Dr. Joan Borysenko on: What is Transformation? Part 1 – Part 4

In this segment, Dr. Borysenko defines success as feeling a sense of peace in each moment. She describes a connectedness and a kindness toward all, as transformation.

Psychologist and medical scientist, Joan Borysenko, PhD explores transformation through her healing experience. She is the co-founder of the Mind/Body clinical programs at Boston’s Beth Israel/Deaconess Medical Center and taught at Harvard Medical School. This interview was conducted at IONS as part of the transformation project research.

Joan Borysenko on Transformation – Part 2
The language used to describe “transformation” varies in traditions and situations. In business language you could ‘access that flow state’ or in Christian traditions you could ‘find the kingdom of heaven.’ In this segment Joan discusses the transformative experience, its opposite and the language used to describe it.

Joan Borysenko on Transformation – Part 3:The Dark Night of the Soul
St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila in the 15th Century described the “dark night of the soul” and how it’s a place of grace. Joan explores that concept in this segment and identifies pitfalls. She says the darkness of ‘don’t know’ is frightening to most people, but it stops the ego in its tracks and something new has to happen.
In this segment Joan talks about the transformative state, which can be a gradual awakening, a sudden awareness or a temporary occurrence. She discusses the authentic traits of those who have integrated consciousness into their every day lives and the importance of being aware of synchronistic events as methods of transformation.

Joan Borysenko on Transformation – Part 4:From a State to a Trait
In this segment Joan talks about the transformative state, which can be a gradual awakening, a sudden awareness or a temporary occurrence. She discusses the authentic traits of those who have integrated consciousness into their every day lives and the importance of being aware of synchronistic events as methods of transformation.


Which Is Real, the Moon or God? – Deepak Chopra

March 23, 2010

Most people have spent at least a few minutes pondering a famous riddle, although they may not know that it originated in Zen Buddhism: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Strangely, this turns out to be a pivotal question if you want to prove that God exists, or doesn’t.

I want to explain the whole issue in detail, but if you want to view a vigorous and often contentious debate about God and whether He has a future, ABC Nightline is running Tuesday (March 23). The Nightline episode contains only excerpts, but the full debate will be available online at http://www.abcnews.com. The location was at Cal Tech, where God probably isn’t a pressing topic compared to quantum physics. Yet as it turns out, the two are vitally linked. What you think about reality depends on quantum physics, and since God is the ultimate reality, His existence hinges on such things as waves and particles.

This wasn’t a crude argument between believers and non-believers. It was an attempt to see if the most up-to-date science made God’s existence unlikely, which is what atheists led by Richard Dawkins believe. Taking that position in the debate was Dr. Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptics magazine, and Sam Harris, author of Letter to a Christian Nation. As staunch materialists, they offered a simple attack on God — nothing is scientifically valid unless it can be seen and measured. Since God has no physical presence in the world, there can be no measurement of His existence. Without a physical presence, the deity is reduced to being subjective. Millions of people were taught to believe in a supreme being. If they paid attention to science, they’d realized that their faith has no real basis.

On the other side, I and my partner, the noted philosopher and writer Jean Houston, rejected materialism. We held that science is about objective data, but human beings have rich internal experiences that are valid. These experiences give rise to art, morality, psychology, and everyday things like love, truth, honor, and so on. Is science really in a position to call human experience itself wrong if it cannot be seen and measured? Our opponents of course argue that ethics, values, meaning, and purpose are all reducible to brain phenomena. While we hold that brain phenomena are merely representations of consciousness and not the experience itself.

Yet it was obvious to me and Jean that God has been greatly undermined by materialist science, and also by organized religion, with its simplistic Sunday school lessons about a bearded patriarch sitting on His throne above the clouds. (The very notion that God is referred to as He implies gender, which a supreme being couldn’t have if such a being is beyond time and space.) No, God can’t have a future until the arguments against Him are discredited, and as it happens, rank materialism has been dismantled by science itself, and in particular by quantum physics.

Here, the discussion gets rather technical, but let’s venture forward on a basic question. Does the moon exist if no one is there to see it? This was the last topic our debate arrived at, and afterwards Dr. Shermer and I continued to discuss it, not as adversaries in a heated debate but in hopes of reaching some kind of understanding or common ground. (Shermer’s summary of our discussion can be found here )

The common sense notion is that of course the moon exists without human beings to look at it. It existed long before life on Earth; it will be around if human folly wipes out our species in some possible future. People aren’t going to be argued out of common sense, no matter how tricky your science or philosophy. Yet, surprisingly, physics starts to fall apart if you cling too stubbornly to common sense.

One of the most famous quips about quantum physics is that it isn’t stranger than you imagine — it’s stranger than you can imagine. This is because quantum physics disposed of raw materialism long ago, showing that solid objects are made up of invisible waves of energy, and those waves themselves disappear into clouds of mere possibilities. Every rock, tree, and cloud is made up of molecules, which in turn are made up of atoms, and they in turn are made up of elementary particles like electrons, protons, and neutrons.

It would be consistent with common sense if these particles, and the subatomic particles that they can be broken down into, were solid and stable in spacetime. But they aren’t. Thanks to two breakthrough ideas — the Uncertainty Principle and the Observer Effect — nothing in Nature can be seen as solid and fixed in spacetime. The Uncertainty Principle says, in its simplest terms, that you cannot know the position of a particle and its momentum at the same time. The observer effect says that particles are only a superposition of possibility waves until a non-material observer causes them to collapse from one state, a wave, into another, a particle.

Already I can see readers glazing over, but these are important points for the existence of God and also for our existence. All solid objects exist, in essence, as invisible waves that extend infinitely in all directions. When an observer enters the picture, the wave collapses into a point, and that point is a spacetime event — or a particle — that you can measure. So it turns out that looking at a virtual electron (waves) causes it to appear as an actual electron (particle).

Is the same true of the moon? Does it appear because consciousness is collapsing possibility waves as the moon?

On the side of materialism, Shermer and many others say no. Quantum behavior, or as Shermer calls it “Quantum weirdness,” is confined to the microscopic world. It doesn’t leak into the macroscopic world of rocks, trees, clouds — and the moon. But there are three weaknesses in this argument:

1. Recent discoveries have produced quantum weirdness on the macroscopic level. See this article about “supersizing” quantum mechanics

2. Quantum physics is behind all kinds of technologies used in the big everyday world: transistors, superconductors, experiments with superfluids. There are even cutting-edge experiments with time travel and teleportation, very Star Trek, although so far the results are on the level of light beams, not Scottie and Captain Kirk.

3. Most crucial of all, if you don’t allow quantum phenomenon to interact with the big world, you run into a huge problem with physics itself. Quantum physics is the basis of our macroscopic physical world, so there has to be an interaction, even if that interaction is not fully understood.

Now we are getting somewhere in undermining the certainty that makes materialists too stubborn and certain of themselves. If you don’t admit that the moon is behaving in a quantum fashion, that’s a bit like saying that red blood cells absorb oxygen but the human body as a whole doesn’t. The part and the whole must conform to each other. Having kicked a few rungs out of the materialist position, it’s now possible to see what the alternative may be.

The basic understanding of the collapse of the wave function is called the Copenhagen Interpretation, in which a non-material observer is involved in quantum measurement. John von Neumann demonstrated that an understanding of the collapse of the wave function requires consciousness. Without an observer, there is no collapse, no particle, no matter, no measurement. Alternative quantum theories such as transactional interpretation and many-worlds theory try to get around the need of consciousness or an observer, but fail in the end. Essentially they don’t fulfill the requirements of quantum physics because any quantum measuring device still must be physical and ultimately exist as quantum wave probabilities. One set of measuring waves superimposed on other waves to be measured, only leaves more waves, not particles, not a quantified measurement. And as Niels Bohr makes clear, in quantum mechanics, if it isn’t measureable it isn’t real. So in spite of these newer quantum speculations, no one has been able to successfully dispense with a non-material observer.

Physics says that the observer causes the collapse of the wave function, the vital step that turns invisible, infinitely expanding probabilities into real events. But the word “cause” leads to trouble. It cannot be that human beings literally cause the moon to appear, for the simple reason that it was here before us. Common sense doesn’t seem wrong about that. We can escape this difficulty rather easily, however, by proposing that the observer effect isn’t about individual human beings, or even biological sentience. It’s about non-local consciousness, because what the observer adds to the equation is that human beings are conscious of the events they participate in. Non-local consciousness localizes through our nervous system. The observer is non-local consciousness, and that consciousness collapses its own possibility waves into a measurable event.

Materialists say “who cares?” They fail to realize that without consciousness, you cannot have the universe. But we aren’t talking about you and me as conscious people. We are talking about a field of consciousness that creates, maintains, and deconstructs all things. In other words, God. The moon exists as an invisible wave function because consciousness has that property. Whenever and wherever non-local consciousness interacts with the wave function we call the moon, the wave function collapses and the wave reality of the “moon” becomes the localized moon. Non-local consciousness can collapse the wave function and create matter whether it is mediated through a biological organism or not.

Right now you possess a vocabulary, either large or small. It is invisible, and no one knows where it exists. Your brain isn’t using any energy to hold your vocabulary, yet at any time you want, you can pluck a word out of its invisible state and cause a tangible event: you say the word, or think it or choreograph it into a sentence. Every time we think and say something, we experience our non-local consciousness collapsing a spacetime event out of an abstract field of potential expressions.

Likewise, consciousness produces visible events from invisible possibilities. Physics knows that such transformations exist. Indeed, the entire universe, at the subatomic level, is winking in and out of existence thousands of times a second. Where does the universe go when it blinks out of sight? Into the superposition of possibility waves, the quantum realm. And when it comes back from this invisible sojourn, guess what? The universe has changed. It isn’t the same as before it disappeared. Which means that all change in space and time — the blooming of a rose, the sudden desire to eat chocolate, the birth of a star, or the birth of a work of art — actually occurs out of sight.

Now we arrive at the moment when the rabbit can be pulled out of the hat. God is the rabbit. If there is infinite consciousness upholding the physical universe, if that consciousness is intelligent and creative, God has a future. Only He isn’t a he. He isn’t a person sitting above the clouds. Instead, God is the field of consciousness that creates, governs, and controls the manifest world. This consciousness has an invisible aspect beyond space and time. We can posit that because there was no space or time before the Big Bang, yet there had to be something that allowed the universe and the laws of nature to coalesce with such amazing orderliness than with the slightest deviation, life could not have evolved.

Consciousness, or God, also permeates creation once it appeared. We know this because we partake of consciousness, creativity, and intelligence. Where could we get those qualities if God, the source of consciousness, were gone? To give God a future, you must give consciousness a place in the universe as a primary ingredient, not an element that appeared by chance when the human brain evolved.

And the moon? It exists as an event in consciousness, first and foremost. Because you are also conscious, you not only see the moon, but you participate in the field from which the moon arises. At the core of existence, consciousness operates with no separation of observer, observed, and the process of observation. They come as a three-in-one package. The fallacy all along was to assume that the observer could be erased from the picture. He can’t. Consciousness observes itself, and it observes its creations. God does the same thing, which is why sages have wondered if everything doesn’t take place in God’s mind. Ultimately, it does. But you have to adopt a new model of God that is consciousness-based. Once you do, a host of issues becomes clear. Not just about the moon, but about human beings and what our own future will be like.

Deepak Chopra on Intent.com

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: The Grace of God

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D., is a sheikh in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism. He has specialized in the area of dreamwork, integrating the ancient Sufi approach to dreams with the insights of modern psychology. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of transition, and the emerging global consciousness of oneness. Author of several books on the subject, Llewellyn has lectured extensively throughout the United States…

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee: The Grace of God @ Yahoo! Video

The Divine Feminine -Reclaiming the Feminine Mystery of Creation by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Then creation recognized its Creator in its own forms and appearances. For in the beginning, when God said, “Let it be!” and it came to pass, the means and the Matrix of creation was Love, because all creation was formed through Her as in the twinkling of an eye. – The Holy Spirit as Sapientia St. Hildegard von Bingen


The feminine is the matrix of creation. This truth is something profound and elemental, and every woman knows it in the cells of her body, in her instinctual depths. Out of the substance of her very being life comes forth. She can conceive and give birth, participate in the greatest mystery of bringing a soul into life.

And yet we have forgotten, or been denied, the depths of this mystery, of how the divine light of the soul creates a body in the womb of a woman, and how the mother shares in this wonder, giving her own blood, her own body, to what will be born. Our culture’s focus on a disembodied, transcendent God has left women bereft, denying them the sacredness of this simple mystery of divine love.

What we do not realize is that this patriarchal denial affects not only every woman, but also life itself. When we deny the divine mystery of the feminine we also deny something fundamental to life. We separate life from its sacred core, from the matrix that nourishes all of creation.

We cut our world off from the source that alone can heal, nourish and transform it. The same sacred source that gave birth to each of us is needed to give meaning to our life, to nourish it with what is real, and to reveal to us the mystery, the divine purpose to being alive.

Because humanity has a central function in the whole of creation, what we deny to ourself we deny to all of life. In denying the feminine her sacred power and purpose we have impoverished life in ways we do not understand.

We have denied life its sacred source of meaning and divine purpose, which was understood by the ancient priestesses. We may think that their fertility rites and other ceremonies belonged only to the need for procreation or a successful harvest.

In our contemporary culture we cannot understand how a deeper mystery was enacted, one that consciously connected life to its source in the inner worlds, a source that held the wholeness of life as an embodiment of the divine, allowing the wonder of the divine to be present in every moment.

The days of the priestesses, their temples and ceremonies are over, and because the wisdom of the feminine was not written down but transmitted orally (logos is a masculine principle), this sacred knowledge is lost.

We cannot reclaim the past, but we can witness a world without her presence, a world which we exploit for greed and power, which we rape and pollute without real concern. And then we can begin the work of welcoming her back, of reconnecting with the divine that is at the core of creation, and learning once again how to work with the sacred principles of life. Without the intercession of the divine feminine we will remain in this physical and spiritual wasteland we have created, passing on to our children a diseased and desecrated world.

The choice is simple. Can we remember the wholeness that is within us, the wholeness that unites spirit and matter? Or will we continue walking down this road that has abandoned the divine feminine, that has cut women off from their sacred power and knowledge?

If we choose the former we can begin to reclaim the world, not with masculine plans, but with the wisdom of the feminine, the wisdom that belongs to life itself. If we choose the latter we may attempt some surface solutions with new technology. We may combat global warming and pollution with scientific plans. But there will be no real change. A world that is not connected to its soul cannot heal. Without the participation of the divine feminine nothing new can be born.


If the knowledge of the sacred feminine has been lost how can we know what to do? Part of the wisdom of the feminine is to wait, to listen, to be receptive. A woman does not consciously know how to bring the light of a soul into her womb and help it to form a body.

And yet this mystery takes place within her. Nor does she consciously know how to nourish this light with her own light, in the same way that she gives her blood to help the body to grow. She is the mystery of light being born into matter, and her pregnancy is a time of receptivity, waiting, listening and feeling what is happening within her. She and the Great Mother are one being, and if she listens within she is given the knowledge she needs.

We may have forsaken this simple feminine wisdom of listening, and in this information age awash with so many words it is easy to undervalue an instinctual knowledge that comes from within. But the sacred principles of life have never been written down: they belong to the heartbeat, to the rhythm of the breath and the flow of blood.

They are alive like the rain and the rivers, the waxing and waning of the moon. If we learn to listen we will discover that life, the Great Mother, is speaking to us, telling us what we need to know.

We are present at a time when the world is dying and waiting to be reborn, and all the words in our libraries and on the internet will not tell us what to do. But the sacred feminine can share with us her secrets, tell us how to be, how to midwife her rebirth. And because we are her children she can speak to each of us, if we have the humility to listen.

How can we listen to what we do not know? How can we reclaim what we have lost so long ago? Every moment is new. The present moment is not just a progression of past moments, but is alive in its own way, complete and perfect. And it is the moment that demands our attention.

Only in the moment can we be fully awake and respond to the real need. Only in the present moment can we be fully attentive. Only in the present moment can the divine come into existence. Men may make plans, but a mother attentive to her children knows the real need of the moment.

She feels in her being the interconnectedness of all of life in a way that is veiled from the masculine. She knows one cannot make plans when there are so many variables, but one can respond with the wisdom that includes the whole and all of its connections. The divine feminine is asking us to be present in life in all of its wholeness, without judgment or plans. Then she can speak to us, reveal the mystery of her rebirth.

And because this is a birth, the feminine has to be present, not just as an idea but as a living presence within us, within both men and women; because although woman most fully embodies the divine feminine, part of her secret is also shared with men, just as a son carries part of his mother in a way hidden from her daughters.

Yet to live the feminine is something we have almost forgotten: our patriarchal culture has denied her power and real wisdom, has sanitized her as much as it has divorced her from her magic that belongs to the rhythms of creation. But we need her, more than we dare realize.

However, to fully encounter the divine feminine, the creative principle of life, we must be prepared for her anger, for the pain that has come from her abuse. For centuries our masculine culture has repressed her natural power, has burnt her temples, killed her priestesses.

Through his drive for mastery, and his fear of the feminine, of what he cannot understand or control, the patriarchy has not just neglected her, but deliberately tortured and destroyed. He has not just raped her, but torn the very fabric of life, the primal wholeness of which she is always the guardian. And the feminine is angry, even if her anger has been repressed along with her magic.

To welcome the feminine is to acknowledge and accept her pain and anger, and the part we have played in this desecration. Women too have often colluded with the masculine, denied their own power and natural magic, instead accepted masculine values, ways of thinking. They have betrayed their own deepest self. But we must also be careful not to become caught in this darkness, in the dynamics of abuse, the anger and betrayal.

It is especially easy for women to become identified with the suffering of the feminine, her treatment by the masculine, to project one’s own pain and anger onto men. Then we are caught even more securely in this web that denies us any transformation.

If we identify with the pain of the feminine we easily become an agent of her anger, rather than going deeper into the mystery of suffering, into the light that is always hidden in the darkness. Because in the depths of the feminine there is a deep knowledge that the abuse is also part of the cycle of creation. The Great Mother embodies a wholeness that contains even the denial of herself, and we need her wholeness if we are to survive and be reborn.

Real transformation, like any birth, needs the darkness as much as the light. We know that the feminine has been abused, just as the planet continues to be polluted. But the woman who has experienced the pain of childbirth, who knows the blood that belongs to birth, is always initiated in the darkness; she knows the cycles of creation in ways that are hidden to the masculine.

She needs to give herself and her knowing to this present cycle of death and rebirth, and in so doing honor the pain she has suffered. Then she will discover that her magic and power is also being reborn in a new way, is being returned to her in ways that can no longer be contaminated by the masculine and its power drive. But without her full participation there is the danger of a still birth; then this present cycle of creation will not realize its potential.

First we need to acknowledge the suffering of the feminine, of the earth itself, or the light within the feminine will be hidden from us. We have to pay the price of our desires to dominate nature, of our acts of hubris. We are not separate from life, from the winds and the weather.

We are a part of creation and we have to ask her forgiveness, to take responsibility for our attitudes and actions. We need to go consciously into the next era, recognizing our mistakes. Only then can we fully honor and hear her. But there is always the possibility that we will not take this step.

That like defiant children we will not acknowledge the pain we have done to our mother, and will not reclaim the wholeness that she embodies. Then we will remain within the darkness that is beginning to devour our souls: the empty promises of materialism, the fractured world of fanaticism. To take a step into maturity is always to acknowledge our mistakes, the wrongs we have done.


It is a real challenge to step into this matrix of the feminine, to honor something so sacred and simple as the real wisdom of life. But as we stand at the edge of our present global abyss we need this wisdom more than we realize.

How many times has this world been brought to the edge of extinction, how many times in its millions of years has it faced disaster? Now we have created our own disaster with our ignorance and greed, and the first step is to ask for the help of our mother and to listen to her wisdom. Then we will find ourselves in a very different environment than that which we presently imagine.

We will discover that there are changes happening in the depths of creation of which we are a part, and that the pollution and pain we have caused are part of a cycle of life that involves its own apparent destruction. We are not isolated, even in our mistakes. We are part of the whole of creation even as we have denied the whole. In our hubris we have separated ourselves from life, and yet we can never be separate. That is just an illusion of masculine thinking. There is no such thing as separation. It is just a myth created by the ego.

Everything is part of the whole, even in its mistakes and disasters. Once we return to this simple awareness we will discover that there are changes taking place that demand our participation, that need us to be present.

We will see that the axis of creation is shifting and something is coming alive in a new way. We are being reborn, not in any separate sense but as a complete whole. We do not have images in our masculine consciousness to think what this could be like, but this does not mean it is not happening.

Something within us knows that the present era is over, that our time of separation is coming to an end. At present we sense it most apparently in the negative, knowing that the images of life no longer sustain us, that consumerism is killing our soul as well as the planet. And yet there is also something just beyond the horizon, like a dawn that we can sense even if we cannot see.

And this dawn carries a light, and this light is calling to us, calling to our souls if not yet to our minds. And it is asking for us to welcome it, to bring it into being. And if we dare to do this, to say “yes” to this dawn, we will discover that this light is within us, and that something within each of us is being brought into being. We are part of a shared mystery: we are the light hidden within matter that is being awakened.

For too many centuries we have been caught in the myth of separation, until we have become isolated from each other and from the energies of creation that sustain us. But now there is a growing light that carries the knowing of oneness, the oneness that is alive with the imprint of the divine.

This is what is being given back to us. This is the light that is awakening. The light of oneness is a reflection of the divine oneness of life, and we are each a direct expression of this oneness. And this oneness is not a metaphysical idea but something so simple and ordinary. It is in every breath, in the wing beat of every butterfly, in every piece of garbage left on city streets.

This oneness is life, life no longer experienced solely through the fragmented vision of the ego, but known within the heart, felt in the soul. This oneness is the heartbeat of life. It is creation’s recognition of its Creator. In this oneness life celebrates itself and its divine origin.

The feminine knows this oneness. She feels it in her body, in her instinctual wisdom. She knows its interconnectedness just as she knows how to nourish her own children. And yet until now this knowing has not carried the bright light of masculine consciousness.

It has remained hidden within her, in the darkness of her instinctual self. And part of her pain has been that she has not known how to use her knowing in the rational and scientific world we inhabit. Instead of valuing her own knowledge she has played the games of the masculine, imitating his thinking, putting aside her knowledge of relationships and her sense of the patterns that belong to creation.

Now it is time for this wisdom of the feminine to be combined with masculine consciousness, so that a new understanding of the wholeness of life can be used to help us to heal our world.

Our present scientific solutions come from the masculine tools of analysis, the very mind set of separation that has caused the problems. We cannot afford to isolate ourself from the whole any more, and the fact that our problems are global illustrate this. Global warming is not just a scientific image but a dramatic reality.

Combining masculine and feminine wisdom we can come to understand the relationships between the parts and the whole, and if we listen we can hear life telling us how to redress this imbalance.

There is a light within life, known to the alchemists as the lumen naturae, that can speak to us, speak to the light of our own awareness. There is a primal dialogue of light to light, which is known to every healer as she listens to the body of her patient and allows it to communicate with her, allows its light to speak to the light within her.

Through this dialogue of light she comes to know where to place her hands, the herbs that are needed, the pressure points to be touched. This direct communication is combined with the knowledge of healing she has learned, allowing an alchemy to take place that can reawaken energy within the patient, realign the body and soul.

This is how real healing happens, and what is true for the individual is also true for the world, except that we are both the patient and the healer. The world’s wounds and imbalance are our wounds and imbalance, and we have within us the knowledge and understanding to realign ourselves and the world. This is part of the mystery of life’s wholeness.

The feminine can give us an understanding of how all the diverse parts of life relate together, their patterns of relationship, the interconnections that nourish life. She can help us to see consciously what she knows instinctively, that all is part of a living, organic whole, in which all the parts of creation communicate together, and how each cell of creation expresses the whole in a unique way.

An understanding of the organic wholeness of life belongs to the instinctual knowing of the feminine, but combined with masculine consciousness this can be communicated in words, not just feelings. We can combine the science of the mind and the senses with inner knowing. We can be given a blueprint of the planet that will enable us to live in creative harmony with all of life.


What does it mean to reclaim the feminine? It means to honor our sacred connection to life that is present in every moment. It means to realize that life is one whole and begin to recognize the interconnections that form the web of life. It means to realize that everything, every act, even every thought, affects the whole.

And it also means to allow life to speak to us. We are constantly bombarded by so many impressions, by so much media and advertising, that it is not easy to hear the simple voice of life itself. But it is present, even within the mirage of our fears and desires, our anxieties and expectations. And life is waiting for us to listen: it just needs us to be present and attentive. It is trying to communicate to us the secrets of creation so that we can participate in the wonder that is being born.

We have been exiled from our own home, sold a barren landscape full of soulless fantasies. It is time to return home, to claim what belongs to us, the sacred life of which we are a part.

This is what is waiting for us, and its signs are appearing around us. They are not just in our discontent, in our sense that we have been exploited and lied to. They are in a quality of magic that is beginning to appear, like the wing beats of angels we cannot see but can feel.

We are being reminded of what we really are, of the divine presence that is within ourself and within life. We long for this magic, for a life that unites the inner and outer worlds. And this other is already with us in ways we would not expect.

We just have to be open and receptive, to say yes to what we cannot see or touch, but can feel and respond to. And for each of us this meeting of the worlds will be different, unique, because we are each different, unique. It is the sacred within life speaking to us in our own language.

Maybe for the gardener it speaks in the magic of plants, for the mother in something unexpected in the ways of her children—always it is something glimpsed but not yet known—a promise we know we have been waiting for. Children themselves feel it first, but for them it is not so unusual; it is part of the air they breathe, the light they live in. They have not yet been completely banished, and maybe they will grow into a world in which this magic remains.

The mystery of the divine feminine speaks to us from within her creation. She is not a distant god in heaven, but a presence that is here with us, needing our response. She is the divine returning to claim her creation, the real wonder of what it means to be alive.

We have forgotten her, just as we have forgotten so much of what is sacred, and yet she is always part of us. But now she needs to be known again, not just as a myth, as a spiritual image, but as something that belongs to the blood and the breath. She can awaken us to an expectancy in the air, to an ancient memory coming alive in a new way. She can help us to give birth to the divine that is within us, to the oneness that is all around us. She can help us to remember our real nature.

How can we participate in welcoming the divine back into the world?
Excerpted from a talk by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, “Oneness and the World Soul”

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee is a Sufi teacher and author. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of transition, and the emerging global consciousness of oneness (see http://www.workingwithoneness.org). He has also specialized in the area of dreamwork, integrating the ancient Sufi approach to dreams with the insights of modern psychology. Llewellyn is the founder of The Golden Sufi Center (http://www.goldensufi.org/). His most recent books are Alchemy of Light, Working with the Primal Energies of Life, and Spiritual Power, How It Works.

Meditation Technique by Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra defines meditation, performs a healing meditation and demonstrates the law of attraction and meditation. Rediscover the purpose of meditation and get tips from one of the world’s most respected authors and spiritual guides.
Click to watch.

The Future of God: A New Theory of the Divine – Deepak Chopra

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
~ Einstein

I would like to offer the following ideas on the Future of God: A New Theory of the Divine.

“It would be very difficult to explain why the Universe would have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”
~Steven Hawking

A theology that contradicts the known facts of science including the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, cosmo-genesis and evolution is obsolete and rightfully so. A science that reduces the rich inner life of consciousness to raw data is absurd and also obsolete.” ~Deepak Chopra

1. God is Infinite Consciousness. Consciousness is awareness, before thinking starts, before perception happens, before neural activity, before there is relationship with space-time, before there is subject-object split.

2. God is the agent of downward causation.

3. God is the consciousness that differentiates into space, time, energy information and matter.

4. Cosmogenesis, Biopoesis Evolution : The principle of parsimony ( Occam’s razor) dictates that God is the author of the Big Bang (neither big nor noisy) a moment where a point of infinite density and zero volume starts creation in an instant. For the first 10 – 43 seconds of this moment of creation, the laws of creation do not exist and are essentially unknowable. At 10-43 seconds universal constants are arbitrarily assigned. These are about 20, including the mass of the neutron, speed of light, gravitational constant, charge of the electron, strong and weak force etc.

From then on cosmogenesis proceeds automatically obeying the universal laws that have been set in motion. 10 billion years later our sun appears and starts to fragment pieces of itself to create its own solar system, including planet earth 30 million years after the formation of the sun.

Because of conditions already set in motion, a biosphere is created and soon abiogenesis or biopoesis happens, an unknown and possibly unknowable process by which inanimate matter becomes DNA. From then on, microorganisms(chemolithoautotrophic hyperthermophiles) start to differentiate into the teeming diversity of life through gene variation and natural selection.

Photosynthesis develops around 2.5 billion years ago. Evolution proceeds naturally once set in motion through gene variation and natural selection. The current state of this process is Homo Sapiens and an exquisite nervous system through which consciousness becomes conscious of itself through us.

5. Each moment of time a new universe is created. Fundamentally the universe is a discontinuity. In each moment of time the universe is not only recreated but also evolves. This recreation happens in the Gap where consciousness resides. The Gap is
(a) a super position of possibilities
(b) a field of infinite non local correlation, dynamic and kinematic
(c) a field of quantum creativity
(d) an intention field, (the observer effect)–where consciousness collapses its possibility waves into space- time events, which are measured out as motion, energy, information and matter.

All this happens in the unified field — the mind of God.

Related Articles at http://www.intent.com/deepakchopra/blog/play-creation
* The Play of Creation
* Does Time Exist? Part 4: Physicality of Eternity, Consciousness, and Awareness
* Universal or Non-Local Consciousness vs. Local Mind
* “Big Bang” Versus Consciousness and Spirituality; Understanding the Universe from Human Perspective: Part 3
* Does God Have a Future?

Awakening the World: A Global Dimension to Spiritual Practice (Paperback)~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

The author makes it clear from the outset that for a healthy planet, any attempt at spiritual awakening and practices must be holistic and go beyond each person’s individual self-concern.

That each person pursues their inner opening path is a good thing; but part of the issue is that human greed, corruption, and “darkness” obscures the light energy that comes to the planet and at those roots is often ego-selfishness. So to awaken the world, there must be a global dimension, an unselfish commitment to a larger all-embracing vision.

Vaughan-Lee makes his point with clarity (page 111) when he proposes that the “world spins on an axis of love.” The axis of love encircles the earth “at a very high frequency” and thus is almost undetectable. It nourishes and nurtures life more than most people are aware of. It can be tapped into but in order to do so, we must open and cultivate the heart.

These principles represent a Sufi perspective, but there are wise and penetrating insights that are distinctly Vaughan-Lee’s. An example: “much of our present insecurity comes from a deep knowing that our governments and culture s are planning for a future that will never happen” (p. 45).

From social security to the apparent dead-end of having mobilized the industrialized countries to fight a “war on terrorism,” it is clear that the evolving future is hardly couched in certainty. The author is working hard to substantiate his main point that we must choose spiritual ways to integrate our individual path with the planetary influences of love. It is inarguable that such a perspective can only have salutary effects.

There is a note of darkness in the author’s writing: “since the Golden Age, eras have come and gone…the most recent has focused on (the) masculine which has emphasized the separation between worlds…this veil has become almost impenetrable…due to our rational culture and pursuit of materialism” (p. 64). Hope exists, of course, because the “the world is a living spiritual being” (p. 73) and as such the awakening of the soul of the world (the ancient belief in Anima Mundi) can and is occurring. Even within dark matter there are particles of light. These are wonderful insights and they are expressed with considerable sensitivity.

Like a genuinely enlightened person, he reminds the reader, “every breath is a remembrance of God” (p. xv). If we wish to stop the merry-go-round of our material world preoccupied with power and addicted to influence, we can do so by focusing on each breath in/out, which is a universal meditation of all true spiritual paths.

Finally, it is useful to consider the essential focus of the author in his own words: “the real work of the path is to be able to live the energy and higher consciousness of the self in everyday life.”

Coupled with Vaughan-Lee’s espousal of love as the critical element in global awakening, it becomes clear how these forces can be encouraged or “called”: through the open heart. “The wonder of the heart is that because it contains our higher spiritual intelligence…the energy needed by the world…” is the same for the individual self as it is for the earth as a whole (p. 104-6).

To paraphrase a misguided world figure, it is love which is the uniter, not a divider. The author does a great service by making it clear that the answer rests with unqualified love.

This book is a well-organized succinct statement organized into 7 chapters, a brief Epilogue, 5 concise pages of Notes, a 2 page Bibliography, and a short Index. With its bright cover, we should stock this book in our Spirituality, Religion, and Psychology sections.
Table of Contents


1. The First Step
2. Spiritual Maturity
3. Colliding Forces
4. The Relationship Between the Worlds
5. Anima Mundi: Awakening the Soul of the World
6. The Light of the Heart
7. The Axis of Love
Book Review By Thomas Peter von Bahr

Twitter, Ambient Awareness and Spiritual Practice – Steven Vedro

At the request of Steven Vedro, author of Digital Dharma: Metaphors of Consciousness in the Infosphere, I am posting the following article which appeared on his blogsite.

Twitter, Ambient Awareness and Spiritual Practice
Our new IP-based communications systems and forms – the Internet, digital media, pervasive wireless networks and embedded communicating microprocessors – are not only changing our ways of seeing the world, they have pushed us, like it or not, into a new psychic environment of hyper-connectivity. The coupling of electricity with our nervous system over a century ago started the process of (in Marshal McLuhan’s words) “outering” our neurons. From the telephone to radio and television, and now from the internet to the distributed intelligence of peer-to-peer and social networks, we continue to grow more connected, more accessible, more stimulated.

From MySpace and Facebook, and the “twittered” thoughts that fly through one’s mind during the course of the day, our minds are always online, and our personal life is now part of the public record. On the web nothing is protected from our eyes and ears. We have opened every “closet,” short-circuited all the old modes of denial. We are all “data naked” when every transaction, every credit card purchase, every trip through the grocery store, and every phone call (and its originating location) is now “on the record.” Even once-expunged court records (the “clean slate” granted by a judge for minor convictions years ago) are finding their way on to the Web, as records once held only in paper now routinely digitized.

Infection and contagion are the health metaphors of the day. Idea fragments flow from brain to brain, reproducing like viruses; the net’s constant chatter perfectly reflecting the distraction of our planetary “monkey mind.” Pushed into the Infosphere — all of our secrets revealed, our every thought accessible, connected to the planet’s very intelligence — we are challenged to define our boundaries. Who am I and who do I pretend to be? Where am I, and where do I end and you begin? Who do I let into my space, and how can I trust that you say who you are? In critic John Lahr’s words, “we know too much and too little; the world is at once too close and too far away.” For many, addiction to email and texting, Twitter and the Blackberry, are all too real.

Much has been written about this new state of affairs – and much of it is deeply troubling! This wired distopia is a place where global corporations extend their control to the most remote corners of the planet; where the smallest personal action is tracked in giant marketing and “homeland security” databases; a world where physical nature and human love are replaced by computer simulations; where endless distractions keep us moving along, without ever being truly moved. However, while this future is indeed possible, I believe that the emerging metaphor of ambient awareness offers a way out of the shadow land and into deeper connection with our fellow beings and the very physical world that virtual reality seems to abandon.

As the internet exposed us to the dangers of connectivity without boundaries – exposure, infection, and false identities, it also gave us a new freedom to speak truth, to see beyond the masks of the ego-self, corporate and government posturing, and build our own “peer networks.” Social networking allows for addictive connection, personal posturing and closed-minded self-referential “friends circles.” It also offers the possibility of experiencing self as part of a larger web – of friends, of communities of interest and of place, of creation itself. The path of conscious web awareness is not a new invention. It is what all the great mystical traditions have been teaching for millennia. Learning how to navigate a world where everyone and everything is connected, where every object has a voice (if not IP address), where all things can be found, and all that was hidden is seen, where reality comes into being based on what coding scheme is chosen, is at the core of shamanic journeying and magical sight. Perhaps it is time to take some of these esoteric practices into the real world challenges of living in the Infosphere.


In many ways the Infosphere is “placeless.” Our communities are defined by interest, not local geography. We email, text, talk and share video with friends anywhere and at any time: communications taking place without the need for transportation, communication without embodiment. Yet being disconnected from the physical solidity of the body, and from the grounding power of the earth, is something no shaman would allow. Even while traversing the astral realms, he or she maintains the silver cord anchored in this dimension, for without a reference ground, one has no way to decode binary information, to determine a one from a zero. All that remains is noise.

Without a connection to the earth and to the physical body, all signals become static.

We instinctively know this. So many of our technologies involve helping us find our location. Text messages and twits are often simply about place: where I am, what am I doing here, and where am I going. GPS-equipped phones can point the believer to Mecca or search the web for a nearby mosque, or on a more mundane plane, find a particular type of restaurant and tell you how to walk there. GPS tracking allows parents to keep an eye on their children’s driving habits or their pet’s whereabouts. Satellite images of any structure on the planet are now available for all to see – often over the objections of the building owner or the local government. Our technologies are empowering physical locations to tell their stories: cellphone-guided neighborhood tours and local living histories are being developed in many communities, one New York artist has recruited his neighbors to record stories about the love life in their building; another uses stickers with text-messaging numbers to alert passer-bys that something of interest lies nearby.

But, beyond personal awareness of place, the web has given a voice to Gaia herself. We are building grids of network sensors that will crisscross our world. From interactive underwater observatories, connected to each other and to land-based research laboratories, to atmospheric carbon and ozone monitoring stations on the tops of mountains; from stress sensors embedded in roads and bridges, to the emergence of the “smart electrical grid,” data will be pouring in from so many places in our everyday environment: each sensor with its own IP address, each adding its own signal to our collective nervous system.

Like the incessant chatter of our Facebook news feeds and Twitter accounts, we must learn to synthesize and integrate the messages from these extended neurons without becoming overwhelmed or overly thick skinned. The technology of “ambient devices” provides one tool – and a core metaphor – for coping with information overload. These devices track myriads of complex data inputs, synthesize their impact and display them in easy-to-understand interfaces such as a “personal dashboard” or a cyber-pet whose tail changes color as electrical consumption increases and whose purr is replace with a sad grumble as more carbon-based power is added to the mix.

As we learn to monitor our physical and social environments through such intermediaries, we will be challenged to pick data inputs that represent our highest selves. What if we demand that our signaling technologies send us easy-to-understand messages about the planet’s true health as opposed to just the rise and fall of the financial markets? What if we insisted that we use this planetary ambient awareness to electronically track and share the conditions of our environment, the encroachment of the deserts, the thinning of the Ozone Layer, the decline of the ocean’s diversity? Not just the condition of our investment portfolio, but the number of malnourished children in the world?

And, just as we expand awareness to the outer reaches of our environment, we use our sensitized consciousness to tune inwards – to listen to the “cellular tweets” of our own bodies? Imagine receiving a twit from an “awareness partner” asking you to stop and center, to take a deep breath and reflect on one’s inner state. Imagine doing this four or five times a day!

In an environment where everyone is connected and sharing their every experience, learning how to observe incoming data without reacting to every stimulus is a critical cyber-survival tool. Too heavy a shield (firewall) is as bad as no shield at all. The challenge is to create and flex filters appropriate to the level of protection needed. Knowing whom to trust is the key, and the best filter is a trusted reference. We do this naturally when we decide whom we add to our social network – who will be an acquaintance, and who will be an intimate. Our web networks reflect the same levels of trust that we bring to face-to-face relationships: wide circles of loose friends, and tight sacred circles such as recovery groups, prayer and meditation sanghas, and ad-hoc dance and celebration communities.

Beyond conscious boundary setting, the other lesson of mystic practice that is embedded in digital life, is the recognition that our consciousness is shaped by how we choose to process the signals of our senses. Ambient awareness need not be unconscious. It is a skill that can be cultivated into a powerful tool for not only coping with electronic overload, but also a doorway to greater compassion, peace and personal power. Our flood of tweets and emails can inundate and overwhelm, or like the stick of the Zen master, invite us to pay attention to where we habitually put our attention. The shaman’s skill is in cultivating a wider-seeing vision that takes in all vibrations, and the shield of discernment, that allows her to know what signals require action, and which ones are part of the background symphony of existence.

The mystic sees all reality as a stream of compressed data that most of us decode using habitual, consensual algorithms. Many forms of spiritual practice involve stilling the busy mind and being present to, without being hooked by, these incoming data streams. Awareness meditation is, in effect, a process of observing the instruction codes of reality without processing them into thoughts, emotions and suffering. In Buddhism this is called mindfulness; in Sufi practice it is called Vairagya, watching the codes go by, “indifferent” to one story over another, but still very much connected to the experience of life. Sri Aurobindo called it “seeing with the eye of complete union” – seeing the point of view of each separate thing, while at the same time remembering that all the points are in fact the same – processing the reality of the outer world in full consciousness that one is in fact, data processing.

Without the cultivation of discernment (in whatever form), our technologies of connection will continue to overwhelm us with “data smog” – drawing our attention to every stimulus, resulting in either debilitating hypersensitivity or protective numbness. With practices that expand consciousness and teach appropriate filtering, we can extend the web metaphor into all dimensions, seeing in all of our tweets, texts, emails and videos, the raw data that we use to create personal and consensual “stories” through patterns of prediction based on (intentionally) limited data. Stopping the processor that Joseph Chilton Pearce calls our over-eager “reflective memory,” gives us a moment, however brief, to be in the Now.

I believe that the “ambient awareness” that is emerging within Twitter circles can be extended beyond the subconscious knowledge of what one’s friends are up to, into an actual mindfulness practice. Beyond receiving a tweet to “stop and center” and reflect on one’s inner state, one can set aside time to listen to (and write down or draw) the tweets of one’s heart, of one’s cells, of the water and the rocks, of the sun and stars that surround us – each sending us its own pulse of aliveness. We only need to commit to stop and listen.

As we become more adept at taking in all the signals of our various networks, we may find ourselves reaching beyond the equanimity that comes from awareness practice to something even more powerful: the “seeing-everything-all-at-once” consciousness where one is a node on the network, and simultaneously the entire web itself – an individual data packet traveling outward over a specific radio channel, and the entire spread spectrum symphony of frequencies, part of a joyously noisy communicating system.

Llewellyn Vaughan Lee Q & A “Conciousness Of Oneness”

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D., is a sheikh in the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Order of Sufism. He has specialized in the area of dreamwork, integrating the ancient Sufi approach to dreams with the insights of modern psychology. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of transition, and the emerging global consciousness of oneness. Author of several books on the subject, Llewellyn has lectured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. He currently lives in California.

There are three Video clips featuring Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in his talk on:
Questions and Answers on ” Consciousness of Oneness”

Sufi teacher and dreamworker Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee tells us about his own change of orientation from the individual to the collective. Llewellyn explains how his “attention shifted” from an earlier emphasis on the classical mystical process of realizing oneness to the collective transition toward a global consciousness of oneness, and asks if humanity’s survival depends on taking responsibility for this interconnectedness, what is the specific role of the mystic?

Llewellyn Vaughan Lee, a Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiyya Sufi teacher, in Q&A about the Consciousness of Oneness.

Click to view the second and third video clip on Consciousness of Oneness


Consciousness of Oneness, Introduction: QUESTIONS with Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee – 1 Translation(s) | dotSUB.

When The Soul Awakens: The Path to Spiritual Evolution and a New World Era – by Nancy Seifer and Martin Vieweg


In a time of fascination with secrets, this book reveals perhaps the greatest secret of all: the destiny of the human soul. A spark of divine consciousness exists within every human being, lying dormant until it awakens and begins the journey of return to its spiritual source. That momentous turning point, now within the reach of untold thousands, is the focus of this book.

A groundbreaking work, informed by modern esoteric teachings known as the Ageless Wisdom, this book unveils the evolutionary plan for humanity. It presents the transition to a new age as a passage from one stage of consciousness to another, beginning when the soul awakens and sets foot on the spiritual path. This path transforms the isolated personality into a conscious soul, aware of its oneness with all of life.

In darkening times, this book carries a message of hope. It holds the vision of a gathering wave of awakening souls with the collective power to manifest a higher reality on Earth.

List of Chapters

When the Soul Awakens
~ Introduction

I: The Real Human Being
II: The Higher Self
III: Awakening
IV: Rebirth
V: The Path
VI: The Fruits of Suffering
VII: Soul Awareness
VIII: The Soul’s Religion
IX: Saints and Masters
X: The Soul of Humanity and the Divine Plan

Selected Excerpts from When the Soul Awakens

The Introduction:

“What you are searching for is what is searching.”

~Francis of Assisi
The opportunity now facing us is a spiritual one, involving a shift to a higher dimension of awareness. With the daily shattering of illusions about the material world, growing numbers of people around the globe have felt impelled to search for higher truth. For many, this search began in the 1960s and 70s, with the first wave of spiritual awakening sparked by the energies of Aquarius.[1] But events unfolding since 2001 have accelerated and intensified a collective search for what is genuine and real. Millions of people are now engaged in a spiritual quest that is, at its core, a quest for the Soul.

Inevitably, all who embark upon this journey are confronted with mystery, as reflected in Saint Francis’ paradoxical allusion to the soul as both that which is searching and that which is being sought. The true nature of the soul, which Plato called “a divinity,” has been shrouded in mystery for millennia and remains so, despite the recent outpouring of popular books on the subject. What informs most of these books is a consensual reality based on material science—a form of science that recognizes only the tangible, measurable, visible, concrete dimensions of existence.

A century ago, a new kind of science came into being—a “science of the soul.” Though little known in mainstream culture, it has served to fuel the spiritual awakening now occurring around the globe. Esoteric in nature, this new science has furthered human understanding of the invisible, subtle, spiritual dimensions of existence that lie behind the dense material world. It has been put forth in a set of teachings known collectively as the Ageless Wisdom, a blend of truths from East and West. These teachings form a body of wisdom that holds keys to many of the great mysteries that continue to surround the human soul.

Chapter I: The Real Human Being
“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky;
There is one spectacle grander than the sky;
That is the interior of the soul.”

~Victor M. Hugo
Anyone who consults a text or reference book to learn about the nature of a human being will discover that we are large-brained primates capable of creating and using complex tools. That is who we are from the perspective of science. But who are we really? What about hopes and dreams? What about the spiritual dimension of ourselves? How do we account for inspiration and imagination, forgiveness and love, courage and altruism, compassion and empathy? Do such qualities derive from the physical brain, as most scientists still believe, or do they have a different origin?

While pondering such questions, it is instructive to recall that there was a time, not all that long ago in the scheme of things, when the greatest thinkers of our world held a far more wholistic view of the human being. The philosophers of ancient Greece believed that human beings were composed of body and soul, and they attached the greatest importance to the soul. Plato (427–347 BCE), called the “determiner of Western thought,”[2] viewed the soul as the supreme feature of the human being.

In Plato’s understanding, the soul was “the divinity of each one,” the part of us that linked us to the realm of divinity. Every human being was innately endowed with a rational soul, but this divine endowment did not automatically reveal itself. Each individual was destined to engage in a struggle for the rational soul (the highest of three aspects of soul) to control the lesser, more animal-like aspects of our being…

Chapter II: The Higher Self

“The Soul has two eyes.
One looks at time passing,
The other sends forth its gaze into eternity.”

~Angelus Silesius
The wisdom teachings tell us that God, in whose life we exist, has a definite purpose. Life on earth is evolving in accord with an evolutionary plan that is held in the “Mind of God,” the One Life. Moreover, the human soul is said to have the potential to apprehend the next evolutionary goal in the divine Plan and to cooperate in its attainment. As we progress from self-consciousness toward its higher octave, Self-consciousness, we gain the ability to discern the outlines of divine intent. At present, for the first time since the appearance of the human beings on Earth, numbers of spiritual seekers are becoming aware of participating in a greater Life whose purpose we are capable of knowing.

Beyond simply perceiving this purpose, humanity has a unique role to play in its fulfillment, a role that reflects our place in the scheme of planetary life. We are poised to become mediators in a great chain of being—between the three lower kingdoms in nature (mineral, vegetable, and animal) and the next higher one, the spiritual kingdom. Our ultimate purpose, in the coming era, is to infuse the concrete world of form with Spirit by embodying spiritual awareness. When the soul awakens collectively and we begin to live as souls, aware of our inherent relationship to all lives, we will create a bridge in consciousness between higher and lower kingdoms—a process that will be increasingly stimulated as our planet comes more directly under the radiatory influence of the constellation Aquarius.

Before looking ahead to the future, however, it may be useful to take stock of where we are now and from whence we have come. In the course of our long journey of unfoldment, covering many millions of years, we have been cycling into incarnation in order to evolve consciousness. At certain points along this evolutionary trajectory, the expansion of consciousness has been accelerated by the planetary Logos—the intelligent, animating force of our world. This acceleration coincides with periods of great transformation within the life of our planet. We are now living through such a time, and all kingdoms within the One Life are simultaneously being affected.

Chapter III: Awakening

“Lead us from darkness to light,
from the unreal to the real,
from death to immortality.”

~An ancient prayer

This prayer, said to be the oldest prayer known to mankind, finds special resonance with all who awaken spiritually. Piercing the illusions of the world of form, seekers find themselves in a foreign realm, in need of guidance on the path from the unreal to the real. What awaits them is a journey through stages of consciousness leading from the unreality of the limited mortal self to the reality of the eternal Self that knows it is part of the One Life.

Like a dreamer awakening from a long sleep, the soul, as it nears the end of the path of human evolution,[3] breaks through the veil of illusion and penetrates the spiritual plane of reality. Until that time, the individual perceives life through the lens of separateness, experiencing isolation from other people, from nature, from the world, and from the spiritual Source. With awakening comes an unalterable awareness of being part of all that is, an atom in the ebb and flow of a divinely ordered universe.

Awakening experiences are as varied as the individuals who have left records of them. The more dramatic ones, involving awe-inspiring visions of light and awareness of divine presences, are those that have traditionally been labeled “mystical.” Yet breakthroughs to the realm of Spirit commonly involve experiences that are less sensational though no less convincing: recurring awareness of an inner voice, repeated messages from diverse sources, “coincidences” that cannot have been mere happenstance. Whatever forms such encounters take, they shatter the notion of who we are, derived from outer appearances, and propel the seeker further in the direction of what is Real.

Chapter IV: Rebirth

“The body is merely a garment.
Go seek the wearer, not the cloak.”


In the days of ancient Rome, Cicero (106–43 B.C.E.) recorded his observations of the signs of reincarnation in children. After citing “the ancients” who believed in rebirth, including Pythagoras and Socrates, “the wisest of men,” he wrote:

It is again a strong proof of men knowing most things before birth, that when mere children they grasp innumerable facts with such speed as to show that they are not then taking them in for the first time, but remembering and recalling them.[4]

There is a logic to the theory of rebirth that makes sense of otherwise inexplicable differences between human beings. Science cannot explain, on the basis of genetics and environment alone, why there are both serial killers and saints among us. Nor can it account for the extreme differences that exist between siblings—why one is a prodigy and another an ordinary student; why one is a materialist and another is drawn to spirituality. Even among twins, there are marked differences in interests and capacities that can only be explained if we allow for the possibility that their souls have had different “histories.”

Often the question arises as to why, if we have lived before, most of us have no memory of previous lives. The answer seems to lie in the very workings of the laws of conscious evolution. The fact that awareness of past lives is connected to spiritual awakening suggests that a degree of wisdom is necessary before such memory can serve a useful spiritual purpose. Plato hinted at this in his “Myth of Er,” which portrays what occurs after death in “the other world,” as souls choose their next life and prepare for rebirth. Before returning, all souls had to drink from the river Lethe, the Forgetful River, “but those who had no wisdom to save them drank more than the measure.”

For incarnate souls who awaken to their true spiritual nature, the memory of having lived before gradually seeps into conscious awareness, though details of previous existences may not be recalled. In presenting his arguments in support of reincarnation, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930), the British writer, mentioned “vague recognitions and memories which are occasionally too definite to be easily explained as atavistic impressions.” In answer to “the natural question ‘Why, then, do we not remember such existences?’” he wrote:

We may point out that such remembrance would enormously complicate our present life, and that such existences may well form a cycle which is all clear to us when we come to the end of it, when perhaps we may see a whole rosary of lives threaded upon one personality.[5]

Chapter V: The Path

“Soul unfoldment is…but one of the great processes of nature.”

~Alice A. Bailey
One of the names given to the Ageless Wisdom is the “science of the soul.” Unlike physical science this science, paradoxically, is riddled with mystery. Like quantum physics, it deals with subtle dimensions of reality that we cannot see or touch. But in contrast to quantum physics, which has physical instruments to register the subtle physical dimension, the science of the soul teaches us to become the instruments for registering the spiritual dimension. The means by which we evolve to a stage of consciousness at which we are sensitive enough to discern spiritual energies is the path of transformation.

From one angle, what transpires on this path can be explained through the language of science. Keeping in mind that spirit is matter at its highest rate of vibration and matter is spirit at its lowest rate, the soul on the path is actually learning to raise the vibrational frequency of his or her human mechanism to the point where it becomes resonant with the frequencies of the spiritual kingdom. Finding this resonance is what makes possible the soul’s conscious interaction with the next higher kingdom.

And yet, notwithstanding such rational explanations, the process of spiritual transformation is permeated by Mystery. The entire process involves dimensions of consciousness that are, by their very nature, beyond the cognitive powers of the mind—our most advanced, strictly human attribute. It is the Soul, born of spirit, that becomes our guide on the journey between kingdoms, utilizing the two dimensions of mind as needed, but also superseding the mind. As the soul gains access to the plane of higher intuition, it develops the capacity for gnosis—direct spiritual perception—which had always been called “ineffable.”

It was only recently, with the approach of the Aquarian Age and the publication of the wisdom teachings, that “the ineffable” was made, to a certain extent, mentally comprehensible. Previously, with few exceptions, humanity was deemed unprepared to learn the “secret doctrine.” And thus the evolutionary journey of the soul and the nature of the path of transformation remained shrouded in mystery. It was only when a significant number of individuals began to demonstrate a readiness to accept responsibility for the soul’s unfoldment that the Guides of the Race decided to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the origin and destiny of the human race.

Chapter VI: The Fruits of Suffering

“Call the world…‘the vale of Soul-making’
Then you will find out the use of the world.”

~John Keats

Buddhism grew out of Hindu philosophy, yet the Buddha claimed to teach one thing only: “suffering and the end of suffering.” His blinding insight had revealed to him the underlying cause of all suffering: tanha, usually translated as desire. A more precise definition of tanha, according to Huston Smith, is “dislocation,” the result of selfish desire or self-seeking at the expense of others. Acting instinctively, impulsively, and out of alignment with the natural order, one fails to recognize others as “fellow facets of the same Reality”[6] and thus creates karma. The Buddha’s antidote was the Eightfold Path, a path of intentional living aimed at reaching the state of selflessness that leads to Nirvana—the extinction of the separate self in the ocean of Supreme Reality.

Universally, in all major world religions, the root cause of all our woes is living in a state of consciousness in which we are separate from God or Supreme Reality. In the New Testament, a sinner is one who is “cut off from the living God.”[7] The wisdom teachings echo this idea, stating that the only real sin is the sin of separation, as all sins or errors spring from that single all-encompassing error. In the Hindu Upanishads, this separative state is likened to a single grain of sand so encrusted with debris that it is oblivious to the infinitude of grains of sand in which it is immersed.

Pain is viewed as a caustic agent for removing that encrustation. If allowed to seep into our consciousness, without being suppressed, suffering can serve to loosen the layers of debris that build up around the individual who has become thoroughly identified with the threefold personality existing in the world of form. The Tibetan master explains its salubrious effect: “Pain has always been the purifying agent, employed by the Lords of Destiny, to bring about liberation…it tends to focus humanity’s attention upon the life aspect and not upon the form.”[8]

Whether pain is experienced physically, emotionally, or spiritually, it has the effect of shifting one’s gaze away from the outer world and turning it inward to “the life aspect”—the spirit, the part of our being that is independent of the phenomenal world. When suffering is acute, conditioned reflexes and routines of daily living give way to a deeper, more reflective mode of consciousness that allows the Self to emerge into the foreground and with it, the aspect of mind that relates cause and effect in the light of truth. “The uses of pain are many,” the Tibetan master states, “and they lead the human soul out of darkness into light, out of bondage into liberation…”[9]

Chapter VII: Soul Awareness

“All are but parts of one stupendous whole
Whose body nature is, and God the soul.”

~Alexander Pope

In the modern West, there are few individuals other than poets who have written lucidly about the nature of the soul. One who did so, on the basis of inner experience, was Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), the American transcendentalist. Though Emerson was quick to acknowledge the “residuum” of unresolved mysteries surrounding the soul, he had come to view the world through the light of the soul. The oneness of all human souls was a basic truth for him, attributable to “that Unity, that Over-Soul, within which every man’s particular being is contained and made one with all other[s].”[10]

Emerson sharply contrasted the soul’s perception of reality with the kind of ordinary knowledge that is obtained through the physical senses and the rational mind. “The soul’s scale is one,” he wrote, “the scale of the sense[s] and the [logical] understanding is another.” Calling the measurements of time and space “but inverse measures of the force of the soul,” he lamented the influence of science, which in his view had “in most men overpowered the mind to that degree that the walls of time and space have come to look real and insurmountable.” He reflected:

We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE… We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are the shining parts, is the soul.[11]

What enables the soul to see the whole, Emerson asserts, is its oneness with the invisible life force that vitalizes all the separate forms. By contrast, the unillumined concrete mind can perceive only the outer sheath of those forms. The lower mind, looking outward upon the world of time and space through the physical senses, sees only individual forms, including that of its own body, which appears to end with the contours of its skin. By contrast, the soul, perceiving through a higher sense, looks inward to the world of spiritual reality and recognizes that its being, along with the inner being of all forms, is inseparable from the seamless web of Life in our universe.

Chapter VIII: The Soul’s Religion

“Mankind comes to me along many roads,
And on whatever road a man approaches me, on that do I welcome him,
For all roads are mine.”

~The Bhagavad-Gita

One of the most extraordinary witnesses to the universality of the spiritual path was a Hindu saint seen by many as a “prophet for the new age”—Sri Ramakrishna (1836–1886). Ramakrishna’s search for enlightenment was deeply rooted in the Hindu tradition, yet he openly explored the path to God in other forms. For a time he became immersed in the Sufi tradition; years later he had a mystical vision of the Christ, whom he came to revere as a divine avatar. Reflecting on his experience toward the end of his life, Ramakrishna said:

I have practiced all religions—Hinduism, Islam, Christianity—and I have also followed the paths of the different Hindu sects. I have found that it is the same God toward whom all are directing their steps, though along different paths… Wherever I look, I see men quarreling in the name of religion… But they never stop to reflect that He who is called Krishna is also called Shiva, and bears the name of the Primal Energy, Jesus and Allah as well.[12]

In the coming age, the wisdom teachings say, the universal truths of religion will be embraced globally while sacred customs and rituals rooted in different cultures will continue to be practiced locally. The oneness or sameness of the path leading into the Kingdom of God will be accepted along with celebrations honoring each religion’s history, traditions, prophets, saints, and avatars. In essence, the soul of religion—all that constitutes its inner core—will be widely acknowledged, while the outer forms will continue to be clothed in robes of many colors.

Chapter IX: Saints and Masters

“When all the race…
As man…has tended to mankind,
…in completed man begins anew
A tendency to God…
For men begin to pass their nature’s bound.”

~Robert Browning

In these few spare lines, with the poet’s magic, Robert Browning (1812–1889) describes the origins of a saint. The journey toward holiness begins with a “completed” human being—one who has surpassed the bounds of “animal-human” nature, or human nature circumscribed by physical reality. As the soul of such a person awakens, there begins a new cycle of lifetimes impelled by “a tendency to God.” When that tendency flowers into a full-fledged union with God, a saint is born. Abilities to heal the sick and “read” souls, to change hearts and shape human events, signal this attainment.

Saints have appeared throughout history in virtually all cultures, as a source of inspiration and hope for humanity. Having transformed themselves by the power of spiritual aspiration and the force of self-discipline, they emerge as links between the human and the divine. Still human, they have been cleansed of the baser nature of our species, imbued with sacrificial love, and endowed with superhuman capacities. Such holy beings have been viewed by other human beings, depending on their own stage of consciousness, as objects of worship, of veneration, or of emulation.

In our postmodern Western culture, it would be easy to dismiss the notion of a saint as anachronistic and anomalous. Despite the fact that the late pope John Paul II canonized more saints than had been canonized by all previous popes combined,[13] the image of our species reflected in the mass media leans conspicuously toward the “sinner” side of the human polarity. When saintly beings do appear on our television screens, such as the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta or the Dalai Lama, they come across to many viewers as fossils of a distant past, if not members of a different species.

And yet, to the seeker on the Path of Return, saints are actual role models. Both individually and collectively, alive and dead, they stand as beacons of light at the end of the road that lies ahead for us all. Esoterically, they represent the outcome of the soul’s natural progression from the human kingdom into the spiritual kingdom. Genuine saints are individuals who have reached the end of the cycle of human lifetimes—the chain of incarnations into the physical world necessitated by karmic debt. Though still in human form, they have evolved to the point of being able to demonstrate aspects of divinity.

Chapter X: The Soul of Humanity and the Divine Plan

“First we receive the light,
Then we impart the light,
Thus we repair the world.”

~The Kabala

The promise of the coming age lies in the evolutionary emergence of the soul. In the new world order, as awareness grows of the consciousness within the form, freedom will be understood in spiritual terms. The vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.—that human beings would some day be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin—is a vision of spiritual freedom. The soul sees past the outer “cloak,” as Rumi put it, to the inner being wearing that cloak, sensing that all of us have worn an array of different cloaks—black and white, male and female, rich and poor, Jew and Muslim, Christian and Hindu—in the succession of lifetimes that have led to the present.

And thus, another kind of freedom struggle looms before us. Although the battle to overcome external oppression is far from being won for most of humanity, another battle lies ahead for those who are awakening spiritually: an inner struggle for freedom from imprisoning personality patterns and attachments. This is the heart of “the difficult path.” Also known as the Path of Liberation, the transforming power of this path will bring into manifestation “the one humanity”—the divine idea for the Aquarian Age. When this idea flowers into expression at a higher turn of the spiral of consciousness, individuals will find freedom within the context of community, as the part recognizes its place within the whole.

In recent times, traces of this new consciousness have surfaced at the United Nations. Despite the member states’ habitual clinging to sovereignty, there was an event in 2006 that signaled change. Quietly, unnoticed by the media, the idea of one humanity was officially given voice in a program entitled “Our Common Humanity in the Information Age.” Its central message was “the global community is one family with common values.”[14] Like the muffled sounds of church bells floating above the cacophony of a busy marketplace, new voices are arising at the UN, particularly within the community of NGOs—deemed the most trusted institutions in the world.[15] Their recognition of the oneness of humanity is a notable sign that the soul of our species is awakening.

Spiritual Power – Two Talks by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and H.H. the 17th Karmapa

Using spiritual power for global transformation.

Excerpted from a talk by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

An excerpt from an interview with H.H. the 17th Karmapa

Oneness The Movie

The “Oneness Speaks” flash movie was created by Rasha, author of the book, “Oneness” and was produced by http://www.eCourseForFree.com

Quotes are from Oneness, the Divinity we all share.

The Oneness Moola Mantra by Seven
Source: Kalki Bhagavan ashram / Kosmic music

The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D. [updated Mar 22, 10]

An Excerpt from The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Sufi teacher and writer Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee presents a clarion call to acknowledge and honor the Sacred Feminine and to draw out the divine light and energy of the World Soul. Here is an excerpt on connections.

“As the energy patterns in the world begin to change, more energy will flow to the surface. The free flow of energy around the world that we experience in the global marketplace and in global communication is an aspect of this shift, but these energetic changes are not happening only on the surface level of business and technology. Something within the core of the world is awakening and making its presence felt. A certain barrier that had defined the physical dimension and held it apart from the energies of the inner world is falling away. This has to do with the merging of the inner and outer, the coming together of these two dimensions.

“In our dualistic thinking we forget that a shift in our collective consciousness also means a shift in the earth’s energy. Our science may measure the ecological effects of pollution, climate changes, and global warming, but we do not understand the relationship between our consciousness and the earth. We do not realize that there can be a direct energetic relationship between our collective consciousness and the earth’s energy patterns.

“Responsibility for our planet becomes a central theme as we move into a new era. We need to become more aware of how our attitudes, which are polluting and violating the earth, can disrupt the balance of life. This is not just primitive superstition, but an understanding of the way energy flows in the physical world. In many cultures the work of shamans was to heal any imbalance that we might create in the web of life. To quote Martin Prechtel,

” ‘Shamans are sometimes considered healers or doctors, but really they are people who deal with the tears and holes we create in the net of life, the damage that we all cause in our search for survival.’

“We may be aware of the danger of earthquakes and climate changes, but we have forgotten that the earth can be angry. We do not have enough shamans to repair any imbalance we have created. We do not know how to work with the energy structure of the world. And these patterns of energy are changing, just as our collective consciousness is shifting.

“The heart contains a direct connection to the energy structure of the planet and the ways the energy flows. The heart chakra is the center of the human being, the home of the Self which contains the consciousness of the whole. Because the human being is linked with the whole of creation, the heart gives us access to its energy. The consciousness of the heart can make a real contribution to the balance and flow of the energy of matter. As this energy becomes more awake and active, His lovers are helping to balance it. Like the shamans of previous times, they are working to counter the negative effect of corporate greed and other forces that seek only to exploit the physical world. On a more subtle level they are learning to work with the energy of matter so that its potential can be used beneficially, rather than in the destructive dynamic of chaos.

“Until recently, mystics have mainly worked on the inner planes. But the shift in the energy structure of the planet is turning our attention to the physical plane. At the present this work is in its infancy, but the changes that are taking place require careful attention. Through our attention the awakening energy of the world can flow in a beneficial manner, create the riverbeds that belong to the flow of life in the future.”

I know everyone reading this book will be inspired.
1. Reclaiming the Feminine Mystery of Creation
2. The Contribution of the Feminine
3. Patriarchal Deities and the Repression of the Feminine
4. Feminine Consciousness and the Masculine Mind
5. The Sacred Feminine and Global Transformation
6. Women and Healing the Earth
7. The Energy of Matter
8. Anima Mundi: Awakening the Soul of the World
9. Invoking the World Soul
10. The Light of the Soul

[ Click to view the video clip]

Reclaiming Our Spiritual Heritage – Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee [updated]

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.Sufi teacher and author.

Reclaiming Our Spiritual Heritage

We live in a culture of religious diversity that is at present experiencing a reawakening of interest in spirituality. If we are to more fully understand what this reawakening might mean, it seems to me that we need to clarify the traditional difference between religion and spirituality, between the exoteric and the esoteric.

Exoteric refers to a religious doctrine or body of knowledge that is accessible to anyone. It does not rely upon one’s individual inner experience of the divine or what is sacred. Religious teachings have often emphasized that following religious doctrine is more important than one’s individual spiritual experience, and some have discouraged inner experiences altogether.

In contrast, esoteric teachings and their practices are usually a way to help the individual have a direct inner experience of the sacred. They are based upon the understanding that there is a world of the spirit that is very different than the purely physical world of the senses. Esoteric studies often involve specific spiritual practices that are quite distinct from religious observances. These practices are a way to access the world of the spirit–leading finally to awaken or be born into this reality that is invisible to our physical eyes.

Spiritual teachings of all cultures tell us that just as we have a physical body, so too do we have a spiritual body. This is the body of our spiritual self. In some Indian traditions it is described as having a series of energy centers, or chakras. In Sufism it is described as a series of chambers within the heart–that just as we have a physical heart we also have a spiritual heart which contains our divine consciousness.

In Taoism it is sometimes imaged as a spirit body or light body. Our spiritual body has qualities such as peace, bliss and endless love that are rarely found in our outer lives. What is common to most esoteric traditions is that we can access this spiritual body through specific practices or techniques, meditation, mantra, breathing practices and others.

Many religions have an esoteric core, for example the Jewish Kabbalah, or Sufism which is known as the heart of Islam. Yet, at different times in history religions have banned or persecuted as heresy esoteric teachings and their practitioners.

Early Christianity had a known esoteric dimension, for example in the teachings of the Gospel of Thomas that point to an inner spiritual mystery, as in the words of Jesus: “I disclose my mysteries to those who are worthy of my mysteries.” Sadly the orthodoxy of the early Church banned the inner, esoteric aspect of Jesus’ teachings, and the Gospel of Thomas became heresy, its copies destroyed, until one copy was rediscovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945.

The esoteric, spiritual teachings that can be found within many religions, shamanic and other traditions form part of our spiritual heritage. They remind us that we are not just physical beings in a physical world, but that our lives and also our bodies have a spiritual dimension. We are beings of light as well as flesh and blood.

There is a world within and around us to which we can have access that is very different to the physical world. Yet the spiritual and physical worlds are not separate, but interpenetrate and nourish each other.

At this present time there is a hunger for direct inner experience, a need to reclaim our spiritual heritage. While our materialistic culture tries to keep our attention firmly in the physical world of the senses, many of us sense a longing to know this hidden mystery of what it means to be human.

And so we are able to turn to the teachings and traditions that have been given to us, whether in yoga, Buddhist meditation, Sufi dhikr or other spiritual practices. It is important to recognize the root of our longing, that we are no longer prepared to live in a purely physical world, but need the living presence of the spiritual. We need to know and be nourished by the invisible world that is within us and all around us. We need to reclaim the mystery and magic of being fully alive.

We also need to confront the specter of death. So many people, knowing only the physical world, remain frightened of death. Religious teachings create a clear division between this life and the afterlife, which may carry the promise of heaven or the threat of hell. Spiritual experience can lift the veils between the worlds, allowing us to glimpse a spiritual reality while we remain present in the physical world.

Many people have had near death experiences in which they see a light at the end of a tunnel. Our spiritual heritage can give us access to this light while we are still in this world. This is the light found within the heart, the light of our divine self. It is beautifully imaged in the Gospel of St. Matthew which speaks about the oneness of real inner perception: “If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”

Spiritual life can take us beyond death. In Sufism this is called “to die before you die,” to awaken to the world of light while still alive in this world. Then you know that there is no such thing as death, or in Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Thomas, “Whoever discovers the interpretations of these sayings will not taste death.”

Spiritual truth is at the heart of all religions, and yet it is also beyond the divisions that plague our world. It is about the oneness, the love and the light that is within us all, and to which as human beings we can have access.

Spiritual teachings and their practices can give us each our own individual experience of this very human reality, help us to live in the light of this oneness rather than stumbling in the darkness of so many divisions. I feel that our present spiritual reawakening is a deep longing, a need to step into this light.

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D. is a Sufi teacher and author. In recent years the focus of his writing and teaching has been on spiritual responsibility in our present time of transition, and the emerging global consciousness of oneness (see http://www.WorkingWithOneness.org). He has also specialized in the area of dreamwork, integrating the ancient Sufi approach to dreams with the insights of Jungian psychology. Llewellyn is the founder of The Golden Sufi Center. His most recent books are The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul and Alchemy of Light.

For further reading on the spiritual world of light, see Vaughan-Lee, Alchemy of Light.

W. Davis: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

Native guidance

What does it mean to be human and alive?

The thousands of different cultures and languages on Earth have compellingly different answers to that question. “We are a wildly imaginative and creative species,” Davis declared, and then proved it with his accounts and photographs of humanity plumbing the soul of culture, of psyche, and of landscape.

He began with Polynesians, the wayfinders who mastered the Pacific ocean in the world’s largest diaspora. Without writing or chronometers they learned 220 stars by name, learned to read the subtle influence of distant islands on wave patterns and clouds, and navigated the open sea by a sheer act of integrative memory. For the duration of an ocean passage “navigators do not sleep.”

In the Amazon, which used to be thought of as a “green hell” or “counterfeit paradise,” living remnants may be found of complex forest civilizations that transformed 20 percent of the land into arable soil. The Anaconda peoples carry out five-day rituals with 250 people in vast longhouses, and live by stringent rules such as requiring that everyone must marry outside their language. Their mastery of botany let them find exactly the right combination of subspecies of plants to concoct ayahuasca, a drug so potent that one ethnobotantist described the effect of having it blown up your nose by a shaman as “like being shot out of a rifle barrel lined with Baroque paintings and landing in a sea of electricity.”

In the Andes the Incas built 8,500 miles of roads over impossibly vertical country in a hundred years, and their descendents still run the mountains on intense ritual pilgrimages, grounding their culture in every detail of the landscape.

In Haiti, during the four years Davis spent discovering the chemical used to make real-life zombies, he saw intact African religion alive in the practice of voodoo. “The dead must serve the living by becoming manifest” in those possessed. It was his first experience in “the power of culture to create new realities.”

The threat to cultures is often ideological, Davis noted, such as when Mao whispered in the ear of the Dalai Lama that “all religion is poison,” set about destroying Tibetan culture.

The genius of culture is the ability to survive in impossible conditions, Davis concluded. We cannot afford to lose any of that variety of skills, because we are not only impoverished without it, we are vulnerable without it.

PS. Wade Davis’ SALT talk was based on his five Massey Lectures in Canada last year, which are collected in a book, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World.
— by Stewart Brand

W. Davis: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

( Click to view the video )

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