from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Wisconsin, followed by postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago’s Yerkes Observatory. He was an assistant professor of astrophysics at SUNY Stony Brook. Leaving academia in 1971, he performed in original shows with the Omega Theater company and worked as a technical writer. Completing an MA in counseling psychology from Leslie University, he then became a psychotherapist. He served as Secretary General of the Sufi Order International until his retirement in 2012.