Archive for July, 2011



This is an excerpt from the interview with Robert Lanza featured in the 3DVD set “Science and Nonduality Anthology Vol.2”. In this clip Robert Lanza talks about the fundamental assumptions in science about space and time.


Interview with Dr. Deepak Chopra on the TV show A Balanced Life. Host is Eileen Richardson. Topics covered are the Law of Dharma, Giving back and finding your life purpose.

A Balanced Life – Deepak Chopra – Part 2

A Balanced Life – Deepak Chopra – Part 3

“Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
~ Don Miguel Ruiz

While sitting in a restaurant today I had a major league “ah-ha” that really whacked me upside the head, and I would like to share this realization with you. Perhaps you might be able to relate with it (or at least know someone who will ), because at first glance it appears to be a very innocuous form of behavior based on the fact that we all tend to “do it” on a regular basis. It seems to be inculcated in our culture. Perhaps for that very reason it is something to which we all need to pay attention because it affects the emotional (and thus physical) well being of all of us.

The “it” to which I am referring is gossip, and the mindless spreading of hearsay, comments and rumors. As I sat trying to mind my own business while eating my lunch, the people in the booth directly behind me were “having” someone by the name of Jane for lunch … and she wasn’t even there! I honestly did my best to dial it out, but the energy of their conversation was all pervasive. They were talking about her in such a disparaging manner that it was painful to hear. It was in that moment that I became aware that I have also on occasion been a target of the same sort of mindless, groundless gossip and rumors. And yes, I too have also feasted on savory gossip and noshed on tasty unfounded rumors with others. In a microsecond, I understood that the pain I was feeling for Jane and those who were talking about her had became my pain because they were a reflection of me.

At some point or another in our lives we have all been the target of gossip and rumors, as well as participants in the spreading of them. It is insidious, toxic and yet, oh so juicy. Unless we are mindful and vigilant, it’s quite easy to fool ourselves into believing that what is coming from our minds, mouths and hearts is harmless idle chatter. That’s how gossip works. It’s hard to detect when we are in the process of gossiping because it is provocative and seductive, but most of all, it is destructive. Why is it that gossip is so prevalent among us? Many people find some sort of power in gossip because it represents “inside” knowledge that not everyone else is privy to. Some people find great comfort in knowing they can commiserate (in this context meaning “share their misery”) with like-minded people.

Others may find gossip and the spreading of rumors a passive-aggressive way of dealing with their feelings of jealousy or envy, or perhaps their own insecurities and fears. For others it may mean that by putting someone else down (who is seldom present) it somehow makes themselves feel more important. The reasons we gossip are legion, however, not one of them justifies the activity.

This message is a reminder of how easy it is to jump into the stagnate pool of mindless gossip in our workplace, our church, the doctor’s office, the grocery store and even our own homes and neighborhoods. From a spiritual perspective, understanding we are all one, it means that when we gossip to others about others we are ultimately doing damage to ourselves as well. Beyond the aforementioned spiritual reality is the fact that any person who will gossip with you about others will also gossip about you with others. I guess it’s an instant karma sort of thing.

Any way you cut it, gossip and the spreading of rumors is counter productive to creating a healthy relationship with life. Speaking with integrity in our daily interactions is a conscious choice we get to make every day.

I invite you to join me in using this test before we unleash words that may be less than impeccable. Before speaking to or about another person, mindfully ask yourself these questions:

1. Is it true? Do I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I am repeating is accurate and true, or is it based on hearsay and assumptions that I or others have made without gathering all the facts from an impartial and reliable source?

2. What will I gain from repeating these words to others? Will what I am going to say be life affirming, productive and helpful to all involved? Will the world be a better place because I uttered these words? If not, why would I want to repeat them?

3. Is what I am going to say about another person something I would have the clarity, courage and commitment to say to their face, and if so, why don’t I do so?

4. Will what I am going to say be using the power of my word in the direction of truth and love?

Before we speak, or hit the forward and send button, it would do us well to pause and become witness to our thoughts before they become our word. It was a great reminder for me this week regarding the importance of being impeccable in our word. I invite you to join me in using the power of your word in an intentional and conscious manner. Not just because speaking with integrity is the right thing to do, but because the world needs and deserves the absolute highest and best that we can bring to it. When we gossip and spread rumors we are declaring our own lack of wholeness. When we speak less than impeccably about others, we are affirming to the universe that hears our every word that we feel separate and apart from the whole of life. When we are not impeccable in our word we participate in creating pain and suffering for others, and that is not why we have come to earth. When we use our word in the direction of truth and love we honor God’s presence by creating harmony and peace, and that is why we are here. What we think and say matters, so being impeccable with our word seems like a great place to start. Now that is worth repeating, so pass it on!

http://www.DennisMerrittJones.com

The question, “What is it like after you die?” can make you wonder about taking the time to ponder such philosophical babble. You might reply, “The only way to know is when you die.” Not so. You won’t know any more than you do now. Increasingly, scientists are beginning to realize that an infinite number of realities may exist outside our old classical way of thinking.

Our instinctual understanding of reality is the same as most other animals. This came into focus the other day as I strolled though a nearby field, stirring up butterflies and creatures of all shapes and colors. There were wildflowers that were brilliant yellow, some that were red and others that were iridescent purple. This colorful world of up-and-down was the extent of my reality. Of course, to a mouse or a dog, that world of reds, greens and blues didn’t exist anymore than the ultraviolet and infrared world (experienced by bees and snakes) did for me. In fact, some animals, including birds, possess magnetoreceptors that allow them to perceive information on the quantum level (indeed, some have even speculated that bees perceive a 6-dimensional reality to encode location information).

But regardless of these differences, we genome-based creatures all share a common biological (spatio-temporal) information-processing ability. I’ve previously written how reality isn’t a hard, cold thing, but rather an active process that involves our consciousness. According to biocentrism, space and time are simply the tools our mind uses to weave information together into a coherent experience — they are the language of consciousness (in fact, in dreams your mind uses the same algorithms to create a spatio-temporal reality that is as real, 3-D and flesh-and-blood as the one you’re experiencing now). “It will remain remarkable,” said Nobel physicist Eugene Wigner, referring to a long list of scientific experiments, “that the very study of the external world led to the conclusion that the content of the consciousness is an ultimate reality.”

At death there’s a break in our linear stream of consciousness, and thus a break in the linear connection of times and places. Indeed, biocentrism suggests it’s a manifold that leads to all physical possibilities. More and more physicists are beginning to accept the “many-worlds” interpretation of quantum physics, which states that there are an infinite number of universes. Everything that can possibly happen occurs in some universe. Death doesn’t exist in these scenarios, since all of them exist simultaneously regardless of what happens in any of them. The “me” feeling is just energy operating in the brain. But energy never dies; it cannot be destroyed.

So what’s it like when you die? Of course, during our lives we all grow attached to the people we know and love and can never image a time without them. I subscribe to Netflix and recently went through all nine seasons of the TV series “Smallville.” I watched two or three episodes every night, day after day, for months. I watched Clark Kent (Tom Welling) grow up and go through all the normal growing pains of adolescence, young love and family dramas. He, Martha Kent (his adoptive mother) and all the other characters became part of my life. Night after night I watched him use his emerging superpowers to fight crime as he matured, first attending high school and then college. I watched him fall in love with Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), and then become enemies with his former friend Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum). When I finished the last disk, it was like they had all died — it was all over.

Despite my sense of loss, I reluctantly tried a few other TV series, eventually stumbling upon “Grey’s Anatomy.” The cycle started over again with completely different people. By the time I had finished all seven seasons, Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) and her fellow doctors at Seattle Grace Hospital had replaced Clark Kent, et. al as the center of my world. I became completely caught up in the swirl of their personal and professional passions. In a very real sense, death is much like finishing a good TV series, whether “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Smallville” or “Dallas,” except the multiverse has a much bigger collection of DVDs than Netflix. Just like at death, you change reference points. It’s still you, but you experience different lives, different friends and even different worlds.

Think of a football field full of stacks of DVDs piled up to the sky. At death, you’ll even get to watch some re-makes — perhaps in one, you’ll get that dream wedding dress you always wanted, or a doctor cures the disease that caused your loved one to die. The story goes on even after J.R. gets shot. Our linear concept of time means nothing to nature.

As for me, I still have Season Eight of “Grey’s Anatomy” to look forward to.

Robert Lanza has over two dozen scientific books, including “”Biocentrism” which lays out his theory of everything. You can learn more about his work at http://www.robertlanza.com.

We’ve been seeing a lot of ego-centered attitudes flying around Washington with the deficit mess, the frustrating GOP presidential wannabes and in London with the unbelievable Murdoch fiasco. Seems like the more power one has, the more the ego dominates: Me and my opinions are more important than the needs of others. There is no limit to the damage a powerful ego can cause, from the arrogant conviction that our own opinions are only right ones and everyone should be made to agree, to wielding and abusing responsibility and authority at the expense of other people’s lives and freedoms.

The ego could be the least understood of all our human qualities. It’s the “me” bit that gives us our sense of ourselves. This is not necessarily good or bad, except when selfishness dominates our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. A positive sense of self gives us confidence and purpose, but a more negative and self-centered ego makes us unconcerned with other people’s feelings; it thrives on the idea of “me first” and impels us to cry out, “What about me? What about my feelings?”

The purpose of the ego is to be in control, and so it keeps us focused in the realm of “me-ness.” It makes us believe we are the cleverest, best informed and most important, as easily as it makes us feel unworthy, unlovable and certainly not good enough to be happy. It is this misguided sense of self that is the root cause of so much distress, both in our own lives and in the world: wars are fought, families split and friends are forgotten due to this misunderstanding.

Fostering the delusion that only “I” is important, that me and mine must come before us and ours, the ego makes us believe we are something, that this something is different, special and unique, and that we are separate from everything and everyone else. When we become aware of our essential unity and oneness with all beings, then the ego becomes redundant and loses its job. It will, therefore, do whatever it has to in order to perpetuate its employment.

Creating the illusion that we are the dust on the mirror, the ego ensures that we believe we could never be so beautiful as the radiant reflection beneath the surface. Yet how extraordinary to believe that we cannot be free when freedom is our true nature!

Hypothetically, all we need to do is let go of the focus on “me,” of our sense of separateness, our need for distinction, the grasping and clinging to our story. But this is far easier said than done. In India the ego is represented by a coconut, as this is the hardest nut to crack. Traditionally, the coconut is offered to the guru or teacher as a sign of the student’s willingness to surrender his or her ego and let go of self-obsession. Such a symbolic gesture shows that the ego is considered to be a great obstacle on the spiritual path and an even greater impediment to developing true kindness and compassion.

As we evolve in consciousness, we move from the animal-like state of preservation and survival to developing our own identity as a separate individual. In the process we become more self-centered. The next step is the development of the true individual — one who experiences no separation between self and other and awakens loving kindness. We always remind ourselves what the Dalai Lama said to us when we met with him: We are all equal here. The depth of this statement always connects us to our humility.

The need to reach the top of the mountain, to accomplish our desires and be successful, is the natural impulse to move toward experiencing greater happiness. The difficulty lies in believing that success means being all-powerful; we forget that there is a difference between being powerful in the sense of being egotistic and controlling, and being powerful meaning full of loving kindness and compassion. True power is not corruptive or abusive, as we are seeing in Washington and London; it transcends greed and serves for the benefit of all.

Meditation cultivates awareness so we are able to see the ego at play, how manipulative and self-serving it can be and how it easily dominates our behavior. Such a reflective practice gives us the experience of no separation and reveals genuine compassion.

How does your ego rule you?

James Van Praagh, world-renowned medium and best selling author of Talking To Heaven, releases his much-anticipated new book Ghosts Among Us – Uncovering The Truth About The Other Side.

Everyone loves a good ghost story. Perhaps the human fascination with the supernatural stems from the fact that most of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced something we couldn’t quite explain. From a very young age James Van Praagh was aware of a dimension that most of us cannot see, and he has dedicated his life to explaining it to the rest of us. Ghosts Among Us takes us on an incredible journey into the spirit world that brings to light one of our greatest mysteries — what happens to us after we die?

Van Praagh, the New York Times bestselling author and co-executive producer of the CBS series Ghost Whisperer, shares his knowledge and life experience about ghosts, a subject that can seem to many of us both bizarre and terrifying. But when the world beyond is explained fully by an experienced guide, dismissal and apprehension can be turned into knowledge and inspiration.

With incredible true ghost stories and surprising details about how ghosts actively participate in our lives, Van Praagh challenges us to question our perceptions and shows us how we can live more fully through understanding the world of spirits. Including eerily accurate readings, the author’s development as a medium, and detailed how-to information, Ghosts Among Us is an all-encompassing guide to the supernatural.

James Van Praagh, world-renowned medium and best-selling author of Talking To Heaven, releases his much-anticipated new book “Ghosts Among Us — Uncovering The Truth About The Other Side.”

Everyone loves a good ghost story. Perhaps the human fascination with the supernatural stems from the fact that most of us, at some point in our lives, have experienced something we couldn’t quite explain. From a very young age James Van Praagh was aware of a dimension that most of us cannot see, and he has dedicated his life to explaining it to the rest of us. Ghosts Among Us takes us on an incredible journey into the spirit world that brings to light one of our greatest mysteries — what happens to us after we die?

Van Praagh, the New York Times bestselling author and co-executive producer of the CBS series Ghost Whisperer, shares his knowledge and life experience about ghosts, a subject that can seem to many of us both bizarre and terrifying. But when the world beyond is explained fully by an experienced guide, dismissal and apprehension can be turned into knowledge and inspiration.

With incredible true ghost stories and surprising details about how ghosts actively participate in our lives, Van Praagh challenges us to question our perceptions and shows us how we can live more fully through understanding the world of spirits. Including eerily accurate readings, the author’s development as a medium, and detailed how-to information, Ghosts Among Us is an all-encompassing guide to the supernatural.


In recent years scientists have discovered that mindfulness can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance our sense of well-being. In this book, readers learn how mindfulness can be brought to bear in our relationships to increase intimacy, strengthen communication, and help us to find greater fulfilment.
Topics in this collection include how to open your heart and develop lovingkindness for yourself and others, how to improve communication through mindful speech and deep listening, noticing and counteracting destructive patterns, and discovering how intimate relationships can become a rich form of spiritual practice.
Chapters and contributors include:

• Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh on what mindfulness is and why it lies at the heart real love
• Psychotherapist David Richo on finding a partner
• Author Elizabeth Gilbert on conflict and communication
• Psychotherapist and meditation teacher Tara Brach on the power of forgiveness
• Rabbi Harold Kushner on striving to give love rather than get it
• Novelist Jane Hamilton on a marital meltdown—and recovery
• Meditation teacher Susan Piver on the value of heartbreak
• Psychologist John Welwood on relationships as a path of personal and spiritual growth

Much of our work with organizations and individuals centers around the development of what we call “mind fitness.” Mind fitness means having a mind that’s fit for action and insight. At the heart and core of this kind of mind-body-spirit training is the practice of “mindful presence” — the essential key to mind fitness.

In future blog posts, we’ll introduce and invite you to explore the various disciplines of mind fitness. While all of these are vital to success, foremost and foundational among them is the discipline of mindful presence, so we’ll begin here. This discipline is developed through the cultivation of mindfulness and the mastery of attention. Research shows that daily practice of mindfulness creates measurable changes in brain function associated with decreases in our vulnerability to stress and distress, increases our enjoyment of the moment, improves health and performance, increases our happiness, improves emotional intelligence and deepens the wisdom, confidence and courage we bring to life — and work!

The cultivation of mindfulness is essentially the practice of presence, deep listening and awareness. Mindfulness enables you to wake up and be more fully present to what is really going on in your inner and outer worlds, and to the stream of moment-to-moment change. Mindfulness offers you greater choice and the capacity to live-on-purpose as an alternative to living a reactionary life dominated by mindless habit and out of control reactivity.

The practice of mindfulness also provides a powerful tool to discover the true depth and dimension of our experience. As we see more clearly and understand more deeply, our insight grows and opens new dimensions of freedom, health and change resilience in our lives. Mindfulness is the basis of wisdom, appreciation and gratitude. Its essence is deep listening, an open, non-judgmental yet discerning quality of attentiveness that embraces every fleeting experience with acceptance, investigation and non-attachment.

To experience mindfulness in this moment:

Simply look out through your eyes right now and know that you are seeing.

Bring your attention to the easy natural flow of your breathing, being mindful of the stream of sensations as you breathe in … and being mindful as you breathe out … By being mindful of the natural flow of your breathing, you develop a way to anchor and stabilize your mindful, clear presence within the streaming flow of moment-to-moment change that is your life.

Allow this clear, natural mindfulness to welcome the coming and flowing of every element of your experience. Notice how every sound, sight, sensation, thought, feeling and experience comes and flows. Be mindful of the river of change that flows as your life with awareness.

Complement your mindful awareness with a gentle, self-referential smile — like a smile in your heart. This smile will help you maintain a sense of perspective, curiosity, acceptance and open-mindedness. Smiling gently in this way will also help protect you from trying too hard or being too self-critical in your cultivation of mindfulness.

Throughout the day, bring your mindful, clear presence to whatever you are doing and to being more fully present with whomever you are with.

Experiment with setting the intention to be more mindful and present with simple activities that have a clear beginning and end. For example, mindfully walk from the parking lot to your office, take a mindful shower, eat a mindful meal or go for a mindful walk or jog.

When your mind wanders or your attention fades, note the distraction as soon as you become aware of it, and then without blame or judgment simply refresh your mindful presence and return your attention to whatever you choose to attend to.

If you are like most people you have dozens, if not hundreds, of interactions with people in an average day. One powerful strategy for practicing mindfulness is to set the intention to engage in a significant number of daily interactions as opportunities to practice “mindful dialogue.” This involves being vividly mindful of what you see, hear or sense from the people you are talking with, while simultaneously being mindful of the flow of your own inner personal experiences as you are engaged in that dialogue.

Your practice of mindfulness can take two basic forms:

One is the practice of mindful presence in the midst of the ordinary activities of your daily life.

The second way to practice mindfulness is more as a quiet meditation practice. In this mode, you simply sit quietly, focus your mindfulness on the flow of your breath and mindfully notice the flow of experiences as they come and go. Be mindful of how the waves of the breath come and flow. Let this be your resting place and anchor of awareness. Mindfully notice how external perceptions come and flow from the world around you. Mindfully attend to how the sensations in your body come and flow. As thoughts or mental images arise, be mindful of how they too arise and pass. As emotions come to your awareness, be mindful of them as arising and passing in the clear space of your mindful presence. As desires, intentions or other mind-states arise, be mindful of how these similarly come and flow. With mindful clear presence, embrace the flow of your experience, with great curiosity, openness and compassion. Remain in this stream of experience for five, 10, 20 or 30 minutes at a time, and allow yourself to awaken ever more fully to the wisdom of your true nature, complexity and dimensionality.

Once you understand how to practice the discipline of mindful presence you can never say, “I don’t have time to meditate,” because mindfulness can be activated in virtually every situation and activity of your complex and busy life. This means that every activity and encounter offers you the opportunity to develop and strengthen your mind fitness.

As you cultivate this quality of mindful presence, you’ll begin to realize that you are part of a vast community of people in all walks of life and arenas of work who are engaged in this practice. Hundreds of studies have demonstrated the clinical and performance enhancing benefits of the mind fitness practice of mindfulness.

Over the past 20 years, the discipline of mindfulness meditation has become an integral element in the success path of leaders from many disciplines. In our own work, we’ve taught mindfulness as a core success strategy to thousands of leaders in hundreds of organizations around the globe. In our work with the largest, most successful division of Hewlett-Packard, mindfulness was one of the core values held by senior leaders as a key to their success.

During the once secret “Ultimate Warrior Training Program” (aka Jedi Warrior) that we co-designed and led for the U.S. Army Green Berets, we guided two A-Teams of Special Forces troops on an intensive 30-day silent mindfulness retreat called “The Encampment,” which equipped them with skills to succeed on a series of missions that no other teams had ever succeeded in before. One of our teams was later selected as the most outstanding team in the NATO games. This program was described by leaders at West Point Military Academy as “the most exquisite orchestration of human technology we have ever seen.”

At Google, we teach a course called “The Meditation and Mindfulness Laboratory” for leaders and software engineers seeking to de-bug and reengineer their own personal operating systems. At M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center and dozens of other leading medical centers and medical schools, we’ve also taught mindfulness disciplines to hundreds of physicians, nurses, faculty and administrators, and many of them have fully integrated these methods into their daily lives and work. Surgeons who train in mindfulness make fewer mistakes and have better surgical outcomes. In medicine, mindfulness also offers relief from a myriad of stress-related maladies and speeds recovery time.

The practice of mindful presence has also been a vital success strategy in our mentoring of numerous world class and Olympic gold medal-winning athletes who have stretched the envelope of success to new proportions. Just imagine what will be possible for you as you develop greater mindful presence and mind fitness in your own life.

Joel & Michelle Levey are internationally recognized speakers, authors, educators, and consultants. Founders of WisdomAtWork.com, the enduring benefits of their pioneering work in mind fitness, change resilience, collective intelligence and innovation has inspired leaders in hundreds of organizations around the globe including: NASA, World Bank, Google, Intel, Hewlett Packard, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Microsoft, Washington Athletic Club, NOAA, MIT, SportsMind, SRI International, Forest Ethics, EarthSave, U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, U.S. Special Forces, and The Clinton Global Initiative.

They are faculty at University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Health and Bastyr University Center for Spirituality, Science, and Medicine, and advisors for the International Campaign for Compassionate Cities. The Leveys’ published works include: Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World; Wisdom at Work; A Treasury of Tools for Cultivating Clarity, Kindness, & Resilience; Luminous Mind: Meditation and Mind Fitness; The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern Mind.


Mindfulness is the foundation for any successful meditation practice in daily life. It is the gateway to living in greater harmony and balance and opens the door for deeper wisdom and compassion to guide our lives-work.

In this excerpt taken from their class presented live online by eMindful.com, Dr. Joel & Michelle Levey explore the profoundly practical ways to weave the contemplative inner-science traditions into the fabric of your everyday life.

eMindful (www.emindful.com) is the leading Internet source for comprehensive health and wellness services. Courses include mindful eating, stress management, forgiveness, yoga, and Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management. eMindful’s online courses offer cost-effective and convenient access to our internationally acclaimed team of experts with whom you may see, hear, and interact, live in eMindful’s virtual classroom, while still in the comfort of your home, at the office, or anywhere you can have a broadband Internet connection.

Q: From the time I was a little girl, I was raised as a Catholic. I went completely full circle to denying God, not believing in God. And now, thanks to a large extent what you teach and share, I know that connectedness is there, awareness, Stillness is there. But I got the thought, why do I pray? Because if God is all-knowing, omnipotent, all-loving, and so on, I don’t think he/she/it needs me to say, “Psst – my friend is dying of cancer, can you help her?” I don’t think it’s necessary, but I enjoy praying. I’d love to hear your thoughts; what would be appropriate to pray for? Do you believe in prayer?

ET: Perhaps you can upgrade your prayers from petitionary prayers (“please make this happen”) to little mental pointers, towards peace for example. Little mental pointers still use concepts, because every prayer consists of words and concepts – to point, to help you go beyond concepts. You could say, for example, an affirmation – like what Jesus said, “I am the light of the word”. It’s an affirmation – it’s a concept, it points to a reality far deeper than the words. You can say, if you still want some petition, “please let me know that I am the light of the world”. Duality is implied usually, in the usual prayer.

It implies that there is God, and here is me, asking God. That duality is ultimately an illusion, because you are an expression of God. You and God merge. The deepest prayers, then, are no longer prayers as such. They are when you adopt a listening attitude rather than a saying of words. As long as you enjoy it, that’s fine. But gradually get away from asking somebody to do something for you, because that keeps you stuck in duality.

Affirmations, if they are done rightly, can be very beautiful substitutes for prayers. “I am healed and whole and at peace”. And after that, let there be a space. And really, the power is in that space. In the space, you experience that you are already whole. The outward form might tell you something different – “I am holy”, A Course in Miracles says. You are, and so it’s simply an affirmation of how it is. Healing, for somebody else – you are either with that person, or that person comes into your mind, that person may be ill.

The most powerful healing, I find, is to hold an image of that person and then go deeper into yourself, where the wholeness of life lies. Where nothing is needed, nothing needs to be added. There you find the wholeness also of that person – they are already healed at the deepest level, beyond form. So you go from form, into formlessness.

That is the healing that was practiced by Joel Goldsmith, he has a lovely book called “The Art of Spiritual Healing”. That is really not to dwell at all on the condition that needs to be healed, but to focus on the essential reality of that human being which is one with your essential reality, and go into deep Stillness where nothing is needed.

He would often get phone calls, sometimes in the middle of the night. Someone would desperately need healing, and they would tell him the name of the person and what they were suffering from. What he would then do is immediately put the phone down and go into absolutely no thought. For a moment he heard the name of the person, he heard what was wrong with them, and immediately let go of that, then for two or three minutes went into no thought – just absolute presence. There is absolute perfection in the realm of the formless. And that is the essence of the person who needed healing. So you take the form into the formless, where the form is no longer. No condition to be treated, nothing is needed, just go into that.

That was his way of healing. He was quite a powerful healer. That is the ultimate form of healing, and that really is the non-dual kind of prayer. It’s going beyond prayer where you say “Please God, heal” – you go to the very Source itself, that is inseparable from who you are, and is inseparable from who that person is.

Prayer can gradually become listening to God rather than talking to God. What does listening mean? Listening means there is a field of bare, pure attention. Listening does not mean that you are waiting for some answer, because then you are not really listening. In listening you are not waiting for anything – there is just a field of pure attention.

That is a much deeper prayer than any words. True prayer is where prayer also becomes meditation. Not even wanting an answer, it’s enough to be in the silence. Sometimes an answer comes, or the thing becomes resolved, sometimes, suddenly. Listen. Any trouble in this world, any disturbance, and they happen all the time – people around you, or a disturbance in the mind, goes into pure aware, listening presence. Listening is a way of speaking about presence. When you are present, it is as if you are in a state of listening.

Now, listening is usually associated with the auditory sense perception. But this listening goes beyond the auditory sense perception; it’s the state of consciousness that underlies the auditory sense perception. Everybody knows what that is like – because when you are really listening for some faint sound, what is the state of consciousness that underlies this listening for the faint sound? It’s a state of absolute, relaxed alertness. So when we say listening, it’s a helpful thing because everybody knows what listening means. I am just pointing out that it’s not the external sense perception that is the essence in listening; the essence in listening is the underlying state of consciousness, of absolute receptivity and alert presence.

This is why I believe that Jesus had parables about the servant and staying awake, because he doesn’t know when the master is going to come home. Many of the things have come down in a somewhat distorted way, because it was transmitted verbally, and then written down, and in the process some things got turned around or went missing.

I think he was talking about the attitude of that – a state of consciousness, the servant waiting just to hear the master come home. It’s waiting in a different sense from the normal thing that we call ‘waiting’, which is the mind saying “When is it going to happen? Why isn’t it happening yet?” – he uses waiting in a completely different sense. Many times Jesus talked about staying awake, that’s a very important part of his teaching – stay awake, don’t go to sleep, stay present. Any words you use in prayer, use them as pointers toward that. You could say “I am listening”.

First segment of Part 1 of Dr. Chopra’s series on meditation.


Second segment of Part 1 of Dr. Chopra’s series on meditation.

Self actualization is one of the highest levels of humans’ growth. It is not superior since everyone can get there, it is just a stage of being. Here are some of the characteristics of self actualized people:

1. Real not ideal: Self actualized people have a healthy relationship with reality and are more comfortable with it and do not deny it. They accept the good and bad as parts of the same spectrum where one is in balance and the other out of balance.

2. Accountability: Self actualized people do not get into the blame game but look for their role in a situation to make improvements.

2a. Open to making mistakes: Self actualized people give themselves and others the right to make a mistake and do not limit their life’s experience because of fear of mistakes. At the same time, they take reasonable cautionary steps not to repeat the same mistake over and over again.

3. Acceptance: Self actualized people have acceptance of self, others and the world around them. They are objective in general but also aware of their subjectivity and how it may deceive them.

4. Spontaneous: Self actualized people are grounded but at the same time learn to be open to new experiences, bring the inner child out and have fun with life. They don’t force themselves to be as others think they “should” be and go with what feels right to their core. At the same time, they do not try to intentionally hurt others and are sensitive to what is good.

5. Problem focused:
Self actualized people focus on the solution from a more multi-modal perspective and are open to new ideas and options. They also look at a problem from above their emotions as if they are standing outside the chaos to see what is happening to make an unbiased judgment about it.

6. Desire for detachment and privacy: While interactive and well connected with their surroundings, self actualized people have also a need to have time to themselves for quiet time and reflection and do not always have to be with others to enjoy their time. While with other people whom they feel connected to, the presence is enough and there does not have to be any open communication all the time.

7. Autonomy: Self actualized people are independent of their culture and their surrounding while are aware of them fully. They make decisions on their own without being conditioned toward any particular culture, religion and else. They are aware that conditioning can be limiting and illusive and need to be used with full awareness.

8. Appreciations of simple things:
Self actualized people learn to enjoy simple things in life and to connect with nature. They take time to find joy and content in daily things that come to all of us for free without any effort. A walk in the park, looking at the moon at night, listening to a bird singing are activities that are close to her heart.

9. Honest: Self actualized people are honest but know the fine line between honesty and being blunt. Others always know where they are standing with self actualized people and relationships with them are usually drama free since they won’t say yes where they feel otherwise. In other words, they are assertive.

10. Mystical and peak experiences: Self actualized people have regular mystical and peak experiences and have the ability to find and connect with their authentic self. During these experiences, they feel at one with the world around them.

11. Oneness: Self actualized people become more of a global soul where their concern is more toward all mankind not just what they have been conditioned to feel more similar to.

12. Healthy interpersonal relationships: Self actualized people have clear boundaries therefore, their relationship is free of drama and anxious attachments. They have more profound relationships with other adults on a deep level. They are capable of greater love and focus on the good few rather than a large number. Their relationships are very meaningful and positive.

13. Equality: Self actualized people tend to believe in the equal nature of humans and believe that each person has certain strengths and weaknesses.

14. Playfulness: Self actualizing people are playful in nature, love to laugh, and make jokes but not at the expense of others. They are open to new things in life.

15. Creative: Self actualizing people are creative and express themselves in many positive forms like writing, speaking, playing, painting or else.

16. Resistance to inculturation: Self actualized people resist transcendence to any particular culture and go above their culture and maintain a strong individuality while learning and at times, practicing what seems positive in their as well as other cultures. This is done by choice not any force of attachment. They can evaluate the culture objectively to see what works for them and their loved ones. They can also assimilate naturally into a new culture if they live in it.

17. Imperfections: Self actualizing people are aware of the fact that they, like others, are imperfect because they are humans. But this awareness brings them opportunities to constantly learn new ways to grow. While being content with themselves but they never stop striving.


Watch the trailer of the September 2007 seminar presented by neuroscientist and chiropractor Dr Joe Dispenza.
In this inspiring two-hour seminar Evolve Your Brain- The Science of Changing Your Mind Dr. Joe Dispenza explains how the brain evolves, learns new skills, how we can take control of our mind and how thoughts can create chemical reactions that keep us addicted to patterns and feelings-including the ones that make us unhappy. When we know how these habits are created we can set about not only breaking these patterns, but also re-program (rewire) our brain so that new and positive habits can take over and benefit us in our daily life.

Dr. Dispenza was featured in the smash hit docu-drama What the Bleep Do We Know?! and What the Bleep Down the Rabbit Hole . He is the author of the book, Evolve Your Brain The Science of Changing Your Mind which has sold 34,00 copies to date in the U.S. and is being published in countries worldwide. Dr. Dispenza has spent decades studying the human mind-how it works, how it stores information and why it perpetuates the same behavioral patterns over and over.

Over the last 10 years, Dr. Dispenza has lectured in over 17 different countries on six continents educating people about the role and function of the human brain. He has taught thousands of people how to re-program their thinking through scientifically proven neuro-physiologic principles.


Preview of Interview with Dr. Joe Dispenza

Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about how the brain functions with chemical, physical and emotional stimuli.

A friend of mine is visiting from out of town and staying in East Oakland, in an area that’s infamous for its gang violence and unrest. This friend happens to be a monk. He shaves his head and dresses in the traditional brown robes of his monastic order — not the kind of person who blends easily into the background. Having spent many years making compassion a conscious practice, his response to situations is to try to do his bit to spread goodness. So he went out for a walk, just to engage with the community. As he was walking up 35th Avenue, a couple of tough-looking street youth yelled out to him:

“Hey man!”

He turned around, looked at them and said, “Yes?”

“Are you a Buddhist monk?”

“Yes, I am.”

“You look hella peaceful, man!”

Just by being — the way he was walking, the pace, his garb and shorn head, the expression on his face, his thoughts and intentions — he had conveyed something so powerful, in a context where one might least expect it. It is a poignant story, but in fact, any of us can develop that kind of presence.

What would happen if we approached every interaction with an intention to give fully and unconditionally? Beyond the material level, and in a way that is very sensitive to the context. In a given moment, it may be just fully listening, or sharing an encouraging word, or taking a kind action. What gift we give is almost secondary. But just to get to the point where we want to give something, we have to overcome our sense of scarcity.

In a recent column, The New York Times’ David Brooks cites research on the effects of scarcity on the mind. In one game, Princeton students were asked to answer questions in a short period of time but were given the option to borrow time from future rounds. Despite their high IQs, they ended up borrowing time at ridiculous rates, ultimately ruining their long-term performance in the game. So it turns out that the actual challenge of scarcity isn’t in just the external circumstances or even our cognitive abilities — the crux of it is how we respond internally to scarcity.

This psychology of scarcity can subtly come into play in our relationships. Sometimes we get so fixated on what it is that we want from a situation or a person that we no longer have the flexibility of mind to see anything else. If we become so focused on what we don’t have, then we start to look at relationships with just an eye for what they can provide for us. We are governed by questions like, “What can this person do for me? What can I get out of this situation?” At the root of being me-oriented is a mental orientation of the cup being half-empty.

The key to moving away from this perception of scarcity is gratitude. The reality is that the cup is half-empty and half-full, but as author Julio Olalla insightfully puts it, “without gratitude, nothing is enough.” As we start to actually feel grateful for all that we have, we recognize the abundance within our own lives. Of course, there’s our health, resources and opportunities, but also a gratefulness for just being alive, being connected to so much and being able to choose our state of being.

By taking stock of our lives in this way, we actually receive these things as the gifts that they are and that shifts us to a mindset of abundance. We realize that we have more than enough, and our cups overflow. We start to look for opportunities everywhere, just searching for ways to express the gratitude we feel. All of our relationships — with family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances — become fair game. As do interactions with total strangers.

A few years ago, in downtown Chicago, 10 of us had decided to try an experiment. To create an excuse to connect with those we walk by all the time, we’d whipped up 150 bagged lunches, split up into groups of three and hit the streets. Beyond just the lunches, the idea was to really explore our own generosity within each interaction. So with everyone who looked like they could use a lunch, we’d start with making our offering and then letting things happen organically. Some would heartily accept, but then quickly move on; others would outright refuse the meal; some didn’t even have the mental faculties to process it; and others would engage with us and even be moved to tears.

But we were the ones learning the lessons. My most vivid memory is of seeing an African-American man waiting to cross the street. He must’ve been in his late 40s, had on a leather jacket and something told me he might appreciate a meal. As we approached each other, before I could even say a word, he’d held his hand out, wanting to shake my hand.

I shook his hand and he gave me a big, heartfelt hug, saying, “Thank you.”

“For what?” I asked him. I hadn’t even offered him the lunch yet.

His response rocked me. “For caring. I’ve been out of a job for four months, just scraping by on the streets. And everyone walks by and no one even looks me in the eye. Just the way you looked at me, I could tell you cared.”

I offered him the lunch, but that had already become secondary; he didn’t even take it, and within a minute, we were both on our way. In that short time, he had given me a taste of what is possible when we approach any situation with the simple intention of giving unconditionally of ourselves. I’d learned that the greatest gift we can share is our presence, and that this shining potential exists in all of our relationships. I realized, then, that we could all become presence activists.


Viral Mehta is the co-founder of CharityFocus.org. CharityFocus is a fully volunteer-run organization that has delivered millions of dollars of web-related services to the nonprofit world for free, and now creatively leverages web technologies for collaborative and transformational giving. CharityFocus’s 300K members incubate compassionate action in a multitude of ways and its inspiration portals get 100M hits a year.

Viral also conducts courses in Vipassana meditation as an assistant teacher of S.N. Goenka. For more information, visit dhamma.org.

Professionally, Viral’s experience is in the nonprofit and local government sector, where he has worked at the intersection of strategy, technology, and management.

Equanimous: From the Big Bang to Peace and Quiet in Every Community — A Channeled Dialog of Why You are Here and What You can do About it Right Now!

If an ancient energy being revealed to you that the conventional interpretation of 15 billion years of earth’s history was flawed and the cause of all human suffering, what would you do?

Write a book?

Channeled by Orranut Stephens through conversations with the energy being known as Master Jacob, Equanimous invites you on an incredible journey through the chronicles of human history to unravel the profound spiritual purpose of your very own existence.

From the awe-inspiring account of the universe’s birth and the incredible testimony of humanity’s previously unknown evolution, to dramatic revelations regarding to the lives of Buddha and Jesus Christ, Equanimous unfurls your forgotten energetic heritage, illuminating both the past causes of humanity’s modern tribulations and the enormous contribution you can personally make to earth’s golden future.

As our species approaches an epoch of major transformation, Equanimous asks you to leave behind the old interpretations of God, evolution and human purpose that have caused humanity to choose conformity over evolution and choose instead the spiritual practices of the Equanimous, handed down to us from species who have long since learned the true energetic purpose of life on earth.

The challenge for each human being is simple: Do you dare to evolve?

By Craig Hamilton – What is Enlightment?

WIE: In your book The Self-Aware Universe you speak about the need for a paradigm shift. Could you talk a bit about how you conceive of that shift? From what to what?

Amit Goswami: The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents—building blocks—of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief—all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call “upward causation.” So in this view, what human beings—you and I—think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm.

Now, the opposite view is that everything starts with consciousness.That is, consciousness is the ground of all being. In this view, consciousness imposes “downward causation.” In other words, our free will is real. When we act in the world we really are acting with causal power. This view does not deny that matter also has causal potency—it does not deny that there is causal power from elementary particles upward, so there is upward causation—but in addition it insists that there is also downward causation. It shows up in our creativity and acts of free will, or when we make moral decisions. In those occasions we are actually witnessing downward causation by consciousness.

WIE: In your book you refer to this new paradigm as “monistic idealism.” And you also suggest that science seems to be verifying what a lot of mystics have said throughout history—that science’s current findings seem to be parallel to the essence of the perennial spiritual teaching.

AG: It is the spiritual teaching. It is not just parallel. The idea that consciousness is the ground of being is the basis of all spiritual traditions, as it is for the philosophy of monistic idealism—although I have given it a somewhat new name. The reason for my choice of the name is that, in the West, there is a philosophy called “idealism” which is opposed to the philosophy of “material realism,” which holds that only matter is real. Idealism says no, consciousness is the only real thing. But in the West that kind of idealism has usually meant something that is really dualism—that is, consciousness and matter are separate.

So, by monistic idealism, I made it clear that, no, I don’t mean that dualistic kind of Western idealism, but really a monistic idealism, which has existed in the West, but only in the esoteric spiritual traditions. Whereas in the East this is the mainstream philosophy. In Buddhism, or in Hinduism where it is called Vedanta, or in Taoism, this is the philosophy of everyone. But in the West this is a very esoteric tradition, only known and adhered to by very astute philosophers, the people who have really delved deeply into the nature of reality.

WIE: What you are saying is that modern science, from a completely different angle—not assuming anything about the existence of a spiritual dimension of life—has somehow come back around, and is finding itself in agreement with that view as a result of its own discoveries.

AG:
That’s right. And this is not entirely unexpected. Starting from the beginning of quantum physics, which began in the year 1900 and then became full-fledged in 1925 when the equations of quantum mechanics were discovered, quantum physics has given us indications that the worldview might change. Staunch materialist physicists have loved to compare the classical worldview and the quantum worldview.

Of course, they wouldn’t go so far as to abandon the idea that there is only upward causation and that matter is supreme, but the fact remains that they saw in quantum physics some great paradigm changing potential. And then what happened was that, starting in 1982, results started coming in from laboratory experiments in physics. That is the year when, in France, Alain Aspect and his collaborators performed the great experiment that conclusively established the veracity of the spiritual notions, and particularly the notion of transcendence. Should I go into a little bit of detail about Aspect’s experiment?

WIE: Yes, please do.

AG: To give a little background, what had been happening was that for many years quantum physics had been giving indications that there are levels of reality other than the material level. How it started happening first was that quantum objects—objects in quantum physics—began to be looked upon as waves of possibility. Now, initially people thought, “Oh, they are just like regular waves.” But very soon it was found out that, no, they are not waves in space and time. They cannot be called waves in space and time at all—they have properties which do not jibe with those of ordinary waves. So they began to be recognized as waves in potential, waves of possibility, and the potential was recognized as transcendent, beyond matter somehow.

But the fact that there is transcendent potential was not very clear for a long time. Then Aspect’s experiment verified that this is not just theory, there really is transcendent potential, objects really do have connections outside of space and time—outside of space and time! What happens in this experiment is that an atom emits two quanta of light, called photons, going opposite ways, and somehow these photons affect one another’s behavior at a distance, without exchanging any signals through space. Notice that: without exchanging any signals through space but instantly affecting each other. Instantaneously.
Now Einstein showed long ago that two objects can never affect each other instantly in space and time because everything must travel with a maximum speed limit, and that speed limit is the speed of light. So any influence must travel, if it travels through space, taking a finite time.

This is called the idea of “locality.” Every signal is supposed to be local in the sense that it must take a finite time to travel through space. And yet, Aspect’s photons—the photons emitted by the atom in Aspect’s experiment—influence one another, at a distance, without exchanging signals because they are doing it instantaneously—they are doing it faster than the speed of light. And therefore it follows that the influence could not have traveled through space. Instead the influence must belong to a domain of reality that we must recognize as the transcendent domain of reality.

WIE: That’s fascinating. Would most physicists agree with that interpretation of his experiment?

AG: Well, physicists must agree with this interpretation of this experiment. Many times of course, physicists will take the following point of view: they will say, “Well, yeah sure, experiments. But this relationship between particles really isn’t important. We mustn’t look into any of the consequences of this transcendent domain—if it can even be interpreted that way.” In other words, they try to minimize the impact of this and still try to hold on to the idea that matter is supreme.

But in their heart they know, as is very evidenced. In 1984 or ’85, at the American Physical Society meeting at which I was present, it is said that one physicist was heard saying to another physicist that, after Aspect’s experiment, anyone who does not believe that something is really strange about the world must have rocks in his head.

WIE: So what you are saying is that from your point of view, which a number of others share, it is somehow obvious that one would have to bring in the idea of a transcendent dimension to really understand this.

AG: Yes, it is. Henry Stapp, who is a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley, says this quite explicitly in one of his papers written in 1977, that things outside of space and time affect things inside space and time. There’s just no question that that happens in the realm of quantum physics when you are dealing with quantum objects. Now of course, the crux of the matter is, the surprising thing is, that we are always dealing with quantum objects because it turns out that quantum physics is the physics of every object. Whether it’s submicroscopic or it’s macroscopic, quantum physics is the only physics we’ve got.

So although it’s more apparent for photons, for electrons, for the submicroscopic objects, our belief is that all reality,all manifest reality, all matter, is governed by the same laws. And if that is so, then this experiment is telling us that we should change our worldview because we, too, are quantum objects.

WIE:
These are fascinating discoveries which have inspired a lot of people. A number of books have already attempted to make the link between physics and mysticism. Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics and Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters have both reached many, many people. In your book, though, you mention that there was something that you felt had not yet been covered which you feel is your unique contribution to all this. Could you say something about what you are doing that is different from what has been done before in this area?

AG: I’m glad that you asked that question. This should be clarified and I will try to explicate it as clearly as I can. The early work, like The Tao of Physics, has been very important for the history of science. However, these early works, in spite of supporting the spiritual aspect of human beings, all basically held on to the material view of the world nevertheless. In other words, they did not challenge the material realists’ view that everything is made up of matter. That view was never put to any challenge by any of these early books.

In fact, my book was the first one which challenged it squarely and which was still based on a rigorous explication in scientific terms. In other words, the idea that consciousness is the ground of being, of course, has existed in psychology, as transpersonal psychology, but outside of transpersonal psychology no tradition of science and no scientist has seen it so clearly.

It was my good fortune to recognize it within quantum physics, to recognize that all the paradoxes of quantum physics can be solved if we accept consciousness as the ground of being. So that was my unique contribution and, of course, this has paradigm-shifting potential because now we can truly integrate science and spirituality. In other words, with Capra and Zukav—although their books are very good—because they held on to a fundamentally materialist paradigm, the paradigm is not shifting, nor is there any real reconciliation between spirituality and science.

Because if everything is ultimately material, all causal efficacy must come from matter. So consciousness is recognized, spirituality is recognized, but only as causal epiphenomena, or secondary phenomena. And an epiphenomenal consciousness is not very good. I mean, it’s not doing anything. So, although these books acknowledge our spirituality, the spirituality is ultimately coming from some sort of material interaction.

But that’s not the spirituality that Jesus talked about. That’s not the spirituality that Eastern mystics were so ecstatic about. That’s not the spirituality where a mystic recognizes and says, “I now know what reality is like, and this takes away all the unhappiness that one ever had. This is infinite, this is joy, this is consciousness.” This kind of exuberant statement that mystics make could not be made on the basis of epiphenomenal consciousness. It can be made only when one recognizes the ground of being itself, when one cognizes directly that One is All.

Now, an epiphenomenal human being would not have any such cognition. It would not make any sense to cognize that you are All. So that is what I am saying. So long as science remains on the basis of the materialist worldview, however much you try to accommodate spiritual experiences in terms of parallels or in terms of chemicals in the brain or what have you, you are not really giving up the old paradigm.

You are giving up the old paradigm and fully reconciling with spirituality only when you establish science on the basis of the fundamental spiritual notion that consciousness is the ground of all being. That is what I have done in my book, and that is the beginning. But already there are some other books that are recognizing this too.

WIE: So there are people corroborating your ideas?

AG: There are people who are now coming out and recognizing the same thing, that this view is the correct way to go to explain quantum physics and also to develop science in the future. In other words, the present science has shown not only quantum paradoxes but also has shown real incompetence in explaining paradoxical and anomalous phenomena, such as parapsychology, the paranormal—even creativity. And even traditional subjects, like perception or biological evolution, have much to explain that these materialist theories don’t explain. To give you one example, in biology there is what is called the theory of punctuated equilibrium. What that means is that evolution is not only slow, as Darwin perceived, but there are also rapid epochs of evolution, which are called “punctuation marks.” But traditional biology has no explanation for this.

However, if we do science on the basis of consciousness, on the primacy of consciousness, then we can see in this phenomenon creativity, real creativity of consciousness. In other words, we can truly see that consciousness is operating creatively even in biology, even in the evolution of species. And so we can now fill up these gaps that conventional biology cannot explain with ideas which are essentially spiritual ideas, such as consciousness as the creator of the world.

WIE:
This brings to mind the subtitle of your book, How Consciousness Creates the Material World. This is obviously quite a radical idea. Could you explain a bit more concretely how this actually happens in your opinion?

AG: Actually, it’s the easiest thing to explain, because in quantum physics, as I said earlier, objects are not seen as definite things, as we are used to seeing them. Newton taught us that objects are definite things, they can be seen all the time, moving in definite trajectories. Quantum physics doesn’t depict objects that way at all.In quantum physics, objects are seen as possibilities, possibility waves. Right? So then the question arises, what converts possibility into actuality?Because, when we see, we only see actual events. That’s starting with us. When you see a chair, you see an actual chair, you don’t see a possible chair.

WIE: Right—I hope so.

AG: We all hope so. Now this is called the “quantum measurement paradox.” It is a paradox because who are we to do this conversion? Because after all, in the materialist paradigm we don’t have any causal efficacy. We are nothing but the brain, which is made up of atoms and elementary particles. So how can a brain which is made up of atoms and elementary particles convert a possibility wave that it itself is? It itself is made up of the possibility waves of atoms and elementary particles, so it cannot convert its own possibility wave into actuality.

This is called a paradox. Now in the new view, consciousness is the ground of being. So who converts possibility into actuality? Consciousness does, because consciousness does not obey quantum physics. Consciousness is not made of material. Consciousness is transcendent. Do you see the paradigm-changing view right here—how consciousness can be said to create the material world?The material world of quantum physics is just possibility. It is consciousness, through the conversion of possibility into actuality, that creates what we see manifest. In other words, consciousness creates the manifest world.

WIE: To be honest, when I first saw the subtitle of your book I assumed you were speaking metaphorically. But after reading the book, and speaking with you about it now, I am definitely getting the sense that you mean it much more literally than I had thought. One thing in your book that really stopped me in my tracks was your statement that, according to your interpretation, the entire physical universe only existed in a realm of countless evolving possibilities until at one point, the possibility of a conscious, sentient being arose and that, at that point, instantaneously, the entire known universe came into being, including the fifteen billion years of history leading up to that point. Do you really mean that?

AG: I mean that literally. This is what quantum physics demands. In fact, in quantum physics this is called “delayed choice.” And I have added to this concept the concept of “self-reference.” Actually the concept of delayed choice is very old. It is due to a very famous physicist named John Wheeler, but Wheeler did not see the entire thing correctly, in my opinion. He left out self-reference. The question always arises, “The universe is supposed to have existed for fifteen billion years, so if it takes consciousness to convert possibility into actuality, then how could the universe be around for so long?”

Because there was no consciousness, no sentient being, biological being, carbonbased being, in that primordial fireball which is supposed to have created the universe, the big bang.But this other way of looking at things says that the universe remained in possibility until there was self-referential quantum measurement—so that is the new concept. An observer’s looking is essential in order to manifest possibility into actuality, and so only when the observer looks, only then does the entire thing become manifest—including time. So all of past time, in that respect, becomes manifest right at that moment when the first sentient being looks.

It turns out that this idea, in a very clever, very subtle way, has been around in cosmology and astronomy under the guise of a principle called the “anthropic principle.” That is, the idea has been growing among astronomers—cosmologists anyway—that the universe has a purpose. It is so fine-tuned, there are so many coincidences, that it seems very likely that the universe is doing something purposive, as if the universe is growing in such a way that a sentient being will arise at some point.

WIE: So you feel there’s a kind of purposiveness to the way the universe is evolving; that, in a sense, it reaches its fruition in us, in human beings?

AG: Well, human beings may not be the end of it, but certainly they are the first fruition, because here is then the possibility of manifest creativity, creativity in the sentient being itself. The animals are certainly sentient, but they are not creative in the sense that we are. So human beings certainly right now seem to be an epitome, but this may not be the final epitome. I think we have a long way to go and there is a long evolution to occur yet.

WIE: In your book you even go so far as to suggest that the cosmos was created for our sake.

AG: Absolutely. But it means sentient beings, for the sake of all sentient beings. And the universe is us. That’s very clear.The universe is self-aware, but it is self-aware through us. We are the meaning of the universe. We are not the geographical center of the universe—Copernicus was right about that—but we are the meaning center of the universe.

WIE: Through us the universe finds its meaning?

AG: Through sentient beings. And that doesn’t have to be anthropocentric in the sense of only earthlings. There could be beings, sentient beings on other planets, in other stars—in fact I am convinced that there are—and that’s completely consonant with this theory.

WIE: This human-centered—or even sentient-being-centered—stance seems quite radical at a time when so much of modern progressive thought, across disciplines from ecology to feminism to systems theory, is going in the opposite direction. These perspectives point more toward interconnectedness or interrelatedness, in which the significance of any one part of the whole—including one species, such as the human species—is being de-emphasized. Your view seems to hark back to a more traditional, almost biblical kind of idea. How would you respond to proponents of the prevailing “nonhierarchical” paradigm?

AG: It’s the difference between the perennial philosophy that we are talking about, monistic idealism, and what is called a kind of pantheism. That is, these views—which I call “ecological worldviews” and which Ken Wilber calls the same thing—are actually denigrating God by seeing God as limited to the immanent reality. On the face of it, this sounds good because everything becomes divine—the rocks, the trees, all the way to human beings, and they are all equal and they are all divinity—it sounds fine, but it certainly does not adhere to what the spiritual teachers knew. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna, “All these things are in me, but I am not in them.” What does he mean by that? What he means is that “I am not exclusively in them.”

So there is evolution, in other words, in the manifest reality. Evolution happens. That means that the amoeba is, of course, a manifestation of consciousness, and so is the human being. But they are not in the same stage. Evolutionarily, yes, we are ahead of the amoeba. And these theories, these ecological-worldview people, they don’t see that. They don’t rightly understand what evolution is because they are ignoring the transcendent dimension, they are ignoring the purposiveness of the universe, the creative play. Ken Wilber makes this point very, very well in his book Sex, Ecology, Spirituality.

WIE: So you would say they have part of the picture but that without this other aspect that you are bringing in, their view is very—

AG: It’s very limited. And that’s why pantheism is very limited. When Westerners started going to India, they thought it was pantheistic because it has many, many gods. Indian philosophy tends to see God in nature, in many things—they worship rocks sometimes, that kind of thing—so they thought it was pantheistic and only somewhat later did they realize that there is a transcendent dimension. In fact, the transcendent dimension is developed extremely well in Indian philosophy, whereas the transcendent dimension in the West is hidden in the cave of a very few esoteric systems such as the Gnostics and a few great masters like Meister Eckhart.

In Jesus’ teachings you can see it in the Gospel according to Thomas. But you have to really dig deep to find that thread in the West. In India, in the Upanishads and the Vedanta and the Bhagavad Gita, it is very much explicit. Now, pantheism sounds very good. But it’s only part of the story. It’s a good way to worship, it’s a good way to bring spirituality into your daily life, because it is good to acknowledge that there is spirit in everything. But if we just see the diversity, see the God in everything, but don’t see the God which is beyond every particular thing, then we are not realizing our potential. We are not realizing our Self. And so, truly, Self-realization involves seeing this pantheistic aspect of reality, but also seeing the transcendent aspect of reality.

WIE: In addition to being a scientist, you are also a spiritual practitioner. Could you talk a little bit about what brought you to spirituality?

AG: Well, I’m afraid that is a pretty usual, almost classic, case. The ideal classic case, of course, is the famous case of the Buddha, who recognized at the age of twenty-nine that all of his pleasure as a prince was really a waste of time because there is suffering in the world. For me it was not that drastic, but when I was about thirty-seven the world started to fall apart on me. I lost my research grant, I had a divorce and I was very lonely. And the professional pleasure that I used to get by writing physics papers stopped being pleasure.

But in that era, around thirty-seven, that particular world—where God didn’t exist and where the meaning of life came just from brain-pursuits of glory in a profession—just did not satisfy me and did not bring happiness. In fact it was full of suffering. So I came to meditation. I wanted to see if there was any way of at least finding some solace, if not happiness. And eventually great joy came out of it, but that took time. And also, I must mention that I got married too, and the challenge of love was a very important one. In other words, I very soon discovered after I got married for the second time that love is very different than what I thought it was. So I discovered with my wife the meaning of love, and that was a big contribution also to my own spirituality.

WIE: It’s interesting that, while you turned to spirituality because you felt that science wasn’t really satisfying your own search for truth, you have nevertheless remained a scientist throughout.

AG: That’s true. It’s just that my way of doing science changed. What happened to me, the reason that I lost the joy of science, was because I had made it into a professional trip. I lost the ideal way of doing science, which is the spirit of discovery, the curiosity, the spirit of knowing truth. So I was not searching for truth anymore through science, and therefore I had to discover meditation, where I was searching for truth again, truth of reality.

What is the nature of reality after all? You see the first tendency was nihilism, nothing exists; I was completely desperate. But meditation very soon told me that no, it’s not that desperate. I had an experience. I had a glimpse that reality really does exist. Whatever it was I didn’t know, but something exists. So that gave me the prerogative to go back to science and see if I could now do science with new energy and new direction and really investigate truth instead of investigating because of professional glory.

WIE: How then did your newly revived interest in truth, this spiritual core to your life, inform your practice of science?

AG:
What happened was that I was not doing science anymore for the purpose of just publishing papers and doing problems which enabled you to publish papers and get grants. Instead, I was doing the really important problems. And the really important problems of today are very paradoxical and very anomalous. Well, I’m not saying that traditional scientists don’t have a few important problems. There are a few important problems there too. But one of the problems I discovered very quickly that would lead me, I just intuited, to questions of reality was the quantum measurement problem.

You see, the quantum measurement problem is supposed to be a problem which forever derails people from any professional achievement because it’s a very difficult problem. People have tried it for decades and have not been able to solve it. But I thought, “I have nothing to lose and I am going to investigate only truth, so why not see?” Quantum physics was something I knew very well. I had researched quantum physics all my life, so why not do the quantum measurement problem? So that’s how I came to ask this question, “What agency converts possibility into actuality?” And it still took me from 1975 to 1985 until, through a mystical breakthrough, I came to recognize this.

WIE: Could you describe that breakthrough?

AG:
Yes, I’d love to. It’s so vivid in my mind. You see, the wisdom was in those days—and this was in every sort of book, The Tao of Physics, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Fred Alan Wolf’s Taking the Quantum Leap, and some other books too—everywhere the wisdom was that consciousness must be an emergent phenomenon of the brain. And despite the fact that some of these people, to their credit, were giving consciousness causal efficacy, no one could explain how it happened. That was the mystery because, after all, if it’s an emergent phenomenon of the brain, then all causal efficacy must ultimately come from the material elementary particles.

So this was a puzzle to me. This was a puzzle to everybody. And I just couldn’t find any way to solve it. David Bohm talked about hidden variables, so I toyed with his ideas of an explicate order and an implicate order, that kind of thing—but this wasn’t satisfactory because in Bohm’s theory, again, there is no causal efficacy that is given to consciousness. It is all a realist theory. In other words, it is a theory on which everything can be explained through mathematical equations. There is no freedom of choice, in other words, in reality. So I was just struggling and struggling because I was convinced that there is real freedom of choice.

So then one time—and this is where the breakthrough happened—my wife and I were in Ventura, California and a mystic friend, Joel Morwood, came down from Los Angeles, and we all went to hear Krishnamurti. And Krishnamurti, of course, is extremely impressive, a very great mystic. So we heard him and then we came back home. We had dinner and we were talking, and I was giving Joel a spiel about my latest ideas of the quantum theory of consciousness and Joel just challenged me.

He said, “Can consciousness be explained?” And I tried to wriggle my way through that but he wouldn’t listen. He said, “You are putting on scientific blinders. You don’t realize that consciousness is the ground of all being.” He didn’t use that particular word, but he said something like, “There is nothing but God.” And something flipped inside of me which I cannot quite explain. This is the ultimate cognition, that I had at that very moment. There was a complete about-turn in my psyche and I just realized that consciousness is the ground of all being. I remember staying up that night, looking at the sky and having a real mystical feeling about what the world is, and the complete conviction that this is the way the world is, this is the way that reality is, and one can do science.

You see, the prevalent notion—even among people like David Bohm—was, “How can you ever do science without assuming that there is reality and material and all this? How can you do science if you let consciousness do things which are ‘arbitrary’?” But I became completely convinced—there has not been a shred of doubt ever since—that one can do science on this basis. Not only that, one can solve the problems of today’s science. And that is what is turning out. Of course all the problems did not get solved right on that night. That night was the beginning of a new way of doing science.

WIE: That’s interesting. So that night something really did shift for you in your whole approach. And everything was different after that?

AG: Everything was different.

WIE: Did you then find, in working out the details of what it would mean to do science in this context, that you were able to penetrate much more deeply or that your own scientific thinking was transformed in some way by this experience?

AG: Right. Exactly. What happened was very interesting. I was stuck, as I said, I was stuck with this idea before: “How can consciousness have causal efficacy?” And now that I recognized that consciousness was the ground of being, within months all the problems of quantum measurement theory, the measurement paradoxes, just melted away. I wrote my first paper which was published in 1989, but that was just refinement of the ideas and working out details.

The net upshot was that the creativity, which got a second wind on that night in 1985, took about another three years before it started fully expressing itself. But ever since I have been just blessed with ideas after ideas, and lots of problems have been solved—the problem of cognition, perception, biological evolution, mind-body healing. My latest book is called Physics of the Soul. This is a theory of reincarnation, all fully worked out. It has been just a wonderful adventure in creativity.

WIE:
So it sounds pretty clear that taking an interest in the spiritual, in your case, had a significant effect on your ability to do science. Looking through the opposite end of the lens, how would you say that being a scientist has affected your spiritual evolution?

AG: Well, I stopped seeing them as separate, so this identification, this wholeness, the integration of the spiritual and the scientific, was very important for me. Mystics often warn people, “Look, don’t divide your life into this and that.” For me it came naturally becauseI discovered the new way of doing science when I discovered spirit. Spirit was the natural basis of my being, so after that, whatever I do, I don’t separate them very much.

WIE: You mentioned a shift in your motivation for doing science—how what was driving you started to turn at a certain point. That’s one thing that we’ve been thinking about a lot as we’ve been looking into this issue: What is it that really motivates science? And how is that different from what motivates spiritual pursuit? Particularly, there have been some people we have discussed—thinkers like E. F. Schumacher or Huston Smith, for example—who feel that ever since the scientific revolution, when Descartes’s and Newton’s ideas took hold, the whole approach of science has been to try to dominate or control nature or the world.

Such critics question whether science could ever be a genuine vehicle for discovering the deepest truths, because they feel that science is rooted in a desire to know for the wrong reasons. Obviously, in your work you have been very immersed in the scientific world—you know a lot of scientists, you go to conferences, you’re surrounded by all of that and also, perhaps, you struggle with that motivation in yourself. Could you speak a little more about your experience of that?

AG: Yes, this is a very, very good question; we have to understand it very deeply. The problem is that in this pursuit, this particular pursuit of science, including the books that we mentioned earlier, The Tao of Physics and TheDancing Wu Li Masters, even when spirituality is recognized within the materialist worldview, God is seen only in the immanent aspect of divinity. What that means is: you have said that there is only one reality.

By saying that there is only one reality—material reality—even when you imbue matter with spirituality, because you are still dealing with only one level, you are ignoring the transcendent level. And therefore you are only looking at half of the pie; you are ignoring the other half. Ken Wilber makes this point very, very well. So what has to be done of course—and that’s when the stigma of science disappears—is to include the other half into science. Now, before my work, I think it was very obscure how this inclusion has to be done. Although people like Teilhard de Chardin, Aurobindo or Madame Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophy movement, recognized that such a science could have come, very few could actually see it.
So what I have done is to give actual flesh to all these visions that took place early in the century. And when you do that, when you recognize that science can be based on the primacy of consciousness, then this deficiency isn’t there anymore.

In other words then, the stigma that science is only separateness goes away. The materialist science is a separatist science. The new science, though, says that the material part of the world does exist, the separative movement is part of reality also, but it is not the only part of reality. There is separation, and then there is integration. So in my book The Self-Aware Universe I talk about the hero’s journey for the entire scientific endeavor. I said that, well, four hundred years ago, with Galileo, Copernicus, Newton and others, we started the separatist sail and we went on a separate journey of separateness, but that’s only the first part of the hero’s journey. Then the hero discovers and the hero returns. It is the hero’s return that we are now witnessing through this new paradigm.

%d bloggers like this: