Archive for August, 2010


The Awakening

The Awakening
For me this just needed to be done.

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In 1998, Jeffrey Long, a radiation oncologist long fascinated with near-death experiences (NDEs), founded the Near Death Experience Research Foundation (NDERF) and its website (www.nderf.org). As with the International Association for Near-Death Studies’ (IANDS) predecessor website (www.iands.org), anyone who thought or knew they’d had an NDE and who had Internet access could provide a narrative and complete a questionnaire about the experience and its aftereffects. Long revised his questionnaire in 2004, and between 2004 and 2008, 613 people from around the world met Long’s criteria of a legitimate entry. Evidence of the Afterlife is based on his analysis of these data and on corresponding findings from previous NDE research.

Long’s premise in the book is that his findings provide nine lines of evidence (several of which defy medical explanation) that together represent “proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the existence of an afterlife.” These nine lines of evidence follow:

(1) NDEs are usually lucid psychological experiences at times of unconsciousness—even during cardiac arrest, when such experiences should be physiologically impossible.
(2) NDErs often perceive earthly events realistically and accurately from a position outside their physical bodies, sometimes when those events were seemingly impossible to perceive physically.
(3) Congenitally blind NDErs describe “an unearthly form of visual experience” during the NDE.
(4) NDEs sometimes occur during monitored general anesthesia, when such experiences should be physiologically impossible.
(5) NDEs sometimes include completely realistic and detailed reviews of NDErs’ lives, often including long-forgotten events, for which no physiological explanation exists.
(6) NDErs sometimes encounter and communicate with deceased people, usually relatives, some of whom they had never met but recognize from family photographs.
(7) Young children have reported NDEs comparable in complexity to those reported by adults and yet have had far less cultural experience and awareness of these domains.
(8) NDEs are consistent among people around the world.
(9) For a majority of people, NDEs are followed by changes—even transformations—in their beliefs, values, abilities, and physical condition, indicating that “those who step briefly into the afterlife bring back a piece of it when they return.”

The book has a number of strengths. For example, his Internet-based findings correspond well to previous researchers’ findings from predominantly interview and hard-copy questionnaire data. Another benefit is Long’s summaries of many prominent skeptics’ theories about NDEs, as well as NDE researchers’ responses. The book enables readers unfamiliar with NDE research and its controversies to become more educated and ultimately reach their own conclusions.

There are aspects of Long’s book that raise questions, however. His statement, for example, that NDEs “take place as a person is dying or, indeed, is already clinically dead” could mislead some readers. In fact, experiences apparently indistinguishable from NDEs occur when the experiencers are not near death; people who’ve had such experiences should not discount their legitimacy.

Of biggest concern is Long’s major premise: “[T]he afterlife is for all of us . . . a loving . . . realm.” First, he has generalized to “all of us” an experience that has been reported by a minority of NDErs. Of all those who have survived a close brush with death, only 10 to 30 percent later report an NDE, and 70 to 90 percent have no memory of anything. Also, despite their similarities, every NDE is unique in its contents, which defies a definitive description of “the afterlife.” In addition, the nature of consciousness during reversible, temporary death does not necessarily characterize “the afterlife” during irreversible, permanent death. Furthermore, a substantial minority of NDErs report distressing rather than “loving” experiences—a topic Long admitted was beyond the scope of his book.

As a scholar, I was also frustrated by unanswered or glossed-over methodological questions that inevitably arise when presenting evidence about such a complex topic, even if written for a popular audience. And despite Long’s stated affiliation with science and assertion that he considers the evidence he presents to be “proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the existence of an afterlife,” scientific hypotheses are not proven but merely supported.

Nevertheless, this book makes some important contributions to the field of near-death studies, such as Long’s finding of a much greater prevalence of profound silence during NDEs than previous research has revealed, as well as a first-ever-reported case of a congenitally deaf NDEr. Another contribution is additional—though methodologically controversial—data on a new area of near-death studies: cross-cultural NDEs. Still another highlight are text and footnotes that direct interested readers to other important recent works in the field of near-death and consciousness studies. Readers will also appreciate a fresh batch of NDE narrative excerpts that Long richly seasons the book with and that even those familiar with NDEs are likely to find fascinating, inspiring, and provocative.

I do agree with Long that much of the data about NDEs lend support to the hypothesis of an afterlife—although commitment to that belief remains, from a purely scientific perspective, a leap of faith. I also believe that the data provide far more equivocal evidence about the exact nature of that existence. With these considerations in mind, I recommend Long’s book for its contribution to discourse within the noetic sciences and the evolving field of near-death research.


Dr. Holden is a professor of counseling and chair of the Department of Counseling and Higher Education at the University of North Texas, Denton. Her primary research interest has been the transpersonal perspective in counseling, specifically, near-death experiences.

Zen Master Pohwa Sunim and Father James Wiseman give answers to questions asked by commentator Dr. Chuck Mills on television .

Part two of the discussion between Zen Master Pohwa Sunim and Father James Wiseman.

Part 3 of the discussion between Zen Master Pohwa Sunim and Father James Wiseman

Eckhart Tolle reminds us that in every moment there is an opportunity to Awaken.

Sample Q&A from the May 2010 Issue of Eckhart Tolle TV

Q: Is the ego the source of our thoughts or are our thoughts generated elsewhere and passed through the ego? The ego arises out of the state of identification with thought. The moment of freedom arises when we realize that we are not our thoughts—rather, we are the awareness.

Lokas, Astral Worlds & Consciousness ….conversation w/ Stuart Hameroff, M.D.

A talk given by Sraddhalu Ranade at Savitri Bhavan, Auroville on 22nd February 2009.
Human evolution has reached the highest that the intellect could lead us to, and it flounders now unable to proceed by mind alone. A new and higher consciousness which is supramental must now lead us towards our still higher potential.
Sri Aurobindo and the Mother were pioneers of the Supramental evolution, and they worked to realise it in themselves in order to assist humanity to break through the present evolutionary crisis and rise to our Supramental destiny.

‘Where on earth is heaven?’ was a question the author’s young son asked him over twenty years ago. This book is his response, for what lies behind that question has motivated Jonathan Stedall’s long career as a distinguished documentary film director working with some of the most original and thoughtful minds of our time. His films about Tolstoy, Gandhi and Jung, and about the educational and curative work inspired by Rudolf Steiner have been milestones on his journey of exploration; so too the insights of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Along the way he has pondered deeply on the meaning of eternity as ‘the everlasting now’, the human being as a microcosm of the macrocosm, the role of the holy fool, and the redemptive power of love. Above all he has been increasingly absorbed not only by what is ‘seen’, but also by what is ‘unseen’.

The author’s quest has taken him into the African bush, by train to Arcadia, and into the lanes of Cornwall. Whether in Romania for Easter, among the hill temples of northern India or in the streets of San Francisco, it has often been encounters with so-called ordinary people that have enriched his search. Men and women all over the world struggle not only to cope with the trials of daily life, but also to find meaning in their lives. He has seen how for many this meaning is undermining the dualism inherent in phrases like ‘spirit and matter’, ‘life and death’, and ‘heaven and earth’.

Why should I live, why wish for anything or do anything? In short, has life any meaning that the inevitable death awaiting me does not destroy? – Leo Tolstoy.

Jonathan Stedall explores challenging questions about living and dying, looking and seeing, heaven and earth, and our human potential. An acclaimed documentary film director, he draws on forty years experience, largely at the BBC. There he worked with inspired artists, scientists and writers such as John Betjeman, Laurens van der Post, E.F. Schumacher, Bernard Lovell, Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Bennett, Fritjof Capra, Cecil Collins, Ron Eyre, Ben Okri and Mark Tully.

Where on Earth is Heaven? is a personal journey that mirrors the remarkable upsurge of interest in spirituality today. Themes addressed include life after death and life before birth, the evolution of consciousness, reincarnation and karma, eternity and infinity, the seven phases of life, angels and demons, the inner desert, dying and becoming, creation and creativity, and the age-old saying: ‘As above, so below’.

Jonathan Stedall is a distinguished BBC documentary film maker of more than 150 films. He won the BAFTA Robert Flaherty Award in 1968 for In Need of Special Care, about a Camphill school in Scotland for children with special needs—a film typical of the gentle and sensitive style of film making that has won him much praise through the years.


About The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism
Explores St. John’s Gospel from an Eastern perspective to reveal the interconnectedness of all faiths and the need for interfaith dialogue

• Takes readers beyond academic and historical analyses by exploring the mystical foundation of the Gospel

• Includes the full text of the Gospel of John interwoven with passage-by-passage interpretations

The Gospel of John is different from the other canonical gospels in its overall point of view concerning Jesus Christ and his mission on earth. It is much more cosmological in scale and mystical in nature and has long been considered more esoteric. The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism presents an unusual and rewarding exploration of this Christian text from a Hindu perspective as Ravi Ravindra takes us into the heart of St. John’s words, eloquently and convincingly revealing the interconnectedness of all faiths and the growing need in today’s world for interfaith dialogue. For those concerned with the emergence of a universal spirituality, Ravindra provides a source of light, a translucent pool of wisdom that offers from its depths an immense and lasting spiritual vision.

About the Author(s) of The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism
Born and educated in India before moving to Canada, Ravi Ravindra holds master’s degrees in technology, physics, and philosophy and a Ph.D. in physics. He was the founding director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge and is currently professor emeritus at Dalhousie University in Halifax, where he was professor and chair of comparative religion and adjunct professor of physics. His other books include Science and the Sacred, Krishnamurti: Two Birds on One Tree, Yoga and the Teaching of Krishna, and Whispers from the Other Shore. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A new translation and guide
The yoga sutras are two thousand year old spiritual classic. In India every spiritual teacher of any note has written a commentary on it. Ravi Ravindra is the latest of Jiddu Krishnamurti’s students to do the same. For that reason alone this book will be read in theosophical circles at least.

But Jiddu Krishnamurti doesn’t get quoted as much as Madame Jeanne de Salzmann, ‘the closest pupil and successor of Gurdjieff’, as she’s called in the book jacket.

The best line ever:

Yoga does not require sitting on a cushion in meditation and it is not limited to a specific hour or a particular posture. Each moment is the right moment and the present moment is the best one. Each place is the right place – the place where I now am can be a sacred space.
(p. 3)

Studying the Yoga Sutras
The Yoga Sutras are an ancient text. The Sanskrit is concentrated, making it very hard to translate. But even in translation it’s a difficult text to study. This commentary and translation by Ravi Ravindra does not over simplify. It leaves a lot of Sanskrit terminology as Sanskrit – transliterated of course – with a glossary at the back.

The advantage of this is that the reader who perseveres will learn the basic Sanskrit terminology. But that advantage is also a disadvantage: it means that casual reading is hardly possible with this book.

This translation and commentary is best used as a tool for contemplation: read a segment, and let the contents simmer in your brain. Ponder, let it in. Ravindra tries to show us another world, and the book is of no use if that’s not what you’re after too. Contemplation is a form of meditation in which thought is a tool as much as a hindrance.

No avoiding controversial topics
There are three topics that Ravi Ravindra puts to his readers, that I would personally have been hesitant to write about: the Higher Self, sex and black magic.

The first is unavoidable in an honest commentary of the Yoga Sutras: the very aim of the text by Patanjali is for the yogi to unify himself with Ishvara (the Divine in each of us).

The second is central, as Ravi notes, to our physical lives. Sex is an energy hard to avoid, and the first we think of when the word ‘sin’ gets mentioned. Even so, pride is higher up on any list of vices. Ravi treats the subject briefly, but honestly.

The last topic is the one of miraculous powers: their existence, use and misuse.

Ravi Ravindra Bio-data

Ravi Ravindra, PhD is a spiritual visionary, scholar, and leading international speaker on religion, science, and spirituality. A native of India, he emigrated to Canada and is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served for many years asa professor in the Departments of Comparative Religion, International Development Studies, and of Physics. He was a Member of the Instituteof Advanced Study in Princeton, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and Founding Director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge. He was a member of the Board of Judges for the prestigious Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. Ravi’s spiritual search has led him to the teachings of J. Krishnamurti, G.Gurdjieff, Zen, and a deep immersion in the mystical teachings of the Indian and Christian traditions. He is the author of fourteen books on religion, science, mysticism, and spirituality.

Heart Without Measure: Gurdjieff Work With Madame de Salzmann
Krishnamurti Two Birds on One Tree
The Gospel of John in the Light of Indian Mysticism
Science and the Sacred: Eternal Wisdom in a Changing World
Centered Self without Being Self-Centered: Remembering Krishnamurti
Pilgrim Without Boundaries
The Spiritual Roots of Yoga: Royal Path to Freedom
The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Longing for Oneness


“Astral voyage est extrait de l’album “Tenkaï” 1978

KITARO Carvansary

Relaxing-Music-KITARO-Aqua

Kitaro “Fragrance Of Nature”

kitaro “SILK ROAD

Kitaro – Inner Lights

In this inspiring satsang, Adyashanti discusses his first visit to a prison— San Quentin—where he meets with men sentenced for life. Their remarkable stories of finding peace and happiness within are compelling examples of what happens when the ego lets go of hope for a better future. “When you look inside with utmost simplicity and sincerity, what you find is the light of being.” 90 min. DVD recorded on June 28, 2006. http://www.adyashanti.org

“If you filter my words through any tradition or ‘-ism’, you will miss altogether what I am saying. THE LIBERATING TRUTH IS NOT STATIC; IT IS ALIVE. It cannot be put into concepts and be understood by the mind. The truth lies beyond all forms of conceptual fundamentalism. What you are is the beyond—awake and present, here and now already. I am simply helping you to realize that.” — Adyashanti

Light Of Being (part 2) / Adyashanti

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