It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Why We Need The Divine Feminine.

With the decline of organized religion and a decades-old drop in church attendance, people have largely made their spiritual life into something private and personal. The rise of meditation and yoga attests to this. But it is hard to fix your sight on a spiritual goal if you don’t believe in heaven from the Western perspective or enlightenment from the Eastern.

Looking around at the tone of modern life, I think an important goal is worth seizing on: the divine feminine. Being scientific, rational, and technical, secular society seems to have less time for values that Carl Jung would have included in the feminine archetype, that religions cast as goddesses or a motherly figure like the Virgin Mary, and which most of us identify with our mothers growing up.

But at a deeper level, the divine feminine represents certain values that human beings have long cherished.  Half of human nature is represented by the feminine in both sexes, as reflected in the qualities of the ancient Greek and Roman goddesses.

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A Renewed Planet Starts With Food

When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

The way we eat has changed the planet. In this simple idea, which few of us consider when we go to the grocery store, lies immense hope for the future—if we pay attention. On the medical front a large number of people accept the notion, once thought of as a fringe belief, that “you are what you eat.” The decisions you make today about what you eat will have a huge impact in your future health. Food plays a decisive factor in modern lifestyle diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and all the damaging side effects related to the epidemic of obesity in this country.

The next step in our growing awareness expands on the same idea. The next bite you take adds to the health of planet Earth or pushes it a tiny step toward deterioration. Unconscious eating is bad for the environment. Conscious eating puts the planet on the road to renewal and wellness.

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Did Life Create The Universe?

No matter how life began on Earth—there are still some huge gaps in our knowledge about that—it seems indisputable that the universe set up the conditions for life. But a radical twist has now been offered by the prominent stem-cell biologist Robert Lanza and theoretical physicist Matej Pavšič in their deliberately startling new book, The Grand Biocentric Design. As Lanza bluntly declares in the book’s introduction, “Life is not a product of the universe but the other way around.” Lanza calls this theory “biocentrism,” which he introduced in his 2010 book of the same name.

On the face of it, saying that life created the universe is preposterous as long as the Big Bang and all the accepted steps leading to the creation of Earth are true. Yet what if they are just the assumptions of a current scientific model or paradigm? By definition a paradigm shift calls into question the rock-solid assumptions on which the previous paradigm rests.

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What Controls the Fate of the Cells?

The culture medium, environment, the chemistry. Yes, not the genes. We said the genes control us. I say, No, wait. They were all exact same genes so the difference between muscle, bone and fat cells was not determined by the genes, they all had the same genes. It was determined by the environment. Now look in the mirror and what do you see back? An individual entity. You see yourself as single individual, human entity. It’s a misperception of a singleness for this reason. Here’s the true bottom line. You are made up to fifty trillion cells. Your body is a community. The cells are the living entity. When I say your name or I say Bruce, that’s a name I give to a community of fifty trillion cells. The cells again are those single living entity. Here’s the point. Jokey but fun and true. You are skin covered petri dish. Underneath your skin are fifty trillion cells growing in this petri dish.

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Is the Universe Friendly?

You probably already know that Albert Einstein, who won a Nobel Prize for Physics, and was famous for his theory of relativity, which revolutionized our understanding of space, time, gravity, and the Universe, was a genius. But did you also know he was quite the philosopher?

Einstein wrote that the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the Universe a friendly place?’

He explained that, “ if we decide that the Universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.”

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The Planetary Biome: A New Theory of Life and Survival

When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily. - Deepak Chopra

The global pandemic has disrupted everything we call normal life. The disruption has been so catastrophic that there is fear among experts that this is only a “starter pandemic.” COVID is less infectious than the measles and less fatal than SARS. Instead of using this fact to stoke fear, we can do a great deal to heed COVID’s wakeup call.

A new way of looking at life itself holds out hope and optimism, because the popular image of deadly viruses assaulting humans like microscopic aliens is incorrect. Microbes are the very basis of life. We interact with them constantly, and much more than 99% of the time life is enhanced. Every advanced life form, including us, has microbial DNA woven into its own genome. A vast colony of bacteria known as the microbiome together with viruses (the virome) and fungi (the mycobiome) that inhabit every animal’s digestive tract, and when it comes to mammals, the microbiome not only makes digestion possible, but it connects us to the planetary biome—the totality of viruses, bacteria, and fungi that truly rules the earth.

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The Spread of 'Stranger Than We Can Think'

As we go about everyday life, we are embedded in a mystery no one has ever solved. The mystery was voiced by one of the most brilliant quantum pioneers, Werner Heisenberg: “Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.” (There are variants of the quote that use “reality” for “universe,” and the remark has also been attributed to other famous scientists, but the gist is always the same.)

If we take this remark seriously, it turns out to be truer today than it was in 1900 when the quantum revolution began and the revolutionary new theory of quantum mechanics was put together. How can reality be stranger than we could possibly think? Look at the framework of your life. You pick up your morning coffee, and instantly you are acting in space and time. Your perception of the cup in your hand depends upon the five senses as communicated through the brain. You can think about anything you fancy as you sip your coffee.

These might not seem so mysterious, but there is one mystery after another nested inside everyday experience. Science can reach no consensus on the following:

• Where did time come from?
• Why do properties of physical objects have their origin in invisible waves of probability of observation?
• Where does a thought come from?
• How did matter transform into mind?
• Is consciousness solely a human trait or is it everywhere in the universe?

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A New World Needs a New Worldview

It is very rare that human beings have a chance to rethink our place in Nature. The modern world is the fruit of a worldview that has placed Homo sapiens reigning supreme over all other life forms.  This worldview seems only right and proper to the vast majority of people. In the course of just a few weeks, however, over seven billion people’s lives changed for the worse.  Economies were halted, global transportation and supply chains were shut down to a crawl, and hundreds of millions of jobs were lost. More money has been lost globally than in any other moment in history. Amid the shock and panic, the catastrophe of COVID-19 has prompted some radical rethinking. Can a new and better world emerge? Not unless our worldview changes, because in many ways the virus isn’t a mindless primitive life form ravaging us, “the most superior life form on the planet”. Nor did Nature strike back to punish us. Something deeper is going on. To see what it is, we need to consider a worldview based not on humans-as-supreme, but on life-as-supreme.

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A Brave New World, and How to Get There

If you find yourself living in a troubled world, what should you do? The question is as old as recorded history, but over the millennia only three basic answers have emerged. If you find yourself living in a troubled world, you should A. Turn to God or the gods, B. Place your trust in science and rational thought, or C. Renounce the world and retreat inward.

These answers have practical outcomes, which is why we have cathedrals, space programs, and monasteries. But what if none of the three time-honored answers works anymore? That’s the general situation most modern people find themselves in, and so they retain a diluted loyalty to old answers in the absence of a better one.  For example, most Americans do not believe the creation story in the Book of Genesis, but neither do they completely believe Darwinism, telling pollsters that in some undefined way God enters into evolution despite the view among evolutionary scientists that Darwin’s theory is completely valid.

The third option, retreating from the world, is actually the one most of us have chosen more or less automatically. We lament the state of the world but spend every day occupied with our personal affairs. If you do nothing to improve the world, you are for all intents and purposes reliant on your own thoughts and actions. A higher authority or proven worldview is irrelevant.

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When the World Stops Working, We Will Know the Truth

Everyone looks at the world, and their lives, assuming that they know the truth. This isn’t truth with a capital T but simply the truth about everyday things, like how to drive a car, buy groceries, and do one’s job. We know other basic things that are true, such as when we are awake as opposed to being asleep. In other words, the world works, more or less to our satisfaction.

Somewhere beyond everyday affairs there are experts, professionals, and thinkers who deal in deeper truths, still not with a capital T but getting closer. Scientists especially are trusted to give us the truth about Nature from the most microscopic regions of quanta to the most cosmic regions, where quasars and black holes exist. We trust that if the everyday world is working, science must have a handle on why it works, operating from its deeper perspective.

So it comes as something of a shock, even though it doesn’t touch us personally, that the scientific view of the world is so wobbly that it is on the verge of becoming either untrue or obsolete or both. At the farthest edges of exploration, the basic elements of physics—space, time, matter, and energy—vanish, either because they disappear into a black hole or because the scale of measurement reaches the limit, known as the Planck scale, where there is no way to calculate anything. At the same time there is the whole issue of dark matter and energy, which are barely known and may not be knowable by the human mind, since our brains are set up for regular matter and energy.

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The Incredible Vanishing Universe (And How to Bring It Back)

Looking up at the night sky reveals an uncountable richness of stars and galaxies, which gets augmented billions of times over through telescope images from deep space. The cosmos looks to be in no danger of disappearing, but this is just a comforting illusion.

Starting in 1933, with the first intimation that dark matter existed—an idea discarded at the time, waiting another 35 years to resurface—the visible universe has been so undermined by dark matter and energy that it now ranks in size about the same as the cherry atop an ice cream sundae. By current estimates dark matter accounts for 27% of the universe, dark energy for 68%, and everything else in the observable universe a mere 5%.

You might see the situation as a kind of “tip of the iceberg,” with the bulk of the berg hidden underwater, but the reality is more baffling.  No one knows how the hidden bulk of the universe relates to the visible tip. It isn’t even credible yet that “matter” and “energy” are the right words for it.

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Finding the Universe in a Coffee Cup

The universe is hard to explain, because there are so many moving parts and so many levels, probably infinite in both cases. It is a cherished goal in physics to unify these parts, but so far success has eluded even the most brilliant investigators. The average person might take an occasional interest in the latest theories about the cosmos, but we think the mystery of the universe faces everyone on a daily basis, as does the solution to the mystery.

The cosmic riddle is easy to state: Is the universe whole?  Do its parts all work together, and if so, how? Clearly the universe isn’t a machine, because machines are assembled from mechanical parts with visible connections like the gears in a car’s transmission. But the universe has a peculiar feature. The moving parts, meaning any physical object, whether as large as a galaxy or as tiny as an atom, depend on probabilities to show us their properties, and these suddenly vanish at the quantum level. Even large, or macroscopic, objects exhibit quantum behavior. To drive the point home, subatomic particles do not have a stable identity. They flicker in and out of one state, following  invisible probability waves. The same peculiarity holds true for the other basic ingredients of what we call everyday reality: time, space, and energy. All have an invisible source beyond the physical, even though we experience them in the physical world.

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Einstein, the Moon, and You

At the present moment a lot of the basic principles of traditional physics are in a confused state of disarray. Occasionally the media carries a story about strange discoveries by modern science on the order of black holes or dark matter and energy, suggesting that such phenomena are as yet unexplained. What isn’t publicized is that many if not most of the most commonly cherished ideas in traditional physics are dead as dodos. They are either wrong, impossible to verify, or contradicted by other more modern ideas without the contradiction being resolved.

Here is a list of the dead dodos, although some might still be clinging to life tenuously.

  • The physical world perceived by the five senses is reliable. It serves as the basis for everything real, including mind and matter.
  • The Big Bang occurred once, in a specific time and place, and provided for the emergence of all the energy in the known universe.
  • Space, time, matter, and energy provide the unshakable framework of reality.
  • The subjective world “in here” is separate from the objective world “out there.” Science properly deals with the objective world, since it can be fully understood through facts, data, experimentation, and mathematical formulas. The subjective notions and impressions filling our heads have no such reliability.
  • Having triumphed for centuries and providing us with the modern technological world, science will eventually have a complete theory of everything. This is only a matter of time, needing only the continuation of rational thought to penetrate all of Nature’s secrets.
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Why Einstein Was Wrong About the Moon

Reality contains many mysteries, some so impenetrable that even the greatest minds are baffled. Albert Einstein was among them. Even though quantum physics had achieved a huge success, Einstein had doubts about its description of reality. These doubts were crystallized in an anecdote. As related the acclaimed modern physicist Lee Smolin, “He once walked back from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton with the late Abraham Pais. The moon was out and Einstein asked Pais, ‘Do you really believe the moon is not there when you are not looking at it?’”

Einstein was defending two of the most basic principles in everyday life, first, that physical objects exist “out there” as real things, second, that they exist independent of an observer. It would seem impossible that these two propositions aren’t true. Of course, we say, the moon exists as a real thing, and it was around for billions of years before the first human gazed at it. But this view, technically known as naive realism, is fatally flawed.

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There Is No chaos, There Is Only Creativity

The human mind is addicted to opposites, but it turns out that Nature isn’t. This statement becomes important in a deep way when it comes to chaos. In our minds chaos, or disorder, is the opposite of order. By thinking like this, we oblige the human tendency to prefer order over disorder. Leading an orderly life supports every kind of organized activity from making a meal out of raw ingredients assembled in an orderly way to making an iPhone or any other technological tool in an orderly way.

Chaos is the messiness that disrupts order and can cause it to fall apart. In Victorian times mental illness was often referred to as a disordered mind, and it is the mind that we rely upon to keep life organized and rational. But what if this whole discussion is simply wrong? As long as we believe in chaos, it serves as a potent threat. Cancer causes chaos in the regulation of the body; earthquakes shake up cities; riots in the street threaten civil society.

The threat of chaos changes when we shift our perspective. Expand your viewpoint, and chaos is the mask worn by creativity. To die of cancer returns your orderly body to a disorderly state known as decay, but the material of your body continues to contribute to the life of fungi, bacteria, and  other micro-organisms. Good for them, you might grumble, but without them, human DNA could not have evolved. Earthquakes topple buildings, but without seismic shifts, the present-day continents wouldn’t exist, or the life forms that inhabit Asia instead of Africa or North America instead of Europe.

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Why Matter Is a (Useful) Fiction

Given a choice between physics and metaphysics, almost everyone chooses physics. This is a modern habit that is deeply ingrained, and it turns the tables on the religious approach to reality, which put a divine or supernatural entity, first and foremost in creation. But relying on the physical world as the foundation of reality has run into serious problems. Unable or unwilling to return to metaphysics, people are stuck without a viable model of reality. 

This becomes apparent if you go to the nub of the physical model, which is matter. For centuries, ever since the ancient Greek concept of the atom, there has been a constant search for the smallest building block in Nature, on the supposition that the world is like a sandcastle on the beach. If you reduce the sandcastle to grains of sand, you know where it comes from. Putting things on a firm foundation is one of humanity’s driving force, and in the physical world, this drive leads to atoms and beyond. 

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The Most Popular Model of Reality Is Wrong

It would be ideal if reality and our model of reality merged into the same thing. A model of reality explains how the universe was created and how it operates. You might think that this is a definition of reality itself, but it isn’t, which can be illustrated by looking at the most popular model, known as naïve realism.

In a nutshell, naïve realism says that what you see is what you get. In other words, the reality presented by the five senses is reliable. Such a view appeals to common sense. It rests on experiences we take for granted. There is a physical world “out there” separate from our subjective experience “in here.” The physical world predates human beings by 13.8 billion years, going back to the Big Bang. If both of those things are true, then obviously what we think, feel, and desire “in here” has no effect on reality “out there.”

As unimaginably sophisticated as modern science has become, most scientists accept naïve realism, usually without question, even though each of the common-sense facts just mentioned is known to be false.

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Birdsong: Don't Let the Music Die...

In 1962, Rachel Carson called it the “silent spring,” the time when pesticides would destroy birds and other wildlife and leave humanity existing in a half-life of stunned silence. Her work was the impetus for the environmental movement and has influenced millions of people worldwide. Yet today, more than 50 years later, pesticides are still very much in use, and we are facing the slow, agonizing fulfillment of her prophecy. In September, the journal Science published the results of a comprehensive study of North American bird populations. The results: Since 1970, there are nearly 3 billion fewer birds singing their spring songs, a staggering 29% gone from the Earth. Bird experts and conservationists are calling it “a full-blown crisis” and “the loss of nature.”*

The day I read these figures, I wept. I could feel my heart breaking. The losses are so huge. Beloved warblers in all their colorful variety: 617 million gone. Two of my all-time favorite birds: Baltimore orioles, 2 in 5 gone; wood thrushes, 6 in 10 gone. It is hard to fathom. Almost unbelievable. The birds that I eagerly anticipated seeing and hearing each spring are vanishing and may one day be gone forever. What would spring be without birds? Without the robin’s cheery song and the redwing blackbird’s flashing colors and ringing call? Dead air, everywhere.

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The Surest Way to an “Aha” Moment

An invitation to Sages and Scientists Symposium, Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville Arkansas

One of the fastest ways to make a breakthrough occurs in an “aha” moment, a flash of insight that delivers an answer all at once. “Aha” moments are very desirable. Isaac Newton had one about gravity when he saw an apple fall from a tree (even though this popular story was never told by him), and Alexander Fleming had one about penicillin when he saw that a common green mold had spoiled his carefully cultured dishes of bacteria.

Yet “Aha” moments are unpredictable by their very nature, and no one knows—or even has a clue—why or how they occur. This doesn’t decrease the urgent need for breakthroughs in all kinds of fields where conventional answers, and the method for reaching them, has failed. More than 200 promising Alzheimer’s drugs have failed, for example, leading some drug companies to give up the effort to find one that works. We have no proven answer for aging despite dozens of theories. We don’t have a viable technology to reverse the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Leaving these problems to science is the typical way, and for many the only way, to achieve solutions. But a growing number of theorists believe that every department of human knowledge should be allowed to contribute. If you divide the world into the objective domain “out there” and the subjective domain “in here,” science is very good at the one and drastically lagging in the other. If you want to understand all kinds of inner experiences—love, beauty, curiosity, creativity, pain, wonder, suffering ecstasy, or even what a thought is—there is little science can tell you compared with what centuries of personal experience can tell you.

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The Future of Personal and Planetary Well Being : An invitation to Sages and Scientists Symposium, Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville Arkansas

Despite a steady increase in life expectancy, medical science is facing diminishing returns. It has been estimated that every increase in lifespan since 1990 has resulted in only ten months of increased healthy life; the rest is only prolonged suffering and the decline of aging. Globally more people now die of so-called “lifestyle diseases” than from infectious diseases. Doctors cannot make choices about lifestyle; only the patient can. Finally, half of all heart attacks before old age occur in people who live a good lifestyle, managing their weight, eating right, and exercising regularly.

What lies beyond lifestyle? That’s a matter of much speculation. Will human existence be improved in the future through technology, genetic manipulation, nano-robots in the bloodstream serving as cancer hunters? Or will it take a new philosophical conception, one that entices people away from a life of speed, constant activity, and stress?

By all odds it will take both, because innovations in technology can’t succeed if we continue to define well-being in old, outworn ways. Consider the following statements, which almost everyone, including doctors, take as fact:

  • The body is a machine, and like all machines it breaks down.
  • Aging is a pre-determined process, probably controlled by our genes.
  • The body is a mindless lump of matter except for the brain, which has evolved to produce mind or consciousness.]
  • The causes of most diseases are now known. What remains is to find effective drugs to target each malady.
  • You are healthy until something goes wrong, which is signaled by the appearance of symptoms.

In reality none of these statements is correct. The body isn’t a machine; machines cannot heal themselves. The body isn’t mindless; every cell is imbued with vast knowledge that far surpasses anything found in medical textbooks. The brain doesn’t produce the mind; that’s merely an assumption that has never been proved.

The most urgent need facing each of us is how to envision our bodies without the burden of outworn assumptions, which is why, starting in two weeks, an annual symposium known as Sages & Scientists Symposium will bring together the best thinkers with views both humanistic and scientific. This year’s theme is “The Future of Well-Being,” and the public is invited to attend. There is nothing on the planet as open to the free exchange of ideas, from every kind of thinker and researcher, all aiming to find a way forward into a viable future.

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