Wednesday, March 31, 2010
When I referenced the work of Sir Roger Penrose, Sam Harris dismissed it by saying I was quoting it out of context, and that the hall at Caltech could easily be filled with people who disagreed with Penrose's theories. During the questions phase of the debate, there was a moment of lively but friendly exchange with Caltech physicist Leonard Mlodinow. A fuller account of the interaction can be found at this article at Digital Journal. However, here is a brief excerpt from our exchange about consciousness:
Moderator: What is it about Deepak's use of quantum physics that bothers you?
Mlodinow: The term nonlocal, the use was not correct with the pacemaker and all the electrical...
Chopra: I happen to disagree by the way.
Mlodinow: I assume you did since you said that.
Chopra: I think consciousness is nonlocal.
Mlodinow: You know, I have never really come across a definition of consciousness that I understood, so maybe you can teach me something.
Chopra: a field, a superposition of possibilities.
Mlodinow: OK, well, alright, I know what each of those words mean, I still don't think that...
Chopra: Right now, I'm speaking to a conscious being.
Mlodinow: I hope so.
Since the debate, Leonard Mlodinow and I have corresponded at length about these ideas and have even become good friends. We are considering a collaborative work on these ideas.
After the debate, looking more deeply into the theories of Penrose on quantum physics and consciousness, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Dr. Stuart Hameroff, of quantumconsciousness.org, who has worked extensively with Penrose in developing the Orchestrated Objective Reduction (ORCH-OR) theory of consciousness. I interviewed Dr. Hameroff last week on my radio show Sirius/XM 102. I will publish that interview as soon as the transcripts are complete. Meanwhile, here is a segment of an email from Stuart about the relationship of quantum physics and consciousness that suggests I was not wrong in my understanding of Penrose's theories, or that Penrose isn't a credible physicist.
*Penrose-Hameroff quantum theory of consciousness includes Penrose who was Stephen Hawkings thesis adviser.
*The ORCH-OR definition of consciousness is a self-collapse of the wave function, including superposition and non-local entanglement.
*Reductionists say near death and out-of-body experiences can be induced by brain stimulation. This is not true. What those experiments show is a distortion of body perception which is nothing like the consistent reports of calm, white light, tunnel, and floating. And other comments that such states are caused by hypoxia are similarly flawed because hypoxia causes agitation and confusion, not clarity and peacefulness.
Your plans sound fantastic, I will do whatever I can to help.
This is an exciting time in the development of the understanding of consciousness and the deepest knowledge of physics. I am delighted to be engaged in this discussion with such eminent minds.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
EDGAR CAYCE'S A.R.E. - 2010 MID-SOUTH ANNUAL FALL RETREAT - Montgomery Bell State Park, November 5-7
Several of us plan to attend this retreat together. Be sure to let Tanya know if you'd like to join in the fun! There will be opportunities to car pool, share a hotel room, and enjoy a buffet style restaurant onsite. Each person will be responsible for their own registration and acquisition of hotel room and car pooling companions. All info found at links below. Hope to see you there!
NOVEMBER 5th - 7th
Featuring Gregg Unterberger
Developing Spiritual Sight
Journey Beyond the Mind’s Eye
Expanded Version of
Mysteries of Your Mind
Mysteries of Your Mind
Montgomery Bell State Park
1020 Jackson Hill Road
Burns, TN 37029 (Near Dickson, TN)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Buddha, A Film by David Grubin
Premiering April 7, 2010 at 8 p.m. EST (check local listings)
This documentary for PBS by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin and narrated by Richard Gere, tells the story of the Buddha’s life, a journey especially relevant to our own bewildering times of violent change and spiritual confusion. It features the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia, have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity. Hear insights into the ancient narrative by contemporary Buddhists, including Pulitzer Prize winning poet W.S. Merwin and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Join the conversation and learn more about meditation, the history of Buddhism, and how to incorporate the Buddha’s teachings on compassion and mindfulness into daily life.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
In the northern hemisphere, where I live, it is spring. Blossoms are blooming on the fruit trees and leaves are budding. Everyone is relieved that the winter is over at last. Why speak of trust when everything is becoming fresh anew, vibrant, and wondrous?
It is not only things going wrong that frighten us. It is also our lives going profoundly right. It is clarity piercing the armor of encrusted prejudices about others and ourselves. It is new vitality sweeping away the stagnation of lethargy. It is deep roots, long buried beneath the surface, sending up sprouts to at last burst uncontrolled into sunlight.
That sunlight is your consciousness. The birth of new life is as challenging as it is exhilarating, as frightening as it is liberating. Are you prepared to leave old fears, angers, and judgments behind? Are you willing to see yourself as endlessly creative, and responsible for what you create?
Spiritual growth is not an easy escape from the painful circumstances of your life. It begins with an eyes-open exploration of them and their cause. You are the cause. Every insight that brings you to this realization is a springtime, a new beginning. Every impulse to follow your heart is a springtime, too. As you move away from the familiar orientation of being a victim of circumstance to the new, accurate understanding of yourself as a powerful creator, you leave behind the familiar props upon which you once depended. These are your righteous judgments, unchallenged beliefs, and feelings of superiority or inferiority. You are in new territory. The old is gone and everything that is emerging is new.
That is what is happening now, in the spring. No one doubts that new grass growing in the spring is a miracle. Everyone can see that flowers blooming in the spring are miracles. Can you see yourself that way when new insights cause you to question old values? Can you see yourself as blooming when old goals fall away and new, surprising aspirations require you to change your life?
You cannot grow spiritually and remain the same. Understanding that is knowledge. Seeing it is wisdom.
Knowing it is trust.
Excerpted from Soul to Soul by Gary Zukav Copyright © 2007 by Gary Zukav.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Wayne Teasdale (author, Catholic monk)
meets the Dalai Lama
meets the Dalai Lama
Unpublished Manuscript by Wayne Teasdale:
We have seen how mystical spirituality is the origin of religion as such. The breakthroughs it gave to the founders of the world’s religions became the foundation for the religions as institutions in history and world. Mystical spirituality is the source that continually nourishes civilization and culture, that inspires individuals to heroic acts of self-sacrifice, that guides people in their lucid moments of self-examination.
Spirituality, in this contemplative, mystical sense, is also the starting point forexploration between and among the religions in their depth core experience of the Absolute, the Divine, or Vast Awareness. The fact that we have this dimension in common, means that we also have a meeting place in it. I am fond of pointing out that the real religion of the human family isn’t religion at all. It is spirituality, and spirituality is the universal tradition, although this tradition is nether intentional, nor systematic. No one decided to create a universal, overarching tradition of global mysticism, or spirituality. The term rather, names the phenomenon of the omnipresence of spirituality at the dawn of every tradition. In that sense, it is the universal tradition as a dimension of human experience found in all ages and cultures. That being the case we have very significant common ground for dialogue, and for experiential explorations by more generous members of the various world religions.
Spirituality in its cross-cultural operation in the lives of persons living it in openness to other traditions and in various cultural settings, becomes an agent of a creative intellectual, political, and moral ferment, allowing for new developments between and among nations. Spirituality in this sense is what I have come to call interspirituality.(4) In its cross-cultural outreach through its countless representatives, such spirituality generates constructive engagement between and among various groups, organizations, and NGOs. These opportunities for constructive engagement lead toreal possibilities of collaboration on the critical issues we face as a planetary population, and which can only be solved by our common efforts. These critical issues include the environmental crisis; war and peace; closing the gap between the wealthy and developing nations; the catastrophe of famine; the tragedy of refugee populations attempting to escape conflicts, economic hardships, genocide, and hunger; the protection of children; the rights of women; access to sufficient healthcare, and many others.
I believe that one of the greatest fruits of collaboration across traditions, one of the concrete benefits for the whole of humanity of such an out-going, universally oriented spirituality, is the collective work for the birth and emergence of a new planetary culture and civilization: a civilization, a global society and culture with a heart.
We have witnessed so much tragedy in the last century, and the threat of global catastrophe still looms over us. As the Dalai Lama has often stated: we have a universal responsibility to change the course of history, to guide it in a more positive direction, a universal order that works for the welfare of the whole of humankind, and all sentient beings. Such a civilization with a heart, a planetary society animated by the deepest values of the human family--selfless love; compassion; kindness; non-harming; sharing; and the elimination of poverty, homelessness, disease, hunger, domestic violence, and weapons of mass-destruction--can become an actuality even in our lifetimes if we are willing to work for it. We have this responsibility, both individually and collectively, and this responsibility extends to the whole earth itself. If we can envision it, then we have an alternative.
A civilization with a heart, a compassionate, humane world order predicated on kindness, and the universality of the Golden Rule, a variant of which exists in every religion, means a new polis that is not governed by considerations of power and cold economics, but love. In order for this to happen, a transformation must occur in the hearts and minds of everyone. This change is articulated eloquently in the words of William Gladstone, former Prime Minister of England: the love of power must give way to the power of love! If we express this guiding insight in a more positive rendition of the Golden Rule, we can say: always do for others what you want them to do for you.
A new world community, whose axis revolves the values of love, compassion, kindness, gentleness of being, sharing of resources, ecological responsibility, peace, and genuine economic and social justice, and sustained by a viable spirituality, will focus on transformation of capitalism and globalization. In order to have a universally enlightened society, capitalism and globalization must also have a heart, must be rooted in something more meaningful than economic benefits for the comparatively few, and power relationships that keep these few in a dominant position vis-a-vis everyone else. Many of the demonstrations around the globe relating to globalization, trade issues, the WTO, IMF, and the World Bank, are important indications of the often profound injustices that exist because of a globalization and a capitalism that is essentially heartless. The new civilization, as a project and a goal of the interspirituality movement, and a more universal understanding of spirituality, needs to focus its efforts on profound transformations in the areas of politics and economics.
Read the entire article here
Click here to see Wayne Teasdale's Mystic Heart Video Interview Series
Monday, March 15, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
It takes courage to look at yourself clearly and see what you need to change in yourself to create the healthy life you long for. For example, suppose that you have something you know you need to say in a group and you don’t say it because you are intimidated or feel unworthy to take the group’s time. So you speak with someone outside of the group, or you don’t deal with your issue at all. That is a way of keeping yourself separate from the intimacy that is possible when you share, even when you are having an emotional reaction, such as anger, fear, jealousy, need to please, need to withdraw, and more. Speaking with consideration and the intention to communicate and reduce the distance you feel from another instead of making the other wrong requires courage. Withdrawing, creating an internal distance between you, and silently judging do not require courage.
On the other hand, if you usually speak frequently or continually and you feel the urge to speak yet again, speaking does not require courage. In this case, speaking masks a painful insecurity that lies beneath the compulsion to speak, the irresistible urge to intrude your perception, impose yourself, set the record straight, etc. Challenging that urge by not speaking and instead allowing yourself to experience what it feels like in your body, which is always uncomfortable, requires courage.
In both cases challenging what you compulsively feel that you must do brings to the surface of your awareness uncomfortable or painful sensations in your body that underlie the compulsion and that require courage to experience. Doing what you have always done, no matter what the consequences, does not.
P.S. Advance News! We are working on a brand new website to support you in creating authentic power in ways that we could not have imagined just a few years ago. We intend to have it online before my new book Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power is released on April 27.
Reminder: Join me for a free discussion of spiritual partnership and other transformational ideas from my new book on Healing With the Masters on Tuesday, March 30. Go to the following link to sign up: http://www.healingwiththemasters.com/GaryZukav.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I offer you a lotus flower on this day.
As some of you know, over the last year Thay and I have worked together to write Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. The book is being released today by HarperOne. Our intention is to raise awareness of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption and to provide the tools to transform suffering into well-being.
As a complement to the book, we have built a website with resources and a space to further cultivate mindfulness practice in our daily lives. In particular, we hope the website will provide an online Sangha to share and support mindful living and eating.
We invite you to visit and share this site with your Sangha, friends and greater community:
The website includes:
· Savor Community: A forum for sharing our experiences with mindful eating and living. Post recipes, videos, share thoughts on practice.
· Resources: Download printable content such as Five Mindfulness and Five Contemplations.
· Links: Discover a library of over 100+ websites related to mindfulness, nutrition, and healthy living.
We hope that this is a space to connect all of us to explore our practice and plant seeds of compassionate living. Please join us in establishing a Savor community to look deeply at the benefits of mindful eating and living in ourselves and others.
Peace in oneself, peace in the world.
With a smile and great compassion,
Dr. Lilian Cheung
Oprah Talks to Thich Nhat Hanh - The O Exclusive Interview, from the March 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
He's been a Buddhist monk for more than 60 years, as well as a teacher, writer, and vocal opponent of war—a stance that left him exiled from his native Vietnam for four decades. Now the man Martin Luther King Jr. called "an apostle of peace and nonviolence" reflects on the beauty of the present moment, being grateful for every breath, and the freedom and happiness to be found in a simple cup of tea.
The moment I meet Thich Nhat Hanh at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan, I feel his sense of calm. A deeply tranquil presence seems to surround the Zen Buddhist master.
But beneath Nhat Hanh's serene demeanor is a courageous warrior. The 83-year-old native of Vietnam, who joined the monastery when he was 16, valiantly opposed his own government during the Vietnam War. Even as he embraced the contemplative life of a monk, the war confronted him with a choice: Should he remain hidden away in the monastery tending to matters of the spirit, or go out and help the villagers who were suffering? Nhat Hanh's decision to do both is what gave birth to "Engaged Buddhism"—a movement that involves peaceful activism for the purpose of social reform. It's also what led Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1967.
As part of his denunciation of the violence inflicted on his countrymen, Nhat Hanh founded a relief organization that rebuilt bombed Vietnamese villages, set up schools and medical centers, and resettled homeless families. Nhat Hanh also created a Buddhist university, a publishing house, and a peace activist magazine—all of which led the Vietnamese government to forbid him, in 1966, to return home after he'd left the country on a peace mission. He remained in exile for 39 years.
Before his exile, Nhat Hanh had spent time in the West (studying at Princeton and teaching at Columbia University in the early 1960s), and it was to the West that he now returned. Seeing an opportunity to spread Buddhist thought and encourage peaceful activism, he led the Buddhist Peace Delegation to the Paris Peace Talks in 1969, established the Unified Buddhist Church in France, and went on to write more than 100 books, including the 1995 best-seller Living Buddha, Living Christ —a volume that never leaves my nightstand.
Nhat Hanh eventually settled in Southern France and founded Plum Village, the Buddhist meditation practice center and monastery where he still lives. Thousands of people travel there each year to join him in exploring the tenets of Buddhism—including mindfulness (intentionally tuning in to the present moment), the development of a practice (a regular activity, such as mindful walking, that redirects you toward right thinking), and enlightenment (the liberation from suffering that comes when you wake up to the true nature of reality). These principles were introduced to the world more than 2,000 years ago by Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, the Indian-born prince who left a life of ease and indulgence in order to seek enlightenment—and founded a religion along the way.
Thich Nhat Hanh—or, as his students call him, Thây, the Vietnamese word for "teacher"—brings along a group of Plum Village monks and nuns to listen in on our conversation. In some spiritual traditions, there is a concept called "holding the space"—or showing up as a compassionate listener. Thây's friends are the space holders who have traveled with him from France, and as we take a photograph together just before our chat, they usher in a peaceful mood by collectively singing a Buddhist song: "We are all the leaves of one tree; we are all the waves of one sea; the time has come for all to live as one."
Start reading Oprah's interview with Thich Nhat Hanh
*From the March 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
The akashic records (akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning "sky", "space" or "aether") is a term used in theosophy (and Anthroposophy) to describe a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. They are metaphorically described as a library; other analogues commonly found in discourse on the subject include a "universal computer" and the "Mind of God". People who describe the records assert that they are constantly updated and that they can be accessed through astral projection. The concept originated in the theosophical movements of the 19th century. It is frequently used in New Age discourse.
In his books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, Evidence of Life between Lives, Michael Newton, a hypnotherapist who has worked with subjects in deep states, has many accounts of the akashic record, or "Book of Life". Souls prior to being incarnated go to a 'library' and view the pages associated with the life they are considering. The pages are not necessarily sequential. Although there may be definitive way points along the course of our lives, our free will can change paths, events and outcomes. As the soul prepares for a life with the intent of learning a particular lesson or satisfying a karmic debt, the soul will also choose a family and a body that will help them with the lessons for this incarnation. For many, some of those images survive "birth amnesia" and become our intuition serving them during their lives.
C.W. Leadbeater, who claimed to be clairvoyant, conducted research into the akashic record. He said he inspected this at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar (Tamil Nadu), India during the summer of 1910 and recorded the results in his book Man: How, Whence, and Whither? The book records the history of Atlantis and other civilizations and the future society of Earth in the 27th century.
Edgar Cayce stated that each person is held to account after life and "confronted" with their personal akashic record of what they have or have not done in life in a karmic sense. The idea is comparable to the Biblical Book of Life, which is consulted to see whether or not the dead should be admitted to heaven.
Ervin Laszlo in his books Science and the Akashic Field and Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos brings the latest new science of the akashic field and its function as the source of all manifestation and interconnectedness, flowing out and in via the vacuum field or zero-point energy, which he equates with akasha—cosmic mind, universal consciousness, and the field that unifies all things.
Jane Roberts in the Seth books describes a different version of a similar idea. Seth asserts that the fundamental stuff of the universe is ideas and consciousness, and that an idea once conceived exists forever. Seth argued that all ideas and knowledge are in principle accessible by "direct cognition". Direct cognition shares semantic congruency with intuition and allows for the possibility of direct knowing without time elapsing and without knowledge needing to be transferred e.g. in speech or text. This is similar to what Robert Monroe refers to as rotes in his out-of-body book trilogy.
Robert L. DeMelo in his theoretical physics ebook The General Principles of Reality A takes another approach. He uses implicit logic to deduce the potential existence of an infinite knowing universal consciousness of which we are all a part. Essentially each contributes to its own existence. His logical deduction compares the common properties between space and time and applies them to consciousness. He concludes his ebook by referring to this infinite consciousness as God.
According to Max Heindel's Rosicrucian writings, the "Memory of Nature" (akashic records) may be read in three different inner worlds. In the reflecting ether of the etheric region, there are pictures of all that has happened in the world. These may be of events at least several hundred years back, or much more in some cases, and they appear almost as pictures on a screen, with the difference that the scene shifts backward. The Memory of Nature may be read, in a higher world, in the highest subdivision of the Region of Concrete Thought of the World of Thought. Lastly, it may be read in the World of Life Spirit, covering events from the earliest dawn of our present manifestation. This is possible only for spiritual adepts or spiritual entities; it is through grace that access to the records is granted.
The Urantia Book asserts the validity and reality of these "living records" in several accounts. In Paper 25 is found the statement: "The recording angels of the inhabited planets are the source of all individual records. Throughout the universes other recorders function regarding both formal records and living records. From Urantia to Paradise, both recordings are encountered: in a local universe, more of the written records and less of the living; on Paradise, more of the living and less of the formal; on Uversa, both are equally available."
And in Paper 25:
"The Memory of Mercy is a living trial balance, a current statement of your account with the supernatural forces of the realms. These are the living records of mercy ministration which are read into the testimony of the courts of Uversa when each individual's right to unending life comes up for adjudication, when "thrones are cast up and the Ancients of Days are seated. The broadcasts of Uversa issue and come forth from before them; thousands upon thousands minister to them, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before them. The judgment is set, and the books are opened." And the books which are opened on such a momentous occasion are the living records of the tertiary seconaphim of the superuniverses. The formal records are on file to corroborate the testimony of the Memories of Mercy if they are required."
In The Law of One, Book I, a book purported to contain conversations with a channeled "social memory complex" known to humans as "Ra," when the questioner asks where Edgar Cayce received his information, the answer received is, "We have explained before that the intelligent infinity is brought into intelligent energy from eighth density or octave. The one sound vibratory complex called Edgar used this gateway to view the present, which is not the continuum you experience but the potential social memory complex of this planetary sphere. The term your peoples have used for this is the "Akashic Record" or the "Hall of Records."
"Future Life Reading" - Helen Stewart Wambach (1925-1985), who lived in Concord, California, claimed to be able to read the akashic record. She said she could hypnotize people and enable them to experience their possible future lives in various alternate universes.
In Thiaoouba Prophecy, Michel Desmarquet tells of being abducted in 1987 from Australia by supreme alien beings. During a visit of nine days with them, he is guided through the akashic record. He uses the synonym of psychosphere. He says the akashic record is like a "vibratory cocoon, which turns at a speed seven times that of light. This cocoon acts as a blotter, as it were, absorbing (and remembering) absolutely every event occurring on the planet. The contents of this cocoon are inaccessible to us on Earth - we have no way of ‘reading the land.’"
So far, the only presented evidence of akashic records has been the claims of those who purport to gather information from them. These claims cannot be empirically tested, and thus is not deemed a serious matter of scientific inquiry. Neither the Christian nor Vedic/Hindu traditions generally recognize their scriptures and beliefs as being rooted in the akashic record, though specific groups or individuals may subscribe to such a belief. However in Islamic belief, under the concept of Qadar, there is a notation of so called "the Book of Decree", or "Al-Lawh Al-Mahfud" which is also defined as a preserved tablet that holds the records of all the events that ever happened and also that are going to happen. (See: Predestination in Islam) Section 1 Jup Part 2 of the Shri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) references an Akaashic ether, "the earth, its support, and the Akaashic ethers." Many translations have "Akaashic" capitalized.
In popular culture
According to Hindu tradition, the Vedas are apaurueya "not of human agency", are supposed to have been directly revealed to the rishis, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard").
• The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ
• Esoteric cosmology
• Store consciousness
• Terma (Buddhism)
• Seth Lloyd