Posted on: April 17, 2014 | Comments: 0
By Deepak Chopra, MD
Behind the mask of matter, something more mysterious is happening in the universe.
To get at the mystery, let’s follow the path a hydrogen atom might take over the thirteen billions years or so following its creation. First it drifts out into space in a completely disorganized, random fashion, bouncing around like an infinitesimal feather on the cosmic wind. Some atoms keep on doing this until they form clouds of interstellar dust. But this atom falls into a stronger gravitational field and becomes a building block for a star, which takes primitive atoms like hydrogen and helium and transforms them into heavier, more complex elements. Through a series of nuclear reactions our particular hydrogen atom becomes part of the element known as iron, the heaviest metal formed inside stars.
The life span of this star comes to an end in the dramatic death throe known as a supernova, an enormous explosion that scatters iron atoms throughout the nearby regions of the cosmos. Our original hydrogen atom no longer exists as such, but its component parts are being drawn toward another star, hundreds of times smaller: the sun.
By this point in the history of the universe, the sun has already thrown off enough matter during its birth pangs that rings of dust have settled into orbit around it. This dust is clumping into planets and our iron atom, pulled in by gravity, joins the planet Earth. At its core, the Earth is thought to be up to 70 percent molten iron, but our atom arrives late enough to settle onto the surface of the planet, which is around 10 percent iron.
Ten billion years have now passed. Many iron atoms have undergone random interactions with various chemicals, but ours is still intact. More time passes. It ﬁnds itself drawn into a spinach leaf, which gets eaten by a human being. Then our iron atom becomes part of a molecule thousands of times more complex than itself, a molecule that has the ability to pick up oxygen and throw it off at will: hemoglobin. Hemoglobin’s ability to perform this trick turns out to be crucial, because another molecule, this one millions of times more complex, has managed to create life. It is known as DNA, and around itself DNA is gathering the building blocks of life, known as organic chemicals, of which hemoglobin is one of the most necessary, since without it, animals cannot convert oxygen into cells.
In our story, one primal hydrogen atom has undergone incredible transformations to get to the point where it can contribute to life on Earth, and every step of the way involves evolution. Since all the iron on Earth was once part of a supernova (plus some iron deposited when meteorites collided with the early planet), the journey from the Big Bang can be observed and measured. Yet our iron atom has still another transformation to undergo. It has entered the bloodstream of a human being—you or me, perhaps—to become part of a sentient, thinking creature, one that is capable of looking back on its own evolution. In fact, this sentient creature created the notion of evolution in order to explain itself to itself. A primal atom has somehow become thoughtful.
Courtesy of War of the Worldviews by Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow.
Deepak Chopra, MD, Founder of The Chopra Foundation, Co-Founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, coauthor of Super Brain with Rudolph Tanzi and for more information visit The Universe Within. Come to the Chopra Foundation Sages and Scientists Symposium 2014.
Posted on: April 15, 2014 | Comments: 0
By Deepak Chopra, MD
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for people who want to believe in God is the existence of bad things in our lives. The evening news carries enough stories about war, crime, famine, oppression, and much else that a loving God wouldn’t permit. But as we saw in the first post, such a God is formed in our own image. He, or she, is envisioned as a human being on a supernatural scale. This is just one of the assumptions that needed to be cleared away before seriously asking the question of why God permits bad things to happen.
Posted on: April 8, 2014 | Comments: 0
By Deepak Chopra, MD
In every spiritual tradition, different as they are, God is taken to be the moral compass for human beings. He may or may not be a punisher. He may or may not sit in judgment, watching and weighing our every move. He may or may not be a He, since the God of Judaism, for example, is without form. But in some way the notion of good and evil, right and wrong, the light versus the dark, goes back to a divine source.
In secular society this link isn’t as strong, and for someone with no religious beliefs, morality has no connection to God. Yet the connection has been crucial for at least two thousand years in the Judeo-Christian world. In the Indian spiritual tradition, particularly Vedanta, God is not personified. The deity is conceived as cosmic consciousness. One of the strongest arguments offered by atheists is that a just and loving God doesn’t exist. If God did exist, why do bad things happen to good people? If there is divine love, how can the Holocaust even be conceivable? For opponents or religion as well as mild, everyday doubters, a God who sits back and permits wholesale suffering is on shaky ground.
Is there a deeper mystery here, or have we been duped into accepting a myth, as militant atheists insist?
We must approach the question without assumptions, and as it happens, both sides of the debate stubbornly cling to a large number of assumptions. Sometimes these preconceived notions overlap, which further muddies the waters. Here are some preconceived ideas that you may well believe:
Posted on: April 2, 2014 | Comments: 0
There are many explanations and conjectures about what happens when we die, ranging from scientific materialism to religious/spiritual views of immortality. Ideas about life after death impact how people approach death – and how they live their lives.
Years of interviews conducted by Marilyn Schlitz with people representing different religious, cultural, and philosophical worldviews on the afterlife provide a diverse set of qualitative data that can help us better understand the prevalence and significance of experientially and culturally informed cosmologies of death and the afterlife.
Posted on: April 1, 2014 | Comments: 0
By Deepak Chopra, MD
Even at a time when religion is declining in the West, most people remember the Biblical saying “As you sow, so shall you reap.” they cling to a belief taught in childhood, that good is rewarded and evil punished. In the first post we started to look at the possibility that what was learned in childhood is correct. The universe balances right and wrong, good and evil. In the Indian spiritual tradition this simple notion was developed into the Law of Karma. But common experience offers endless examples of good that isn’t rewarded and evil that is never punished. So is karma really fair or not?
In his famous encounter with Albert Einstein in 1930, the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore argued against the random universe of quantum physics in favor of a “human universe” where harmony prevailed despite the evidence of unruly passions and bad deeds. Tagore meant this quite literally, not metaphorically. The universe was an expression of divine consciousness, and human beings, who express the same cosmic consciousness, belong within the grand scheme. In fact, the universe mirrors human destiny and vice versa.
The Chopra Foundation's Mission is to participate with individuals and organizations in creating a critical mass for a peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy world through scientifically and experientially exploring non-dual consciousness as the ground of existence and applying this understanding in the enhancement of health, business, leadership and conflict resolution.
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