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Galileo Was Right!

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

Galileo Was Right!

Let’s challenge our reality.
Brian L. Weiss M.D.
Brian L. Weiss M.D. More by this author
Aug 16, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Some years back, I was a guest on a radio talk show in Cleveland. Listeners called in from their homes, offices, and cars. Many of them were very supportive as they shared their personal experiences with me, with the talk show host, and with other program listeners. Others were less kind. One lady was very angry.

“Don’t you know it’s a sin?” she hissed.

I assumed that she was referring to the concept of reincarnation. She wasn’t.

“Hypnosis is a sin,” she went on. “Jesus said it’s sinful. Devils can enter your body!”

I knew that Jesus hadn’t said anything about hypnosis. The word hadn’t been in usage then. Hypnosis wasn’t used as a therapeutic tool until at least the 18th Century. However, I take every question and comment seriously. Perhaps she was referring to some similar state of altered consciousness, or focused concentration, even if the actual word hypnosis hadn’t yet been coined.

I thought for a moment or two.

“If hypnosis is a sin,” I ventured, “why does the Archdiocese of Miami send us nuns, priests, and employees for hypnosis?”

Granted, these people were not being sent to us for regression therapy. But for over a decade we had been using hypnosis to help them to stop smoking, to lose weight, or to lessen stress.

The woman was silent for a few seconds as she pondered this new piece of information. Then she spoke up again, without conceding an inch.

“I don’t know about Miami,” she confidently went on, “But it’s a sin in Cleveland!”

The show host looked over at me, barely suppressing a laugh. We had just been introduced to the concept of regional sin.

Why was the lady in Cleveland so angry? She was afraid because the idea of hypnosis was a new one for her, and it had threatened her concept of the way things ought to be. I had challenged her view of reality, her understanding of the world. I had scared her. At least she was honest.

When I tell this story at my workshops, it always gets a big laugh. But some of that laughter is the laughter of self-recognition, recognition of having one’s view of reality, one’s understanding of the world, challenged by a new idea or concept. And that idea might turn out to be a very important one.

In 1633, Galileo was tried by the Inquisition for proposing a theory, based on his direct scientific experience and observation with a telescope of his own creation, that the earth rotated in its own orbit around the sun. The sun only appeared to rotate around the earth. Thus Galileo refuted the long-held theory of the geocentric universe.

Heresy! Said the Church, and Galileo was locked up in a tower. In order to be released, this brilliant scientist, who had become a professor of mathematics at the prestigious University of Pisa at the age of 25, was forced to recant. Only then was he set free.

Isaac Newton, who was born on the day of Galileo’s death in 1642, availed himself of the Pisan’s work to develop his own theory of a mechanistic universe, one that worked through physical forces and without divine intervention.

Newton’s work was accepted, and humanity’s perception of the working of the universe was forever changed. Despite the Church’s best efforts, Galileo’s work was eventually accepted and highly praised. Today, every school child reads about him, not only because of the importance of his scientific work, but also for the way he demonstrated that people find the truth by going within and trusting their own thoughts and experiences, not by relying on what other people tell them is true. Galileo’s work opened the way to new vistas in science, religion, and intellectual and cultural history. His work changed the way we all view reality.

About Author
Brian L. Weiss M.D.
Brian L. Weiss, M.D., is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in Miami, Florida. He’s a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, and is the former Chairman of Psychiatry at the Mt. S Continue reading