Bruce Lipton – The Tapping Solution Part 1 & 2

Interview With Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D.

A clip from A Better World, Mitchell J. Rabin interviews Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D.

Author Rupert Sheldrake shares his research on dogs who know when their owners are coming home and other examples of pet telepathy (about 10 minutes long, but the full version is over 40 minutes).

BiographyRupert Sheldrake, PhD is a biologist and author of more than 80 scientific papers and ten books. A former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow, before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry.

He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, where he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells. At Clare College he was also Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. From 1968 to 1969, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants.

From 1974 to 1985 he worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, where he was Principal Plant Physiologist. While in India, he also lived for a year and a half at the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life. He is currently the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge, and an Academic Director and Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut. He lives in London with his wife and two sons.

He has appeared in many TV programs in Britain and overseas, and was one of the participants (along with Stephen Jay Gould, Daniel Dennett, Oliver Sacks, Freeman Dyson and Stephen Toulmin) in a TV series called A Glorious Accident, shown on PBS channels throughout the US. He has often taken part in BBC and other radio programmes. He has written for newspapers such as the Guardian, where he had a regular monthly column, The Times, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Sunday Times, Times Educational Supplement, Times Higher Education Supplement, The Times Literary Supplement and the Toronto Globe and Mail, and has contributed to a variety of magazines, including New Scientist, Resurgence, the Ecologist and the Spectator.

EducationA former Research Fellow of the Royal Society, he studied natural sciences at Cambridge University, where he was a Scholar of Clare College, took a double first class honours degree and was awarded the University Botany Prize. He then studied philosophy at Harvard University, where he was a Frank Knox Fellow, before returning to Cambridge, where he took a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge University, where he carried out research on the development of plants and the ageing of cells. At Clare College he was also Director of Studies in biochemistry and cell biology. From 1968 to 1969, based in the Botany Department of the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, he studied rain forest plants. From 1974 to 1985 he worked at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India, where he was Principal Plant Physiologist. While in India, he also lived for a year and a half at the ashram of Fr Bede Griffiths in Tamil Nadu, where he wrote his first book, A New Science of Life. He is currently the Director of the Perrott-Warrick Project, funded from Trinity College, Cambridge, and an Academic Director and Visiting Professor at the Graduate Institute in Connecticut

The Soul mantra

from the work of Djwhal Khul and Alice Bailey
Soul Mantra
I am the Monad, I am the Soul
I am the Light Divine
I am Love, I am Will
I am Fixed Design
I am a messenger of Light. I am a pilgrim on the way of love.
I do not walk alone, but know myself as one with all great souls,
& one with them in service.
Their strength is mine. This strength I claim.
My strength is theirs and this I freely give.
A soul, I walk on earth. I represent the one.
I am a point of light within a greater light.
I am a strand of loving energy within the stream of love divine.
I am a point of sacrificial fire, focused within the fiery will of God.
And thus I stand. I am a way by which men may achieve.
I am a source of strength enabling them to stand.
I am a beam of light, shining upon their way.
And thus I stand. And standing thus, revolve
And tread this way the ways of men, and know the ways of God.
And thus I stand
The sons of men are one & I am one with them.
I seek to love not hate. I seek to serve, not exact due service.
I seek to heal, not hurt.
Let pain bring just reward of light & love.
Let the soul control the outer form & life & all events
& bring to light the love which underlies the happenings of the time.
Let vision come and insight, let the future stand revealed.
Let inner union demonstrate & outer cleavages be gone.
Let love prevail. Let all men love.
Let Light and Love and Power Restore the Plan on Earth.
I am one with my group of brothers, & all that I have is theirs.
May the love which is in my soul pour forth to them.
May the strength which is in me lift and aid them.
May the thoughts which my soul creates reach & encourage them.

Original music From Daniel Kolbialka :
From The CD Fragrance of a Dream:
Kind courtesy of LiSem Enterprises and
Daniel Kolbialka at
Please visit

Intention:Aware and awake

Direction of Intention

Imagine that intention is the car you drive;

imperative for movement, the essence of your desires.

The key to the power of energetic deliverance lies within intention.

One aspect of intention is specific direction — clear & concise.

It is there you where you determine the road your energy will follow.

Intention is provided to avoid the energy being lost, misguided or usurped in the Universe.

For example, when we hold the intention of unconditional love within our hearts,

we open ourselves to the Universe & Spirit…

…to allow an expansion & an extension of our truest selves.

Unconditional love emerges unimpeded, brilliant.

It is in this place where we face the reality of sending our love to another

– be that a person, groups of people, things, or places;

we intuitively recognize we draw upon our heart & soul…

…through our unlimited divine potential.

Respect for freewill to remain for the intended recipient…

…is essential for pure deliverance of our intention.

Butterfly : Mystery of Transformation

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
* Richard Bach*” ILLUSIONS”

The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach ~ Christof Koch

Consciousness is the major unsolved problem in biology. How do the elemental feelings and sensations making up conscious experience, the redness of red and painfulness of pain, arise from the concerted actions of nerve cells and their associated synaptic and molecular processes? Can such feelings be explained by modern science, or is some quite different kind of explanation needed? And how can this seemingly intractable problem be approached experimentally?

Designed as an introduction to the field and drawing upon anatomical, physiological, clinical and psychological observations, this book seeks answers to these questions within a neurobiological framework; that is, how do the operations of the conscious mind emerge out of the specific interactions of myriads of neurons.

“Christof Koch has written a superb introduction to the modern exploration of the biology of consciousness, based on his collaborative work with Francis Crick. The Quest for Consciousness is an extraordinarily well-written book that outlines in clear terms the key issues that the biology of the mind will be confronting in the next several decades. The book is a must for both the general reader as well as for scientists in the field.”
Eric Kandel, Author of Principles of Neural Science and winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine

Christof Koch on the Science of Consciousness

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes neurobiologist Christof Koch for a discussion of what biology can tell us about consciousness. He discusses the framework for defining the problem which he developed with Nobel Laureate Francis Crick. He reflects on the ongoing revolution in our understanding of the brain and how technology is impacting the transformation of our neuronal correlates of consciousness. He also discusses the implications of his research for our understanding of man’s place in the universe.

Random Acts of Kindness

“You are here to serve others, to be a light for them, to participate in their lessons and to help heal humanity. You are also here to serve yourself, to heal your karma, to enable your soul’s growth and reconnect to the Source. Your challenge is to find a balance between serving others and yourself so that you can accomplish the tasks that you established for yourself in this lifetime and even go beyond that. How you view your role in serving others is an important part of this process.”

** URIEL HEALS By Jennifer Hoffman**
Music: Enya, “Song of the Sandman” (Lullaby)

Images: Google / Photobucket
We Honor the Unknown Artists

This video may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The Awakening of The Cosmic Heart (The Core Rainbow)

‘We are in the most significant evolutionary transition that our species has ever encountered.’
Gary Zukav

Reconnecting with the Cosmic heart (the Core Rainbow)

The Core Rainbow is the personification of the various manifestations and frequencies of The Cosmic Heart. The Core Rainbow Heart is the “universal essence” from which everything in the universe came into being.

The Way of the Heart, also known as “The Breath”, is one of the most ancient Sacred Teachings of initiation designed to facilitate the ascension of the Human species

The energies that we can feel all over Our Mother Earth are pulsing in the same rhythm as our own hearts; we are all attuned with the multidimensional vibration of the Cosmic Heart. Our planet is constantly receiving attunements to align our energies with The Rainbow Core.

Its origin is located in the galactic center known as “The Central Sun”. The awakening and alignment of the many dimensions of this Cosmic Heart with our own human frequencies are conditions to complete the shift we are all about to endure as a human race.

The purpose of Heart Awakening is to express and reconnect our relationship with the Divine. There is a need for clarity to spark and rekindle the glowing embers of the flame of love reconnecting with the Divine Flame of Life.

The way of the Divine Heart is related to the image of the flame of the Phoenix rising from the ‘ashes’ which is the Way of Eternal Truth; the Sacred Cosmic Heart Fire.

The re-coding of our DNA, which is the opening of other chakra centers in conjunction with the alignment from meridians, assists the chakra grids to harmonize the frequencies and rhythm of our awakened consciousness.

They are helping to broaden the opening of the connections of the path of the heart while also performing reconstruction of this same pathway; bringing back the Divine Spark of Light for the acceleration of evolution.

The breath of the heart imagery is composed by the continuing ascending and descending spirals which are the life-sustaining symbol of the entire universe.

Our Sacred Heart is different from our physical heart. This ever expanding energy from the Cosmic Heart is composed of pure creative energy comprised of chaste unconditional love. This is the original link with the Divine Christ Consciousness.

The invocation and attunement with the Cosmic Heart energies are vital to the next step in our galactic ascension process.

The ultimate purpose to the awakening of these specific energies inside of the core of our Soul is to promote both inner and universal healing of Humanity and peace leading to Oneness and World Peace.

The straight knowledge that comes with the understanding and linking from the heart with this Cosmic Heart Beat, the Truth of your Being, your purpose and great mission in life, can be finally manifested.

This is a Copyrighted material
Liane Legey RAK at Myspace.

The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav

I’ve always wanted to read this book but couldn’t find it in bookstores. So finally I managed to get its audio version.

It digs deeper into quantum mechanics.

Gary Zukav has written “the Bible” for those who are curious about the mind-expanding discoveries of advanced physics, but who have no scientific background. Like a Wu Li Master who would teach us wonder for the falling petal before speaking of gravity, Zukav writes in beautifully clear language–with no mathematical equations–opening our minds to the exciting new theories that are beginning to embrace the ultimate nature of our universe…Quantum mechanics, relativity, and beyond to the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect and Bell’s theorem.

“Reality is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends upon what we look for. What we look for depends upon what we think. What we think depends upon what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. what we take to be true is our reality.”


The Eight Chakra: The seat of the soul:
The conflicts of a human’s life are directly proportional to the distance at which energy of personality exists separately from the harmonic frequencies that emanates from the divine spark or soul.
The Seat of the soul, the eighth chakra holds the ancient knowledge of our soul contracts and ultimately, our life purpose.
The 8th Chakra is the energy center of divine love, of spiritual compassion and spiritual selflessness. The seat of the soul is the major core star of our energetic system, also holding the records of on what our souls had agreed as specific lessons in our upcoming lifetimes and past lives.

Consciousness and Quantum Mysticism

In this clip, neurosurgeon Joseph E. Bogen discusses the varying orders of magnitude observed in the natural world, and the different theories of consciousness that refer to them. Anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff then asserts that all these theories are mistaken, since they neglect the fundamental and irreducible character of consciousness. Neuroscientist Christof Koch then criticizes Hameroff for his panpsychist views, and advocates that instead of seeking progress by mere conceptual analysis, we ought to be looking for psycho-physical correlations through empirical research.

The complete video of this discussion can be viewed here:…

Consciousness, Creativity & the Brain

In this University of Washington program, award-winning writer, director, and producer David Lynch discusses his films and his 30-year relationship with Transcendental Meditation, and its role in his creative process. He is joined by physicist John Hagelin, who was featured in the documentary ‘What The Bleep Do We Know?’ and neuroscientist Dr. Fred Travis, Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management. The program is sponsored in joint partnership by the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Washington Alumni Association.

Phew! 2012 Doomsday Date May Be Wrong Mayan Calendar’s Doomsday Date May Be Off by 50 to 100 years, Research Shows

Doomsday believers, you might be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

The much-hyped “prediction” that, according to the ancient Mayan calendar, the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012, may be based on a miscalculation. According to recent research, the mythological date of the “end of days” may be off by 50 to 100 years. To convert the ancient Mayan calendar to the Gregorian (or modern) calendar, scholars use a numerical value (called the GMT). But Gerardo Aldana, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, says the data supporting the widely-adopted conversion factor may be invalid.

In a chapter in the book “Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World,” Aldana casts doubt on the accuracy of the Mayan calendar correlation, saying that the 2012 prophecy as well as other historical dates may be off.

“One of the principal complications is that there are really so few scholars who know the astronomy, the epigraphy and the archeology,” Aldana said in a UCSB press release. “Because there are so few people who are working on that, you get people who don’t see the full scope of the problem. And because they don’t see the full scope, they buy things they otherwise wouldn’t. It’s a fun problem.”

Researcher Questions Accuracy of Mayan Calendar’s 2012 Prophecy and Other Dates The GMT constant, named for early Mayan scholars Joseph Goodman, Juan Martinez-Hernandez and J. Eric S. Thompson, is partly based on astronomical events. Those early Mayanists relied heavily on dates found in colonial documents written in Mayan languages and recorded in the Latin alphabet, the release said.

A later scholar, American linguist and anthropologist Floyd Lounsbury, further supported the GMT constant. But, through his research reconstructing Mayan astronomical practices and reviewing data in the archeological record, the release said Aldana found weaknesses in Lounsbury’s work that cause the argument behind the GMT constant to fall “like a stack of cards.”

“This may not seem to be much, but what it does is destabilize the entire argument,” he said. “A few scholars have stood up and said, ‘No, the GMT is wrong,'” Aldana said. “But in my opinion, what they’ve done is try to provide alternatives without looking at why the GMT is wrong in the first place.”

Despite research undercutting the 2012 apocalypse hype, films, websites and books will likely continue to drive “end of days” mania to a fever pitch. A crop of iPhone applications count down to (or capitalize on) the 2012 apocalypse, several websites

ABC News’ Susan Donaldson James contributed to this article.

In 2012, Our Planet Will Become A WAR ZONE Will You Survive, Or Are You And Your Family Already Doomed?

By the time you finish reading this, you’ll know:
Which nightmarish predictions are complete jokes, and which ones are 100% correct And exactly why world leaders and mass media have been covering these facts up for years.

The truth about whats ACTUALLY going to happen in 2012, and why billions of people need to prepare for the impending disasters, or prepare to die.
How you can guarantee your survival, and the survival of your loved ones. Because survival IS possible, and you can protect your most valuable treasure when the calamity begins the people you love.

Interview with Paul Von Ward Discussing Reincarnation- Part 1 & 2

Paul Von Ward discusses his latest book The Soul Genome, and how an understanding of reincarnation can help us attain a balanced state of health.

THE SOUL GENOME: Science and Reincarnation
by Paul Von Ward

The Latin-based word “reincarnation” and its antecedents in Greek, Sanskrit, Bantu, and many other languages have focused conversations in all cultures for millennia. But what do they really mean?
Most concepts of reincarnation emphasize its role in a spiritual realm. Some books have led to a view that reincarnation involves only special cases of distinctive physical markings, unexplained memories, or a trauma from a previous life that can be healed in this one. Even secular discussions of reincarnation often use mystical terms, unrelated to everyday life.

The different forms of alleged evidence for reincarnation have never been subjected to a mainstream, scientific examination of the possibility that it may be a natural phenomenon. Wouldn’t it make sense that if the Dalai Lama or other special cases indicate some form of past-life links, it is equally likely that all of us are influenced by the same process? Given the widespread reports of hypothetical cases, could “reincarnation” be a universal aspect of Homo sapiens’ physical and conscious evolution?

A pilot project initiated by Paul Von Ward in early 2005 involves a scientific approach to answering such questions. Reported in his new book, The Soul Genome: Science and Reincarnation, the project evaluates various cases, examines alternative explanations, and considers their implications. The project Reincarnation Experiment completed tests of a theoretical model that suggests human reproduction (and probably that of other species) involves an info-energetic psychoplasm that encompasses the physical genome.

His book and the project’s evolving web site invite public testing of the methodology and help in refinement of the model. While there is still much work to be done, the preliminary evidence highlighted in the book raises some tantalizing issues, including the origin of the knowledge and skills of prodigies in music, mathematics, and other fields.

Paul asks his readers to “Contemplate that what you study in school or college, where you live and work, whom you marry, or not, how you spend your free time, who your friends are, and what you feel about it may reflect the influence of events in centuries past. What difference would it make if you learned that how you interpret global, national, neighborhood, and family affairs may be based on more than what you have learned since birth?”

Thought-provoking evidence evaluated by the project suggests that you may be predisposed by the experiences of one or more humans who lived in the past. It raises the possibility that even if you don’t know who they were, their “soulprints” may be evident in you today.

Without recourse to extra-dimensional or solely personal information, Paul evaluated the empirical evidence for reincarnation in scores of cases. He concluded that thousands of proposed past-life connections can be more logically explained by the psychoplasm or soul-genome concept than by any other theory.

Paul says, “In my research, I found that much more verifiable data supported individual past-life connections than have been reported by other books in the field. Illustrative cases highlighted in the book (and on the project website) include both ordinary folks as well as known historical figures. All these cases are documented and evaluated according to the new integral research model developed during the first stages of the Reincarnation Experiment.”

The Soul Genome brings a totally new perspective to reincarnation. Its subtitle, Science and Reincarnation, suggests why. It subjects what has been thought of as a nebulous concept of spiritual, metaphysical, or transpersonal worldviews, to an examination through the lens of 21st-century science. As an interdisciplinary cosmologist, Paul brings reincarnation down to Earth to ascertain its tangible features and explore its implications for Homo sapiens.

Although this mini-hypothesis must still be labeled speculative, reading about this project’s well-developed case studies may change the way you think about human behavior.

Ken Wilber – Divine Pride and the 1-2-3 of God

Ken talks about the Three Faces of God that we can relate to, and how important this moment is in the Integral wave of development… truly inspirational.

Replenishing the Earth by Wangari Maathai

An impassioned call to heal the wounds of our planet and ourselves through the tenets of our spiritual traditions, from a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize

It is so easy, in our modern world, to feel disconnected from the physical earth. Despite dire warnings and escalating concern over the state of our planet, many people feel out of touch with the natural world. Nobel laureate Wangari Maathai has spent decades working with the Green Belt Movement to help women in rural Kenya plant–and sustain–millions of trees.

With their hands in the dirt, these women often find themselves empowered and “at home” in a way they never did before. Maathai wants to impart that feeling to everyone, and believes that the key lies in traditional spiritual values: love for the environment, self-betterment, gratitude and respect, and a commitment to service. While educated in the Christian tradition, Maathai draws inspiration from many faiths, celebrating the Jewish mandate tikkun olam (“repair the world”) and renewing the Japanese term mottainai (“don’t waste”). Through rededication to these values, she believes, we might finally bring about healing for ourselves and the earth.

Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai was elected to Kenya’s parliament in 2002 and in 2003 was appointed Assistant Minister for Environment, Natural Resources, and Wildlife. She is also the author of a memoir, Unbowed, and speaks to organizations around the world. She lives in Nairobi.

1. Why did you decide to write a memoir at this point in your life? Was it something you knew all along you would do at some point in your life?
Writing my memoirs was a response to the many questions I continue to be asked about sharing my life, work and experiences, especially after the prize. Although I had thought about writing it before, I kept postponing it. At first I worked on a book that focused on the work and experience of GBM entitled The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience. Through the questions people asked me, I realized they were interested in knowing why and how I started the movement, what inspired me, what my background was and what sustained my interest. The Nobel Peace Prize allowed me to reflect even more on these questions.

2. What were some of the challenges in the writing process? It must not be an easy task to remember and retell (so clearly) all those events that took place in your life and your country’s history.
Time was the biggest challenge in the process. I worked on this project even as I continued all my other activities in addition to responding to the new interest in our work generated by the Nobel Peace Prize. A lot of travel was necessitated and all of a sudden my workload significantly increased. I however felt it was the right time to work on the project. It is not easy to forget events that shape your personality, psyche and values. These memories are constantly being tapped in the course of your life to define who we are. The writing process was also facilitated by the help I received help from many sources—family, friends, supporters—just as I have throughout my life.

3. This book is so much more than a story of your life, which memoirs usually are. In fact, it is through your story that we learn a great deal about your country and Africa in general. Therein, in my opinion, lies its strength. Was this your intention?
Not really. But it would have been difficult to convey the experiences of my life without unraveling the historical and political context within which my life was unfolding. These realities shaped and created who I became. I hope when people read my book they will identify their own experiences in my life’s journey and will be encouraged to embrace and make the best of theirs. I also hope it will help in their understanding of Africans experiences. Many Africans grew up in the colonial and post-colonial period and this book may help others understand how that experience shaped who we are today.

4. You devote a chapter to your experience living and studying in the United States in the late 1960s and explain how it transformed you as a person. What were some of the things about America and its people that inspired you to care about the world as much as you do? Also, do you feel any different today in light of America’s often-criticized foreign policy?
America represents many things to different people. For me, its diversity, economic influence, expansiveness, beauty, endurance and its ability to nurture and neglect at the same time are some of the characteristics of the United States that made a permanent impact on my mind. So were events such as the civil rights movement, the Kennedy presidency and the American college experience.

I remember my time in America and the people I met with great affection. I feel I carried its energy and confidence back with me to Kenya, and that helped me in my efforts to make changes in my own country. America still has that energy and drive, and has the capacity, especially because of the commitment of its people, to promote greater peace and harmony in the world.

5. You say at one point that poverty in Africa and other parts of the world is not only the result of bad governance but also an outcome of the global economic system. What more can be done to correct this, and not only by those with power and influence but also by the average person who simply wants to make a difference? As you say, “it is one thing to understand the issues. It is quite another to do something about them.”

The leadership in Africa can do a lot and indeed there has been some progress. Globally, politics notwithstanding, Africa can do with more genuine friends both at the bilateral level and within global institutions such as WTO and Bretton Woods Institutions among others. With greater understanding, individual citizens can do a lot to push their governments to be more responsible and accountable beyond their borders. Those of us with influence (for example, academic, political, celebrities, etc.) can do a lot to influence policy both locally at the global level.

6. The Green Belt Movement, which you founded in 1977, is going strong after so many years. Can you briefly discuss its mission and future goals?
The mission of The Green Belt Movement is to create a value-driven society of people who consciously work for continued improvement of their livelihoods and a greener, cleaner Kenya. Looking forward, the GBM is working to facilitate the sharing of the GBM experience with the rest of the world.

As an African grass roots organization that has demonstrated the success of its holistic approach to the interrelated problems of environmental degradation, poverty and women’s rights, and governance, we have established Green Belt Movement International to ensure that the work of the GBM in Kenya expands and is sustained, facilitate the sharing of the work with other parts of Africa and beyond, to institutionalize the work and experiences of GBM so future generations can continue to learn and be empowered by this example and to continue to support important global campaigns and struggles that represent the linkage between the environment, democracy and peace, such as the Congo Forest Basin Ecosystem and the African Union’s ECOSOCC.

7. You spend a great deal of time in your book discussing the importance of education, which is a “ticket out” of poverty in many parts of the world. But you also say that education, “if it means anything, should not take people away from the land.” Is this still happening? Aren’t educated people much more environmentally aware today than in the not-so-distant past, or is there still much more to be done. What are your thoughts on this?

At least in Africa where people’s livelihoods were dependent on primary natural resources like (land, soil, water, forests) and where, due to lack of advanced technology, labor was intensive, education was perceived to be a gateway to light work which led to a better quality of life. Running away from the rural landscapes became a goal for the educated and the governing elite. That is what I mean by saying education should not alienate us from the primary natural resources. When we do get alienated, not only do we destroy those resources and thereby undermine our quality of life, but we also become insensitive to their destruction. Therefore, education is important but it must be an education that ensures we are not alienated from the resources upon which our survival depends.

8. What achievement are you most proud of and why?

Winning Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 is probably at the top of that list. Congratulations on that.
My most important achievement is having been fortunate enough not to have lost my focus despite the many distractions along the way. I also most proud of my three children and the extended family, which never failed to encourage me.

9. What’s next in store for you?
Being a Peace Laureate means that I am now a permanent ambassador for peace wherever I go. It’s a wonderful responsibility. It entails sharing my work, inspiration, my thoughts on peace, democracy and sustainable management of resources. I have already been requested by several African Heads of States to serve as goodwill ambassador for the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystem.

The African Union has also asked me to assist in mobilizing civil society in Africa towards the formation of a common forum to promote unity and better management of African affairs. In Kenya, I enjoy representing grassroots people in parliament. It helps me not to lose sight of the real issues that affect a majority of the African people and indeed much of the developing world. It would be otherwise easier to escape into an ivory tower. So, I have a lot to do! in addition to serving my country these new responsibilities will keep me busy for many years to come.

One on One – Wangari Maathai – 19 Jan 2008 – Part 1

As the Green Belt Movement in Africa grew, she became known as the Tree Mother.

One on One – Wangari Maathai – 19 Jan 2008 – Part 2

The Mystical Experience: A Question of What’s Beyond ~ Rabbi Alan Lurie

Several months ago, as I was riding on the New York City subway, I glanced up at the usual band of advertising that ran over the windows and noticed something unusual: a small square poster that contained the logo of the New York Public Library, along with the following quote: “If we had keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heartbeat, and we should die of the roar which lies on the other side of silence.” From Middlemarch, by George Eliot.

I had not read Middlemarch (or any George Eliot, for that matter) and didn’t know the context, but I was immediately drawn in to this beautiful sentence, with its description of the dulled state in which most of us live and the yearning to peel back this dullness in order to experience the powerful presence of life itself. This quote struck me because I, like countless others, had briefly and partially heard this “roar”, had seen the place on the “other side of silence”, and had felt a kind of dying. These encounters showed me that there is a purposeful presence that underlies all creation, and that there is a oneness to everything. The experience of this presence is often called “mysticism,” and Eliot’s sentence is an astonishing evocation of the mystic’s journey.

All mystics share a similar understanding; that there is a presence, which goes by many names (and that I will refer to as God), that creates and animates everything, from the squirrel’s heartbeat to the spinning of galaxies, and that we can, through our own consciousness, connect to this presence, which is a deeper and truer reality than the one that most of us experience in our everyday lives. And through this encounter we are transformed.

When exploring mysticism, there are four essential questions that naturally arise:
1. How can one access this deeper reality?
2. What does this have to do with religion?
3. Is this “deeper reality” real, or just a biochemical reaction or delusional state?
4. Why should one care about accessing this deeper reality?

These are difficult questions to answer accurately (and briefly), because the mystical experience, like an aesthetic response to a painting or the pleasures of sexual union, transcends and resists words. So mystics, like poets, always talk in metaphor and allusion. For help in these answers, then, I will turn to quotes from a diverse, and perhaps unexpected, group of mystics:

1. How can one access this deeper reality?
Mystics, like Eliot, know that our usual experience of reality is dulled, incomplete or illusory. As Eliot notes, though, this dullness is actually a protection that keeps us from being overwhelmed by the power of the true nature of things. Mystics, however, yearn to lift this dullness, and to experience the force of life as directly as possible. In order to experience this we must, as Eliot writes, penetrate to the “other side of silence”.

In other words, we must first quiet the constant mental chatter that dulls and distracts us, and once the mind is quieted and there is inner silence we can begin to perceive the “roar” that lies beneath. This is the meditative practice, which is the mystic’s doorway to experience God’s presence. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the early 20th century Supreme Court Justice, described this dynamic, in terms very similar to Eliot’s, with his yearning to transcend normal perception and arrive at a truer, more powerful reality: “I wouldn’t give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my right arm for the simplicity on the far side of complexity.”

2. What does this have to do with religion?
We can — and much too often do — argue about the different teachings of various religions and their many attempts to describe the nature of God. But the true purpose of all religions is to help facilitative a connection to this deeper reality, and the mystical experience is the original spark that informs religions. Because religion often gets hijacked by those who seek power or control, we may loose sight of this mechanism, but, as Henri Bergson, the French Philosopher who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1921, wrote: “Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science.”

The mystical experience, however, is by no means limited to the realm of religion and does not require the life of a pious ascetic. And one certainly does not need religion or a proscribed belief structure in order to experience this presence. Mahatma Gandhi affirmed this with his simple aphorism, “God has no religion.”

3. Is this “deeper reality” real, or just a biochemical reaction or delusional state?
The mystical experience is, I assume, a measurable biochemical phenomenon. This does not diminish or negate it, though, because everything that we experience, from the feeling of love to the perception of the apple in front of us, is some form of biochemical reaction in our bodies. That’s how we operate. And just as we can explore the tangible qualities of the apple, we can also explore the intangible qualities of love — and of the mystical experience.

Mystics know, however, that they have glimpsed only a small part of the whole, because as human beings we are limited by our five senses, our level of development, and our cognitive abilities. But their descriptions are remarkably consistent across cultures, times and places, and give us a sense of the qualities of this deeper reality, with the recognition of an omnipresent consciousness that is the actual “material” of all existence. The 17th Century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza saw this clearly, and in his treatise “The Ethics” wrote, “Besides God no substance can be granted or conceived.”

Scientists who have peered deeply in to the essential nature of reality have also seen this presence. Max Planck, the founder of Quantum Physics, famously observed, “All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force … We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind.”

4. Why should one care about accessing this deeper reality?
Plato addressed this question more than 2,300 years ago in his famous “Allegory of the Cave.” In this allegory, Plato imagines a cave in which people are bound motionless in front of a wall, staring at shadows of cut-out images which, lit from a fire and natural light behind them, slowly move across the wall. These people come to believe that these shadows of shadows are all that there is to reality, and debate endlessly about the nature of these fleeting two dimensional images.

One man, though, is freed from his chains and stumbles to the light at the mouth of the cave. As he slowly adjusts to the brightness he is able to see the sun and feels its warmth. Plato writes, “He would understand that the Sun is the source of the seasons and the years, and is the steward of all things in the visible place, and is in a certain way the cause of all those things he and his companions had been seeing.”

For the first time in his life this man experiences freedom, as he sees that he had been living in a cold dark cave, separated from his fellow prisoners and ignorant of his true nature and reality. This is an experience of God’s presence, in which the sense of separation and the desires of the ego are clearly seen as foolish and dangerous illusions that keep us bound and ignorant. The impulse to seek this presence is to know ourselves, each other and our world as clearly as possible in order to live at the highest level.

Imagine the leaders of one of New York City’s top real-estate firms coming together every Monday morning to hear…the moral and spiritual thoughts of a Rabbi.

Imagine them returning, week after week…coming to eagerly anticipate those five minutes as a moment of uncommon peace in the world’s most brutally competitive environment.

Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall? To hear the paths Alan Lurie traced for his listeners, how he helped them bring together their spiritual and business lives, the sacred and the profane? Five Minutes on Mondays compiles these talks for the first time, sharing Lurie’s deep and profound inspiration on the challenges we all face–at work, and in life.

Lurie draws on millennia of philosophy, theology, and science to help us answer our deepest questions, comfort our deepest yearnings, and become better people–more connected to each other, and to the Greater Purpose.

• Prosper while keeping your integrity

• Balance faith, honor, and ambition

• Use your workplace as your moral and spiritual “gymnasium”

• Find deeper meaning and purpose in your work

• Face your fears and failures, and keep going

• Gain real respect–and give it

• Live one authentic life–at work, and everywhere else

The Conscious Universe The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena by Dean Radin

Psychic Phenomena: Unquestionably Real

Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe forever lays to rest any question as to the experimentally demonstrated existence of at least some psychic (or “psi”) phenomena. Using the statistical technique of meta-analysis, Radin methodically and forcefully examines the results from nearly a century of increasingly sophisticated experiments. Notwithstanding the possibility of thousands of researchers committing fraud in a massive decades-long conspiracy, or a complete misapplication and misunderstanding of meta-analysis, the existence of telepathy (mind-to-mind perception), clairvoyance (perception at distance), precognition (perception through time), psychokenesis (mind-matter interaction), and perhaps other psi phenomena (e.g., mental interactions with living organisms) is incontrovertible.

Now, a statement such as “forever lays to rest any question” may, to a careful audience, seem extreme. But that’s just the point. If carefully read, Radin’s thorough, relentless, and pointed volume will — or should — win over even the crustiest and most skeptical (but open-minded) mainstream scientist. The hows and whys of psychic phenomena remain unknown, but whether they occur is now settled. Post-Radin, a refusal to accept the reality of psychic phenomena is itself prima facie unscientific and untenable.

New Ideas are Accepted in Stages

In the Introduction, Radin describes how the acceptance of a new idea occurs in four stages. First, skeptics “confidently proclaim that the idea is impossible because it violates the Laws of Science”; second, “skeptics reluctantly concede that the idea is possible but that it is not very interesting” and its effects are extremely weak; third, the mainstream realizes the importance of the idea and “that its effects are much stronger and more pervasive than previously imagined”; and fourth, those who were originally skeptical now “proclaim that they thought of it first.” With psi, we are currently in

the most important and the most difficult of the four transitions — from Stage 1 into Stage 2. While the idea itself is ancient, it has taken more than a century to demonstrate it conclusively in accordance with rigorous, scientific standards. This demonstration has accelerated Stage 2 acceptance, and Stage 3 can already be glimpsed on the horizon.

The book has 4 main parts: Motivation, which discusses science, replication (or reproducibility), and meta-analysis; Evidence, where meta-analysis is applied to the various types of psi research, and the leveraging of skeptics’ objections into continually improving experimental designs is described; Understanding, which presents a field guide to skepticism and skeptics, a discussion of why scientists can’t “see” psi, and a comparison between “Orthodox ‘Separateness’ Science” and psi-friendly “Proposed ‘Wholeness’ Science”); and finally, Implications, a short discussion of psi theory and what it might all mean.

Motivation and Evidence constitute the heart of the book. From the beginning, Radin is clear that “persuasive scientific evidence for psi requires independently replicated, controlled experiments.” If psi is real, the skeptics ask, then why can’t it just be repeatedly, reliably demonstrated? The answer is two-fold: (1) although a “simple,” large-effect, repeatable psi demonstration may not be possible on demand, the same thing is true of most truly interesting problems in science, and (2) with the application of meta-analysis, it becomes clear that various types of replicated psi effects have been unambiguously demonstrated. In fact, “when psi research is judged by the same standards as any other scientific discipline, then the results are as consistent as those observed in the hardest of the hard sciences!”

The Analysis of Analyses

Meta-analysis, the analysis of analyses, can be thought of as an integrative review or a “structured technique for exhaustively analyzing a complete body of experiments.” Radin states that:

Meta-analysis has been described as ‘a method of statistical analysis wherein the units of analysis are the results of independent studies, rather than the responses of individual subjects.’ In a single experiment, the raw data points are typically the participants’ individual responses. In meta-analysis, the raw data points are the results of separate experiments.

Thus, “by combining thousands of people’s performances over hundreds of experiments, we can obtain very high levels of confidence about the existence of psi.” Put another way, “when we combine results of many similar studies to form the equivalent of a single, grand experiment conducted by many experimenters, from many locations, over many years, we also substantially increase our confidence in the outcome.

Meta-analysis has exploded in popularity because behavioral, social, and medical sciences needed a “method of formally determining whether the highly variable effects measured in their experiments were replicable.” Since data from similar but not identical experiments are combined, some reevaluation of the original data is needed. This leads to criticisms of mixing apples and oranges (which is fine if what you’re after is facts about fruit), and the “file drawer problem,” which insinuates that many unsuccessful experiments go unpublished, sitting in file drawers and skewing results.

A comparison to aspirin studies is useful. Individual studies on aspirin reducing heart attacks were not very persuasive, but when many studies were combined, the aspirin effect was declared to be real. This, says Radin, is

exactly what meta-analysis has done for psi experiments. Considered individually, some psi experiments have been successful but the effects did not appear to be easily repeatable. This uncertainty has fueled the skeptics’ doubt for over a century. But when studies are combined, there is no doubt that the psi effects are real.

Meta-Analysis Applied To Psychokinesis

As one of the clearest examples of psi meta-analysis, consider random number generator (RNG) experiments, sometimes called “micropsychokinesis,” where subjects attempt to “will” the generation of more “1s” than “0s” (chance predicts equal numbers). Radin sets the stage:

Today, most RNG experiments are completely automated, including the presentation of instructions, the provision of feedback on a trial-by-trial basis, and data storage and analysis. Most RNGs are technically highly sophisticated, employing features such as electromagnetic shielding, environmental fail-safe alarms, and fully automated data recording.

The results? A 1987 meta-analysis looking at 832 studies (597 experimental and 235 controls) showed overall odds against chance beyond a trillion to one. When skeptics rated the various experiments, observed hit rates were unrelated to experimental quality. As for the “file drawer” problem, “the number of unreported or unretreived RNG studies required to reduce the RNG psi effect to a non-significant level was 54,000 — about ninety times the number of studies actually reported.”

The Bottom Line

The meta-analyses presented for the other types of psi research are similarly impressive. As a consequence, “Informed opinion even among skeptics, shows that virtually all the past skeptical arguments against psi have dissolved in the face of overwhelming positive evidence,” and “informed skeptics today agree that chance is no longer a viable explanation for the result obtained in psi experiments.” Only time will tell, however, if the scientific establishment’s acceptance of psi will really be this simple and inevitable.

The Conscious Universe is not without its problems. The book could have stood more editing: at times it rambles, is overly repetitious, or seems insufficiently integrated. Moreover, when Radin gets into subject matters that are not his expertise — he says some things about physics and mysticism that Ken Wilber, in Quantum Questions : Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists (1984), shows are patently not so — he occasionally falters. Nonetheless, this extraordinarily important, watershed volume should be read by every serious student of the human mind, and put into the hands of anyone who insists that “there isn’t a shred of evidence for psychic phenomena.” That’s just not true any more.

Dean Radin
is senior scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). He earned a BSEE magna cum laude in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and both an MS in electrical engineering and a PhD in psychology from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. For ten years, he was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and later a principal scientist at GTE Laboratories, where he was engaged in R&D on a wide variety of advanced telecommunications products and systems.

For fifteen years, he has conducted experimental studies of psi phenomena in academia and industry, including appointments at Princeton University, University of Edinburgh, University of Nevada, and SRI International, the latter as a visiting scientist on a classified program of psi research. Before joining IONS, he cofounded the Boundary Institute and was in charge of a psi research program at Interval Research Corporation in Palo Alto, California.

Radin was elected president of the Parapsychological Association, an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in 1988, 1993, 1998, and 2005. He also served as a counselor in the Society for Scientific Exploration from 1986 to 1994, and was program chair for the Society’s annual meetings in 1987 and 1997.

His research awards include the Parapsychological Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award and the Rhine Research Center’s Alexander Imich Award for advances in experimental parapsychology. He has earned Special Merit Awards from GTE Laboratories and Bell Labs. He has received grants from the Richard Hodgson Memorial Fund Grant at Harvard University, the Bial Foundation in Portugal, the Parapsychology Foundation in New York, the Society for Psychical Research in London, the Swedish Society for Psychical Research in Stockholm, the Institute for Border Areas of Psychology in Germany, and the Bigelow Foundation in Las Vegas.

Radin has been interviewed about his research for feature stories in The New York Times Magazine, Psychology Today, Newsweek, and New Scientist, and he has given dozens of invited lectures around the world. Radin is author of the award-winning book, The Conscious Universe (1997, HarperCollins), the forthcoming Entangled Minds (2006, Simon & Schuster), and is author or coauthor of over 200 journal articles and technical reports


Do telepathy, clairvoyance and other “psi” abilities exist? The majority of the general population believes that they do, and yet fewer than one percent of mainstream academic institutions have any faculty known for their interest in these frequently reported experiences. Why is a topic of enduring and widespread interest met with such resounding silence in academia? The answer is not due to a lack of scientific evidence, or even to a lack of scientific interest, but rather involves a taboo. I will discuss the nature of this taboo, some of the empirical evidence and critical responses, and speculate on the implications.

Speaker: Dean Radin
Dean Radin is a researcher and author in the field of parapsychology. He is Senior Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences and four-time former President of the Parapsychological Association. He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a masters degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked at AT&T Bell Labs and GTE Labs, mainly on human factors of advanced telecommunications products and services, and held appointments at Princeton University, Edinburgh University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, SRI International, Interval Research Corporation, and Boundary Institute. At these facilities he was engaged in basic research on exceptional human capacities, principally psi phenomena.

Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson

Patricia Ryan Madson presents thirteen laws of improvisation and a life of joy. Here is an excerpt on a creative way of playing with one’s mistakes.

“Matt Smith, a wonderful Seattle improv teacher and solo performer, taught me a liberating game that can be used as a response to a personal screwup. He calls it ‘the Circus Bow.’ Matt claims this is how circus clowns deal with a slip in their routines. Instead of shrinking and berating himself silently with ‘Oh, no, I really blew it!’ the clown turns to the crowd on one side and takes a magnificent bow with his hands extended and his arms high in the air, proclaiming ‘Ta-dah!’ as if he had just pulled off a master stunt. He then turns to face the other side of the audience and repeats the bow, ‘Ta-dah!’ Doing it in both directions allows him a 360-degree view of where he is.

“The virtue of this is that it pulls his attention out into the world again, looking around and standing tall. This engaged and forward-looking vantage point is an excellent place to be after a blooper. It is more common to focus inward when a blunder occurs. ‘How could I have done that?’ The body shrinks and withdraws. Instead a mistake should wake us up. Become more alert, more alive. Ta-dah! New territory. Now, what can I make of this? What comes next?

“We need to let go of outcomes. This is the hard part. Naturally we have some result in mind. We want the bar mitzvah to go without a hitch. We want the carpet to be installed flawlessly, the dinner to come out of the oven like the magazine photos, the meeting to start on time, the vacation to be perfect. The more precise my vision of an outcome, the more likely I am to be disappointed. Things don’t turn out as planned. You don’t need to abandon your dreams; just don’t let them get in the way of noticing what is taking place. Observe the currents of life, accept what is happening, including mistakes, and continue working to create the best outcome. The key here is a flexible mind.”

Patricia Ryan Madson, Sr. Lecturer Emerita, Stanford University, has been teaching for four decades. On the Stanford drama faculty since 1977, she founded the Stanford Improvisors in 1991. As head of the undergraduate acting program, she won the university’s highest teaching prize, the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for outstanding contribution to undergraduate education. She also teaches at the Esalen Institute and for Stanford’s Continuing Studies. Patricia lives with her husband, Ronald Madson, and their Himalayan cat, Tara, in El Granada, California, where they direct the California Center for Constructive Living.

In 1996 she founded the Creativity Initiative at Stanford, an interdisciplinary alliance of faculty who share the belief that creativity can be taught. Patricia has taught Design Improv for the School of Engineering, and was a guest lecturer for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and for the Mayfield Fellows Program.

She teaches regularly for the Esalen Institute, and has given workshops for the Banff Centre for Leadership Studies, the California Institute for Integral Studies, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, the National Association of Drama Therapists, the Western Psychological Association, Duke University East Asian Studies Center and the Meaningful Life Therapy Association in Japan. Patricia combines her teaching of improvisation with work as a counselor using an Eastern approach to problem solving known as Constructive Living TM. For ten years she was the American Coordinator of the Oomoto School of Traditional Japanese Arts in Kameoka, Japan. Patricia was one of the founding Board members of Bay Area TheatreSportsTM, and has been a long time student of Keith Johnstone. She currently serves on the Outside Financial Advisory Board of the San Francisco Zen Center.

What it is to be a human being ~ Dorothy Rowe

“Neuroscience proves the existence of free will” would be an extraordinary media headline, and, perhaps even more extraordinary, it would be true.

What neuroscientists have shown is that we are free to make choices about how we interpret events. It is our interpretations of events, and not the events themselves, that determine what we do.

Research by neuroscientists has revealed that the way our brains have been constructed means that we do not see reality directly but only the images or interpretations that our brain has created.

As the neuroscientist Chris Frith says in his excellent book Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World (Blackwell), “Even if all our senses are intact and our brain functioning normally, we do not have direct access to the physical world. It may feel as if we have direct access, but this is an illusion created by our brain.” Our brain creates these images and interpretations out of our past experience, that is, the memories which are stored in our brain.

Since no two people ever have exactly the same experience, no two people ever interpret anything in exactly the same way. If our brains did not operate in this way and we saw the world directly as it is, we would be looking at a world that bore some resemblance to the universe that the physicists try to describe, but we would have to be as small as a nuclear particle to see it.

Every species lives in a world appropriate to the size of the species. Our brain creates a human-sized world, an elephant’s brain an elephant-sized world, and an ant’s brain an ant-sized world. In the universe we live in, everything is connected to everything else, but our brain creates patterns and divisions that do not actually exist.

People’s interpretations can vary greatly, not just in meaning but in the degree they relate to what is actually going on. Some people try to create interpretations that are as close to the truth as they can make them. In scientific terms, these interpretations have a high degree of validity. Some people create interpretations that are based solely on their fantasies, and any relationship to the truth is accidental. Most of us operate somewhere between these two extremes.
X-ray image of a human head, showing the brain

Whether our interpretations are close to the truth or not, they are guesses about what is going on. We all operate as scientists do, creating hypotheses and then testing them. When you are waiting to cross a busy road, you create a theory about the speed of the traffic. If your theory is a close approximation of what is actually happening, you will cross the road safely: if it isn’t, you won’t.

We might not be able to control most of the events in our life but we are always free to choose how we interpret those events. Every event has at least two possible interpretations, namely, it is and it is not. We often feel that an action is not the result of a choice – we say, “I did that instinctively” – but here the work of choosing an interpretation and making a decision has gone on unconsciously. Only the outcome is conscious.

Most of what goes on in our mind/brain is unconscious, but, conscious or not, choosing an interpretation is the exercise of our free will. The ability to interpret events, that is, create meaning, and to choose between alternative meanings arise out of the way our body and brain function. Creating meaning is one of the systems whereby our body/brain/mind operates.

However, the range of meanings we can choose from is limited by how much we have learned in our life. This is why being a child is so difficult. This is why organisations that want to have power over us, like the State, the Church, and Big Business, try to control what we know. The less we know, the less choice we have. This is also why the BBC must be cherished and protected, and its high standard of truth-telling maintained, no matter what the contingencies of the moment may be. We need those who inform us to give us the best version of the truth they can find, while all the time acknowledging that the best they can provide is an approximate truth.
Hand holding a small model of a brain

To claim to be in possession of an absolute truth is to claim the impossible because all we can possess is our interpretation of what we have experienced or been told. If God made us, then this is how He made us. One of the consequences of this is that there are as many forms of Christianity as there are people who call themselves Christian. The same can be said of every religion.

A great many people interpret what they have been taught by their religious leaders in ways that cause them and/or others considerable pain and suffering. Some people interpret ideas such as the Christian belief that we are born in sin and therefore must seek salvation to mean that they are intrinsically bad and must live their life striving to meet the highest standards of goodness, but always being in fear of failing and being punished. This kind of interpretation leads to misery, despair, and depression.

Many people believe that, because they hold certain ideas, they are morally superior to those who do not hold these ideas. In believing this they commit the deadliest of the deadly sins, namely pride, but they do this willingly because they believe that their moral superiority entitles them to patronise, proselytise, and, under certain conditions, maim and kill those they despise.

The way our brain functions means that we are constantly choosing which interpretation we will give to every event. From each interpretation come our decisions about how to act. However, our freedom of choice has the consequence that we cannot avoid the two necessary conditions of choice. Choices exist only in a state of uncertainty, and we are responsible for our choices.

When people fear uncertainty and dislike taking responsibility for what they do, they create for themselves the illusion of certainty and irresponsibility by choosing to be a child who is obedient to a god or to a political leader. In doing this they refuse to accept their very nature, that is, what it is to be a human being.

Dorothy Rowe

Dorothy Rowe is a world renowned psychologist and writer whose work has included such areas as emotional distress, happiness, growing old, religious belief, politics, money, friends and enemies, extroverts and introverts, parents, children and siblings.

Dr Dorothy Rowe, an Australian psychologist and author based in London, was listed in November 2007 as one of the top 100 living geniuses by global research firm Creators Synectics.

Rowe is known mostly for her groundbreaking and often controversial work on depression.

She believes depression is not a physical illness to be treated with medication but a self-made prison you can leave, if you choose to change the way you interpret your life.

Rowe also supports the growing research that shows not all people diagnosed with depression are in fact depressed – more often than not, “dispirited” would be a better term to describe how they feel.

What is depression, I ask Rowe during her recent visit to Australia. “Depression is clear-cut. It’s very specific,” she says.

“You’re in a prison with an invisible wall around you; no one can get in and you can’t get out. I recently met a man who described his experience of depression as being covered by a big wet blanket he couldn’t remove.

“People who feel dispirited can be comforted. They may feel low or irritated but they can still talk about their feelings. However, talking to someone who is depressed is like talking to a brick wall. They’ve lost interest in life.

“Depression can come on quickly, but many people are slow to realise that’s what they’re experiencing. What usually happens is one day they notice that the strange feelings they’re having aren’t passing.”


The work of charities and government initiatives has brought depression into the open.

Initiatives such as Out of the Blue (New Zealand) and Beyondblue (Australia) are doing exceptional work to bring awareness to the issue of depression and to let people know help is available.

“Today people feel they’re able to talk about depression,” says Rowe. “It has lost its stigma and shame, whereas in the past women were written off as ‘depressives’ and men were labelled ‘alcoholics’.”

Now that there’s awareness, Rowe says we need to take another look at the treatments available.

“There is an ever-increasing number of people heading to the doctor, being told they are depressed and given a prescription for an antidepressant,” she says.

“Antidepressants can give a person breathing space but they offer only short-term relief. Depression tells you that there’s something wrong with the way you’re living your life, that there’s something wrong with the way you make sense of the world. But drugs don’t turn an unhappy marriage into a happy marriage; they don’t turn an unhappy childhood into a happy childhood.”

BY Donna Duggan

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