Letter to a Young Scientist


Understanding and Love

As a scientist, you have a need to discover. I, too, as a meditator, have a need  to discover. Which is why I’d like to write you a letter. I feel that to discover is one of the great needs of humankind. It is the need  to understand. To understand and to love are two fundamental human needs. And only if we satisfy both needs can we be happy.

Understanding has some kind of connection with love, and I believe this is something you may also have perceived. Understanding—even scientific understanding—can take us in the direction of love. I see that where there is understanding, there can be love; but where there is no understanding, there cannot be love. And if there is love, then there must already be understanding, and that understanding will continue to grow. Understanding and love are two faces of one reality, like the heads and tails of a coin, or the wave and particle forms
of an electron. I call you a young scientist because you have within you this deep desire to make a discovery. To discover is first of all to satisfy the need to understand. And if you discover something truly new then you will become famous, and your name, perhaps associated with a theory or an equation, will go down in the history of science. The distant dream of becoming a famous scientist can give you a huge amount of energy to work. You can sit hour after hour in the laboratory, not  thinking about eating or drinking or going out, your entire mind absorbed in your  research. This passion for your research can give you a lot of energy, but it can also make you tired and prevent you from being in touch with the wonders of daily life, in you and around you.

I address you as a young scientist because you also have the capacity to release your views, to let go of the knowledge you have accumulated, so as to be more