Friday, November 03, 2006



One Step Beyond

Earlier, I wrote about how it is difficult today to find agreement with others about all sorts of things. Indeed, that does seem to be a part of life today. Again, I reiterate that my entire discussion about world view is not intended to convince anyone to agree with me. I just hope it provides food for thought and encourages others to become more aware of the factors that influence their own behaviors and actions, and to grow in their ability to make free will choices based on both reason and love in their hearts.

Nevertheless, as a concluding chapter, I want to take note of a happy event that does take place in each of our lives--occasionally. That event is when we find another person who DOES agree with us. What fun! It is clearly a human trait to find joy in agreement. It doesn’t happen too often; so we do appreciate when it does. I want to include a couple examples of how this works.

When I was 18 years old, I was--even then--a serious thinker. Enrolled as a freshman at the University of Michigan, I took a course called “Great Books.” That course introduced me to the ideas and philosophy of Plato, the great Greek philosopher and teacher. Previous to this I had always felt much like an “outsider.” I knew no one who thought the kind of deep, philosophical, and (to even me) “weird” thoughts that I thought. But when I started to read Plato, I discovered that my thoughts were neither weird, nor were they just mine. I found most of my thoughts in Plato’s writings as well! What joy! I wasn’t alone in the world! That simple little experience lifted my soul and confidence to a considerable degree that carried me for years. I discovered “connections.“ I expect that many others find similar connections in various sources, philosophical or religious, or possibly even in self-help psychology.

Over the years I have found such connections in hundreds of books by hundreds of authors from the distant past as well as the present. This has continued to bring me great joy and encouragement. I intend to conclude this discussion with my most recent connection. I just completed reading a book by P.M.H. Atwater, a fascinating authority on death, near death, and the afterlife. I have read several of her works. This new one is called We Live Forever: The Real Truth About Death (A.R.E. Press, 2004). While I was reading this work, I was also working on my discussion of “world view.”

Here are some pertinent items I found in Atwater’s book. She said, “The real us is I AM; and what I AM everyone else is, for all of us are cells in the Greater Body, expressions of the One God. We are one with the One. Always and ever connected.” (39) She quotes from world scriptures that assure us that we are gods in the making: “I have said, You are gods; all of you are children of the most High” (Psalm 82:6); and “God becomes man in order that man might become God” (Bhagavad Gita).

Atwater expresses her belief system as follows. I find it is nearly identical with my belief system (or world view). “Oneness is the unity of all things within the reality of the One I call God. . . .Manyness is the diversity of ensoulment that God created . . . Littleness I consider to be you and I as personalities with an ego. I would also include dogs and cats, trees, boulders, and all created things, for each is an entity of purpose and potential.”
(So I could say that THIS is my current belief system, based on all previous experiences, studies, and insights.
I do like the way she says it.)

She summarizes:
“Oneness--unifying factor, the central source of the central vision; God.
Manyness--extensions from the central source charged with the outworking of the greater plan; souls.
Littleness--expressions of the greater plan; the myriad forms of entities that enable God to experience Itself as Itself through the process of individuation, of birth and death, beginnings and endings; individuals.”

Given that I taught Myths of the World for twenty years, and that the Hopi myths always intrigued me especially, I was also touched by Atwater’s comment about the Hopi. “In the Hopi language, the word family translates “to breathe together.” Humankind to the Hopi is a single unit with all people members of the same whole, the same oneness. Science essentially tells us the same thing: We come from a common ancestry, we are relations, we are one.” (This, too, is my personal spiritual belief.)

[By the way, “Hopi” means peace.”]

So I conclude (at least temporarily on this subject) by wishing everyone “peace.”

May God bless us all.

Namaste. (A Hindu expression that says: I honor the God in you and the God in me).


How we learn and grow: Inner Seasons (a sonnet)

“Sonnet of the Inner Seasons”

The winds of autumn twist and tear the leaves
From trees, once green, now nipped by frost and cold.
The gusty blasts just toss them as they please
In heaps of soggy masses of burnt gold.
The trees then stand in naked, lone despair
Like stark and lonely hermits in the world.
It’s just the roots of inner strength, now bare,
That last till spring when life is next unfurled.
Just so, the winds of life do twist and tear
Our shreds of dignity and our disguise.
Life tumbles every man around and round.
It rips our Being bare--yet we grow wise,
Retreating into inner soul today
To gather strength to love another day.

Gayl (1985)


Personality Factors

In one sense I feel I have returned to the topic of my first blog (Sept. 25) that discussed why we disagree with each other so often. We just can’t leave out the personality factor in our discussion of world view. Clearly, each individual born into physical life is a unique expression of life. Any parent can confirm that even within a few days of birth, a child starts to express a particular personality. Even the discipline of psychology, which once favored the “blank slate” approach to development, now acknowledges that certain innate qualities are apparent in each person.

Take the qualities of pessimism or optimism. Some people just seem to be born with a tendency to one or the other. Admittedly, others do develop those traits due to life experiences. Whatever the case, a negative or positive outlook or attitude toward life, the world, and even God, does affect one’s “world view.”
One could add multiple other factors that affect one’s attitudes, such as a tendency toward introversion or extroversion. The latter two traits often affect how a person applies or manifests his/her belief system. The extrovert finds it easier to reach out to others, whereas the introvert has to work hard to get the courage to do the same. Both, however, are fully capable, in their own ways, of applying a positive world view to their lives. (In general, for those who are curious, I am, I think, an optimistic introvert!)

Many people are confused about their “life purpose” or “divine mission” as it is sometimes called. They don’t have much self-confidence, and tend to believe that they are “unimportant” in the scheme of things. One major task of all spiritual mentors and teachers is to try to get the message across to each and all that every human being is important, each is a gift to the world, each has gifts and talents to share with others. The Bible itself has that wonderful parable about talents. We are not meant to hide or bury our “talents.” The problem for many people is that they don’t recognize their own talents, or they think they are too insignificant to share. Unfortunately in today’s society, the word “talent” has often been misinterpreted to mean some unusual skill in the arts or sports. It is important for spiritual mentors to help individuals see that kindness, generosity, or even a lovely smile is a talent to be shared with others.

There are, without doubt, reasons for each of us to be on Earth at this time.
It is also time for all of us to wake up to that fact.

Thursday, November 02, 2006



The Mysterious Subject of Consciousness

I didn’t intend originally to write a chapter about “consciousness,” primarily because of its complex difficulty as a subject. Indeed, it has been the subject of entire books by esoteric teachers, psychiatrists, psychologists, philosophers, and most recently, quantum physicists and neurophysiologists. (See list at the end of this section as well as “World View 6 - Recommended Readings). It is therefore far more than anyone could summarize in a brief discussion.

Nevertheless, I feel compelled to note a few points that relate to previous discussions, especially in reference to the “holographic universe.” If we peruse the many current studies referenced in the “recommended readings,” we shall find repeated studies of consciousness. That seems strange at first, but the far-reaching studies of these current scientists working at the very frontiers of science, all seem to move us toward the same conclusions, or at least speculative theories.

In The Field, Lynn McTaggart summarizes this point. She notes that theoretical biophysicist Fritz-Albert Popp drew the conclusion that “Consciousness was a global phenomenon that occurred everywhere in the body, and not simply in our brains. Consciousness, at its most basic, was coherent light.”

Then Edgar Mitchell, former Astronaut and founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, realized that a number of scientists--Puthoff, Popp, Beneviste, and Pribram--although working independently, had in effect developed “a unified theory of mind and matter.”

These “unified theory” studies have led to the hypothesis that “consciousness is likely to infuse all things in the cosmos, that it is just as fundamental as energy” (Laszlo, 2006). Whereas these scientists are seldom pressed to use the word “God,” the implication is there. Moreover, they suggest that this consciousness is expanding. Laszlo says, “The thesis [is] that the roots and potentials of the kind of consciousness I experience are inherent in every particle and every atom in the cosmos. It is the thesis that consciousness evolves: it takes on complex forms in complex systems.”

Now, if we can somewhat comprehend these statements and then recall the “nonlocality” theories of quantum physics, we now have at least a tentative explanation and confirmation of not only an omnipresent (non-local)God, but also an omniscient (all-knowing) God. In a commentary chapter in Laszlo’s book, Peter Russell, theoretical physicist and psychologist, notes, “If our own essence is divine, and the essence of consciousness is to be found in everything, everywhere, then everything is divine.” I agree with his additional comment that this understanding “raises my level of awe for the world in which I live.”

In the same book, Johannes Witteveen, a Dutch Professor of Economics and life-long student of universal Sufism, notes: “One of the most profound and fascinating developments in present day thinking [is] the reconciliation of science and spirituality.” He points out how the Sufi vision of creation comes close to the current understanding of quantum physics. “God is not a separate higher being but the all-pervading spirit that works in all elements, all atoms, plants, and beings of the cosmos, giving them energy, light, and direction.”

All of these new theories provide much for us to ponder. What would it mean to all humanity if ultimately we all came to realize our Oneness? In his introduction to The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World, Amit Goswani, Ph.D., proposes that “We can develop a science that embraces the religions of the world, working in concert with them to understand the whole human condition.” This possibility is, for me, highly inspiring. I envision the paradigm of the future being an integration of science and spirituality, wherein the two large disciplines are no longer antagonists, but rather loving companions walking the same idealistic path.

As McTaggart emphasizes, “Far from destroying God, science for the first time [is] proving His existence . . . . There need no longer be two truths, the truth of science and the truth of religion. There could be one unified vision of the world.”

Additional suggested resources:
Annie Besant. A Study in Consciousness. (Theosophical Publishing House, 1938). An esoteric, psychological, theosophical approach to the subject.

Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D. Cosmic Consciousness. (E. P. Dutton, 1901). A classic study of the evolution of the human mind. (One of my favorite all time books).

Julian Jaynes. The Origin of Consciousness in the Break-Down of the Bicameral Mind. (Houghton Mifflin, 1976). A revolutionary psychological discussion. Very different and another favorite of mine.

Rudolf Steiner. The Evolution of Consciousness. (Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979). Lectures from anthroposophist, Steiner--very deep and esoteric.

Ken Wilbur. The Spectrum of Consciousness. (Theosophical Publishing House, 1977). Philosopher Wilbur compares views of consciousness from Christianity, Hinduism, Gestalt therapy, and classic philosophy.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006



Further Discussion and Implications

Before we move on to the implications of these new quantum theories, let’s look at one more. Karl Pribram, Stanford neophysiologist, working independently in the field of brain research, came to the same conclusions as physicist David Bohm: the holographic nature of reality. From his work Pribram believes “the brain is itself a hologram.” For example, “one of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is that every piece of information seems instantly cross-correlated with every other piece of information--another feature intrinsic to the hologram.” Constantly, one after another of the various research studies going on today seem to build up evidence of the Oneness of the Universe--”a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected.”

Surely some of the implications of all of this must start to register with us. And the concepts provide concrete models for our behavior, models that likewise reinforce all the significant and basic teachings of the major religions of the world. I wonder if people know, for example, that all the major religions of the world have the Golden Rule--to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Obviously, all great teachings provide guidance for how we should best behave. But consider the implications IF indeed each individual alive on Earth, each animal, each plant, each mineral, every single atom is a part of the “superhologram” of the Universe! Consider: if we are each an atom, a cell in the “body” of the All That Is--Divine Spirit--God--(whatever term you choose to use, even “Universe“ if you prefer a non-religious word), shouldn’t we be behaving on a much higher level than what we can observe in the world today?

Consider the human body itself. We could actually use it as a perfect model for proper behavior. Think about all the various cells in the body. We have brain cells, blood cells, skin cells, bone cells, muscle cells, lymph cells, and various other cells, all of which optimally communicate with each other instantaneously via electric impulses. When the body is in good health, that is, in balance and acting cooperatively, all the cells support each other, move quickly to correct imbalances (homeostasis), and fully cooperate to support the entire system.
We could say that each cell cooperates with unconditional love and support for every other cell. In the meantime, in any minute, hour, or day, millions of cells die and millions more are born and without difficulty, continue to work together supportively. Whenever the cells get “confused” or “uncooperative,” the body suffers from “dis-ease” and may or may not survive.

Is this a grand model for human behavior, or what? And isn’t it ironic, and tragic, that human beings act quite the opposite to each other in many ways. Instead of cooperating with each other and being supportive and communicative, and spreading unconditional love (as taught by Jesus, Buddha, and other great teachers), we see humans spreading hate, intolerance, competition, antagonism, and emphasizing differences instead of shared values and experiences. But if we only pay attention, the human body can demonstrate how to live life in loving, positive ways in order to honor “the God within.”

As we look back to the original discussion about “World View” we are reminded that any world view, whether it is this one that I relate to, or one quite different, that world view is always the basis for how we live. Where are we going? What is good, moral, ethical? What is our purpose for being? How can I know what is the best way to behave?

In other words, a world view is largely irrelevant if it doesn’t provide some means of guidance for getting along in the world. It doesn’t do us much good if it doesn’t guide us to honor the All That Is and ourselves as well. This thought leads directly to the great commandment taught by Jesus: “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. [And] You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22: 37-39). Another version is: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). For me these words are completely understandable when I realize that each individual life (whether human, animal, plant, mineral) is a cell in the super hologram we call God (or for scientists, the “holographic universe”). God is present in everything. We are present in God. We are meant to live in such a way as to respect and honor that.

To reiterate, a world view is always the framework beneath an individual’s way of living. What we see when we look around us is that a great majority of people either don’t know what is driving them to live the way they do, or they think they have a belief frame work that guides them, but so often we don’t see them living that belief in their daily life. In the current cliche, they don’t “walk their talk.”

That is one reason why I wanted to write out this discussion. It is absolutely NOT intended to convince anyone to believe what I believe, or to accept my world view as their framework. It is intended to open a discussion, to open some minds, so that others might self-examine their own world view, and to really do some soul-searching to see if they are indeed, living the life their world view inspires. This may or may not include religious beliefs. It may also surprise some readers to learn that so many serious seekers in many different areas of study and research are pondering the big questions that only religion dealt with in the immediate past.


A Brief Respite - and Recommended Readings

As a teacher and eternal reader of books, I want to take a short break from our “heavy” discussions and note some significant sources for exploring some of the concepts and theories I have just introduced in previous “chapters.” This section is largely a recommended reading (or viewing) list of sources that have been useful or enlightening to me.

An organization that both supports and organizes explorations into the “frontiers of consciousness” is the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founded by former astronaut, Dr. Stephen Mitchell., Ph.D. IONS “explores the frontiers of consciousness to advance individual, social, and global transformation.” Their focus “includes emerging paradigms, extended human capacities, and integral health and healing.”

The film What the Bleep Do We Know!? is a trip in and of itself. A new “Quantum Edition” contains 3 CDs with multiple interviews with many of the world’s top physicists, engineers, biologists, and mystics.

A few of my favorite books on the subjects:

Norman Friedman, Bridging Science and Spirit: Common Elements in David Bohm’s Physics, The Perennial Philosophy and Seth (Living Lake Books, 1990, 1997).
Amit Goswami, Ph.D. The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness creates the material world, (Penguin Putnam, 1993).
Ervin Laszlo, Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos (Inner Traditions, 2006).
Lynne McTaggart. The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe (Harper Collins, 2002). Note: This is a personal favorite of mine.
McTaggart has reader groups all over the world.
Dean Radin. Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality (Pocket Books, 2006).
Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. Mind into Matter: A New Alchemy of Science and Spirit (Moment Point Press, 2001).