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The Evolution of Consciousness – Part 1

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This is the first in a series of articles by KAMLESH D. PATEL about the evolution of consciousness, and how spiritual practices are designed to help consciousness expand and evolve.

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The Science of Spirituality

Part 1 – The Three Bodies

When we talk about weaving a destiny, a future for ourselves, what do we mean? In the worldly sense, we want a good life. From my one-bedroom apartment, I want a five-bedroom house; from owning one factory I hope to own ten factories; I dream of being promoted from the position of a clerk to that of a CEO; I want a happy and fulfilling family life, and to raise children who also have fulfilling lives.

From the spiritual perspective, we are concerned with a much bigger picture. In order to explore this further, we need to first describe the human makeup. We have a physical body made of flesh and blood that is the most solid part of us. While it changes a little bit, according to how we live our lives, it doesn’t change much. Physical evolution happens over longer periods than one lifetime, so we don’t expect our physical body to evolve in this life. The physical body is associated with matter.

We also have a subtle body, also known as the astral or mental body, that is associated with energy and vibration. This is what we call the heart and mind. The third body we have is our causal body, the cause of our existence, which is also known as the soul. The causal body is associated with the absolute state of nothingness, the substratum of existence. This causal body is pure, unchanging and immutable, so it is does not need to evolve.

With the physical and the causal bodies, we cannot expect to find evolutionary changes. When we want to change our thinking and our patterns of behaviour, during any process of self-development, be it psychological or spiritual, what evolves or transforms is the middle layer, the subtle body. Spiritual destiny has everything to do with the purification of the subtle body by removing the layers that surround it. In the mineral kingdom, all three bodies are so closely tied together that it is difficult to separate them; they don’t have much freedom. To the extent to which they can free themselves vibrationally, they have different qualities and we give them names like Gold, Lead, Osmium, etc.


Spiritual destiny has everything to do with the purification of the subtle body by
removing the layers that surround it.

In the plant kingdom, the three bodies are a little looser. Look at a tree. How do you know it has a subtle body that responds? Have you seen flowers that open up when the sun comes? How do they know? They respond so nicely, turning as the sun moves. There is also a plant called Lajvanti, and when you touch it the leaves fold in. When there is a breeze, or even a storm, the leaves and branches of trees dance, but the moment someone tries to cut the branch of a tree, it becomes agitated.

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You can feel it. In plants, the subtle body, and the causal body are very tightly tied together, and the subtle body cannot express much. In animals, there is a still greater separation, and in human beings all the three bodies are labile or loosely connected. Among different human beings, there are also differences in separation. The three gunas in Vedic philosophy — tamasic, rajasic and sattvik — are based on how loosely or how strongly the bodies are connected.

In a sattvik person, the subtle body can move around, whereas a tamasic person is more stone-like. One person can think of something somewhere else, but another person with limited mental capacity may not grasp what is happening around them. Even if you tell them about it, their mind cannot reach there. Sometimes, when we communicate, certain concepts are not understood by the other person because of the subtle body’s inability to grasp them.


So at the level of the subtle body, we can choose to evolve and go beyond the animal level of existence to the human level to the divine level, by expanding our field of consciousness.

So at the level of the subtle body, we can choose to evolve and go beyond the animal level of existence to the human level to the divine level, by expanding our field of consciousness.

How can we describe the subtle body, and how does it evolve? There are four main functions of the subtle body that we will consider, and they are:

  • Chit or consciousness,
  • Manas or our contemplative faculty,
  • Buddhi or intellect, and
  • Ahankar or ego.

They all have a role to play in our evolution, and in the next part we will explore them further.

To be continued…

Article by KAMLESH D. PATEL

About Kamlesh D. Patel

Kamlesh Patel is the world teacher of Heartfulness, and the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga. He oversees Heartfulness centers and ashrams in over 150 countries, and guides the thousands of certified Heartfulness trainers who are permitted to impart Yogic Transmission under his care. Known to many as Daaji, he is also an innovator and researcher, equally at home in the inner world of spirituality and the outer world of science, blending the two into transcendental research on the evolution of consciousness. Building on the insights of his first Guide, Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, he is expanding our understanding of the purpose of human existence to a new level, so necessary at this pivotal time in human history.

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Consciousness

Is Male Circumcision A Violation of Human Rights?

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While flipping through the WestJet TV lineup on a recent cross-country flight, I reluctantly settled for a popular daytime talk-show (my other options included Days of Our Lives and re-runs of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), which saw a panel of 4 diversely opinionated women duking it out to see who could make their co-host seem like the biggest idiot. Sigh.

More interesting, however, was the subject they were debating about: male circumcision.

Two of the female hosts in particular were taking the stage with polarizing views. One host saw the medical procedure as a hygienic practice that lowered the risk of disease while the other saw it as an archaic and highly irrelevant surgery.

In the end, the victor was left undecided. I, however, was left with an ignited curiosity about a medical procedure that I had never really taken time to question.

I was impressed by the research the anti-circumcision host had prepared for her debate, and it got me thinking intently about the ethics behind the globally rooted practice.

How Did Circumcision Come To Be Globally Recognized?

Ancient Medieval era circumcision Italy. Source: Wikimedia

Ancient Medieval era circumcision Italy.
Source: Wikimedia

While the true origins of circumcision are largely obscured, the procedure undoubtedly has ancient roots, as documented in findings from several ethnic groups, including ancient Egypt, Greece, and Sub-equatorial Africa.

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It has been proposed that the procedure began for a number of reasons, including serving as a rite of passage marking a boy’s entrance into adulthood or as a form of sympathetic magic to ensure virility or fertility. It could also have been started as a means of reducing sexual pleasure, marking those of higher social status, aiding hygiene where regular bathing was impractical, or even humiliating enemies and slaves by symbolic castration.

By the 1890s, it became a popular technique to prevent, or cure, masturbatory insanity.

Sadly, female circumcision is still practiced in certain areas of the world today, although efforts are being made to put a stop to it.

Female circumcision is still practiced in certain areas of the world today, although efforts are being made to put a stop to it.

Clitoridectomies (removal of the clitoris) were also performed for the same reason, and were widely practiced in the US until 1925. This of course was until someone recognized the absurdity of such an invasive and irrelevant medical procedure.

Yet even still, male circumcision continued onwards unto further generations of men.

Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that globally one-third of males aged 15 years and over are circumcised, with almost 70% of those being Muslims.

To Cut Or Not To Cut

Circumcision is a massive industry, costing upwards to billions of dollars annually.

Surprisingly, even though circumcision is still performed by most surgeons today, many leading medical institutions show no favour towards the procedure.

Take the New England Journal of Medicine, for example:

Failure to provide adequate control of pain amounts to substandard and unethical medical practice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement on circumcision:

Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential medical benefits of newborn male circumcision; however, this data is not sufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision.  (AAP 1999)

The British Medical Association:

[P]arental preference alone is not sufficient justification for performing a surgical procedure on a child. (BMA 2006)

Even the Canadian Paediatric Society has its reservations:

Circumcision of newborns should not be routinely performed.  (CPS 1996)

Perhaps the reason most medical institutions show no favor towards circumcision has something to do with one of medicine’s first code of ethics, “First, do no harm.”

Removing a normal, healthy body part and causing unnecessary pain is in fact doing harm.

 “But the pain only lasts for a minute…”

We know that a baby has nerve endings in their genitals at birth, therefore surgically cutting a newborn’s penis undoubtedly causes extreme pain for the baby. Even if it were only for a ‘minute’ (which it’s not), such an argument also implies it is okay to inflict unnecessary pain on an infant, even if only temporarily.

Furthermore, circumcision without anesthesia is inconsistent with ethical guidelines that prohibit performing surgical procedures on live beings without anesthesia.

Money, Autonomy, and Misguided Parental Decisions

Circumcision is a massive industry, costing upwards to billions of dollars annually.

Circumcision is a massive industry, costing upwards to billions of dollars annually.

In her article, “Circumcision Ethics and Economics,” author Darcia Narvaez states that her anti-circumcision stance comes down to money, autonomy, and parental intentions.

For one, Narvaez explains how much money we actually waste on the procedure.

Medicaid spends $198 million each year on routine infant circumcision in the 33 states that still pay for it, a procedure its own guidelines consider to be medically unnecessary. Private insurance programs are reimbursing an additional $677 million, raising prices for us all (Craig 2006.)  In addition to the cost of circumcision itself, correcting its complications are said to double the cost, bringing the total bill to $1.75 billion each year. Is this what we should be spending money on during a recession and at a time when healthcare costs are skyrocketing?

Complications indeed, not to mention the average 117 neonatal circumcision-related deaths (9.01/100,000) which occur annually in the United States.

Secondly, Narvaez points out that everyone has a right to bodily autonomy and self-determination, and that the only person qualified to make the medical decision is “the owner of the penis, as he is the one going to have to live with the results, not his parents.”

Another valid point brought up by Narvaez comes down to the fact that parents’ “aesthetic preferences are not valid reasons for circumcision.”

While all of her points speak truth in some regard, there are arguments for circumcision that should also be looked at.

Risk of Disease?

The most common arguments for circumcision comes down to hygiene and risk of disease. Increased risk of spreading and contracting HPV, cervical cancer, and HIV are the big ones most commonly mentioned.

However, when one actually takes the time to look at the studies which suggest this correlation, it’s extremely easy to see how weak that correlation is (fortunately).

A 2002 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine studied men in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, and found that circumcision was correlated with a decreased risk of penile HPV infection (this correlation is corroborated by a 2009 study in African men), but that there was not a significant correlation between circumcision and incidence of cervical cancer.

Does circumcision truly reduce the chances of HPV and HIV? Is there enough correlation to draw conclusions?

Does circumcision truly reduce the chances of contracting or spreading HPV and HIV? Is there enough correlation to draw conclusions?

When they restricted their dataset to women with only one sexual partner, there was an increased risk of cervical cancer in women whose partners were uncircumcised only if their partner was already considered at high risk for contracting HPV (as determined by age at first intercourse, number of sexual partners, and sex with prostitutes). So, in men who already engage in risky sexual behavior, circumcision does offer an advantage for protecting their partners from cervical cancer.

Yes, circumcision reduces the mucosal surface area, thereby potentially minimizing the interface for abrasion and transmission of viruses, but again, this is a weak reason for surgical intervention.

Women also have many crevices and folds in their genitals, yet we don’t automatically assume to surgically remove their labia for hygienic purposes.

It’s called showering.

Facing Reality

Routine infant circumcision is a 90-year aberration among hundreds of thousands of years of our time here as homo-sapiens.

Furthermore, manmade traditions have never been the basis for scientific principles, so why have we chosen to hold on to such an archaic way of thinking with regards to circumcision?

Thankfully, these traditions are on their way out soon, with only 30% of American boys circumcised in 2009. It seems that more and more parents are seeing through the silly traditions of our past while looking to create a more reasonable future for us all.

Perhaps one day we will look back at a list of all the strange things we once accepted as normal and laugh, with circumcision topping the list of these absurdities.

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Consciousness

8 Life Lessons From A 2000-Year-Old Guidebook – The Yoga Sutras

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Below, you will find 8 paths as described in the second book (out of four) of the Yoga Sutras, written by the Indian sage Patanjali about two thousand years ago.

  • Reflect On:

    The practice of yoga involves much more than the physical aspect of what many people do today.

Yoga is something that continues to gain a tremendous amount of popularity throughout the world as we move through 2015 and beyond. It’s not a religion, and it is used and practiced by theists, atheists, and everyone in between. There are two major components of yoga that are now being practiced in the West today: physical fitness through stretching (asana), and mental fitness through the practice of meditation (dhyana).

Many in the West do not know that for thousands of years, the true nature of yoga was to achieve states of insightfulness that helped to reveal the true nature of Reality, “before personal biases and cultural expectations have a chance to distort our perceptions.” (1)

Yoga predates Hinduism by centuries, possibly millennia, and is closely associated with Jainism and Buddhism. Its origins can be traced back three to five thousand years ago.

Below, you will find 8 paths as described in the second book (out of four) of the Yoga Sutras, written by the Indian sage Patanjali about two thousand years ago. I thought it would be useful to share, as reflecting on these teachings, for some people, can really improve mental states and life in general.

“The second book of the Yoga Sutras describes the practice of yoga. The goal of practice is to break out of the destructive habits that distract the mind and in turn create suffering. Patanjali describes a method known as ashtanga, or the eightfold path.” Dean Radin, PhD., Chief Scientist At The Institute of Noetic Sciences (1)

Here they are:

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Path 1 is Yama: Restraining from harmful behaviour, or cautions on what behaviour to avoid. This includes violence, injury, telling falsehoods, stealing, lasciviousness, greed, and in general adopting ethical and virtuous behaviour.

Path 2 is Niyama: Developing beneficial behaviour, or guidelines on what behaviours to encourage. This includes cleanliness and austerity, along with cultivating an attitude of gratitude and contentment, and being engaged in a disciplined practice of focus, devotion, and self-study.

Path 3 is Asana: Developing of physical postures. These are designed to assist the mind and body in relaxing, through development of strength, steadiness, and flexibility. The purpose of the asanas is to prepare the body to comfortably withstand the rigors of long-term meditation.

Path 4 is Pranayama: Conscious breathing techniques. These further the mind’s ability to focus, and they energize the body.

Path 5 is Pratyhara: Withdrawing from ordinary sensory perceptions and limiting focus to a single object of attention. Restricting one’s attention frees the mind to concentrate on internal objects of attention, fostering even more tranquility of mind.

Path 6 is Dharana: Developing a steady, sustained concentration. The root word for dhri in dharana means “to hold”; one holds attention on a single object of thought. This type of concentration is similar to that experienced during highly focused intellectual work.

Path 7 is Dhyana: Developing prolonged levels of concentration on an object, with deeper absorption and greater sustained alertness. This is sometimes referred to as meditation.

Path 8 is Samadhi: Unity or mystical absorption with an object of attention. In this state, distinctions between subject and object dissolve and one “becomes” the object of meditation. This awareness is frequently described as ecstatic. That is, it is a super-aware state accompanied by intense, nonsensual pleasure.

Sources:

(1) Radin, Dean. Supernormal: Science, Yoga and the Evidence For Exraordinary Psychic Abilities. New York, Deepak Chopra Books , 2013

 

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Consciousness

How Science Arrived at the Doorstep of Spirituality

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Quantum science today is showing us that our collective thoughts and intentions can have an impact on our physical world and environment.

  • Reflect On:

    What does this mean when exploring the reality of ourselves? Or exploring the reality of how we can create change on our planet?

Can thought, intention, and emotion influence the physical world? Many people believe that they can, but scientific models for testing and quantifying this idea often fall short. Classical physics has been very successful at understanding the physical nature of the universe, yet this world-view assumes that reality is limited to matter. This leaves classical physics ill-equipped to measure or quantify non-physical phenomena. This has led to a movement towards post-material science. If you experience intuition and other non-physical phenomena, you will be excited to learn that science is beginning to validate this realm. You will be inspired to explore the quantum ways that you are connected with the entire universe.

Spiritual practices like meditation, qigong, and yoga were considered forms of science long before Newton inspired classical physics. Quantum Physics flirts with realms of mystery that were traditionally reserved for mystics. There is no need to be on the sidelines as an observer because there are a few very interesting research projects happening in the interstices between science and spirituality which we will explore below. Today we have an unprecedented opportunity to participate in this historic process that integrates physics, consciousness, and group meditation.

Spiritual practices like meditation, qigong, and yoga were considered forms of science.

Why Post Material Science?

Classical Newtonian Physics is primarily focused on the material world, yet consciousness studies are one of the cutting edges of scientific research. This calls for a new paradigm that allows mind, consciousness, and non-material phenomena to be accepted into the equation of reality, while finding adequate means to study and quantify them. A leading group of well-respected scientists have come together and presented a Manifesto for Post-Materialistic Science as a solution to the limitations of classical physics. As with any new field of inquiry, it is not without controversy, and is upsetting to some members of the scientific status quo.

“Major advances in science — revolutions, even — follow the collapse of outworn paradigms, whose overthrow is forced by the accumulation of empirical evidence that violates the paradigm.”
Dave Pruett, Former NASA researcher; Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, James Madison University

How Science Arrived at the Doorstep of Spirituality

The first echoes of the need for a new paradigm that addresses the non-physical realty came from Einstein in the early 1930’s. In his research, he observed something so bizarre that he could barely believe what he was seeing. He called it “spooky action at a distance”, which later became two of the main concepts studied in the quantum information sciences, known as entanglement and non locality. Entanglement occurs when two particles are so deeply linked (by a quantum field) that one particle can instantaneously (meaning faster than the speed of light!) influence the other even at great distances non-locally. This implies that the physical distance between the particles is irrelevant, thus a quantum leap in our idea of what is possible.

“The shift from materialistic science to post-materialistic science may be of vital importance to the evolution of human civilization. It may be even more pivotal than the transition from geocentrism to heliocentrism.” – A Manifesto for Post-Materialistic Science

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Though this phenomena is not fully understood, it is accepted in quantum mechanics. Maybe you have experienced a moment where you randomly thought of a loved one that you hadn’t thought about in a long time, then the phone rings and you pick it up to hear their voice? These sorts of “synchronicities” happen often for many people, yet may be hard to prove exactly why or how they happen. Quantum physics is at the very beginning of exploring this phenomena that is has usually been called coincidence…until now.

“Without the spiritual world the material world is a disheartening enigma.” – Joseph Joubert

Have you had a moment where you randomly thought of a loved one, then the phone rings?

Research Science Meets Meditation, Human Intention, and Consciousness

Bill Tiller, Fellow to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and Chairman Emeritus of Stanford University’s Department of Materials Science, spent 34 years in academia after 9 years as an advisory physicist with the Westinghouse Research Laboratories. He has published over 250 conventional scientific papers, 3 books and several patents. As a renowned scientist, he is also a strong advocate for meditation, non-physical science, and spirituality. He has coined the term Psychoenergetic Science to describe his work that combines consciousness and science.

“For the last four hundred years, an unstated assumption of science is that human intention cannot affect what we call ‘physical reality.’ Our experimental research of the past decade shows that, for today’s world and under the right conditions, this assumption is no longer correct. We humans are much more than we think we are and Psychoenergetic Science continues to expand the proof of it.” – Dr. Bill Tiller

Tiller is convinced that intention can influence physical substances and he has developed a crystalline-based silicon technology that can capture and store an intention directed by a group of meditators. This energetic intention resonates at a frequency that can be recorded or broadcast to achieve a designated effect in people. Early research with this technology in his lab at Stanford, as well as labs in London and Berlin, indicates the ability of directed human intention to increase or lower the pH of water by 1 point, the growing of larvae at a 30% increased rate, and the killing of bacteria at a 30% increased rate. This implies some sort of non-physical, non-local connection between intention and these physical substances.

Addressing Skepticism

As with any new field of study there will be successes and failures. Scientists are vulnerable to the weaknesses that we all experience. Denial of facts, confirmation bias, resistance to new ideas, etc. are issues that scientists from the old and the emerging paradigm will need to address. Vigorous research can be expensive and funding can be hard to find for theories that are unconventional. So yes, there will be skeptics and there will also be new discoveries that topple long-held beliefs about humans, the universe, and what is possible. Just as Einstein was baffled and skeptical of his own observations of entanglement, we are all liable to have our preconceived notions challenged and overturned by this emerging field of non-material science.

Can I get Involved?

Yes you can! The best thing about consciousness research on a global scale is that it requires participation from lots of people. Since we face unprecedented challenges with climate instability, wars, and economic disparity, there has never been a more potent time on the planet for humans to collectively access higher realms of potential. We are ready for a quantum shift and we really need one.

Globally Synchronized for a Quantum Leap

Currently, leading minds in science, spirituality, and technology are learning to collaborate in ways that are certain to make some waves. Unify organizes globally synchronized meditations through their online network of over one million fans, as well as a network of over 2,000 local organizers in countries around the world. Combined with United Nations Millennial Goals, like International Day of Peace during the September equinox, or World Water Day during the March equinox, the Unify Team is able to facilitate hundreds of thousands of meditators around the world to focus their intention on important global issues. These global meditations are free and open to anyone who wants to be involved, or organize their own local event. Learn more here.

The Merraki Institute has partnered with Bill Tiller and is conducting vigorous scientific research in another participatory global experiment. Merraki is a Greek word meaning, “Doing something with soul, creativity, or love” and it is refreshing to see this ethic being central to a scientific research project. If you are interested in participating with Tiller’s exciting new technology that uses crystalline-based silicon to store and emit an energy transmission of intention, you can learn more or get involved here.

What About Love?

We all exist within a larger field of energy, a quantum field. Perhaps love, intention, and emotion are entwined within this mysterious field? We have the ability to access various internal states of consciousness through meditation and mindfulness, we can alter our social relationships, and potentially we can shift things on a global scale. This process begins within, is deepened with personal practice, and is celebrated in the larger community that is engaging in these ancient practices.

We may finally start to see scientific validation for the unseen realms that many of us feel intuitively. Hopefully we will also begin to experience quantum shifts in the world around us as we deepen our understanding. We are not alone, and the boundaries where we begin or end as physical, emotional, and electrical beings is constantly being redefined by science. Unity consciousness may be a scientific law waiting to be discovered…

I am re-publishing this article I originally published on UpliftConnect

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