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Consciousness

SAND 2016: On the Edge of the (Un)Known

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I feel so blessed to have been able to now attend four sessions of the Science and Nonduality conference in San Jose.

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Once again, Deepak Chopra spoke on opening night and made a powerful case for the fundamental reality of consciousness within any findings of science.

With respect to mathematics, he noted that there is a palpable omission in terms of noticing the obvious reality that mathematical precision is at the heart of nature, and that many in the field are content to simply “shut up and calculate.”

In fact, the scientific paradigm is hanging on by a thread since we have discovered that Dark Matter has no atoms and can’t comprehend how that is possible, and he noted that strange philosophical constructs like the “Cosmic Casino theory” have no empirical evidence and yet are still discussed as viable “truths.”

Deepak talked about “Math mythology” – the ability to somehow simply ignore consciousness – and brought up the famous conversation between Einstein and the philosopher Tagore in which it was asked, “is there a moon without observer?” – a conundrum that Einstein was unable to truly solve.

Deepak uses the acronym “SIFT” – referring to:

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Sensation

Images

Feelings and

Thought

He inquires how these can be accounted for or “explained” in materialistic terms. It seems that they cannot. Science has no explanation for “qualia” – or the quality of experiences, like the taste of wine or the emotions triggered by a beautiful sunset.

In fact, Deepak suggested there is actually “no such ‘thing’ as mind” in a material sense and really, “there is no explanation for anything.”

Everything is ultimately a concept. A dog does not know “dog” – perhaps the sound of his name but not the idea behind it.

Deepak and physicist Menas Kafatos also had sessions discussing their new book, which will be out in early 2017 – You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters by Deepak Chopra and Menas C. Kafatos Ph.D.

The following morning I attended a fascinating conversation with Donald HoffmanJulia MossbridgeEdward Frenkel, Anthony AguirreFederico Faggin, facilitated by Deepak Chopra, dealing with how or if there can be a science of consciousness.

Aguirre, who is a renowned physicist, said that “there were no galaxies before us. Galaxy is a human contract.” His view is that everything is information and information is the opposite of entropy.

Mathematician Edward Frenkel suggested that any science of consciousness must address what it is not and let go of any “why explanations.” He admitted that this raises fears and uncertainty of not knowing, but that the ultimate experience of life is the only “answer.”

Frenkel believes that “description” (of phenomena) is a better role for science than proffering an explanation.

Mathematician Hoffman said that it is vital that we “talk with precision” and understand that any viable scientific notion of consciousness must be “species specific.” For example, we cannot even imagine “being a bat” and experiencing the world as sound.

For Foggini, “consciousness is comprehension and gives context to the information field and gives meaning to existence.” The problem for physics is that we can assume “no privileged position of judgment.”

It would be nice to have an “organization or hierarchy of consciousness,” but we learn through reflection into symbols we create, which means that we need to understand the symbolic versus semantic context within experience has meaning.

For Deepak, even DNA is a construct and symbol; he asked whether math is also species specific.

Psychologist Julia Mossbridge suggested that science is “designed to build useful stories about reality,” but that there can only be direct knowing through experience and verification.”

In the spirit of “Neti Neti” – not this not that, she suggested that being a scientist of consciousness involves “being a good plumber” to “get clear of the gunk – cleaning is the way” by getting rid of false notions of what is the illusive “self.”

Rupert Spira gave another enlightening and clear presentation that even mentioned the Presdiential election, wondering at the lack of civility during the debates, where both candidates were totally trapped by thoughts. He said, “shaking hands is a moment between two thoughts when we stand as one,” and lamented the way communication is taking place.

He quoted Rumi:

“I searched for God and found myself

I searched for myself and found God.”

He also lamented the current “religion of scientific materialism where we suffer inside and have conflicts outside.”

Regarding consciousness, he pointed to the ineffable knowledge that we all have of Being – and asked “is anything other than knowing ever known?”

He said that awareness is the “stretching of attention” and that “the body is object not the subject of awareness.”  Using the analogy of consciousness being the screen on which all phenomena appear he said, “you cannot peel the image off the screen. The movie is modulation of the screen and no thought stands apart.”

In a dream, he added that reality is known only by the dreamed separate character who is fooled by division – and yet when the dreamer awakens he realizes that it was all within her.

As usual there was comic relief. J. P. Sears shared his highly enlightened perspective to end the evening activities. He announced his candidacy for president –

I was also very interested in the presentation by philosopher Ken Wilber, whom I have long admired and who appeared via video feed.

Wilber asserted that there are essentially two spiritualities possible – “scientific spirituality,” which he said is a very recent development, and “awakened spirituality” – or the realization of the oneness of consciousness, which has been known occasionally since ancient times.

With scientific spirituality or intelligence there are common patterns which have been studied since the early 20th century, and they parallel the stages of an individual growing up, and actually encompass up to 12 separate intelligences or lines of development.

Wilber said that the stages of scientific spirituality mirror the progression in grammar of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages, and you “can’t go from atoms to cells and skip molecules” – each stage frames a different worldview and must be experienced and then transcended.

He also pointed out that there are gender differences to be taken into account.

For men the emphasis is on economy and rules.

Women tend to focus on care and responsibility.

Some of the stages of Scientific Spirituality are:

  1. Egocentric primary narcissism – the toddler stage
  2. Family and Tribal – where care and identification are only afforded by the family or nation. This stage arrests development of 60 percent of humans
  3. Universal – care extended to all groups world centric treats all fairly
  4. Integrated or Cosmic – masculine and feminine expanding care to all sentient being

Awakening, or a “Jesus moment,” can be interpreted at each level, but in the lower levels this religious experience or awakened spirituality is used to justify war, conquest and an attitude of “us versus them.”  Only when integrated into the higher levels of scientific spirituality does the direct experience of consciousness lead to true human evolution, which is necessary to save our species.

He said that it is worth noting that awakening to the advanced stages has been found within certain traditions like Sufism, Mystical Christianity, and Kabbalah and that the stages of direct experiences have been known esoterically for centuries and are remarkably similar among different religions and traditions.

He said that the stages of scientific spirituality are also apparent in human evolution:

“Archaic” primitive apes to human (infant)

“Magic” non-differentiated voodoo snake charmers (toddler)

“Mythic” deeply ethnocentric – fundamentalist and literal not metaphorical 10,000 yrs ago (age 5 to ten)

“Rational” means capable of third person perspective; “Buddha” was rational; said that he could not describe awakening rationally (adolescent)

“Pluralistic”- relativistic diversity (young adulthood)

“Integral Cosmo-centric” (adult)

This theory has been tested in forty cultures and the problem is that anyone can stop (stall out) at every level, stranding a spiritual awakening in a lower state of understanding from a rational perspective.

Wilber said that only about five percent of the current population has reached a state of integration of a spiritual awakening within a scientific context and of course that most political and social decisions are made by individuals in arrested, lower stages of development.

He emphasized that scientific spirituality is relatively recent but vital for the survival of mankind.

Finally, I am always interested in sponsors, especially at SAND, and I was intrigued by Apeiron, a company expanding nationally in the area of age regression and human potential whose “approach assists clients to achieve optimal health and limitless potential through optimizing all aspects of health: sleep, stress, nutrition, human movement, hormonal optimization, cognition and inner balance.”

I had a fascinating discussion with Daniel Stickler, Apeiron’s CEO about the “Singularity” – or the widely held belief that artificial intelligence will one day become “conscious” or sentient. When I expressed my belief in reaction to films like Ex Machina, that organic life is an intelligent energy that cannot be simulated or created artificially, Daniel asked me whether that might not be a deeply held “bias.”

I have to consider that once again more deeply because indeed it takes us to the “edge of the unknown.”

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Alternative News

How The Education System Limits Your Consciousness

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Higher Education has come under fire lately as being expensive, and students wonder whether or not it's worth it, from a financial perspective, to get a degree.

  • Reflect On:

    Does the system of education truly educate us? We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn't allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it.

The debate around whether or not a college degree is worth it has become ever intensified over the last few months as people begin to beg answers to the question: when will students pay off their debt? How long does it take?

Further to that question, I believe “how many students end up in a job or career they actually enjoy?”

But economics seems to be the big question here, and that’s fair given our world always seems to push us to consider those numbers as the height of importance in society as opposed to creating a society filled with passionately acting individuals who do what they love.

It’s all too often we hear that thinking we could all do what we love is ‘a pipedream’ or ‘not thinking like an adult.’ In these responses, if we pay close attention, we are actually saying we’ve come to accept that the way the world is should simply be accepted. Sure, in some cases these days we are working towards making a difference in areas of society like equality and poverty, but are we truly changing our system radically enough to make it so humanity can thrive? Or are we accepting enslavement?

In a recent podcast about my philosophy on how shifting consciousness and understanding conspiracies theories are intimately connected, I explored the system of education and how that functions. The education system seems to be a learning tool for us to accept the world the way it is. While we think we are educating ourselves, and we are in some ways with specific skills, there is something more to the story we aren’t exploring. We essentially are taking an ever expansive consciousness, with full capability, and molding it into a tiny tight system of living and being that doesn’t even support our ability to truly BE.

I truly believe we need to begin dreaming bigger and imagining bigger about what we are capable of changing in our society. We have to question, why are we accepting a society that doesn’t allow humanity to TRULY thrive? We made it this way, we can change it. What if we could learn about the technologies we truly had and were capable of without having to hold them back because of commerce? What if we learned medicine without the influence of pharmaceutical money and drugs? What if we learned about how we could act as a global community creating abundance for all instead of learning how we’re all separate and we need an economy to operate? Are any of these things real? Or just a story? Why are we being told these things as if they are facts?

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Check it out in the video and podcast below.

Subscribe to the CE Podcast on iTunes or via email.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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Consciousness

A New Study Suggests People’s Egos Get Bigger After Yoga & Meditation

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Study shows how Western practices of meditation and yoga can actually inflate the ego, rather than lower it — which is typically why people choose to do these practices in the first place.

  • Reflect On:

    What we do, no matter how spiritual it is, doesn't make you better than others. What is it that makes us want to feel or appear better than others?

In an attempt to try and limit our ego from running the show and move closer to our spirit and connection to the divine, many of us are on a path towards enlightenment.

This path generally includes a process of waking up to the reality around you, personal development books, plant medicine, yoga, and meditation can all be great tools along the way. We feel we are becoming wiser, more connected and sometimes even more evolved than those who are not on the same path as us.

A recently published study directly contradicts that approach and found that typical meditation and yoga practices can actually inflate your ego. Who knew?

We all know those spiritual types, that seem to have it all together, they are diligent in their daily practices and are the first to give you advice and explain what you are doing wrong and why you haven’t yet found peace within. Sure, these people generally have the best intentions, but the concept of being better, above or more enlightened than our fellow brothers and sisters on this planet is, believe it or not, pure ego! It is very easy to fall into this trap.

When I first “woke up” over a decade ago, I felt like I had so much information that no one else had yet awakened to, in this way I admittedly felt superior to many of my peers and put myself on a pedestal. This wasn’t an intentional action however, it’s just what happened.

Since, I have learned that the moment you think you have all the answers and have it all figured out is the exact moment that you need to take a step back and realize that in reality, you know nothing at all. What’s true to you may not be the truth for someone else. We are all on different paths, and different journeys, yes to the same place, but not a single one is better or superior to any other. No matter how off track others may appear to be.

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The Study

The paper was published online in the journal Psychological Science, researchers noted that Buddhism’s teachings that a meditation practice helps overcome the ego conflicts with the US psychologist William James’s argument that the practice of any skill at all ignites a sense of self-enhancement. So, the practice of bettering yourself does exactly that — makes you feel better, better than you were, but in many cases better than those around you.

There has already been a lot of evidence in support of James’s theory, but a team from Mannheim, Germany decided to test it specifically including the practice of yoga and meditation.

93 yoga students were recruited and over the course of 15 weeks, researchers evaluated their sense of self-enhancement. A few measures were used to monitor this. First, they asked the participants how they felt they compared to the average yoga student in their class. Next, participants completed an inventory that assesses narcissistic tendencies by asking them to rate how deeply phrases such as “I will be well-known for the good deeds I will have done” related to them. Lastly, they administered a sort of self-esteem scale asking the subjects if they agreed with statements such as, “At the moment I have high self-esteem.”

An hour after their yoga practice the participants showed significantly higher self-enhancement than when they hadn’t done yoga within a 24 hour period.

Another study examined 162 people who practiced meditation, they were scouted through meditation groups on Facebook. These participants proved to have a similar impact on self-enhancement as those from the yoga study. Participants were asked to evaluate themselves in relation to statements like “In comparison to the average participant of the study, I am free from bias.” The results showed that the participants had a higher self-enhancement in the hour following the meditation practice than when they hadn’t meditated for a 24-hour period.

Participants level of well-being was also measured using two measures — the satisfaction with life measure and the eudemonic well-being measure, which assesses satisfaction with autonomy, personal growth, positive relations with others, purpose in life, environmental mastery and self-acceptance. They found that the level of well-being increased with self-enhancement, this suggests that self-enhancement correlated with an increased sense of well-being.

Authors of the study concluded that “Ego-quieting is a central element of yoga philosophy and Buddhism alike. That element, and its presumed implications require some serious quieting is often called upon to explain mind-body practices’ well-being benefits. In contrast, we observed that mind-body practices boost self-enhancement and this boost — in turn — elevates well-being.”

Another Theory

An alternate explanation for this study suggests that the participants may be in fact doing meditation and yoga all wrong. The participants were all based out of Germany and many academics have theorized that the Westernized practices of Buddhism fail to include an eye towards selflessness that would otherwise characterize the goals of these efforts.

Westernized versions of yoga and meditation marginalize the acts when compared to the more ‘pure’ forms, if you will.

What Now?

Should you stop doing yoga and meditation or laugh at those who are committed to these practices? Absolutely not! This study serves as a powerful reminder that regardless of your practice or lack there-of, not one person is above anyone else, regardless of the activities they choose to do. Yoga and meditation can be great tools to assist us along our journey and find the clarity and insight that we may be needed, but just remember to always keep that ego in check. It is fine to have an ego — we all have one and I hate to break it to you, we can never get rid of it. But a good question to ask yourself is whether or not doing these practices makes you feel superior to others, and if so, why?

We are all on a path to self-discovery, and we are all just walking each other home. We all face challenges, and some of these practices can help us to handle ourselves differently in times of struggle, but in reality, we are all one anyways!

Much Love

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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Consciousness

6 Of The Most Asked Questions On Google & What They Say About Us

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Google is an incredible resource that helps us get the answers to many of life's questions at incredible speeds. But as our search habits suggest, we seem to be turning to it a bit too much for a number of unhealthy reasons.

  • Reflect On:

    What are you regularly turning to Google for? Are the answers you're getting actually of value, or are they instead rooted in a deeper issue?

The world is filled with a seemingly endless number of resources for us to tap into or seek out the council of. Yet, when it comes to finding the answers to some of our most important questions we all seem to go to one place: Google.

And while Google may be incredibly effective at providing us access to the answers of many of our questions at what seems like light-speed, it can also be quite damaging.

To illustrate this I’d like to present to you six of the most commonly asked questions that we as a collective tend to turn to Google for, what I believe they say about humanity, and why we need to stop turning to Google for the answers to them.

Please note that these are just six OF the most asked questions, and not the six most. These six are particular ones that stood out to me as troubling and worth commenting on. So here they are in ascending order based on how frequently they are searched per month globally. (All stats found on Mondovo

A written version of the video is available below as well.

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6. Which celebrity do I look like?

Search frequency: 14,800 times per month

While on the surface this search seems purely fun, what concerns me about it being searched with such frequency is that it really showcases how much our thoughts are rooted in comparison.

We all know that social media as a whole is a cesspool of comparison, where the vast majority of us post nothing but the highlight reel captures of our life rather than true snippets of our reality. The last thing we need is to even further compare ourselves to those we aren’t connected to on social media -especially those who for the most part work in an industry obsessed with physical appearances.

We need to keep in mind that the way Katy Perry looks on the red carpet is different from the way she looks upon waking up on a Friday morning. Let’s choose to embrace our uniqueness and spend our spare time being ourselves rather than comparing that person to who we think we need to be.

5. Why did I get married?

Search frequency: 49,500 times per month

With divorce rates being where they are, we all know that the institution of marriage is rapidly crumbling before our feet. And while whether that is a good or bad thing is a matter of opinion, I still don’t think we should be turning to Google for reminders on why we opted to participate in it.

Rather than reading someone’s blog on why you should appreciate your partner, or another person’s rant on why we should all run from marriage like the plague, choose to spend that time instead of having an open conversation with your spouse.

Be honest about where you stand with things and come to a collective conclusion as to what you can and cannot do as the next steps.

4. Who unfollowed me on Instagram?

Search frequency: 74,000 times per month

This is my personal favourite on the list because there are few things that amuse me more than seeing the importance that so many of us put on our “Instagram ratio”.

Long gone are the days where we happily followed and liked everyone and everything, and here to stay are the days where we handpick who we follow to give off a “celebrity status” based on the seemingly much higher amount of people who have chosen to follow us.

If you care so much about your following count dropping from 714 to 713 that you need to look into who it was that you lost overnight (or even if you realize that the drop happened at all) you’ve got some serious self-worth issues that you need to address and work beyond.

3. How to make money online?

Search frequency: 135,000 times per month

As someone who has not only worked for various companies who have made substantial amounts of money online, and who has several initiatives to do so myself, I can tell you one thing: it doesn’t come easy!

It not only takes persistent and high-quality effort to build a YouTube subscriber base or to create a website that generates regular traffic, it also takes money to make money.

We need to debunk the belief that the internet is a great way to get rich quick. Realize that everyone who is advertising their online course, seminar, or book designed to help you do this, is doing that as their primary tactic to attain wealth -and they’re paying a hell of a lot of money to get their ad in your face. Those who have attained it have much bigger and better things to do.

2. How to lose weight fast?

Search frequency: 301,000 times per month

On the surface, this too seems well-intentioned since it’s great to see that a large portion of us are regularly searching for ways to improve our health. But what concerns me about this is largely the last word: fast.

We live in a world where we need instantaneous results (hence why we’re turning to Google in the first place) or we don’t bother. Long-term solutions exist but we have virtually no confidence in our ability to commit to anything, so we instead opt for ways to cheat the system.

If losing weight or gaining muscle is truly important to you, than focus on what you’ll need to do to keep yourself motivated to put the work in to get there rather than what can zap it away.

1. Any and all health advice

Search frequency: Unknown but seemingly infinite

We’ve all done it. We go to Google for advice on a persistent pimple and three minutes later we’re convinced that we are mere weeks away from being on our deathbed.

While there are plenty of great articles and medical journals scattered throughout the net, there is also a lot of “click-baity” crap with nothing to support much of what it suggests.

Please understand that this is NOT an attack against alternative media outlets, I firmly believe that even the most widely-accepted forms of media are ladened in questionable sourcing and ruled by greed. So rather than taking your chances, why not instead turn a trusted healthcare professional who can diagnose your unique circumstance?


For more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Facebook.

Get Your FREE In Depth Numerology Reading

Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.

With the ancient science of Numerology you can find out accurate and revealing information just from your name and birth date.

Get your free numerology reading and learn more about how you can use numerology in your life to find out more about your path and journey. Get Your free reading.

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