Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion By Pema Chödrön

This book offers short, stand-alone readings designed to help us cultivate compassion and awareness amid the challenges of daily living. More than a collection of thoughts for the day, Comfortable with Uncertainty offers a progressive program of spiritual study, leading the reader through essential concepts, themes, and practices on the Buddhist path. Comfortable with Uncertainty does not assume prior knowledge of Buddhist thought or practice, making it a perfect introduction to Pema’s teachings on loving-kindness, meditation, mindfulness, “nowness,” letting go, and working with fear and other painful emotions. Through the course of this book, readers will learn practical methods for heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns that block compassion.

A collection of short, inspirational readings perfect for daily contemplation or sustained study, designed to help us cultivate compassion and awareness amid the challenges of daily living.

Inspired by the Buddhist tradition of the 108 day retreat and the Seven Points of Training the Mind Lojong text, the book leads the reader through essential concepts, themes, and practices on the Buddhist path. Featuring some of the most important and stirring passages from Pema Chodron`s previous books, this work does not assume prior knowledge of Buddhist thought or practice. It features topics such as loving-kindness, meditation, mindfulness, “nowness”, letting go, and working with fear and painful emotions. Learn practical methods for heightening awareness and overcoming habitual patterns that block compassion.

Comfortable with Uncertainty, like a set of traditional Buddhist prayer beads, strings together 108 gems that will guide and inspire us.

Replacing Our ‘War Rooms’ with ‘Peace Rooms’ by Barbara Marx Hubbard

Evolution is evolving from unconscious chance to conscious choice. We are entering the first age of conscious evolution.

Why? Because we obviously affect our own evolution by all the choices we make — from the food we eat, the number of babies we have, the cars we drive and the weapons we build.

Humans have no experience at being responsible for global change at this level. We are facing, as Bruce Lipton and Deepak Chopra recently wrote, the possibility of the collapse of our life support system. Or, I believe, the emergence of something new, something better than we have ever known before.

This shift in evolution began overtly in 1945 when the United States dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan. The signal went out to the world: We now have the power to destroy life on Earth. I was 15 years old. I could see at that time that self-conscious humans, in top-down competitive structures such as nation states, organized religion and global corporations, could not handle this degree of power. We had suddenly gained capacities we used to attribute to our gods. We can blow up worlds, and we can build new worlds in space. We can travel with the speed of light by image; we can create new life forms or destroy our life; we can tap into immense energy or run out of energy.

I began to ask a great question: What is the meaning of our new powers in science and technology that are good, and what are positive images of the future that are equal to our new powers?

I read religion and philosophy as a young girl and found that no one knew the answer. The powers were so new.

I went to Bryn Mawr College and found I could not even ask the question there. There were no subjects on it. My father used to say to me, “Barbara, you are the best in the field… but there is no field!” I went to Paris in 1947 to study at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques. Despair and a sense of the absurdity of life were rampant in Paris after two world wars and the bomb. One day I was having lunch on the Left Bank, and a handsome American walked in and sat down next to me. I asked him my question: “What do you think is the meaning of this new power that is good?” and he responded, “I am an artist, and I am seeking a new image of man commensurate with our powers to shape the future.”

The idea crossed my mind, “I’m going to marry you!” And I did. He told me that when a culture loses its story and its image of the future, it declines. We had clearly lost our story of progress, and the image of humans now portrayed in the arts and theater was of a disintegrating destructive force. Yet I had innate hope and had to find out what I was hopeful about.

I went to see President Eisenhower in 1952, just after he became president. My father was an old colleague of the president. I was taken into the Oval Office. He greeted me kindly: “What can I do for you young lady?”

“Mr. President,” I said, “I have a question: What do you think is the meaning of all our new power that is good?” He looked startled, shook his head and said, “I have no idea.” So it flashed in my mind, “Well, we better find out!”

This has been my life quest, and I believe just now we are discovering the proper response. We do have a new story. It is the universe story. When we place ourselves in this 13.7 billion-universe story we discover the pattern and an evolutionary process of action we can do. We see that our crises are comparable to past evolutionary shift points. The only difference is now we are conscious that we are causing our own extinction. This is what I call “conscious evolution” — the greatest wake up call we have ever had for the human species to grow up!

Here are some lessons we can learn and apply to our own situation:

Problems are evolutionary drivers.

Crises precede transformation.

Evolution takes jumps through greater synergy: Separate parts coming together to form a new whole greater than and different from the sum of its parts.

Evolution creates radical newness. Once there was no earth, then earth appeared. Once there was no life, and life appeared.

Evolution raises consciousness and freedom through more complex order. According to Teilhard de Chardin, the great philosopher, the “noosphere,” the mind sphere or the thinking layer of earth, with all our Internet and global intelligence, is about “to get its collective eyes.” We are about to connect center with center and heart with heart.

Empathy is rising. Spirituality is growing. Healings are happening. The Internet is connecting us everywhere. A “wheel of co-creation” is forming in every field and function — innovations in health, education, energy, conscious business and environmental awareness are accelerating and beginning to connect — a whole system breakthrough out of the whole system breakdown.

We need one more conscious effort to connect the positive to make the shift in time — to midwife our own birth toward the next stage of our evolution. We may be one fraction of an evolutionary second from either connecting what is creative and loving and innovative, or devolution and extinction. This situation is dangerous, yet natural.

What do we need to do right now? I believe it is time to rapidly connect what is working in every field and function and communicate through all media as fast as we can our creativity, innovations and capacities to make it through together. We should be calling upon each other, everyone on earth, to know that they have a part in this “birth.” Each of us is given an impulse of evolution within, a heart’s desire to realize our greater potential. Wherever we are, whatever our situation, we are capable of “giving a gift to the shift,” from one phase of evolution to the next.

In 1984, I ran an idea campaign for a “Positive Future” for the vice presidency on the Democratic ticket. I proposed a “peace room” as sophisticated as a war room in the office of the VP to scan for, map, connect and communicate what is working. I was actually the other woman along with Geraldine Ferraro whose name was placed in nomination. In my speech I shared, “It is now in our capacity to destroy civilization as we know it, or to build a world of unprecedented opportunity for all people.”

What we need now is a “peace room” or a “synergy center,” a new social function to connect the positive in time.

Dec. 22, 2012, has been selected as day one to consciously contribute to this process. It is our first Planetary Birth Day to celebrate the coming of the next era of evolution based on what works.

Birth 2012 has been initiated and will be produced by The Shift Network as a convergence of what is working; we will celebrate human creativity and call for the greatest experience of mass coherence and compassion the world has ever known. We will connect with positive innovations, projects, people, artists and musicians — every way we can to converge and emerge together as a newly-born planetary species.

Barbara Marx Hubbard
has been called “the voice for Conscious Evolution of our time” by Deepak Chopra and is the subject of Neale Donald Walsch’s new book “The Mother of Invention.” A prolific author, visionary, social innovator, evolutionary thinker and educator, she is co-founder and chairperson of the Foundation for Conscious Evolution. She has recently partnered with The Shift Network as a global ambassador for the conscious evolution movement; a shift from evolution by chance towards evolution by choice and is co-producing a global multi-media event entitled, “Birth 2012: Co-Creating a Planetary Shift in Time” on Dec. 22, 2012 — a historic, turning-point event awakening the social, spiritual, scientific, and technological potential of humanity.

The Problem With Socrates ~ Deepak Chopra

I was one of many readers intrigued by a recent op-ed piece in The New York Times about finding out who we really are. Under the title, “In Search of the True Self,” the piece was by an associate professor at Yale, Joshua Knobe, who attempts something very ambitious. He wants to solve the dilemma that humans are divided between our civilized and our animal nature. The question is far from abstract. Sexual drives have brought down governors and congressmen; violence in the form of terrorism obsesses us; and thousands of deaths by gunshot every year are part of the background of American life. So much for the animal side. On the civilized side we have philosophers pushing the value of reason over passion, the doctrine of “know thyself,” and Freud’s argument that civilization cannot exist without paying the price of suppressed unconscious drives, most particularly sex and violence.

Knobe makes the issue more personal by giving the example of a fundamentalist preacher who has devoted himself to a crusade against homosexuality, taking the common position among fundamentalist Christians that gay sex is a sin and the “gay lifestyle” is against God’s commandments. The wrinkle is that this particular preacher is himself gay and has fought against his sexual inclinations his entire life. Thus, for one man the ancient doctrine of “know thyself,” says Knobe, reaches a fork in the road. If the true self is rational, this man is obeying his true self by living according to higher values — his Christianity — instead of giving in to animal drives. (The preacher, who admits that he sometimes loathes his attraction to other men, takes this self-hatred as a good sign, since it is in accord with God’s own attitudes).

On the other hand, many modern people find such a position abhorrent. They would argue that the preacher’s true self can be found by stripping away the veneer of moral judgments and giving in to the impulses that it takes such effort and self-denial to suppress. If the preacher were out and proud, for example, he would be expressing who he really is. Clearly there is no agreement on the true self, which brings up what philosophers call the Socratic problem. We owe to Socrates, who lived in the age of Pericles in fifth century BCE Athens, our Western admiration for reason.

Faced with a society where each person had his own opinions about everything, Socrates went from citizen to citizen (he would talk to anybody, rich or poor) and asked them basic questions about their beliefs. At first the questions seemed innocent, but by the end of the discussion, Socrates had unearthed the illogical or prejudicial basis of things held to be true. The person could see, by the light of reason that the truth was far different from what he supposed. Socrates’ method was to outwit ignorance by calling on the higher faculty of rationality.

Ever since, up to the triumphant rise of science, enlightenment has been equated with reason and ignorance with unreason. So what is the problem with Socrates? It is that Socrates himself was also a champion of un-reason. He said that he had a mysterious inner voice that told him when he was doing wrong (his daemon), and that this voice had a divine source. Socrates was famous for his traditional worship of the Greek gods. In addition, he revered the inspired state known as divine madness.

Divine madness was something to be valued highly, because it was the source of art, music, love, the imagination and our connection to the soul. How did Socrates balance reason and unreason? He didn’t. Sometimes he speaks from one aspect of himself, sometimes from another. The Socratic problem is that when you look closely, the father of Western philosophy cannot be defined one way or the other.

Prof. Knobe has a novel idea for solving the riddle of the true self. He proposes a new field known as “experimental philosophy” that would do research into tough problems that have plagued philosophy for centuries, such as the riddle of the true self. For example, he and two colleagues at Yale asked 200 subjects a series of questions about their true selves. But a trick was involved.

The questions were weighted toward a liberal and a conservative bias. The point was to see if a person’s value judgments influence his ideas about the true self. Would a conservative approve of fighting against one’s homosexual impulses and a liberal approve of the opposite value? Naturally. Would this give each of them a different idea of which side of human nature was the true side? Yes. People see reality through the lens of their prejudices and social beliefs. The finding isn’t very startling, and I think the whole endeavor may be futile.

If you ask people who they really are, why should their answers mean much? They haven’t undertaken the inner journey that Socrates was pointing toward. “Know thyself” doesn’t mean taking a 30-minute quiz. It means going through a lifelong process of self-reflection, contemplation, and questioning. The point is that when this journey is taken seriously, the opposites within ourselves are resolved.

The war between reason and unreason exists at many levels of the self, but it doesn’t exist at the level of the true self. A river has turbulent currents until you reach the very bottom, where the water is calm and barely flows. This has been the position of the world’s wisdom traditions, and the true self has gone under different names: Atman, spiritus, the soul and many others. A true experimental philosophy, which sounds like a very good idea, would test the proposition that unity lies beyond duality. That is what philosophy has tried to do since the beginning. For a conflicted gay Christian, such a journey seems far more promising that batting him around between various opinions, right and left.

I think that the Socratic problem is the result of confusion. Whether we are speaking of Jesus, Buddha or Socrates, the result of “know thyself” doesn’t end in a muddle. Each of them spoke of a higher reality that could be reached, and as the journey unfolds, reason and unreason each play a part. Reason sorts out contradictions and analyzes what is happening as inner experience shifts. Its chief value is to pierce through self-delusion, just as Socrates did with his Socratic method. Unreason brings intuition and insight.

Its chief purpose is to deepen one’s experience until the presence of the divine is actually real. Rather than warring against each other, these two aspects of the self are allies in the battle against a common enemy: illusion. So the muddle is ours, not Socrates’. By definition an experiment that seeks to find the true self by asking 20 questions is secretly on the side of rationality, as all data collection is. The results are skewed in advance. After all, a subject who said “This is a stupid experiment. I’m outta here” would be just as true to the self as someone who sat still and obediently took the test — maybe he would be even more true. But all such statements are secondary. The true self means little until it jumps off the page of a philosophy textbook and becomes a vocation, a vision and the ultimate goal of life.

Is It Possible To Heal Without Spiritual Guidance? ~ Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

Do you believe that God is a judgmental man in the sky? Is this belief serving you well?

I have learned over my many years of counseling that no one heals without a personal connection to a spiritual source of guidance.

William was struggling with issues of shame and depression. He had struggled with feelings of insecurity and jealousy most of his life, despite years of inner work. While he intellectually knew that he was okay, emotionally he never felt it. This was his first phone session with me.

“William,” I asked, “what is your concept of God or a higher power?”

“Oh, you know, the traditional Judeo-Christian concept — an old dude up in the sky dishing out judgments.”

“Is this old dude anything like your father?”

“Yes, exactly like my father.”

“So you have projected your father onto your concept of God?”

“Yes, I guess I have.”

“William, I wonder if you would be willing to consider a different concept of God.”


“My experience of God is that it is the spirit of unconditional love, truth, peace and joy. Just as I know that when I take a breath, the air will come into my lungs, I know that God is always here, and I can experience that love and wisdom whenever my heart is open. Just as there is the law of gravity, there is the law of love. Gravity applies to everyone and so does the love that is God.”

“I like that. I never thought of it that way.”

“You use your computer to get online and access all the information on the Internet. You would never try to do research on a subject by just using what is programmed into your computer. I think of my mind like my computer — it is programmed and therefore very limited. But I can use my mind to get online and access the wisdom of the universe. When my intent is to learn about loving myself and others, my heart opens and then I can access the love and wisdom that is always available to all of us. My mind cannot know who I truly am, because it’s been programmed by my parents, teachers, peers and the media. But my spiritual guidance knows who I am.

“One of the reasons you continue to feel shame, insecurity and jealousy is because you are allowing your programmed mind to define you instead of your spiritual guidance. But as long as you believe that God is a judgmental man like your father, you cannot open to the truth that is here for you.

“William, right now, breathe into your heart and open to learning about what the truth is about who you are. Ask your higher self, ‘What is the truth?'”

William does this. “I see a sweet, sensitive and very smart little boy.”

“Is there anything at all wrong with this little boy?”


“So it is your limited mind, your programmed ego wounded self who keeps shaming you, telling you that you are not good enough or lovable enough. Do you want to keep defining yourself by your ego, or are you ready to let your higher self define you?”

William was more than ready to open to learning and allow his higher self to define him.

At our next session, William was a different person. He had started to treat himself with love and found that the more he valued himself, the more outgoing and caring he was with others. This was the first week in years that he had not felt depressed.

William was allowing the law of love to define him and express itself through him.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a bestselling author of eight books, a relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process — featured on “The Oprah Show,” and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy?

How Spiritually Intelligent Are You?

Introducing… the Deep Change Spiritual Intelligence Assessment

It’s like GPS for your spiritual journey.

What if you had a tool that could pinpoint where you are in your unique personal development journey? What if it could not only track the progress you’ve already made, but could also suggest your next best steps to becoming more aware, awake, and happy? Would that be helpful?

Too good to be true? Actually, it builds on established developmental assessment models. And it’s here.

First, there was cognitive intelligence (IQ). Remember those long, strange tests, and those hushed conversations in the hallway if a schoolmate scored in the “genius” range? While cognitive intelligence is crucial, researchers now agree that it’s just part of the picture of human intelligence—and often not even the best one for predicting career success or personal happiness.

Some 20 years ago, Daniel Goleman’s concept of “Emotional Intelligence” (EQ) revolutionized our ideas about smarts and how we show up in the world. The idea that how we manage our emotions and get along with others is a distinct, measurable, capacity that can be improved is powerful—and it quickly rippled through business and personal development circles.

Tangible, Deep Benefits

Spiritual Intelligence is an innate human capacity. But, like any intelligence (emotional, musical, kinesthetic) it must be developed. The Deep Change SQi Assessment will help you:

* Determine your current level of Spiritual Intelligence or “SQ”
* Discover the 21 specific skills that comprise Spiritual Intelligence
* Identify next steps in your personal, spiritual growth
* Get clear on the best practices for you, right now.
* Boost your confidence, knowing you’re moving in the right direction.

Meet Cindy Wigglesworth

After a decorated academic career, Cindy found herself struggling in the corporate world, over-developed in IQ and under-developed in EQ. So she put her intellect to work in service of emotional growth. She identified EQ skills she lacked, and dedicated herself to practicing and cultivating them. Her career blossomed and her personal life as a parent was enriched, all thanks to her deepened emotional awareness and skills.

But still, Cindy wondered: where did “spirit” fit in her path? She deeply felt her commitment to loving self, family, and the world at large—yet she wasn’t entirely clear on how fully she actually embodied these cherished values. Building on her work in emotional intelligence, Cindy theorized that if there was a thing as spiritual intelligence (SQ), it would contain skills she could learn and practice, just like anything else. She dedicated herself to testing this audacious theory.

The result of Cindy’s work and personal exploration is the Deep Change Spiritual Intelligence Assessment. It’s already found great success in high-level organizations, and now we’re excited to share this valuable tool with the Integral Life community.

1. Intimacy with Everything.wmv 2. Dying Before You Die • Adyashanti

One of the most confusing aspects of anyone’s life is the area of relationship. In this vital satsang, Adyashanti offers an expansive view of relating that includes our relationship to all forms of manifestation. He explores how awakening is not just about falling out of our identification with life experiences and discovering our unconditioned nature — it also involves coming back into the world of form and bringing forth a complete intimacy with the totality of existence.

Elderhood: A Buddhist Approach to Aging Well ~ Lewis Richmond

This March I turned 64 — one year away from Medicare, two years away from Social Security. So there it is: I’m a baby boomer, a Buddhist, and one individual face to face with his own aging. But I’m not alone. Each day and every day for the next twenty years, 10,000 boomers will turn 65. This is a fact with enormous implications for our politics, our society — and, I believe, our spiritual life.

Forty years ago, when my Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki was in his mid-sixties and the students around him were mostly in their 20s and 30s, someone asked him, “Why do we meditate?” He replied, “So you can enjoy your old age.” We all laughed and thought he was joking. Now that I am the age he was then, I realize he wasn’t joking at all. Some aspects of growing old can be hard to enjoy, and a spiritual practice can definitely help. This isn’t just theory; the Handbook of Religion and Health by Koenig et al. presents research showing that people who have a regular religious attendance or practice live, on average, 7 years longer than those who do not. That research result is even more significant when we remember that for the first time in human history, people will be living in relative good health into their 70s, 80s, and even 90s. What are we all going to do with that extra gift of time?

For the last several years I have been developing a contemplative approach to growing old and aging well. I have come to believe, as my teacher did, that spiritual practice can help us to age gracefully, and that the last part of life is a fruitful time for spiritual inquiry and practice. As part of my research, I logged on to Amazon, put in the search word “aging” and sorted by descending best-seller. Yes, there were a lot of best-selling books with the word “aging” in the title. But when I looked more closely I could see that most of the titles really weren’t about aging per se, but about postponing, disguising, or reversing aging. It was only when I set aside sales rank as my criterion that I found some good books with a spiritual approach to aging. Two of my favorites are The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully by Benedictine nun Joan Chittister, and Spirituality and Aging by gerontology professor Robert C. Atchley.

What other resources do we have for accepting aging with grace, about learning the lessons of wisdom that aging teaches, about investigating the deep questions of our human life? 2,500 years ago, the Buddha had a lot to say about the inevitability of loss and change. What could all of us aging folks learn from his teaching today?

The Buddha taught that “everything changes,” and many of today’s Buddhists repeat that teaching as a patent truism. But suppose we were to rephrase those words to say, “Everything we love and cherish is going to age, decline, and eventually disappear, including our own precious selves?” Suddenly this “truism” takes on a different coloration and urgency. It’s all going to go, the Buddha is saying, all of it — everything that matters to us. In fact that process is always happening; everything is aging, all the time. How is it that we didn’t notice?

When we are young, we don’t notice. In youth, life is full of opportunity, and when things go wrong there are do-overs and second chances. But on the downhill slope of life, we start to notice the worrisome finitude of time. We go to more funerals, we visit more hospitals, we view the daily news with more distance, and we start to feel an autumnal chill in the air. There are joys too, of course — grandchildren, time for travel (if we can afford it!), the pursuit of long-dreamed-of avocations and new beginnings, as well as the energizing impulse to “give back” to community and society.

There is also a fresh opportunity to look to the inner life, to revisit the deep questions that a busy career and family responsibilities might have long pushed into the background. A regular contemplative practice can indeed be a part of this journey, and Buddhism offers rich resources in this area. In my upcoming book Aging as a Spiritual Practice: A Contemplative Guide to Growing Older and Wiser (Gotham Books, January 2012) I offer many such contemplative practices — from traditional meditations on breath, gratitude, and compassion, to more innovative reflections on time, worry, fear, and what I have ecumenically termed “the inner divine.” The last section of the book — “A Day Away” — is a guided personal retreat that uses these contemplative exercises as a way to reflect on aging in all its many dimensions. I use the term “elderhood” to refer to the totality of this effort.

Elderhood is the culminating stage of a life fully lived. When the time comes, we can (although we may not always ) assume the mantle of elderhood as a kind of birthright, and traditional cultures have all honored and supported elderhood, giving their elders specific roles and tasks to do. In today’s wired, youth-oriented world, elders don’t typically garner that same kind of respect. These days, each of us has to imagine and construct our own expression of elderhood, and find ways to bring it forward.

Recently I read an online article which described a group of elderly Japanese who volunteered to help with the cleanup of the damaged nuclear reactors. They vigorously refuted any notions that they were some kind of “suicide squad.” They were just being practical, they said. “I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live,”one said. “Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer.” Some might say these elderly Japanese were just expressing a strong cultural value of sacrificing individual well-being for the good of the group. But elderhood is culturally specific; it shows up in different ways in different times and places. Elders are not the same as identified leaders; often elders are invisible, behind the scenes, shining like gold nuggets at the bottom of the stream.

I thought their offer was a particularly courageous expression of elderhood. Elderhood means to take responsibility, to mentor, to offer perspective. The nuclear crisis in Japan is only one of many dire situations the world over that cry out for a mature, seasoned response. I think contemplative practice can give us inner strength and help us develop the resources to assume our elders’ role in a troubled and often rudderless world that needs us, now perhaps more than ever.

Transcendental Meditation: Topping The Bestseller List Since 1975 ~ Philip Goldberg

When I saw that a book about Transcendental Meditation (TM), written by a scientist, had landed on the New York Times bestseller list, my reaction was to quote the great Yogi of Berra: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

In 1975, “TM: Discovering Inner Energy and Overcoming Stress” was propelled onto the list when its lead author, psychiatrist Harold Bloomfield, appeared on Merv Griffin’s syndicated TV talk show (the Oprah of its day) with TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The book remained a bestseller for six months, and then had a solid run on the paperback list. During that period, Merv devoted a second show to Maharishi, and TM centers could barely keep up with the demand. By the end of 1976, over a million Americans had learned to meditate.

This was the culmination of a remarkable eight-year run that began when the Beatles famously learned TM and sojourned at Maharishi’s ashram in India. Between that watershed moment and the two Merv programs, meditation moved from the counterculture to the mainstream, from weird to respectable, from youthful mind expansion to middle-age stress remedy. Now, the celebrity meditators were not rock stars but Clint Eastwood and Mary Tyler Moore, and you could not get more mainstream than the nation’s big screen hero and its TV sweetheart.

The route from esoteric mystical discipline to respectable relaxation technique was paved by science. It started in the late ’60s when a young meditator named Robert Keith Wallace was persuaded by his guru, Maharishi, to study the physiology of TM. The research became his Ph.D. dissertation, and then a Science magazine article in 1970. Wallace’s follow-up study, conducted with Harvard cardiologist Herbert Benson, was published in 1971 in The American Journal of Physiology and Scientific American. The data sparked an avalanche of research. By 1975, a substantial body of evidence had demonstrated the efficacy of meditation on various measures of physical and mental health.

Now comes another psychiatrist, Norman E. Rosenthal, with “Transcendence: Healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation.” Once again, celebrity endorsements add pizzazz, in this case Mehmet Oz, David Lynch, Martin Scorcese and Russell Simmons, with cameo appearances by the gray eminences, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. And once again science confers credibility. Whereas Bloomfield was fresh out of his Yale residency when Merv Griffin showcased his book, Rosenthal has 30 years of distinguished clinical research and more than 200 scholarly articles under his belt. And by now TM has been the subject of over 300 peer-reviewed articles. The book describes the most recent findings, many of them involving common maladies such as ADHD, PTSD and hypertension, but not limited to medical conditions.

That meditation is good for you is no longer an eye-opening news flash. But the new book’s bestsellerdom suggests that a new generation wants to hear the message. In this era of soaring anxiety, depression and health costs, perhaps the only people who don’t think that’s a good thing are the makers of pharmaceuticals.

As someone who has chronicled the transmission of Eastern spirituality to the West, I hope that this time around we can avoid some of the pitfalls of the past. As the title of Rosenthal’s book “Transcendence,” suggests, meditation is not just a medical intervention. The deeper purpose has always been the development of higher consciousness, as described in the Vedic tradition from which practices like TM derive. But when yogic methods become medicalized and their benefits quantified, they tend to get disconnected from their spiritual roots — a loss for all of us.

Another consequence of the popularization of meditation was the rise of imitation practices. Health experts, self-help mavens and entrepreneurs did everything they could to de-Hinduize and de-Indianize the practice. Recently, we’ve seen a similar tendency as practices derived from Buddhism were secularized as “mindfulness.” The advantage of this adaptation, of course, is that it makes such practices far more accessible. The downside is that something vital can be lost in translation, thereby diminishing their effectiveness. Modernizing the language is one thing, but tinkering with the ingredients of a meditation practice is not unlike changing a medical formula or a food recipe.

Finally, in the past, all forms of meditation were lumped together as if their differences were inconsequential. People who should have known better assumed that the initial TM data could be applied to just about anything that resembled meditation. That techniques practiced differently would produce identical outcomes defies logic, yet the premise was accepted on faith and promoted by both healthcare professionals and New Age promoters. Recent findings have corrected that mistake to a large extent, and current researchers are sorting out which practices produce which results under which circumstances.

The scientific investigation of ancient spiritual practices might be one of the most important advances of the modern era. But we have to proceed with care and discernment, assimilating the methods without obscuring or dishonoring their roots. If we get careless, we can dilute them, corrupt them and otherwise fail to harness their full potential. It’s happened to some extent already, and it’s happening as we speak in the trendy world of yoga studios, where complex and profound teachings are being reduced to fitness exercises. Rudyard Kipling’s assertion that “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet” turned out to be mistaken, to our everlasting benefit. But we have to make sure that East does not become West.

Re-Charge Your Body and Mind for Maximum Healing and Regeneration! – David Wolfe PART ONE

Ancient Secrets for Super-Rejuvination: How to Effortlessly Re-Charge Your Body and Mind for Maximum Healing and Regeneration! David Wolfe LIVE at the Longevity Now® Conference 2011

Pass It On: Five Stories that Can Change the World By Joanna Macy

With stories from her travels to five continents, environmentalist, activist, and author Joanna Macy invites her readers to a new way of seeing the world and their place in it. She tells of encounters with individuals who share very personal stories of sudden awakening, unexpected awareness, and the co-mingling of joy and pain. These stories give testament to Macy’s belief that even in the darkest moments of despair, hope and change are possible. A celebration of possibility, community, and imagination.

co-philosopher and best-selling author Joanna Macy shares five stories from her more than 30 years of studying and practicing Buddhism and deep ecology. Gathered on her travels to India, Russia, Australia, and Tibet, these stories testify to Joanna Macy’s belief that either humankind awakens to a new and deeper understanding of our interconnectedness with its planet or risks loosing it. Pass it On tells of encounters with individuals who share very personal stories of sudden awakening, unexpected awareness, and the co-mingling of joy and pain. Each story is imbued with the specific cultural flavor of the places where the stories originate, but all show how each individual counts in the global need for change and awakening.


From Chapter 1 – A Look at Our Time from the Future

When we think seven generations into the future and then look back at our era from their perspective, what will we see? How will it touch us to know that there was a time before ours in which the people created an economic and social order that viewed the accumulation of money – capital – as the greatest value? That this allowed them to treat the earth like one big self-service store because they did not realize that the earth is alive? That this was a world order that granted the right to unconditional exploitation of “raw materials” – living beings and people – to anyone who has enough capital? That their ideology viewed the planet as inexhaustible and convinced people to believe that human beings could only survive with constantly increasing sales of goods? That it was a human race that managed to deposit vast amounts of harmful, toxic, radiating, and otherwise life-destroying substances on the earth, in the earth, in the bodies of water, and in the air where they will be distributed sooner or later throughout all cycles of life?

Yes, they will tell stories about this time. About us, the people of that era, their ancestors, their forebears, who refused to go along with this. Of those who – despite the initial feeling of being completely alone or just one of very few, despite the vehement defense mechanisms of the old system – followed their inner impulses and their intuitive sense for the intelligence of life and have not allowed themselves to be led astray. Who said to themselves and others: “Something is wrong” or “No, that can’t be healthy.” Those who risked questioning the unassailable voices of the experts. Who said out loud that the blood of the baby seals still sticks to the fur coats, even if it has already been washed off one hundred times. Who understood that nuclear power plants were only safe if they would run completely without errors; but that human beings make errors and need them to learn. Not to even mention the completely unresolved storage of nuclear substances for more than 250,000 years. Those whose stomachs turned in queasiness and felt a stitch in their hearts when they learned that grass-eating ruminants – cows and sheep – had been fed the finely-ground remains of their own species members as carcass meal – until BSE made the consequences of such actions visible for all people. Who did not approve that it was possible to offer sweatshirts and jeans so cheaply in the high-gloss department stores and super-supermarkets because people were treated like slaves at sweatshops in the Philippines or China and had to work for salaries of less than one dollar per day.

It is not necessary to continue this list. Anyone who lives in this age and wants to see and know is familiar with enough of these types of examples from the close and more extended living environment. Without much searching, we can all add dozens – if not hundreds – of stories. At the same time, the tales of horror are just one side of the coin. We could perhaps call the other side the stories of hope:

Despite the opposite prognoses, the elm tree – the Elm Dance named after it plays an important role in the second story – is still not completely extinct in Central Europe. The foresters assume that some of the trees have survived so long because they developed a resistance. They could form the gene pool for a renewed spreading of this fine tree in Europe and perhaps even in North America.

The Rhine River now once again has 42 species of fish living in it. Its water is cleaner than it has been in more than 30 years. When Joanna Macy brought her work to Germany in November 1986, so many toxins had just entered the river with the water for fire-fighting due to the recent major fire at Sandoz in Switzerland that it was practically dead from Basle to Karlsruhe. This is now 22 years ago. Today it is alive.

In the high north of Scotland, the vision of one single man was the impetus for the reforestation project of Trees for Life!, in which 150,000 Scottish pine trees have been newly planted since the mid-1980s. This species of tree had previously had such an old population – with most specimens ranging between 70 and 100 years – that it were threatened by extinction without the active cultivation of young trees. Close to 500 hectares of forest have once again grown here, composed solely of original native plants and including the now rare aspen. More than 1,000 voluntary helpers achieved this through their committed participation. Another area of forest – the subtropical rainforest in Australia that was saved from logging – plays an important role in the fourth story.

Small and large, sad and hopeful stories such as these allow us to design a picture of The Great Turning – of our era. Not a complete, all-encompassing picture. It’s more like a piece of the puzzle. But the more the pieces are put together, the more complete the portrayal is as a result. Only this fragmentary depiction of what is happening at this very moment is available to us today. Just the little events are the ones that we can report about. They inspire us and can serve as the guiding principle on the path into the future. This is why we tell stories in this book. They are about the events, the encounters with people, and the life of Joanna Macy. They are stories that have changed her life and her world. She has told them time and again in many of her seminars. So these stories have also changed the lives of other people and their world. They have become the stories of The Great Turning. These are exactly the ones that we can already tell today. Because we cannot yet tell the entire, complete story of The Great Change yet. After all, we are all still in the middle of it.

Why Climate Change Requires A Consciousness Change by Duane Elgin

Einstein famously said that we cannot solve problems with the same level of perception that created them. We have to step up to a higher and more inclusive level of seeing what is going on in order to understand and solve great challenges. Certainly climate disruption represents one of the greatest tests humanity has ever faced because it is a much higher level problem than the actions which have created it: countless local actions (driving cars, running factories, etc.) have produced global consequences that respect no national boundaries and that imperil our collective future.

Here is how James Speth, former head of the Council on Environmental Quality and a top Washington policy maker, describes the up-leveling of perception required: “I used to think the top environmental problems facing the world were global warming, environmental degradation, and eco-system collapse.. but I was wrong. The real problem is not those three items, but greed, selfishness and apathy. And for that we need a spiritual and cultural transformation.” The transformation that Speth speaks about is a shift to a higher level of attention and seeing the world from a more objective vantage point with a witnessing or reflective consciousness.

Simply stated, what is required is a shift from an “embedded consciousness” that is locked inside the habits of our thinking mind to a more spacious “reflective consciousness” that enables us to become a fair witness or objective observer of our lives. This does not mean we stop thinking; instead, we stand back and, without judgment, simply watch what we are thinking and how we are relating to both the world and ourselves.

An up-leveling of our attention to a more reflective or witnessing consciousness makes an important difference in the flow of our lives. We are less bound by habitual and pre-programmed ways of perceiving and responding when we are consciously watchful of ourselves in the process of living. As we witness ourselves moving through daily life, we begin to cut through confining self-images, social pretenses and psychological barriers and begin to live more voluntarily and choicefully.

The ability to witness the unfolding of our lives is so ordinary that it is easy to overlook. An old adage states, “It’s a rare fish that knows it swims in water.” In a similar way, we humans seldom recognize the power and importance of a witnessing or reflective consciousness. To clarify, let me to ask: Have you been conscious of sitting here reading this blog? Did you unintentionally allow your thoughts to wander to other concerns? Did you just experience a slight shock of self-recognized when I inquired? What does it feel like to notice yourself reading while you read? To observe yourself eating while you eat? To notice yourself talking while you talk?

As our familiarity with this mode of attention increases, we get lost in thought and worldly activities less frequently. This is not a mechanical watchfulness; rather it involves making friends with ourselves and accepting the totality of who we are with all of our faults, foibles, and unique gifts. In living more consciously, we are able to notice our habitual patterns of thought and behavior, both personally and socially. We are more able to penetrate through the political posturing, glib advertisements, and cultural myths that sustain the status quo.

We are also able to respond more quickly to subtle feedback that something is amiss. We do not have to be shocked or bludgeoned into remedial action by, for example, massive famines or catastrophic climate disruption; instead, more subtle signals suffice to indicate that corrective actions are warranted.

A reflective or witnessing or consciousness also promotes a feeling of connection with the rest of life. We begin to see and sense our intimate relationship with all of life and this, in turn, naturally fosters feelings of compassion and caring. As we expand our interior learning to match our technological advances, we develop an inner maturation that is more equal to the enormous technological development that has occurred over the last several centuries.

Returning to Einstein’s insight, climate disruption and other crises are moving the capacity for a reflective or witnessing consciousness from the status of a spiritual luxury for the few to a social necessity for the many. This simple though profound transformation in consciousness is not confined to our personal lives. The human family is acquiring a witnessing or reflective consciousness at lightning speed as the growth of television and the Internet enable us to become a collective witness to our own journey.

By joining the deep but fragmented communication of the Internet with the broad but shallow communication of television, we are transforming our global capacity to witness our collective behavior and future. Working together, these tools are creating a broad and deep capacity for attention and collective conversation as a species. With the combined power of our communications technologies, we are fostering a new level of collective consciousness that can overcome our apathy, selfishness, and greed and enable us to discover a common future of sustainable prosperity. We are a witnessing species. Assisted by the communications revolution, we are becoming more fully awake and able to respond with to the supreme test of climate change from a higher level of perception and understanding.

Eckhart Tolle: How To Help Children Live In The Present

Eckhart Tolle, once called the “most influential spiritual author in the [United States,” is perhaps the world’s foremost authority on living mindfully. In this video, he talks about teaching children the art of living in the present. When kids are full of scattered energy, he says, one must respond with gentleness and acceptance. “You give him or her space to be. You allow this person to be and you listen.. Not wanting to change anybody,” says Tolle whose “The Power Of Now” was a New York Times bestseller.

Tolle also talks about his concept of “pain bodies” — the knots of negative emotions that most of us carry deep within us. “Pain bodies,” he says, “are fields of contractions, aliveness, energy, contracted and tight, with a life of their own.”

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Why We Don’t Change – And How We Can ~ Craig Hamilton

Why is it that so few of us get the results our spiritual practices are designed to deliver?

As a spiritual teacher, I meet a lot of people on the path. And one of the most common refrains I hear from spiritual seekers these days goes something like this:

“I’ve been on the spiritual path for years. I’ve meditated, gone to therapy, and attended dozens of workshops, seminars, satsangs, and retreats. But, I’m still not fundamentally different from when I started on the path. Sure, I’m more centered, present and calm, but I’m still challenged by many of the same emotional patterns. I still
don’t feel like I’m living on purpose. I’m still not deeply fulfilled.”

How is it that after decades of earnest spiritual seeking, most of us ultimately settle for a transformation far less profound or dramatic than the one we were aiming for when we started on the path? Is it, as some ancient eastern traditions tell us, that enlightenment is such a lofty goal that we should not expect to experience any radical transformation in one lifetime, but should instead see our current incarnation as but one of millions of baby steps toward that supreme goal?

Or is it, as many contemporary teachers are fond of saying, that the attempt to change ourselves in any way is in fact misguided, that we should simply “accept what is,” “call off the search,” and realize that ordinary life, in all of its neurotic frailty, is enough?

With all due respect to those of differing opinion, I would like to propose another possibility. I would like to suggest that the supreme and lofty goal of profound, life transforming spiritual liberation is not only possible in this lifetime, but is in fact well within reach of anyone of reasonably sound mind and stable character.

And that the reason it is not happening for the vast majority of those who are seeking it is that, for most of us, the context for our spiritual path is just too small. In a word, it’s still about us–our own fulfillment, our own happiness, even our own enlightenment.

It’s not that we’re selfish people. Indeed, most spiritual seekers are among the most selfless people on the planet.
The problem is that we’ve all been steeped in a contemporary spiritual subculture that tells us that the very reason we should follow a spiritual path is so that we can live happier, more fulfilled, more peaceful lives.

And, as long as our own happiness is all we’re seeking, we’ll never awaken the depth of spiritual passion and conviction required to propel us into genuine transformation. That conviction can only arise when we realize that the spiritual path is not about us–but about participating in something far greater than ourselves.

To paraphrase Andrew Cohen, imagine for a moment that the fate of the entire human race rested on your shoulders alone. That humanity’s evolution out of brute self-interest depended entirely on your willingness to transform your consciousness, to rise above your smallness, to evolve beyond your negative conditioning, and become an exemplar of humanity’s highest potential for the world. Imagine, in other words, that for you, evolving beyond ego became
an evolutionary imperative.

Would you approach your path any differently? Would the energy you brought to your spiritual practice intensify? Would the quality of awareness and care with which you approached your interactions with others become more profound?
Would you find yourself reaching with inner muscles you didn’t even know you had to be awake to the depth you’ve tasted in your most profound spiritual moments?

If you knew it all rested on you, would you have any choice but to change?

The Indian sage Ramana Maharshi once said that the spiritual aspirant must want liberation like a drowning man wants air. But the painful truth is that even when we recognize that we are drowning spiritually, most of us don’t care enough to struggle to keep our head above water.

The challenges of authentic spiritual transformation are so great that most of us will choose to continue suffering in our smallness over feeling the pain of allowing that smallness to die forever. But how many of us would do the same if we realized that it wasn’t only our own suffering we were perpetuating, but the suffering of the entire human race?

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “That’s a nice thought experiment. Sure, it makes me realize I could be more earnest on my path, but what does it really have to do with me? I’m no megalomaniac. I know that my transformation alone isn’t enough to liberate the human race.” And it is here that I would ask you to reconsider.

Modern science has in recent decades been verifying what the ancient traditions intuited long ago: that, in both tangible and mysterious ways, we are all interconnected, and any one of us can have a profound effect on the whole.
And, if you accept the perennial mystical teaching that, at the level of consciousness, we are not only interconnected, but are actually one Self seeing through many eyes, then it should be clear that, like it or not, in the way we conduct our inner and outer lives, each of us is in fact always having an effect on the whole.

Add to that the reality that we are evolving beings living in an evolving universe, that we are all part of a grand, cosmic evolutionary process, and the question of our obligation to the whole starts to cut close to the bone.

To reframe my earlier question: What would you do if you realized that the entire human endeavor, the evolution of consciousness itself, depended on your willingness to evolve your own consciousness? How would it affect the choices you make every day if you knew that those choices were, in a very real sense, either contributing to the evolution of the whole or holding it back?

At this time when it seems that our very future depends on our willingness to evolve as a species, would you have any choice but to act in alignment with the greatest evolutionary good?

The point I’m trying to make is that when we take a closer look at what spiritual transformation is actually for, it quickly becomes clear that the path of awakening is not primarily about freeing ourselves from suffering and securing our own happiness.

Sure, that’s a nice by-product. But, as long as that’s all we’re seeking, we probably won’t get very far.
Where the spiritual path really begins to get interesting is when we recognize that transforming ourselves in the deepest possible way is in fact an evolutionary imperative with profound consequences far beyond ourselves. When we begin to embrace the fact that our lives really are not our own to do with as we please, that in everything we do, we are in fact accountable to the Whole, something truly miraculous begins to happen.

Faced with the palpable responsibility to transform for a greater good, we find that we suddenly have access to a seemingly infinite source of energy, intention, passion and courage to confront whatever challenges present themselves on our path. What’s more, all of the personal issues and problems, all of the fears and doubts and resistances that once seemed so insurmountable begin to seem a lot less significant.

Why? Because our attention is now captivated by something much bigger than ourselves. Ignited by a noble calling to participate in the grand adventure of conscious evolution, we find we no longer have time to worry about ourselves. And in this freedom from self-concern, before long we discover that the deep inner peace and joy we were seeking all
along has become the very ground we are walking on. To get a taste of the liberating context I’m pointing to, try the following experiments:

1) Before you meditate or engage in any spiritual practice, take 10 minutes to reflect on the profound significance of your practice. Ask yourself:

-Why do I need to awaken for myself?
-Why do other people need me to awaken?
-Why does God/evolution/humanity (your choice) need me to awaken?

Allow yourself to feel deeply into the most authentic answer you can find. Then, invite that deeper answer to come forward as a clear and present intention to engage your spiritual practice wholeheartedly, as if the universe depended on it. And engage your practice from this deeper intention. Notice how this exercise impacts the quality of your spiritual practice.

2) When you encounter a challenging and emotionally charged situation in your life, before you respond, take a few minutes to ask yourself:

-What is the most enlightened or evolved response I could have in this situation?

-Why is it important for my own evolution for me to respond in the most enlightened, evolved way I can?

-Why does God/evolution/humanity (your choice) need me to respond in the most enlightened, evolved way I can?

Allow yourself to feel into the larger significance of your response to this challenging moment. Ground yourself in an intention to show up as an exemplar of humanity’s potential. And then respond from this deeper intention. Notice how your perspective on the situation and your ability to show up changes when you approach it in this way.

A Call to Consciousness ~ Kingsley Dennis, Ph.D

The world we all live in today is experiencing a period of monumental change. Yet this is not a time for fear. Wth preparation and certitude the times ahead can be navigated. The keys to growth and renewal have been planted within each person. Much will be expected from people in the coming years as they face increased fears and challenges; challenges for which history holds few guidelines. Such challenges, whilst resonating within the heart of each person, need to be grounded within a very real physical context. The spirit does not live in isolation, but walks in life. As Native American “grandfather” says:

“Trying to live a spiritual life in modern society is the most difficult path one can walk. It is a path of pain, of isolation and of shaken faith, but that is the only way that our Vision can become reality. Thus the true Quest in life is to live the philosophy of the Earth within the confines of man.. we must walk within society or our Vision dies, for a man not living his Vision is living death.. It is very easy to live a spiritual life away from man, but the truth of Vision in spiritual life can only be tested and become a reality when lived near society.”1

The human species is, after all, a social species (as anthropologists keenly like to remind us). It is easy to behave “spiritually” when one is confined to the hermit’s cave; then our only struggles are with our ceaseless thoughts. Whilst the realm of the spirit may appear to exist “not of this world,” it very definitely is an important component “of the world.” Without the material playground, the spirit becomes ephemeral to us; unable to manifest tangibly within our everyday lives. So the life of the spirit needs to become very real for us, and well-lived. By living it, the presence of spirit can have greater effect. As “grandfather” again reminds us:

“If a man could make the right choices, then he could significantly alter the course of the possible future. No man, then, should feel insignificant, for it only takes one man to alter the consciousness of mankind through the spirit-that-moves-in-all-things. In essence, one thought influences another, then another, until the thought is made manifest throughout all of creation.”2

Any spiritual revitalization requires that each individual feel the worth of their participation; of their presence with friends, family and within the community. Progress will come through action; and knowledge, understanding and growth can also be achieved through right actions and intentions. The window of opportunity being presented to us now through the changes we are experiencing on all levels around us provides the opportunity for growth along new values, emotions and intellectual reasoning. To miss this opportunity and crave for the security of old perceptions and status quo material gains will be a sore transitory pleasure. This is neither a conspiracy nor a fairytale — it is a narrative of resilience, renewal and regeneration. As a global community of individuals we are being pushed towards developing and supporting a co-creative consciousness. This is our “new mind” for a “new world.” Yet this call for a new way of thinking is neither new nor unique. Each generation has supplied its spokespeople who have argued for a more elevated and illuminated way of thought and life. In recent decades this call has come increasingly from tribal elders and indigenous traditions.

In 1977 the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Indians) penned a paper to an agency of the UN titled “Basic Call to Consciousness” in which they stated: “Today the species of Man is facing a question of the very survival of the species. The way of life known as Western Civilization is on a death path.. Our essential message to the world is a basic call to consciousness.. The technologies and social systems which have destroyed the animal and plant life are also destroying the native people.” As a collective “sentient” species we are being called into consciousness; as a necessity rather than a luxury of choice.

My understanding is that the way forward will involve harmonizing inner intuitions with physical well-being and humanistic development. By humanistic, I mean a conception of the human within community, ecological, global and universal contexts. Part of our own species maturity is likely to be the dawning that we are currently living out-of-sync with our natural functioning and that we, as a species, are letting the side down. As living, sentient beings, we are often veiled from the knowledge of our own creative capacities for resilience and renewal. Some individuals may get the “wow factor'” one day when they realize that their life has been ignoring these truths for so long. Other realizations will come as material systems increasingly reveal the transparency of their corrupt and inept natures.

Through a combination of physical changes on the social, cultural, and political levels, people worldwide will begin to awaken to the audacity of our situation. From this there may be further “awakenings” as the ironic, incredulous, and absurd factors of many of our lifestyles are brazenly shown in the shocking light they deserve. However, there is great need to work. We are being asked — or compelled — to renew our selves and communities: to regenerate our relationship with the world we live in. This is not a time to fear for loss, but rather a time to aspire to new possibilities. A renewal and regeneration brings in new air, new potentialities, and new gains. There should be less clinging to the old when there is much vigorous work that needs to be done. Any spiritual endeavor cannot — or should not — be separated from the physical. The human is a physical creature that is nourished from a physical world.

Whilst we sojourn on this planet, and whilst our home remains physical, we have a responsibility to manifest our spirit within the physical domain. This is what is required of us, and deep within we all inherently know this. We are here to work together.

1. Brown, T. (1991) The Quest. New York: G P Putnam’s Sons.
2. Brown, T. (1991) The Quest. New York: G P Putnam’s Sons.

About New Consciousness for a New World
A call for a paradigm shift in human thinking in recognition of the interconnectedness of all things–a new mind for a new world

• Explains how the instability of our current time is part of a larger cycle of human evolution that will soon turn toward renewal and regeneration

• Reveals how to participate in the process of conscious evolution to maintain resilience during these transitional times

• Examines new findings in quantum physics and quantum biology on the interconnectivity of all life and how to utilize this for conscious evolution

For centuries, indigenous wisdom traditions have talked of an epochal shift on the horizon, of a spiritual renaissance for the earth and her living family. Now the timelines are converging and the potential for an energetic “upgrade” for humanity is here, but first we must survive and evolve through the current period of transition.

Explaining that evolution is not a gradual process but more like a “shock to the system”–radical waves of transformation after a period of dormancy–author Kingsley Dennis reveals that we are currently undergoing an evolutionary leap and shows not only how to survive but also thrive in this period of global upheaval and change. Examining the nature of evolutionary cycles, he explains that the instability we are now experiencing–climate change, economic meltdowns, and increasing political polarization–is the convergence of complex systems that have reached a critical state. What we need in order to push through to the coming spiritual renaissance is a paradigm shift in human thinking and perception, a conscious evolution in recognition of the interconnectedness of all things–a new mind for a new world. Examining new findings in quantum physics and quantum biology on the interconnectivity of all life as well as opportunities for us to reawaken our slumbering souls, this book offers a glimpse of the new global society to come, a renewed humanity for the 21st century, and how each of us can best participate during the process of planetary transformation.

About the Author(s) of New Consciousness for a New World
Kingsley L. Dennis, Ph.D., is a sociologist and writer currently connected with the Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University. He is also a cofounder of WorldShift International. The author of numerous articles on complexity theory, technologies, new media communications, and consciousness, he spends his time between Andalusia, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Charles Tart: Waking Up (excerpt) – A Thinking Allowed DVD with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove

Our normal waking state of consciousness can be likened to being “asleep” in comparison to other states of awareness we might attain. In this intriguing discussion, psychologist Charles Tart, Ph.D., author of Altered States of Consciousness and Waking Up, suggests that we can begin to “wake up” by allowing our awareness to become conscious of itself. This can become a simple, yet powerful, discipline.

The 7 Chakras and Their Significance to Your Life ~ Sadhguru

Chakras are energy centers. Although most people have heard of seven chakras, there are actually 114 in the body. The human body is a complex energy form; in addition to the 114 chakras, it also has 72,000 “nadis,” or energy channels, along which vital energy, or “prana,” moves. When the nadis meet at different points in the body, they form a triangle. We call this triangle a chakra, which means “wheel.” We call it a wheel because it symbolizes growth, dynamism and movement, so even though it is actually a triangle, we call it a chakra. Some of these centers are very powerful, while others are not as powerful. At different levels, these energy centers produce different qualities in a human being.

Fundamentally, any spiritual path can be described as a journey from the base chakra, called the “Mooladhara,” which is located at the base of the spine, to the “Sahasrar,” which located at the top of the head. This journey of movement from the Mooladhara to Sahasrar is from one dimension to another. It may happen in many different ways, and various yogic practices can effect this movement.

Mooladhara is really made up of two terms: “Moola” means the root or source, and “adhar” means the foundation. It is the very basic foundation of life. In the physical body, your energies need to be in the Mooladhara chakra to some extent. Otherwise, you cannot exist. If the Mooladhara chakra alone is dominant, food and sleep will be the predominant factors in your life.

We can speak in terms of lower and higher chakras, but such language is often and too easily misunderstood. It is like comparing the foundation of a building to the roof; the roof is not superior to the foundation. The foundation of the building is more basic to the building than the roof, and the quality, life span, stability and security of the building depends, to a large extent, on the foundation rather than the roof. But in terms of language, the roof is higher, and the foundation is lower.

The second chakra is “Swadhisthana.” If your energies move into Swadhisthana, you are a pleasure seeker. The Swadhisthana chakra is located just above the genital organs. When this chakra is active, you enjoy the physical world in so many ways. If you look at a pleasure seeker, you will see that his life and his experience of life are just a little more intense compared with a person who is only about food and sleep.

If your energy moves into the “Manipuraka” chakra, located just below the navel, you are a doer in the world. You are all about action. You can do many, many things. If your energies move into the “Anahata” chakra, you are a creative person. A person who is creative in nature, like an artist or an actor, is someone who lives very intensely — more intensely, perhaps, than a businessman, who is all action.

The Anahata literally means the “un-struck.” If you want to make any sound, you have to strike two objects together. The un-struck sound is called “Anahata.” Anahata is located in the heart area and is like a transition between your lower chakras and your higher chakras, between survival instincts and the instinct to liberate yourself. The lower three chakras are mainly concerned with your physical existence. Anahata is a combination; it is a meeting place for both the survival and the enlightenment chakras.

The next chakra is the “Vishuddhi,” which literally means “filter.” Vishuddhi is located in the area of your throat. If your energies move into Vishuddhi, you become a very powerful human being, but this power is not just political or administrative. A person can be powerful in many ways. A person can become so powerful that if he just sits in one place, things will happen for him. He can manifest life beyond the limitations of time and space.

If your energies move into the “Agna” chakra, located between your eyebrows, you are intellectually enlightened. You have attained to a new balance and peace within you. The outside no longer disturbs you, but you are still experientially not liberated.

If your energies move into “Sahasrar,” at the crown of your head, you become ecstatic beyond all reason. You will simply burst with ecstasy for no reason whatsoever.

Chakras have more than one dimension to them. One dimension is their physical existence, but they also have a spiritual dimension. This means that they can be completely transformed into a new dimension. If you bring the right kind of awareness, the same Mooladhara that craves food and sleep can become absolutely free from the process of food and sleep. If one wants to go beyond food and sleep, one needs to transform the Mooladhara to an evolved state.

To move from Mooladhara to Agna, from the lowest of these seven chakras to the second highest, there are many procedures, methods and processes through which one can raise his energies. But from Agna to Sahasrar, the sixth chakra to the highest chakra, there is no path. You can only jump there. In a way, you have to fall upward. So, the question of going step by step to that dimension does not really arise. There is no way.

It is for this reason that spiritual traditions have emphasized the significance of a guru’s role in one’s realization; guru literally means “dispeller of darkness.” You can only jump into an abyss — the depth of which you do not know — if you have an absolutely insane heart, or if your trust in someone is so deep that you are willing to do anything in their presence. Most people, due to a lack of either of these two aspects, just get stuck in the Agna chakra. When this happens, peacefulness is the highest state they will know. It is only from this limitation that there has been so much talk about peace being the highest possibility. But for someone seeking their ultimate nature, peace is only the beginning; it is not the ultimate goal.

Walking the Pathless Path: Do We Need to Travel to Have a Spiritual Journey? by Deepak Chopra

In the memoir Eat, Pray, Love, writer Elizabeth Gilbert gives up her entire way of life to spend a year traveling the world, finding spiritual enlightenment along the way. Is it possible to live a life of deep, transformational faith without dropping everything and hitting the road? In your tradition, what is the aim of the spiritual journey?

Elizabeth Gilbert’s story in Eat, Pray, Love, of dropping everything and hitting the road to find herself, is the archetypal tale of the hero being called to a journey of self-discovery. Gilbert’s genius is in making this ancient lesson feel real, accessible, and relevant.

Sometimes a lesson has to be repeated for thousands of years, not because it wasn’t learned the first time but because new people arrive on the scene. The lesson I’m thinking of was that of Siddhartha, a prince on the Nepalese border of northern India. He dropped everything and hit the road, becoming the original, or at least the most famous, dharma bum. He traveled from master to master with his begging bowl, seeking enlightenment. As Gautama the monk he became impressively austere. Instead of a loving wife, a warm bed, and feasts, he tried the opposite: solitude, sleeping by the wayside, and whatever scraps of food he could beg for.

It’s still an appealing choice, because we equate austerity with virtue. If the stress of a chaotic world is too much, perhaps harmony lies along a different, quieter, more solitary road. But the moral of Siddhartha’s tale led a different way. Leaving home didn’t bring enlightenment, nor did austerity, poverty, starving his body, or trying to force his mind to be still. Instead, Siddhartha became someone entirely transformed — the Buddha — when he hit upon a new road, the one called “the pathless path.”

The pathless path isn’t a straight line; it doesn’t even lead from point A to point B. The journey takes place entirely in consciousness. A mind overshadowed by fears, hopes, memories, past traumas, and old conditioning finds a way to become free. This sounds impossible at first. How can the mind that is trapped by pain also be the tool for freeing itself? How can a noisy mind find silence? How can peace emerge from discord?

The Buddha offered his answer, which is a variant on an even more ancient answer from the seers or rishis of Vedic India: transcend the personal mind and find universal mind. The personal mind is tied to the ego, and the ego is forever swinging from pleasure to pain and back again. But if you look at awareness when there is no pleasure or pain, when the mind is calm while simply existing, a fascinating journey begins. You have made the first step on the pathless path.

Which is not to dismiss the other path, the one that takes you away from home into a retreat, ashram, meditation center, or holy place. They have their own atmosphere; Seekers have stopped there for a long time; therefore, the mind can breathe a different kind of air, so to speak, an air of tranquility and peace. When you arrive at such a place, two things usually happen. You soak up the peace, enjoying the contrast with your busy life at home. But at the same time you notice how loud your mind is, how much chaos it has absorbed. So these holy place cannot do the work for you. They can only suggest what the pathless path is about.

The inspired Indian poet Kabir points a finger at all spiritual travelers:

There is nothing but water in the holy pools. I know, I have been swimming in them. All the gods sculpted of wood or ivory can’t say a word. I know, I have been crying out to them. The Sacred Books of the East are nothing but words. I looked through their covers one day sideways. What Kabir talks of is only what he has lived through. If you have not lived through something, it is not true.

These lines don’t deny the worth of spiritual journeying, but they tell us that there is no substitute for first-hand experience. Where you go to find it is irrelevant. In reading about Buddha’s life or Gilbert’s story, we may still be tempted to believe that leaving one’s present geography and associations is the key to self-realization, when in fact the path is entirely within consciousness, and the environment is the extraneous scenery. The journey is always unfolding in our current life and surroundings right now. The true seeker of truth discovers, sooner or later, that truth has been seeking us all along.

The Gift of Uncertainty -Adyashanti

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Is Evolution Ready to Evolve? ~ Deepak Chopra

Although science prides itself on objectivity, it has some cherished articles of belief. If you question them, however reasonably, you can expect ire and raised hackles. Bruce Lipton has discovered this after posting “Has Modern Science Bankrupted Our Souls?” In it he challenges basic assumptions of modern science, such as the pre-eminence of a Newtonian physical universe and the conception of evolution through random mutations for being flawed. Natural selection and random mutation no doubt played a part in getting us where we are now, but they won’t carry us into the future.

The controversy being stirred up is old and, so far as Darwinists are concerned, completely settled. On one side is the light of reason, on the other darkness and superstition. The fact that Bruce Lipton is a cell biologist doesn’t mean that his credentials protect him. People don’t take kindly to having their faith questioned.

But the issue here isn’t about bringing Darwin down, but rather about expanding his theory. Lipton’s post reflects the urgency of future evolution, or where we grow from here. He poses the potential threat of mass extinction and the ruin of the planet (very real threats, even if you don’t push as hard as he does). After painting a doomsday portrait of the future, Lipton offers hope, saying that humans will make exciting breakthroughs if we face our hour of crisis by evolving to the next stage of consciousness. As the author of a book titled The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Lipton stands at the forefront of a growing movement. Some cutting-edge scientists belong to the movement, although it has roots in the new spirituality as well.

The basic premises that are able to cross the line between science and spirituality are these:

We live in a conscious universe.

Such a universe is constantly evolving.

Humans are woven into the currents of cosmic evolution.

The future of our own evolution will be based on conscious choice

There are precincts of science where any of these statements would be considered outrageous. I know from experience, since one of my first posts at The Huffington Post addressed the future of evolutionary theory. My argument involved pointing out the holes in classical Darwinism, which turned out — quite unintentionally — to be the most inflammatory way to begin. True believers came out of the trees (apologies to any non-Darwinists for that image) with the usual cries against superstition and my presumed ignorance. Lipton takes a more palatable route, holding out exciting openings for the future (a carrot) and the dismal prospects if we don’t go through those openings (a stick).

One could also appeal to personal interest, however, and the best way might be with the last premise on the list: “The future of our own evolution will be based on conscious choice.” A person can be left at peace with randomness, natural selection, a universe where the only conscious beings are us and so on. But most people also gravitate toward the idea of choosing their own future.

It’s more optimistic than resigning yourself to the mechanical operation of fate, or stand ins like all-controlling genes. Science can also get on board with this, since in the scientific mind, choice includes a support for research, innovation and unexpected breakthroughs. We often hear that humankind is on the verge of a major change in our perception of reality, a paradigm shift as it is called. But there’s no necessity for the new paradigm to break into laboratories and smash all the test tubes.

The brightest prospect is for an expanded science, one that takes consciousness into account. This is actually unfolding all around us. Even 10 years ago, a scientist who took consciousness seriously risked career suicide. He was likely to be rebuked with a common Physics slogan, “Shut up and calculate.” In other words, stop this foolish speculation and go back to what we trust — mathematics. But there is no getting around the bald fact that every human experience occurs in consciousness, including mathematics.

If there is a reality beyond our awareness, by definition we will never know it. One branch of science after another, starting with the quantum revolution in physics a century ago, has been faced with mysteries that force it to consider consciousness. How does the brain produce thought? Why do genes respond when we interact or have experiences? Is biology a quantum phenomenon? Happily, there are now sizable conferences on these once unthinkable topics.

So is evolution ready to evolve? It would seem so, if we are to judge by the cutting edge. Younger researchers are open to these topics; they won’t just shut up and calculate. There are tussles, of course, and angry skirmishes. A war of two worldviews has broken out, in fact. One conception of the universe and our place in it is being forced to yield its supremacy to the new paradigm on the block. What Lipton’s post has done is to bring the clash of worldviews down from the ivory tower.

Choosing the future isn’t just about government energy policy and technologies to clean up greenhouse gases. We are living on a shrinking planet with bulging population growth and each new arrival wants the good life. If the good life means endless consumption, pollution and waste, if toxic nationalism and war protects the haves from the have-nots, Lipton’s darkest scenario may come true. But evolution is a force of nature, and perhaps we will all feel which way the wind is blowing. Lipton’s brightest scenario could also come true. There’s no final reason why millions of people cannot wake up and decide that the good life is really about a choice to evolve. With that one insight planetary healing can begin.

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