The New Group of World Servers Journal
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Science and Ancient Wisdom Coming Together
Although there is a constant stream of new scientific discoveries published every day, there are a few that have come along recently that may have profound effects on the way we think about life on this small planet and how we view ourselves as humans in relation to the planet and to one another.
With each passing year science and the ancient wisdom traditions find more common ground! We ARE in fact “all one” and interconnected at the most basic molecular and energetic levels! The solid material world truly IS an illusion! Prayer DOES work and meditation is one of the most effective tools to bring peace and healing to you and the greater community around you! And there is strong evidence that points to the fact that consciousness (soul?) survives death and is not limited to or tied to our physical body and brain even during life!
All these ideas have been a part of the belief systems of a fair percentage of the world population, but until science validates an idea it doesn't become a part of mainstream thinking to the point of changing social behavior or affecting corporate and government policy.
We only have to look at the climate change issue to see that this process can be a long and arduous one if there is enough resistance from powerful forces who feel they might stand to lose something by changing.
But ultimately – when nearly everyone accepts that the earth is actually not flat – those making money on the flat earth belief must change - and do.
The authors of some of the articles you will find in this month's issue are scientists who have been putting themselves and their careers on the line for many years, in the pursuit of truth, and we honor their courage and perseverance, and thank them for the work they do for us all.
Even if the ideas are not new to you, I think you will enjoy these stories... Happy June!
The Four-stage Sequence for the Acceptance of
"In science, the acceptance of new ideas follows a predictable, four-stage sequence. In Stage 1, skeptics confidently proclaim that the idea is impossible because it violates the Laws of Science. This stage can last from years to centuries, depending on how much the idea challenges conventional wisdom. In Stage 2, skeptics reluctantly concede that the idea is possible, but it is not very interesting and the claimed effects are extremely weak. Stage 3 begins when the mainstream realizes that the idea is not only important, but its effects are much stronger and more pervasive than previously imagined. Stage 4 is achieved when the same critics who used to disavow any interest in the idea begin to proclaim that they thought of it first. Eventually, no one remembers that the idea was once considered a dangerous heresy."
Science And Nonduality
"Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness.
For thousand of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have came to the realization that there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it. This substance can be called Awareness, Consciousness, Spirit, Advaita, Brahman, Tao, Nirvana or even God. It is constant, ever present, unchangeable and is the essence of all existence.
The Nature of Perception
Perception underpins all human behavior and helps interpret sensory information to make sense from the senseless. The brain, to create meaning where there is possibly none, processes perception from the unperceived and thought from the unthinkable. The process of perception is in fact one of creation.
What we perceive is not what is out there or within. There is no inherent value in the incredibly complex patterns of light that fall onto our eyes, and yet we see coherent forms and motions that enable us to survive. Exploring the nature of perception can help us glimpse life beyond experiencer and experience, perceiver and perception.
The Cat's Eye Nebula from Hubble
Credit: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
How on earth...?
How on earth do we figure out our existence?
"The Divinity Within"
Excerpt fromThe Practical Visionary
The Age of Synthesis:How Everything Is Blending, Fusing and Transcending Duality
Today many disparate things are blending, fusing and synthesizing. Nothing seems as separate as it did in past times—races, religions, cultures, nations, genders, styles. The walls between opposites are beginning to dissolve, and dualities are transforming into a higher synthesis.
The cutting edge in every field is fusion and synthesis: holistic, hybrid, integral, multiracial, multicultural, multinational, interfaith, trans-partisan, creative “mash-ups.” These reflect many aspects of the Age of Synthesis, described by scientists such as Dr. Carl W. Hall, which we’re now entering.
Synthesis is a dynamic dance that transforms separateness and brings diverse parts into right relationships with one another and with the whole, resulting in something creative and enriching. It sounds a whole tone that tunes and harmonizes all other frequencies within its range of influence. Synthesis is a method or process for reconciling apparent diversity.
Your intuition can help you transcend polarity and binary thinking, such as either/or and us vs. them, and focus instead on both/and thinking. Your inner light reveals a higher synthesis of seeming opposites, such as mind and body, subject and object, form and emptiness, wave and particle, spirituality and science, rational and intuitive, Eastern and Western, traditional and innovative, personal and political, liberal and conservative, masculine and feminine, practical and visionary, and spirit and matter.
The ageless wisdom teaches about the importance of resolving duality: If your eye is single, all is light, as the Bible says. You see how everything has a purpose and goodness to it. You walk “the razor’s edge” between the two great lines of force.
Synthesis dictates the trend of all the evolutionary processes today. Everything is working toward larger unified blocs, toward amalgamations, international relationships, global planning, economic fusion, interdependence, interfaith movements and ideological concepts that deal with wholes rather than isolated parts. Now humanity is gradually building a synthesis in time and space through our modern, interconnected civilization and technology such as the Internet and jet travel.
Some of My Best Friends Are Germs
I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of charts and raw data from a laboratory located at the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado, Boulder. As part of a new citizen-science initiative called the American Gut project, the lab sequenced my microbiome — that is, the genes not of “me,” exactly, but of the several hundred microbial species with whom I share this body. These bacteria, which number around 100 trillion, are living (and dying) right now on the surface of my skin, on my tongue and deep in the coils of my intestines, where the largest contingent of them will be found, a pound or two of microbes together forming a vast, largely uncharted interior wilderness that scientists are just beginning to map.
I clicked open a file called Taxa Tables, and a colorful bar chart popped up on my screen. Each bar represented a sample taken (with a swab) from my skin, mouth and feces. For purposes of comparison, these were juxtaposed with bars representing the microbiomes of about 100 “average” Americans previously sequenced.
Here were the names of the hundreds of bacterial species that call me home. In sheer numbers, these microbes and their genes dwarf us. It turns out that we are only 10 percent human: for every human cell that is intrinsic to our body, there are about 10 resident microbes — including commensals (generally harmless freeloaders) and mutualists (favor traders) and, in only a tiny number of cases, pathogens. To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial. And it appears increasingly likely that this “second genome,” as it is sometimes called, exerts an influence on our health as great and possibly even greater than the genes we inherit from our parents. But while your inherited genes are more or less fixed, it may be possible to reshape, even cultivate, your second genome.
"What is the Self"
Science and Non-Duality Conference website
But if you stop clinging to coincidence and try explaining this
trumpery affair, you might shatter one kind of world.
From the Explore Journal
"The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts." —
“I suddenly developed a severe headache in the back of my head,” the nurse said tearfully. “It was so painful I could not function and had to leave work. This was strange, because I never have headaches. When I reached home and was lying in bed, the phone rang. I learned that my beloved brother had been killed from a gunshot wound to the back of his head, the same place my terrible headache was located. My headache began at the same time the shooting occurred.”
The woman was a prominent nurse leader at a major hospital in northern California.The occasion was a Q and A session after an address I had given to senior staff of the hospital consortium to which her hospital belonged. My topic was the importance of empathy, compassion, and caring in healing and healthcare. I had reviewed empirical evidence suggesting that empathy and compassion are more than vaporous emotions that float in our bodies somewhere above our clavicles. They are part of our biological makeup, I suggested. Although empathy and compassion arise when we are in the presence of another person, as when a nurse or physician is at the bedside of a patient, evidence suggests their effects are also felt between individuals at a distance, beyond the reach of the senses. Distant individuals often share feelings, sensations, and thoughts, particularly if they are emotionally close. These experiences, I explained, are called telesomatic events. Hundreds of such cases have been reported over the years but have been largely ignored.
This discussion had prompted the nurse to reveal her experience to several hundred of her colleagues in the audience. “Now I have a name for what happened between my brother and me,” she said. “Now I can talk about it.” Her story riveted the audience. When she finished, she was not the only person in the room in tears.
Spiral Galaxy from the Hubble website
“Love is a gateway to nonlocal connectivity because love tempers the forces of isolation, separateness, and individuality. Although individuality is a valuable complement to connectedness and unity, when it is excessive it can lead to a hypertrophied ego and sense of self, obstructing the felt realization that we are united with one another and all things. As D. H. Lawrence trenchantly put it,
"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us 'universe,' a part
limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and
feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical
delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this
prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living
creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Courtesy of the Institute of Noetic Sciences website
Recent discoveries have shown that the heart generates a mysterious and powerful electromagnetic field. In this brief video, Rollin McCraty, Ph.D, Executive VP and Director of Research for the Institute of HeartMath, explores the scientific basis for understanding the ways in which we are deeply connected with each other.
Some of the b-roll footage in this One Minute Shift was graciously provided
From the HearthMath Institute website:
An Appreciative Heart is Good Medicine
Psychologists once maintained that emotions were purely mental expressions generated by the brain alone. We now know that this is not true – emotions have as much to do with the heart and body as they do with the brain. Of the bodily organs, the heart plays a particularly important role in our emotional experience. The experience of an emotion results from the brain, heart, and body acting in concert.
The Institute of HeartMath (www.heartmath.org), a research center dedicated to the study of the heart and the physiology of emotions, has conducted numerous studies identifying the relationship between emotions and the heart. A number of their studies have provided new insight into understanding how the activity of the heart is indeed linked to our emotions and our health, vitality and well-being.
Recent HeartMath studies define a critical link between the heart and brain. The heart is in a constant two-way dialog with the brain – our emotions change the signals the brain sends to the heart and the heart responds in complex ways. However, we now know that the heart sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. And the brain responds to the heart in many important ways. This research explains how the heart responds to emotional and mental reactions and why certain emotions stress the body and drain our energy. As we experience feelings like anger, frustration, anxiety and insecurity, our heart rhythm patterns become more erratic. These erratic patterns are sent to the emotional centers in the brain which it recognizes as negative or stressful feelings. These signals create the actual feelings we experience in heart area and body. The erratic heart rhythms also block our ability to think clearly.
Many studies have found that the risk of developing heart disease is significantly increased for people who often experience stressful emotions such as irritation, anger or frustration. These emotions create a chain reaction in the body – stress hormone levels increase, blood vessels constrict, blood pressure rises, and the immune system is weakened. If we consistently experience these emotions, it can put a strain on the heart and other organs, and eventually lead to serious health problems.
Conversely, HeartMath’s research shows that when we experience heart-felt emotions like love, care, appreciation and compassion the heart produces a very different rhythm. In this case it is a smooth pattern that looks like gently rolling hills. Harmonious heart rhythms, which reflect positive emotions, are considered to be indicators of cardiovascular efficiency and nervous system balance. This lets the brain know that the heart feels good and often creates a gentle warm feeling in the area of the heart. Learning to shift out of stressful emotional reactions to these heartfelt emotions can have profound positive effects on the cardiovascular system and our overall health. It is easy to see how our heart and emotions are linked and how we can shift our heart into a more efficient state by monitoring its rhythms.
The feeling of appreciation is one of the most concrete and easiest positive emotions for individuals to
self-generate and sustain for longer periods. Almost anyone can find something to genuinely appreciate. By simply recalling a time when you felt sincere appreciation and recreating that feeling, you can increase your heart rhythm coherence, reduce emotional stress and improve your health.
The Mind vs. Brain Debate (What is Consciousness?)
The mind vs. brain debate has been going on since before Aristotle. He and Plato argued that the soul housed intelligence or wisdom and that it could not be placed within the physical body. In a well-described version of dualism, Descartes identifies mind with the consciousness and self-awareness of itself, with an ability to distinguish itself from the brain, but still called the brain the seat of intelligence....
The yogic philosopher, Patanjali told us that “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Regardless of whether mind is contained in the brain or exists beyond these physical boundaries, it is evident that it is something quite immense. The spark of an eternal fire or the wave of a vast ocean are apt metaphors to describe it. The cosmic nature of mind has been described for centuries prior to Kant and Plato, Descartes, Einstein, Bohr, and Socrates offered their musings. Mahatma Ghandi told us, ” You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind.” If mind is indestructible, and vast beyond our perception, then do the semantics of its origins really even matter? It is natural for the mind to want to know itself, and this era of human development marks the ability for consciousness to know it is conscious. This alone is an evolutionary leap.
Perhaps we can agree with David Chalmers, “. . .much of the work going on now in neuroscience and psychology, where people are studying the relationship of consciousness to neural and cognitive processes without really trying to reduce it to those processes. . .[I agree with that.]” The brain vs. mind debate may not be a question of either/or, after all, but a question of quantum reality: the interweaving of mind and matter into one. This is the simple definition of yoga. From the Sanskrit root “yuj,” meaning “to control,” “to yoke” or “to unite.” Yoga derives from “yujir samadhau,” which means “contemplation” or “absorption.” Perhaps we will yoke our mind with the body by the contemplation of consciousness itself.
When Monks Rule
Once, long ago, rulers in India kept monks close to their courts. They knew the ascetics’ daily meditations had a calming effect on the populace. The kings took care of the monks so they could care for society. Even in medieval Europe, villages felt protected against robbers in the presence of a nearby monastery.
This ancient wisdom is being rediscovered. The idea that groups of meditating people can influence the societies around them challenges scientific understanding. Yet perhaps the most fascinating body of research on consciousness seems to prove just that: Meditation has the potential to reduce violence and conflict in the world—and at a fraction of annual military spending.
In the geographic center of India lies a fledgling village. Twenty years ago, this area—miles from any road—was covered with dense forest. In its place now is a growing community of Vedic pandits—Hindu priests—2,000 in all, adhering to a daily meditation schedule. In time, their number is expected to swell to 9,000, the square root of 1 percent of the world population…and they will bring peace to the world.
Hard to believe, yes. But if the idea that higher levels of consciousness will change the world has a stronghold, this is it. “I think the claim can be plausibly made that the potential impact of this research exceeds that of any other ongoing social or psychological research program. It has survived a broader array of statistical tests than most research in the field on conflict resolution. This work and the theory that informs it deserve the most serious consideration by academics and policymakers alike,” says David Edwards, a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin.
What research? What theory? The story goes back some 40 years. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Indian guru known both for founding the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and for entertaining The Beatles in India, had begun introducing TM to the U.S. and had established a university in Fairfield, Iowa. Maharishi knew that according to ancient Sanskrit scriptures, violence could not occur in the presence of those experiencing unity, or oneness, so he suggested his students study the impact of meditation in places where at least 1 percent of the population was practicing TM.
The findings were startling, even to Maharishi. In “TM towns” where communities of meditators had sprung up, crime rates had fallen 8 percent since residents had begun meditating—and according to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) statistics, crime rates had risen 8 percent in the same time frame within towns of similar makeup, in lockstep with the national trend. Maharishi was uncontainable. “Through the window of science we see the dawn of the age of enlightenment,” he said. Therein began a cascade of research funded by the TM movement and by grants.
One of the most credible studies to come from that period, the peak of the conflict between Israel and Lebanon in the 1980s, involved a group of 600 to 800 TM practitioners who gathered around the world, particularly in Israel, Lebanon and other areas of the Middle East, to perform seven experiments. All of the experiments showed a clear relationship between the number of meditators and the levels of conflict. When the number of meditators was largest, violence and conflict fell dramatically. An average of 12 people were killed every day during the two-year study. But when the groups meditated, fatalities dropped to three a day, a 75 percent decrease.
Astonishingly, the effects weren’t limited to Lebanon. Crime in Israel plummeted, too. Even car accidents and fires—events that don’t typically correlate with wars—became less frequent. “The likelihood that the reduction of violence was simply coincidental—a statistical fluke—was less than one in 10,000,” says John Hagelin, a former Stanford particle physicist who teaches at the Maharishi University of Management, leads the TM movement in the U.S. and was a three-time presidential candidate for the Natural Law Party.
In the health-care industry, a discovery with that much impact—a 75 percent reduction in fatalities or even symptoms—would have produced a billion-dollar drug and a gigantic pharmaceutical success. But public response to the publication of the Israel-Lebanon study was lukewarm at best—and at worst, generated disbelief and criticism. Despite the scientific rigor of the experiments, the response seemed to suggest that the results were beside the point.
It was three long years before the study was published in the respected Journal of Conflict Resolution at Yale University, and the editor included a special note: “The following article presents and tests a hypothesis that will strike most readers (myself included) as, to say the least, unorthodox. … This hypothesis has no place within the normal paradigm of conflict and peace research. Yet the hypothesis seems logically derived from the initial premises and its empirical testing seems competently executed. These are the standards to which manuscripts submitted for publication in this journal are normally subjected.”
"Experiencing the Next World Now"DailyOM
The discovery of the worm in the apple of my existence led, as I said, to my waking up, a heightened savoring of life. And I felt driven to discover something More, something Greater. The discovery of my mortality jolted me to seek enlightenment, to explore the mysteries -- it also threw a long shadow on my world. A shadow of "black bile," of melancholy -- the old term for that ill-humored state that nowadays we call depression. It's hard to say just how many people suffer from depression.
There are all kinds and grades of this affliction, running from occasional bouts of feeling "down in the dumps" to serious clinical depression and all the way to the kind of suicidal madness of depression described so graphically by William Styron in his memoir Darkness Visible. The causes of depression, no doubt many, are still hard to pinpoint in any one case, and Styron finds something disturbingly mysterious about it. Neurotransmitters play a role, as may genetics; and of course all sorts of life incidents, mainly centering on loss, could trigger the plunge.
"For the Neo-Platonist," according to classical scholar Charles Boer, "the soul does not want to be in the body, and melancholy is its cry for escape." The cause of melancholy may lie in our embodied human condition. We do not want to be in our bodies, according to the Neoplatonists, because our bodies are the cause of all suffering, pain, and fear, and the root of all our losses, including, it seems, the inevitable loss of our own existence. If so, the only cure for depression is ecstasy -- the experience of being out of the body.
An experience I had in my metaphysically agitated twenties may explain what I mean. It was my first out-of-body flight. I woke up one morning and realized I was floating above my bed, hovering before the bedroom window. The sun was streaming through a transparent blue curtain. The "I" I allude to was the same inner self I knew as me, except shorn of its usual bodily baggage. There I was! Ecstatic -- "standing outside" myself, a disembodied center of awareness. Exhilarated, self-contained, serenely poised to take off to parts unknown, I knew that I had only to will it, to think the thought, and I'd be off through the window on a galloping trip to Oz. But hold on, I reflected. What if I can't find my way back? The moment I had this thought, I snapped back into my body, like a paddle ball on a rubber string, my heart pounding like a jackhammer.
For a few memorable seconds I had tasted the elation of pure existence. My melancholy, born of being trapped in my body, had completely lifted. Still, something prevented me from going all the way. I held back. What I most needed, it now seems, was what I most feared. If being trapped in a mortal body is the cause of melancholy, leaving the body can cause terrible anxiety. It was an unfortunate paradox, a double bind not easy to escape. Luckily, there are exceptions, and some of us do escape.
Speech at United Nations on Near Death Experiences
An excerpt of Bruce Greyson, MD, PhD speaking
about near death experiences and the mind-body connection.
Part of a Nour Foundation panel discussion at the United
Nations symposium, "Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness".
It took a while to scramble out of the mud. Then, in a flash of galactic time, we’ve built magnificent cities and civilizations, flown to the moon and back, and landed robots on Mars. Are such feats the pinnacle of humanity, the very best that we can hope to achieve? Or can we imagine even more astonishing futures? Is it possible that the superpowers described in ancient legends, science fiction, and comic books are patiently waiting for us behind the scenes, poised for an evolutionary twitch to pull the trigger?
Similar questions have been asked by visionaries throughout history, and many techniques have been developed to explore and develop our potentials. One of the most effective methods is also one of the most ancient—yoga.
At least, that’s the story we’ve been told by yogis, sages, and mystics from all cultures for millennia.
The question addressed in this book is how to interpret such fantastic claims in light of the past five centuries of scientific advancement. In the modern era, especially within Western culture, claims of enlightenment or union with a universal Self span a spectrum of belief ranging from awed devotion to exasperation and anger at New Age twaddle. There is a substantial scholarly literature on the formative role of mysticism, miracles, and claims of the supernormal in religion, but most scientists (and surprisingly, most scholars of comparative religion) have been taught to consider supernormal capacities as an embarrassment of medieval times, and as such not worthy of serious attention.
The term “supernormal” was coined by the British classicist Frederic Myers, one of the founders of the (London-based) Society for Psychical Research in 1882. Myers used this word to refer to natural, lawful phenomena that presaged a more advanced, future stage of human evolution. Such phenomena, including psychic abilities like clairvoyance, may be regarded today as anomalous or as unbelievable. But in the future, according to Myers’s conception, as we gain an improved understanding of ourselves, our capacities, and the physical world, the supernormal will become completely normal.
What we will consider here is whether our sophisticated scientific understanding of reality has developed blinders when it comes to reports of the supernormal. Could it be that when the blinders are removed, there actually is something interesting going on? Are all reports of mystical or psychic experiences, of communion with realities that transcend the mundane, necessarily mistaken?
This question is motivated by more than
Dean Radin Blog entry: