10 signs of a spiritual awakening

THE FUTURE OF WELL BEING – Deepak Chopra

Playing our Part– Innovations in thought and technology hint at our future. How can we find the best path forward?

Deepak Chopra, Founder, The Chopra Foundation and Senior Scientist, Gallup Organization

8 Ways to Activate Your Intuition ~ Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD

Intuition can be defined as understanding or knowing without a conscious and immediate route to thought or reason. Some may categorize it as mystical, while others may describe it as a response to unconscious cues or previous learning.

However, intuition can be a tricky subject. I have dealt with many clients who confuse delusions or illusive tendencies with intuition. This could be misguiding to them, creating anxiety and confusion. The reason for this is that while intuition is something we all have and can access, it needs activation.

Becoming too much of a logical mind without using your intuition can be unproductive, but the same is also true with being too intuitive and not logical. Some of the greatest discoveries, inventions and creations of our times have been done by experts who were open to their intuitive side and responded to their hunches in a productive way.

In order for you to activate your intuitive tendencies, you may find the following useful:

1.Learn To Become Objective
The more objective you become, the clearer your path to accessing your intuition. Being objective means being less biased in the way you approach life and its challenges.

To do that you need to move above the situation and look at it without being emotionally blinded by it.

You need to look for an uncensored truth of the situation before making a judgment. In other words, you need to be willing to move beyond the tip of the iceberg.

2. Increase Your Knowledge And Experience

The more experience and knowledge you have in a specific subject, the more reliable your intuition will become.

For example, someone who has had more experiences with children seems to be better at intuitively knowing how to deal with them in certain situations.

This is not to say that there are any guarantees, and that one with experience and knowledge is always right, because we all have our self serving biases, but the chances of it being more reliable increases with knowledge and expertise.

3. Activate Your Logical Side

When your mind is functional, you can take in your intuitive information and hunches, and do an evaluation to test its accuracy.

Finding that bridge between the two, and helping them work together brings you closer to your fully functioning self.

Intuition is an access to the innate wisdom and knowledge, but logic is needed to filter this knowledge in a practical and useful way.

If we have all the knowledge in the world without knowing how to make it applicable, we are missing half of the equation. Even worse, the other half may become useless, confusing and even chaotic.

4. Learn To Be Centered

Being centered is nothing more than feeling in peace. I have written extensively about this subject and what it means to feel peace within, which is an ultimate form of happiness.

It is a form of happiness that has all the benefits, but not as much of a cost.

To be centered, you have to learn to go through the necessary behavioral, cognitive and emotional modification to let go of any heavy baggage that you are carrying — and releasing and modifying what does not work.

Connecting to your internal knowing and intuition is easier when you don’t have heavy baggage blocking your way.

When you have more drama than you can handle, your intuition becomes hazy.

5. Self Monitor And Self Reflect

Whether you do this through meditation, prayer or quiet times, it is important to self monitor and check for your intuitive accuracies. Look for patterns and evaluate the feelings and situations attached to them.

See what part of your intuition has been reliable in the past and what has been misleading, and then try to make shifts and adjustments.

For example, if you think you’re intuitive, but your intuitive hunches have mostly been wrong in the past, do a self check in to see what that is.

Do you get overly emotional in situations? Do you overreact? Are you impulsive when something does not go your way? Do you constantly feel drained by drama?

These are some of the questions that may be useful.

6. Learn To Become More Empathetic

Some researchers report that empathy is in our genes, we just need to let it unleash. By becoming more empathetic, unconditionally, we give ourselves the ability to connect.

The more we connect to others, the easier it gets for us to get in touch with our intuitive side.

An empathetic person is able to walk out of her zone and get into something that may be foreign to her, to understand it and to acknowledge the other’s experience as accurate for that person.

Someone who is empathetic learns to give attention and a feeling of significance to the other.

An empathetic person is not only aware of what is in the present, but also the past experiences and how it affects the present.

7. Don’t Let Arrogance Make You Ignorant

There is an old saying, the more you know, the more you know how much you don’t know. The smartest of people who know relatively a lot, have these “wow” moments of realizing how much more there is to learn.

Therefore, don’t let your ego manipulate you into believing that the small little part of this life you see is all there is to it.

Be open to the fact that what humans know, while it is admirable, is but a few drops in the ocean. Therefore, don’t close mindedly deny something just because you can’t see it.

Being reasonably skeptical, but at the same time knowingly convinced, that there is more to life can help you channel through your intuition.

8. Keep in mind that like any other skill, becoming more intuitive takes time and practice.

While some may have a more innate natural tendency toward it, we all are capable of becoming more intuitive and we all need practice to become good at it.

When you learn to find a bridge between your intuition and your logic, you feel more like your complete self and you become more productive, and you get this feeling that things just become easier for you.

At the end, as always, aim for it, enjoy the process and don’t forget to have a little faith.

CONSCIOUSNESS RESEARCH AND PLANETARY CHANGE: AN INTERVIEW WITH EDGAR D. MITCHELL by Tom Hurley

Founder Edgar Mitchell was recently interviewed by Tom Hurley, Director of Membership Education.

Members of the Institute are always interested in your experience in space. Can you tell us something about that?

None who have looked at Earth and the cosmos from deep space have failed to be dramatically moved by the sight. For me, as I contemplated the tiny jewel that is Earth, against the background of stars and galaxies, I experienced a sense of oneness and wholeness beyond my previous experience. I recognized that my prior vision of “reality” was far too limited. The universe is more grand, more magnificent, more purposeful than I had ever imagined. I realized at that time that our science was incomplete, that our religious cosmologies were Earth centered and flawed. I recognized that in some sense the universe is conscious and intelligent in ways I did not then comprehend.

It was this feeling—an experience of certainty that there was an intelligence and a purposefulness in the universe that we humans had not yet understood—that led to the founding of the Institute to do research into the nature of consciousness.

How do those insights relate to the theme of our conference, “Global Mind Change—From Vision to Reality”?

It has been clear to me since that experience that we humans needed to expand our understanding of who and what we are in relationship to planet Earth. The destiny of our civilization is being determined every day by our collective human activities which are in turn founded upon our collective beliefs about ultimate values and fundamental causality. Few would disagree these days that planet Earth is in deep trouble from human dynamics. Until recent decades, however, the concept of mind as distinct from brain, particularly the concept of collective or global mind, was considered a non sequitur in Western culture. Human intention was not relevant other than in a local sense.

That we now know to be utterly false. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift, one aspect of which is change from the notion that “We can mess it up and God will clean it up” to the notion of “Change your mind, change your world”. There is now recognition that power and responsibility are internal, not external.

What are the principles which guide movement “from vision to reality” in our lives? Is there a dynamic that can be articulated?

The one fundamental principle is that human behavior and conscious action are determined primarily by the deepest level of committed knowledge and beliefs. All new things begin as ideas shaped subsequently into visions. But only when visions are deeply infused into the mind/body, supported by knowledge and charged with the power of emotion, do they begin to take the shape of reality. No other principle is really necessary. When people begin to experience, to understand, to believe—and believe deeply—about their true meaning and purpose, action will take place automatically . . .

What are the most critical issues we face today?

The critical issues are all interrelated. They stem from a common cause and will be resolved by a common solution—corrected perception as to ultimate values and causes. A partial list of issues must start with population growth, human rights violations, natural resources mismanagement, species extinction, global warming, and unfettered growth of industrialization, among others. Thus one might say that the most critical issue is awareness and consciousness since nothing will change without changed perceptions of “reality”. And everything will begin to change in the right direction as soon as there is a changed perception of reality.

How is consciousness research relevant to these issues?

Consciousness research is relevant because we have learned through our studies that the universe is a billion times more beautiful, abundant and malleable than humans ever dreamed it to be. We shape our “reality” from the miniscule amount of information our sensory mechanisms gather and organize from experience into our “map” of reality. Gather and organize different information by expanded awareness and extended sensors,a different reality emerges. Reality is not an immutable absolute as has been long believed in Western culture but is the reflection of our conditioning and beliefs based upon an infinitesimal sampling of the information available to us. Whatever the nature of the ultimate reality, humans can only consciously discern it through the lens of our sensors and as shaped by belief. Thus far in human history we have been perceiving the universe and ourselves in a very limiting fashion.

What is transformation?

“Transformation”, in the context of consciousness research and devoid of all mystical and supernatural overtones, is what happens when humans perceive a larger, more all-encompassing reality than they previously held. By immersing oneself in experiences which quiet the restless mind, which release the rigidity of dogmatic and confining beliefs, which expand awareness and increase knowledge—a transformation will take place. It may be subtle and slow or rapid and explosive but it will happen. “Transformation” has mistakenly had the popular connotation of something mystical and magical only because mind and consciousness have been considered as “givens”—fixed, immutable, indeed abstract notions. This view is simply not correct. We have an almost unlimited capability to reshape our information, our beliefs, our reality—that is, to be transformed

Edgar D. Mitchell Was An Apollo 14 Astronaut and the Founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences

Rupert Sheldrake – The Extended Mind – Telepathy. Pt 1 to 3

Rupert Sheldrake is a British former biochemist and plant physiologist who now researches and writes on parapsychology and other controversial subjects. His books and papers stem from his theory of morphic resonance, and cover topics such as animal and plant development and behaviour, memory, telepathy and perception.

In 2003, Sheldrake published The Sense of Being Stared At on the psychic staring effect, including an experiment where blindfolded subjects guessed whether persons were staring at them or at another target. He reported that, in tens of thousands of trials, the scores were consistently above chance (60%) when the subject was being stared at, but only 50% (random chance) when the subject was not being stared at. This suggested a weak sense of being stared at but no sense of not being stared at. He also claimed that these experiments were widely repeated, in schools in Connecticut and Toronto and a science museum in Amsterdam, with consistent results.

Rupert Sheldrake – The Extended Mind – The Sense Of Being Stared At. Pt 2/3

Rupert Sheldrake – The Extended Mind – The Sense Of Being Stared At. Pt 3/3

WAKE UP: Are You Thinking or Just Reacting to Your Life? ~ Russell Bishop

Are you thinking or merely reacting as you go through life’s challenges these days? I mean, really thinking, not just mindlessly or emotionally reacting to the stuff happening to you? If you find yourself judging, condemning, complaining or blaming then you can pretty much be assured that you’re in reaction mode. While normal enough, these emotional reactions inhibit conscious choice and block your ability to create any kind of useful response to what bedevils you.

I was reading a little book called “The Power Within You” by my friend and teacher, John-Roger, when I came across this passage:

Thinking is not a natural process of the human consciousness. You may say, “Sure it is. Everybody thinks.” I have news for you: very few people think. Most people react and then pass that off as thinking. Thinking is the cause of things. Reaction is the effect.

How often are you actually thinking, and how often are you reacting? You are probably reacting about 90 percent of the time. For the most part, you are reacting either to your previous reactions or to someone else’s reactions. It’s a long chain of effect and effect and effect. It’s like dominos: you hit one and they all go.

Knowing how often I get caught up in my own reactive states, reading this got me to, well, thinking. What does it mean to think rather than simply react? For me, this rather simple yet challenging question translates into my own personal “wake up call.”

It’s Time to WAKE UP

While this may not be your sequence of thought, much less a perfect sequence, it may become your own version of the alarm clock. Rather than hit the snooze button, use these “alarms” to help you examine any issue with which you may find yourself struggling during the day:

1. What just happened
2. Assess the situation and accept the obvious
3. Consider options available
4. Take the best course of action you have available
5. Observe how its working
6. Repeat until you are satisfied with the outcome

These may seem like simple questions of observation, assessment and making choices. However, most people don’t observe as much as they react to what they see.

Think about your local hero, the firefighter or other first responder. If you happen to be unfortunate to wind up in a fire or some other kind of tragedy, how do you want your first responder to, well, respond? Notice the name isn’t first reactor! If it’s me, I want that first responder to show up, assess the situation, and pick from the best available choices given the circumstances. I certainly don’t want my responder to go into some kind of emotional reactionary state instead and waste time blaming whatever or whomever started the situation in the first place. There’s plenty of time for blame and complain later, as if blame were ever going to correct the situation — after all, as I have written many times in the past, blaming and complaining won’t get you to where you’re going, but it will give you a great set of excuses for being stuck where you are.

Wondering what this might look like in real life? Well, if you actually think about this for a couple of seconds, I’m sure you can come up with dozens of examples. Here’s something that happened just recently in Utah which you probably saw on the news or YouTube:

Observation: If you watch the sequence of events closely, you will see some people coming to the scene of the accident — some initially just gaping which is understandable — after all this certainly looks tragic.

Assess: However, notice the young woman in the flip flops who winds up the ground observing and assessing the situation — several times, actually, as the first couple of action choices don’t appear to be working.

Options: The sequence is certainly quick, but you will see people acting (perhaps reacting), but then they stop for a few seconds, reassess the situation, and then take action again — and again.

Action: And as you probably know, they manage to get the young man out from under the car, saving his life. It’s also pretty obvious that these responders needed to observe, assess, take action, and then cycle back through Observe (this isn’t working), Assess (he’s still trapped and alive), Options (try different angles, get more people involved),

By the way, what isn’t so obvious, is that the driver of the car is one of the rescuers! Imagine all the times we have seen video of crowds reacting against the person apparently “at fault.” What would have been the outcome in this instance if these people had reacted rather than responding?

Ask anyone who has come through tragedy and made the best of it, and you will find some version of this same wise counsel: you need to observe and tell the truth about what happened to you; then you need to assess your options and make the best choices you can with what’s left; and then you need to observe, assess and choose again. And again and again. My friend and truly inspirational example of day-to-day choosing, W. Mitchell (who himself survived a fiery and disfiguring motorcycle crash only to wind up paralyzed years later in a plane crash),

“It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it … Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I’ve lost or focus on the 9,000 I have left.”

So, what’s happening in your life or more to the point, what has happened to you over the past months or years? What aspects of your life would you like to improve? If you lost your job, house, car, family or something even worse, you are likely to have experienced any number of emotions from hurt, anger and grief, to blame, complain and a sense of helplessness. However, as understandable as these reactions are, they won’t help you dig out and rebuild.

What choices can you make starting today to move from reactor to responder? Remember, you don’t have to be “perfectionally correct, just directionally correct.”`

Dalai Lama Reincarnation: Tibetan Spiritual Leader Says He Will Spell Out Own Details


Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader The Dalai Lama gestures as he delivers a speech during a Tibetan religious conference in Dharamshala on September 23, 2011. Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said September 23 he was in ‘no hurry’ to decide how his reincarnation might be chosen, but stressed the final word lay with him, not China. (STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

DHARMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama said Saturday if he is to be reincarnated he will leave clear written instructions about the process, but that the matter is unlikely to come up for a number of years.

The Tibetan spiritual leader said in a statement that when he is “about 90” he will consult Buddhist scholars to evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue at all. He is 76.

The statement came after a meeting between the Dalai Lama and the leaders of the four Tibetan Buddhist sects, the first since he transferred his political role earlier this year to an elected prime minister.

China reviles the Dalai Lama as a separatist, although the Nobel Peace Prize laureate insists he is only seeking increased autonomy for Tibet. Beijing has left little doubt that it intends to be deeply involved in choosing the next Dalai Lama. That concern has led the current Dalai Lama to contemplate ideas that break with the ancient system in which each dead Dalai Lama is reincarnated in the body of a male child.

In May, the Dalai Lama formally stepped down as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile, giving up the political power that he and his predecessors have wielded over Tibetans for hundreds of years. Though he remains the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, his decision to abdicate is one of the biggest upheavals in the community since a Chinese crackdown led him to flee Tibet in 1959 into exile in India.

China insists that religious law requires that the Dalai Lama’s reincarnation be born in a Tibetan area under Chinese control. However, the Dalai Lama has said his successor will be born in exile and has even floated the idea of choosing his own successor while still alive – perhaps even a woman.

In his statement Saturday, he said if the institution of the Dalai Lama were to continue, then he would leave behind “clear written instructions about it.”

“Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognized through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

The Dalai Lama has lived in the Indian hill town of Dharmsala since fleeing Tibet. China says Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans say the region was virtually independent for centuries.

What Is Consciousness? ~ Deepak Chopra

Deepak answers questions about the nature of consciousness. How is consciousness defined and is the universe conscious? These questions are from readers of book War of the Worldviews: Science vs. Spirituality by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow.

By Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow

Two bestselling authors first met in a televised Caltech debate on “the future of God,” one an articulate advocate for spirituality, the other a prominent physicist. This remarkable book is the product of that serendipitous encounter and the contentious—but respectful—clash of worldviews that grew along with their friendship.

In War of the Worldviews these two great thinkers battle over the cosmos, evolution and life, the human brain, and God, probing the fundamental questions that define the human experience.

How did the universe emerge?
What is the nature of time?
What is life?
Did Darwin go wrong?
What makes us human?
What is the connection between mind and brain?
Is God an illusion?

This extraordinary book will fascinate millions of readers of science and spirituality alike, as well as anyone who has ever asked themselves, What does it mean that I am alive?

AVATAR: THE EPIC HERO: Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar

Video Produced by http://www.PeteMcCormack.com
In Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar Jeffrey Armstrong speaks to anyone concerned with the sustainability of Mother Earth, the role of elders in our society, the seemingly unconsciousness of science and corporations, and the subtleties of unseen realities, resulting in spiritual growth, a deeper relationship with nature, and a better world for all.

AVATAR: The Earth is Intelligent:

Imagine a world filled with souls who live in the service of all beings, inspired by the loving example of the great Avatars.
From the New book ….”Spiritual Teachings of the AVATAR – Ancient Wisdom for a New World”. Beyond Words Publishers. Available on Amazon.com worldwide! Interview with Jeffrey Armstrong. Produced by Pete McCormack.

AVATAR: Seeing the Soul in Everyone 3.mov

The word Avatar has been thrust into the global consciousness, raising the question what exactly does Avatar mean? To many, an avatar is what you call the digital representation of your physical self for video or computer games, but that meaning has only existed for the last two decades. Avatar as Armstrong describes it, has been in use for over 5,000 years by one of the most ancient cultures—India.

In Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar author Jeffrey Armstrong shares the hidden messages of the historical Avatars, which offer insights we can use today to sustain our planet and elevate our spiritual growth. Armstrong explains the ancient Indian wisdoms embodied in the word Avatar. These divine beings view the sacredness of all life and the soul of all beings as eternal—meant for freedom and made of divine essence.
Armstrong has studied Vedic knowledge for over forty years and has explored the depths of many of the greatest teachings of India. He is a westerner who has been selected by Hindu leaders throughout the world to act as a spokesperson for Hindu Dharma and culture.

Does The Eternal Soul Exist? ~ Michael Graziano

Neuroscientists understand, at least in general, how the biological machinery of the brain can compute information. But how does a brain become aware of information? What is sentience itself? When a specific part of the brain is damaged, does the patient lose only a specific category of knowledge, such as vision or language, or can the patient ever lose some of the essence of awareness?

A clinical syndrome called hemispatial neglect may help to answer the question. It is one of the most fascinating, and horrible, syndromes in the medical literature. Neglect was first described early in the 20th century, and over the years much has been learned about it.

Imagine waking up in the hospital after a stroke to find that half your world is gone. The left side of space and everything in it has been erased from your consciousness. You can talk to the people who stand to the right side of your hospital bed, but when they walk to the left side they disappear from your mind. You dress the right side of your body but forget to dress the left. You think you’ve eaten everything on your plate, but have eaten only the food on the right side. You can’t even conceive of a left side of the plate. When someone rotates the plate, food that you didn’t acknowledge before suddenly appears. When you draw a clock, you crush all 12 numbers into the right side of the drawing and don’t notice that anything is wrong. You have no insight into your own condition because, lacking any awareness of a left side of space, you can’t realize what is missing.

This bizarre and crippling syndrome is not simple blindness. After all, blind people and sighted people who close their eyes know about the objects around them. Instead it is a mental blindness. It covers vision, touch, hearing, memory and concept.

Over the years, different varieties of neglect have been described and associated with damage to different brain regions. But the most dense, profound loss of awareness is associated with a region of the cerebral cortex roughly just above the ear on the right side of the brain. Much more rarely, neglect of the right side of space is caused by damage to the same general area on the left side of the brain.

Neglect is a peculiar syndrome. It suggests that awareness is not a unified item, but like many constructs of the brain it can be knocked apart into a right and a left half. It suggests that awareness is constructed at least partially by a specific region of the brain. It suggests a close relationship between awareness and attention.

The findings are controversial. That same general region of the brain has been found to play a role in social thinking — in understanding the minds of other people. Why would a brain area involved in social intelligence also participate in one’s own basic awareness? Which of the rival accounts is correct? I have argued in my scientific writing that the two functions are not rivals, and instead are closely related. Awareness, sentience itself, may be part of the toolkit we use to understand ourselves and each other. It may be a function of our social brain.

In my view, there really is such a thing as a spirit, a soul, but it is not as people have imagined it in the past. The soul is information of a special kind, wrapped up into a complex structure, instantiated in the circuitry of the brain. It is quirky and individual to each of us, and is precious because it is not eternal.

Michael Graziano is the author of God Soul Mind Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Reflections on the Spirit World ( Refer to Book Review of this blog)

Science Needs to Ask: ‘What Is Consciousness?’ by Deepak Chopra

Anyone who equates myth with superstition would claim that we live in a world that has gone beyond mythology. Science is proud of vanquishing superstition, and a certain vocal contingent of atheists use science to bolster their belief that God is pure superstition. However, mythology is harder to vanquish that that. It crops up in new guises, because myths aren’t superstitions. They are mental templates, operating assumptions, the beliefs that bolster a world view and, above all, a way to explain nature. In any infinite universe, the human mind finds ways to tell a story that will bring the infinite within reach, and myths serve that function.

Sometimes myths are so strong that they pen reality in, building a fence around it and forcing every natural event to stay inside the fence. When God or the gods were the cause of earthly events, the fence was tight and inescapable. But the rise of quantum theory a century ago revealed that even stronger fences were hemming in our sense of reality. We explained the universe through matter and energy governed by physical laws.

In the pre-quantum world this scheme wasn’t theory; it was reality, pure and simple. Everything inside this fence acted the same way. It operated by cause and effect. It never went faster than the speed of light. It conformed to mathematical formulations. It excluded the mushy emotions and shifting moods of subjectivity. Science claimed to have found a model for nature that was based on reason alone. How strange, then, that reason was actually the seed of a new mythology, and even stranger, that this rock-solid system is crumbling all around us.

In previous posts I’ve given the simplest indications of the cracks in the pre-quantum scientific mythology. It turns out that matter has no real existence but is a pattern of waves entangled in the quantum field. It turns out that events are not localized in time and space but have ramifications that go beyond spacetime and travel faster than the speed of light. And in the end, the entire universe, including space and time, emerged from a state of potentiality that transcends visible creation. None of this is disputable, yet we all lead our lives as if the old boundaries hem us in. In fact, these boundaries were self-created. They are part of our accepted mythology.

Seeing what the next stage might be, after the old mythology totally crumbles, falls to a handful of speculative thinkers, many of them physicists, since they are the direct heirs of the quantum evolution. The key ideas that are catching hold, at various stages of acceptance, include the following:

The universe is evolving.

The universe is conscious.

The universe is a living organism.

The way that the cosmos presents itself depends on how you look at it.

Reality conforms to the explanation we impose upon it.

The human mind may be creating what we call reality, which mirrors us but contains infinite possibilities unreachable by the human mind.

Creation may be eternal and infinite, with countless Big Bangs and multiple universes.

Not all of these ideas are compatible with one another, and all are evolving. But the promising thing is that they are coming out into the open, acquiring respectability and therefore leading to dialogue without anyone being ostracized. Which isn’t to say that materialism, the basis of science itself, has been toppled or even lost its firm grip. Speculative thinking is the basis of all original discoveries, not to mention awe and wonder. But on an everyday basis, scientists perform experiments and seek mathematical rigor. Thus the common expression, “Shut up and calculate.” Or, an equally arrogant dismissal that one young physicist received form an elder colleague, “I remember when you did good science.”

Mythology, as was pointed out in the beginning, isn’t superstition — it’s the way we convince ourselves that we have the right explanation. It’s a conceptual fence in which we hope to corral nature. Science will continue to be science, of course, yet the next phase of its evolution needs somebody to look outside the fence. That will surely happen; it’s beginning to now. Even more intriguing is how science and religion are approaching the same obstacle. Science has come to the point where even quantum theory cannot venture. We want to know what gave rise to the universe, what preceded time and space, how randomness is related to design, why the laws of nature mesh so precisely and other ultimate questions. They imply a pre-created state that gave rise to creation, and yet we may never be able to venture there, not even with mathematics. Time and space are tough boundaries to cross when the human brain is a product of processes in time and space.

To go where science wants to go, it needs to become more complete, and for me, it can benefit hugely by expanding into the realm long governed by spirituality. The avenue unexplored by science, even dismissed and denied, is our inner world. “Subjectivity” is a dirty word in science, and yet it can’t be denied that all experience is ultimately subjective. Even science takes place in consciousness. Where else could it take place? Having conceded this obvious point, science needs to ask, “What is consciousness?” The answer to that enormous question is suddenly more urgent. It can no longer be reconciled to the fringes or shrugged off as metaphysics. Unless we know the actual range of human awareness, its source and its capabilities, we will never understand reality. That understanding is the common goal of science and spirituality both, and both are needed to get there.

What Is Enlightenment? ~ Ken McLeod

“I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.” –Yogi Berra

Enlightenment. It’s why you practice, right? To become enlightened? You probably have your own ideas about it.

The end of suffering. The end of karma. The end of confusion. Free from the struggles of life. The end of anger or greed or stupidity. Free from neuroses and neurotic thinking. Ultimate sanity. Know what life is and what life is about. Emptiness. Free from subjective interpretation. See things just as they are. Free from bias and prejudice. Total objectivity. Infallible. Transform all experience into wisdom. Special powers. Complete and total moral integrity. Beyond reproach, beyond question in everything you do. Know exactly what to do in every situation and do it effortlessly. Able to help others out of their misery. Union of emptiness and compassion. Able to change the world, transform society, heal and cure all that is wrong with the world. The leading edge of the best hope for humanity.

It all sounds pretty wonderful.

Enlightenment is a promise of freedom from life as you know it. It’s your ticket out of this mess called “life.” It is something other than what you are experiencing right now. When you are enlightened, all your frustration and difficulties with practice and with life will vanish in the light of your understanding and wisdom.

Aren’t you already enlightened, but just don’t realize it? That’s what some teachers say. It seems that if you don’t know you are enlightened, then you aren’t and if you do know you are then you are. You know you are, because you’ve heard that you are, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Does that mean that you don’t know that you are enlightened or you do? It’s all a bit confusing, but you know it will all make sense once you are enlightened. Or is it when you know you are enlightened?

Right now, you can’t wait. You work at practice, putting in time on your cushion, going to retreats. You become an “experienced practitioner.” But nothing seems to change. You still get distracted when you meditate. You still react to situations unpredictably. You hear about these extraordinary experiences, non-self, emptiness, sheer clarity, bliss, etc. Maybe you taste them from time to time. But you are still stuck in life, and that can’t be enlightenment. When you hear that so and so has experienced satori or kensho or become a stream-winner or has insight or seen the nature of mind — whatever — they seem to be the same person to you. You can’t really say what is different. And you still have problems in your life. Most of the time you are struggling with the same old same old in your meditation.

You spend a lot of time with your teacher and you see that he or she isn’t free from the problems of life. She is able to guide you in your practice, perhaps very well. His meditation instruction is precise and illuminating. But now and then, you get a glimpse, or more than a glimpse of what seems to be their own struggles with life. Maybe you see them acting inappropriately or even unethically in certain areas. How can that be? Aren’t they beyond that? Aren’t they realized? Aren’t they enlightened?

You begin to wonder about the point of all this work. Have you been deceived? Have you fooled yourself? Where is this freedom that everyone talks about? Yet you continue to practice.

While you may not notice anything changing, something happens. You sometimes notice that situations and interactions that were problems for you are no longer problems, but you don’t really remember when they stopped being problems. You aren’t as hard on yourself, even though you pay much more attention to what you do, what you say, and how you direct your attention. There are long periods of barely discernible changes, and then something shifts profoundly, for no apparent reason.

You see that some problematic behaviors and ways of thinking have dropped away. Others, you realize, are probably not going to drop away, but you aren’t taken in by them anymore. You are much more accepting of yourself and others. You see very clearly how reactions based on survival, getting emotional needs met or being somebody consistently result in suffering and struggle for yourself and those around you. You see this in yourself, and you see it in others. Because you see it so clearly in yourself, you know how it is for others, and your heart goes out to them, even when their behavior is infuriating.

The upshot is that you are a part of the unfolding of life, rather than apart from it. You know contentment, peace, freedom, understanding and compassion, but they are not anything like what you thought they would be. They don’t seem special in anyway, and yet they are. You place less and less value on having certain experiences. It’s more important for you just to be there and to do the best you can, in ordinary situations, and in difficult ones. You stop looking for something different. Life itself points a way and you take it.

Book Description

The key to becoming fully alive and joyful is to develop our natural capacity for attention and to be fully present here and now. In this informative guidebook to practical Buddhism you discover:

How to live life with equanimity, loving-kindness, compassion, and joy

How to cut through obsessions with the external world, relationships, harmful emotions, pleasure and power, and self

Tried-and-true methods for cultivating active attention with your body and mind.

The Art of Listening ~ Jeff Gitterman

Have you ever noticed that the words listen and silent are spelled with the same letters? Perhaps this is no accident, because in many ways they mean the same thing. Have you ever talked to someone and walked away feeling enriched because they were such a good listener, even if they were a complete stranger?

This talent is what accounts for some of the best psychologists in the world — and some of the best salespeople. Interestingly, the ability to listen is also the trait most people refer to in a great relationship partner or leader.

My own understanding of the power of listening came about many years ago, when I arrived for an appointment with a client of mine. He was a doctor, was having a bad day, had gotten home late and was running around trying to get ready for me. He and his wife were frazzled, and their 8-year-old daughter was bouncing off the walls, happy to have her parents home and craving their attention.

I remember being acutely aware of how much these people just needed some calm stillness more than anything else. It was one of the first moments where I really started to put my attention consciously on my clients, and I gave my attention 100 percent to this family.

I don’t even remember what we spoke about. I mostly just listened to them. And within about 10 minutes, the doctor’s daughter fell asleep on her mother’s lap and the mother leaned back in her chair. The doctor loosened his tie, his breathing calmed and the frenzied atmosphere in the room relaxed. He turned to me at the end of the appointment and said I must have hypnotized his family. Half joking, he asked me if I could come and do the same thing at 5 p.m. every day.

Have some faith that the universe has brought you and the other person together for a more important reason than what you can get out of it in the moment. And if that’s true, the only way we are going to see that purpose and reason is to become silent, to truly listen to the other person and see what happens next. And silence doesn’t only mean refraining from speaking. It also means quieting the ongoing dialogue in our head — the mental noise — so that we can really focus on another person and what they are communicating to us.

The first thing that people often say to this is, “If I’m not looking out for myself, I’m going to get walked all over!” Many people assume that if they come from a position that isn’t fixed, they’re going to get taken advantage of.

I’ve actually found the opposite to be true: When another person isn’t met with resistance, they then begin to back down from their fixed positions, which creates a space for something new to occur. And in that space, it often becomes easier to find the right course of action, because there isn’t a sense of desperation driving you to try and get something specific from the situation.

It’s also easier to protect yourself and make the right decisions when you’re not coming from that needy place. So, for example, you might be going to a meeting, listening to the other person’s proposal with your full attention and then saying, “No, I can’t do that. It wouldn’t be beneficial for both of us.” It’s not about you walking in and giving away the farm.

Give your attention completely to another person — and see what happens. When you’re in that space, you’ll know exactly what decision to make when it comes to your relationships and your business. Unfortunately, too many of us spend our whole lives waiting to get something from the world so that we can show up as the person we always knew we could be. Deep in our hearts we think there’s something missing. But when we flip that mindset, we can discover that by becoming a giver rather than a taker, we can become agents for change in the world.


Adapted from “Beyond Success: Redefining the Meaning of Prosperity” – © 2009 Jeffrey L. Gitterman – All rights reserved – Published by AMACOM Books – A Division of the American Management Association – http://www.amacombooks.org.

When you have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you are peeing in the present” – Zen quote that Jeffrey Gitterman, author of Beyond Success Consulting, quoted in my interview with him last year. Gotta love it!!!!! Those zen quotes are profound!! LOL

People come into your life for a reason

Life Lessons
Music Produced By : Tomiko
Native Spirit

Consciousness Matters: Exploring the Mysteries of Inner Space

What is Consciousness? This video features: Edgar Mitchell, Deepak Chopra, Marilyn Schlitz, Dean Radin and Cassandra Vieten in an exploration of the Mysteries of Inner Space. For almost 40 years, the Institute of Noetic Sciences has explored the fundamental powers and potentials of consciousness using the tools of basic science. We invite you to join us to become a Noetic Scientist and to she how Consciousness Matters! Produced for IONS 2011 Conference NOETIC 2.0 in San Francisco.

The Emerging Global Mind by Tiffany Shlain

Fifteen years ago I founded the Webby Awards. I was fascinated by how the Internet was connecting people all over the world in new and unexpected ways. I have also been struck by the many conversations about the problems of our day that view them as separate challenges—whether the environment, women’s rights, poverty, or social justice. It has become increasingly apparent to me that when you perceive everything as connected, it radically shapes your perspective.

The concept of interdependence isn’t new; it’s been around since the dawn of humanity. For two-hundred-thousand years, we’ve been connecting through networks both natural and technological. Interdependence has long been a tenet of Eastern philosophy and indigenous cosmologies. But the recent addition of the Internet has added a new layer, which connects us in a fresh way, giving the world a new type of central nervous system. Something happens in one place, and we can see it, feel it, and do something about it almost instantaneously.

Technology is clearly changing us, especially the way we connect with our friends, families, and the world around us. It has this huge potential. But technology has also led to some of the biggest problems of our day. It’s accelerating our connectedness in ways we can’t even predict or be completely aware of. Take the honeybees and their well-documented disappearance. Albert Einstein predicted that if honeybees were to disappear, humanity would be gone in four years. Several theories explain why the honeybees are disappearing—toxic chemicals being the most likely cause—but the impacts of an entirely new grid of human-induced electromagnetic energy has also been proposed as the culprit. New books such as Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows and Sherry Turkle’s Alone Together highlight studies that show how our behaviors and brains are negatively affected by a 24/7 digitally connected world. The sociopolitical warnings in Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble and Evgeny Mozrozov’s The Net Delusion are another concern.

My father, Leonard Shlain, loved to quote Sophocles: “Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.” From the beginning of time, every new technological advancement has brought with it a complex mix of positive and negative repercussions as well as unintended consequences. I set out to make a film that addresses the potential of our twenty-first-century technologies and the importance of harnessing their powers. I also wanted to examine what can happen when these new technologies take over and sometimes overwhelm our personal lives. What does it mean to be connected in the twenty-first century? How can we use the power of all these connections to turn things around for the better? I titled the film Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death, and Technology, and I asked my father to cowrite the project with me.

Overlooking the Personal

My dad was a surgeon but also a pioneer in writing about the connections between science, consciousness, the human brain, art, and civilization. His best-selling books include The Alphabet Versus the Goddess; Sex, Time, and Power; and Art and Physics. He was an incredible visionary who had a wonderful knowledge of history, and I felt he would make an enormous contribution to the film. He was one of the people who taught me to look for connections in the first place. He searched for patterns that gave insight into why we do what we do.

His first book, Art and Physics, drew parallels between breakthroughs in art and breakthroughs in science. He found examples of this throughout history—such as the way Cubism challenged viewers’ notions about space and time right before Einstein published his theory about space and time and the way the artist Seurat started to paint with tiny dots around the same time that scientists were theorizing the existence of molecules. In The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, he presented evidence that showed whenever the alphabet and literacy were introduced into a society, they overstimulated the analytic left hemisphere of the brain and shifted the balance of power between men and women to favor patriarchal models. He traced this pattern throughout the centuries, finding links between the onset of literacy and the oppression of women throughout the world.

For years he and I talked about making a film together, so when I started researching all these connections and how we could use them to help solve our problems, it was natural to ask him to be on the team. We were researching and writing and sharing drafts, and then one day, when I called to talk to him about the movie, he didn’t pick up. It turns out he had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a stroke. He was diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer and given nine months to live.

All of a sudden, I was asking lots of new questions. I quickly realized that here I was, writing about all these interrelationships, and the one great connection I had overlooked was the emotional one. That’s when I began the difficult process of rewriting the film to include my personal story of connection, which I wove into the bigger story of connection throughout history and where I think we are heading.

Technology’s Seduction—and Potential

When I was twenty-one, I attempted my first feature film, Zoli’s Brain. I used magic surrealism to tell a story about the brain. It was my first big failure and, as I look back, one of the most important experiences of my life. It clearly reflected my interest in the brain. Now, almost twenty years later, there’s so much we still don’t know about the human brain. It’s one of the most complex biological systems on earth, consisting of 100 billion neurons and processing 70,000 thoughts a day. We do know that the brain is designed to seek connection with others.

I am especially interested in the relationship between our brains and the addictive force of the new technologies. I found clues about this relationship in my reading about the hormone oxytocin, which the brain releases when humans connect with each other. Oxytocin decreases fear and anxiety; creates empathy, trust, and cooperation; and reinforces our urge to connect. The human brain is also designed to seek pleasure because of a hormone called dopamine. Researchers now know that the brain releases dopamine when new information is received. So every click, search, text, or Tweet has the potential to stimulate the same hormonal rush as sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. But an interesting thing happens with dopamine—we never feel fully satiated. It’s called an infinite dopamine loop, which leaves us constantly wanting more. The combined release of oxytocin and dopamine when we are plugged into cyberspace helps explain humans’ insatiable hunger for knowledge, approval, and being constantly connected. [See David Rock’s Your Brain at Work.] It also explains my sneaking off to the bathroom to e-mail and Tweet when I’m having lunch with a friend!

Technology is vast and has so much potential, but it’s also a curse. Our attention is pulled in so many directions that connecting widely can sometimes cost us the opportunity to connect deeply. So how do we prioritize our attention—know when to plug in mindfully and when to unplug—because we can’t escape these technologies? [See Matthew Gilbert’s article “A Twittering of Consciousness.”]

I’ve started practicing what I call “technology Shabbats” with my family. Every Friday at sundown, our whole family disconnects until Saturday night. No cell phones, no Internet, no television, no iPads, no multitasking. We disconnect completely—or should I say we connect completely with ourselves and one another. I am learning that turning off technology is just as powerful as turning it on, and that our society needs both. Technology can be so enticing and overwhelming, but we also need to remember how important it is both to be fully present with the people we love and to be alone and present to ourselves. The potential of technology, globally and personally, is exponential, but we also need to know where the off switch is.

During the poignant time of making my film, I was reading my father’s new manuscript on Leonardo da Vinci. He proposes that in every species an occasional genetic mutation occurs that offers a unique glimpse into where the species might be headed. He believed da Vinci himself offered that glimpse, showing us what human beings can achieve when they synthesize the left and the right hemispheres of the brain. I loved this idea. All of a sudden, the answer to how we might use our increasing connectedness to tackle our problems became clearer. Five hundred years after da Vinci, the Internet might be giving us a glimpse into the future of our species.

Even in its infancy, the Internet is helping each of us to synthesize the two hemispheres of our brain. Clicking through the explosion of textual information activates the left hemisphere, while linking from page to page and video to video stimulates the right hemisphere. I believe that the Internet is literally changing the way we think, moving us through a constantly evolving landscape of words and images at the touch of a keystroke, which synthesizes the two hemispheres of our brain. If this rewiring is happening on an individual level to each person who uses the web, imagine the cumulative global effect of this synthesis. Today there are close to 2 billion people online. What would the world look like if everyone on the planet could be online? It’s not that far away. There are already 5 billion cell phones on the planet!

The Era of Interdependence

It’s time to shift our perspective. In many ways, we as a species are mirroring the way we each develop as individual humans. We come into the world completely dependent on our parents. As we grow up, we evolve into independent adults; we live on our own, get our own jobs, and provide for our families. But this independence brings us to a new realization of how connected we are to family, friends, and community. I think that as a species we are evolving to understand our interdependence. Perhaps all these new tools we’re creating for collaborating through the Internet are leading us to this understanding, or perhaps the understanding is driving us to create these tools. Regardless of what’s propelling it, thinking and living interdependently will actually change our consciousness and help us create real transformation worldwide.

To demonstrate this interdependence, I’ve created a new project—Let it Ripple—that picks up where Connected leaves off. This will be a series of six short films linked together by the overall theme of connectedness. The first film, A Declaration of Interdependence, is based on the United States’ Declaration of Independence. My colleagues and I posted and Tweeted our new declaration on July 4, inviting people across the world to submit videos of themselves—whether from their cell phones, laptops, or whatever was handy—in which they read the declaration in their native language. We also asked graphic designers and artists to interpret the words creatively and to submit their artwork. The submissions blew us away! It was interdependence in action. A short film has been made up entirely of these submissions, edited down to a three-minute clip and tied together by our animator, Stefan Nadelman, with music by one of my favorite sound artists, Moby. A Declaration of Interdependence premiered on September 12—Interdependence Day—at a special event near Ground Zero in New York. We are also distributing this film for free, allowing organizations and nonprofits to put their own call-to-action at the end of it.

In sharing these messages of connectedness and interdependence, I believe there will be a positive ripple effect—sparks that will help turn what we’re talking about into action. It’s all about connection—connecting ideas, data, and cultures from millions of brains into a global thinking structure with infinite possibilities. Every text, hyperlink, and Tweet is like a neural synapse firing out to everyone we’re connected to. And with each connection, we get a surge of oxytocin, as if the Internet were creating a global network for oxytocin to flow. It will make us more empathetic, inclined to share, collaborate, and connect even more. The Internet is rewiring our brains to think interdependently, changing the way we connect to the world, online and offline.

I remember what my mother taught me when she was studying psychology—emotional connection drives everything we do. So if we can just channel that emotional connection, we will be compelled to work together to solve the problems we face and take humanity to the next level. We’re at the beginning of a participatory revolution, in which people’s ideas are free to interact, reproduce, and cross-pollinate instantaneously, creating new hybrid ideas that combine perspectives from all over the world.

As we become more connected, we’ll be able to see the cause and effect of our actions in real time—what we buy, donate, eat, and throw away. We’re just starting to unlock and share information about the trillions of things that we’ve made in this world. Once we understand the supply chains and see the links in our actions, we’ll be more thoughtful and conscious of our behavior. I believe in our innate ability to change for the better. Look at the end of slavery and apartheid, the women’s rights and civil rights movements, and other political and social transformative movements in the last few hundred years, and you can see that we are indeed evolving. Two things make me optimistic: human beings are curious, and we have a deep desire to connect.

Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Shlain is a filmmaker, artist, founder of The Webby Awards, and co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Tiffany’s work as a filmmaker, technologist, and activist has received 44 awards and distinctions, and her last four films premiered at Sundance.

Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Slept with your laptop? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all? In this funny, eye-opening, and inspiring film, director Tiffany Shlain takes audiences on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to discover what it means to be connected in the 21st century. From founding The Webby Awards to being a passionate advocate for The National Day of Unplugging, Shlain’s love/hate relationship with technology serves as the springboard for a thrilling exploration of modern life…and our interconnected future.

Equal parts documentary and memoir, the film unfolds during a year in which technology and science literally become a matter of life and death for the director. As Shlain’s father battles brain cancer and she confronts a high-risk pregnancy, her very understanding of connection is challenged. Using a brilliant mix of animation, archival footage, and home movies, Shlain reveals the surprising ties that link us not only to the people we love but also to the world at large. A personal film with universal relevance, Connected explores how, after centuries of declaring our independence, it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead.

3 Keys to Living the Life You Want ~ Dr. Jean Houston

As I travel around the globe speaking and training, I have consistently found that most people ask me the same question, “How do I discover my purpose in life?” In the past, who you became was determined by your family and circumstances. You didn’t have much choice. But now there is an open moment in history where you have the chance to tap into the soul of your purpose.

Millions of people right now are experiencing a yearning and desire to awaken to their unique gifts and offer them in service to the world — while living a life of joy and fulfillment. It’s a surging of the human spirit, a virtual global awakening, at a scale that no one has ever seen before. Simply put, people are longing to finally feel fully alive and to fulfill their unique purpose in life.

So then why is living a life of meaning and purpose so difficult? It is because our current social systems have not been set up to prepare us to live a life of true purpose. That’s because today’s culture exists not to nurture our highest aspirations, but to ensure our basic survival. Our educational system is designed to create good workers who will slot into jobs and careers later in life — not to empower fiery, creative people who are forging the path ahead together. Our social contracts exist to perpetuate the status quo — not to encourage our highest potentials to blossom. Is it any wonder why so many people’s best attempts to evolve themselves and our culture fall short of the goal? We simply haven’t been trained in how to bring the possible future into the present.

It’s not that they don’t have the talent or interest to live a purposeful, meaningful life. The issue is far simpler. People struggle to activate their “purpose code” because they haven’t woken up to — or are only partially awake to — our situation as a human race. Most people hold on to old, limiting beliefs of themselves and our human story. Overwhelmed by all the changes in the world around them, most people live their lives within a “small story” and therefore confine themselves to a “small self.” That’s why so many people feel that they don’t have a purpose, or that they aren’t able to actually live the life they were born to live.

There is a saying that “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” I believe that it is butterfly time. Just as the guidance cells in the mush that is the caterpillar in its cocoon suddenly begin to activate the transformation of mush into butterfly, so too this is the time when we realize that the guidance or imaginal cells of our bodies, our communities, and, yes, even of the cells of our planet are calling us to come together in all our parts to form something gorgeous, interdependent, living lightly on the earth, cross pollinating cultures, ideas, spiritual forms, glowing with the light that suffuses us, becoming transparent to transcendence. And to rise out of the mush we have been caught in these many hundreds of years and to take flight in the air of the new story which is emerging in our time.

For the fields we traverse, the many flowers of mind states and soul knowings we now enter are those that belong to the whole earth, to many cultures, to what I am calling “PanGaia.” And as the butterfly pollinates and cross pollinates from place to place, flower to flower, so do we also if we have the will and the willingness to discover our purpose and be part of this extraordinary moment in time.

Three Keys to Empowering New Beliefs

The first key to activating your life’s purpose is to hold new beliefs about yourself and about your role in the great story of where humanity is headed.

Living a great life requires that you understand the challenges and opportunities of our moment in history. To understand this for myself, I’ve gathered information from my work in over 100 countries and 40 different cultures, and what I’ve discovered has served as a sure guide on my path. Specifically, I have found five great shifts in our understanding of the story of our time that are affecting everything we do today. I believe that awakening to the power of these shifts will help you cultivate your sense of compassion and of the infinite possibilities of this moment.

The Five Shifts Are:

1. Our understanding of who and what we are and what we need to become in order to be able to deal with the complexity of our time is evolving.

2. Human societies are in the process of re-patterning. Social constructs are dissolving and whole new stories are trying to emerge, such as the rise of women to a full partnership with men across the globe, and many others.

3. How we conduct business and governance is shifting in the midst of vast ecological and financial changes. This is perhaps the most important social event of the last 5,000 years, because these issues impact almost everything in our lives.

4. The rise and fusion of different cultures — we are swiftly moving toward a planetary civilization that accentuates the uniqueness of each culture while blending them together. Think of the great fusions of food, of music and of beliefs.

5. Whole new orders of spirituality are emerging that are not about religion. The new cosmologies are giving us a view of ourselves that we never had before. For the first time ever, we find that we don’t just live in the universe, but that the universe lives in us.

6. This journey begins by letting go of old beliefs and patterns to make room for the new beliefs and capacities that will empower you to awaken to and live your higher purpose.

The second key allows you to discover and realize the vast field of inner intelligences — using multiple means of knowing and being in order to gain insight into life at a level to which most people rarely have access. These skills are to be found on four levels of your human capacity, sensory-physical, psychological-emotional, mythic-symbolic and unitive-spiritual. As you learn how to utilize the extraordinary capacities to be found at each of these levels, you literally move into new ways of being. For example, you will learn how to play with time in such a way as to take five minutes and experience it internally as hours — these are “hours” you can use to develop a skill or move a project forward.

You will learn to access “inner experts” — willing helpers or personas that will help you navigate the complexity of life with elegance and confidence.

The third key gives you the means to break free from unconscious, habitual ways of reacting to life that were born thousands of years ago, and embrace higher ways of being for a new era. You will discover ways to move through life with ebullience in your bones and an appetite for celebration — seeing everything as an expression of the creator. You will move through life, motivated not by guilt or obligation, but by gratitude and an abiding zest for doing the things that are called forth by living out of your higher purpose.

Dr. Jean Houston is presenting a free 75-minute downloadable audio seminar titled “3 Keys to Discovering and Living Your True Purpose Available Now” at http://www.DestinyandYou.com.

Dr. Jean Houston is a scholar, philosopher and one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time. She is considered one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. A powerful and dynamic speaker, she has served as consultant to several agencies of United Nations, including UNICEF and the UNDP. She has worked in more than 100 countries training leadership at every level to enhance skills and purpose so as to bring a new mind to bear upon challenging issues. A prolific writer and author of 26 books, including “A Passion for the Possible and The Mythic Life,” Dr. Houston has recently joined the faculty of Evolving Wisdom, today’s fastest growing global e-learning company specializing in transformative education, to provide her wisdom online in a cutting edge format. http://www.DestinyandYou.com.

Science and Spirituality Can Transform Our World .. Together ~ Steven and Michael Meloan

For hundreds of years, science has illuminated the mysteries of our universe, allowing us to conquer diseases, manipulate genomes, visit other planets and explore the wonders of space and time. But as a result of these profound and inarguable successes, science has also become the de facto cultural filter through which our broader societal norms, behaviors and institutions have developed and evolved. Newtonian physics established a physical reality composed of discrete and separate objects, operating according to predictable laws of time and space — the universe as a giant billiard table. And Darwinian evolution established the biological world as a tooth-and-claw realm of scarcity, competition and “survival of the fittest.”

The end conclusions of this centuries-old scientific story is that we are accidents of the cosmos, living on a lonely planet in the cold depths of space, vying for limited resources in a frequently violent and tumultuous competition for supremacy. The implicit notion that we are walking husks for “selfish genes” pervades everything, from our economic and business institutions to our day-to-day interactions.

But an increasing number of scientific, philosophical and spiritual thinkers are arriving at the conclusion that this mechanistic take on the human story is fundamentally incomplete. Darwinian narratives of “survival of the fittest,” and mechanistic Newtonian physics are increasingly being seen as elements of a far greater and richer tapestry.

Quantum entanglement, or Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance,” demonstrates that our universe is interconnected in ways we might never have imagined, down to the most basic particle level. And the discovery of “mirror neurons” in humans and other primates demonstrates that simply seeing something happen to another creature lights up the same neurons as if it were happening to us. In a very real sense, we don’t entirely distinguish between “the self” and others. And this is particularly true when witnessing suffering. Compassion and empathy seem to be hard-wired into us.

While inter-species and intra-species competition is an inarguable biological fact, we are discovering compelling new examples of connection, cooperation and community. In reality, we may have even misinterpreted Darwin. In his “The Descent of Man,” published in 1871, Darwin only mentions the phrase “survival of the fittest” twice, while he mentions the word “love” 95 times. Dig beneath the surface of the natural world, and a tooth-and-claw narrative is clearly not the only one to be found.

Bonobo apes, with which humans share more than 98 percent of their DNA, live in highly cooperative societies based on matriarchal structures. These and other recent scientific discoveries may prove pivotal in creating newer and more accurate cultural narratives. The Human Genome Project has revealed amazing commonalities among all living organisms, and the project has also found that there is greater genetic variability within a given race than between them. In short, in spite of superficial appearances, we are far more alike, at a fundamental genetic level, than we are different.

Even so, we retain hard-wiring from a primitive past that was directed toward survival-based judgments and assessments of others. Studies find that this programming leaves us constantly primed to gauge others as “in-group” or “out-group,” based upon such criteria as race, gender, age and perceived cultural and socio-economic status — and that such analyses occur within milliseconds. This tribalism can be surprisingly fluid and dynamic. In one study, teen boys were exposed to the art of either Kandinsky or Klee. Even though the boys were previously unfamiliar with either and had been randomly assigned to view the works of only one artist, the Kandinsky “gang” quickly showed a greater willingness to loan money to other Kandinsky in-group members. And the same proved true of the experimental Klee “gang.”

Because such tribal-bonding is so dynamic and shifting, however, it is also highly malleable. Once recognized and understood, this hard-wiring can be consciously subverted. A measurable aversion to the image of a homeless person or drug addict can be rapidly transformed by an assignment to participate in a soup kitchen and choose appropriate menu items for people in need. In this way, out-group members almost instantaneously become fellow in-group members as part of a joint undertaking. The key to such subversion of tribalistic tendencies is that cross-group members must share a larger common goal, and have the support of recognized authority figures.

While competition and tribalistic bonding are inarguable aspects of our world, science increasingly makes clear that this is only one part of an expanding conceptual landscape. Our entire universe is profoundly interconnected, in ways that we are only beginning to decipher. This is true at the elementary particle level, at the genetic level, at the organism level and at a global level via the Internet. Ultimately, the same scientific milieu that helped form our current conflict-ridden cultural narratives may now be instrumental in defining not only a more productive world view, but a more accurate one.

Steven and Michael Meloan are authors of “The Shroud,” a science-adventure novel exploring the spiritual impulse, tribalism and its manifestations in human behavior, and the intersection between science and spirituality:

http://www.TheShroud.net

Peace After a Loss ~ Eckhart Tolle

Questioner: My sons drowned in the sea ten months ago. I did surrender, but when I felt the peace and calm coming over me, it felt wrong. It was not right to feel peace and calm with such a loss.

ET: The natural way of being after death of a loved one is suffering at first, then there is a deepening. In that deepening, you go to a place where there is no death. And the fact that you felt that means you went deep enough, to the place where there is no death. Conditioned as your mind is by society, the contemporary world that you live in, which knows nothing about that dimension – your mind then tells you that there is something wrong with this. Your mind says “I should not be feeling peace, that is not what one feels in a situation like this”. But that’s a conditioned thought by the culture that you live in. So instead we can recognize when this happens, when that thought comes – recognize it as a conditioned thought that is not true.

It doesn’t mean that the waves of sadness don’t come back from time to time. But in between the waves of sadness, you sense there is peace. As you sense that peace, you sense the essence of your children as well – the timeless essence. So death is a very sacred thing – not just a dreadful thing. When you react to the loss of form, that’s dreadful.

When you go deep enough to the formless, the dreadful is no longer dreadful, it’s sacred. Then you will experience the two levels, when somebody dies who is close to you. Yes it’s dreadful on the level of form. It’s sacred on the deeper level. Death can enable you to find that dimension in yourself. You’re helping countless other humans if you find that dimension in yourself – the sacred dimension of life. Death can help you find the sacred dimension of life – where life is indestructible.

Surrender can open that door for you. Complete acceptance of it. So honor that sacred dimension and realize that what your mind is saying, that it isn’t right, is just a form of conditioning – it isn’t the truth. It is supremely right.

This is always the window into the formless. As you accept it, surrender. Because the form is gone, your mind becomes still when you surrender to death. It’s not through explanations that you accept death. You can have explanations, mental explanations that say, well, he or she will move on or reincarnate, or go to some place of rest. That can be comforting, but you can go to a deeper place than that, where you don’t need explanations – a state of immediate realization of the sacredness of death, because what opens up when the form dissolves is life beyond form. That is the only thing that is sacred. That is the sacred dimension.

You can get tiny glimpses of that when you lose something, and you completely accept that it’s gone. This is a tiny glimpse of death and it can give you a tiny realization – maybe even more than tiny, if you’re ready.

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