Tag Archives: Evolution

Is Reality Trying to Tell You Something?

A photo by Kayla Gibson. unsplash.com/photos/7KHYZ4eqSIw

One of the greatest puzzles facing each of us is whether the events in our lives form a pattern, and if so, what does the pattern mean. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Everything happens for a reason.” Some people say it in passing, others take it more seriously. But officially, if we accept the basic scientific principle that the physical world operates essentially through random chance, it’s not credible to believe that we live in a universe that has purpose and meaning. We can ask when the big bang occurred but not why. We can investigate how sodium and chlorine combine to form salt, but it makes no sense, scientifically, to ask the purpose of salt. Salt and the big bang just are.

Since the question of meaning and purpose are deeply embedded in religion, let’s set those claims aside. If God or the gods control human life, this is a matter of faith, not science. Humans have constructed faith-based systems for many centuries, of course. Placing an invisible higher power at the center of reality, a power who judges right from wrong, who punishes and rewards according to divine morality, is simply outside the rules developed by science and secular society. There are enough glitches in those rules without hauling God into the argument.

Those glitches center around a simple observation. Human life has meaning and purpose. The physical world, absent humans, doesn’t. When we are motivated by love or fear, when we make moral choices or create a vision of a better life, there is no doubt that human beings not only value meaning and purpose, we have evolved, along with the higher brain, to support meaning and purpose. Since Darwinian evolution allows for only genetic mutations, how did DNA, which is built from completely ordinary atoms and molecules, acquire any more meaning than salt? Or if DNA isn’t linked to the meaning of life, how can there be meaning and purpose outside our genes? Continue reading

A New Hot Button: Consciousness-Driven Evolution

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Science is meant to be the opposite of a belief system. No one underlined this point more securely than Charles Darwin, who devised a theory of evolution that defied the strongest belief of his time, the all but universal belief in the bible version of the origins of man. The fossil record supported a notion contrary to the Bible, that creation was a process, not a single event dictated by a divine Creator. Despite a century and a half of proof that Darwin was right, taking God out of evolution still sticks in the throat of many people.

Pollsters find, to the dismay of trained scientists, that God remains in play for many when it comes to our origins. For example, a 2013 Pew Research poll found that one-third of respondents believe that human beings have always existed in their present form. When broken down by religion, this anti-Darwin, pro-Bible view is held by 64% of white evangelical Protestants and 50% of black Protestants broken down by political party, only 43% of Republicans believe that human beings evolved over time versus 67% of Democrats and 65% of independents. Continue reading

Synchronicity, Evolution, and Your Genes (Part 3)

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By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Jordan Flesher, MA Psychology

Two views of the universe have been contending with each other to explain why human beings exist. The first view holds that human beings are not special in any way. We evolved through random events that have accumulated over time, taking 13.7 billion years since the big Bang to arrive at the most complex structure in creation, the human brain. This view, long established in physics and biology, constructs evolution in the absence of mind. Matter came first, and mind emerged very late in the game.

The contending view, held by every wisdom tradition, holds that mind came first. The universe is a field of consciousness, which made it inevitable that conscious creatures would evolve over time. Using our self-awareness, humans recognize order, harmony, beauty, truth, love, balance, equanimity, creativity, and the other qualities essential to consciousness. Over the course of our evolution as a species, we have come to embody these qualities. Therefore, the link between humanity and the universe is intimate, to the extent that the only creation we experience is the human cosmos.  Continue reading

Synchronicity, Evolution, and Your Genes (Part 1)

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By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Jordan Flesher, BA Psychology

 

Over the past decade, the hunt for genetic connections with behavior as intensified. For any experience, there must be a physical activity in the brain—otherwise, the experience has no basis. Using this irrefutable assumption, researchers have looked for the seat of anger, criminal behavior, gender identification, the sense of self, and many other aspects of human nature. This includes spirituality. Where is God in the brain? To many neuroscientists, that’s not only a valid question but the only one worth asking, insofar as spiritual experiences have any reality. Continue reading

Watch: The Evolution of Music

You might not recognize the name Pentatonix, but you should. Pentatonix, the winners of NBC’s “The Sing Off”, have steadily climbed in popularity marrying acappella singing with radio hits. Today’s video of the day is their medley “The Evolution of Music” covering their favorites from the 1600s to today.

Again, everything you’re about to hear is made with their voices, no instruments at all. Prepare to be amazed.


Did you hear any of your favorites?

Like the video? Tell us what you think or show us your favorite a cappella videos in the comments below.  

A is for Alignment: NASA, Spirituality, and Our Evolving Universe

heic1316aAn Alignment is the synchronization of apparently separate events and elements into one singular harmonic convergence. In all spiritual traditions, the phenomenon of Alignment is both a prerequisite to and a signifier that things are unfolding with an underlying intelligence and order to them.

It’s both highly desirable and highly auspicious because it’s a marker that dissonance and chaos have been collapsed and that coherence has become the prevailing vibration.

When Alignments occur, there’s an opportunity for a quantum shift: to take not just the next step, but to move through dimensions and find yourself in a space where you’re ready to take the 10,008th step as if you had already made all of the ones in between.

It can happen in careers:

When after years of trying to get your scientific research funded and noticed by the relevant players in your field, you find out that all the players who you want to work with are coming to your department for a 3 day review and you have been selected to organize their welcome and farewell reception; this is an Alignment.

It can happen in families:

When you unite with your mother and two brothers for a Christmas holiday, putting you all in the same place at the same time for the first time in 9 years due to you all living in different countries now – and within 24hrs of your all being together, you receive a phone call telling you that your estranged father, who abandoned his family 20 years earlier, has died and you should all come together now to arrange his passing ceremonies; This is an Alignment.

It can happen in relationships:

When the first man you have said yes to in six years for a date, is driving you to a kirtan on your first date together, and you both find out that the closest female friend you’ve made in the SoCal town you have just moved to all the way from Europe, happens be his best friend of the last 10 years. This is an Alignment.

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All Alignments have the effect of triggering irreversible healing and transformation.

When the Alignment is over,  you find yourself in a different position from where you were before – as if you stepped through a Stargate that transported you to a different place than the one you were in before it ever happened.

Mostly, when an Alignment is over, you may feel like you have evolved.

No Alignment is ever accidental, although why it is happening may not always be understood as it happens.

Just like it is hard to make observations about evolution when we watch it in real time, what is happening during an Alignment may not be understood in real time as it happens.

And just like evolution, or history, it is when we look retrospectively that we can begin to understand the lasting changes, the transformations that emerged and changed our reality in palpable ways from any given Alignment in a particular period of time.

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Today, Nasa’s Hubble Telescope ran a story called ‘Bizarre Alignment of Planetary Nebulae’ in which it reported that over 100 nebulae are unexpectedly, to the deep surprise of scientists, showing an alignment with our galaxy.

All these nebulae formed in different places and have different characteristics. Neither the individual nebulae, nor the stars that formed them, interact with other planetary nebulae. However… Many of these…appear to have their long axes aligned along the plane of our galaxy…While any alignment at all is a surprise, to have it in the crowded central region of the galaxy is even more unexpected…

From a spiritual perspective, an Alignment is marker of evolution in progress. Change is happening.

Exactly what and how is being transformed, can be properly understood only after the Alignment is over.

Until then, we can put our faith in the only thing we can all trust: the knowledge that evolution can not be stopped.

 

Originally published on my website, The Modern Girl’s Guide to Spirituality.

Photo credit: NASA Hubble

Can the Rise of the Feminine Create a New Civilization?

Not to be confused with women taking over the world, the rise of the feminine in our society is a powerful and potentially transformative shift. In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra is joined by scholar, philosopher and researcher Jean Houston to discuss feminine archetypes and how a rise in feminine qualities will affect the civilization.

The emphasis in their discussion is on archetypes, which shouldn’t be confused with actual female versus male traits. Any given human characteristic might be expressed by any given human being, and we are at a point in our evolution where essentialized beliefs about the sexes are outdated. But as symbolic systems, gendered archetypes can be potent ways of looking at global trends, and this is what Deepak and Jean discuss as a need for the “rise of the feminine.”

Add your thoughts to the discussion and subscribe to The Chopra Well!

 

Thumbnail credit: Leela Francis

Can the Truth Come Back With a Capital “T”? (Part 6)

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 3.47.45 PMClick here to read Part 5!

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Neil Theise, MD

Imagine someone who says, “Every morning I look out the window and the sun has come up. So I must be responsible for creating the Sun.” Of course, the statement makes no logical sense. We know that looking at the sunrise doesn’t create it. However, at the quantum level the link between observer and observed becomes much more ambiguous as fundamental uncertainty guides quantum events. The classic example has to do with photons, which have a dual personality, acting like either particles or waves. Light only assumes its form as wave or particle when an observer makes a conscious decision to set up a measuring process and actually measures it. In the act of observation, a physicist might say something very like the man looking at a sunrise: “Without me to observe it, it doesn’t exist.”

This situation already represents a much softer definition of cause and effect from Newton’s billiard balls knocking each other about. There is no settled explanation for the observer effect – some physicists deny its existence or question the classic explanation – and it would be immensely helpful to clear up its ambiguity. A consciousness-based universe clears it up immediately by saying that observer and observed co-arise. They only seem to be separate if the human mind decides on such a separation. Feeling that you are in love co-arises with the brain activity that corresponds to love. You can’t have one without the other. But if you insist that brain chemistry causes love, you wind up with the same troubling ambiguity that physics faces over photons. Common sense tells us that if someone you’re attracted to says, “I love you,” there’s no doubt that the words caused love to arise as a feeling, taking the brain along. Since our bodies respond to feelings, and of course the inverse, then the brain responds to love.

The quantum version of the universe’s origins story has made room already for a pre-created state that is “nothing.” This supposition runs into the objection that this “nothing” cannot be verified – after all, it’s nothing. What if the pre-created state can’t even be thought about? Then science as a system of thought will be forced to accept its built-in limitations. But consciousness isn’t stumped. There can be a pre-created state that has the potential to turn into the universe, containing the necessary seeds of creation (i.e., intelligence, creativity, evolution, and self-organization). This accords very well with our own minds, for everyone has a vocabulary stored out of sight. When you want a word, the potential for saying or thinking of that word exists invisibly. Is that potential the source of everything you verbally think or say? Yes. So why not give the universe the same reservoir of possibilities? There’s no scientific reason not to. Indeed, if the pre-universe contains mathematics, it would solve the riddle of where math came from, which has baffled the greatest minds for centuries. (The acclaimed British physicist Roger Penrose has even gone back to ancient philosophy and labeled the qualities of the pre-universe “Platonic values”, which he claims exist at the Planck level where space-time comes to an end).

Science has been the greatest boon of modern civilization, but at the end of the day, experience is more important. A complete description of how the brain produces the sensation of being in love would be pointless if a supernatural dictator gazed down upon us and eradicated our ability to experience the sensations of love. Without the experience, measurement makes no sense. Now come the “Aha!” moment.

If consciousness pervades the universe, and if consciousness can be aware of itself,
then by looking at itself, consciousness can know the most fundamental aspects of the universe.

Such was the position taken by the Indian rishis who developed the most sophisticated model of consciousness that we possess. In their view though it was not just to see or observe, the most important aspect of consciousness was to experience. The brain can’t pause to measure its own thoughts, just as boiling water can’t count its own bubbles. But awareness isn’t in motion. It’s the still point around which the universe turns. The dead end that science has reached by excluding consciousness turns into a limitless opportunity for knowledge once consciousness is allowed back in. In the next post we’ll explore what this means for everyday existence. The possibility of achieving greater freedom is hidden within consciousness, and also the return of God in a guise we can place our faith in once more.

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Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers, including co-author with Sanjiv Chopra, MD of Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and The American Dream, and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being (Harmony). Chopra serves as Founder of The Chopra Foundation and host of Sages and Scientists Symposium – August 16-18, 2013 at La Costa Resort and Spa.

Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Director of the Center of Excellence at Chapman University, co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles. (Harmony)

P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine.

Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), co-author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

Neil Theise, MD, Professor, Pathology and Medicine, (Division of Digestive Diseases) and Director of the Liver and Stem Cell Research Laboratory, Beth Israel Medical Center — Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York. www.neiltheise.com

Deepak Chopra: Can We Influence Our Own Evolution?

Is evolution a complex process that we have nothing to do with, or is there any way we can actually influence our own evolution? In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak explores how can we influence human evolution as well as the evolution of the cosmos.

Our feelings, thoughts, perceptions, cognition, internal mental activity, and behavior changes in every moment. The neural architecture of our brain responds to both internal and external reactions which we create through our own choices. Thus, as we think, feel and emote – we affect the expression of our genes and expression of genes in others. Your genes are activated right now watching this video, and we are influencing each other, and thus, in a sense, influencing evolution.

Subscribe to The Chopra Well and never stop activating your curiosity!

I Met My Soul By the River, and This is What She Said

616769_555556097842206_410897137_oWe are hilarious creatures. The things we put ourselves through in the name of enlightenment, evolution, understanding, knowing. It’s times like these I wonder if not knowing anything would have been safer. Maybe being asleep is actually a better way to be…

Alas we are seekers, even those of us who live quiet lives, going to work everyday, leaving our little boxes by 7:30 am, work the mundane and go home by 6, cook a microwave dinner and watch reruns of Friends. There is a spark somewhere deep down inside there, there is an impetus to do, something, even if we don’t know what…. and yet so often we don’t, frozen by confusion and fear of the unknown. Yes I suppose that it is safer, to squash that urge and hit the play button on the TiVo… The known path is easier to walk with our eyes closed, we’ve done it for so long. There are those who seem to just live and die and I can’t tell if they were happy with that or not. Is not knowing better? Safer?

I suspect I will never know, because I am not one of them. We are the rabble rousers, the misfits, hell bent on finding the holy grail, the reason for being, we do all sorts of astounding things to find the illustrious golden chalice filled to the brim with the wisdom of us.

One day we will know we tell ourselves as we head out into the abyss. The answer lies somewhere, and with each passing day we search high and low, inside and out, we fire walk, we meditate, we chant, we trance dance until our limbs are numb, seeking, asking, wondering if we’ll ever find the answer. And with each piece of the puzzle we find we sometimes get cocky, we start to believe that we’re close to the end, the answer is on the tip of our tongue.

Since my divorce I have been on the fast track of discovery. I decided 40 years of walking into walls in the dark was enough and it was time to get to know the real me. So 3 years ago I started a tradition. Every year I visit a river and in this river I drop things that represent pieces of me, hurts I have carried, beliefs I have carried, fear and doubts about the anything’s and everything’s we conjure in our head- I drop them one by one, and if they get stuck and stay close to me, I know I’m not quite done with that thought monster yet, and if they float away, then I wish it well and move on.

This year on my visit I struggled for weeks about what I should send down the river. I finished my book, life is good, seriously, I’ve got this…. Yeah right. Isn’t it hilarious when we convince ourselves of that? That’s like inviting someone dangerous to tea and that someone is you- the true you- your soul. Imagine having tea with your soul. Shit, that is downright dangerous.

So we sat there, the river, my soul and me, silent except for the subtle whoosh of the river, whispering with the soul, telling my secrets with a knowing giggle and a smirk, conspiring as they do, and so finally I said out loud what they couldn’t, or what they wouldn’t say because only I could call it by name. Trust and vulnerability.

This is one thing I have never been able to drop into the river. My guard, my shield and my sword. From the time I was eight I have worn that armor, I have carried a weapon, ready, willing and able to strike. And with each passing year, my sword has been unsheathed faster and faster at the first sign of betrayal, real or manufactured. It didn’t mater because I could no longer tell the difference, and the pain was real either way. Striking first saved me from certain death. And I have killed many who loved me.

So, I wielded my sword and stood in defiance against the soul and the river, how dare they mock me. I have lived through all they have thrust upon me. Fuck them, I thought. Sure test me on trust and vulnerability, I challenged like a rebellious child and I sauntered away.

The next day, I broke my collar bone, and after I heard the pop of my bone I could hear the whoosh of the river and the cackling of a crow and the whisper in my ear: Be careful who you invite to tea, young lady, and to whom you challenge with your sword, you’re only killing yourself.

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