From Scientist to Spiritualist: How did it happen?

Science Versus Spirituality

Featureless face with an ethereal background similar to meditation images.

To help you understand the connection between science and spirituality, let’s begin with understanding their definitions, and perhaps the definition of health, too. Many believe they are, or at least should be, polar opposites – but are they? Both have an impact on a person’s health and well-being as well as their existence in life.

One definition of science is the following: the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation, experimentation and the testing of theories against the evidence obtained. – Oxford languages.

And here's one definition of spirituality: the quality of being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. “The shift in priorities allows us to embrace our spirituality in a more profound way" – Oxford languages.

The WHO constitution defines health as the following:"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

Here is my personal journey as a person who works and believes in both areas and feels they should and in fact do co-exist, not unlike the two parts of the human brain. The left side for language and logic and the right side is responsible for creativity and intuition.

Science is not compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. – Carl Sagan.

The Early Years

I was the elder of two daughters. My father was an academic – a Professor of Sports, Education, and Philosophy at an Edinburgh University; my mother was a special needs PE teacher. Health and well-being were already a high priority on my parents’ parenting agenda when it came to myself and my sister. At the age of two I attended ballet lessons, and at four years old by means of the Suzuki method I learnt the violin even before I could read and write. All of this was my introduction to having focus through counting, rhythm, tone, meditative states, vibration, and frequencies; these were physics and spiritual practices. By the age of seven, I had sat my first Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music exams. I soon started gymnastics and was learning the piano followed shortly after with the flute. Music took me travelling across the world, introducing me to different cultures, faiths, ways of life, and performing in large spiritual venues.

As a kid I was always cooking too – at three years old, I was found cooking fried eggs on the stove and forever experimenting with what I could find in the cupboards and outdoors. I had been watching my family cook and I knew the keys to success, namely chemistry and trusting the process of the Universe. I also had my own corner of the family garden and was encouraged to grow and tend to my potato patch and herbs. This encouragement prompted me to engage in grounding, a technique that allows one to connect with elements as well as centre one’s thoughts and feelings and bring oneself back to the present moment. I grew up having many pets, and at one point I had four cats, two hamsters, a rabbit, a guinea pig, tropical fish, and an adopted pigeon I rescued; taking care of these creatures taught me love and kindness for all living things. As a family, we never went to church or followed a religion – I was always told to seek it out for myself by both parents who didn’t want to impose it on us. I never questioned it again until my teens, when looking for something that was missing.

A little four-year-old girl in pigtails holding a violin.

Louise Middleton aged 4

Young Adult Years

At high school I loved the sciences, maths, and music, and had to decide which one to pursue – science won.  I went off to Aberdeen, Scotland, to obtain my first university degree in science, namely Dietetics. Yet it was also in my teenage years I started to dabble in spirituality with friends; I was then gifted my own first tarot deck. In my twenties, when we lived in down South where I had started my career, my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I went to a local spiritualist church out of curiosity. I then found myself often attending local spiritualist churches. By this time I had also started working professionally in the NHS’s clinical wards. When I started to experience seeing deaths at work, I started to question a lot of things. I seemed to “know” when somebody is close to the end as well as sense certain smells from near-death patients on the wards, but I thought this was normal because I did not realise no-one else could sense it. I didn’t speak of it to anyone until years later when I learned of the Clairs. Around the same time, I also trained at the local college in Reflexology and began to look at more alternative and holistic, complementary therapies. I love to learn more and in a non-clinical way about the body.

The first female scientist I became familiar with was Elsie Widdowson, a British dietitian and nutritionist who made significant contributions to the field of dietetics. Edith was best known for her work in nutritional research and for her role in shaping public health policy in the United Kingdom, the subjects I both studied and had careers in. Nutrition is one of the most holistic fields in modern day medicine, yet sadly traditional medicine is still favoured. Many modern-day illnesses are arguably mainly stress and nutrition-led, e.g. obesity, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, and certain cancer conditions, and these related illnesses have only escalated over time – but why, what have we not learned? Nutrition is a basic need and want. It provides us with energy and a natural source which we can use to look after, protect, and heal our bodies. However, food and beverages are easily abused and health messages ignored. Highly processed and convenience foods become addictive or a quick fix; this gruelling 24/7 way of working and living leads, in my opinion, to poor choices and lifestyle. Lack of awareness, knowledge, beliefs and insight can have damaging long term impacts on the public's health.

Fast-forward to my 30s. I continued my professional career, motherhood, and took part in active birthing classes run by a yoga/physio teacher.  This led me to my next path: yoga and meditation.  Both were a godsend as I was in so much pain with symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and lacked sleep. Learning how to control my breath and focus –  to stretch, relax and position myself to control pain – naturally got me through the next 24 weeks gestation and eased me to a natural delivery without drugs and going deep within using my own breath, meditative state, and nature’s way.

The Reflective years

Meditation came back to me again in my late 30s, this time for stress and anxiety management. This is what gave me the head space, the clarity, to focus – and now with two kids, working full-time, having gone up the career ladder several times, and commuting 100 miles a day or more. Being a career woman, the main breadwinner, and full-time mum was tough whilst my husband was studying as a nurse and working 26 hours on the side. Sadly, both our fathers passed within a year of each other, and grief hit us both hard. I would go for spiritual readings for spiritual connection or for guidance.  My father came through in my dreams twice: once before his funeral to say goodbye – the hospice counsellor told me that was closure – and the other time five years later when I had to give evidence under oath and asked him to step forward for support. My dad never let me down, neither on the earth plane or in spirit. He only came to give me messages in private spiritual readings years later, never in a public setting. After all, why would he change his ways in another realm?

After all the stresses in my 30s, everything came down to crash and burn by age 40 – what you would call in tarot cards a “Tower” moment.  Everything became so busy, and I was looking for distraction, unsettled, chaotic, ignoring the self, and putting everyone else first to my own detriment. In my forties I decided I had to start taking care of myself more – the Universe had spoken, and for a short time I was on antidepressants. I realised they did not work for me. Speaking up, talking things through, journalling, and learning did.  I left my NHS career and went back to academia two more times – working, juggling three less stressful jobs in the third sector, and volunteering at the hospice where my father passed. I turned to Theta healing and trained in the first level. I then looked after my physical and nutritional self, joined the gym after a decade away, and walked the dog more, yet there was still something else missing… namely how to tap into my emotions. I had been blocking my emotions for years to protect myself, along with doing things that lifted my spirits. But religion was not it. I went for a spiritual reading, and was invited along to join a Law of Attraction class; I then joined a local spiritual development group. Meditation yet again became a regular feature, this time for deeper and spiritual connection. I was connecting to my higher consciousness and the spiritual realm. This is when I learnt how to control things such as protect and ground my energy. Know what my energy is, other's energy and the spirit world's energy.

Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind. – Leonardo Da Vinci

In my 50s now I still thrive on learning. I gained a Master of Science degree in both public health and nutrition in my early forties. I am also an Usui Reiki Master teacher, and a working spiritual medium. I use various forms of divination and am learning shamanic practices. All my work is with natural life force energy. Shamanism is a bit different; it is an ancient healing tradition and a way of life – how to connect with nature and all of creation. Last year saw me join a tribe from 18 countries Spirit of the Wolf Shamans in Estonia for three days to witness both initiation and fire ceremonies. I have learned so much more about myself, health and others’ health, well-being, and holistic ways. I have so many more questions than perhaps answers. I have never lived such a simple, more fulfilled, and healthy lifestyle – and now I can help others to learn this and do the same. I no longer suffer regular terrible migraines and anxiety, and I know how to manage and limit my stress and have healthy boundaries. Communication is more fluid, and I am led by my heart and soul more than my head. Having what I call a “heightened perspective”, with more insight on health and wellbeing, helps me meld the scientist with the spiritual practices.

When you understand the mind, body, science, and spiritualism and learn to sometimes just “trust”, allowing things to merge, we have holistic practice.  ‘Making judgments and decisions and gaining perspectives on health care for person centred practice’ was the last postgraduate diploma I gained some six years ago. Interestingly there is very little research evidence in Western traditional medicine but a remarkable amount in Eastern medicine for complementary and alternative practices linking science. I am currently teaching individuals, groups, and soon undergraduate healthcare students to help empower themselves and to enable others in a holistic-centred way. I am also keen to do more research myself with my academic skill set. I have come full circle, so to speak – oneness back to myself, and more able to empower and to teach others.

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. – Albert Einstein

Until next time! Contact me here at Mind Body Soul Scientist