Archive for February 16, 2016

Published on Feb 15, 2016

Tara Brach – Desire: A Current of Homecoming (12/09/2015)

Desire is intrinsic to our aliveness, yet when we have unmet needs, it can possess us. This talk explores how to relax open the grip of wanting and heal the suffering of addiction. You will learn how to bring mindfulness and compassion to the roots of desire, and be carried home to open loving presence.

“Recovery is also about spirit – about dealing with that ‘hole in the soul’ so how does this hole get filled and become holy space?”


From the dawn of our species, every culture has maintained a belief in some form of a spiritual reality. Wouldn’t this imply that human spirituality must represent an inherent characteristic of our species, that is, a genetically inherited trait? Are Humans “wired” to believe in the universal concepts of a god, a soul, and an afterlife? Are what we call spiritual/religious experiences strictly physiological in nature, the effects of our brain’s chemistry? Does God really exist “out there,” beyond and ondependent of us? Or is God merely the product of an inherited human perception, the manifestation of an evolutionary adaptation – a coping mechanism – one that emerged in our species to enable us to survive our unique and otherwise debilitating awareness of death?

Ever since he was a child—when he first realized he was one day going to die—Matthew Alper set himself upon a life journey—a spiritual quest, if you will—to ascertain whether or not there exists a spiritual reality, a God. Was he merely a flesh and bone mortal or something more, something that perhaps transcended his purely physical self? After receiving a BA in Philosophy, Matthew continued his unconventional journey working as everything from a photographer’s assistant in NYC, an electrician in England, a 5th grade and High School history teacher in the projects of Brooklyn, a truck smuggler in Central Africa, a [produced] screenwriter in Germany—all the while independently studying the breadth of science from genetics, neuroscience, cognitive psychology, cultural anthropology, sociobiology and more.

Once his research yielded what he felt constituted a scientific explanation of spirituality and God, he returned to NYC where he wrote what he considers his life’s work, “The ‘God’ Part of the Brain.” Since its initial publication in 1996, Matthew has lectured all over the United States, appeared on NBC tv, been written up in the Washington Post, appeared on numerous radio shows and is a contributor to the anthology “Neurotheology,” an emergent new science of which he is considered one of its founders. He is an outspoken member of both the atheist and secular humanist movements. He presently lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with his cat, Sucio.


Art Bell & Alper: The God Part of The Brain

Art Bell interviews Matthew Alper, author of The God Part of The Brain.
Matthew Alper:

As we became consciously aware of ourselves and our surroundings, life. We also became aware of death, and how fragile life can be. So in order for our brains to be able to cope as consciously aware, it developed an area in the temporal lobes, that gives everyone born (unless they have a brain defect) a sense of a spirit/soul, god, part of whole, an afterlife, a continuation somehow….and so on. This area in the brain responsible for these beliefs is key to our survival as a species. We probably wouldn’t have made it this far without it. It helps to remove the fear of death so that we are able to take risk without to much of a fear of dying. This area in the brain also helps us to not be over stricken with grief from the loss of a loved one, to the point of being unable to function/survive. So all people have these beliefs for the very same reason “all cats meow”, our brain developed/evolved that way for survival reasons. This is why every culture has words for a soul, god, and so forth. Having the beliefs is perfectly normal, in fact it’s abnormal not to have them. A disbelief is something that one must learn. Which is usually done after childhood using logic and critical thinking skills. So blaming or attacking someone for having the core beliefs, is equal to attacking someone for being born with two hands. When in fact it’s perfectly normal.
By focusing electromagnetic waves on the temporal lobes, this causes one to feel the presence of God, and or see God, often other spirits as well. It causes a type of mystical religious experience.-Tommy Decentralized

God in the Brain,- Atheist Vs Spirituality

Matthew Alper:

Matthew Alper was born and raised in New York City. He was educated at Vasser and North London University where he acquired a degree in Philosophy of Science. After teaching High School History, Matthew went on to become a screenwriter and then to write to his seminal work “The God Part of the Brain,” now in its 5th edition. Since then Matthew has lectured at various universities on the topics of Cognitive Science and philosophy. He has been written up in the Washington Post and appeared on NBC.


Neurotheology: This Is You Brain On Religion…

That humanity faces monumental challenges needs no more proof than a scan of the daily news outlets. A deeper look reveals that the cause of our problems is not just political dysfunction, which gets most of the attention. Nor is it economic injustice, or racial and ethnic bigotry, or ecological ignorance, or greed, or educational failure, or any one thing. It is all of those together, and more. It is also a spiritual failure.

For the generation that came of age in the 1960s, this is as disconcerting as it is tragic. I was a student radical back then. I worked for civil rights and marched against the war in Vietnam; I raged against injustice and the ills of capitalism. I wanted a better world, and I believed that changing “the system” was the way to achieve it. As for religion, I was with Karl Marx: it was the opium of the people.

At one point, however, I started to become disillusioned with leftist ideology, revolutionary rhetoric and the behavior of my more radical comrades. On the personal level, I was a confused, desperate young man in the grip of an existential crisis that neither Marx, nor Freud, nor Darwin, nor any of my elders could resolve. I could not find satisfactory answers to the Big Questions of life.

My search for truth, meaning and happiness led to the spiritual traditions of the East. The philosophies and cosmologies resonated with me, and the methods of inner transformation were just what the doctor ordered. I dove into the study of Buddhism and Hinduism, took up meditation and set my sights on enlightenment. Before long, I came to believe that meaningful social change could come only from the inside out. Now I saw politics as the opium of the people.

I became a spiritual activist. I trained as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation and set out to save the world one mantra at a time, convinced that if more and more individuals found inner peace and grew toward higher consciousness society would naturally evolve in the right direction. I was far from alone in that conviction; in the 70s and 80s, the ranks of yogis, new agers, meditators and mystics were filled with former social activists.

In time, practices like yoga, meditation and mindfulness became mainstream, and the way Americans understand religion and practice spirituality changed radically. Now doctors routinely recommend meditation and Christians and Jews routinely engage in contemplative practices. This is a development worth celebrating. But the world did not evolve the way many of us thought it would. Violence, injustice, environmental degradation and other manifestations of ignorance and selfishness continued relatively unabated. Spiritual practitioners started to realize that inner work, no matter how transformative, does not impact the broader social landscape as strongly as we hoped it would.

And yet, that inner work is indispensable. As Einstein purportedly said, “We can’t solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” One can add that we can’t solve problems with the same hearts, the same perceptions, the same maturity, the same egos or the same collective consciousness that prevailed when the problems were created. The evidence suggests that genuine spiritual transformation raises the level of all those attributes. People on authentic spiritual paths tend to become less greedy, less materialistic, less obsessed with acquisition and consumption, less attached to opinions and ideologies. They tend to grow in mental clarity and out-of-the-box thinking, and also in the capacity for compassion and empathy.

We all know exceptions, of course; there is no shortage of self-inflated narcissists in spiritual circles. But it’s safe to say that the arc of inner transformation bends toward wisdom and goodness, and that can only be a plus for society. Personal enlightenment without proper action may be like singing a great song in the shower instead of a concert hall, but action without big minds and open hearts is bound to produce bad notes and dissonant chords. The activists and the contemplatives need one another. Appeals to conscience and morality are not enough. Nor is legislation based on wonkish policy analysis. Nor are citations from scripture or passionate entreaties to be loving and compassionate. If those were enough, history would be vastly different. In short, we don’t just need political reform and educational reform and economic reform; we need consciousness reform. Without it, other reforms will be limited at best.

When I make this argument, people often try to pin me down on policy and get me to take a position on some left-right debate, as if I were running for office. My entire point is that we need to transcend that level of thinking and open ourselves to insights and ideas we can’t anticipate at our present level of awareness. It is reasonable to think that transformative spiritual development might provide an elevated platform from which to see the world differently—a place where creative, innovative ideas can merge with compassion and skillful action, unimpeded by ideologies, labels and past conditioning.

Maybe that platform is located in the transcendental field where Rumi wanted us to meet him, “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing.” It is there, after all, where our essential Oneness is not just imagined or proclaimed but directly experienced. Maybe that is where we can spiritualize social action and activate spirituality.

Philip Goldberg is the author of American Veda and numerous other books; a public speaker and workshop leader; a spiritual counselor, meditation teacher and ordained Interfaith Minister. He is the co-host of the podcast Spirit Matters: Conversations on Contemporary Spirituality. He lives in Los Angeles.

Published on Feb 15, 2016

Guy Finley explains that anyone who remains in an abusive relationship of any kind only does so because of their own weakness and inner agreement to be abused. As you work to separate yourself inwardly from the unconscious belief that without the acknowledgement of others you will be alone and cease to exist, you will come to know true inner freedom no matter who you are with or what your exterior conditions are.

Published on Feb 15, 2016

Awakening through Anger – Part 2: The U-Turn to Freedom (11/18/2015)

While we have strong conditioning to react to aggression with more aggression, we have the capacity to pause, and instead deepen attention and connect to our natural wisdom and empathy. This talk looks at how we can directly engage in this evolutionary adaptation when we encounter trauma related conflict in our personal lives, and in a parallel way when groups of people who have been part of traumatizing conflict seek reconciliation and healing.

Part 1 View Here

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