The bestselling authors of How God Changes Your Brain reveal the neurological underpinnings of enlightenment, offering unique strategies to help readers experience its many benefits.

In this original and groundbreaking book, Andrew Newberg, M.D., and Mark Robert Waldman turn their attention to the pinnacle of the human experience: enlightenment. Through his brain- scan studies on Brazilian psychic mediums, Sufi mystics, Buddhist meditators, Franciscan nuns, Pentecostals, and participants in secular spirituality rituals, Newberg has discovered the specific neurological mechanisms associated with the enlightenment experience–and how we might activate those circuits in our own brains.

In his survey of more than one thousand people who have experienced enlightenment, Newberg has also discovered that in the aftermath they have had profound, positive life changes. Enlightenment offers us the possibility to become permanently less stress-prone, to break bad habits, to improve our collaboration and creativity skills, and to lead happier, more satisfying lives. Relaying the story of his own transformational experience as well as including the stories of others who try to describe an event that is truly indescribable, Newberg brings us a new paradigm for deep and lasting change.

Andrew Newberg, M.D., is the director of the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. He is one of the founders of the new interdisciplinary field called neurotheology. He is an associate professor in the department of radiology, with secondary appointments in the departments of psychiatry and religious studies, at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been featured on Good Morning America, Nightline, Discovery Channel, BBC, NPR, and National Geographic Television. He is the co-author of Why God Won’t Go Away, Born to Believe, and The Mystical Mind.

Mark Robert Waldman is an associate fellow at the Center for Spirituality and the Mind at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a therapist, the author or co-author of ten books, including Born to Believe (with Andrew Newberg), and was the founding editor of Transpersonal Review. He lectures throughout the country on neuroscience, religion, and spirituality and conducts research with numerous religious and secular groups. His work has been featured in dozens of newspapers and magazines and on syndicated radio programs.

Finding our enlightened state | Andrew Newberg | TEDxPenn
How does the brain function during prayer, meditation, and trance states? Andrew Newberg has conducted hundreds of brain scans of people during these “enlightened” states and found unique patterns of brain activity. He has surveyed 2,000 people to find the essential elements of the enlightenment experience. With these findings, Andrew aims to help people find their own enlightenment, an experience that can radically change and improve your life.

Andrew is the Director of Research at the Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His research has been published in prestigious scientific journals including JAMA, Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, and Frontiers in Psychology, and featured in Newsweek, Time, and the New York Times. He has appeared on Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, as well as movies including Bill Maher’s “Religulous”; and “Awake: The Life of Yogananda.”

Embracing the Feminine Power Within Us All – Deepak Chopra, M.D.

A genuine social upheaval has begun; its theme is the empowerment of women…
Old attitudes that have resulted in many kinds of unfairness are being challenged. The long-suppressed outrage of sexual harassment has been exposed to the light of day. No one with a heart and a conscience can do anything but respond with encouragement. It’s about time.

Rising from a position of weakness to become stronger, turning old wounds into a source of healing—these are important changes in anyone’s life. The eternal feminine has been a running thread in human culture for thousands of years, but each generation has to reinterpret it, and at the moment, embedded in a secular society where daily demands and distractions are the rule, envisioning the eternal feminine requires going deeper into your self-awareness.

Everyone’s source is pure awareness, which has no gender. When pure awareness manifests into creation, gender isn’t in evidence, either. When you wake up from deep sleep and become aware of your existence, the experience has no labels. The issues of masculine and feminine enter in a social context, defined by your beliefs, attitudes, and mental conditioning. To be a woman is to be a creation of many factors, going far beyond the physiological.

The Eternal Feminine Side
The eternal feminine isn’t found in any kind of belief, attitude, or conditioning, however. It isn’t restricted to women, because in reality the eternal feminine is part of everyone’s wholeness. When you divide women as being from Venus and men from Mars, that wholeness has been lost. In order to truly love women, and for them to love themselves, both sexes must nurture the universal values that belong to the eternal feminine. Every human quality that you cherish has a pure source, and the closer you are to the source, the more intense, personal, and lasting your values will be.

What does the eternal feminine add to everyone’s life? In one way or another, you express the eternal feminine wherever there is motherliness, inner beauty, devotion, nurturing, loving kindness, inspiration, and creativity. The Goddess has always been about these things. When the feminine is ignored, distorted, or wounded, the same values are undermined. Hardness, cruelty, war, ruthless competitiveness—it’s not that these are bad masculine values. They are exaggerated and divorced from wholeness.

On the individual level, the loss of the eternal feminine can be devastating. There is an imbalancetoward the masculine, which no one can sustain without damaging their capacity for loving acceptance, beginning with self-acceptance. I doubt there is anyone, man or woman, who can’t benefit from healing their feminine side. You can regain wholeness in meditation, yet it is in daily life, where you apply self-awareness, those healing steps can be taken.

Healing Your Feminine Side
Take a moment every day and look through the feminine values I’ve listed above. Think of one value you’d like to encourage and enhance, then make a mental note of the action you’ll take that day to implement it. At night before you go to bed, reflect on your day to see if you carried out the action you planned. If so, how did it make you feel?

Here are some suggestions to help you heal the feminine side of wholeness:

Motherliness is warm, caring, accepting, and embracing. You might show someone close to you that you care by listening without judgment. You might include a person who seems like an outsider to your group and make them feel welcome.

Inner beauty is about letting the light of your awareness shine through. The key is to find the courage to show your true self to others and drop the social mask to reveal sympathy, innocence, openness, and your joy in life.

Devotion is about the heart’s need to surrender to something outside yourself, pouring out love and appreciation. Devotion is private and happens in silent communion. It doesn’t have to be showy or even outwardly expressed. But when you feel the impulse to express loving devotion, act upon it.

Nurturing is about all the things a mother does to raise her child, and you often identify it with helping the young. But adults also need support, encouragement, protection from harm, and wise guidance. These are nurturing values too often neglected in relationships. You may often forget that the child within you hasn’t vanished with the passage of time. So acting as a nurturing figure in anyone else’s life is deeply appreciated.

Loving kindness is about compassion, and the values that flow from it, such as empathy, acceptance, and non-judgment. Being easy with yourself and ending your own self-judgment are acts of loving kindness. The same is true when you extend the same attitude to others. As exalted as compassion sounds, it comes down to deciding that you are on the side of acceptance and kindness rather than judgment and harshness.

Inspiration and creativity
are about making life new by living from the source. You can make a mistake by setting creativity apart as the domain of artists. Pure consciousness endlessly creates, and every day can be based on the flow of renewal. The opposite of renewal is habit, routine, mental conditioning, and fixed beliefs. So rather than struggling to be more creative, use your efforts to remove the obstacles that block inspiration and creativity. Once you stop identifying with habit and routine, life’s freshness returns naturally, like water gushing from a spring.
Source: Chopra

What Do I Do When My Partner Isn’t Awake Spiritually? – Eckhart Tolle

Inner Richness: Radical Spirituality In The Age Of Madness by Jack Adam Webber

A rich inner life requires us to be energetically empty By this I mean that we have cleared our heart of enough pain to blossom inwardly. This way we aren’t hauling around significant emotional baggage from unmet childhood needs and unreckoned repeats of these traumas into adulthood.

To become inwardly rich is therefore an initiation to adulthood. It is to take responsibility for our inner lives: to be be filled with wisdom, kindness, passion, excitement, and to generously share our gifts with the world. Having a largely clear heart is crucial for such a life. In most cases, a clear heart also requires, to varying degrees, a good mind. And to a lesser degree, an able body.

Contrast a rich inner life to what is commonly valued as a rich outer life. On the material plane, wealth is often measured by the quantity of things and money we possess. Inwardly, however, richness is measured by an absence of stuff that clutters our hearts and impedes our psycho-spiritual resources.

Burdened By Excess
Burdening ourselves with outer richness for its own sake hampers our enjoyment of life’s simple gifts, such as nature and the ability to give and receive love. Indeed, when we don’t clear our pain, we don’t maximize our inner treasures, and often try to find fulfillment outwardly. But this doesn’t work and instead we just weigh and clutter ourselves more and more.

Less obvious is that it takes a heart healed of significant pain to enjoy the benefits of our possessions. People with lots of money are often so stressed, distracted, and avoidant of facing their insides they don’t know how to enjoy what they have. What outward wealth they might have often ends up serving largely to avoid facing their insides. For if our inner psychic space is cluttered with pain and poor values, enjoyment can’t deeply enter us, and we remain unfulfilled. We see then, that regardless of what we possess—rags or riches—inner work is needed to feel fulfilled.

Outward richness is a literal attainment. Inward richness is a poetic or paradoxical attainment because it necessitates letting go in order to create empty, vital space, especially the space to receive and feel gratitude. We often can’t receive both because of an inner sense of worthlessness and addiction to a life of busyness without self-care. The Nourish Practice is great way to take a break, learn to receive, cultivate self-love, and find inner richness.

Our culture is not so good at letting go, breaking down, or dying. We are largely concerned with getting and accumulating. While we need certain things for basic survival and a modicum of comfort, we don’t need what numbs and burdens our hearts. Enough money is a boon; it becomes a problem when we get addicted to accumulating it at the expense of being of service, sharing the best parts of ourselves, experiencing awe and wonder, and sharing intimate time with friends and family. “Money won’t make you happy, but it can make you happier,” I like to say.

Facing Ourselves
Many live burdened with hidden guilt, shame, and remorse for having lied and cheated to get to a prominent place of outer power. To continue to act coldly and cruelly to maintain or “improve” their position and numb awareness of the bad they have committed, is to live with the most awful of burdens and pain. I would call it torture, which explains why such folks have difficulty facing themselves and end up acting cruelly in ways we can’t believe. They cannot rest in themselves in frank emptiness because in that quietness they also would have to face the facts of their actions and deeds, which might disgust them to the point of insanity. So, they end up living and acting insanely.

This is how we create an insane culture: living superficially, stuffing ourselves with things, distractions, and addictions, as we try to fill inside what must be left vibrantly empty. This emptiness is made possible by leading a simple (but not dull or diminished) life, grieving our pain, finding a way to creatively give, and building supportive community.

When we don’t do this inner work, which includes shadow work, we usually don’t have the clear space or the comfort to rest deeply in ourselves to appreciate what we have. So is born and bred the modern-day corporate sociopath, or the everyday person unconscious of their inner detritus and therefore, their beauty and unique gifts.

Poetic Paradox
To create a rich inner life, we have to appreciate paradox, or the pursuit of one thing to achieve its opposite. An inwardly rich, paradoxical living requires that we embrace the dark side of life, because darkness creates the fertility of the psyche (letting go in order to grow and renew) that is necessary to heal and dissolve the conglomerations of physical, and especially emotional, pain that burden our body-mind-heart.

Understanding that to achieve inner fullness we must effect emptiness seems contradictory. In reality, this sort of paradoxical achievement is not grasped by many, which is why most live an inwardly impoverished life. They confuse literal, outer achievement with the poetic and paradoxical way of inner growth. Therefore, when we apply outer attainment—the getting of stuff—to the inner life, we get problems. We get congestion, lack of passion, and dimmed vitality.

We cannot attain or capture love, empathy, compassion, and creativity. If we try to, we block them. Instead, we have to allow them to rise in us, to create ripe conditions for their presence. For them to rise and flourish, we have to be clear inside. When we unilaterally accumulate without also inwardly clearing ourselves of pain, we clutter our insides and impede joy from rising out of us and love from entering.

Outer Simplicity, Inner Richness
So, balance is crucial. Without outer resources we can be crippled in our inner healing. Yet, without inner healing to clear and integrate our love wounds, we cannot appreciate life’s simple beauties. Therefore, and especially to balance modern culture’s hell-bent fixation on consuming and devouring everything in sight, a wise way to go is to keep outer acquisitions to a minimum, at least until we develop ourselves inwardly significantly.

In other words, we consciously choose soul over superfluous superficiality. We keep it outwardly simple enough to enjoy the fruits of inner richness, which in essence begins with a sense of awe and fulfillment with the gifts of natural world and love of family, pets, and friends. Notice, this approach happens to coincide with being a sustainable, Earth-revering person as opposed to an addicted, heart-burdened, and over-consuming glutton. Especially in our age of climate change, less is more, if only to help us survive into the future.

Source: Collective Evolution

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