Archive for June, 2010


Ed Gurowitz, Ph.D.
Business consultant, executive coach

Alan Watts drew an interesting distinction between belief and faith. Referring to the root of belief in Middle English (lief, meaning “wish”), he said that belief is a heartfelt wish that things be or turn out a certain way; in other words, there is a way things should be and a way they shouldn’t be, and belief is a wish that they be the way they “should.” Faith, on the other hand, is trust in the truth — things are the way they are, and that is what there is to work with. In other words, the only power I have is to play the particular hand that I’m dealt and trust that it will work out. In a specifically religious context there is a popular phrase: “The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.” While of unknown origin, this phrase is consistent with numerous Biblical passages from both the Hebrew and Christian Canons and points to the essence of faith as trust.

But even if we accept Watts’ definition of faith, we are left with some questions. First, faith in what? One might opt for a Panglossian faith that this is “the best of all possible worlds” and go blithely along trusting that everything is OK no matter how awful it seems, or one might abandon faith altogether for belief on the one hand, or, on the other hand, the view that the universe is random and nothing matters, or one might opt for the inflated ego of faith in oneself as the answer to it all, or blind faith, à la someone I knew who said that faith is “believing what you know cannot possibly be true.”

My personal choice is faith in God — not the anthropomorphic God of Western religion, but a panentheistic faith in a supreme power that is at the same time immanent (present) and transcendent, and that is the unity of all life expressed in an infinite variety of ways, moving toward its own realization in that unity being re-established.

I am including this expression of my own faith not because I think it’s the right one or the best one but because I need an example for purposes of this essay and would not presume to use anyone else’s faith as my example. Which brings me to my point: belief is a one-time event. You decide what you believe, and that divides the world into two camps — call them good and bad, God and Satan, the way it should be and the way it shouldn’t be, it doesn’t matter. Even situational ethics or moral relativism does this — black and white ethics or morals are bad, situational or relativistic ethics or morals are good. In this sense belief is easy — in the words of a bumper sticker, “God said it, I believe it, that settles it.”

With faith it’s not so easy. First of all, faith has no proof — if one is to have faith in “the word of God,” the question arises, which word? The Bible, including the Hebrew and Christian Canons, the apocrypha, the discoveries in the Dead Sea Scrolls — all of it is rife with contradictions. Belief-based religion is notorious for picking and choosing among the “word of God” to support particular views of what is right and wrong. Faith is, above all, trust — trust that there is a truth that is only dimly reflected in human beings’ attempts to represent it, and that will reveal itself when one is open to its unfolding.

And that trust is not a one-time event; it’s a discipline. By wiring and by learning, we are predisposed to the question “is this good for me or bad” about everything in the world, and the “me” in that question quickly becomes “us” — our family, tribe, nation, etc. In other words, we default to belief, and faith takes work to recover from our immediate reaction and return to the created position of trust and openness to how things will unfold. Also, in my own faith in God, I have to continually remind myself that while God’s will operates immanently, God’s perspective is transcendent and outside of time, so what appears to be an utter disaster now may in the long view be an important contribution toward the realization of that unity that is God.

So for me the question becomes how quickly can I recover from the latest threat or trauma and resume my discipline of faith, accepting what God/life offers me and discovering its significance (or lack thereof) in the fullness of time, while at the same time trusting that the commitments I have taken on — to my family, to the world — are also worthy of trust and that events that appear to be setbacks to those commitments will ultimately forward them, and it is the practice of that recovery that is the discipline of faith and the speed of recovery that is the metric for how much I am growing in faith.


You can find Ed Gurowitz at http://www.gurowitz.com and on Blogger.
Dr. Ed Gurowitz has a degree in Psychology and has worked as a neuropsychology researcher, a psychotherapist, and an organizational psychologist. He is currently working as a management and leadership specialist, consulting, training, and coaching with leading companies. He is a long-time student of religion and spirituality and is currently co-authoring a book on the unity of the world’s religions and how institutional religion counters that unity.

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Nothing gets as vicious as fighting for a lost cause. If the proverbial Martian landed in a flying saucer today and saw how religionists war against scientists, he would be surprised at the vehemence on both sides. What is the war about? Fact beat out faith long ago. When Darwin’s theory of evolution replaced Genesis to explain the appearance of human beings, which was in the middle of the 19th century, the trend away from faith was already old. The world had been remade as material, governed by natural laws, random in its effects, and immune to divine intervention. Not just science but thousands of unanswered prayers did their part to dethrone God.

I am not drawn to lost causes, and therefore I’d like to guide the debate away from religion. And since religion is the primary form of spirituality in most people’s lives, we’ll have to step away from spirituality, too, at least at first. There should be renewed admiration for science’s attempts to answer the fundamental mysteries. These are well known by now:

* How did the universe come about?
* What caused life to emerge from a soup of inorganic chemicals?
* Can evolution explain all of human development?
* What are the basic forces in Nature?
* How does the brain produce intelligence?
* What place do human beings occupy in the cosmos?

Many observers have linked these questions to spirituality, too. Facts tell us how life came about, but faith still wants to know why. But what strikes me is how useless these big questions easily become. You and I live our lives without asking them. We may be philosophically curious; we may even have enough leisure time to reflect upon the big picture. For all that, the big questions are posed, by and large, by professors who are paid to pose them. Religion and science occupy different kinds of ivory towers, but until they come down to earth, neither one meets the practical needs of life.

Science comes down to earth as technology, religion comes down to earth as comfort. But viewed together, they fall short of a common factor that guides every moment of daily life: consciousness. The future of spirituality will converge with the future of science when we actually know how and why we think, what makes us alive to the outer and inner worlds, and how we came to be so rich in creativity. Being alive is inconceivable without being conscious. “I think, therefore I am” is fundamentally true, but Descartes’ maxim should be expanded to include feeling, intuition, a sense of self, and our drive to understand who we are.

The practical application of consciousness seems remote compared to technology. Would you rather be enlightened or own an iPad? In modern society, the choice is all too obvious. But it’s a false choice, because people don’t realize that the things they most cherish and desire are born in consciousness: love, happiness, freedom from fear, the absence of depression, and a vision of the future. We achieve all these things when consciousness is healthy, open, alert, and expansive. We lose them when consciousness is cramped, constricted, confused, and detached from its source.

I receive Google alerts every day telling me that one skeptic or another calls these considerations “woo.” It’s not my role to defeat skepticism, which amounts in practice to a conspiracy for the suppression of curiosity. Science advances through data and experiments, but those in turn depend upon theory. Theory is the flashlight that tells an experimenter where to look, and without it, he wanders at random. His data don’t fit into a worldview. I consider myself scientific at heart, and so I depend upon a theory as well. Its basic premises are as follows:

* We live in a universe that exhibits intelligence, self-regulation, and creativity.
* Consciousness preceded the brain. It created life and went on to create the brain itself.
* Consciousness is primary in the world; matter is secondary.
* Evolution is conscious and therefore creative. It isn’t random.
* At the source of creation one finds a field of pure awareness.
* Pure awareness is the source of every manifest quality in the universe.

Scientists don’t use most of the terms that are central to my theory — which isn’t mine, actually, but was born and sustained through the world’s wisdom traditions. In the name of objectivity, science leaves consciousness out of its equations and is fiercely proud for doing so. In doing that, a scientist is pretending not to be part of life, as if thinking, feeling, creating, loving, and enmeshing oneself in the complexities of the inner world were all irrelevant.

In fact, nothing could be more relevant. While the general public sees atheists mounting windy charge against superstitious believers, neither side is moving forward. The future lies with anyone who seriously delves into consciousness. Why? Because with physics arriving at the quantum world, neuroscience at the most minuscule operations of brain cells, and biology at the finest fabrics of DNA, all three have hit a wall. At the finest level, Nature is too complex to unravel through such weak ideas as randomness, materialism, and unconscious mechanics. Nature behaves, and as we know from ourselves, behavior is tricky. Science has tons of data about phenomena that don’t fit any explanation. For example:

* How does an observer cause light to change from acting like a wave to acting like a particle?
* How can a group of ordinary people cause a random number generator to turn out more ones than zeros simply by wanting it to?
* How do millions of monarch butterflies migrate to the same mountainous regions of Mexico when they’ve never been there before and were not born there?
* How do twins connect at a distance, so that one knows immediately when the other has been hurt or dies?
* Where in the brain does the self live? Why do I feel like myself and no one else?

These are alluring mysteries, like trailing bits of yarn that lead back to a big tangled ball. This forum, with its open-minded questioning, can help in the untangling. Yet it spells doom if anyone, either believer or skeptic, falls back upon the tired and dishonest ploys that fill the debate today, such as:

* I already know the answer in advance, which makes you automatically wrong.
* I disdain your beliefs.
* You’re a fraud with dishonest motives.
* I only want to make you look bad.
* You don’t know as much science as I do, or perhaps not at all.
* Speculative thinking is foolish, superstitious, or both.
* I’m here to win, not to find out the truth.


If you went to church in the 18th century, you would have heard God described as a celestial clockmaker who had wound up the universe and left it to run itself. Today, the wind-up is the Big Bang and the clock’s parts are subatomic particles. But the problem of creating matter out of emptiness remains the same.

How does matter form from the immaterial? What gives particles their mass, and how do they stick together? The physicists at the CERN facility in Europe are busy using the massive multibillion-dollar Large Hadron Collider to try to answer those questions by hunting for the elusive Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle.”

The search takes place between the visible and the invisible. The hypothetical Higgs boson is a virtual particle, which means it can be coaxed to enter spacetime for the tiniest flash of a millisecond. It operates at the Planck scale, which is millions of times smaller than the nucleus of an atom.

The excitement over finding the Higgs particle is that physical science will have uncovered the mechanism for how the tangible world arises from the intangible. That’s as close to the divine act of creation as physics can get. Yet there’s an irony in basing the solid physical universe on — nothing. Could this in fact be where materialism destroys itself from within? The Higgs boson may be the key to unlocking the mystery of creation by affirming very different things than materialism dreams of.

Assuming that the particle allows itself to be discovered, the second step is the exploration of the invisible domain. It is literally nothing, and yet everything comes from it. Centuries ago the wisdom traditions of the world compared creation on a small scale to creation on a massive scale. The great sages noted that our minds are nothing, too. Before a thought appears, there is emptiness and silence. And yet once the mind produces its creations, they are potent, meaningful, and coherent.

Creation doesn’t move from the invisible to the visible with random particles like foam on the surface of the sea. They look random in the Large Hadron Collider, but the scientists running the machine, who are themselves part of creation, don’t have bodies that fly apart into a cloud of particles. Rather, our bodies, like the human brain and DNA itself, are exquisitely ordered creations, the farthest thing from random events.

Physical forces cannot explain such exquisite order, much less the meaning we derive from it, which is why God came into being. The God particle delivers the tiniest bits of the clock but not the maker. I do not mean that an actual person in the sky made the universe. Keeping strictly with the scientific worldview, the maker must be impersonal, intelligent, universal, invisible, yet manifest in the visible world. The only viable candidate is consciousness.

The Higgs boson particle represents a tiny stepping stone toward a theory of creation that rests upon consciousness as the primal stuff of the cosmos. Many theorists are already getting there; it’s been several decades since the concept of a self-aware universe has been in play.

Someday it will be commonplace to concede that the intangible, immaterial domain of quantum physics is conscious. In that world of virtual particles, non-locality, and indeterminacy, things don’t exist with shape, hardness, or color. Their existence is a fleeting display of tendencies, and the superposition of possibilities. It will be a major realization for science to recognize that all of these tendencies and qualities are tendencies of consciousness.

The third step to a full comprehension of the universe will be connecting the consciousness, which is the ground of the cosmos, to our individual experience of consciousness. Our ground of existence is the same as the ground state of the universe. This is the message of Vedanta: Atman is Brahman. Individual consciousness fully awakened is the same as the essential nature of the entire cosmos. Somehow our consciousness participates and is integral to the creation of the universe. Sadly, by the time we realize our true creative role, our ignorant actions might have already destroyed our planetary home.

The creative function of consciousness in quantum mechanics was originally outlined in the Copenhagen Interpretation which says that an observer is required in order to collapse the wave function into a single occurrence and produce a measurable outcome. Without a conscious observer, the wave function remains a superposition of eigenstates that are not real in a measurable way.

The Many Worlds theory of quantum mechanics seeks to avoid the need for an observer and the collapse of the wave function by positing enough parallel universes to contain all possible states of the wave function. But in the end, to solve the measurement problem without an observer, a measuring apparatus is needed that is physical yet when analyzed quantum mechanically would not itself be a wave function, or superposition of eigenstates. No one can explain what kind of matter that would be.

The Transactional Interpretation describes quantum interactions in terms of a standing wave formed by retarded (forward-in-time) and advanced (backward-in-time) waves. Here it is assumed that the interaction with the measurement device somehow activates the emission of a possibility wave going backward in time. This is a way to avoid the need of an observer, but like the Many Worlds theory it too implies a dualistic universe that takes us outside of the rules of quantum measurement. Again, the equipment that measures the wave function would have to be made out of matter that does not obey quantum physics with the superposition of possibilities.

A more promising theory of quantum mechanics is David Bohm’s paradigm of Implicate and Explicate Order where primacy is given to wholeness over the parts which include space, time, particles, and quantum states. In this view, the parts unfold from the whole.

Sir Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff, PhD. have evolved the Orchestrated objective reduction model (Orch OR) and this I find to be the most progressive theory to bridge universal consciousness and individual consciousness. Penrose starts with the position that consciousness is fundamentally non-algorithmic and therefore incapable of being duplicated by a computer or machine. He proposes that consciousness could be explained through quantum theory with a new type of wave function collapse in the brain.

Hameroff’s expertise in the field of neurophysiology provided a likely quantum link in the microtubules in the neurons. Instead of the conventional view is that consciousness emerges from complex computation among brain neurons, they propose that consciousness involves sequences of quantum computations in microtubules inside brain neurons, not between them in the dendrites and synapses. The quantum computations in the brain are also ripples in fundamental space-time geometry, the most basic level of the universe.

Penrose suggests that quantum wave function collapse happens by itself above the Planck scale. He postulates that each quantum superposition has its own space-time curvature and these bits of curved space-time form a kind of blister in space-time maintaining superposition. But when it gets larger, beyond the Planck scale, gravity’s influence makes it unstable and it collapses. That is the objective reduction or collapse of the wave function into a measurable particle.

This theory approaches the perspective of Vedanta, where Brahman the all-inclusive consciousness is the self-interacting dynamic of observer, observed and process of observation. This process of self-interaction gives rise to all diversity and phenomenon while it remains unaffected by it. As science continues to probe the exotic and extreme reaches of physics we can take some comfort that we are actually coming closer to understanding what is most intimate to us, our own consciousness, our self. The tangible springs from the intangible, and that intangible is what we are and what we call God.


Thomas L. Friedman’s no. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see globalization in a new way. Now Friedman brings a fresh outlook to the crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy—both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to all of us who are concerned about the state of America in the global future.

Friedman proposes that an ambitious national strategy—which he calls “Geo-Greenism”—is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating; it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure.

As in The World Is Flat, he explains a new era—the Energy-Climate era—through an illuminating account of recent events. He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet (which brought 3 billion new consumers onto the world stage) have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street. But they have not gone very far down Main Street; the much-touted “green revolution” has hardly begun. With all that in mind, Friedman sets out the clean-technology breakthroughs we, and the world, will need; he shows that the ET (Energy Technology) revolution will be both transformative and disruptive; and he explains why America must lead this revolution—with the first Green President and a Green New Deal, spurred by the Greenest Generation.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman—fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the world we live in today.

Tom Friedman Addresses Liberals and Conservatives on Environment

Tom Friedman discusses ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ at Brandeis

Tom Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for the New York Times and best-selling author, visited Brandeis to talk about his latest book, Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America.”


Thomas L. Friedman, a world-renowned author and journalist, joined The New York Times in 1981 as a financial reporter specializing in OPEC- and oil-related news and later served as the chief diplomatic, chief White House, and international economics correspondents.

A three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, he has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles reporting the Middle East conflict, the end of the cold war, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics, and the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat. His foreign affairs column, which appears twice a week in the Times, is syndicated to seven hundred other newspapers worldwide.

Friedman is the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (FSG, 1989), which won both the National Book Award and the Overseas Press Club Award in 1989 and was on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly twelve months.

From Beirut to Jerusalem has been published in more than twenty-seven languages, including Chinese and Japanese, and is now used as a basic textbook on the Middle East in many high schools and universities.

Friedman also wrote The Lexus and the Olive Tree (FSG, 1999), one of the best selling business books in 1999, and the winner of the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for best nonfiction book on foreign policy. It is now available in twenty languages.

His last book, Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11, issued by FSG in 2002, consists of columns Friedman published about September 11 as well as a diary of his private experiences and reflections during his reporting on the post-September world as he traveled from Afghanistan to Israel to Europe to Indonesia to Saudi Arabia.

In 2005, The World Is Flat was given the first Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, and Friedman was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report.

Friedman graduated summa cum laude from Brandeis University with a degree in Mediterranean studies and received a master’s degree in modern Middle East studies from Oxford.

He has served as a visiting professor at Harvard University and has been awarded honorary degrees from several U.S. universities. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, Ann, and their two daughters.

It’s time to use the power of the Internet to confront the two great strands of the modern world, the strands that scientist and novelist C.P. Snow called the “two cultures”: the scientific, and the humanistic. Must these two cultures run on separate tracks? Must they be at war with each other? Or could conflict shift to comprehension?

We are not talking about making science into a religion, or religion into a science. We are talking about finding the unity in diversity that’s basic for a healthy community.

Both religion and science are key factors of life in our communities. When HuffPost Religion launched, Paul Raushenbush wrote that “there is no question that religion plays a crucial role in how humans make meaning, create community, act politically, and find mandates for how to live a good life.” We can say the same thing about science. It, too, plays a crucial role in our life already because of all the science-based technologies we use. They shape how we live, what we consume, and what we want to — and can — achieve.

Both religion and science shape the way we see the world, and for that reason they shape how we act in the world. The great mathematician and philosopher Henri Poincaré pointed out that we all carry a view of the world in our head and act in light of it whether we know it or not. The trouble is that religion and science create different, and in some respects opposing, views. The time has come to look at these views and see whether their contrasts really are a chronic, irremediable cause for conflict. Conflict between religion and science is dangerous, for it rends asunder the fabric of society and can degenerate into violence.

Of course, there is not just one science worldview and one religion worldview but as many as there are science- and religion-minded people in the world. Yet there are some typical features of the individual worldviews, and these are useful when we try to compare them and seek to understand their agreements and disagreements. Take, for example, the typical worldviews of the following people:

* The classical scientist: The world, including all things and all people, is but a collection of bits of matter that move about in space, impacting each other. There is no meaning or intention behind this, it’s just the way things are. If you think differently, you only project your own subjective values and feelings into the objective, and objectively meaningless, world.

* The orthodox religionist: The world we experience is the work of a divine Creator. It’s not the entire world or even the highest world; it’s only the temporary world below, the precursor of the eternal world above. The earthly world derives its meaning from the will of its Creator, and human beings achieve their personal worth and ultimately gain their salvation by obeying His commands.

* The mystic: The entire world, with all things in it, is infused with spirit and consciousness. We are who we are, and everything is what it is, because of the divine spark we all embody. The entire cosmos is a whole and is holy in its entirety.

* The atheist: The only things that are real in the world are the kind of things that we see with our own eye and grasp with our own hand. The rest is just talk — illusion or wishful thinking.

* The new scientist: We can know the world by following the scientific method: codifying and quantifying the data of human experience and applying the laws of reason to them. This gives us a complex world furnished not only by what we can touch and see, but also by quarks, black holes, and quantum fields, things too small, too large, or too subtle to perceive.

The worldview of the classical scientist is that of Newtonian physics: the universe is a giant mechanism that runs harmoniously, if meaninglessly, through all eternity. It’s the view of most of the people who consider themselves scientific.

The worldview of the orthodox religionist is shared by the devout Christian, Jew, and Muslim. The world is the creation of a transcendent God and testifies to His omnipotent will and spirit.

The world of the mystic is the world of traditional peoples and Eastern religions. It’s a world infused by spirit and consciousness; all things are alive and everything that happens to them has deeper meaning.

The atheist’s worldview is clear-cut: only what we can see and touch is real, everything else is imagination or wishful thinking.

The new scientist’s worldview is in principle open to everything we can experience and to everything we can rationally derive from experience, as long as it’s verified by repeatable observation and controlled experiment.

These are the prototypes of the principal kinds of worldviews people espouse today, even if they don’t espouse them as cleanly and starkly as this. They line up along a scale with science on the one end and religion on the other.

The classical scientist is on the science end of the scale. He is in direct opposition to the orthodox religionist, who, particularly if he is a fundamentalist, is on the other end.

The mystic is on the religion side, but he is not at its end, for he is generally less explicit and dogmatic than either the classical scientist or the fundamentalist religionist.

The modern atheist is dogmatic on what he claims to be the side of science. He is opposed to all views that claim that reality has a higher dimension.

The new scientist should be open to all ways of thinking about the world but tends to disregard or dismiss ways that don’t measure up to his concept of sound knowledge.

What about you and me — what kind of worldview do we hold? Only you can answer the question regarding your own view. As to me, I need only to say that my worldview is aligned with the view of the new scientist (hopefully without the disciplinary blinders), and that, because I see the world as an integral, interconnected whole, it’s also compatible with the worldview of the mystic and of spiritual people in general.

Ervin Laszlo is currently leading the “Ervin Laszlo Forum on Science and Spirituality” on his website — a place where top scientists and renowned spiritual leaders search for ways to heal the gap between the two cultures by drawing on the latest findings of the sciences and the best insights of spirituality and religion. These posts will carry a logo with the legend “An invited contribution to the Ervin Laszlo Forum on Science and Spirituality.”

Bill Gates hopes to solve some of the world’s biggest problems using a new kind of philanthropy. In a passionate and, yes, funny 18 minutes, he asks us to consider two big questions and how we might answer them.

Best known as an outspoken atheist and the author of The End of Faith, writer-turned-neuroscientist Sam Harris has echoed the assertion, normally associated with religious thinkers, that humans need a universal system of morality. At the 2010 TED conference held last month in Long Beach, California, Harris claimed that there are definite right and wrong answers to moral questions. “Values are a certain kind of fact,” he argued.

However, Harris quickly rejected the notion that religion would offer the answers to moral questions. Instead, he argued for a scientific approach to achieving a universal morality, one that conceptualizes human well-being as something that can be quantified and maximized in any number of equally successful ways — much like health and nutrition.

He criticized the tendency to regard moral questions as matters of opinion rather than as questions that have scientifically verifiable right and wrong answers. “How have we convinced ourselves that in the moral sphere there is no such thing as moral expertise, or moral talent, or moral genius, even?” he asked. “How have we convinced ourselves that every opinion has to count?”

“Just admitting that there are right and wrong answers to the question of how humans flourish will change the way we talk about morality,” he said.

Watch the entire talk below:

Joan Borysenko on: What is Transformation?

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

Joan Borysenko on: Staying Centered
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.

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 3

Joan Borysenko on: 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.

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 in 2006.


The concept of Spaceship Earth goes back to the visionary thinker Buckminster Fuller, and now is the time to pay heed to it. Spaceships carry a limited supply of food and water with them, and the crew must be disciplined about those limited reserves. It would be fatal to run short, but it would also be fatal to contaminate even a small portion of food and water. Because we haven’t seen Earth as our spaceship, we’ve lost all discipline. After centuries of human influence, there is contamination everywhere.

The toxic oil spill in the Gulf is heartbreaking and so massive that it cannot be overlooked. But thirty years ago the pioneering ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau reported that every square mile of the world’s oceans is covered with a thin film of oil. It’s barely visible, if at all, but it’s there. Because there are seemingly endless stretches of ocean — just as there seemed to be endless stretches of ice at the poles — human beings could afford to pretend that we aren’t living on a spaceship.

That time is at an end. Technology will eventually bring us an end to fossil fuels. Water diversion can bring drinking water to the overcrowded cities where clean, potable water is quickly running out (several in India, including Mumbai, are reaching the critical point). Genetic therapies may one day bring down cancer rates by more than a trifling amount. In other words, if you are an optimist, the hazards of climate change and overpopulation are waiting for solutions that will one day emerge, hopefully sooner than later.

But what kind of a solution is it to survive on a toxic planet? This is like telling a patient that he is well because he’s not about to die. We need to adopt a new kind of consciousness in which the wellness of Spaceship Earth is true wellness, not simply the absence of potentially fatal conditions. Right now, we face the potential for ecological disaster on many fronts, from the melting glaciers of the Himalayas that threaten to dislocate millions of refugees to the rising seas that could submerge the Maldives to dying coral reefs all over the globe.

Our choice is to stand back and passively let bad go to worse, or we could become active stewards of the planet. A new consciousness involves networking and group efforts. It involves political influence and the development of new leadership. But all activity begins in consciousness first; you must be aware enough to look reality in the face. We aren’t doing that except in fits and starts. Overwhelmed by bad news on the ecological front for more than a decade, all of us find it easier to shut down and tune out. But there’s another alternative: the invigorating, energizing call to action that leads to personal fulfillment and empowerment.

Healing this planet would be empowering for all of us. What won’t empower us is sitting at the sickbed watching Mother Nature grow sicker until signs of death appear. Planetary wellness needs to become a global movement, yet it begins with you and me, and the time to act is now.

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle

MeccaCentric – Producing videos about Islam and Muslims on DVD. Islamic lectures, speeches, talks and sermons are also available on audio CD.

“Natural Health and the Islamic Tradition” by Hakim Archuletta
Purchase the full-length lecture at http://www.MeccaCentric.com or call 1-800-607-9810

In this series, renowned natural healer, Hakim Archuletta, takes you on a journey into a wonderfully refreshing perspective of natural health, a timely topic as many people are now discovering the benefits of alternative medicine.

Whether you are a health professional, serious student of alternative medicine, or simply seeking a more fulfilling spiritual and healthy life, this series will prove a valuable addition to your library.

What are some of the fundamental ways that our modern lifestyle has negatively affected our health? What is the significance of hamd (praise) and shukr (thanks) in our physical health? What can we do to achieve wholeness and reconnect with ourselves, our Creator, and all of creation? And why is this important for real health?

The speaker, whose studies took him across the world, answers these and many other questions during this three-day seminar in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. Many fascinating topics are explored such as new approaches to trauma therapies, energy medicine and the four humors.

He explains the concept of hikmah (simple truths) and the principles of “Prophetic” medicine and shares anecdotes from his many years as a healer. This seminar is full of eye-opening information that may change the way you look at all medicine and your health.

Hakim reveals “secrets” of healing, exposes the modern-day conspiracy against health and places natural healing within the context of the Islamic tradition. And as a bonus, he demonstrates practical exercises to perform which can help you in recovering sensation, reconnecting to yourself and ultimately becoming a more whole and healthy human being.

Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think, a new documentary film from Unity Productions Foundation, explores the results of the Gallup Organizations first-of-its-kind opinion poll on the entire Muslim world. One day before President Obama’s long-awaited Cairo speech, this hour-long documentary premiered at Georgetown University Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009 and was introduced in a keynote speech by Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.

The 55-minute documentary, executive produced by Michael Wolfe and Alex Kronemer of UPF and produced and directed by Robert Gardner examines questions on every Americans mind: Why is there so much anti-Americanism in the Muslim world? Who are the extremists and how do Muslims feel about them? What do Muslims like and dislike about the West? What do Muslim women really

What a Billion Muslims Really Think (Part 01)

Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, presents the results of a comprehensive six-year study undertaken by the Gallup World Poll that represents 90% (or one billion) of the worlds Muslims in some 35 Muslim countries. The event took place at the Dubai School of Government on June 9, 2009. The entire video can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/kpzafl

What a Billion Muslims Really Think (Part 2)

John Esposito, Professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, describes the implications for US foreign policy of the results of a comprehensive six-year study undertaken by the Gallup World Poll that represents 90% (or one billion) of the worlds Muslims in some 35 Muslim countries. The event took place at the Dubai School of Government on June 9, 2009. The entire video can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/kpzafl

The Nobel Peace Laureate talks to Riz Khan about being a ‘simple Tibetan monk’.

One on One – The Dalai Lama – Part 2

Description of Genius of the Transcendent – Translated by Michael L. Birkel, Jeff Bach

Here, for the spiritual adventurers of our own age, is an accessible introduction to one of the most important of the Christian mystical writers. Jakob Boehme (1575–1624) was a humble shoemaker of Görlitz in eastern Germany who, in response to the visionary experiences that began for him as a teenager, wrote a series of theosophical treatises that explore the nature of God and humanity.

His ability to give words to the ineffable has never been surpassed, and his influence can be felt in the generations of mystics who followed him, as well as in Pietists, German Romantics, Quakers, and American utopianists, among many others. Five of Boehme’s most essential works are presented here in fresh translations that demonstrate why Underhill called him “one of the most astonishing cases in history of a natural genius for the transcendent.”

Contents
Life Beyond the Senses – 29
The New Birth – 57
True Yieldedness – 95
The Incarnation of Jesus Christ- 125
Six Mystical Points – 151

Jakob Boehme – (1575-1624), German Lutheran theosophical author Boehme, the German mystic, was born in the East German town of Goerlitz in 1575. He had little in the way of an education and made his living as a shoemaker; he married and had four children.

His thought drew on interests including Paracelsus, the Kabbala, alchemy and the Hermetic tradition. His first written work, Aurora, went unfinished, but drew to him a small circle of followers. Like Eckhart and others, Boehme’s thought drew fire from the church authorities, who silenced Boehme for five years before he continued writing in secrecy.

He again raised the cockles of church authorities, and he was banished from his home. He died soon thereafter, in 1624, after returning home from Dresden. His last words spoken, as he was surrounded by his family, were reported to be, “Now I go hence into Paradise.”

His thought has since influenced major figures in philosophy, especially German Romantics such as Hegel, Baader, and Schelling. Indirectly, his influence can be traced to the work of Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Hartmann, Bergson, and Heidegger. Further, Paul Tillich and Martin Buber drew heavily from his work — as did the psychologist, Carl Jung, who made numerous references to Boehme in his writings.

The Thirty-seven Aids to Enlightenment are a set of fundamental teachings of Buddhism in the form of a list. The list’s seeming simplicity belies the fact that it is actually a kind of road map to enlightenment for anyone who follows it with diligence and sincerity. The Thirty-seven Aids comprise seven groups of practices conducive to awakening.

Each of the seven groups is itself a list of enlightenment factors, which add up to a total of thirty-seven: (1) The Four Foundations of Mindfulness, (2) The Four Proper Exertions, (3) The Four Steps to Magical Powers, (4) The Five Roots, (5) The Five Powers, (6) The Seven Factors of Enlightenment, and (7) The Noble Eightfold Path.

Master Sheng Yen’s down-to-earth teachings take the reader on a progression through each of the practices, illustrating how they relate to the reader’s own path toward enlightenment.
The book is available at http://www.shambhala.com

The Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, passed away at 4:04pm of the afternoon of 3 February, 2009, at the age of 80.

The Master has dedicated his whole life in promoting the idea of “uplifting the character of humanity and building a pure land on earth” through the manifestations of his own physical body and actions. The Sangha community and followers of Dharma Drum Mountain around the world will uphold and fulfill the Master’s wishes so that great compassion and great vows will continue in this world.

The Most Venerable Master, who humbly called himself “a monk amidst the rain and snow”, was voted as one of Taiwan’s fifty most influential people in the last four hundred years. A review of the Master’s life depicted a life of drifting from place to place, facing endless trials and dramatic turnarounds.

As a child the Master was always sick and frail. After receiving monastic ordination in Wolf Hill, Jiangsu Province, China, and throughout the period of performing chanting rites for the deceased, serving in the military, studying in Japan for his PhD degree, propagating the Dharma in the United States of America, the founding and establishment of Dharma Drum Mountain, the Master always found a way out of all difficulties. In times of hardship we can witness his compassion, through his unswerving determination we can witness his wisdom through Chan practice. To the Master, life is a journey of practicing the Dharma.

✿The Most Venerable Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, passed away✿

In 2004, the Master, well aware of his poor health, made a will and instructed that after he passed away; instead of a traditional funeral ceremony, a Buddhist memorial rite should be held. It should be simple, solemn and economical, all flowers and wreaths are to be declined, just the chanting of “NAN MO A MI TUO FO” (Homage to Amitabha Buddha) so that we will all be joined in the Pure Land. Since he fell sick, the Master’s attitude to life and death is not to wait for death, fear death or seek death. Instead he followed his vow “The universe may one day perish, yet my vows are eternal” and continued to lead everyone forward on the path of building a pure land on earth.

In September 2006, the Master handed over the position of Abbot President to his disciple Venerable Guo Dong, symbolizing the transmission of the Dharma Drum Mountain lineage from generation to generation. In regard to the issue of selecting the Abbot President, the Master had clearly stated that regardless of whether a bihikkshu or bhikshuni was elected from within Dharma Drum Mountain or engaged from outside, when the person takes up the position of Abbot President, he/she also receives the transmission of the Dharma Drum Mountain lineage and will not abandon the vision and direction of Dharma Drum Mountain.

Under the leadership of Abbot President, Venerable Guo Dong, the Sangha community and followers of Dharma Drum Mountain throughout the world will inherit the past and continue forward in carrying out the practice of “Four Insistence” – to insist upon the ideas of Dharma Drum Mountain, to insist upon the Three Types of Education, to insist upon the Four Kinds of Environmentalism and to insist upon the practice of orthodox Chinese Buddhism to support the vision of Dharma Drum Mountain as they had done in the past and to jointly fulfill the will of the Master in the building of the Dharma Drum University.

In accordance with the Master’s will, his ashes will be returned to the earth and buried in the Life Memorial Garden.

A WORKOUT FOR INNER STRENGTH

Deep Medicine is a program created by Dr. William Stewart that is designed to help you develop a personal plan for finding and using your own inner power to heal.

First, you’ll learn how to take your vital signs by asking yourself four key questions of self-assessment:

1. What am I thinking?

2. What am I feeling?

3. What am I doing about it?

4. How is it working for me?

Then, you’ll discover methods for accessing your intuitive inner wisdom and living purposefully. The practice of deep medicine will reward you with a life of conscious awareness and set you on the path toward greater physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

About the Author: William B. Stewart, MD, is cofounder and medical director of the Institute for Health and Healing at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. He has been voted by his peers as one of the best doctors in America for many years through the Best Doctors, Inc., organization. Dr. Stewart’s work has been informed by medical volunteer work in India and more than thirty years of surgical practice. His personal experiences have contributed to a profound perspective on the cycles of life and the principles and practices of mindful living.

Foreword writer Angeles Arrien, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist, educator, and a consultant to many organizations and businesses. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

“Deep Medicine” Dr. William Stewart

Deep Medicine describes what we can do to achieve a healthier lifestyle by creating balance. Dr. William Stewart, Director of The Institute of Health and Healing at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, discusses the steps we need to take to create life sustaining choices that will increase our health, well-being and achieve the goals we want to reach in our lives.

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