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A New Year, And Possibly a New World
It's fascinating, as time turns another small corner, to think of how worlds shift and collide. There is no evidence that a person as brilliant as Shakespeare understood that Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo had already revolutionized the human mind. The same thing may be happening now, and many brilliant people seem unaware of how our present-day world --meaning our conception of reality-- may undergo a seismic shift.


I’m not thinking of fossil fuels and Arab uprisings, not even of the 99% as against the 1%. Upheavals in the outer world are secondary, in the long sweep of history, to inner revolutions. We may be on the verge of such a one. What makes me think so is a trickle of medical articles, now greatly expanding, that are proving troublesome to mainstream medicine. These articles sometimes deal with cancer, sometimes with antidepressants, sometimes with the dashed hopes for gene therapies that seem constantly out of reach.

What these articles have in common is that treating the body like a machine isn't panning out. The next breakthrough in cancer or psychotherapy or genetically-related disorders may come from an entirely different angle than the workaday materialism that "of course" looks at our bodies as physical objects like any other. That "of course" is the mark of a settled worldview. A thousand years ago, God "of course" created the world in seven days and the soul "of course" was more important than the body, which was a temporary shell while the soul worked its way through this vale of tears.

When settled worldviews crumble, we have to reinvent the world. So far, there have been only three categories from which to construct reality from the ground up.

1. Dualism, which separates mind and body.
2. Non-dual materialism, which considers only physical things and excludes the spiritual, mystical, and supernatural.
3. Non-dual consciousness, which traces reality back to mind and beyond mind to the very potential for mind.

Dualism no longer satisfies professional thinkers. Putting mind in one box and the body in another settles no questions about either. We are left with half a loaf, unable to say anything reliable about pure mind but also unable to connect the subtle way that the body responds to thoughts and feelings. Yet curiously, the average person is a flaming, if secret, dualist. We compartmentalize our lives in countless ways. God belongs on Sunday, the material world dominates the rest of the week. We treat our bodies sensibly, yet when a mortal illness threatens, it's time to pray. This kind of compartmentalism is understandable, but in the long run it's frustrating, as witness the countless people who feel anxious and empty in their search for higher meaning.

The same complaint could be aimed at non-dual materialism, but science, which is totally materialistic, has won a resounding victory on many fronts. Therefore, it's an easy slide into believing that the scientific worldview must be correct. Non-dual materialism leaves no room for anything that cannot be turned into data. So it is incompatible with God, spirit, the soul, and even the mind. The average person has bought into the notion, publicized constantly by the media, that the mind is the brain. After all, we can now watch the brain in real time as a person experiences love, faith, compassion, and all other "higher" experiences that once belonged to the mind and the soul. But watching the brain at work is like watching an old tube radio light up when Beethoven is played. It would be naive to say that the radio composed Beethoven's music. Yet just as naively non-dual materialists see no reason to look beyond the brain for an invisible thing labeled as mind.

This is the worldview that is crumbling while seeming to rise victoriously higher. Termites are silently chewing at the timbers. One notices this by being attuned to articles about the failures of the materialistic approach. Contrary to popular hopes, materialism cannot explain cancer or depression. It cannot tell you why talking to somebody can help your free-floating anxiety while tranquilizers may fail. Materialism sidesteps the mounting problem of side effects and the long-term damage to the brain from decades of taking psychotropic drugs. Materialism cannot explain what memory is, where it is stored on the cellular level, or why memories haunt us. There are many, many failures of this kind, and even in a field far removed from medicine like physics, peering into the void that gave rise to the physical universe has posed huge explanatory problems.

Which leaves the third worldview, non-dual consciousness, that is all but invisible on the scene. It has been invisible for a long time, certainly in the Judeo-Christian West, where only a handful of obscure names like Spinoza, Giordano Bruno, and Meister Eckhart flirted with the idea that all is one, and that "one" is consciousness. Today, some farseeing speculative thinkers in physics are coping with the possibility that we live in a conscious universe. A tiny handful of neuroscientists are grappling with the possibility that the mind controls the brain and not vice versa. It's exciting fun to be part of this splinter group, especially if you relish the scorn of experts who inform you that "of course" you are completely off your rocker, a charlatan, or a crypto religionist.

What the scorn masks is that "of course" will be thrown out the window if a new worldview takes hold. That’s what happened to the idea that "or course" God created the world according to Genesis. But the non-dual consciousness that was dominant three thousand years ago in Vedic India cannot return as it once was formulated. The modern world isn't about to throw science out the window. Instead, science must expand, so that we look at cancer, depression, or the Big Bang and say, "Now I see." (In particular, the mind-body connection with cancer needs exploring, as we will do in a later post.) A worldview succeeds when it explains more than the old one, when it opens people's eyes, and when it achieves practical results. In the next post, we'll touch on how non-dual consciousness can do all those things.

(To be cont.)

Published by The San Francisco Chronicle
 

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Comments

Thank you. \n\nMore and more every day I feel embodied by All That Is. It is nice to see what I`ve been feeling and thinking put into writing by someone outside of myself. I appreciate your work, and feel blessed to have this validation right now. I know 2012 is a time for change and I`m excited to share the beginning again with those who love.
raina - January 10, 2012
Deepak, I`m a native of India who was born and raised Christian. \n\nI agree with you that GOD is not this old man with white hair, white beard who wears a long white robe that most Christian people visualize HIM to be. I say \"him\" only because there is no construct in the English language to correctly refer to GOD. \n\nYes, my understanding of GOD is more along the lines of Einstein and Spinoza. In your blog piece you seem to suggest that the notion of GOD that existed in Vedic India is a more refined notion. But then I also know that the concept of god visualized by the masses that practice Hinduism in India today is just as flawed as the notion of GOD understood by the Christian masses. Many Hindus I have interacted with (including those that attend services at centers of feel good religions in the USA) seemed to suggest that they are gods themselves just because of this notion that god is only about meta physics and the consciousness of a human being. I refuse to believe that GOD is only about consciousness of a human being much as I refuse to believe that god parades around wearing an elephant or a monkey head. Sorry but I don`t need images of GOD that have human or animal forms. GOD also does not need to have 3 heads, 10 hands and 10 feet. The only truth about GOD is that human beings have too small a brain to understand GOD, Big Bang Theory not withstanding. GOD is also above all religions and no religion ought to have sole proprietorship over GOD.\n\nEclectic Christians allude to GOD as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Nothing more. Nothing less.\n\nI also know that even as there are a lot of Christians who think of Jesus of Nazareth as GOD, he is not GOD for nowhere in the new testament of the Bible does it says he was GOD. Jesus of Nazareth most certainly did not say he was GOD. Also the 2 most basic of Christian prayers (the Our Father, and the Nicean Creed) do not refer to Jesus of Nazareth as GOD. I am a Christian who calls Jesus Christ my \"Lord and Savior\" because Jesus showed me the path to GOD by way of his teachings, his love and the ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross. I also think of Jesus as a philosopher bar none. Very few have matched Jesus Christ`s words of wisdom. Another distinguishing aspect of Jesus of Nazareth was that he was a prophet. His consciousness was connected with the collective consciousness of the universe in a way that he was able to \"see\" the future. The only prophesy of Jesus of Nazareth that is yet to come true is that he will come again when the world as we know it comes to an end (not to be interpreted as the end of world like most people do). This prophesy of his returning is similar to the concept of re-incarnation that is central to Hinduism and Buddhism.\n\nWith the above as background regarding the form of Christianity I follow, I am sure you misunderstand the book of Genesis of the Bible. If your blog piece was the first time you came across as somebody who misunderstands the Bible I would not be commenting here. But I have heard you make comments about Christianity and the Bible on TV at which time I cringed for I could not understand why you came across as being so ignorant about Christianity. One must not interpret the description in the book of Genesis that GOD created the world in 7 days literally. Consider this, GOD works VERY FAST and 1 GOD day could be 1 billion human days. I urge you to elevate your own consciousness and realize that every story in the Bible that does not make obvious sense to you must be absorbed in a way that one translates the literal word into a more educated understanding of the word. Literal translations are for the hoi-polloi.
roydacruz - January 6, 2012
Thank you Deepak for this article. It has been so many years that I have had this intuition that what medicine is doing is wrong in the sense that it is treating the symptoms rather than the root causes. The last link in the chain is the body, expressed in the material world. The body is a feedback source that is precious and that sometimes suppressing symptoms is the worse to do. In the case of cancer, we will understand that the root cause is on a higher level of existence, probably an energetic one. So, we will understand the importance of thoughts on health. The mind power can make us thick and heal as well. Understanding the way we are, who we are will bring health as a normal state of life...
Denis Gorce-Bourge - January 4, 2012
THE KINGDOM/REIGN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IS HERE...IT HAS ALWAYS AND WILL ALWAYS BE HERE.\n\nTHIS ONE SELF - UNITY CONSCIOUSNESS, ALL THERE IS, IS UNIVERSALLY \"ACTING\"\nWITH THE SOLE PURPOSE/INTENTION OF BRINGING ABOUT IT`S FULL REALIZATION\n\nAND ACTUALIZATION FOR ALL TIME IN HUMANITY.\n\nBECAUSE IT IS OUR OWN DEEPEST CONSCIOUSNESS/SELF...IT IS HUMANITIES DEEPEST\nDESIRE AND INTENTION TOO, OUR TRUEST DESIRE, TO LIVE UNDER SPIRITUAL POWER.
Gary Moposita. - January 3, 2012
I can feel it already...what an amazing winter solstice :) Such clarity.
Connie Fawcett - January 3, 2012
Beautifully said, science, common sense and intelligence take the discussion beyond the narrow `dogmas` of science and religion!
Phyllis - January 2, 2012
Yes, the shift to non-dual consciousness is occurring and if enough people can recognize and support the shift, the world will be changing in a positive direction in 2012. Please view the Week 1 talks at http://middleway2012.com or read the downloadable transcripts.
Middleway2012 - January 2, 2012
I believe that we are moving toward a recognizable higher reality. The fact that religious practice in America is a clear indication that it no longer satifies the human spirit sufficiently. People now realize that there must be something more going on than what their parents religion taught them. It is inevitable that the human race will evolve into higher beings capable of self healing, love, understanding and compassion. The faith of a grain of mustard seed, in other words, we need to train our minds that the healing power is already inside of us. And we need to carry that understanding consciously during the day, thus allowing it to spread throughout the community. In this way we actually play a role in helping mankind achieve a higher existence. I don`t know if there is going to be an evolutionary leap or not. But I do believe that in time we will be a more spiritual species, and though we may not be able to rush the natural flow of evolution, it is better to be on the right tracks.
Mark - January 2, 2012
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