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The Anatomy Of God: The Source

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“The search for the ‘one’, for the ultimate source of all understanding, has doubtless played a similar role in the origin of both religion and science.” – Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), Nobel Prize winner for physics

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As a teenager, I first began engaging intellectually with the world with the philosophy sections of bookstores and libraries, avidly inspecting books for pearls of wisdom. If a philosopher dared to mention spirituality or God, I would consider the book misplaced and not relevant to my philosophical questions. I was, for some time, an avid atheist, embracing the modern scientific and philosophical trend that has become quite pervasive.

My how things change.

I have realized in my own personal journey that examinations of God and spirituality are part and parcel of philosophy, if we define philosophy as the broad endeavor to understand the universe and our place in it. There are many functions of philosophy, to be sure, but this is as good a definition of philosophy as I have found.

No Need For A God Hypothesis In The Eyes Of Materialist Science

Any rational inquiry into the nature of the universe and our place in it—which includes science as a more specialized form of philosophy—must face one of the most basic questions: how does complexity arise? It seems that it must arise from simplicity. At the very least this is the phenomenon we see all around us: simpler constituents generating more complex forms through combination, separation, and emergence. What place should God have in this story of simplicity producing complexity? Can’t we explain the universe in terms of merely matter, energy and space? In a word, no.

The modern scientific and philosophical trend has generally been to whittle away God’s role in the world. Modern science, with Galileo, Newton, Descartes, etc., began this trend by defining the scientific pursuit as rational inquiry into God’s work. This inquiry was, and is, all about discovering the rules that govern the world.

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tambookThe broadest hypothesis of modern science and of the modern era more generally was that the world is regular and rational, i.e., it operates through discernible rules. This hypothesis has generally been borne out, as evidenced by the marvels of technology all around us. By discovering the rules that govern the world, many early philosophers and scientists supposed, we explain the handiwork of God and perhaps even the mind of God.

Over time, this hypothesis became stronger and in the 19th Century many scientists and philosophers became overtly atheistic. Rather than viewing the universe as the handiwork of God, many came to view the universe as inherently without design and without a creator. We may never know what caused the universe to come to be, it was thought, but we certainly could explain everything worth explaining without invoking God. Laplace, an early 19th Century French materialist scientist and philosopher stated, when asked by Napoleon what place God had in his system: “I had no need for that hypothesis.”

Nietzsche crowned this trend in the 19th Century with his pronouncement that “God is dead.” Even though large majorities of Americans today proclaim belief in God in some manner, the general view among the cultural elite of scientists and philosophers is that God is indeed dead and that the universe can be explained entirely through various permutations of mindless matter, which combine in complex forms like humans to produce very complex minds.

The problems with this view, known generally as scientific materialism or materialist reductionism, are fleshed out in my book, Eco, Ego, Eros, which attempted to show how modern science went astray by intentionally or unintentionally excluding mind from its explanations in many different fields.

A Shifted Perspective: Does All Matter Have Mind?

My intellectual journey took a sharp turn when I began thinking seriously about the nature of mind. I began reading in this area in my late teens and have continued to this day, over twenty years now. When I realized what I consider to be the fatal problems in the materialist worldview with respect to explaining the nature of mind and matter, I also realized that a far better explanation is found in the view that all matter has some degree of mind attached.

Where there is matter there is mind and where there is mind there is matter. It’s all a matter of degree, of complexity. In most cases, matter and mind are extremely rudimentary, but as matter complexifies, so mind complexifies (generally). This view is known as panpsychism or panexperientialism and it turned out that this philosophical position is also a universal acid for resolving all manner of philosophical and scientific problems, and spiritual problems.

This is a key step in my argument in this essay, so the interested reader should, if not already convinced of the problems facing the materialist view of the world, and its “emergence” theory of mind, review parts I through IV of my series on absent-minded science.

I realized, in reading through the works of Alfred North Whitehead and David Ray Griffin, two well-known panpsychists, that the process that leads to our complex mind is unlikely to stop at our level of complexity. There may be, and probably are, many levels of complexity higher than our level. It’s a matter of scale, as Whitehead and Griffin themselves discuss. This knowledge leads to some interesting possibilities when we consider spatial and temporal scales far beyond the human level.

Source & Summit

A major problem with traditional notions of God in the western tradition is that He (she, it) is invariably presented as already extremely complex, perhaps the most complex (and powerful) entity that exists. This puts the cart before the horse if God is not simply to be accepted as complex from the outset and thus to be considered outside of any rational inquiry. There are many areas of human inquiry where rationality must at least in part bow to intuition and faith; spirituality is certainly one of those areas, but this is not an all or nothing kind of thing. Rationality may certainly shed some light on these issues even if intuition and faith also play a role.

It seems that God, in a rational approach to spirituality, must be explained in an evolutionary manner. In other words, how did God become complex? It seems clear that any kind of conscious God worthy of the name is necessarily highly complex. We need to be clear, however, in what we mean by “God.” Does God have to be conscious?

David Ray Griffin writes about “twin ultimates,” Ken Wilber about “Source and Summit.” That is, there are two types of divinity: the ground (Source) and the sky (Summit). Another apt metaphor, perhaps even more apt than the metaphysical ground is an “ocean of being.” In this ocean of being metaphor what each of us experiences as manifest reality, including ourselves and all other physical things, is represented by the waves on that infinitely deep ocean. The deeper we go in that ocean the closer we come to pure being, devoid of any distinctions at all.

The Source and Summit enclose all of reality and we exist at some middle level of reality. Where exactly we exist, we’ll never know because even if we succeed in scaling any particular summit we can never know if there are not higher summits beyond.

The Source is, in my view, more fundamental than the Summit and is probably not conscious; that is, there is no subjective awareness in Source. The Source is the ground of being, the soil from which all things grow or the ocean from which all waves/particles manifest (pick your preferred metaphor). The Source is far simpler than notions of God as a complex being (“God as Summit” in the framework I’m sketching here). There are many lines of reasoning that seem to require some kind of ground, a foundation for the universe. Here are a few:

  • Quantum theory suggests that our universe is comprised of a seething mass of quanta that pop in and out of existence. Rather than suggest that these particles (and all of reality with them) simply pop into existence from nothing, it is more reasonable to suggest that there is a ground of pure potentiality from which they grow; this isn’t nothingness.
  • Similarly, the prevailing view of our universe’s origin, the Big Bang theory, suggests that a “primordial egg” appeared and expanded rapidly to eventually form all that we observe around us. Where did this egg come from? Rather than positing that it came from literally nothing, it is more reasonable to suggest that it came from a more basic level of reality, the ground of being, pure potentiality.
  • A more recent development provides additional support for a ground of being: entanglement/non-locality. This phenomenon, first raised by Einstein as an objection to quantum theory, has been well-established experimentally. Entangled particles exhibit non-local behavior because they appear to affect each other instantaneously or near instantaneously at speeds far faster than the speed of light. How does this influence work? There is a very healthy debate surrounding these issues, but it is again reasonable to suggest that this influence is mediated by the ground of being or what Einstein called at times “the new ether.”
  • In process philosophy, the most sophisticated panpsychist thinking, which emphasizes the temporal nature of all actual things (process), we must have something that forms the basis for process. Whitehead called the ultimate of his system creativity and the process by which the universe is created in each moment is the creative advance. Creativity and the creative advance are equivalent to the Source, as I’m using that term here

There are other lines of reasoning, but this should suffice for now. If we accept these lines of reasoning, we realize that the mainstream ontology that consists essentially of only matter, energy and space is insufficient. We must add the ground to our list and it is in fact more fundamental than matter, energy and space because it is what produces matter, energy and space.

Explaining Complexity

In approaching the ground/Source from an evolutionary perspective we are, then, still confronted with explaining complexity from simplicity. The ground must have some degree of complexity built in if it can produce all the marvels of our universe, what can be labeled in this case “primordial complexity.” Given this degree of complexity, is the Source, the ground of being, simply to be accepted with no further explanation? It seems that the answer is yes.

The ground of being is the ultimate “brute fact.” There is nothing below the ground of being. There is only an above. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything at all, including our entire universe? The answer: because there is a ground of being. This is the role that the ground plays in my ontology. It is the level below which there is nothing further.

While the ground’s primordial complexity cannot be denied, we can console ourselves that the ground is as simple as possible, but no simpler. That is, to have the universe we know from direct experience we must accept some degree of primordial complexity. We don’t, however, have to accept the kind of complexity evident in Western notions of God, but we must accept some type of complexity “built in” from the beginning if we accept the ground of being as a necessary part of our ontology. We have a universe and some things in that universe are simply brute facts that cannot be further explained.

Even if we accept the ground of being as without beginning and without end (presumably), we can never rule out the possibility that the ground itself evolves. We can never say that it didn’t start simple and become complex over the eons. We may in fact gain new insights in coming decades or centuries with respect to the origin of this realm beneath our feet, but for now it seems fair to state that we must at least accept the brute fact of its existence.

The ground of being has many names. In modern physics, it is the “quantum vacuum” or just the vacuum, representing pure potentiality; to Anaximander, an influential pre-Socratic philosopher it was apeiron; to Plato and Plotinus it was the One; to ancient Hindu philosophers and mystics it was Brahman; to some schools of Buddhist thought it was Adibuddha or Emptiness; to Jewish Kabbalah it was Ein Sof; for Hegel and other Idealists it was the Absolute; for Jung it was the unus mundus. And in Christian philosophy the ground of being is either the ground of being (Tillich) or agennetos (Origen). Whatever name we prefer they all refer to the same concept: the ground from which all else grows. And this is as good a definition of God as any.

Part II of this series will focus on the Summit, the other “twin ultimate,” and key distinctions between Source and Summit.

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Consciousness

Full Moon In Libra: Approaching Changes

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We are having a 2nd Full Moon in Libra on April 19th; however, it will appear fullest on the night of the 18th in the American continents. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began on April 5th with a New Moon in Aries.

This Full Moon happens with the Sun opposing the Moon right at the tail end of Aries and Libra, at the 29th degree, less than a day before we begin Taurus season. The energies of a sign tend to be more heightened at these points. Also, with it being a 2nd consecutive Full Moon in the same sign, it is an ‘Astrological Blue Moon,’ which is something that occurs once every 3 years. This also amplifies the energies of this polarity of signs over an extended period.

During this Full Moon, we can experience either a push-pull or collaboration between the Sun in Aries and Moon in Libra. The energies of it gradually build up and become more noticeable on the day of and days surrounding the Full Moon. It is also part of the backdrop of the other astrological influences/reflections over the following two weeks.

Aries is a fire sign ruled by Mars. It is about action, moving forward, pioneering, independence, self-identity, self-orientation, and leadership. It is bold, courageous, and instinctual, yet it can also be aggressive, impulsive, impatient, selfish, and hot-tempered.

Libra is an Air sign ruled by Venus. It is about relating, relationships, partnerships, codependency, consideration, harmony, balance, fairness, art, creativity, and beauty. It is sociable, diplomatic, and intellectual, yet it can also be indecisive, passive aggressive, vain, and even judgemental.

Full Moon Quincunx Venus, Opposing Sun/Uranus Conjunction

Venus is the ruler of Libra and is in a quincunx aspect with this Full Moon. This could indicate frustrations, challenges between emotional needs, relationship considerations, balance, fairness, or equality with values, finances, or other aspects of our relationships. The solution to this may require adjustments, which may seem complicated.

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Venus is about to change signs just like the Sun and Moon. It is currently near the end of Pisces, which is also the end of the entire zodiac. All of this combined with Uranus being tied into this Full Moon could indicate some sort of change or transition regarding some of the themes mentioned in this article.

The Sun is moving close to Uranus in Taurus with the Moon in opposition to it. This could reflect surprises, instability, and disruptive or separative circumstances. Individual needs connected to freedom, liberation, new experiences, excitement, independence, authenticity, innovation, or rebellion may be at odds with other considerations or relationships.

Jupiter is also in a separating aspect with the Sun and Moon. This could emphasize some of what is mentioned above, but could also bring in themes connected to beliefs, opinions, travel, education, media, and marketing. Considering that Jupiter recently began its retrograde, many people may experience a shift or revisitation around these things as well.

Mars Square Neptune, Mercury and Venus in Aries Conjunct Chiron

Mars, the ruler of Aries, is in Gemini moving towards a square with Neptune in Pisces, which is strongest from April 25th-28th. At best, this energy can be good for asserting ourselves in a spiritual, inspired, imaginative, or creative way. This can also be good for activities that involve water.

However, it can feel harder to take on mundane duties and we can lack direction or even have less energy for physical assertion. We can also feel lazy, scattered, or overwhelmed. Certain efforts might end up not working out due to insufficient execution, lack of attention, or by other means.

Mercury entered Aries a few days before this Full Moon, where it will stay until May 6th. This follows an extended stay in Pisces due to the previous retrograde. We can be more mentally sharp, quick, bold, and courageous in comparison to the last few months, which were a time of heightened absent mindedness, confusion, and less focus.

During the day of this Full Moon and the days surrounding it, Mercury is in a conjunction Chiron. Thoughts and communications could be connected to Chiron themes of healing, wounds, blockages, inadequacies, innovation, bridging, or perhaps some sort of holistic orientation. Venus will also enter Aries and join Chiron from April 21st-24th. Similar themes could play out in our relationships or regarding values, finances, or beauty.

Saturn and Pluto Going Retrograde Near The South Node

Around the time of the previous New Moon, Pluto was aligned with the South Node, and it has been slowing down to go retrograde on April 24th. This could be bringing themes of purging, transforming, and perhaps endings into this Moon cycle. It is also possible that past issues or behaviours could have resurfaced. Themes connected to fears, power, control, manipulation, shadows, sex, or perhaps even death could also come up.

Saturn is also now getting closer to the South Node as it slows down to go retrograde on April 29th. This could extend and accentuate some of the same themes mentioned above such as endings, changes, or obstacles associated with the past.

It can also bring up themes connected to responsibilities, commitments, boundaries, structures, career obligations, barriers, and limitations. This energy will be strong over the coming 2-3 weeks, especially during the days surrounding April 29th. It will also be strong in the early Summer and then early Fall when it concludes.

Things To Consider During This Period

What do you need to do to balance your relationship needs with your individual ones? Are there any adjustments that you need to make? What do you need to do to feel more liberated? What considerations do you need to make before making any changes?

What areas of your life are calling for endings and what aspects of your past do you need to let go of? Do you need to shift your commitments and responsibilities? Are there any unusual solutions coming up that could help you overcome obstacles or facilitate some sort of healing?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up during this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release connected to what has come up at this Full Moon, it is best to do so anytime over the two weeks following, when it is waning. The exact moment of this Full Moon is on the night of April 19th at 11:12am Universal Time. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology related content.

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Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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Consciousness

Embodied Spirituality: The Truth Shall Set You Free

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    There are truths, despite what our president would want us to believe. Subjective and objective domains for truth are largely distinct, and discerning the difference informs a spirituality that honors more than just our convenient worldviews.

  • Reflect On:

    The key is learning how to appropriately identify subjective versus objective truths. When we mix up these domains, we end up not living in alignment with the truth, which is not only anti-spiritual but leads to the demise of the Earth as well.

For myself, spirituality means aligning with what is true, or most likely true. This means looking at what is true through the lens of my unique experience and self-reflection (subjectively) and what is true in the world (objectively).

Living in accord with what’s true means I have to confront lots of things that are tough to stomach and that I’d prefer weren’t true. I practice resiliency by enduring this discovery process. It takes courage, humility, sensitivity, insight, intellectual rigor, emotional intelligence, and flexibility—in essence, all of me.

Why does it require all of me to be honest?

Because we humans have evolved to stick to our beliefs, even though many of them are false. We, in fact, experience a dopamine rush (a feel-good neurotransmitter in our brains) when we affirm our beliefs, even if they are wrong. So, confronting false beliefs about myself and the world means I have to endure some degree of feeling badly, some emotional turmoil, cognitive dissonance, and reorientation of my world. When I challenge many of my false beliefs, I encounter nothing short of transformation on all levels. Sounds like a bona fide spiritual path to me.

The Power of (False) Belief

This being human is a guesthouse,
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

—Rumi

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When we don’t align with what’s true about ourselves, interpersonally, and in the world, we develop false beliefs. And we like to assert these false beliefs. Using evidence and acknowledging reality can help us let go of our false beliefs. We receive this information subjectively through self-reflection and what others share with us (which we also need to sort through for false projections). We receive true information about objective reality by direct observation and through evidence.

Ascertaining inconvenient truths means we have to let go of our self-administered dopamine addiction (by lying to ourselves and others when wrong) and experience feeling badly temporarily. We have to accept new visitors to the guesthouse of our psyche if we want to be more honest. If we can’t do this, we cut ourselves short of our potential.

We can’t be as loving and kind when we’re deluded about what’s true, subjectively and objectively. If I can’t accept that I am more self-serving than I think I am, I will continue to unconsciously put myself first at the expense of others. If I can’t acknowledge that smoking cigarettes, synthetic chemicals in perfumes, or spraying RoundUp is harmful, I am more likely to condone their use, which causes harm.

To change belief structures includes a collapse of our sense of self, trust, safety, belonging, and our perceived survival. This is also why many cling so dearly to their beliefs; even war can seem like a better option than to adjust ourselves to reality. Reality seems pretty powerful this way! If we adopt reality as our guru, we have a powerful teacher on our side to wake us up. So, a willingness to embody our humanness can be a path to greater compassion and peace. Embodied spirituality means being fully human—accepting and working skillfully with all our thoughts, emotions, physical issues, and relationships.

When we don’t embody our spirituality, we don’t take as good care of the Earth, which is the extension of our own bodies. In the age of environmental collapse, an earthy and embodied relationship to life that apprehends what is true helps us heal what’s ill. Like missing a medical diagnosis, how can we treat what what we can’t bear to admit and accurately diagnose? Honesty is therefore the first step to healing and embodying our lives.

Being Human is Very Spiritual

We, in fact, need nothing more than everyday honest living for spirituality to put us on a path of massive transformation.The more we can let go of spiritual loftiness and encounter our ordinary humanness, the more resilient and honest we become. Ironically, it is precisely this difficult growth that has given rise to many spiritual and religious paths that abandon the ordinary, grounded world of embodied living, as complex as it is. These spiritual paths thrive on what is highly likely untrue. They try to escape the pain of everyday living by denying what’s painful, which is called spiritual bypassing. With skillfulness, wisdom, and support we can navigate what’s honestly human while not bypassing.

Learning to welcome and tolerate all manner of emotions and inconvenient truths to our guesthouse allows us to align with reality, especially welcoming what makes us feel badly. It’s important to align both with the good and the ugly because when we ignore the ugly and painful, it goes unhealed and untended. Our precious biosphere suffering under the weight of our pollution is a prime example. What we don’t want to look at, we can’t address. Turning our heads and hearts away from it creates more pain and ugliness.

The New Age dictum, “What you put your attention on grows,” fails to acknowledge the importance of embracing what’s ugly and painful. A wiser, more embodied version might go: “The negative things you put your attention on allow you to see reality and address it before it takes over beyond the point of repair.” Look at the plastic pollution issue or climate change as examples. Acknowledging both sides of the coin is more important than choosing only the bright side of life in order to remain happy, which is short-lived when we’re in denial of the dark side. Wanting to remain happy at the expense of not seeing reality (except when we need a recharge break from honestly facing it) is fear in disguise that ultimately comes back to bite us. It also bites us in the moment because this denial cuts us off from our deeper hearts—our compassion and empathy—which are stirred by painful realities.

We can’t know everything, of course. Nor can we be right all the time. But we can be aligned enough with everyday reality (what matters at the end of the day) to make a difference and eliminate unnecessary suffering. We just have to be willing to be selfless enough to stop avoiding necessary pain to the degree we do.

Science & Critical Thinking

Scientific consensus is the primary arbiter of what’s objectively true in the world; what we subjectively experience is not as good a measure of what’s objectively true. “I like apples” is a subjective truth. No one can disprove this; it’s a personal truth. It is not the purview of science to disprove a subjective experience. Yet, if I claim that everyone likes apples just because I experience their yumminess, this is imposing a personal truth onto external reality. And, it’s not true—we know not everyone likes apples, and nothing is wrong with them for not liking them. It is the purview of science to demonstrate that not everyone likes apples, and simple common sense will do in a pinch.

Of course, there is bad science, like the junk (dishonest) science produced by many corporations such as Big Pharma and Bayer-Monsanto with regard to GMOs. So, when I say science, I mean good, peer-reviewed (and not conflict-of-interest and corporate-funded), consensus science. And yes, many scientific truths are always in flux, but many scientific discoveries do not change because they have stood the test of many challenges. Think about the law of gravity and the laws of thermodynamics. Many who want to protect their sense of self and ego deem all science to be manipulative, dishonest, and just another belief system. This is just not true. If it were, the device on which you are reading this article would not function because it’s constructed as a result of the collaboration of many scientific laws that have not been debunked and instead stood the test of time.

Consider another example: If I experience a vision during a medicine journey or receive a message in a dream one night that has personal meaning to me, I might conclude it’s true for everyone, or true in the world. Let’s say a blue dragon with white polka-dots tells me that aliens are communicating to humanity by way of trees. Well, before I know if this is true or not, I’d have to investigate its veracity. I don’t deem it true simply because I had a subjective experience that conveyed it was. This way, I can tentatively receive this bit of intuitive knowledge and seek to determine if it’s true. Intuition tips me off to what is possible, not necessarily what is true.

Confounding subjective and objective truth is one of the biggest faux pas we make, especially in spiritual circles.

Science shows us what’s most likely true beyond our own intuition, beliefs, and biases. Even with science’s errors and its dishonest publishing politics, good scientific consensus is still the best tool we have for determining what’s true about the natural world, not our subjective experiences. We have to be skillful and aware not to automatically deem our subjective experiences as objective truths. This helps us align with reality, keep an appropriately open mind, and helps everyone get along better because we’re not feuding over what’s objectively true.

“What’s True for Me”

When everyone feels entitled to their opinion—”what’s true for me”—we end up with lots of personal beliefs and memes that aren’t true. “Personal truth” or “what’s true for me” is a subjective truth. Your like of apples doesn’t mean anything about the external world, such as my opinion of apples. If I don’t trust politicians or my landlord, this doesn’t mean they are untrustworthy. I need objective evidence to prove or verify my distrust. Or I can just own this hunch and honestly call it so, while knowing it might not be true. This discernment between subjective and objective truth helps prevent assumptions and dogmas. This also sounds pretty spiritual to me.

If someone sheds distressing light on a politicianI like or my best friend, I’m likely to become defensive because my sense of self and orientation in the world, as well as my emotional security, are invested in these beliefs. If my belief structures are challenged, all of what that belief system keeps in place becomes shaky. And this is just too scary for most of us, so much so that we defend against it or attack and assault others because of it. We often make the mistake of imposing “what’s true for me” onto what’s true for everyone or what’s true in the world.

“What’s true for me”  beliefs can’t automatically be extended to external reality unless we have evidence beyond our own subjective perception to deem them so. If I believe the world is flat and this is “what’s true for me,” that doesn’t fly. This is to make a subjective truth objectively factual. This is what leads to conflict and living in fantasy. Just look at religious and many New Age beliefs as examples. They are not different from our personal beliefs about the nature of reality that are also false and cause us to act in egoic, violent ways.

What’s True “Out There”

Good science to determine the mostly likely and factual objective knowledge offers us the opportunity to dismantle our egos and illusions. Science and critical thinking show us that many of our “what’s true for me” opinions about the world are wrong. Notice I am not talking about personal feelings and preferences, but rather our statements of fact about the world.

Objective truths implicitly challenge us to change, to transform ourselves. It takes spiritual-emotional courage to accept these facts, which builds resiliency the more we practice aligning with what is both subjectively and objectively true. The sun appears to go down over the horizon; the Earth appears flat. Via science, we know these subjective observations are not true. Using my intuition to make such conclusions is a wrong use of this faculty. If my intuition tells me there is more to the story, then I can investigate it for other evidence. This, in fact, is how many scientific discoveries occur. Intuition and science are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are allies as long as we don’t assume what’s subjectively true to be objectively true, and vice versa.

Many people dismiss science precisely because its conclusions fly in the face of what they’d prefer to believe. This results in intellectual dishonesty and spiritual delusion. Our emotional bents and grudges—especially those resulting from our hurt and wounds that have generated anger, fear, pain and thus, bias—prevent us from being intellectually honest, unless we recognize the dynamic by which we deceive ourselves and we set about to be more honest. This requires enduring the discomfort of being humbled and sacrificing a temporary dopamine rush for the truth.

To be able to accept truth therefore requires that we deal with our emotional baggage and triggers, because this is the primary driver for our intellectual dishonesty and spiritual laziness. Many of us would fall apart if we discovered that parts of our worldview are untrue. That could result in a spiritual emergency, akin to a healing crisis, which ultimately improves us and makes us more effective in the world.

Warriorship

This is why spiritual warriorship—aligning myself with what is most likely objectively and subjectively true—requires I be emotionally and intellectually rigorous and courageous. It means that I listen to scientific consensus and not discard it because I’d like to believe something else. It means that I listen to the opinions of others and gain perspective on myself (while also honestly and humbly sorting out projections and displacements of other people’s biases). It means that I genuinely and honestly consider interpersonal facts about which I might have an incorrect opinion. And it means that I notice the whispers inside me that tell me when I am being dishonest or hiding from the truth, with white lies tolerated now and again.

Many spiritual paths involve giving over one’s will and beliefs to a guru. Yet, that guru can be corrupt and deluded and conflate subjective and objective truths. For example, feeling “one with all” in meditation doesn’t mean that we are all one in a black or white way—without appropriate boundaries, individual needs, and different tolerances and sensibilities. In this sense, aligning ourselves with what is most likely true, subjectively and objectively, is a robust spiritual path—because, much like a guru, it forces us to align with truth and withstand the breakdown of some part of our existing paradigm. This is death and rebirth work, for sure. Again, this sounds pretty spiritual to me.

Detachment from reality by remaining stuck in one’s self-centered and deluded beliefs doesn’t help the planet or help us show up for one another. Consider our government’s failure to acknowledge the widespread harm of key pesticides, or the neurotoxic chemicals in perfumes and scented products, despite the scientific evidence and the fact that many of these products are banned in the EU and other, more sensible places than America. This creates crimes of global proportion because of the actions (and inactions) and resulting injury that a denial of the facts causes. Or consider a smaller-scale example. If someone doesn’t appreciate you, despite evidence to the contrary they choose not to see, they will treat you poorly and create unnecessary suffering for you and themselves.

Embodied Spirituality

To live an embodied spirituality—where we are in alignment with reality and what’s as true as we can glean— means we have to give up many of our fantasies and wishful thinking. It means we have to tend intimately to our emotional lives and the hidden aches and wounds that hide us from the truth. We find these hidden places when we descend into and become more conscious of our bodies (this is a key aspect of the “body” part of “embodied spirituality”). We have to practice critical thinking to align with external reality, what’s known as “intellectual honesty.” Emotional and intellectual honesty are the pillars that produce spiritual honesty.

When we practice emotional healing, good thinking, and care for the greater good, we inhabit our bodies more fully. Belonging to ourselves this way connects us to the body of the Earth, so we can treat it with the same integrity with which we treat ourselves . This way, spirituality begins with our (extra)ordinary humanness and self-healing and extends to the ordinary, extraordinary world around us in the same vein of integrity.

It’s easy to live in a fantasy world, believing what’s convenient, what feeds our biases, puffs up our superiority, denies what makes us uncomfortable, and propels our hate. These convenient, false beliefs also protect our core wounds and our need to belong in the world at any cost. The problem is that believing in what’s untrue damages the world because it guides our actions and inaction.

Science and everyday evidence are beautiful because they bypass our bias and opinion; they don’t care what we believe or what injures our ego. They’re impartial. Sounds like the work of a good guru to me. When we get humility, courage, honesty, good thinking, and passion all working in harmony and assuming their appropriate roles for truth-discerning, we get integration, which begets integrity. These psycho-spiritual capacities are the cornerstone of an embodied spirituality, which is simply to be an exquisitely integrated and aware human being who genuinely cares about oneself and the world . . . enough to be willing to suffer disillusionment to align with and serve it.

When we align our subjective and objective truths, we live in more harmony, not only with ourselves but with every other precious, living thing. What better path could we take than to strive for an embodied, earthy life in the age of environmental collapse? For, the collapse of the natural world may indeed be due to our collective, personal collapse of integrity—the abandonment of our own embodiment.

****

Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., M.A., is a Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. His latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter, where he can also be contacted for medical consultations and life-coaching.

 

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Purging The Past

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We are having a New Moon in Aries on April 5th, 2019 which is initiating a 29.5-day Lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month. This cycle will peak with a 2nd Full Moon in Libra on April 19th.

This New Moon occurs just over a week after Mercury ended its recent retrograde in Pisces. The weeks following a retrograde are called the ‘post-shadow’ period. This is when we gradually have more clarity around certain themes that have come up over the previous month (or longer) as things generally play out more smoothly and/or we can move forward with a refreshed perspective around certain issues. This concluding period of the retrograde will last until April 16th.

Aries season began on March 20th/21st; however, this New Moon helps to kickstart it even more so. Aries is the sign of self-orientation and independence.  As a Fire sign ruled by Mars, it is associated with assertiveness, courage, directness, and leading. It can also be hot tempered, combative, inconsiderate, restless, overly forceful, aggressive, and impatient.

Generally this time of year people can feel more active in comparison to previous months. It can also be a time of taking action in new ways especially considering that Mercury is moving forward now. However, throughout this Aries season we still have Mercury and Venus in Pisces along with Neptune, so things can still be a bit muddled and lack direction even though we may try to push forward in certain areas of our lives.

New Moon Square Saturn, South Node, Pluto with Mars Sextile Chiron

In the days leading up to this New Moon, Pluto began its conjunction with the South Node (along with Saturn close by) in Capricorn, which is all in a hard aspect with this New Moon. Both planets are also slowing down to go retrograde later in the month. Issues connected to the past can come up that can trigger deep feelings, worries, fears, intensity, or even anger in some cases. We could face obstacles or perhaps issues around power in relation to this.

Ultimately, this is a time in which we may need to end, purge, or transform something that is no longer serving us. Perhaps we may be faced with some sort of death, either literally, metaphorically, or regarding some aspect of ourselves. This can be a time of needing to get real or dig deep in regards to some of our issues.

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Mercury is in a harmonious aspect with the planets/points mentioned above (Saturn, the Nodes, and Pluto), which can help us with this energy. Thoughts and communications can be constructive, deep, unveiling, and empowering. Considering issues of the past to help us move forward into the future can be a theme.

Mars, the ruler of this New Moon, is in a sextile with Chiron, which can support taking action toward any type of healing, empowering, or asserting ourselves in an unorthodox, bridging, or holistic way. This may or may not be applied to the themes mentioned above but can be helpful regardless.

New Moon and Mercury Aspecting Jupiter, Venus Conjunct Neptune

The New Moon is in a trine with Jupiter while Mercury is moving towards a square with Jupiter following the aspects mentioned above and its conjunction with Neptune. Jupiter is also going retrograde on April 10th.

In the midst of all the heavy Saturn-Pluto energy, this lunar cycle still has potential for growth and expansiveness. This can be in the form of education, travel, or other explorative pursuits. Considering all of the Pisces-Neptune energy still present, it can also be connected to spiritual beliefs and philosophies. Developments around media and marketing can also be strong this month. However, considering the retrograde, this can also reflect an adjustment or shifts around some of these Jupiter related areas.

Venus in Pisces is moving towards a conjunction with Neptune. Social and romantic interactions can have a magical, spiritual, imaginative, compassionate, or selfless theme. We can experience increased sensitivity or sense of oneness with others; however, there is also the potential for confusion, delusion, or deception in our relationships. This can also be a time of heightened creativity and sense of beauty. Fun and pleasure can be oriented around relaxation.

Making Intentions and Things To Consider

What realizations have you had in recent weeks and how you should move forward based on those? What do you need to adjust when it comes to your beliefs and perspectives? What aspects of your life connected to the past need to be purged or transformed? What do you need to do to be more aligned with your individual needs while still expressing compassion in your relationships?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time; however, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. It will be occurring at 8:50am Universal Time on April 5th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order. 

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