Being and Becoming – A commentary by Lori Tompkins [Updated Oct 21,2012]

I just received an email from Lori Tompkins(below) who commented on the video clip on ” Being and Becoming” View Here given by Andrew Cohen. There are numerous adverse comments on Andrew Cohen’s mannerisms and treatment towards other teachers and as well as his previous staff. Click Here To View

Her viewpoints and critique are poignant and thought-provoking, coming from a different yet resourceful perspective. It would be a refreshingly proposition to host her views in the interest of the viewers and bloggers at large – evolutionarymystic.
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Recently I came across a YouTube video of Andrew Cohen’s ‘Being and Becoming’ workshop. He is standing in front of a colorful circular diagram teaching that spirituality based solely on the Being [the Immobile, Static Absolute] are outdated and that ‘God is Being … and God is Becoming.’

The goal Cohen posits is to ‘become God in his or her manifested form. That’s what the authentic self is…. God is the creative impulse … the energy and intelligence that initiated the creative process and also this Ground.’ I was impressed by the way Cohen handled participants whose idea of spiritual enlightenment or progress was to disregard, escape or detach oneself from the ‘Becoming’, i.e. from the evolving, ever-changing material expression of the One Self in Many varied forms and expressions.

He comments that the enlightenment teachings of Adyashanti and Eckhart Tolle are ‘outmoded, a pre-modern interpretation of Enlightenment …. It will help individuals to feel better, it will help you to feel better, help me to feel better. But I don’t really think the point right now is me feeling better or you feeling better.’

I agree with Cohen that Buddhist-flavored teachings which frame the material and temporal realities of our existence (the Becoming) as an illusion to be transcended so that one can rest or dissolve oneself and one’s material burdens or limitations in the Immobile Absolute (Being) are outdated … like a skin that needs to be shed so that human consciousness can progress to higher perspective and experience of material existence.


My first introduction to the Divine as simultaneously Being and Becoming (also ‘One and the Many’) came from the writings of Sri Aurobindo(left). He made it explicitly clear that a realization of the absolute Being, blissfully disconnected from the material, temporal field of Becoming was not the true goal of the spiritual quest.

Further studies of the Supramental Descent, including the teachings of the Mother and Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea) thoroughly convinced me that Buddhism and Buddhist-flavored teachings of spiritual ‘enlightenment’ were just as outdated, OLD and mis-representative of the Divine Self and the potentialities of material existence and consciousness as all other religions that our modern civilization has inherited from the Age of Pisces (234 B.C.E – 1926 C.E.).
Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet (Thea)

In 2001 Thea discussed this issue, among other topics, with the editor-in-chief of Cohen’s What is Enlightenment? magazine at her cosmological center in India. That interview was never published or referred to by Cohen and was not given to Thea for her own use.

It is still a mystery as to why he chose to bury that interview when the whole flavor of his teachings around that time began to head in the direction of subjects which she had already raised to a whole new level, including the evolution of consciousness, the divinization of the individual, cosmology, and the harmonies of a unified Being and Becoming. [For more information on this issue see “Andrew Cohen’s ‘Evolutionary Enlightenment’ and a Buried Interview with Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet”]

The Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea has been relentlessly aimed at dismantling the negative relationship with and view of our material existence – the negative view and experience of our Becoming within the confining framework or womb of time and space.

Separately and as a triadic consciousness-force and action in the world these mahayogis have reminded humanity that the Vedic Journey or evolution towards a fully divine material existence is a reality, not a superstition or primitive myth conjured up by primitive people at all, but rather the natural and inevitable unfolding (Becoming) of the One Self of All Selves (the Being).

‘The pure existent is then a fact and no mere concept; it is the fundamental reality. But, let us hasten to add, the movement, the energy, the becoming are also a fact, also a reality. The supreme intuition and its corresponding experience may correct the other, may go beyond, may suspend, but do not abolish it.

We have therefore two fundamental facts of pure existence and of world-existence, a fact of Being, a fact of Becoming. To deny one or the other is easy; to recognize the facts of consciousness and find out their relation is the true and fruitful wisdom.’ – Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, p. 86

So Cohen seems to be at least somewhat on the right track in his new teachings, trying to wean people out of a negative relationship with the Becoming; but regrettably nowhere in his talk did he refer to those who have preceded and at least somewhat informed his own conception on the matter.

He has paid little true respect to those who through their difficult yoga have made epic, heroic and fruitful efforts towards restoring in our modern times the Vedic conception and consciousness of a divinely intertwined Being and Becoming. Rather when discussing the question of the relationship between Being and Becoming (the Absolute and the Relative), which many have come to think of as somehow separate, he says:

‘This teaching I have is really the only, in terms of the enlightenment teachings, is the only clear, unambiguous answer to the question, because as I was saying before, God is Being … and God is Becoming.’

Perhaps by saying, ‘in terms of the enlightenment teachings’, Cohen feels that he is not misleading his students. Regardless, he is well-aware that before he even said boo on the matter, the yoga of Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea had already thoroughly addressed and shed much needed light on the unified nature of Being and Becoming and the Divine Harmonies that flow from this arrangement.

But somehow he does not consider, at least in this particular video, that their ‘answers’ and extensive teachings on Being and Becoming to be worth mentioning to his students who it is his mission to guide and enlighten. It is curious to say the least and actually disturbing to people who know that the question of the true relationship between Being and Becoming has been exquisitely addressed by teachers whose consciousness and integrating force far exceeds that of Cohen.

Perhaps elsewhere in his work Cohen gives credit where credit is due with regard to the Vedic foundations of the Being and Becoming teachings and the progress made by Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea towards exposing the incompleteness of the multitude of spiritual paths inherited from an Age gone by which focus on attaining oneness with the Immobile, Absolute Being (a Divine Being or God removed from Earth’s movements and evolution) and ignoring or negating the Divine nature of the spatial and temporal flow of the Earth and Cosmos. If this is the case, I’d love to know about it.

In the ‘Being and Becoming’ workshop, Cohen mentions the need to ‘pull ourselves out of this narcissistic nightmare’ which is our normal state of consciousness. To me his teaching, which discounts and disconnects from the deeper thread of the Being and Becoming as presented in the Vedic texts and in the Supramental Yoga and Cosmology, is in itself a ‘narcissistic nightmare’.

The Supramental dynamics, harmonies, geometries, consciousness-force and sanatana dharma of the unified field of Being and Becoming have been explored and taught with astounding depth, accuracy and precision over the past hundred years or so by Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea.

I have yet to see any work of Cohen’s that is anything but a distant and distorted echo of the tone set by these three Supramental yogis; and if our civilization succeeds in waking up from its narcissistic nightmare I am fairly certain it will not be by listening to and literally buying such underwhelming and superficial approximations of the true logic, consciousness-force and harmonized Being/Becoming of our Transcendent, Cosmic and Individual Divine Self.

One of my friends has had Buddhist leanings for decades. Our discussions would always get a bit heated when talking about Sri Aurobindo’s teachings on the limitations and errors of Buddhism. He had never read anything of Sri Aurobindo’s and would defend his experience that Buddhist teachings and philosophies were helpful to him in terms of dealing with the stresses and struggles of life.

I would try to explain Sri Aurobindo’s higher and wider view of things and usually the conversation went nowhere because my explanations of Sri Aurobindo’s higher and wider view did not transmit the actual experience of Sri Aurobindo’s higher and wider view. Seeing this, all I could do was say that until I began to read Sri Aurobindo’s writings in my mid-twenties, I too thought Buddhist teachings were ‘good food’ for the spiritual quest.

After reading Sri Aurobindo’s writings, Buddhist thought seemed no longer appealing. Just as if I had been use to eating canned or fast food and one day discovered fresh and high quality food and from then on out had no more interest in the canned or fast food. It was like that.

Many years later my friend is now spontaneously and diligently reading his way through his first Sri Aurobindo book, The Synthesis of Yoga. After his readings he is always aglow with inspiration and love of knowledge. ‘It is such good food for the soul’, he has commented. He did not remember my food analogies from years gone by. He simply saw for himself that Sri Aurobindo’s view of the Whole and All-Encompassing Triadic Self (Transcendent, Cosmic and Individual) was better spiritual sustenance for him, for his soul, than the Buddhist teachings with which he was so familiar.

The transmissions he receives from the truth-consciousness and real force present in Sri Aurobindo’s writings occur to him as inherently more true, more positive, more uplifting, more luminous than the Buddhist teachings to which he had previously been so accustomed and attached.

It is always a rare treat for me to witness someone in my circle of friends and acquaintances (outside my ‘inner’ circle of well-initiated yogic compadres that is) who, after all that I have written and communicated about the matter, finally takes the time to explore the Supramental and Integral Yoga and Cosmology. The results are always a widening of perspective beyond pre-existing beliefs and ideas of the Self and a deepening appreciation for the evolutionary journey by which the Divine expresses its full Self in the field of time and space.

I relate this experience because I am convinced that even though the ‘food’ or teachings offered by Andrew Cohen maybe slightly ‘better’ (i.e. closer to the Truth of Self ) than those who continue to disregard the importance of the Becoming (the real evolution and real purpose of the dynamic Cosmos and the Individual), it is still remarkably substandard or ‘canned’ in comparison to what has been presented by Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Thea on matters of evolutionary spirituality, Being and Becoming, cosmology and the divinization of the Individual.

Perhaps some readers will be offended by my assessment of the quality of their spiritual food. But there is really no use in getting upset. If one likes one’s spiritual food and has no interest in exploring a ‘tip’ or ‘lead’ that there is better food for the soul offered outside their religion, current field or arena of interests, then that is that.

But, if one is, on the other hand, curious as to whether or not Sri Aurobindo’s Supramental Descent and Integral Yoga actually represents a wider, truer, more unifying, more integral, more conscious, more all-embracing, more sustainable and more luminous view of existence than previously and currently offered by the world’s major religions or popular spiritual trends, then one should start reading and see for oneself whether or not one feels illuminated or well-fed.

Spirituality is in its essence an awakening to the inner reality of our being, to a spirit, self, soul which is other than our mind, life and body, an inner aspiration to know, to feel, to be that, to enter into contact with the greater Reality beyond and pervading the universe which inhabits also our own being, to be in communion withIt and union with It, and a turning, a conversion, a transformation of our whole being as a result of the aspiration, the contact, the union, a growth or waking into a new becoming or new being, a new self, a new nature.
– Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine

Read more about Lori Tompkins at http://circumsolatious.blogspot.com/2010/01/being-and-becoming.html

How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist by Andrew Newberg, Mark Waldman

God is great—for your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Based on new evidence culled from brain-scan studies, a wide-reaching survey of people’s religious and spiritual experiences, and the authors’ analyses of adult drawings of God, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg and therapist Mark Robert Waldman offer the following breakthrough discoveries:

• Not only do prayer and spiritual practice reduce stress, but just twelve minutes of meditation per day may slow down the aging process.
• Contemplating a loving God rather than a punitive God reduces anxiety and depression and increases feelings of security, compassion, and love.
• Fundamentalism, in and of itself, can be personally beneficial, but the prejudice generated by extreme beliefs can permanently damage your brain.
• Intense prayer and meditation permanently change numerous structures and functions in the brain, altering your values and the way you perceive reality.

Both a revelatory work of modern science and a practical guide for readers to enhance their physical and emotional health, How God Changes Your Brain is a first-of-a-kind book about faith that is as credible as it is inspiring.

Book TV: Andrew Newberg “How God Changes Your Brain”

A neuroscientist examined brain scans of memory patients and web-based surveys of people’s religious and spiritual experiences. The correlations he found led him to conclude that an active spiritual life physically changes the brain.

Questions & Answers ~ Andrew Newberg M.D.

Why do we believe what we believe?

Beliefs are based on four key components – perceptions, emotions, cognitions, and social interactions – which are also deeply interconnected. These components all intersect in the workings of the human brain, which enables us to have all of our beliefs. Our beliefs begin to develop the moment that we are born and we are pre-programmed to believe in certain ways. However, these ways are shaped by everything we think, feel, and experience over our lifetime. But the brain also requires beliefs in order for us to survive. We need to hold beliefs about how the world works throughout our entire life. We need to expect certain things to happen such as a person being nice to us if we are nice to them. But we can also have beliefs about meaning and purpose in life, about religion, and about the deep complexities of the universe. Because our beliefs are so important to our survival, we have a tendency to hold those beliefs very strongly, even when presented with opposing opinions or facts. But the brain is also capable of changing beliefs if we are open to new ideas and respect the beliefs of others.

Are there constructive and destructive beliefs?

Beliefs can have different effects on our mind and body. Some beliefs might be called “constructive” because they help us to better adapt to our world, make us feel positive about ourselves, and result in overall better physical and mental health. Some beliefs are “destructive” because they induce stress within us, worsen our health, or create antagonism and violent feelings towards others. One of the most important aspects of why beliefs can be constructive or destructive depends on whether they are exclusionary of other perspectives and how strongly they are held. The data indicate that all beliefs have their limitations because the brain has limitations. Thus, constructive beliefs help to provide a sense of compassion for everyone else who is also relying on their own beliefs – beliefs that also have limitations.

Is God only in our brain?

Our research indicates that our only way of comprehending God, asking questions about God, and experiencing God is through the brain. But whether or not God exists “out there” is something that neuroscience cannot answer. For example, if we take a brain image of a person when she is looking at a picture, we will see various parts of the brain being activated, such as the visual cortex. But the brain image cannot tell us whether or not there actually is a picture “out there” or whether the person is creating the picture in her own mind. To a certain degree, we all create our own sense of reality. Getting at what is really real is the tricky part.

How does your research relate to the health benefits currently reported about religion and religious behaviors?

Our research provides the link between religion and health. By understanding how the brain works during certain religious experiences and practices (e.g., meditation and prayer), we can begin to understand how religion affects psychological and physical health. For example, our model of brain activity during meditation indicates that there may be very demonstrable reasons why people who frequently practice meditation experience lower blood pressure, lower heart rates, decreased anxiety, and decreased depression.

Do you agree with those who suggest that there is an actual “God module”?

Religious and spiritual experiences are typically highly complex, involving emotions, thoughts, sensations, and behaviors. These experiences seem far too rich and diverse to derive solely from one part of the brain. It is much more likely that many parts of the brain are involved. Additionally, very different patterns of brain activity may appear, depending upon the particular experience the individual is having. For example, a near-death experience might result in different activity patterns from those found in a person who is meditating. Such evidence indicates that more than a single “God nodule” is at work—that, in fact, a number of structures in the brain work together to help us experience spirituality and religion.

Do you agree with the suggestion that the temporal lobes explain religious experiences?

The temporal lobes are clearly important in religious and spiritual experiences. The amygdala and hippocampus have been shown to be particularly involved in the experience of visions, profound experiences, memory, and meditation. However, we feel that the temporal lobe must interact with many other parts of the brain to provide the full range of religious and spiritual experiences.

Do you agree with the hypothesis that all religious experiences are related to disorders such as schizophrenia or temporal lobe epilepsy?

While studies have clearly shown a relationship between religious experiences and various brain disorders, there are several reasons why this association cannot be the only answer. First, not everyone with a brain disorder has unusual spiritual and religious experiences. In fact, only a small percentage of people with disorders such as temporal lobe epilepsy have unusual experiences. Second, there are people who have only one unusual experience in their entire life and never have another. This is in contrast to most people with brain disorders, who have repeated problems such as multiple recurrent seizures. Third, too many people have religious experiences to believe that all of these people have some sort of disorder. Finally, many of these experiences result in dramatic changes in a person’s perspective on life, death, and relationships. Such a radical change in perspective has never been consistently documented in people with brain disorders, unless of course, they have a religious experience. This brings up the point that “normal” people can have normal or abnormal religious experiences, and “abnormal” people can have normal or abnormal religious experiences. Distinguishing between each of these groups is the difficult task of neuroscience.

Are we “hard-wired” for God?

The term “hard-wired” suggests that we were purposefully designed that way. Neuroscience cannot answer the question of purposeful design. However, what we can say is that the brain has two primary functions that can be considered from either a biological or evolutionary perspective. These two functions are self-maintenance and self-transcendence. The brain performs both of these functions throughout our lives. It turns out that religion also performs these two same functions. So, from the brain’s perspective, religion is a wonderful tool because religion helps the brain perform its primary functions. Unless the human brain undergoes some fundamental change in its function, religion and God will be here for a very long time.

Why won’t God go away?

The main reason God won’t go away is because our brains won’t allow God to leave. Our brains are set up in such a way that God and religion become among the most powerful tools for helping the brain do its thing—self-maintenance and self-transcendence. Unless there is a fundamental change in how our brain works, God will be around for a very long time. Explain your neuroimaging studies of meditation.

In our investigations, we measure changes in the brain’s blood flow, which correlates with brain activity. Our brain images show which parts of the brain are active and which parts are inactive during different states. For example, we compared the brain activity of people performing Tibetan Buddhist meditation to what their brains do at rest. Our studies, as well as those of other investigators, have shown that meditation increases activity in the front part of the brain and decreases activity in the area of the brain that orients our bodies in space. This increased frontal activity is found not only during meditation, but also during any attention-focusing task. Since meditation involves focusing attention, it makes sense that this attention area of the brain is activated. The decreased activity in the orientation area is believed to be related to the changes in spatial perception and the loss of a sense of self that are associated with meditative states. Future studies may help to better define the changes in the brain that occur during meditation.

Are there permanent changes in the brains of meditators?

We have found subtle differences in the baseline state of the brain in our Tibetan meditators. This raises an interesting question regarding whether their brains have changed because of practicing meditation for 20 years or whether their brains have always been that way, and that is why meditation is so effective for them.

How did you originally become interested in this field of study?

I have been asking questions about reality, truth, and God since I was very young. I also have long been fascinated by the human mind and its complex workings. While I was a medical student, I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Eugene d’Aquili, who was working in this area and at the point where his theories were finally becoming crystallized. The combination of his interests and my background in neuroscience and brain imaging allowed us to break new ground with the theoretical as well as the empirical aspects of the relationship between the brain and religion.

Are you personally a religious or spiritual person? Do you meditate?

I have long pursued answers to many of the profound questions that human beings have faced. My initial attempts to find answers arose from the Western traditions, with an emphasis on science and philosophy. Over the years, my personal search evolved into a more meditative approach, which appeared similar to some of the Eastern traditions. However, although my approach is in many ways is a form of meditation, I have never practiced a specific religious or meditative technique for any period of time. In order to continue my search, I have had to learn about many disciplines and traditions. This typically was to enhance my own approach, which I do consider a spiritual journey.

Click Here for more details of his works

Reality Shifts: When Consciousness Changes the Physical World ~ Cynthia Sue Larson

Have you noticed things mysteriously move around? Keys don’t stay put, wallets transport to different places, and socks go missing from the laundry. We observe reality shifts when things appear, disappear, transform or transport and when we experience changes in time. Reality shifts range from the sublime (missing socks and synchronicity) to completely astonishing (the dead seen alive again; objects appearing out of thin air; spontaneous remission; traveling far in a very short time). Learn how to live lucidly to create a life you love, positively influence the future and the past, and transform sabotage into strength.

Click Here To Look Inside

Reality Shifts Book Trailer

Something extraordinary is happening–and the closer you look, the more amazing it gets! In quantum realms, physicists expect to see various spooky actions, after observing quantum particles engaged in such behaviors as teleportation, traveling through solid barriers, and moving in simultaneous synchronization with particles great distances away. The big secret is that these shifts in reality are also expected to occur around us on a large scale, right in front of our eyes. Read Cynthia Sue Larson’s book, Reality Shifts: When Consciousness Changes the Physical World.
Cynthia is a best-selling author and spiritual life coach who helps people transform from accidental manifestors into conscious reality shifters. Cynthia’s favorite question in every situation is “How good can it get?” Cynthia has been featured in numerous TV and radio shows including the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and BBC.

Does Reality Shift As Our Consciousness Evolves? – Deepak Chopra

Gayatri Mantra ~ Deva Premal & Miten with Manose [updated Oct 20, 2012]

AUM BHOOR BHUWAH SWAHA, TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM BHARGO DEVASAYA DHEEMAHI DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODAYAT

Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

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