As We Evolve, Do We Need God?

By Deepak Chopra, MD and Anoop Kumar, MD

We recently participated in a public debate on the proposition "The more we evolve, the less we need God." The results were clearly in favor of the proposition against the stance we took. This was so amongst both the live audience and the online audience.

The cerebral cortex, the most recent part of the human brain to evolve, hasn't changed for more than ten thousand years. The writers of the world's ancient spiritual texts used the same brain as modern people, and since the world's religions revere these ancient texts, we accept that the Ten Commandments and the Four Noble truths of Buddhism came from minds whose processes we'd recognize today, however dissimilar the cultures of ancient Judea and India.

It must be cultural evolution that is relevant, and of course our modern secular culture has moved away from the age of faith. Rationalism seems to dominate our lives, and when we read of religious fanaticism, we feel that such issues belong to people living outside the reach of a modern secular society. Few people seeing news on TV of an attack in Paris or London feel an impulse to fight back by re-energizing their own religious beliefs. Being secular can easily feed the belief that one has evolved beyond God, religion, dogma, and the whole rigmarole.

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Namaste: Seeing the Truth of Who We Are

A gift of evolving consciousness is the capacity to recognize and honor the sacred awareness that lives through our own and all beings. This capacity is blocked by our identification with our “mask” or ego self, and not seeing past other people’s masks. In this talk we reflect together on some key filters of superior/inferior and good/bad that shape the trance of a narrowed identity, and then explore how mindfulness and kindness free us to inhabit the vastness of our natural awareness. We close with tasting the possibility of bringing the spirit of Namaste to ourselves, others and all beings.


Rumi writes: ““Are you searching for your true self? Then come out of your own prison. Leave the little creek and join the mighty river that flows into the ocean. Like an ox, don’t pull the wheel of this world on your back. Take off the burden. Whirl and circle, and rise above the wheel of the world. There is another view.”

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Is Wholeness the Secret of Well-Being?

Part of being human is that happiness is difficult. We are too complex for a cut-and-dried answer to work. There have been broad trends, however, over the course of time. Devotion to God, the pursuit of reason, getting rich, going to a therapist—all the possible avenues for achieving happiness have been explored, and in modern society each solution remains open. No one is locked into another person’s way to find happiness.


But that’s not the same as claiming that all of these various approaches have worked—there is a good possibility, in fact, that none has. That’s the position taken by a wide swath of teachers and guides, most of them classified as “spiritual,” who declare that living in the state of separation is the root cause of suffering. Separation is also known as duality, and so in recent years a new rubric, nondualism, has been used to embrace philosophers, therapists, spiritual teachers, and general writers who promote wholeness as the secret of true, lasting well-being.


In this post we’ll look at the nondual argument through an overview of how things stand in the wellness movement and particularly the evidence in biomedical literature that might offer scientific evidence for nondual claims.

 
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The Experience of God

God is everything. Yet within that everything, God has many aspects of being, from formlessness to form. At the center of the universe (actually before the universe became the universe) is just Source energy, pure potential. In some teachings, this is called the absolute, or “I.” It is the precursor to the Big Bang: out of nothing came something, out of absolute being arose relative being, or “I Am,” wherein God becomes relatable, experiential, as love, as consciousness. When we on the spiritual path feel divine love, when we expand into conscious awareness of something greater in our lives, we are experiencing the “I Am” at the soul level.

The next aspect is “I Am That,” in which we as humans identify completely with our physical forms, personality selves, or egos, and forget our divine connection. Forgetfulness is the common state for humanity at this time. In forgetfulness, we get caught up in all the polarities and dramas of human physical life on Earth. Our minds, emotions, and bodies are our primary experience, and the soul takes a backseat, often completely overlooked. This also is God, but it is God forgetting that it is God—something we all experience before we awaken again into the “I Am,” the love we came from.


In the collective awakening that is happening more and more on this planet, we reconnect with our souls, with the God within. This is the primary experiential focus for many of us who have incarnated at this time—to expand in awareness from “I Am That” to “I Am” and finally to “I.”

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What does it mean to see God in everyone?

Many years ago, back in the early 70’s, I had a Buick limousine that I had made over into a camper.

I opened the trunk up, and I lived there, and I was driving across the country. I started out from Boston and I had been in India. I had developed certain practices that I just loved doing and at the time I loved doing mantra, or just saying the names of the Beloved over and over again, “Ala, Yahweh, Krishna, Ram.” I would just take the names and keep repeating it, and I sometimes sit with beads and I could go into these extraordinary states of deliciousness.

I was driving across the country, and I wasn’t listening to the radio, and the car is big. It was like a tank, and it just went slowly. I had one leg tucked under me, and I was just driving along in New York, doing my “Hari Krishna, Hari Krishna, Krishna, Krishna,” just keeping enough consciousness to keep steering the wheel. I was doing this when I became aware of a flashing blue light, which might have been the blue light of Krishna, but it looked like a state trooper, so I pulled over and I stopped, and this being got out. He came up to the window and he said, “May I see your license and registration?” Turned out I was going too slow. 

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Celebrate the Spring Equinox!

Feel the Pulse of Co-creation

Happy Spring to all of us in the north, and happy Fall to my friends Down Under! (Although where I live on my farm outside of Toronto it looks like winter has come back- but heck I am hopeful!)  The Spring equinox is when the Light and Dark are equal and then a new cycle begins as the Light begins to grow and become more powerful. This time of year always triggers a shift in everyone just as Nature shows us new beginnings and new life so will the natural flow of seasons in our lives, our projects and our dreams begin to naturally evolve.

When new life begins to appear its natural to feel the same compelling drive within you too. I find it most apparent at the spring and fall equinoxes. Something just begins to turn on the magic so to speak.

If you slow down enough to tune into your inner awareness you’ll sense that urge to spring clean, to make space for new life , or in the autumn you’ll feel the call to clean up to make space to incubate new dreams.

This time of year we really begin to feel the pulse of co-creation, abundance and our infinite potential for prosperity. There’s an anticipation, a palpable energy that we can tune into that turns on a switch, like all of a sudden going from dim and hazy to bright and shiny.

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Your Soul's Awareness

Live as your soul, and trust in God. Live as God, and trust in your soul. One and the same. Your soul is God here on Earth within a physical form. God is in every physical form on the planet—every human being, every animal, every butterfly, every tree, every stone, every tiny grain of sand. There is absolutely nothing that is not Source energy. When we come to this greater awareness, we can be free of separation on every level. Separation from God, separation from others, and separation within ourselves. My mind, body, emotions, and spirit are all one. I am one with all beings everywhere.
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What's in a Name?

My aversion to the word God began in childhood because of the Jehovah’s Witnesses who regularly showed up at our door to convert us to Christianity. My father used to try to argue them out of their stance that only they knew who or what God is. They, of course, saw my dad as one of the lost who needed to be saved. This was my first experience with proselytizing. As adults, my parents had moved away from their Christian roots to a more “free-thinking” approach to religion. They felt that humans can never really “know” if God exists; it is a personal belief. So I was raised entirely outside of traditional religion. My parents took me to a Unitarian church once, but I wasn’t really interested. They always allowed me my own choices with regard to religious beliefs or practices.


So I had no spiritual framework other than Nature and my parents’ unconditional love, which I eventually recognized as God in its purest form. I remained suspicious of the rigidity of religion, as well as its patriarchal structure, for many years. The word God to me exemplified all of that. It wasn’t until I read Mary Daly’s book Beyond God the Father in my 20s that I began to open to a spirituality beyond religion. Mary asked her readers to imagine God as a verb not a noun—an active verb, neither male nor female. That fascinated me and enabled me to break through to infinite possibilities around the idea of God. The words Source, Divine, Goddess, Great Mystery, Universal Consciousness, Spirit all held meaning for me. I liked having many names for God, which is really unnamed energy anyway. It’s humans who want to name it.

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What is the significance of having (or not having) a guru?

I find that in this culture, every time I say I have a guru, I feel like I am holding up a red flag to people, because they say, “Well, I wouldn’t want that,” or, “Why don’t I have one?” or something else, so all I’m doing is creating suffering every time I mention it. It’s hard to have something you treasure so much, that you can’t share with people for fear of the impact it’s going to have on them. But I see that what I have to get rid of is my own reactivity to that issue. I am a member of this culture also, strange though it is.


The words that come to mind are that true surrender is no surrender, and the way it was put to me by one of my teachers in the old days, Baba Hari Dass was, “You can’t rip the skin off a snake. When it’s time, the snake sheds its skin.” If it’s a situation where somebody says,“Surrender to me” and you say, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” forget it. It’s not gonna work anyway, because even if you say, “I’m surrendering to you,” that’s ego saying, “I’m surrendering,” which is not surrender. There is a point where your surrender becomes just so obvious and absurd, that you’d be a fool not to – it’s not something where you decide, “I will surrender.”


It’s very interesting that my relationship to my guru is not one that my rational mind shows. In fact, the whole thing was very abhorrent to me in the beginning. When I met Neem Karoli Baba, the whole idea of a Hindu guru was absolutely absurd. I didn’t like Hinduism. It was day-glow paint and calendar art and I didn’t like it, you know… I liked the cleanliness of Buddhism. I mean I was really, you know, a Southern Buddhist. And here I meet my guru, you know, a big fat guy in a blanket, and what the hell is this all about? The fellow I was with was lying down touching the man’s feet and I’m sitting with my arms crossed standing there thinking, “I’m not gonna touch his feet.” You know, I mean, it was just, that symbol of the whole thing, and I wouldn’t do it.


An hour later it was all I wanted to do.

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How I Found Peace - Letting Go

My husband and I are in Santa Barbra for a week of Infinite Illumination, with Panache Desai. I have been looking forward to both the teachings and community. John was not completely sold on the whole idea of illumination. He confessed to having plans of an alternate experience if needed.


Just before the opening of the event we walked on the beach. It felt so good to just feel the sun and begin to get in a space that welcomes new experiences. We strolled for a bit before I decided to sit down and take it all in. My partner continued on.


Once seated, I discovered what had energetically pulled me; why I had stopped walking. There was a lone seal. It had recently suffered significant injuries and appeared thin. He struggled to move along on the sand. The water was slowly coming in. The seal worked hard to stay ahead of the rising tide.


More people stopped. Someone put a call into a marine life rescue center. The dark gray and white water neared the seal as we made eye contact . This image has stayed with me.  

Bliss and Bangs on the Head

Sometimes life is a joyful dance, and sometimes it just hurts, like a really bad headache. When things get difficult, you may feel that you are being punished for failing some invisible test of your character. Or, dramatically, that you are Sisyphus pushing a boulder uphill, only to watch it roll back down again. This is the human view, thinking we are in complete control of our lives and have made a mistake when things aren’t going well. In truth, we are not in single-handed control, and there are no mistakes. Everything that occurs in your life has been envisioned by God and your soul to bring you to greater awareness of the absolute perfection of every moment.

As we progress on the spiritual path, we gradually learn that sacred Source energy is present in every single experience. It’s in the goose bumps and tears of blissful connection to something greater as well as in the sudden harsh twist of fate that stops you in your tracks and diverts you to a new destination. It’s the hard stuff as well as the celestial celebration. It’s all divinely orchestrated Grace, designed to move you ever closer to complete alignment with your soul. It opens you to seeing that God/dess is present in absolutely every situation and scenario, in every person and event.

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How can we hold onto our identities more lightly?

When you take birth, you are extremely vulnerable. You’re at the whim of all the forces around you, so what you develop through socialization are techniques for your own survival as a separate entity. That survival comes from creating boundaries so that you don’t just get wiped out. Those boundaries as a little person, as a child, are enlarged by being a member of your family, where you have allies, and are now a part of a group. It becomes, “I have people that are gonna help me. We’ve agreed to help one another.” You know, not all the time, but I’m thinking more in physical proximity than in a psychological sense.


So we grow up feeling that our identity groups gives us power, while it’s also securing our separateness. You can see this within the bigger system of nation-states where there are these huge egos. What’s very interesting historically at the moment we’re living in, is that the sometimes multicultural economic structures are becoming more powerful than the nation-states. The nation-states are in deep doodoo economically, and the industries are doing great. So that the reference to, “I am an American,” while it’s great, is no longer absolute salvation for you, because there’s a whole other ball game playing here.


Now, the more insecure people get, the more they’re frightened by existing conditions.

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How can we use our expanding set of opportunities in society to awaken?

You have been given a great luxury in this society. You don’t have a fixed identity that you’re locked into, because of caste or because of economics or because of anything. You’re free to ask the question, “What do I want to do?” At first, what people do is they say, “Oh, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna…” and then after a while, you realize that perhaps what the game is about is listening and tuning into who you are on a deeper level, and what this birth is about, and your work of life.

Most people in most societies in the history of the world have never had that option to ask, “What do I want to do?” They’ve gone through their life with the feeling of, “If only I didn’t have this, I could be free.” Then you are free, and now it has to come from a different place in you…how to find the way in your life and you go through the period of, “What do I want? What do I desire?” and then you begin to see the kind of hollowness of it. It doesn’t quite resonate deeply enough in your being.

A lot of very wealthy people in this society, that’s where they live; desperately wanting to have something that will justify their existence.

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What is required in our spiritual journey besides the desire to open?

I was raised by a Jewish middle class woman, my mother, who was very busy being just that, very concerned with propriety, and the appropriate food and the way to raise her children and I reacted as an appropriately neurotic Jewish son. And then my mother died and I met my guru, Maharaji. He spoke about my mother and he said, “You know, she’s a great saint.” At the moment that he said that, my entire conception of her shifted and I saw the few moments when she and I had met as spiritual entities, and suddenly the whole way we had interacted as mother and son in this particular round fell into the background, a reversal.

Your daily life is full of this and that, it’s full of pulls and pushes, it’s full of clinging of mind. You are literally at the mercy of your senses and your thoughts. And those senses and thoughts just keep recreating your mold or model or view of the reality.


It keeps reassuring you that you’ve got it all pegged, that’s just the way it is. But every one of you had moments when you broke through, as if you stuck your nose through the veil and you saw that wasn’t who you were at all. But then because most of you had no context in which to put it, you pulled back out of fear. You reassured yourself that the world was the way it was and you referred to those experiences as hallucinations, “I went crazy, it was far out,” as something discontinuous with your daily life.

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How can we use our hearts as agents for social change?

In the beginning, when I used to sit by the bed of dying AIDS patients, I’d come to their door in my usual, “Aren’t I holy” disguise to see this person. I was visiting the moribund, you know, but then I realized that I was depriving them of what human hearts can do for one another. So then I became like Superman going into the telephone booth as I grasped the doorknob of their room, galumphing along. Now when I put my hand on their doorknob I immediately become a soul. I start to shift my identity, or perspective in myself, into the soul.

You see, I have learned that you can’t see a soul until you can be one.

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Essential Communion: Inner and Outer Technology

We are in a time of collective consciousness trying to preserve separation and polarity as the truth. Simultaneously we are uncovering the structure and dynamics of union, of both/and, of the inner technologies of the 7 layer liquid crystal oscillator which is our heart and the match of outer ARK crystal and other technologies. This communion is ancient, ongoing and infinite.

At this time in our conscious evolution and spiritual/physical/Cosmic alchemy, we stand on the event horizon of Truth, mystery and deep fusion of great possibility that is embedded within our cellular and DNA already. There is no striving or manifesting of such for it is who we are and part of us inextricably. 
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A Heart That Is Ready for Anything ~

When the Buddha was dying, he gave a final message to his beloved attendant Ananda, and to generations to come: “Be a lamp unto yourself, be a refuge to yourself. Take yourself to no external refuge.”

In his last words, the Buddha was urging us to see this truth: although you may search the world over trying to find it, your ultimate refuge is none other than your own being.

There’s a bright light of awareness that shines through each of us and guides us home, and we’re never separated from this luminous awareness, any more than waves are separated from ocean. Even when we feel most ashamed or lonely, reactive or confused, we’re never actually apart from the awakened state of our heart-mind.

This is a powerful and beautiful teaching. The Buddha was essentially saying: I’m not the only one with this light; all ordinary humans have this essential wakefulness, too. In fact, this open, loving awareness is our deepest nature. We don’t need to get somewhere or change ourselves: our true refuge is what we are. Trusting this opens us to the blessings of freedom.

Buddhist monk, Sayadaw U. Pandita describes these blessings in a wonderful way: A heart that is ready for anything. When we trust that we are the ocean, we are not afraid of the waves. We have confidence that whatever arises is workable. We don’t have to lose our life in preparation. We don’t have to defend against what’s next. We are free to live fully with what is here, and to respond wisely.

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What is an effective process for dealing with the mechanics of your mind?

At any time you can look at a thought form and get involved in the content of the thought. In therapy you start to get psycho-dynamic. You can say, “Ok, now I’m gonna look at the mechanics of my mind,” in which case every thought is just another thought. It’s not some special thought or the deepest thought. So I would take the kind of internalized feeling and thought, and I would bring my awareness back to my breath, and then the thought would come again, and I would go back to my breath, and then the thought would come again, and again I would come back to my breath, until eventually I started to appreciate it as just another thought, because at this point I am treating it like that, rather than like it is ‘real’ or ‘solid.’

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Glimpses of God

Those of us who have been on a spiritual path for twenty or thirty years know firsthand that there is no fast track to enlightenment. No door that can be forced open by sheer will power, on the other side of which God sits waiting. No treasure chest that a special secret code can spring open. Detective work and safe-cracking tools will get you nowhere, except back to where you started from, learning again and again to sit quietly and open your heart to the God within. Our lifetime search brings us home to ourselves, realizing at last that God is everywhere and everything, including us.

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What is the ego?

The ego is the aspect of the mind that feels personal. It emanates the boundary of "me" and "I." We can observe in a newborn child that the personal sense of "me" has not yet crystallized. A newborn may be crying loudly one moment and perfectly content the next. States of mind seem to come and go without a central identity holding on to experiences.


By the age of two, toddlers start to use words like "me." "Mine" can become a favorite word in this stage. This is a sign of the ego crystallizing. The greater mind is creating a demarcation within itself, a sub-identity, which we have given a first and last name.

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