Science comes down to earth as technology; religion comes down to earth as comfort. But viewed together, they fall short of a common factor that guides every moment of daily life: consciousness. The future of spirituality will converge with the future of science when we actually know how and why we think, what makes us alive to the outer and inner worlds, and how we came to be so rich in creativity. Being alive is inconceivable without being conscious. "I think, therefore I am" is fundamentally true, but Descartes' maxim should be expanded to include feeling, intuition, a sense of self and our drive to understand who we are.
The practical application of consciousness seems remote compared to technology. Would you rather be enlightened or own an iPad? In modern society, the choice is all too obvious. But it's a false choice because people don't realize that the things they most cherish and desire are born in consciousness: love, happiness, freedom from fear, the absence of depression and a vision of the future. We achieve all these things when consciousness is healthy, open, alert and expansive. We lose them when consciousness is cramped, constricted, confused and detached from its source.
I receive Google alerts every day telling me one skeptic or another calls these considerations "woo." It's not my role to defeat skepticism, which amounts in practice to a conspiracy for the suppression of curiosity. Science advances through data and experiments, but those in turn depend upon theory. Theory is the flashlight that tells an experimenter where to look; without it, he wanders at random. His data doesn't fit into a world view. I consider myself scientific at heart, so I depend upon a theory as well. Its basic premises are as follows: