In the previous essay we considered the possibility that spiritual vibration or energy can influence and even shape matter. Let’s explore this concept of energy further by reflecting on the levels of reality we can understand, and observing how they interact.
We can certainly see light, and readily observe its effects on living beings. We know that the energy in light, which scientists view as electromagnetic radiation, can actually be measured as matter. Experiments have proven that light radiation trapped inside a closed container adds to the mass of the container—despite the fact that individual particles of light, called photons, have no measurable mass, and can’t be considered as matter. Einstein first discovered this seemingly porous interface between energy and matter, and because of his work we now know that the two often interchange, even in closed systems.
The Baha’i teachings tell us that:
The world of existence came into being through the heat generated from the interaction between the active force and that which is its recipient. These two are the same, yet they are different… Such as communicate the generating influence and such as receive its impact are indeed created through the irresistible Word of God which is the Cause of the entire creation, while all else besides His Word are but the creatures and the effects thereof. – Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 140.
Here we have two polarities out of which existence emerges—activity and receptivity. Think of the peak and trough of a vibrating wave or the positive and negative ends of a battery. This polarity seems to exist between many different levels of reality, from the physical to the spiritual.
For example: we know that every religious revelation begins with a spiritual conversation or interchange between God and the prophets of God, in which the prophet receives God’s message. After becoming imbued with the Spirit of God the messenger actively imparts spiritual energies into the body of humanity, by revealing God’s Word. In turn, members of humanity receive the spirit, then share it with others. Thus the religion grows, God’s love manifests itself in changes in individual consciousness, collective morality, and an efflorescence of the sciences and arts.
In this day, Baha’is believe, two twin messengers—The Bab and Baha’u’llah—have revealed the light of God to humanity, have imparted spiritual energies to us, and have radiated the heat of His love. We know this is not a literal light, energy, or heat; religions speak in metaphor. So what might these images—light, energy, and heat—really mean?
I recently came across a reasonable answer to this question by the famous psychologist Carl Jung. Grieved at Freud’s perception of humanity merely as an instinct-driven animal, Jung theorized that humanity lived in both an external and internal world, one of matter and one of spirit. He imagined the psyche emerging from the interchange of these two realities:
In physics, too, we speak of energy and its various manifestations, such as electricity, light, heat, etc. The situation in psychology is precisely the same… the psyche appears to be a dynamic process which rest on a foundation of antithesis, on a flow of energy between two poles.
Just as all energy proceeds from opposition, so the psyche too possesses its inner polarity, this being the indispensable prerequisite for its aliveness, as Heraclitus realized long ago. Both theoretically and practically, polarity is inherent in all living things…all opposites seek to achieve a state of balance. This happens in the exchange of energy which results from the collision of hot and cold, high and low, and so on. The energy underlying conscious psychic life is pre-existent to it, and therefore at first unconscious. – C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp. 208, 346.
Dynamic energy relies on a flow between two poles (polarity): Creator and creation, activity and receptivity, and conscious and unconscious as in Jung’s description of the psyche. Energy, which we perceive as vibration, electricity, light and heat, seems to be a key to understanding our inner reality. It may be, one day, that we will discover connections between the properties of energy in the material world and the dynamics of our own spirit.