What Mindfulness and Acceptance Can Do for Your Self-Esteem By Sheri Van Dijk

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), created in the early 1990s by psychologist Marsha Linehan, is one of the newer psychotherapies being used to treat a variety of emotional problems. Similar to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which has been used successfully for many years to treat emotional problems including self-esteem issues, DBT adds to this the concepts of mindfulness and acceptance.

Mindfulness is a way of living your life so that you are in the present moment more often, with awareness, and with acceptance. Acceptance in this context doesn’t mean that you approve of your experience, but that you simply acknowledge your present experience without judging it.

So what does this have to do with self-esteem? Everything! Just stop for a moment and think about this: How often do you really think about what you’re thinking about? Have you ever had someone ask you what you were thinking about, and you had no idea? We’re often completely oblivious to what we’re thinking and feeling; and when we are aware of these things, we’re often judging these internal experiences. Self-talk has a big impact on how you feel, and when you judge yourself or beat yourself up, it triggers painful emotions like anger, anxiety, disappointment and sadness; and it lowers your self-esteem.

Consider these questions to help you think about how you talk to yourself:

When you make a mistake, do you tend to judge yourself for it (e.g. “That was stupid,” “I’m such an idiot”)?

Do you think you are “your own worst critic,” as the saying goes?

Does it sometimes feel like you have a tape-recorder running in your head, playing the same messages over and over again? For example: “I’m worthless,” “I’m stupid,” “How could anyone ever love me?”

When considering a new challenge, do you find yourself filled with self-doubt? For example: “I’ll never be able to do this,” “I’m not good enough,” “Who am I kidding?”

Many people experience these kinds of thoughts so automatically that it’s difficult for them to be aware of when these thoughts are present. In fact, in CBT these thoughts are actually referred to as “automatic thoughts.” In spite of this lack of awareness of your thoughts, though, they still trigger painful emotions for you, making you feel bad about yourself and reducing your self-esteem.

This is where the DBT skills of mindfulness and acceptance come in: first, through mindfulness, you increase your awareness of these judgmental thoughts and the resulting emotions. Then you work on bringing acceptance to your experience — accepting the thoughts as just thoughts; accepting the emotions they trigger; and gradually, accepting yourself as you are.

There are other DBT skills that help build self-esteem as well, such as:

*Self-soothing skills help you improve your ability to take care of yourself through activities that help you to relax and feel calmer,

*Building mastery helps you increase things you do that help you to feel productive and good about yourself for what you’ve accomplished, and

*Interpersonal effectiveness skills help you learn to be more effective in relationships, including how to communicate more assertively, which helps you to feel better about yourself.

Of course, learning these skills and practicing them on your own isn’t easy. Some people are able to do this with self-help books, but others need to work with a psychotherapist. Either way, the DBT skills are flexible and can be used to help with self-esteem issues, other emotional problems and simply to help you live a healthier,
happier life.

Sheri Van Dijk, MSW is a mental health therapist in private practice and at Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. She is author of “The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook for Bipolar Disorder: Using DBT to Regain Control of Your Emotions and Your Life,” “Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life for Teens: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills for Helping You Manage Mood Swings, Control Angry Outbursts, and Get Along with Others” and co-author of “The Bipolar Workbook for Teens: DBT Skills to Help You Control Mood Swings.”

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Liberate Yourself: Develop a Healthy Ego Through Meditation ~ Jeanne Ball

When you hear the word “ego,” does it make you shudder? We blame it for selfishness, haughtiness, false pride and according to Oprah Winfrey’s first “Lifeclass,” even for identifying too much with our thoughts. The former queen of daytime recently urged millions of viewers to find the “space beyond thoughts” where we don’t overly identify with appearance, job, self-image, or how others might see us, but instead with a deeper level: a quiet self-knowingness free of ego constraints.

Whether we’re in need of an ego boost or ego break, most of us would gladly welcome a higher state of consciousness, less burdened by attachment and insecurity. Some people try to restrain the ego in an effort to become detached or non-judgmental. However, there’s another approach to developing a healthy ego, easier than struggling to modify attitude or behavior.

Transcendence, ego and the brain

In university research labs across the country, neuroscientists are discovering correlations between different meditative states and brain patterns. For example, among people practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique, brain researchers consistently see high amplitude alpha coherence, especially in the prefrontal cortex (seat of executive functions).1

This increased brain integration correlates to the experience of pure awareness, where ego confinements are transcended. Meditators report that during a meditation practice, as attention settles inward — beyond worries, thoughts, and mental fluctuations — awareness expands and boundaries of time and space fall away. The meditator is at peace with herself and her universe, experiencing her true identity. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called this “cosmic ego.”

Maharishi explained that there are layers to the mind: Thinking takes place on the mind’s active, surface level, and subtler than thinking is feeling. Deeper than feeling is myness or individual ego. Deeper than myness is amness or “I am” — the cosmic ego.

I first shook hands with the cosmic ego when, as a teenager, I began experiencing transcendence. Not by thinking about it, watching for it or believing in it, but through the natural course of effortless meditation. Like a river merging with the ocean, transcending happens spontaneously during TM practice. I soon found that my friends who had learned this meditation were having experiences very similar to mine.

I went from a shy, introverted bookworm to a more well-rounded, socially comfortable young adult. My newfound self-esteem was based not on what high school clique I belonged to, but on this deeper connection with my true self and the freedom it brings.

How to liberate the ego

Almost everyone has had a glimpse of ego liberation, perhaps after a humbling incident or when awestruck. During such moments, the bigger picture might flash into view and we see our self part of the woof and weave of the universe — more fully present, more appreciative of others — our perception more acute.

Yet, all too often, no sooner are we set free than we find ourselves ensnared or overshadowed again — by flattery from an admirer, a big credit-card bill, or the return of an old craving.

Venerated sages past and present have explained that we become bound when our individual ego is disconnected from its transcendent source. We then identify with the surface, changing aspects of life — as if our true, unbounded nature is lost or veiled.

This is why wise council throughout the ages has advised: Know thyself. Deep within us there is something momentous to be discovered, something that completes us, something not available when attention is localized on the surface.

Transcending during meditation, the conscious mind spontaneously identifies with deeper, more expansive states of consciousness, until we’re left experiencing our true, cosmic self. Awareness becomes non-localized, unbounded. Home at last, individual ego is not obliterated, but elevated, its incessant cravings fulfilled. This is ego at its healthiest. Here, beyond ego-tripping and ego bashing, one’s ego resides in its most dynamic, vibrant state.

Total self/total brain

Twice daily transcending changes how the brain functions and thereby supports stronger self-identity in meditators. Brain researcher and professor of Vedic science at the Maharishi University of Management Dr. Fred Travis said:

We’ve found that during TM practice, the brain becomes more integrated, all its different parts communicating better, working together better as a whole. We call it ‘total brain functioning.’ The person’s whole sense of self — who they are, where they’re thinking from, where they’re appreciating the world from — becomes deeper, fuller, more expanded.

This wholeness of self becomes increasingly stabilized in daily life as brain wave coherence carries over outside of meditation. As coherence grows, studies show, meditators perform better on tests for IQ, creativity, and moral reasoning; there is decreased neuroticism and heightened self-actualization.

Healing the bruised ego

We know the ego can be tender. A word misspoken or lack of recognition from others can hurt, if we’re vulnerable. Transcending daily in meditation, one becomes bigger than that. And transcendence is powerfully healing: the physiological rest dissolves deep-seated stresses, even the residue of trauma. The most ego-challenging or stressful situations eventually lose their ability to shatter a meditator’s composure.

This expanded state of self is not selfish. When we are secure within ourselves, we are less obsessed with our own needs and more sensitive to others. Ego liberation begets forgiveness and compassion.

Old-school psychologists may startle to hear that the human psyche is fundamentally cosmic — a word defined as “immeasurably extended in space and time.” Yet the global surge of interest in meditation is opening collective awareness to a different experience and understanding of what it means to be human. Deep within our ego lies a field of pure wakefulness, pure potentiality. Experiencing that expansiveness redefines one’s sense of self and other.

While spiritual teacher, therapist or life coach may offer help and hope, no one can liberate your ego for you. A gentle, effortless technique of transcending is one way you can do it for yourself.

VIDEO: Dr. Fred Travis speaks on transcending, wholeness of self and brain function

Transcending, like every other experience, affects the brain. Transcending increases EEG coherence, which means that all parts of the brain start to function together.

Jeanne Ball is a writer for the David Lynch Foundation — a non-profit, philanthropic organization that supports meditation projects for such diverse groups as gifted children, at-risk kids, prison inmates, veterans, Native Americans, high school and college students and the homeless.

Her blog, Meditation for Women, addresses common concerns and stressors that women face, as well as women’s growth to full awakening of consciousness.

As a meditation teacher, she has lectured on theory and practice for over 25 years, instructing children and adults of all ages and backgrounds. She specializes in teaching meditation to people with ADHD, ADD, addiction, anxiety, depression, hypertension and other stress-related disorders.

Developing Consciousness: A Roadmap of the Journey to Enlightenment By Nicholas Vesey

Enlightenment, nirvana, mystical union, there is an experience of eternal truth that has always been the goal of spiritual seekers. And yet the way to this truth has often remained a closely guarded secret, revealed only to students who are prepared to follow the teachings of various sects or religions.

Now these insights are laid bare without the smokescreen of religious language.

Developing Consciousness is a roadmap of the journey to enlightenment that puts the reader firmly in the driving seat.

Nicholas Vesey outlines this journey alongside an astonishing memoir laying bare the road he has taken in his own life, exposing both the highs and the lows he has encountered along the way.

Nicholas Vesey began life in advertising, working as a copywriter with, among others, Saatchi and Saatchi.
After a trip to the Himalayas in 1979 he became interested in spirituality and enlightenment. He had various experiences which led him to leave advertising and to work in the field of self awareness.
Since then he has studied many of the techniques and practices that are used to develop a deeper experience of consciousness.
For the last 10 years he has been exploring these experiences with others through his ‘Developing Consciousness’ course.
He is currently working as an Anglican Priest.
Visit author’s website(s) at
http://www.developingconsciousness.net

The Power of Perspective ~ Dr.Terri Kennedy

What is your perspective? What type of lenses are you looking through? Do you generally see problems or possibilities?

With fluctuations in the economy, the backdrop of multiple wars and the tempestuous weather showing us evidence of global warming, change is clearly in the air. For many people the uncertainty of what will come can be quite stressful. However, as the Chinese saying goes: “Crisis is an incipient moment (when something begins or changes).” The outcome will depend on your perspective, which in turn will drive your choices.

As John Lobbock said: “What we see depends on what we look for.” In fact, this is true. Psychologists call it selective perception. Since there is so much stimuli coming at us we choose what we hear and see to suit our needs. Just as a photographer uses various lenses to show “reality” in different ways, we each have a set of filters — experience, culture, economic status, mental and physical health, etc. — through which we see the world. Therefore, if life constantly looks dismal to you, it could be your perspective.

Your viewpoint shapes your thoughts, decisions, actions — and ultimately, your feeling of success
. For example, have you ever wondered why people in some of the poorest parts of the world seem happier than those in the wealthiest nations? It’s probably because they view life through the values-lenses of health and family versus wealth and fame. Of course, those choices are not mutually exclusive. However, if you lose the latter you can recover, if you lose the former you’re truly lost. Remember a time when your perspective changed dramatically, such as falling in love or a death in the family. In an instant, your orientation shifted. What you placed in focus was different. The world may have looked brighter, or dimmer. You may have been prompted to action. If you just welcomed the birth of your first child, for example, you may start thinking about the quality of the local school system or have the impetus to leave work earlier.

If you are experiencing a challenging time right now, think about how you can shift your perspective.
If you’ve lost your job, maybe it’s an opportunity to go back to school or turn your hobby into a business. If you must reduce your spending, maybe it’s an opportunity to streamline your entire life and spend more time around the dinner table with your family. If you have received a diagnosis, perhaps it’s a reminder of the importance of healthy living. Taking an optimistic viewpoint of the chaos in our external world, maybe it’s time for all of us to go inside ourselves and reevaluate our core values. It may even usher us into a new spiritual paradigm where the currency is how many people we can inspire versus how many things we can acquire (see “The Power Living Manifesto”).

The Yoga Sutras teach us that the entire world is our own projection, and that things outside neither bind nor liberate us; only our attitudes toward them does that. For example, think about the belief that “life is hard.” If you operate from this assumption, everything you do will seem like a struggle. You look for challenges in every situation, potentially creating your own roadblocks. Instead, if you turn that around to “I am meant to succeed,” then you open your mind to new ideas. As my yoga lineage guru Sri Swami Satchidananda said, “There’s nothing wrong with the world. You can make it heaven or hell according to your approach.”

The ability to reframe a situation is an important skill that can transform your life and our world. Today, take time to clear your lenses so you can view life from a higher perspective.

Action steps:

Choose to take at least one action to make a difference in your life today. Here are some suggestions:

Be a neutral observer. When a situation occurs, don’t immediately judge it. Take a deep breath and take yourself out of it. Try to see it from multiple angles.

Take an optimist viewpoint. Look for the opportunity in a seemingly “bad” situation.

Deliberately test out a new perspective. Next time you are in a traffic jam, don’t fret about “wasted” time. Use it as a chance to meditate or do some isometric exercises.

Be grateful for what you have.
Next time you think you have it bad, think about those who have it worse. Remember the Denis Waitely quote: “I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street, I met a man who had no feet.”

Offer your services to someone who could benefit from your talents.
This may change their perspective as well as your own.

Keep a “belief journal.” Write down your core values and beliefs. Determine which ones serve you and which ones don’t. Constantly review it and make adjustments.

Affirmation:

The second principle of Power Living is “Tune Your Mind to the Positive,” and one technique we use with clients is affirmation. Here’s one to help shift your perspective:

Today, I have an optimistic view on life. I look for the opportunity in every situation. I accept new ideas and viewpoints. I know that all is working for my highest good. I understand that the outside world is based on my thoughts and mental attitude. If I control my mind and frame of reference, I have controlled everything… in my control. Today, I have an optimistic view on life.

Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy – “Dr. Terri K.”

What do you get when you cross a Harvard MBA and a Doctor of Philosophy in World Religions with a Holistic Health Counselor?

Quite a bit of yin-yang! After almost dying from an ulcerated digestive system in her twenties, Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy realized that her Type-A workaholic tendencies might be good for the bottom-line, but not for her spirit or health. The process of rebuilding herself – mind, body, and spirit – unveiled her calling. A few years later, when she decided to leave her lucrative media career to become a social entrepreneur and health advocate, most people thought she had lost her mind. Instead, she found her Self. Now, her mission is to help people from all walks of life, live better lives.

She is President of Power Living Enterprises, Inc., a business & lifestyle consulting company which helps individuals, businesses and communities make purposeful choices that create long-term sustainability. She is also the Founder of Ta Yoga, which operates one of the first yoga studios in Harlem, and Chair of the Board of Yoga Alliance – the internationally-recognized non-profit organization that sets standards for yoga teaching in the United States. A leading expert on Health and Productivity Management, she was named National Ambassador for the American Heart Association in 2008 representing them in the media with a focus on their “Search Your Heart” campaign.

“Power Living is being spiritually connected, mentally focused, physically energized, emotionally engaged, and environmentally supported. It is a way of being that allows life to flow. It is committing your energy to what you care about on a day-to-day basis.”

The practice is guided by Five Principles, each of which represents the five dimensions, which are all inter-related:

1. Live on Purpose (spiritual)

2. Tune your Mind to the Positive (mental)

3. Honor Your Body (physical)

4. Be a Humble Warrior (emotional)

5. Sanctify your Surroundings (environmental)

The Power Living Pledge

I live on Purpose every day;

I look to my Creator to show me the way.

I choose thoughts that nurture my mind;

I eliminate views that are negative and unkind.

I honor my body as the temple of my soul;

I choose foods that are nourishing and whole.

I serve my Self, and others with Love;

showing gratitude to my Source above.

I seek order, simplicity and peace,

creating space for my blessings to increase.

I choose wisely in all I do, prioritizing

my energy to live authentically and true.

I pursue every task with conviction;

I view unconscious inaction as an affliction.

I am fully Present, living as if,

this is the last day for me to enjoy my Gift.

I take time to Pause and Play,

giving balance and joy no delay.

I live these power-filled principles every day;

I do my best to get out of the way!

Purposeful and Powerful, indeed! 🙂

Revelations – Awakening As One – October 28 2011

Credits

We wish to acknowledge that without the work of these incredible filmmakers, and music producers it would not have been possible for Awakening As One to share its message of Peace and Unity with such beauty, heart and soul.

We invite you to support the filmmakers by visiting their webpages, and viewing their films. We extend our deepest gratitude and respect to the following films, and to all those who assisted in their creation.

‘Home’ by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
http://www.home-2009.com/us/index.html

For One Day…We Shut The System Down!

The Occupy movements around the country and the world are garnering overwhelming support from the general populace. While not everyone has the means to physically participate, there is much we can do on a collective level to help bring our point home to global corporate interests. In this spirit, many of us seek non-violent ways of demonstrating our repulsion at the vast control these corporations have garnered while infringing on our civil rights as they wage their global destruction on all that is true and fair. It is one thing to stand in a man’s front yard to demonstrate your dislike for his conduct, but another thing altogether to refuse to participate in the system from which he gains his resources for power. To annihilate a social cancer, you must become willing to starve it. In this light, we have choosen a date for the following activities (or non-activity, as it were):

1) A 24 hour television blackout where all participants willfully keep their tubes turned off. If enough people participate, this could cost corporations millions in lost revenue.

2) A 24 hour retail boycott where all participants agree to refrain from buying any merchandise not directly associated with basic needs, such as food and medicine.

3) A 24 hour employment walkout where participants refuse to attend work, with the exception of emergency services.

4) It has been suggested and bears repeating, all bank accounts that are not absolutely necessary should be closed. If you must retain a bank account, switch to a credit union or smaller locally owned bank.

These are just some of the ways protesters can make an impact from home. Surely, there are many other suggestions we can add to the list as well. And, if 24 hour actions aren’t enough to make a sufficient impact, longer periods of non-compliance should be considered.

Join us on FACEBOOK – OCCUPY YOURSELF
https://www.facebook.com/events/275706552463169/
click “I’m Attending”

ALTERNATE LANGUAGES IN THE PLAYLIST!

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH AS MANY AS POSSIBLE…WE DO NOT HAVE MUCH TIME!

A momentum is occurring
People are uniting across the world
They are sending a message
The next step is fast approaching

On Oct 28th 2011
WE SHUT THE SYSTEM DOWN.

For one day we peacefully protest in a symbol that will be felt across the globe.

We step out of the system and step back into ourselves.

Turn off all lights
Unplug all electrical devices
Abstain from using TV, radio and internet or phone.
Abstain from making any purchase of any kind
Choose that morning to cancel any services you feel you no longer need
That morning call in sick to work

Do NOTHING that generates money into THE SYSTEM.

We will send a message
We will unite

Most importantly, for one day…
We live without distraction
Read a book
Meditate
Play
Sing
Dance
Create
Frolic in nature
Love

On Oct 28th 2011
Step out of the system and get back to yourself

Spread the word!
SHUT IT ALL DOWN!

Look for Versions of this video IN YOUR LANGUAGE in the occupy youself playlist and…SPREAD THE WORD!
Category:

Entertainment
Tags:

Occupy
Yourself
Protest
Unity
Oneness
Peaceful

License:

Standard YouTube License

What Drives YOU? Take Our Core Values Quiz ~John Tsilimparis

Whether we know it or not, we all possess core values that drive our existence. These values are the pillars that support the infrastructure of our lives. They are the reason why we get up in the morning. They are also the fabric of who we are as individuals, because our values — things that are important to us — give us meaning and a sense of identity. Through the years, our core values tend to be neglected or put aside, especially if we have become depressed or preoccupied with excessive worry over life’s unavoidable difficulties. As a result, our self-esteem takes a big hit because we have lost our sense of direction. And, without that direction and purpose we don’t know who we are. Realigning ourselves with our core values will gives us insight into where we can begin to put our energy immediately, and what to begin focusing on as part of the process of rebuilding our self-esteem.

When we rediscover our core values and make a conscious decision to live by them as best we can, we gradually begin to see changes in our lives. And, over time, we start to feel better because we are in harmony with ourselves.

When I give this assignment to my patients (“Rediscovering Core Values”), many report the exercise brings up discomfort because the direct and deliberate focusing on the “self” feels overly indulgent. For example, feelings of shame are inspired, perhaps from the many years of deflecting personal attention. In many cultures it is the norm to put oneself second to the needs of others and to think of you as part of a whole, instead of a separate individual.

But one of the many aspects of building self-esteem is in fact, identifying and acknowledging our separateness in relation to others. But we need to keep in mind that the healthy separateness we are discussing here is not intended to mean indifference or even contentiousness with others. If we can appreciate our uniqueness and value as a person, we may be able to appreciate that in others too.

Exercise

The following is a list of possible life values that may inspire ideas about our own personal core values that are important to us. Keep in mind that “life” itself cannot be used as a value for this exercise because it is too broad. The idea is to get as specific as possible.

Material things are also not workable for this exercise because they are not the kinds of values we are talking about. Therefore, things like money, 401k’s, real estate, cars even our iPods and smartphones are not considered values.

Please place a check mark next to the values that feel right for you. Or as mentioned, come up with your own:

_____Commitment to Family _____Commitment to Spouse/Partner

_____Commitment to Community _____Commitment to God

_____Spirituality _____Health

_____Nutrition _____Exercise

_____Integrity _____Responsibility

_____Self-Respect _____Honesty

_____Self-Reliance _____Sense of Humor

The next step is to think about what it means to begin living into at least two of these values one time per day. In other words, what actions are we willing to commit to taking each day that are in accord with these values?

For example, if one of our identified core values is our sense of Integrity and we are going to align our behaviors with that value, we may decide to make amends with a friend or an acquaintance we have fallen out of communication with in the past. We may call up a family member and perhaps open up a dialogue about an issue that is unresolved between us. Or we may be inspired to follow through on a task or a goal we have put off for a while that has been eating away at us and making us feel inadequate.

If another identified core value is say, our spirituality and we are making a conscious decision to align our behaviors with it, we may choose to engage in some mindfulness meditation in the morning before work or afterwards. We may choose to attend services at a place of worship, we may even pick up reading materials that inspire us and reconnect us to whatever our higher power is. We may decide to be in the presence of nature such as walking in a park, on the beach or hiking in the forest. Or we may even decide to just sit somewhere quietly during our lunch break and take in the sights around us.

So, after identifying two of your most important core values, use the following exercise to begin:

Example:

Core value #1 – Spirituality or connecting to higher power

Actions I will take today:

1) I will practice mindfulness and/or meditation exercises every morning for 15-20 minutes before I go to work.

2) I will attend church, synagogue or mosque, etc., 1 time per week for services and
while I am there, I will engage in conversation with 1-2 new people.

3) I will do 30 minutes of mindfulness walking in nature at a park, beach, forest, etc.

Exercise: List of Actions/Actions

(The list will comprise of planned actions/activities you will schedule or commit to one time per day.)

Core value #1___________________________________________________

Actions I will take today:

1)_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

2)_____________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

3)_____________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

Core value #2____________________________________________________

Actions I will take today:

1)_____________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________

2)______________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

3)_______________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________

If we do this exercise one time per day, every day for one month, we may notice a change or a shift in our thinking about ourselves and about our place in the world.


John Tsilimparis is a writer and psychotherapist in Los Angeles and was featured on the hit TV show “OBSESSED,” where he treated individuals with OCD on camera. The show aired on A&E and received a great deal of exposure and success. John has also appeared on television as an expert on addiction and other psychiatric conditions. He was featured on “Larry King Live,” “The View,” Fox News, KTLA-News, and ABC News. He was also featured on several radio programs in the Los Angeles area.

In his psychotherapy work, he treats individuals suffering from anxiety disorders, particularly OCD, depression and addiction, and also specializes in bereavement counseling. His approach is a cutting-edge theoretical orientation called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which focuses on changing individuals’ personal thinking and belief systems about every aspect of life.

John is a former staff clinician at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Bever

A Twittering of Consciousness, Part I & II by Matthew Gilbert

According to a recent Retrevo Gadgetology Report, almost half of social media users say they check Facebook or Twitter sometime during the night or when they first wake up. Nearly 50 percent of those under 25 don’t mind being interrupted by a text message during dinner. Celebrities Kim Kardashian and Soulja Boy make up to $10,000 for a sponsored tweet. At an estimated 50 million tweets a day and rising, there is significant upside! Are these the signs of a technology drawing us closer and closer together toward an experience of immediate and shared consciousness, or simply the extension of a fragmented collective psyche onto a wider and more visible stage?

Several colleagues of mine have written eloquently on how social technologies such as Twitter and Facebook are reflecting the inner realities of our essential spiritual natures. In a piece last year titled “The Spiritual Importance of Twitter,” Stephan Dinan wrote “I’m now convinced that Twitter is part of the spiritual evolution of our species. Its growth corresponds to the accelerating spread of a global consciousness, one in which …we are increasingly in touch with our sense of ‘oneness’ with others.” Steven Vedro, ruminating on his blog Digital Dharma about both the challenges and evolutionary engine of the Twitter-verse, believes that “the ‘ambient awareness’ that is emerging within Twitter circles can be extended beyond the subconscious knowledge of what one’s friends are up to into an actual mindfulness practice …and to something even more powerful: the ‘seeing-everything-all-at-once’ consciousness where one is a node on the network, and simultaneously the entire web itself.” (See also Vedro’s 2007 piece “Our Evolving Global Brain” from Shift magazine.)

Then there’s the viewpoint of the person who responded to Dinan’s article with, “When I start to read stories of how the advertising industry continues to work its way into all new realms of technology and social media…what I see is the dominant paradigm on a path of inexorable infiltration and take over…‘Be here now’ has been supplanted by ‘be digital now,’ and I’m not sure this constitutes an evolutionary breakthrough. One could argue that this is merely another enviroscape for the monkey mind to bounce through.” To wit: the response thread that follows ultimately ends up in a discussion on the best price for Velcro sneakers.

In his book Wisdom 2.0: Ancient Secrets for the Creative and Constantly Connected, Soren Gordhamer takes the middle road. He acknowledges the negative impacts of a ubiquitously wired and always-on world, citing various studies that show how our collective addiction is playing havoc with our health, our creativity, and the depth of our personal relationships. But with the right tools of inner technology, he says, one can safely navigate both worlds. (See, for example, “Keeping Twitter Relevant: The Art of Unfollowing.”)

Putting this theory to the test, Gordhamer organized the Wisdom 2.0 Conference, which took place in the heart of Silicon Valley from April 30–May 1, 2010. High level execs from Google, Zappos, Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere mingled with Zen Abbott Joan Halifax, neuroscientist Philippe Goldin, and a variety of “spiritual living” digital entrepreneurs to discuss how to find balance in our high-speed, techno-saturated culture. Will our consciousness merge and co-evolve with these effervescent, unrestrained technologies, struggle to keep up, or simply drop out of range?

Part II

With cautious anticipation, I attended an inaugural gathering last May of technocrats and wisdom-sowing digerati at the Wisdom 2.0 Conference in Silicon Valley. My motivation was both professional education and personal curiosity. Admittedly a late adopter of anything more complicated than a transistor radio, I nevertheless felt the call of a phenomenon that, with me or without me, is moving forward at breakneck speed. And of course the irony of technology serving or even reflecting our deepest spiritual yearnings—the primary focus of this event—was not lost on me. At the intersection of faith and reality, could wisdom really be found?

After two days of rich dialogue and presentations, I came to the conclusion that the answer is…maybe. I was intrigued and even inspired at times by the authenticity of motivation behind the many new initiatives seeking to raise consciousness, inspire social action, and unearth our better selves, but still nagged by a vague sense of unease. Are we deluding ourselves into thinking that technology is the answer to the most persistent challenges of existence, or are we blessed by a tool that may only be at the cusp of its potential to help spark a global social and spiritual renaissance?

Karmic Acceleration?

Perhaps the best description of social media’s evolutionary role was given by Roshi Joan Halifax. Sharing the stage with high-level execs from Google and Twitter, the renowned Zen Abbot called it a “karmic accelerator…dharma metabolizing as social networking.” Google’s Bradley Horowitz described it as a “lubricant for human nature…with all the distractions, connections, and emotions,” while for Twitter’s Greg Pass, “It’s about making the invisible visible.”

Growth in usage rates has been charting exponentially across nearly all demographic groups, and with it an unprecedented level of transparency, accountability, and impact. “I love that I have instant contact with students worldwide,” Halifax said. “I can also sense the immediate energy of a global trauma.” But she tempers her appreciation with a warning: “I consider my most valuable gift as a human being to be my presence. You cannot replace the power of face-to-face presence with a device. How can we hold both, being fully present and hyperconnected?”

Indeed, part of the conference was oriented around how each of us can adapt to the new technology—since it isn’t going away—and numerous suggestions were made on how to stay balanced and avoid the digital abyss: texting gratefulness messages to friends, practicing one-minute yoga, watching our breath as we descend into our inboxes. The dominance of the medium has been felt in both our work and our personal lives, where it quickens the pace, fragments our awareness, and eclipses conversational traditions. Last fall a treatment facility dedicated to “pathological computer use” opened in Fall City, WA—just a few miles from Microsoft headquarters.Yes, a “lubricant for human nature,” but what parts of it? What drives our obsession?

Neuroscientist Philippe Goldin, advocating for the role of mindfulness in these chaotic times, pointed out that “feeling alone” is our “primary psychoemotional distortion” and a major driver in social media’s remarkable adoption rates. We are, by definition, social beings. Others mentioned the influence of our reality TV culture, enforcing the idea that everyone has a right to be seen and heard, to get their micro-window of fame. And of course there’s simply the appeal of distraction—doing always seems to trump being.

Conference organizer Soren Gordhamer noted an “implied intimacy” among our vast networks of friends and colleagues. “People can deceive themselves that they are connecting authentically with others while not knowing what feeling inner-connected really means.” One young audience member wondered about the relevancy of “Dunbar’s number”—a theory developed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar stating that the human brain is not cognitively organized to maintain stable social relationships with more than 150 people, including those on the periphery such as our mechanic or an old college chum. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brain by Nicholas Carr presents a litany of new studies showing the neurological blowback of the medium. Longtime techno-consultant Linda Stone, now specializing in the study of “continuous partial attention” (disorder?), noted the growing affliction of email apnea—the withholding of breath while processing email, which leads to health problems. She added, “The overconsumption of information leads to the overconsumption of food.”

An Era of Paradox

There is a heroic quality to the motivation behind many of the digital leviathans driving this medium. Twitter’s motto is “Be a force for good.” Google’s intent is to organize and democratize all human knowledge. It has a Department of Personal Growth, headed by “jolly good fellow” Meng Tan and featuring classes on emotional intelligence, meditation, and even “the way of tea.” Silicon Valley’s executive class devours such progressive management-book classics as Good to Great, Tribal Leadership, and Your Brain at Work.

People have certainly made meaningful connections with friends and family through their social networks, and those relationships can have a spiritual impact. There are now iPhone apps for auras, mantras, saints, and even Tibetan singing bowls. And for those in isolated locales, “leveling the playing field so that a poor Indian kid has the same access to knowledge as a Stanford graduate student” (as Google’s Gopi Kallayil reminded the audience) is surely a force for good.

Indeed, the most poignant – and hilarious – image from the conference was shared by Kallayil, who had recently returned from India’s Kumbh Mela, a colossal Hindu celebration considered the largest religious gathering in the world. While wandering the streets near the Ganges River, he saw an ascetic who had given everything away save for a single item: a cell phone.

So if turning it all off is impossible, how can social media alleviate suffering and generate more compassion in the world? Both as mirrors and drivers of our human potential, these technologies will only be as wise as those who are developing and using them. Like most everything else these days, the larger consciousness of social media remains full of contradictions. Perhaps the tension between them is enough to drive one to, or keep one on, a spiritual path.

Mr. Gilbert is Director of Editorial and Web Operations at IONS, former editor of Shift magazine, and founder of Noetic Books.

How to Set Goals Without Caring About the Outcome ~ Margaret Paul Ph.D.

Are you confused between the difference between setting goals and being attached to outcomes? Learn the big difference between these two.

Many people experience confusion regarding the difference between setting goals and letting go of attachment to outcomes. A client and I were discussing being in the moment with her work, rather than stressing about the outcome. “Then how can you set goals for yourself? Everyone sets goals based on the outcome. Why else would you even set goals or try to accomplish anything?”

Setting goals is a very positive and powerful thing to do. Setting goals helps us take the loving action we need to take in our own behalf, to accomplish the things we desire to achieve.

However, setting goals and working toward accomplishing those goals is very different than attaching our happiness, worth and well being to achieving those goals. If we attach our happiness and worth to accomplishing our goals, then we will never feel happy until we have what we want. And, because most of us continue to create new goals once we accomplish our previous goals, this means never being happy or feeling worthy. As long as we attach our happiness and worth to accomplishing our goals, we can never be happy in the moment. There is always the proverbial carrot dangling in front of us, and we never reach it. No matter how much we have and accomplish, the carrot is always there. This is why there are so many successful people who are very unhappy and never feel that they are good enough.

Goals are wonderful, and achieving them is fun, but happiness is right now — being fully present with all that you have. Your sense of worth needs to be based on your intrinsic qualities — your goodness and ability to love, your compassion, caring, and understanding — rather than on achieving goals.

Attaching your happiness to outcomes is what causes distress. As soon as you attach your happiness, worth and wellbeing to something — to connection with someone, to money, things, approval, success, and so on — you then want control over getting what you want. And it is your controlling behavior that causes your distress. Not only does the attachment itself cause anxiety because you might ruminate on getting what you want, but all the things you do to attempt to control the outcome keeps you from being present to your experience of life in the moment.

Taking loving action in order to accomplish your goals is not the same as trying to control the outcome. Loving actions may include hard work, staying open to learning, being honest and acting with integrity, being on time, following through on commitments, caring about others, and so on. Controlling actions may include lying, using others, ruminating, getting angry or defensive, being closed to learning and so on. Controlling behaviors not only make it harder to manifest what you want, but these behaviors often result in feeling alone and unworthy.

When you are willing to accept that you are not in charge of outcomes, you can be fully present in this moment, connected with the inner guidance that will help you to achieve your goals. It’s wonderful to want to be in a loving relationship, to be rich, to have a baby, to be accomplished in your chosen profession, to lose weight or be healthy, to buy a new house or new car, to plan for a vacation, and so on. It’s wonderful to do all you can do physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually to achieve your goals. But if your happiness and sense of worth is dependent on achieving these goals, and if you spend your time trying to control the outcome of things, you will not be a happy person and you will not feel worthy, even if you achieve all of your goals.

Do all you can do to achieve your goals, while being present, open, loving and caring about yourself and others. Do the work you need to do to achieve your goals, while being connected with yourself and with your inner guidance. Do the necessary loving actions to accomplish all that your heart desires, while being unattached to outcomes.

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

Deep Truth by Gregg Braden


Deep Truth reveals new discoveries that change the way we think about everything from our personal relationships to civilization itself. When the facts become clear, our choices become obvious.

The Crisis:
Best-selling author and visionary scientist Gregg Braden suggests that the hottest topics that divide us as families, cultures, and nations-seemingly disparate issues such as war, terrorism, abortion, genocide, poverty, economic collapse, climate change, and nuclear threats-are actually related. They all stem from a worldview based upon the false assumptions of an incomplete science.

The History:
The obsolete beliefs of our modern worldview have brought us to the brink of disaster and the loss of all that we cherish as a civilization. Our reluctance to accept new discoveries about our relationship to the earth, one another, and our ancient past keeps us locked into the thinking that has led to the crises threatening our lives today.

The Facts:
The scientific method allows for, and expects, new information to be revealed and assimilated into our existing beliefs. It’s the updating of scientific knowledge with the new facts from new discoveries that is the key to keeping science honest, current, and meaningful.
To continue teaching science that is not supported by the new discoveries-ones based upon accepted scientific methods-is not, in fact, scientific. But this is precisely what we see happening in traditional textbooks, classrooms, and mainstream media today.

The Opportunity:
Explore for yourself the discoveries that change 150 years of scientific beliefs, yet are still not reflected in mainstream thinking, including:
· Evidence of advanced, near-ice age civilizations
· The origin of, and reasons for, war in our ancient past, and why it may become obsolete in our time
· The false assumptions of human evolution and of the Darwinian theory “Let the strongest live and the weakest die” and how this plays out in corporations, societies, warfare, and civilization today

Deep Truth reveals new discoveries that change the way we think about everything from our personal relationships to civilization itself. When the facts become clear, our choices become obvious.

Deep Truth reveals new discoveries that change the way we think about everything from our personal relationships to civilization itself. When the facts become clear, our choices become obvious.

Occupy Planet Earth: The Great Rising Up ~ Dr. Judith Rich

First they ignore you.
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you.
Then you win.
— Mahatma Gandhi

It’s time. One might even say it’s past time. One might even say it’s long overdue past time. But actually, the time is perfect. The time is ripe. The time is now.

Something’s happening and it’s happening everywhere at the same time. The people of Planet Earth are rising up. They’re rising up in over 1,500 cities in 82 countries so far. And the rising up has just begun. Something is definitely afoot.

People who are attuned to such things have known this was coming. The ancient Mayan calendar predicted a Great Shift, beginning on Dec. 21, 2012. We are barely a year away. People are hearing the call and the shifting has begun.

Humanity is rising up and throwing off the shackles of oppression, worn for millennia, across the ages, across the continents, across all cultures, races and religions. As in the words of Howard Beale, the enigmatic television anchorman portrayed by Peter Finch in the 1976 movie, Network, “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

Peter Finch won a posthumous Academy Award for his role in the movie, which garnered a total of four Oscars in 1977. Here is an excerpt from one of the most famous scenes in the movie. It could have been written about what’s happening in the world today. Speaking is Finch’s character, Howard Beale:

“I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.

We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad — worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’

Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot — I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad.

You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, Goddamn it! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'”

Humanity is mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!

We are witnessing the birth of a new paradigm for mankind, one that is a game-changer for the entire planet. What is unfolding before our very eyes, ears, hearts and minds, is the awakening of our collective consciousness. We are becoming aware, at a level as never before, of the one truth that connects us all.

Will this movement succeed when so many others that have come before it have failed? Only time will tell. But there has never been the kind of global participation in a single movement like what we’re seeing today. With 99 percent of humanity united in a single cause, can change be far behind?

The key word here is unity, for unity is the name of the game. This change is not about further dividing us between rich and poor, have and have nots. The change that is afoot is one that acknowledges a larger truth than the one under which we’ve lived throughout history. We are awakening to the truth of who we are as humans. The time is ripe for this awakening.

We are not separate. We recognize our true nature as that of oneness. We will no longer allow a system that divides and conquers. We will no longer support those systems which keep us in bondage, either physically or spiritually. Greed, corporate or otherwise, is not acceptable. Pillaging the planet is not acceptable. Bigotry, racism, sex trafficking, genital mutilation and other forms of inhumane treatment are not acceptable. Hunger and lack of clean drinking water are not acceptable.

We are all in this together and we know it. Through technology that connects us in real time all the time, the world has grown small enough for us to see one another in real time. When we saw the Egyptians throw off the oppressive Mubarak regime in Tarir Square last spring it was a win for humanity. That win ignited the hearts and minds of oppressed people throughout the Middle East, sending people to the streets throughout the Arab world, and the Arab Spring was born.

There are those who criticize the Occupy movement for not having a clearly stated agenda with specific outcomes, or any kind of visible leadership. But those who took to the streets of Berlin on the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, and began tearing down the Berlin Wall had no clear leadership either. There came a moment in time when a critical mass of people were all aligned in the same consciousness and the actions that unfolded in Berlin gave courage to thousands across Eastern Europe, who began tearing down the walls of tyranny within their own countries.

This movement is not about “them.” It’s about “us.” For “we” are all “them.” None of us wins unless all of us wins. It’s that simple. It’s that complex. There are those who already know this and they’re the ones in the streets.

But we can’t stop here. The 99 percent is incomplete. We must win the hearts and minds of the 1 percent who don’t yet get the message so 100 percent of humanity crosses the line together.

It will happen. Of this you can be sure. It’s only a matter of time.

What is arising in you in response to the Occupy Wall Street movement? Have you taken to the streets? What is your experience?

Consciousness, Existence, Intelligence

Pure consciousness has infinite organizing power and gives rise to the diversity of Nature within itself. The mechanics of this can be experienced during the Transcendental Meditation technique.
In his book Maharishi Vedic University: Introduction, Maharishi gave detailed information about the nature and structure of consciousness.

‘We see things around us exist,’ he said. ‘We also see that things around us change and evolve. We also see that there is order in evolution—an apple seed will only grow into an apple, etc. Thus it is obvious that existence is endowed with the quality of intelligence. Existence breathes life by virtue of intelligence.

‘Consciousness is wakefulness, unbounded alertness, pure intelligence, pure existence, self-referral [it knows itself] fullness, all knowingness—the self-sufficient and unmanifest source, course, and goal of all creation.’

Those who practise Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation experience these qualities of consciousness in their own Transcendental Consciousness.

In its ‘self-referral’ state, or transcendental state, consciousness knows itself alone; as such, it is the knower of itself. By being the knower of itself, it is also the object of knowledge, and the process of knowing. Thus, in its self-referral state, consciousness is the unified state of knower, knowing, and known.

In the Vedic language this ‘three-in-one’ structure of consciousness is called Samhita of Rishi, Devata, and Chandas—Samhita (unity) of Rishi (knower), Devata (dynamism of the process of knowing), and Chhandas (the known).

‘Consciousness is the unity or coexistence of two qualities of intelligence that are contradictory to each other,’ Maharishi continued. ‘Singularity or self-referral Samhita, and diversity of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas.

‘It is interesting to note that the quality of alertness in the nature of consciousness is due to the co-existence of these two opposite values within its structure. Togetherness of these contradictory qualities within the structure of consciousness renders consciousness wakeful, alert, and lively. Consciousness is the lively field of all possibilities.

‘As unity (togetherness) of knower, knowing, and known equates with knowledge and also with consciousness, the implications are that consciousness equates with knowledge; consciousness equates with Veda [pure knowledge]; consciousness equates with Samhita; Samhita (of Rishi, Devata, Chhandas) equates with Veda.

‘Veda equates with the unmanifest, self-referral intelligence of Samhita, which conceives of the three qualities of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas within its own self-referral singularity—singularity finds diversity within its structure.

‘Consciousness is unity and diversity, both at the same time: unity because of Samhita, and diversity because of Rishi, Devata, and Chhandas.

‘This explains that the eternal, self-referral mechanics of transformation exists in the co-existence of the two contradictory qualities of consciousness—singularity and diversity.

‘This is the picture of the structure of the ultimate reality,’ Maharishi concluded. ‘The self-referral intelligence in motion, within its own singularity, giving rise to the mechanics of creation and evolution—the Unified Field of pure intelligence spontaneously giving rise to the diversity of all the Laws of Nature within itself.

‘The picture is that self-referral consciousness is infinite organizing power; it is the lively potential of Natural Law.’

By a Global Good News staff writer

Why Do We Fear an Empty Mind? By Natasha Dem

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When a thought enters the mind, it is replaced by another. It is automatic. We are not aware that a thought has segued into another thought. But upon developing the muscles of concentration, we become conscious of the entry and exit process of our thoughts. The mind gradually begins to entertain fewer thoughts per minute. We become aware that there is an interval, a delay, a space between one thought and another. This space is emptiness but also a fullness. At this level of awareness, we are in the sanctum of pure awareness. There are many who are living in this state of pure awareness, and their experiences are lucid and real.

Many are in search of this state, whether they know it or not. We are wired to seek and find what we seek. This quest is as old as humanity itself. There is no need to spend time and energy seeking some illusory “self.” What you are seeking is inside of you, and it is you. It is the mind that asserts otherwise.

When you believe this mind, you seek this “I” outside yourself. All one has to do is to remain quiet, calm the mind and experience this space between the thoughts. In this state, only the “I” exists. When you let this “I” in your mind be, without resisting, you enter the realm of emptiness — pure consciousness or the creative void. Whatever comes up, do not take it personally. Just observe. Allowing your mind to “go blank” for a little while won’t kill you, and will actually help you discover your potential, unlimited.

Now developing some comfort with this state is both simple and complex in concept. Since we are slaves to stimuli, we can’t imagine harnessing such a practice of emptiness or of being. We are incessantly tempted to turn our attention to something just to avoid this sensation. Blankness is not nothingness. To be empty does not mean non-existence. Emptiness is the ground of being, and because of it, everything is possible.

When the ego cooperates in suspension of all sense impressions and thoughts, it enters the realm of empty, unnameable nothingness. This nothingness is the gateway into the deeper layers of consciousness. It is here where inspiration, knowledge and creativity will ultimately strike. While we are here, we do not decide what will be experienced but to allow whatever awareness it wants us to have.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

Living in Awe by Chris Attwood

Language reinforces duality and as such, makes the experience of unity elusive when the mind believes the words it speaks. In order to speak sound must become dual.

There must be sound and no sound, words and the gaps between the words, in order for language to exist. However, language also provides me with words to describe what I conceive of as “I” and that which I conceive of as “you.” In other words, it provides reenforcement of the illusion of duality.

Even as I read this page, I interpret the “I” referred to on the page in the context of my belief about what “I” is. If my mind is still in the grip of duality, then it will tend to interpret this “I” as meaning someone other than myself. There is a writer, who has written on the page and that writer is “someone else.”

In unity, the writer, the process of writing and that which is written are one. The reader, the process of reading and that which is read are one. And the writer, the reader and the writing are one.

In the ancient Vedic texts this is called “samhita of rishi, devata and chhandas.” Samhita means “togetherness.” Rishi is the knower of reality. Devata is the process of knowing. Chhandas is that which is known. The togetherness of knower, process of knowing and known.

Togetherness of Knower, Process of Knowing and Known

The rishis of ancient India were also those who cognized the nature of life. From their own experience they saw into the truth of life and then wrote about it, or spoke about it in a form that could be passed on from generation to generation.

Devata is sometimes translated as “god” (god with a small “g”, there being many of them). But when one understands the real meaning of devata, one discovers that these “gods” are in fact the very structure of the laws of nature responsible for the transformations that appear to occur in life.

Chhandas has several meanings. It refers to the meter, or rhythm of the Vedic verses. It is also translated as “that which covers.” Chhandas is the expressed version of the rishi aspect of life, that part of life which I describe as “wholeness.” This aspect of life is what was cognized by the ancient rishis and through the rhythm, the ebb and flow, the inward and outward breath, the movement of contraction and expansion, chhandas hides the truth of life. When I experience the chhandas, I forget the whole. But when my awareness is immersed in wholeness, then chhandas provides waves of bliss.

This realization, that I, as knower, the process by which I know anything, and that which I know are not separate, is the realization of unity. The truth of life exists in the wisdom of the togetherness of these which appear as three and yet are completely, intimately and inseparably connected.

I can imagine a jigsaw puzzle which is made up of many pieces, yet when they are all put together, they form one coherent whole. In a similar way, I, through my own consciousness, have selectively hidden (through chhandas) parts of myself from myself. The pieces of the puzzle are always put together and always form a whole in life, but it’s as if I have covered over many of the pieces. Rather than putting the pieces together, I unveil pieces that were hidden from my view.

As more and more pieces come into my view, the picture of the whole of life begins to unfold. The more of that picture I perceive, the more beautiful it is. I realize that every single piece in the puzzle is essential to the wholeness of the picture.

And I am left in awe.


The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose
by Janet Attwood, Chris Attwood

Can a simple test change a person’s life? Through their New York Times bestseller The Passion Test, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood have inspired thousands to shape their lives by discovering their passions and living according to what matters most to them. Readers can identify their top five passions by taking the Test, and then learn exactly how to align their lives with their priorities by following the Attwood’s easy-to-follow step-by-step program of action.

Combining powerful storytelling and profound wisdom from models of passionate living such as Jack Canfield, Richard Paul Evans, and Stephen M.R. Covey, as well as drawing on their own personal experiences, the Atwood show how living a full and impassioned life is not only possible, it’s inevitable for anyone willing to take the Test.

I Am: Therefore God Is ~ Deepak Chopra

Order War of the Worldviews http://tinyurl.com/42urctv
We participate in the actualization of Reality from Potentiality

Three-in-one Structure of Consciousness – Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Ph.D

All that Vedic Science wants to bring home to man, is that the one indivisible wholeness of consciousness is the source of all multiplicity of Creation, and that this one unbounded ocean of consciousness is our own consciousness.

Consciousness is that element in nature that is aware of itself. It has three aspects to it – it is the perceiving subject, it is its own object of perception, and it is itself the relationship between subject and object, or in other words, it is itself the process of observation.

Rishi, Devata, and Chandas

When we say “I know myself,” then the three-in-one structure of our consciousness becomes already obvious. In the language of the Veda, these three aspects of awareness are called: Rishi, Devata and Chandas. Rishi is the knower, Devata is the knowing and Chandas is the known.

Since everything in creation is the expression of consciousness, everything must have these three aspects of consciousness inherent in it. As we know from our case, our identity consists of pure subjectivity, the witnessing aspect of our consciousness. As an expression of that, we have the mind, containing all thoughts, feelings, desires, emotions and perceptions, etc., and thirdly, we have a body, the outer expression of our personality. We can relate these three aspects of the wholeness of our nature – soul, mind and body – to the three aspects of the wholeness of our consciousness, Rishi, Devata and Chandas.

Like that, the essence, the ultimate identity of every creature is pure consciousness. Furthermore, every creature has a mind, which forms a lively link between its inner pure subjectivity and its outer objectivity, the body. Since the whole universe is the expression of consciousness, we can attribute these three values to the whole of creation. And although we are aware that every item in creation has these three aspects in it, we can still distinguish different aspects of creation, which are mainly representing the Rishi value of existence, or mainly representing the Devata value of existence, or mainly representing the Chandas value of existence.

Samhita of Rishi, Devata and Chandas

In Rik Veda, the Rishi, Devata and Chandas values are present in a unified state. This is called the Samhita of Rishi, Devata and Chandas. Every expression of Rik Veda is the integrated expression of these three values. Rik Veda is composed of suktas, and the text of Rik Veda mentions at the start of each sukta, what the Rishi (seer) value of that sukta is, what its Devata (impulse of Creative Intelligence) value is, and what its Chandas (metre) value is. The sukta or hymn as a whole is a particular blend of these three basic ingredients. As we saw already, the Vedas are the source of creation, which implies these three aspects of the structuring dynamics of consciousness lie at the basis of all manifestations in the universe. and as such they can be located everywhere, throughout creation.

Stars, planets and areas of life

In Vedic astrology there are three ingredients that make up a Janma Kundali or birth chart. These, just as in Western astrology, are the stars, represented by the signs of the Kalapurusha or zodiac, the planets, including the Sun, Moon and the two lunar nodes, and thirdly the houses, which represent the twelve areas of life. In Maharishi Jyotish, these three ingredients of the birth chart are called respectively rashis, grahas and bhavas.
Rashis represent the Rishi Value

The twelve rashis constitute what is known in Vedic Science the Kalapurusha, the origin of what Western astrology calls the zodiac. The term Purusha stems from the Samkhya philosophy, one of the six Upangas, mentioned earlier. Purusha is introduced as a concept for the universal soul, the witness of all that is, was, and will be. Kala means time, a concept designed to measure eternity. So the Kalapurusha stands for the “Timesoul,” the eternal witness of all relative cycles of time. Thus it is clear that the Kalapurusha, consisting of the twelve groups of stars, represent the Rishi value of creation.

The stars, grouped in the form of the twelve rashis, indicate the innermost nature of a person, one’s temperament, one’s specific mode of consciousness that one will display throughout life. The Rashi that is rising on the eastern horizon, as seen from the time and place of birth, forms the main indicator of the inborn nature, the character, the basic personality traits that the individual will exhibit in life. Also seen from this angle, it is clear that the rashis relate to the Rishi value of life.

It is interesting to see that, in Vedic Astrology rashis are possessed of a “Drishti” (look) in a certain direction. Maharshi Parashara, one of the founding fathers of Vedic Astrology, mentions this Drishti, or looking nature of the rashis in his Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra long before he mentions the more commonly known Drishti values that the planets possess.

The stars form the “silent witnesses” of all the dynamism that takes place within the cosmic arena that they constitute. As such, they can be compared to the all-witnessing nature of our unbounded and eternal soul. Our soul is the silent witness of everything that goes on inside our mind, body and environment.

Cosmologically speaking, the stars are known to be the origin of all life forms. All the atoms that form our human body, and also those of the air that we breathe, and the food that we eat, have been produced inside the centre of giant stars that constituted a previous generation of stars, the parents of the present stars. Without the large scale production of all the 103 elements of nature, no “gross” material life form could ever have developed in the universe.

Similarly, in Maharishi’s Veda Lila – a kind of Vedic opera which illustrates, through theatre, the self-interacting dynamics of consciousness in a dramatised form – the Rishi value is shown to be the origin of the dynamic values of Devata and of all the objective values of Chandas. The above parallels between the rashis and the Rishi value of consciousness, make clear that the stars represent the Rishi value of creation.

Grahas Represent the Devata Value

The planets, in Vedic Astrology called grahas, represent the dynamical values in life. Maharishi points out that the term Graha refers to its ability to uphold the life of the individual. As such, they are the material expressions – the point values – of abstract universal Laws of Nature, responsible for the evolution of every single item in creation. In Vedic Science, they are regarded as Devatas, impulses of Creative Intelligence or embodiments of certain Laws of Nature, which are responsible for creating, maintaining, and dissolving all life forms in the universe.

The nine grahas taken together represent all the Laws of Nature contained in the Constitution of the Universe, the Rik Veda. Each Graha represents a particular set of Laws of Nature, responsible for the evolution of certain aspects of life. These nine categories of Laws of Nature conduct the evolution of all life forms in this universe. The grahas themselves are localised in time and space, but their essential value, their Rishi value, constitutes eternal, omnipresent, and universal Laws of Nature which all together form the nine basic structuring dynamics of the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature – the Unified Field of consciousness.

In Jyotish, Chandra or the Moon is considered the most important of the Navagrahas (nine grahas). In an individual’s kundali or birth chart, Chandra represents the mind of the native. The position of the Moon at birth determines the starting point of the sequential evolutionary process that makes up the dynamism in the life of the individual. From these, and similar considerations, it is clear that the grahas predominantly represent the Devata aspect of
consciousness.

Bhavas represent the Chandas Value

The infinite complexity of life, with which we as individuals are confronted, has been classified by the ancient Vedic Rishis, or seers, into twelve categories, forming the twelve basic areas of life. These twelve areas of life are called bhavas or houses and have the same function and meaning as houses in Western astrology. They encompass all possible experiences that we as human beings go through in our daily experiences from morning till night, and in our development from birth till death, as well as in our spiritual evolution, the growth from ignorance to enlightenment .

Thanks to this classification that the Vedic Rishis have bestowed on mankind, we are in a position to discover the relationship between one experience and another, and in general, we can begin to see the cosmic order existing amidst the infinite diversity of life experiences.

It is in the bhavas, that the evolutionary dynamism of the grahas is displayed. Technically speaking, the bhavas are fixed to the earth as directions in space seen from our place of birth. They form the fixed framework for the kaleidoscopic, ever-changing arrangement of the Sun, Moon, and the planets, and the silently revolving background of the stars.

The bhavas relate to the relative, or, in other words, the objective values of life, such as our body, our finances, our homes, our spouse, our children, our parents, our profession, etc. The specific nature of these areas of life are determined by the nature of both the planets and the stars that occupy them. And, as the nature of the mind and the nature of the soul determine the experiences that the body undergoes, so the planets and the stars determine the nature of the activity that takes place in each of the twelve bhavas, the concrete areas of life.

The subjective values of mind and soul can only express themselves in the concrete areas of life – the field of all relative life experiences – e.g., the body, the field of our profession, the field of our relationships, our financial situation, etc. Likewise, the qualities of the rashis and grahas in a person’s birth chart can only express themselves in the context provided by the twelve bhavas.

Just as the Chandas value relates to the objective aspect of consciousness, the bhavas relate to the objective side of our existence. The word “Chandas” is derived from the Sanskrit root “chhand” which means “to hide, to cover.” This term refers to the special effect that the objective values of existence have in hiding the mental and spiritual values of existence, the Devata and Rishi qualities of consciousness.

In a similar way, the twelve concrete areas of life have the effect of overshadowing and hiding the nature of our subjectivity, namely the mental values and especially the unbounded and eternal nature of our soul. This makes it clear that the bhavas represent predominantly the Chandas aspect of consciousness.

Looking at these three aspects of consciousness together, we see how the Devata value forms the connecting link between pure subjectivity (Rishi) and the objective values of existence (Chandas). In the field of Jyotish, the grahas provide a connection between the rashis with the bhavas. Each of the nine grahas is the owner of one or two rashis. As such, each Graha represents one or two rashis. The evolutionary dynamism of the grahas can only manifest itself in the context of the fixed bhavas. Thus, the grahas create a lively connection between the rashis and the bhavas.

So it is in the grahas, that the rashis and the bhavas find a common meeting ground. In a similar way, the soul and the body find a common meeting ground in the mind. It is the mind that creates a lively connection between the soul and the body. The mind is able to do so because of its ability to reflect both subjective and objective values of existence.

This division of the reality in these three aspects of creation, provided by Rik Veda, has its parallel in another Vedic triad, commonly referred to in the Upanishads as Adhyatma, Adhidaiva, Adhibhuta.

Adhyatma represents the absolute field of life, the field of pure subjectivity, the Self of all beings, obviously related to the Rishi value of existence.
Adhidaiva represents the field of activity, evolution, and transformation, guided by the Laws of Nature or Devatas, obviously related to the Devata value.
Adhibhuta represents the material, concrete, the relative field of creation, obviously related to the Chandas value of existence.

Multiples of three
The integrated state of functioning of the Rishi, Devata, and Chandas value of the Veda, the Samhita level of consciousness represents the level of wholeness of consciousness, from which the whole creation emerges.
It is for this reason that Jyotish deals with three basic ingredients – rashis, grahas, and bhavas. The interaction of these three basic values of existence gives further rise to an infinite number of combinations and permutations, which, from the Vedic standpoint, all consist of multiples of three. Thus, we find that Jyotish makes use of 3 x 3 = 9 grahas, 4 x 3 = 12 rashis, 4 x 3 = 12 bhavas. Apart from these which we have dealt with above, Jyotish makes use of many other subdivisions of the Kalapurusha, of which the Nakshatras, Drekkanas and Navamshas are very important. The Nakshatras are 9 x 3 = 27 in number. The Drekkanas are 12 x 3 = 36 in number, while the Navamshas count 12 x 9 = 108 in number.

[Note for Advanced Students of Vedic Astrology: All the 16 subdivisions of the Kalapurusha defined by Maharshi Parashara as the “Shodashavargas,” because they are subdivisions of the twelve rashis, consist naturally of multiples of three.]

And finally, while these three basic ingredients keep on interacting with themselves all over the ever expanding universe, they are integratedly available in our individual lives.

Man – A Miniature Universe

Maharishi has always said that the human being is the embodiment of all the Laws of Nature. We are the embodiment of the Veda, the Constitution of the Universe.

This fact is beautifully demonstrated by Jyotish. Jyotish is not geocentric in its orientation nor is it heliocentric in its orientation but “Jiva-centric” (Jiva=individual soul). Therefore here the universe is viewed from the time and place of birth of any Jiva or individualised consciousness. In Jyotish every single individual is regarded as the centre of the universe! This “Jiva-centric” nature of Jyotish is clearly illustrated in an individual’s birth chart. The Janma Kundali, or horoscope, represents an actual picture of the structure of the universe at the time of birth of a person, seen through the eyes of that new-born person. It shows – in a schematic way – the arrangement of Sun, Moon and planets, including the two lunar nodes, set against the background of the constellations forming the Kalapurusha.

The Jyotishi, or expert in Vedic Astrology, knows that this structure of the universe, this arrangement of Sun, Moon, stars and planets indicates the structure of the cosmic, all-comprehensive nature of the Jiva. Jyotish demonstrates that every single individual born on this planet is actually of a cosmic nature. In reading an individual’s birth chart, the Jyotishi actually demonstrates that the individual is made up out of these cosmic forces. Thus, Jyotish provides a practical demonstration of the abstract principle propounded by the Upanishads and the Vedanta philosophy that says: “Jivo Brahmaiva naparah” – “The individual soul is Brahman, the Totality, and nothing else.”

The individual’s birth chart is constructed out of three basic ingredients. These three ingredients are formed by the stars, the planets, and the houses, and are blended harmoniously into the all-comprehensive structure of the birth chart. In Vedic Astrology, the horoscope is designed in a square form. The square and triangular boxes of the chart represent the twelve bhavas, which are an expression of the Chandas value of existence and as stated above, they refer to the concrete areas of life and living. The letters in the boxes of the chart represent the nine grahas, the nine basic impulses of Creative Intelligence that give rise to the sequential developments in our life, which thus are an expression of the Devata value of existence. The numbers inside the boxes represent the twelve groups of stars, the rashis, representing the twelve basic modes of consciousness and thus are an expression of the Rishi value of existence.

All these twelve, nine and twelve ingredients are blended together in an integrated fashion, and the collectedness of them all forms what we can call “the constitution of the individual.” Just as the Constitution of the Universe contains all the ingredients and Laws of Nature that structure the dynamics of the universe, so the individual’s birth chart contains all the ingredients and Laws of Nature that structure the dynamics of the individual’s life.


Chart Rishi Devata Chhandas, rashis, grahas, bhavas

The beauty of this overview is, that all the ingredients that are shown to structure the life of the individual, are derived from the visible universe (Vishva), while all the ingredients that form the visible universe, are shown to be derived from the Veda, the Samhita of Rishi, Devata and Chandas.

This consciousness-centred perspective demonstrates that the individual is indeed an expression of all the Laws of Nature, or as Maharishi puts it: “The the human being is the embodiment of all the Laws of Nature.” In other words, the human being is the embodiment of the Veda, the home of all the Laws of Nature, the Constitution of the Universe. Thus the chart illustrates the ultimate Vedic principle which the Upanishads recommend every individual to directly experience: “Aham Brahmasmi” – “I am Brahman, I am the totality, really I am everything.”

This cosmic perspective on the individual, this cosmic perspective on our own life can be said to be the essence of all Vedic Knowledge. It is the central theme of all 40 branches of Vedic Science. All 40 aspects of Vedic Science have only one common purpose: to bring home to each and every individual born on earth, that we are in essence one with the universe. The Vedas and Vedic Literature indicate that it is the birthright of every human being to live this experience through all the thick and thin of life.

The entire structure of the human nervous system is designed to give rise to this cosmic experience. The absence of this experience is defined as dis-ease. In other words, the absence of this experience is responsible for the all-round suffering that human life has gone through so far. This simply demonstrates that mankind has not lived up to its individual and collective potential.

What means Health?

Health means wholeness. Mankind is not experiencing a normal state of health. See: The discovery of the Veda and Vedic Literature in the Human Physiology. (Nader, 1993)

This intimate relationship between the human body and the universe forms a major topic of the most holistic system of health care, Ayurveda. Summarized in one of its textbooks: “All material and spiritual phenomena of the universe are present in the individual. Similarly, all those present in the individual are also contained in the universe. This is how the wise desire to perceive.” (Charaka Samhita IV). A few paragraphs earlier, in this same passage Charaka in the words of Lord Atreya states:

“Purushyo’yam loka sannidah”
“Man is a miniature universe”
(Charaka Samhita IV).

This quote from Charaka Samhita illustrates how beautifully Ayurveda and Jyotish supplement and support each other. Indeed, all the branches of Vedic Science support and supplement each other. They constitute the different aspects of one holistic science, the science of consciousness, Brahma vidya, the science of the Totality. Every individual branch of Vedic Science is simply an elaboration as well as a further explanation and a commentary on the basic truths of life as contained in Rik Veda, the encyclopaedia of all knowledge, the Constitution of the Universe.

Spiritual Lessons From Steve Jobs ~Dennis Merrit Jones

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

~ Steve Jobs

“The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I sit here staring at my Mac computer to which my Mac iPhone and Mac iPad are docked, I find myself feeling extraordinarily connected to the man who created the company. The company which created these devices, which are now available to me and the rest of the world. Steve Jobs passing has affected me in a deep way. This man has reminded me of how important it is to stay anchored in my own authentic power, and to stay connected to what is real and important by staying true to myself.

Many in the media are referring to Jobs as a creative genius. There can be no question that he had the ability to tap into a creative flow of ideas that were indeed genius. Many also credit Jobs’ monumental success with Apple to his being a rebel of sorts. I suppose that is because he was willing to color way outside the lines of the “norm” and go where the “herd mentality” has traditionally feared to tread — on the road less traveled. Perhaps there is a link between one thinking for themselves in such a fiercely independent manner and their ability to access the creative genius that lies within their being waiting to be called forward.

I wonder how many people spend their lives living someone else’s idea of what their life should be because it is easier, and perhaps safer. It is easier to follow the well trodden path of least resistance rather than forge ahead into new and uncharted territory, creating ones own unique path based on their own genius and original, innovative thinking. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This is an admonition worth heeding, and yet being an original thinker in a copycat world is a risky thing to do.

Anytime we raise our heads above the trenches of common opinion, we put all of who we are directly in the line of fire of every critic and naysayer of individuality; but then again, that is where true leaders excel — on the firing line of life. They know that new and innovative thinking can come only after they have stepped outside of the box of the known, where uncertainty reigns supreme.

It’s safe to say that regardless of the direction our intuition and passion takes us, there will always be others who will tell us we are wrong. (That is what Apple did to Jobs when they fired him from his own company in May of 1985, only to rehire him as CEO in 1997 because the company was tanking.) It can be tempting to buy into the opinion of our critics because it feels good to be loved and approved of, especially when there is also financial security at stake. To set our course against the prevailing winds and follow our own inner compass requires tremendous faith and courage.

From a spiritual perspective — irrespective of what other’s opinion may be — when we have the courage to follow the conviction of our heart and stay the course, there seems to arise from within an intuitive knowing of what to do and how to do it. Steve Jobs clearly had accessed his intuitive guidance. This aligned him with his own creative genius, which gave him the courage to rise above the din of his competitor’s and critic’s wagging tongues. He was a classy guy who left the planet a far better place than it was when he arrived here because he refused to be anyone other than who he came here to be.

May we all learn from Steve Jobs’ willingness to be the authentic being he was, to seek our own uniqueness and live confidently, courageously and creatively from that sacred place of true authenticity. The take away for me is this: Your time really is limited because no one has tomorrow, so don’t squander it by living up to (or in some cases down to) someone else’s idea of who you should or shouldn’t be.

If you have the courage to do so, following the North star of your own heart will lead you to your own creative genius — to your own unique greatness. Steve Jobs was a true visionary and an independent thinker; he was not afraid to go where his heart led him. It’s true, the man of genius can indeed inspire you with a boundless confidence in your own powers if you are willing to color outside the lines, take the road less traveled, listen to your intuitive guide and be who you have come here to be.

Mindfulness Can Give Your Brain an Edge ~Daivd Nichtern

When we practice mindfulness meditation, one of the first things we notice is how un-mindful we are. It is like going back to the gym and realizing how out of shape we have become. It can actually be a little irritating. We might think, “I don’t know about this meditation thing” because at first we mostly notice how out of sync we are.

Some people get frustrated right away, but this is actually a great place to start — just like going to the gym with our little pot belly and oxygen-deprived body is also a great place to start. We just have to be patient, kind to ourselves and willing to try.

To practice mindfulness properly, we have to cut through a kind of daydream quality in our mind. Often we are engaging in some activity — riding the subway, driving a car, having a business meeting — but our mind is somewhere else, lost in a daydream. If you look at people sitting on a bus or a train you can see this quality in their eyes. Whether we’re having a pleasant or unpleasant daydream, we are cutting through all of that with mindfulness practice.

The awakened mind is sharp and clear. Sometimes the gateway to it can be an experience of irritation, or even shock — not entirely unlike waking up suddenly from a dream. “My goodness, I’m on the subway here. That’s a human being walking by with one leg and a cup … and a strong smell”. Suddenly we become completely present with whatever is actually around us — whether it is pleasant or not. At these times, it’s as if our world is shaking us and waking us up with a kind of sharp edge.

Our world can also wake us up in a peaceful and beguiling way. We might notice the details of a beautiful flower, or the delicious smell of a bakery as we walk by daydreaming about our troubled economy.

In either case, there is a regular and recurring invitation to bring our attention back to the present moment and relate to what is right in front of us. Practicing mindfulness is simply recognizing this invitation to be present, and being willing to accept the invitation when it comes.

In the Buddhist tradition, one recommendation for practicing mindfulness is to lean into its sharp edge — so that we’re not seduced into going back to sleep, back into our daydream. It’s like the movie “The Matrix” — the red pill or the blue pill — one will wake us up and the other will let us continue in the dream world. Do we want to go back into that daydream, or do we want to wake up? When we become aware it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re waking up into a paradise.

Is this world a paradise? Well, yes and no, right? It depends on our attitude. But the point is, it’s not a dull paradise where everything is perfect and comes easily. It’s a sharp paradise, with edges and clarity. It’s vivid and poignant.

When looking to see if somebody is trained in mindfulness, sharpness and wakefulness are the mark to look for — more so than a blissful, spaced-out quality in which they love everybody, but don’t remember exactly why. Mindfulness is the core practice of the Buddhist teachings, but it can be practiced by anybody — and it has an edge.

The Noetic Change Model — Living a Life of Meaning by Lee Lipsenthal

We all have experience of a noetic nature: things we know to be true even without external “proof.” We often refer to these “knowings” as intuitions or synchronicities, yet they are common. Sometimes, for many of us, in workshops, retreats, or deep meditations, these events can be large and even shake us up.

Science is just beginning to understand the nature of such spiritual moments. There are two areas of the brain, the right angular gyrus and posterior right temporal region, that when triggered electrically gives us spiritual experiences: out of body adventures, the sense of something bigger than ourselves. It can also be triggered or stimulated by drugs, meditation, prayer, shamanic journeying, guided imagery, or sleep.

But what is the “meaning” of these events? We may never know, but the Noetic Sciences Change Model developed at IONS suggests a way of finding purpose from these events. Instead of asking “What doe this mean?” or “Am I being given a message?” ask yourself, “How does this inform my life and how can I bring this out to the world in a way that has meaning?” After all, our actions are what matters in the world.

There are traps in bringing our experience, our meaning, our action, to the world; such effort can swallow us up, distract us, or even diminish our power. We can believe we are special and act as if special was real, likening ourselves to a guru or wise one; this is the trap of ego. We can get so engrossed in our experience that we want to study, read, and learn anything that can be known about it; this is the trap of intellect. We can seduce ourselves into believing that it’s all about “me” and forget to bring our actions into a spirit of service. We can forget that there are many paths, and that we have only been shown one, and that our path may not be for others.

Or…we can sit and practice, go deeper and ask ourselves, How does this noetic moment inform my life and my ability to serve others in a way that they wish to be served? How can I live it fully? It’s a choice.

Living Fully

Living fully is having an ongoing transcendent experience.

It is not studying and analyzing the experience.
It is not wanting more of the experience.
It is not buying the right clothing to remind you of the experience.
It is not telling the world that you are the experience.

It is being within the experience.
It is asking “How does this experience inform my life?”
It is asking “How does this experience help me to serve others?”
It is doing the work of love without being seen.


Dr. Lipsenthal was a member of the IONS Board of Directors and Founder & CEO of Finding Balance in a Medical Life. He was also the Medical Advisor for HeartMath, LLC and received numerous awards in the Academic and Medical field.

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