Q&A Sample – Can the ego surrender itself to the light of consciousness?

An eloquent summation of the dysfunctional mind pattern that is the ego and what happens to it in the face of awareness.

The Thyroid – The Occult Center of Clairaudience

The Thyroid is responsible for the production of hormones that can regulate the functions of our entire metabolism. When this gland is not functioning adequately it can be accountable for many different types of unbalanced situations in various degrees of severity, and many times they can be ignored, where-as others can be so accentuated that they can be seen as life threatening. The thyroid secretes the hormone that controls the heart beat, blood pressure, mental activities and other diverse functions of the human metabolism in general.

The Yogis from India teach that the throat chakra’s root comes from the Thyroid gland. They say this chakra has a lotus with 16 petals, a marvelous gland that presents a glowing auric field that is ecstatic; they refer to it as an amplified ear that is able to register frequency waves or sounds that are not necessarily audible to our human ears. This amplified ear is called Clairaudience; therefore the Throat chakra is the center of this Clair. They also teach that it is through the throat chakra and the thyroid development that we reach the “conceptual synthesis” of consciousness. They insist that matter is nothing but condensation of the ether and the ether is the condensation of the Tattwa Akasha. For the Yogis, Akasha is the primordial sound or vibration of the universe, and its instrument in humans is the throat chakra.

The level of spiritual attainment through the development of this center is so great, that Tradition teaches that though the improvement of the thyroid center, humans can learn how to regulate and control the Akasha element which would enable the soul to continue to exist even during the long nights of Brahma, or the nights of the great Pralaya.

The thyroid is located in the anterior part of the neck, and it produces the hormones T3 and T4, which regulate our growth, digestion and metabolism.

The thyroid is a red gland which is formed by two lobes united by an isthmus forming a perfect triangle, much like the forming of a butterfly. The wings are lobes present on the side of the throat.

The two lobes of this gland are situated on both sides of the laryngeal prominence, commonly known as the Adam’s apple[1].

Rosicrucian doctors reassure that the thyroid gland is influenced by the planet Venus, and the Parathyroid[2] glands are in turn, influenced by the planet Mars. According to Dr Arnold Krumm-Heller, there is an unending energy battle between these two sets of glands.

[1] The laryngeal prominence—commonly known as the Adam’s apple—is a feature of the human neck. This lump, or protrusion, is formed by the angle of the thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx. The term “Adam’s Apple” is derived from the forbidden fruit in the Biblical account of the lives of Adam and Eve (although the name of the fruit is not mentioned in Genesis) and refers to the prominence of the lump in males (hence, Adam) more than females.

[2] Parathyroid glands (we all have 4 of them) are normally the size of a grain of rice. Occasionally they can be as large as a pea and still be considered normal.

Source: http://humanityhealing.net (http://s.tt/15SrK)

Q&A Sample – Where do our thoughts come from? – Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart discusses the transpersonal nature of thought, and how awareness arises both individually and collectively.

The Hidden Function of Endocrine Glands: Based on the teachings of Edgar Cayce

“Each soul enters with a mission.
We all have a mission to perform. ”
~Edgar Cayce

Source: http://humanityhealing.net (http://s.tt/15P4k)

Within the scope of the teachings of Edgar Cayce, it is said that the hormonal system and the endocrine glands are elements of the natural the pathway for the healing of any illness. According to Cayce, these glands are the point of contact among all our three bodies; in these glands, we can experience the soul and spirit, and through them, these elements can exercise influence the physical vehicle. For Cayce, any healing or cure would start in the glandular system, undoubtedly because he believed that all the human activities, all our dispositions, temperament and diversity of nature is the blossom of the action of these glands.

The glands are related to the purpose of renovation of cells, degeneration and also their rejuvenation. They allow not only the production of the potential physical energy needed by the body for its metabolic functions, but also cooperate in the production of energy to be directed to the mental and the spiritual bodies. Cayce believed that the endocrine system was a pathway to reach and understand God.

The idea of thinking about the glands as connective points that link us with our spirit is not really a novelty. For the philosopher Plato, the thymus was an organ that was part of the soul; it would express our pride, indignation, our shame and the need of validation. For Plato, the thymus was a warrior aspect of us, from our internal life. Without the thymus, he says, man would be nothing but a very intelligent animal, with a brain and control of physical activities, but with no moral autonomy.

It is through these amazing mini-powerhouse-chakras that our physical body receives the energy to perform healing inside of itself. Our mental attitudes are not detached from our physical behavior, such as our tone of voice, the way we look at things, the way we judge and react to our immediate reality; everything is influenced by our endocrine system because they act directly over our sensorial system.

When Cayce talks about the glands being the major key of orchestrating all the activities of the physical body, including its manifestations and perceptions, he also mentions as the major centers of this power, the Pineal, Pituitary, Thymus, Thyroid, Adrenals and sexual glands; even knowing that there are other glands inside of the human body.

In the Hindu tradition, there are other important organs pertaining of all the human bodies; the chakras. The chakras are the keys for the human personality, and they act just as a gland, with precise function to process, and metabolize energy and keep it distributed through the entire system. Each one of these centers detains a colorful vibration, one of the four elements, an astrological sign and the influence of one planet.

The Pituitary and Pineal glands are the highest glands located inside our bodies. They are related to the Light that can develop only though silence. The Pineal gland is the initial point in the construction of the embryo inside of the mother’s womb. The Thyroid is activated when one decides to take action. These three glands are majorly developed during the period of adulthood. Until such a time, the gifts related to each of these centers can only be felt lightly. Adulthood can bring skilled abilities to life, such as correct and pondered speech, clear vision, right judgment, analytic skills and also wisdom. The last chakra to fully develop is always the Heart chakra.

For Cayce, the adrenals are the center of our emotional life, and they can affect greatly our solar plexus. The Sexual glands are for him the motor energy behind our physical bodies.

Cayce explains that in production and circulation of negative feeling such as hate, and attitudes such as aggressiveness, all the glands are involved.

In his analysis, Cayce also believes that every illness infiltrates itself into a body though the venomous secretions produced by the glands while they are influenced by negative emotions and feelings. The opposite would be also true according to him, because a healing of an ailment could be found through a positive attitude and the correction of vibrational fields through the practice of meditation.

Earth Energy Chakra System

The earth energy chakra system allows us to experience a sense of oneness with other beings living on earth. The earth ego and survival energy category (plant kingdom, animal kingdom, water mass and life in it). The earth heart and soul energy category (element of earth, element of air, element of fire, and element of water).

The earth advancement and intelligence energy category (weather, communication, and balance of life). Just sit back enjoy the music and scenery as you ask for healing energy for yourself and other beings living on earth from the bottom of your heart. Just have fun doing it. Please give us your feedback about what you felt. Share it with friends. Love

The Astrology of March 2012 – for Everyone

Two kites, a partial mystic rectangle and *two six-pointed stars* in March!!!

A rare and complex set of aspects dominate March’s chart. This chart takes us close to the frontiers of astrological understanding. It also takes us over a threshold into a different kind of energetic space, one with a distinctly spiritual component.

The focus changes from big, headline-making aspects and major events to a dense, highly charged primal energetic blend aimed at individuals and isolated processes. The focus will be on countless small events and opportunities affecting countless lives separately. A deeply complex energetic atmosphere in which trends are hard to spot and predictions are hard to make.

The Great Invocation

The Great Invocation is known as the “Invocation for Power and Light” in the archives of the Masters. In these archives, it has a symbol beside it which indicates the era or period it can be used, the Tibetan tells us. “It is interesting to us,” he adds, “that the evolution of humanity is in line with the indicated timing.”
From the point of Light
Within the Mind of God,
Let light stream forth into the minds of men.
Let Light descend on Earth.
From the point of Love
Within the Heart of God
Let love stream forth into the hearts of men.
May Love increase on Earth.
From the Center
Where the Will of God is known
Let purpose guide our wills
the purpose which the Masters know and serve.
From the center which we call Humanity
Let the Plan of Love and Light work out
And may it seal the door where evil dwells.
Let Light and Love and Power
Restore the Plan on Earth.

The Awakening

Images merged with paraphrases from the writings of priest-scientist Teilhard de Chardin, help us to see God every-where. This is except from part 1 of the DVD and Book “World Alive with Loving God” by Len Sroka, Seescapes Publishing.

TheGreatestTruthNeverTold: 41. You Make Plans They Make Plans 42. The Duck Dinner 43. The Rigged Game 44. Confiscation and Inflation


42. The Duck Dinner

43. The Rigged Game

44. Confiscation and Inflation

The Spiritual Way of Lao Tzu – On the Art of Living ~ by hhteam

“I have three treasures. Guard and keep them: The first is deep love, the second is frugality, and the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world. Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.”
~ Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu was the most famous philosopher, mystic and alchemist in China. He is the author of the Tao Te Ching, or the Way. He is regarded as one of the foundation stones of Taoism. Originally, the word Tao meant a specific line of action, probably a military one, because the ideograms that compose this word mean “feet” and “leader”. Lao Tzu interpreted the Tao as a way, the essence of the Universe. In a written poem Lao Tzu describe “the Way” as the emptiness that cannot be filled, but from where everything manifests from.

In his most famous image, Lao Tzu is portrayed as riding a buffalo, because the domestication of this animal is associated with the Path of Enlightenment in Zen Buddhist traditions.

“Don’t think you can attain total awareness and whole enlightenment without proper discipline and practice. This is egomania. Appropriate rituals channel your emotions and life energy toward the light. Without the discipline to practice them, you will tumble constantly backward into darkness.”
~ Lao Tzu

It is believed that he lived to be 160 years old. In his old age he received the visit of Confucius, who witnessed Lao Tzu reprimanding a young disciple for being too ambitious and prideful. Ancient tales said that Confucius was so impressed by the way of discipline of Lao Tzu that he compared him to a flying Dragon that can reach heavens and winds.

“I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”
~Lao Tzu

He is considered by some to be just a mythical figure in the unconventional universe of ancient legends. One of these tales declares that he was born already with an appearance of an aged man, from which he received the name Lao Tzu, which means literally, “old sage”. Others consider this legend to be just a metaphor to describe the antiquity of Taoism and its philosophical concepts which were antecedents of the Tao Te Ching itself.

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”
~Lao Tzu

Many consider Lao Tzu as a great philosopher and he is often venerated as a saint. He was an expert on the art of living a simple but fully spiritual life. From his teachings we can gather some important precepts that can serve as guides throughout our own life journeys.
On Being Humble

Lao-Tzu-Riding-an-Ox_Humanity-Healing“Great acts are made up of small deeds.”
~ Lao Tzu

The Master explains the concept of humbleness through the analogy with water. Comparing the Human being to the water, he says that the good individual is like water, nurturing and maintaining life but never trying to conquer the elevated positions.

“In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it”
~Lao Tzu

The water is content in keep its dominions at the lower levels because it knows that the oceans control the flow of all the currents and rivers because they are in a lower position than they are.

He also explains that there is nothing more flexible than water, but nothing can surpass it when it refers to weakening the hard rock. In other words, the weak can win over the strong and the soft can conquer the rigid, just by being malleable and humble.

“Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you”
~Lao Tzu

If you want to receive, you need to first give, which is the law of the seeds and the wise harvest. This precept conceives a humble attitude before the people in your life and life in general, remembering that we are all in the same path of learning and all deserve respect. In summary, there is no one that deserves hatred and everyone is in the pursuit of happiness.

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you”
~Lao Tzu

On Being Kind and Compassionate

Lao-Tzu_small-steps_kaizen_Humanity-Healing“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”
~Lao Tzu

The master Lao Tzu related two big treasures of the soul; compassion and the humble desire of just being the self by disregarding the impulses of the Ego to be always the first in everything. In learning compassion, one develops the genuine interest for the well-being of others, meaning that they will not forget them in their path of development and self-enlightenment.

“Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.”
~Lao Tzu

Lao Tzu illustrates this concept of being Compassionate and Kind again through the malleable configuration of the water and its relationship as the essential element of life. He says that while a person is alive, their body is flexible and soft; but when they die, the body becomes hard and rigid. The same phenomenon happens to plants; while alive they are vibrant and bendable, but they become dry and breakable when they die.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”
~Lao Tzu

Consequently, to be inflexible and rigid is to be like one is actually dead. Maintaining yourself docile as the water, open and malleable, prepared to bend and render when it is necessary will lead the soul to the path of success.
On Limiting Desire

Lao-Tzu_Deity_Humanity-Healing“He who is contented is rich”
~ Lao Tzu

The ancient Master Lao Tzu affirms that people that take less will always have more. People with insatiable desires end up becoming obsessed with the object of their “affection” which tends to throw their energies, and their thought processes, out of control. To Lao Tzu, greed without limits constituted the worse of the vices. If you work towards being content with what you have, you would find that you already have enough to be happy. One can easily reach Peace of Spirit when you limit the amount of desires to manifest in your life.

“The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the Sage is to act but not to compete.”
~Lao Tzu

One Step at a Time

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
~ Lao Tzu

It is always better to deal with facts and situations while they are small, before they become bigger and more difficult. If one is planning to reach a big goal, one should establish a series of small steps that would guide one safely to the destination. This is essentially the principal of Kaizen: progress through small increments.
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Source: http://humanityhealing.net (http://s.tt/13RdV)

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the Bhagawad Gita

Terrorists are cowards. Whenever terror has struck in any part of the world, we have heard people say it is an act of cowardice. A coward runs away from action but harbours all negative feelings and does it surreptitiously.

This is exactly what happened to Arjuna. Arjuna was angry, upset, sad and wanted to run away. In the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna said not to be a coward. So, it is an antidote to terrorism. Shri Krishna said bravery is the way – face the war when it is inevitable and do your duty.

A terrorist is stuck in his identity – he hides it, has no rationale and inflicts pain. Whereas Bhagawad Gita helps one to transcend one’s identity, encourages reason and infuses wisdom. In this sense, it could be called the antidote to terrorism.

The duty of a policeman, a soldier or a king is to be impartial for the sake of the nation, whether it is their mentors or relatives. Terrorists are never impartial. A soldier is brave and a terrorist is a coward. A soldier is protecting and preventing violence and a terrorist is inflicting pain and suffering. The Bhagawad Gita is the scripture of bravery in both realms of physical and metaphysical.

Terrorism is deeply steeped in hatred. An act without hatred is what Gita propounds. The Gita epitomizes the correct action – of righteousness, of upliftment of spirit and an action or duty that ought to be performed even in the most compelling situation.

In the last 5149 years of the existence of the Gita, there is no evidence of someone becoming a terrorist after reading it. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi wrote commentaries on the Bhagawad Gita and it was an inspiration for his non-violent movement. The Bhagawad Gita is a unique scripture which caters to the entire range of human evolution, comprising every level of this vast existence.

Gita stands for poise and equanimity and for performing one’s designated duty. Krishna does not encourage everyone to take the weapons and fight but a soldier cannot sell bananas in the market. He has to take his weapon to bring security to his people. If Bhagawad Gita is a terrorist scripture then all military academies in the world are nothing but terrorist organizations. Doesn’t this sound strange? Would the courts ban Lenin, Marx and Mao Tso-Tung, who to stay in power inflicted terror on millions?

A terrorist or a coward hides and inflicts pain on others whereas a soldier sacrifices his own life to bring security and peace to people. They both may take the gun but their intentions are poles apart.

Gita encourages reasoning and dialogue while terrorists are blind to any reasoning and are closed to any form of dialogue.

Interestingly, in any military training all over the world, the soldiers are asked to see the enemies as dangerous objects which need to be eliminated. The psychology behind indoctrination of such an idea is that when they think the enemy is a human being the soldiers are unable to raise their arms. There are many such survival tactics where the army men are desensitized.

A similar situation happened to Arjuna. Lord Krishna went step by step to deal with Arjuna’s emotions, ego, mindsets and concepts. He finally touched on the nature of his spiritual being; revealing him the highest knowledge and making him realize his eternal nature. This brought him enormous strength and then propelled him to perform his worldly duties. A doctor cannot be taken as a dacoit just because he opens up the stomach of the patient.

Krishna says, no sin begets him whose intellect is unattached and free from cravings and aversions, even if he kills the whole world. Now, the condition of an intellect free from cravings and aversions itself counters terrorism. Terrorism is done when the intellect is deeply attached and is hateful. The metaphors and the high standards of humanism exhibited in the Gita are unparalleled.

Jesus had said, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” In the Quran, there are many verses which talk about striking terror in the hearts of the infidels and cutting off their fingers. By these standards if you still call Gita a terrorist scripture then you have to precede such statements by Bible and Quran.

The fact is that it is not the scriptures that inflict terrorism; it is the mis-interpretation of an ignorant and stressed mind which justifies their actions quoting scriptures.

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

This article is to cater to the common man. This piece was written in December 2011, in the midst of a Russian court case against the Bhagawad Gita. The case ended with the Russian court rejecting the ban.

Always Already The Brilliant Clarity of Ever-Present Awareness ~ Ken Wilber

The Writings of Ken Wilber: Essays, Forewords, and Works-In-Progress.In this excerpt from The Eye of Spirit, Ken offers one of the most powerful—and beautiful—pieces of spiritual writing he has ever produced. This is the very first time these words have been reproduced on the web, and we invite you to share this chapter however you like.

Here’s Ken’s description: “What follows are various ‘pointing out’ instructions, direct pointers to mind’s essential nature or intrinsic Spirit. Traditionally this involves a great deal of intentional repetition. If you read this material in the normal manner, you might find the repetitions tedious and perhaps irritating. If you would like the rest of this particular section to work for you, please read it in a slow and leisurely manner, letting the words and the repetitions sink in. You can also use these sections as material for meditation, using no more than one or two paragraphs—or even one or two sentences—for each session.”

Where are we to locate Spirit? What are we actually allowed to acknowledge as Sacred? Where exactly is the Ground of Being? Where is this ultimate Divine?

The Great Search

The Realization of the Nondual traditions is uncompromising: there is only Spirit, there is only God, there is only Emptiness in all its radiant wonder. All the good and all the evil, the very best and the very worst, the upright and the degenerate-each and all are radically perfect manifestations of Spirit precisely as they are. There is nothing but God, nothing but the Goddess, nothing but Spirit in all directions, and not a grain of sand, not a speck of dust, is more or less Spirit than any other.

This realization undoes the Great Search that is the heart of the separate-self sense. The separate-self is, at bottom, simply a sensation of seeking. When you feel yourself right now, you will basically feel a tiny interior tension or contraction—a sensation of grasping, desiring, wishing, wanting, avoiding, resisting-it is a sensation of effort, a sensation of seeking.

In its highest form, this sensation of seeking takes on the form of the Great Search for Spirit. We wish to get from our unenlightened state (of sin or delusion or duality) to an enlightened or more spiritual state. We wish to get from where Spirit is not, to where Spirit is.

But there is no place where Spirit is not. Every single location in the entire Kosmos is equally and fully Spirit. Seeking of any sort, movement of any sort, attainment of any sort: all profoundly useless. The Great Search simply reinforces the mistaken assumption that there is some’ place that Spirit is not, and that I need to get from a space that is lacking to a space that is full. But there is no space lacking, and there is no space more full. There is only Spirit.

The Great Search for Spirit is simply that impulse, the final impulse, which prevents the present realization of Spirit, and it does so for a simple reason: the Great Search presumes the loss of God. The Great Search reinforces the mistaken belief that God is not present, and thus totally obscures the ‘reality of God’s ever-present Presence. The Great Search, which pretends to love God, is in fact the very mechanism of pushing God away; the mechanism of promising to find tomorrow that which exists only in the timeless now; the mechanism of watching the future so fervently that the present always passes it by—very quickly and God’s smiling face with it.

The Great Search is the loveless contraction hidden in the heart of the separate-self sense, a contraction that drives the intense yearning for a tomorrow in which salvation will finally arrive, but during which time, thank God, I can continue to be myself. The greater the Great Search, the more I can deny God. The greater the Great Search, the more I can feel my own sensation of seeking, which defines the contours of my self. The Great Search is the great enemy of what is.

Should we then simply cease the Great Search? Definitely, if we could. But the effort to stop the Great Search is itself more of the Great Search. The very first step presumes and reinforces the seeking sensation. There is actually nothing the self-contraction can do to stop the Great Search, because the self-contraction and the Great Search are two names for the same thing.

If Spirit cannot be found as a future product of the Great Search, then there is only one alternative: Spirit must be fully, totally, completely present right now—AND you must be fully, totally, completely aware of it right now. It will not do to say that Spirit is present but I don’t realize it. That would require the Great Search; that would demand that I seek a tomorrow in which I could realize that Spirit is fully present, but such seeking misses the present in the very first step. To keep seeking would be to keep missing. No, the realization itself, the awareness itself: this, too, must somehow be fully and completely present right now. If it is not, then all we have left is the Great Search, doomed to presume that which it wishes to overcome.

There must be something about our present awareness that contains the entire truth. Somehow, no matter what your state, you are immersed fully in everything you need for perfect enlightenment. You are somehow looking right at the answer. One hundred percent of Spirit is in your perception right now. Not 20 percent, not 50 percent, not 99 percent, but literally 100 percent of Spirit is in your awareness right now—and the trick, as it were, is to recognize this ever-present state of affairs, and not to engineer a future state in which Spirit will announce itself.

And this simple recognition of an already present Spirit is the task, as it were, of the great Nondual traditions.

To Meet the Kosmos

Many people have stern objections to “mysticism” or “transcendentalism” of any sort, because they think it somehow denies this world, or hates this earth, or despises the body and the senses and its vital life, and so on. While that may be true of certain dissociated (or merely Ascending) approaches, it is certainly not the core understanding of the great Nondual mystics, from Plotinus and Eckhart in the West to Nagarjuna and Lady Tsogyal in the East.

Rather, these sages universally maintain that absolute reality and the relative world are “not-two” (which is the meaning of “nondual”), much as a mirror and its reflections are not separate, or an ocean is one with its many waves. So the “other world” of Spirit and “this world” of separate phenomena are deeply and profoundly “not-two,” and this nonduality is a direct and immediate realization which occurs in certain meditative states—in other words, seen with the eye of contemplation—although it then becomes a very simple, very ordinary perception, whether you are meditating or not. Every single thing you perceive is the radiance of Spirit itself, so much so that Spirit is not seen apart from that thing: the robin sings, and just that is it, nothing else. This becomes your constant realization, through all changes of state, very naturally, just so. And this releases you from the basic insanity of hiding from the Real.

But why is it, then, that we ordinarily don’t have that perception?

All the great Nondual wisdom traditions have given a fairly similar answer to that question. We don’t see that Spirit is fully and completely present right here, right now, because our awareness is clouded with some form of avoidance. We do not want to be choicelessly aware of the present; rather, we want to run away from it, or run after it, or we want to change it, alter it; hate it, love it, loathe it, or in some way agitate to get ourselves into, or out of, it. We will do anything except come to rest in the pure Presence of the present. We will not rest with pure Presence; we want to be elsewhere, quickly. The Great Search is the game, in its endless forms.

In nondual meditation or contemplation, the agitation of the separate-self sense profoundly relaxes, and the self uncoils in the vast expanse of all space. At that point, it becomes obvious that you are not “in here” looking at the world “out there,” because that duality has simply collapsed into pure Presence and spontaneous luminosity.

This realization may take many forms. A simple one is something like this: You might be looking at a mountain, and you have relaxed into the effortlessness of your own present awareness, and then suddenly the mountain is all, you are nothing. Your separate-self sense is suddenly and totally gone, and there is simply everything that is arising moment to moment. You are perfectly aware, perfectly conscious, everything seems completely normal, except you are nowhere to be found. You are not on this side of your face looking at the mountain out there; you simply are the mountain, you are the sky, you are the clouds, you are everything that is arising moment to moment, very simply, very clearly, just so.

We know all the fancy names for this state, from unity consciousness to sahaj samadhi. But it really is the simplest and most obvious state you will ever realize. Moreover, once you glimpse that state—what the Buddhists call One Taste (because you and the entire universe are one taste or one experience)—it becomes obvious that you are not entering this state, but rather, it is a state that, in some profound and mysterious way, has been your primordial condition from time immemorial. You have, in fact, never left this state for a second.

This is why Zen calls it the Gateless Gate: on this side of that realization, it looks like you have to do something to enter that state—it looks like you need to pass through a gate. But when you do so, and you turn around and look back, there is no gate whatsoever, and never has been. You have never left this state in the first place, so obviously you can’t enter it. The gateless gate! “Every form is Emptiness just as it is,” means that all things, including you and me, are always already on the other side of the gateless gate.

But if that is so, then why even do spiritual practice? Isn’t that just another form of the Great Search? Yes, actually, spiritual practice is a form of the Great Search, and as such, it is destined to fail. But that is exactly the point. You and I are already convinced that there are things that we need to do in order to realize Spirit. We feel that there are places that Spirit is not (namely, in me), and we are going to correct this state of affairs. Thus, we are already committed to the Great Search, and so nondual meditation makes use of that fact and engages us in the Great Search in a particular and somewhat sneaky fashion (which Zen calls “selling water by the river”).

William Blake said that “a fool who persists in his folly will become wise.” So nondual meditation simply speeds up the folly. If you really think you lack Spirit, then try this folly: try to become Spirit, try to discover Spirit, try to contact Spirit, try to reach Spirit: meditate and meditate and meditate in order to get Spirit!

But of course, you see, you cannot really do this. You cannot reach Spirit any more than you can reach your feet. You always already are Spirit, you are not going to reach it in any sort of temporal thrashing around. But if this is not obvious, then try it. Nondual meditation is a serious effort to do the impossible, until you become utterly exhausted of the Great Search, sit down completely worn out, and notice your feet.

It’s not that these nondual traditions deny higher states; they don’t. They have many, many practices that help individuals reach specific states of postformal consciousness. These include states of transcendental bliss, love, and compassion; of heightened cognition and extrasensory perception; of Deity consciousness and contemplative prayer. But they maintain that those altered states—which have a beginning and an end in time—ultimately have nothing to do with the timeless. The real aim is the stateless, not a perpetual fascination with changes of state. And that stateless condition is the true nature of this and every conceivable state of consciousness, so any state you have will do just fine. Change of state is not the ultimate point; recognizing the Changeless is the point, recognizing primordial Emptiness is the point, recognizing unqualifiable Godhead is the point, recognizing pure Spirit is the point, and if you are breathing and vaguely awake, that state of consciousness will do just fine.

Nonetheless, traditionally, in order to demonstrate your sincerity, you must complete a good number of preliminary practices, including a mastery of various states of meditative consciousness, summating in a stable post-postconventional adaptation, all of which is well and good. But none of those states of consciousness are held to be final or ultimate or privileged. And changing states is not the goal at all. Rather, it is precisely by entering and leaving these various meditative states that you begin to understand that none of them constitute enlightenment. All of them have a beginning in time, and thus none of them are the timeless. The point is to realize that change of state is not the point, and that realization can occur in any state of consciousness whatsoever.

The 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming Readers’ Reactions

The 2007 Shift Report: OVERVIEW

The 2007 Shift Report: Evidence of a World Transforming, attempts to chart the transition we believe is underway from a rigid, mechanistic, and materialistic worldview to one that is built on a foundation of interconnectedness, cooperation, and the intersection of science and spirituality. This 80-page document, highlighted with sidebars, charts, and quotations, is organized into four major sections:

Section I – Worldview Breakdown
While acknowledging the benefits that the Newtonian paradigm has provided, this section makes clear that the limitations of this worldview are exceeding our ability to overcome them, leading to potential worldwide disaster. The impacts of such factors as trauma, stress, and the fragmentation of consciousness are addressed.

Section II – Worldview Emergence
The unprecedented intersection of biology, systems theory, neuroscience, and quantum physics is revealing the contours of a new worldview, potentially sparking a new human potential movement. From epigenetics and the study of resilience to chaos theory and insights into the “god experience,” researchers are revealing a world of untapped possibilities, individual as well as collective.

Section III – Integration / Application
This emerging paradigm is showing up in different ways in the major institutions of modern life. This section briefly explores those impacts in the areas of education, medicine, business, psychology, and international trends. IONS’ relevant contributions to these various areas are highlighted.

Section IV – Living Deeply: The IONS Transformation Research Project
This section describes the methodology and some of the most compelling findings of this ongoing ten-year project to map the phenomenon of individual transformation.

The Report is available at http://www.shiftreport.org/

Table of Contents

Section I
Collapsing and Colliding Worldviews

Social Roots of the Current Worldview Breakdown
Biological Roots of the Worldview Breakdown
Further Indicators of Worldview Breakdown

Section II
Worldview Emergence: Where Science Meets Spirit

New Physics

Section III
Institutional Transformation

Positive Psychology: A Change in Focus
Health Care: A New Model of Medicine
Business: The Conscious Workplace
Education: Inward Pedagogy
Globalization: Toward a New Synthesis

Section IV
Personal Transformation: The IONS Research Project

Program and Methodology
A Model of Transformation
What Catalyzes Transformation?
Cultivating Transformation
Transformative Practices

Everyone needs a worldview. Without a context for answering the basic questions of life, we can feel lost or disoriented. During the course of our lifetime, many of us have undergone fundamental changes in how we perceive ourselves, the universe, and our place within it. We are living in an era in which such transformation is fermenting across the planet on multiple fronts: personal, collective, spiritual, social, and scientific.

An increasingly greater proportion of people are recognizing that habitual ways of thinking and doing must change or we risk catastrophic outcomes. And yet the shifts in perspective being called for seem to exceed our capacity to respond. We are constrained by a limited way of thinking about the world and our potential—a worldview—that we have inherited from the past and that may be incapable of overcoming the challenges it has created. How can such forces be overcome? How do transitions in worldview come about?

At Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, a research center was founded in 1995 with the aim of integrating worldviews. It describes a worldview as having the following seven components:

1. A model of the world: Who are we?
2. An explanation: Why is the world the way it is? Where does it come from?
3. Futurology: Where are we going?
4. Values: What is good and what is evil?
5. Action: How should we act?
6. Knowledge: What is true and what is false? How do we know what we know?
7. Building blocks: What preexisting theories and models have been used to answer the questions of the other six categories?

In our current period of transition, most of us don’t have clear, complete, and consistent answers to all of these questions. One reason is that we receive information in fragments, not as an integrated whole. As well, there are often built-in contradictions and biases in the sources. Sometimes what we are told contradicts our own experience. The sixth worldview component, how we know what we know, becomes extremely important when we search for truth. What we conclude usually ends up being an amalgam of what we’ve experienced, what we’ve read or heard, and what we want to believe.

Achieving a balanced and an integrated worldview requires combining an analytic approach to knowledge with an equally valid and complementary inner way of knowing. This noetic way of accessing knowledge involves processes such as intuition and inspiration, in which the information is perceived directly rather than through deductive or inductive reasoning. We tend to think that science advances only through logical analysis, but this noetic process has influenced some of civilization’s most technological advances. “Eureka!” moments and dreams are often responsible for scientific discoveries, usually after a scientist has tried to solve a problem analytically.

One example among many is the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev’s creation of the periodic table of elements in 1869. At that time approximately thirty elements had yet to be discovered, making it hard to classify the known ones because no clear pattern or set of clues existed yet for categorizing elements from their subatomic structure. Mendeleev struggled
with this problem until he had a dream. “I saw . . . a table where all the elements fell into places as required. Awakening, I immediately wrote it down on a piece of paper. Only in one place did a correction later seem necessary.”

We believe that the convergence of noetic and analytic sources of knowledge about both the physical and nonphysical worlds is leading to important shifts in the dominant worldview. This evolution in paradigms is being ignited to varying degrees of intensity and depth across many cultures, such that the twenty first century has the potential to become the Age of Transformation. Indeed, the world’s current condition makes significant positive change imperative. Our efforts to map out this process have resulted in The 2007 Shift Report:

Timing is a key element in determining when transformation occurs within an individual or a society. Karen Armstrong’s recent book The Great Transformation describes the Axial Age, the period from about 900 to 200 BCE when “the peoples of four distinct regions of the civilized world created the religious and philosophical traditions that have continued to nourish humanity to this day: Confucianism and Daoism in China, Hinduism and Buddhism in India, monotheism in Israel, and philosophical rationalism in Greece.”

“The great transformation” of the Axial Age came about as a response to an unprecedented increase in violence, itself a result of wider access to transportation that placed people of different cultures into wider and more frequent contact with one another. This led not only to the exchange of ideas and goods but also to the desire to take enviable belongings away
from others and to suppress beliefs that threatened one’s own. To counterbalance these unleashed disruptive and destructive forces, various spiritual leaders appeared, advocating selflessness, compassion, and right action. Striking parallels exist between the Axial Age and our current era.

The travel industry and current technologies for communications have facilitated a truly global community while accelerating the spread of ideas and information. This cross-fertilization of knowledge and culture has led to alliances with tremendous potential for good but also to great animosity over social inequities that have become more obvious. Belief systems are
clashing, and both religious and scientific fundamentalism have grown with the intention not only to counteract but to suppress alternative points of view. Many people are confused about what they believe. Some have given up on believing in anything.

So constructive transformation has become essential. We are at a pivotal point in history that is more extreme in many ways than any that has come before. Although the ideals of selflessness, compassion, and right action have been around for some time, they have never been fully realized because of the human capacity for self-deception, rationalization, and other forms of escape and denial. And despite its many astounding discoveries, traditional science has its limitations. The Earth revolved around the Sun and the law of gravity operated long before Copernicus and Newton claimed it to be so. One wonders what else we don’t yet have the means or the imagination to discover or understand.

The emerging paradigm/worldview we are highlighting in this report has its roots in both science and mysticism and was sparked in the middle of the twentieth century, when leaders in modern physics and ancient Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions found that their views of reality validated each other. It has continued to gain momentum, with profound implications for humankind. The analysis of data by physicists and the direct experience of mystics both report that we are not separate from one another—we are all interconnected. This integrated worldview further proposes that our thoughts can have a measurable impact on the physical world and that even the act of observation is an action with consequences.

The conditions are thus ripening for a scientific revolution, similar to the Copernican revolution, that could have a major impact upon society. Thomas Kuhn’s classic work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions points out the many parallels between scientific and political revolutions. Such shifts first meet with strong opposition—even though the new paradigm explains reality more clearly than the old did—but finally take hold when existing anomalies can no longer be ignored or rationalized away. Our era’s new paradigm may not be firm yet, but it is crystallizing.

This report is organized into four major sections. The first looks at the adverse impacts of the dominant worldview and how it has compromised our collective ability to move forward. The second describes some of the scientific advances and philosophical developments that have contributed to a broader understanding of who we are and what we are capable of becoming. The third section illustrates how paradigm shifts are showing up in a variety of institutional settings, and the fourth section describes the Institute of Noetic Science’s groundbreaking Transformation Research Project, which is generating deep insights into the nature of enduring personal transformation. We hope you are as stimulated by reading this report as we were in writing it

Meditation and Spirituality An Interview with Deepak Chopra

The Share Guide: What do you think are the most significant health benefits of meditation?

Deepak Chopra: They are stress reduction, better sleep, lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular function, improved immunity, and the ability to stay centered in the midst of all the turmoil that’s going on around you. Meditation helps you do less and accomplish more.

The Share Guide:
I understand there’s now 15 million Americans who are practicing yoga, but most are doing just asanas (poses). How many do you think are aware of the spiritual aspect of yoga?

Deepak Chopra: Not enough. Because when it started in the U.S. it was mainly as another form of physical fitness. Somehow that gained prominence and it became a fad–just a good way to improve flexibility and muscle strength. Of course, these are benefits of yoga. But the larger picture of yoga as it was meant to be understood originally is that yoga is union. It’s only now that people are actually becoming aware of the spiritual aspects of yoga.

The Share Guide: In your new book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, you describe the eight limbs of Raja yoga. And one thing that surprised me was that you said they’re not to be seen as sequential stages. I always thought the first limbs were preparatory for the last three, which are the meditation stages.

Deepak Chopra: That’s one school of thought, but not what I learned. I had my spiritual apprenticeship with the Shankara- charya school in India, and my immediate mentor was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who brought Transcendental Meditation to the West. Maharishi was a disciple in turn of the Shankaracharya. That tradition goes back to the ninth century sage Adi Shankara. Their interpretation always has been that the eight limbs of yoga are practiced simultaneously. In that way it is similar to the Eightfold Path in Buddhism.

The eight limbs are Niyama, Yama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi and are all actually combined into one discipline. Yama and Niyama are rules of social and personal conduct, so why not include them as things that you do? It’s about the internal shift in attitude that you have to make.

Pratyahara and Pranayama are actually forms of Raja yoga, and therefore they are complementary to Asana. Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi are supposed to be the culmination of this practice, but all eight limbs are still part of your daily practice.

The Share Guide:
All right, so we can work on all the limbs at the same time.

Deepak Chopra: Right, and we should.

The Share Guide: I’d like to ask you about mantras. I received a personal mantra from Dr. Warren Mills, one of your Primordial Sound Meditation teachers. Can you discuss what mantras are in general and what is specifically beneficial about receiving a personal mantra?

Deepak Chopra: There are many kinds of mantras. The mantra that you are using as part of your Primordial Sound Meditation instruction as taught by the Chopra Center, is called a bija mantra. The word bija means seed. It’s the most basic kind of mantra there is, and it’s traditionally used for transcending or going beyond the realm of thought.

The way that mantra is selected is based on your time of birth and your place of birth. Based on that information, the person who is giving you the mantra can actually know the exact position of the moon at the time and location of your birth. There are 108 such positions, and so there are 108 mantras, and they are selected according to this principal. These days we have a computer program to do this, so we can take your information and immediately get your astrological chart. This knowledge goes back hundreds of years.

Now there are other mantras, of course, that have very specific effects. There is a huge body of knowledge on mantras for healing, for wealth consciousness, for invoking specific deities that are symbolic representations of psychic energy within your own self. Ever since I was a child, I’ve used thirty or forty different mantras for different reasons: for making me go to sleep if I can’t sleep; for increasing my energy; for increasing my desire for knowledge, etc. Usually mantras are given by teachers who are very knowledgeable and intimate with the tradition. In fact, they are passed on from teacher to disciple. Then the disciple one day becomes a teacher himself or herself, and passes the mantra on again. But as I said, it’s a huge body of knowledge.

The Share Guide:
I am familiar with some for specific things like the Lakshmi mantra for generating righteous wealth. What about kirtan, which is devotional chanting with music?

Deepak Chopra
: Kirtan is devotional chanting, but it does not always involve mantra.

The Share Guide: Regarding the seed mantra, is that supposed to be chanted out loud or quietly?

Deepak Chopra:
Silently. Because it’s a seed mantra, at some point in meditation it disappears.

The Share Guide:
Another aspect is the yantra or the mandala. I think those words are interchangeable.

Deepak: Yes, they are.

Share Guide: We use the Sri Yantra mandala in meditation class to gaze on while we meditate.

Deepak: Right. The Sri Yantra is the visual vibration of the mantra OM.

Share Guide: I’ve been told to draw the energy from the center of the Sri Yantra into your heart chakra. Is this how you use it, or are you just supposed to gaze at it?

Deepak: That’s one way. But you can just sit quietly and gaze at a yantra and it will draw your attention into the bindu (the point in the center) and then you disappear in it’s unboundedness.

Share Guide: I see meditation as a way to bridge the apparent gap between the physical and the spiritual. What are your thoughts on this?

Deepak: Meditation has only one reason: to get in touch with your soul, and then go beyond that and get in touch with the consciousness that your soul is a ripple of. It might be a good stress management technique, but there is only one real purpose, which is the means to enlightenment.

Share Guide: When I interviewed Dr. John Hagelin a couple of years ago (he also works closely with Maharishi), I remember him talking about five states of awareness: waking, sleeping, dreaming, meditating, and the fifth state which really intrigued me, a state of enlightenment in action, keeping that consciousness in your actions.

Deepak: There are actually seven states of awareness. Deep sleep is the first; dreaming is the second; then the third stage is waking; the forth stage is meditation; the fifth is called cosmic consciousness, which is when you have that internal experience of meditation in deep sleep, dreaming, and waking, so you are established in that state even while in action.

Then beyond cosmic consciousness is the sixth stage of consciousness which is God consciousness, where you become aware of the spirit in the objects of your perception. So you look at a flower and you can feel the presence of divinity within it. Or you look at a telephone or a table or a shoe and you can feel the presence of the infinite in it. The infinite is everywhere. And the seventh stage is the ever present witnessing awareness in the object of experience. They fuse and become one, and when that happens then you experience enlightenment–you see the whole world as an expression of yourself and you see that the ground of your being is also the ground of all existence.

By Dennis Hughes, Share Guide Copublisher

Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a bestselling author, teacher, trained medical doctor and pioneer of the mind-body connection. His books include The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, How to Know God, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. Dr. Chopra cofounded The Chopra Center for Well-Being in Carlsbad, California to advance the cause of mind-body-spiritual healing, education, and research. He regularly gives lectures and seminars around the world.

When we violate the laws of nature then we suffer ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Transcript of Satsang with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Q: What is the significance of Arghya (offering water to the sun)?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Water is symbol of love. In fact, in Sanskrit, it is synonymous to love. ‘Apa’ means water and it also means love. That is why, someone very close to you, what do you call them? Apta – means very dear. Apa and Apta are very close. So, giving water is not important, feeling the connection with the sun is important.

What people used to do was they used to hold water in their hands and let the water leak out of the hand slowly, and for that much time they used to do sun gazing. You look at the sun, gaze and allow the water to seep down. So you need to know timings – It will take a couple of minutes, maybe two or three minutes for the water to leak out. Till that time, you gaze at the sun and let the water leak out and you will see that your body gets energized. That was the technique behind it. Not just giving water to the sun like that, it will not work.

Q: Guruji, you had said that this universe was created by the union of Prakriti (nature) and Paramatma (Supreme Being/God). So going back to the Paramatma, who is Poorna Anand (supreme and absolute bliss) how did this sankalpa (thought/intention) arise in Him?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, it is there in the Upanishads that earlier there was only Paramatma and He felt that He was alone, and He wanted to become many, so He became many. The intention happened on its own ‘ekoham bahusyama’. Sankalpa is not a deviation. It is not considered as a deviation. When a seeker (sadhak) transcends from the small mind to the Big Mind, then he considers sankalpa as a hindrance. But from the point of view of the Big Mind, it is a step to go further. So if you think why did sankalpa arise in the Paramatma, He should remain unwavering (nirvikalpa) – this is not so. Sankalpa is also Paramatma, nirvikalpa is also Him and vikalpa is also Him. Like in an ocean, waves arise on their own, in Paramatma, a thought arose to become many, so He became many. Different types of nature, different types of people and different types of intelligence were created.

Day before yesterday, I was watching a National Geographic documentary on the creation of Earth. It said that about 400 billion years ago, there was only gas. Gas started spinning and fire erupted. Then from fire, water arose and then the Earth was formed. I suddenly realized, ‘Oh this has been said in the Vedas! What new have they said?

In our Vedic knowledge, it is said in the form of shloka – In the space, first there was air, from the air fire arose, from fire water, and from water earth was created. The idea behind giving water to fire is that we go back to ourselves. From water to fire, fire to air and then, we do pranayama after giving arghya to the sun – we go to the air element. From the air we go to the space and then sit in meditation. All these are different types of stories; examining them more deeply reveals something new.

Q: It is said that we should not keep the photographs of our deceased parents along with the pictures of the gods and goddesses whom we worship. Some people also say that we should not even hang the photographs of deceased parents on the walls of our home. Is it true?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
No, there is no problem with it. You can keep the photographs of your departed parents along with the pictures of god, it is fine. If it is a sanyasi, even his picture can be placed with that of God, even when he is alive. If he is leading a grihastha (married) life, then we do not keep his photograph, such is the practice.

Q: Guruji, please explain the reason for suffering?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Okay, suppose I tell you, you should eat five masala dosa tonight, what will happen to you? Suppose you are force fed five masala dosa or 20 pooris, what will happen to you? First of all, you will suffer. Tonight you cannot sleep, right? It will create headache, stomach ache and then all types of aches.

Firstly, when we violate the laws of nature, then we suffer. Second, ignorance – if you don’t know what you are eating and you eat some wrong things, then also you will suffer, right? Third is, if you have violated some laws at some time in the past, in the previous life, that also can bring some karma. So karmaja, agyanaja, and pragyaparadh; three things bring suffering. How to remove the ignorance? Through knowledge and understanding; Asking questions like you are doing.

Q: How to forgive truly?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Truly? Is there any false forgiveness?
I don’t know false forgiveness. I know only true forgiveness. Forgive means forgive, that’s it. Gone is gone, people did mistakes, finished. Move on.

You know why something comes back is because of your attachment to some pleasure. That is not the other’s mistake. Suppose you had some pleasure, someone had given you some pleasure, and then they have cheated you or they did a mistake, you can forgive that mistake, but what comes back is your craving for pleasure. When you see that it is just an illusion, you become more centered.

Q: What is special in 2012?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know for us every day is special, every year is special. According to the Hindu calendar, the next year is called ‘nanda’. ‘Nanda’ means happiness. The year of ‘Ananda’.

The past year which ends on March 23rd, is called ‘khara’. ‘Khara’ means for sure, certainty. Before that, it was the year of uncertainty and this year is of certainty, surety. Next year is happiness.

Q: Does the soul experience happiness and sorrow, or the mind experiences it?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Only the mind experiences. All the experiences are of the mind. The experience of the soul is also at the level of the mind. When the mind is calm, then the soul is experienced. The soul is an embodiment of joy. Mind experiences sorrow. When the mind dissolves, then joy is experienced.

Q: Where is the boundary for the mind and soul? Until where is the mind, from where does the soul start?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:
Like there are waves and the ocean. Just as there are waves in the ocean, mind is in the soul. So the mind is not a different entity. It is the wave of the ocean. It comes up a little bit and then calms down, again comes up and then calms down.

Q: Guruji, why do some people have to suffer throughout their life? Some people are born in slum areas and keep suffering, whereas some are born in good homes and lead a comfortable, happy life? I want to know. I see others, as well as myself, suffering.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Are you suffering? Tell me if it is your suffering or others’ suffering. Ans – I am suffering too. You too? But you are smiling! Looking at your face, it doesn’t seem that you are in great suffering! Only this is needed! When you are doing sadhana, don’t you see a smile on your face? You smile in difficult times also, that is life.
Every difficulty comes to go away. It goes as soon as it comes. No problem stays forever. It comes and goes.

Q: Guruji, is there rebirth?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Q: Guruji, what should I do to become your favorite disciple?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Just keep doing whatever you are doing, you are already my favorite! Do seva, sadhana, keep coming to satsang, become a teacher. Do good to others.
My disciple itself means my favorite. There is nothing like favorite disciple and non-favorite disciple, okay?

Nothingness Where We Come From ~ Deepak Chopra

The Beginning of Ego – A New Earth Video ~ Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth author Eckhart Tolle talks about the beginning of ego. When a child associates her identity with an outside object like a toy, she have created a misperception of who she is. Watch the entire webcast!

A New Earth author Eckhart Tolle says when you let go of the ego, you’ll experience something bigger than yourself.


Richard Dawkins And Archbishop Rowan Williams To Go Head-To-Head Over Origins Of Man

The Archbishop of Canterbury and atheist Professor Richard Dawkins are set to go head to head to discuss man’s greatest question.

The leader of the Church of England will meet Britain’s most famous non-believer to take on the complex subject of “The nature of human beings and the question of their ultimate origin”.

The pair – who may be unlikely to find much common ground – will be joined by philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny at the event at Oxford University.

The discussion, which organisers expect to be “invigorating and enlivening”, is fully booked but will be streamed live online on February 23.

The two men have exchanged views on evolution and the existence of God before.

In a programme broadcast on Channel 4 in 2010, Prof Dawkins asked Dr Rowan Williams if he would see God as having any role in the evolutionary process.

Dr Williams said: “For me, God is the power or the intelligence that shapes the whole of that process.

“As creator, God’s act is the beginning of all creation.”

At which point Prof Dawkins intervened and asked: “So by setting up the laws of physics in the first place in which context evolution takes place?”

Dr Williams replied: “Things unfold within that.”

In the programme Prof Dawkins said that Dr Williams uses “poetic language”, adding: “There does come a time when you worry that people are going to misunderstand it.”

In an article on his website, published earlier this month, Prof Dawkins said of Dr Williams: “My suggestion is that the best way to understand Rowan Williams is to remember that he is a poet.

“And maybe this is the best way to understand other theologians.

“When Williams speaks of ‘silent waiting on the truth, pure sitting and breathing in the presence of the question mark’, we laugh because we read it through rational spectacles.”

In the article, Prof Dawkins suggests that theologians, such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, don’t really “understand the difference between literal truth and poetry; or literal truth and metaphor”.

He goes on: “And this is where I would take issue with them, because for me a question like “Does God exist?” is not just a matter of poetry or metaphor.

“It has an answer, true or false (which is not to say the answer is easy to discover: it may even be impossible).”

Relating to Spiritual Experiences – Written by David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva)

If we take up any form of higher Yoga practice, pranayama, mantra or meditation, we are likely to have various experiences, some of which may be quite dramatic. These experiences may be spiritual,
psychological or even physical in nature or some combination thereof. Most of these experiences are likely to be exhilarating and elevating, but some may prove disturbing or agitating. Sometimes an exhilarating experience may turn disturbing for us, or what began as a disturbing experience may end up providing us wisdom or peace.

Some of these experiences may change our lives forever. Others may fade away after a short period of time and leave no trace. Generally our first spiritual experiences, like our first romances, may be exaggerated. Later on as we have more spiritual experiences, we will tend to take them more as a natural part of our lives.

The range of potential yogic experiences is vast and many sided. It is important to have a sense of what this is, so that we learn how to handle our experiences properly. In addition, it is not enough to seek experiences. We must prepare ourselves to have them, so that when they do arise, we are reader to hold their energy. Developing a higher consciousness is not a mere casual matter, hobby or another outer pursuit. It requires discipline, dedication and an inner orientation of the life. In the following article, we will examine the nature of spiritual experiences and examine how we can best relate with them.

The Beauty of Spiritual Experiences

Spiritual experiences can deepen and enrich our lives in many ways. They are largely to be welcomed as part of the beauty and abundance of the spiritual life. Just as the cultivation of an artistic lifestyle will naturally result in the development of artistic skills and perceptions, unfolding the vast realm of art appreciation, so too, the cultivation of the spiritual life still will unfold the vast realm of cosmic consciousness and an appreciation of the bliss that pervades all things in the universe. To develop a life enhanced by ongoing spiritual experiences, with an ability to relate to the universe as a whole at the level of the heart, is one of the main reasons that we take to such practices in the first place.

If we persist in our yogic practices, over time our inner flow of spiritual experiences will become more vivid and important than our outer sensory and worldly experiences. We will develop our own vast inner life and inner world beyond the stress and sorrow, the ups and downs of our outer existence. We will gain a capacity to directly experience reality, the universe and the depths of consciousness spontaneously and immediately at every moment, without having to rely on any external equipment or outer mediators. We will no longer need any external forms of entertainment or stimulation to distract us. Even when there may be nothing happening around us, we will experience a fullness and a depth that will create contentment and peace within.

The Yoga Shakti and the Energy of Experience

Spiritual experiences are not isolated events but the result of an inner energy. The energy that sets the stream of inner experience in motion and sustains it is the Yoga Shakti or ‘power of Yoga’. Once that inner electricity is turned on, we will be able to access higher forms of perception, stronger forms of prana, deep feeling and direct knowing that are otherwise hard to reach for the ordinary human mind.

In the long run, holding to a continuous flow of experience will become more important than the details of any single experience. We may eventually merge into that flow of the Yoga Shakti and let go of all experiences, like a flowing river that reaches the sea and no longer has any banks to recognize. Gaining the power of direct experience is real goal of all the experiences that may happen to us. Such a capacity for direct experience is more than any particular experience and how it affects us.


Yoga in the higher sense is the development of Samadhi or the ‘absorbed state of mind’, in which the mind becomes one with its object of attention. If we practice yogic meditation, we will naturally develop some states of Samadhi. Most of what are called spiritual experiences are Samadhi experiences, though not all are the result of a conscious practice or preparation.

Yet there are many types of Samadhi. Samadhi is a function of the mind on all levels. We are all seeking some Samadhi or peak experience of the mind, heart and senses. In this regard, there are both yogic and non-yogic samadhis. Even sleep or drug induced trances are lower or non-yogic Samadhis. Mixed Samadhis are common among yoga aspirants, in which some inner vision gets mixed with the conditioning of the mind. Without the proper training, such Samadhi experiences, even when genuine, can disturb people or inflate the ego.

Traditional Yoga classifies different types of Samadhis, some of which it regards as illusory, misleading or dangerous. It particularly warns us to avoid using any siddhis or powers that arise from Samadhi for our own personal ends, especially those that involve harming others. It asks us to pursue the Samadhis that involve control of the mind and the understanding of our deeper Self.

There is a tendency for those who first come into a Samadhi state to think that they have gained the highest state. We must remember that there are many levels of consciousness between the ordinary human state of physical and ego based reality to the highest level of Self-realization. Not every altered state of consciousness is a better state, nor is every higher state than the ordinary human state a condition of full light or complete understanding. The realm of spiritual experience contains a great range of illusions or fantasies that we can fall into, particularly if we are unaware of such possibilities.

There are many inner realms of experience, levels of the astral plane or higher formless realms, each with its own type of world, creature and perception that can be very different. One can move beyond our personal and social conditioned consciousness to the greater consciousness in nature, our broader earth environment, the atmosphere and into the cosmic realms. This is a great adventure but can have its pitfalls or detours as well, just as seeking to climb a high mountain or explore a deep cave has its challenges!

Not all of our imagined spiritual experiences may be truly spiritual. Some may be mixed up with mental, emotional or even physical urges, changes or imbalances. Some may be misleading or simply self-projected. All of us are likely to have such questionable experiences, just as we are likely to have those that are genuine, particularly in this age of media hype that predisposes us to fantasy.

Different Types of Experiences

It is important to note the different types of experiences that we may have and how they affect us, starting at a physical level. We may experience different sensations or currents within the body itself. Spontaneous movements or yoga kriyas may arise that may cause us to perform a certain yoga posture or breathe in a certain manner. The body may feel light, clear or even filled with light or space. Sometimes we may experience tremors, feelings of ungroundedness, or loss of physical coordination for a time. Such physical experiences need to be gauged relative to the condition of our body and nervous system overall.

We may experience changes in our sensory functions. Our seeing or hearing, for example, may become more acute or our sense of touch may become particularly sensitive. Other times our senses may fade and our attention may draw us to supersensory experiences. Or we may relate to our senses differently, seeing forms or the space between objects that we did not notice before. We may become entranced with certain forms, colors, textures, leaves or flowers that others might not notice at all.

We may experience unusual or radical changes in our emotional nature. A wave of bliss may descend upon us making us feel ecstatic for no apparent outer reason. We may feel great compassion for the sufferings of other creatures. Powerful devotion to the deity or guru may arise. Yet less wholesome emotions can also occur. We may feel afraid of losing ourselves or our identity. A fear of death may arise as we contemplate eternity. Sometimes ordinary emotions like anger or desire may get heightened or we may uncharacteristically become impatient or intolerant .

The mind may have new and different experiences and perceptions. We may feel our minds expanding or ascending. Light or sound vibrations may come into the mind. New insights may arise or a new creativity may dawn. There may be hints of extrasensory perception or telepathy, or a sense of what will happen to us or to the world tomorrow.

We may experience changes in our sense of self. We may feel connections with past lives, that we were a great yogi or that we are a great teacher with an important mission in life. Our self-identity may change and we may want to look or dress differently than before. We may be able to let go of our past and gain a new sense of who we are. We may move beyond the human ego to the sense of the cosmic Self.

We may gain an inner experience of the various chakras or centers of yogic energy, particularly the third eye, the heart or the crown chakra. We may be able to feel the energy moving in the spine or up and down it, along with various lights and sounds, colors or energy patterns. These are usually part of a broader range of what are called ‘Kundalini experiences’ that many people have, though one should note that what is popularly called a Kundalini experience may not always be so!

Experiences of the Astral Plane

Our subtle or astral body may become activated. We may be able to travel with it to other beings, or travel to other realms of consciousness or higher worlds. We may astrally ability to visit with teachers or deities may appear to our inner eye. We may be able to talk to God or to the Divine Mother. New teachings or inspired revelations may come to us.

Many spiritual experiences occur in dreams or in dream like states of consciousness. Besides our ordinary dreams based upon memory and sensory experiences, there is a higher form of dreams that reflect a deeper vision and experience beyond the physical realm. We may be having such deeper visionary dreams but not remember them well. There are other dreams which are astral experiences, which can be either enlightening or confusing for us, depending upon their nature.

Some experiences involve a heightened state of imagination or vision. We may see a deity, guru, angel or spirit with our inner eye. Yet knowing if these visions are genuine or self-induced is not always easy. Higher spiritual experiences usually involve some heightened perception and have a distinct clarity and calm about them. They are not always dramatic visions or visitations.

We must learn to differentiate between higher spiritual experiences and those of the spirit or astral world, though these can overlap to some degree. Drawing in departed spirits or ghosts, or bringing in animal spirits can have side effects. Studying the occult or subtle worlds can be different than yogic practices aimed at Self-realization. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two and not confuse them. Occult and astral experiences are not always higher yogic experiences and can confuse rather than enlighten us, if we are not careful.

Channeling also must be approached with caution. There are spirits that would like to enter into the human being, who may masquerade as higher beings to come into us. We should not offer our minds and hearts for other beings to dwell in, unless we are truly convinced of their spiritual nature. It is important that we do not give up our consciousness or witnessing capacity in the process of communicating with any spirit.

Preparing Ourselves for Experiences

We should prepare ourselves for spiritual experiences before seeking them. True spiritual experiences are a kind of nectar that is coming to us. It is important that we have the proper container to hold that nectar and that the vessel be clean, pure and not contaminated in any way. That vessel is our own body, prana and mind. It is not just enough to have an experience. We must learn to imbibe its essence, just as a bee gathers pollen from a flower.

We should cultivate sattvic life-style as the basis for our experiences. This means avoiding aggression and emotional agitation within us. A sattvic life style will help ground our experiences. A vegetarian diet is a good aid for a pure mind and clear experiences. Our experiences should center on offering our ego to the Divine presence within, not on glorifying ourselves or gaining power over others.

We should develop a sacred space both within us and in our own home environment in which our spiritual experiences, the events in our spiritual life, can be honored, nurtured and cherished. If we have a good vessel, the experiences will come and we will be able to move through them. If our vessel is contaminated or broken, even the best experiences will not be able to really enter into us. If our vessel is prepared, we may experience a deepening peace and bliss without needing more dramatic experiences to keep us on the path.

Keeping Track of Our Experiences

Probably the first thing to do is to take time to assimilate your experience. Let it settle in of its own accord. Keep it to yourself for a while, sharing it only with your guru or other practitioners. Give space for your experience to reveal what it is. Do not try to judge it or own it immediately.

We should cultivate a detached observation of our own experiences. In this regard, it is helpful to make a record of your experience in terms of time, place and details. Write it down. Try to note the factors which may induce or accompany your experience.

Note your physical and psychological condition at the time of your experience. Is your experience connected to fasting or low food intake, with lack of sleep or other abnormal physical patterns? Have you been taking any drugs, recreational or medical, that might be involved in the experience? What was your emotional state? Had you been experience any unusual stress or emotional disturbances that might color your experience?

Note that practices that may have helped set your experience in motion. Is your experience arising from pranayama, if so what type of pranayama and practiced for how long? Is it the result of repeating a mantra? If so, what type of mantra and to what deity or guru? Has it occurred as part of a meditation practice? Have you done any intense or new practice prior to the experience or is it the result of long term steady practices? Experiences from long term practices are likely to be more wholesome than those from short term but irregular intensive efforts.

Spiritual experiences are more likely to occur in the presence of a guru, but even here we must be cautious. The mass energy around a teacher may cause us to have an experience around them, even if they are not our true teacher. Holy sites, temples and powerful places in nature are also more likely to give us experiences. Pilgrimage is well known for giving experiences, particularly those like visiting Mt. Kailas in Tibet that require a good deal of exertion to get there. There are practices like vision quests, or seeking the darshan (vision) of the deity, that aim at producing experiences. These also have their place and require a certain dedication and sincerity to achieve.

A few other tips: Do not run after any experiences. The mind can induce whatever experience it likes. Let your experience arise out of the receptive and surrendered mind and heart. Do not try to repeat an experience; it only makes you live in the past. Once you have had a spiritual experience there is a temptation to try to repeat it. It is best to let it settle down. True spiritual experience is ever new.

We should look into our spiritual experiences for what they are teaching us. Inner experiences usually have a message behind them. They may be offering us a taste of what we can gain in fuller form if we persist in our practices. They may be asking us to make some change in our lives or our practice. We must learn to read their language and their symbolism, not simply regard the experience as an end in itself.

Emotional highs are usually accompanied with or followed by emotional lows. One must be careful with confusing emotional highs even colored by spiritual forms or images with spiritual experiences. Yet even with genuine spiritual experiences, there can be a down side. In mystical literature, there is a talk of the dark night of the soul and of dry periods in one’s practice. Don’t expect to always be in state of deeper experiences or emotional highs. Learn to preserve your inner contentment even when you are facing adversity.

The Role of the Guru and Deity in Experiences

If we have experiences, it is good to consult about them with a teacher or with friends and colleagues on the path. A true guru will help us understand our experiences. If the teacher is not physically accessible to us, we can call upon them inwardly to help deal with our experiences.

It helps on the yogic path to have an Ishta Devata or chosen form of the Divine to worship, usually some aspect of the Divine Father or Mother. We should seek to connect with them in our experiences. The path of Bhakti Yoga or devotion often revolves around spiritual experiences of the deity through mantra, chanting, pilgrimage and meditation.

It is helpful to have special protective mantras that we can use to help us through any difficult experiences that we may have. Mantras to the Ishta Devata or to the guru are very important.

Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology

If possible, consult a good Ayurvedic practitioner who is familiar with yogic experiences and can provide guidance if your experiences are troubling. Disturbances in the Doshas, particularly Vata or the air humor, can cause unusual experiences in the mind and nervous system that may be mistaken for spiritual experiences. These may involve nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, tremors or unusual pranic movements of an uncontrolled nature. An Ayurvedic practitioner can prescribe herbs, diet, massage and life-style changes that can help us ground our experiences better.

Vedic astrology can be very helpful in showing the nature of our experiences. There are certain planetary influences and planetary periods that can promote inner experiences. Influences involving Rahu, the north node of the Moon, for example, are more likely to be illusory. Those involving the lords of the fifth and ninth house, particularly when Jupiter, are likely to be more wholesome. There is an entire set of Vedic astrological rules that can be helpful in understanding our spiritual experiences and where these are likely to take us. Vedic astrology can also recommend mantras, gems and rituals that can help make our spiritual experiences more wholesome, or even give us spiritual experiences of an astrological nature. A good Vedic astrologer can help you with these.

Besides Experience

Experiences are not the only measure or manifestation of the spiritual life. Experiences, particularly of a dramatic form, are not always necessary on the yogic path, particularly when Jnana Yoga or the Yoga of meditation is emphasized. The type of experiences one is likely to get are a deeper perception, more powerful intuition, a sense of the expansion of consciousness or a greater power of focus and concentration.

Perhaps the best sign of real progress along the yogic path is equanimity, peace of mind and steadiness of awareness. Consistency in practice even if we don’t have any experiences is important. If we give up our practices after an experience, often that experience will not bear fruit.

Experience and Detachment

It is hard to be detached from any powerful life experience, much less a spiritual experience. Spiritual experiences also leave their rasa or effect upon the mind which can be valuable to sustain. Still we should not cling to them. We should learn to view them like the vistas that unfold when we are climbing a beautiful mountain and continue on with our journey until we reach the summit. Never let the experience be more than one’s inner calm or peace.

If you are practicing yoga with a spiritual intent, experiences will occur as part of your daily life. Learn to embrace these as part of life like a beautiful sunset. Let these experiences be natural.

Actually our entire lives are a spiritual experience. Anything that we experience with grace, devotion or awareness is a spiritual experience, even our daily activities. We should make all our experiences into spiritual experiences by learning to see the Divine delight in the entire play of creation, honoring the Divine presence in our own hearts and in the hearts of all creatures.

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