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The Last Paradox: Does the Universe Have a Mind?

By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Avtar Singh, PhD

Until very recently it was nearly laughable among physicists to speak of a conscious universe, and yet the notion now seems to be not only respectable but necessary. The realization is dawning that a true Theory of Everything must include consciousness. Almost every scientist traces any phenomenon, including the mind, back to physical causes. This way of thinking, when applied to the issue of where consciousness comes from, implies either a very big answer or a very small one.

The small answer looks at the most microscopic level of nature, the quantum field, and tries to define how subatomic particles could possibly contain the potential for consciousness. This seems like a dead end, however, if you consider how unlikely it is that particles (or atoms and molecules) somehow learned to think. The molecules inside the human brain are as ordinary as the water, salt, and minerals in the ocean or the carbon in a lettuce leaf. The big answer gets around this dead end by looking at the whole universe as the source of consciousness. The embarrassing failure of the bottoms-up fragmented approach has left no option but to consider the top-down holistic approach to the fundamental reality of consciousness.

The existence of the cosmos is often described as “something out of nothing,” because the ground state of creation is a kind of zero point, a vacuum state devoid of space, time, matter, and energy. (Technically, “nothing” is a misnomer, because the quantum vacuum contains the potential for every bit of matter and energy in the cosmos, existing in virtual form.) The fact that space, time, matter, and energy sprang from nothing makes it easier to credit that consciousness did the same. The first second of time, after all, is just as inexplicable as the first thought.

The overall problem of consciousness has been historically divided into two parts. The so-called easy problem is to experimentally correlate the measured mental states in terms of electromagnetic signals to various well-defined brain and bodily activities. Thanks to modern brain imaging, this part has been essentially solved. The so-called hard problem concerns how firing patterns of neurons in the brain create subjective experiences such as anger, love, fear,

hate etc. No satisfactory solution has been agreed upon to the hard problem, and some would claim that such a solution is far from being discovered. However, the problem of consciousness is generally considered to be a problem only within the domain of neuroscience. That is because of the materialistic assumption that consciousness is an epiphenomenon, or byproduct, of the brain. The firing of neurons is assumed to create what are called the correlates of consciousness. However, this logic is as erroneous as claiming that a radio creates the music being played through it.

If we switch gears and make the whole universe conscious (or protoconscious as some theorists prefer), then it isn’t necessary for the brain to create the mind or vice versa. Imagine that chemists were baffled over why water is wet. There are no physical properties of oxygen and hydrogen, the two gases that constitute the water molecule, that give rise to wetness. Instead, wetness is a quality that water possesses innately. In physics a quality is referred to in Latin as qualia. The subjective world is all about qualia, since they are the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of reality. If discovering how atoms and molecules learned to think is impossible, equally so is discovering how water became wet, sugar sweet, etc. Even the fact that light is bright and visible makes no sense physically, since photons, the fundamental particles of light, are inherently invisible.

If consciousness is a non-local universal state rather than a local neurobiological phenomenon, qualia come along in the same package as scientific facts, the way wetness comes along with H2O. You need one to have the other. In our last post we introduced Dr. Singh’s hypothesis that relativity should be considered universal, eternal, all-inclusive, and without cause. His Universal Relativity Model (URM) solves all kinds of questions–such as what came before the big bang, the origin of time, and the relationship of mind and matter–by making the questions themselves invalid. The so-called hard problem asks a wrong (upside-down) question as to how consciousness arises from the brain. The right question is how brain functions are governed by the eternal laws that represent the very fundamental awareness of the universe.

In a universe that spontaneously generates self-organizing, self-evolving “slices” of space, time, matter, and energy, there is no need to compartmentalize anything. Instead there is spontaneous eternal flow and transformation. This approach sounds exotic because, for one thing, we assume that there must be a cause for every effect and vice versa. Yet if you stand back, what is the actual cause of a new thought? What causes love to feel different from hatred? Why does pain hurt? We constantly inhabit an everyday world where there is

spontaneous flow and sudden creation, where all kinds of things come seemingly out of nothing, and where cause-and-effect are just partial models for sequences of related events. In a spontaneous, continuous, and flowing universe, a match will still start a fire–local events remain the same–but the hotness of fire and the chemistry of combustion aren’t separate. They are different modes of knowing, and all knowing comes back to consciousness.

Currently some physicists are toying with various models of a conscious universe, but the materialistic bias holds strong, and very few, if any, have concluded that the universe must be conscious to exist in the first place. That’s an important correlate of URM. Einstein definitively proved with E=mc2 that matter and energy are recombinations of each other, states of transformation in one continuum, and once this door was opened, he saw (but could never prove mathematically) that all the inherent ingredients of creation belong on the same continuum. However, Einstein was unwilling to place mind or consciousness in his relativistic scheme. One has to back away from materialism to understand that no valid model of reality “out there” can assign a cause to reality “In here.” Although Einstein wanted to know “the mind of God”, his denial of free will kept him from reaching the “hidden factor” of consciousness now incorporated into URM.

Another implication of URM is that being conscious, the universe must be alive. Life is defined as spontaneous creation without an external cause. A dead universe would have no spontaneous motion or laws of motion. The very fact that the human mind can perceive and experience the reality of universal laws points to the non-locality of the human mind–i.e., we are outcroppings of cosmic mind perceiving itself. The neuro-biological mind has no such inherent connection to the laws of nature and their eternal, non-local existence. This implication is a bit obscure, but it simply states that awareness isn’t an isolated property like wetness. Awareness is aware of itself, and for that reason it can fathom its own operations, including the laws of nature.

What we’ve been saying here builds upon distinguished precedents. The well-known physicist Freeman Dyson pointed to the evidence of three levels of mind in Nature: the human mind, the mind residing at the micro level of subatomic activity, and the mind of the universe. The manifestations of the way the subatomic or quantum world acts lead one to think that mind is a reasonable way to describe what’s going on. As Dyson states, “So the atom seems to have a freedom to choose, that’s something which characterizes quantum processes, that they seem to just occur spontaneously. We call that spontaneous decay. So it is spontaneous; that to my mind implies that the thing makes a choice … this freedom that the individual atom has to have…. seems to be an indication of some rudimentary form of mind.”

Thoughts in a contemplative or meditative human mind can decay or be born through the spontaneous intention or free will of the person. Since seemingly empty space in the universe is shown by quantum mechanics to be filled with particles that are born and decay spontaneously, the argument of similarity between the human mind and the micro-mind can be extended to the macro- or universal mind. Of course finding similarities, even very strong ones, isn’t the same as rigorous scientific proof. URM addresses consciousness-related issues to intractable problems in contemporary physics to show that the neurobiological or brain-mind processes and qualia (emotions, thoughts, intentions etc.) are a subset of the relativistic states of consciousness in the universe.

Here we’ve avoided the technicalities of a scholarly article, but for the non-scientist what’s important are the big concepts that lead to a major paradigm shift. In that regard URM takes us one step closer, not just to solving the hard problem, but of learning the right way to think about it and to frame the questions that matter most. Just asking the right question often dissolves, if not resolves, the question itself.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

Avtar Singh, PhD, is author of the book – “The Hidden Factor: An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology and Universal Reality”. He has Doctor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA. As a member of American Nuclear Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers, he has been involved in state-of-the-art research and development in science/engineering over the past 30 years. He has published more than fifty papers in professional journals and two monographs. He received the ‘Best Paper Award’ from the American Nuclear Society, MIT Fellowship, national scholarship awards, and several industry technical excellence awards.

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The Unlikely Fate of Two Universes

By now most people have heard that a Theory of Everything is within reach in the near future, meaning a unified explanation of the physical forces in the universe. Yet “the near future” has stretched out for several decades. This apparent overconfidence and undue optimism points to some serious and as yet unexplained oddities and paradoxes afflicting the flagship theories of science, which are unable, in stark contrast to the prevailing confidence of the past, to explain the vast majority (96%) of the universe. The presence of dark matter and energy, for example, has caused some expected calculations in quantum mechanics to be off by a staggering 120 orders of magnitude.

The average person would see no relationship between an intellectual difficulty facing modern physics and everyday life. We are all used to experiencing the sensual world where a geranium leaf is soft, fuzzy, green, and aromatic. In the scientific world the same leaf is quantified into objective facts like the molecular structure of chlorophyll and the nature of photosynthesis. What almost no one realizes is that these two views of the natural world actually represent two universes. A single geranium leaf is like a fork in the road. One way leads to the richness of the world as we experience it every day. The other road leads to the universe of gravity, relativity, and quantum activity.

To the chagrin of physics, the universe they have so precisely calculated may depend upon the common-or-garden universe of everyday experience to survive. Here’s why. The root cause for the lack of a Theory of Everything is ignorance of the physics of spontaneous mass-energy conversion. Einstein discovered the mathematics that allows matter to convert to energy in his famous equation E=mc2, and the result that most people are aware of is the atom bomb, where tiny amounts of matter (uranium) are converted into enormous amounts of energy.

Yet at the smallest level of nature, mass and energy are spontaneously converting into each other, as when particles decay. The most basic conversion concerns the fact that every elementary particle like an electron or photon has a dual nature, existing either as a wave or a particle. But when a photon in a light bulb is released by an electron, it immediately travels at the speed of light without any real explanation. On a vast scale, the big bang represents a titanic conversion of mass-energy again without a viable explanation. Current theories about the multiverse, in which ours is only one of trillions of possible universes, doesn’t really help, because the alternative universes cannot be reached, observed, or measured.

We seem to have wandered farther from everyday life rather than closer, but if you consider the second universe, the one we all live in matter of factly, it too has a huge unsolved problem. How does the brain produce the sights, sounds, and other properties of the visible world? Neuroscience assumes that the mind is a byproduct of the brain but there is zero explanation of how tiny electrical firings and chemical reactions in a nerve cell suddenly blossom into the whole three-dimensional world. What if there is a common missing link between this problem usually referred to as the “hard problem” of connecting mind and brain and the problem facing physics?

One of the authors of this post, Dr. Singh, proposes that there is in fact an integrated model that provides a direct relationship between the physics concepts of space, time, mass, and energy, and the concepts associated with consciousness, in particular spontaneity and free will. A new thought occurs just as spontaneously as a new particle or wave, and equally mysteriously. The laws of physics and chemistry ruling the brain are fixed but the intentional choice input of the observer determines the outcome. This spontaneity of the observer’s consciousness negates the repetition of fixed, predetermined mental activity, leading to the storm of freely arising feelings, thoughts, images, and sensations that constitute mental life. The universe of everyday experience derives from such spontaneous conscious events, and just as equally, the fixed laws that govern the scientific universe are easily, howsoever not so intuitively, correlatable with the spontaneous conversion of mass into energy.

Dr. Singh’s unique answer to all the paradoxes of physics and consciousness is what he calls the Universal Relativity Model (URM). Deepak became fascinated because his recent book, You Are the Universe, co-authored with physicist Menas Kafatos, posited exactly what URM delivers: a single reality that doesn’t need two universes, one for science and one for everyday life. Singh’s breakthrough was to take Einstein’s E=mc2, which applied relativity to matter, energy, space, and time in a very general way, and go a step further, applying it to everything in the universe, including human consciousness.

At first blush this seems all but infeasible, because, as we saw, a green leaf looks, feels, and appears in every way different from the formulas of biology, chemistry, and physics. But the distance between any subjective experiences–the heat of a summer day, the sound of rain on the roof, the scent of a rose–has been impossible to bridge to the world of objective data, measurements, and experiments? How many meters wide is love? What does a laugh weigh? To construct this bridge is actually possible only if we wake up to the fact that Nature is doing it already without playing any dice.

And that’s what is happening. Nature is so precisely organized that it coordinates every dimension and force from zero to infinity as part of the implicate cosmic order. Take a snapshot of a single moment in time, such as the moment the first primitive life form like blue-green algae or a single-celled amoeba appeared. This was more than a moment (the dimension of time). There also had to be the exact portion of space (planet Earth), mass (all the chemicals involved in living forms), and energy (the proper temperature range for living things). The coordination of these factors was in fact unique for this moment. Pick another moment–when the first dinosaur appears, a specific supernova exploded, or your first birthday–and the “recipe” of time, space, matter, and energy was just as unique. The universe entails life and nature as one wholesome continuum of conscious experiences or awareness.

Since all of these factors are flexible and expandable, they are in a relativistic relationship with one another. This is all logical and easy to grasp, although the necessary math is complex. What emerges is universal relativity, an infinite continuum of unique “recipes” for anything you can name in the cosmos. Along this infinite continuum, every option is open to human awareness. There can be time close to zero or expanded to eons, space smaller than the infant universe when it was billions of times smaller than the period at the end of this sentence or expanded to billions of lightyears, and so on.

If everything exists on the same continuum of universal relativity, there are no more paradoxes, contradictions theoretical bumps, and discontinuities. This model does something that even the standard Theory of Everything would not be able to do even if it was finally formulated. It includes the second universe of conscious experience. Two totally opposed conceptions of reality – the objective scientific worldview and the inner world of the mind, are bridged while remaining within the demand for data, measurements, and hard evidence.

In our next post we will cover the immense implications of URM for how reality actually works. As a preview, below is a brief description of how URM resolves the current paradoxes of physics and cosmology (using somewhat more technical language than in the previous paragraphs):

URM eliminates the need for a single creative event like the big bang, because genesis is a constant: there is continuous unlimited mass-to-energy conversion all the way to the most infinitesimal sizes of the universe.

  1. What came before the big bang? URM predicts an eternal quasi-static universe without time being a parameter. Hence, nothing came before (or after) since there was NO big bang.
  2. Where did time come from? URM predicts the observed universe without time as a parameter. Relativistic time appears as a property of gravity-dominated states of matter. There is no unique universal time as such.
  3. What is the universe made of? URM describes the universe as an infinite number of relativistic states of mass-energy-space-time varying with each circumstance. The net mass-energy of the universe is conserved and remains constant in all states.
  4. Is there design in the universe? The unchanging relativistic laws of the conservation of mass-energy-space-time and various universal constants govern cosmic behavior. There is no need for either a designer or design.
  5. Is the quantum world linked to everyday life? Yes. URM describes the whole universe as a continuum from infinitesimally small to infinitely large scales. There no duality–no split-screen for physics to worry about, once every level of Nature is interwoven seamlessly.

We will skip the other more technical paradoxes that URM addresses in order to jump to its most revolutionary implication. Do we live in a conscious universe? Yes, for the simplest of reasons. In an eternal universe where change is totally relativistic, creation is eternal also; therefore, so is life. The form that life takes–an amoeba, algae, dinosaur, Homo sapiens–is really a snapshot isolated from the reality of eternal life as it spontaneously “bubbles” up with new forms.

Because the prospect of eternal life is so full of meaning, we will discuss this aspect of URM next time. For the moment, the possibility of the two universes having the same fate as aspects of one reality is quite thrilling in its own right.

(To be cont.)

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

Avtar Singh, PhD, is author of the book – “The Hidden Factor: An Approach for Resolving Paradoxes of Science, Cosmology and Universal Reality”. He has Doctor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology USA. As a member of American Nuclear Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers, he has been involved in state-of-the-art research and development in science/engineering over the past 30 years. He has published more than fifty papers in professional journals and two monographs. He received the ‘Best Paper Award’ from the American Nuclear Society, MIT Fellowship, national scholarship awards, and several industry technical excellence awards.

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A Surprising Answer to “Who Am I?

By Deepak Chopra, MD

Not many people reflect philosophically on the age-old question, “Who am I?” For practical purposes, everyday life depends on accepting the self that gets up in the morning, eats breakfast, and goes off to work. This makes it seem as if “Who am I?” is a given. But in fact, it isn’t. You are shifting unconsciously from one persona to the next all the time. There is tremendous importance in this fact, because the shifting self isn’t the real you.

The shifting self can be divided into three general identities, three versions of “I.”

The outward self: This is the social persona, which you identify with if your focus is on socially-approved things like money, career, the right neighborhood, an impressive house, etc. “I” is attached to labels that relate to those things, so that “WASP surgeon with a Park Avenue practice, a socialite wife, and a major portfolio” defines a very different self than “Latino working-class single mother living on food stamps.”

The private self: This is who you are behind closed doors. The private self identifies with feelings and relationships. The values that matter most include a happy marriage, satisfying sex life, children to love and be proud of, etc. On the downside are the private trials and miseries that come into every life. “I” is attached to the hopes and fears of everyday existence, which for some people means an existence of insecurity, anxiety, depression, and dashed hopes that seem inescapable.

The subconscious self: This is the self that lies beneath the surface, where repressed feelings, old wounds and traumas, and various hidden forces live. This is a shadowy region that many find dangerous to enter. But here there is also creativity and intuition, so the subconscious self isn’t only about lower or darker impulses. Unlike the outward and private self, there is no well-defined “I” in the subconscious. Most people are unaware of their deepest drives, desires, and fears because unless there is a sudden outbreak from here, they’d rather keep the subconscious self hidden, even from themselves.

The “I” you identify with is like a magnifying glass gathering the sun’s rays to a point. Your “I” interprets every experience and makes it personal. “I” is a bundle of hopes, fears, wishes, and reams. “I” harbors memories no one else has, and in the compartments of memory are stored habits, beliefs, old traumas, and past conditioning. This multiplicity is bewildering, which is why the teaching of “Know thyself” is actually the point of being alive—until you know where “I” came from, you cannot discover who you really are.

In the world’s wisdom traditions, the three versions of “I” are called the divided self, and a person can be trapped inside it for a lifetime. But the divided self serves as a disguise from the real self, which is sometimes known as the higher self or simply the Self with a capital S. The secret to the Self is that it is made from the same “stuff” as the divided self, the stuff of consciousness. It only takes awareness for the mind to exist, going about its business of thinking, feeling, and sensing the world. But with the divided self, this “stuff” is constantly taking shape. We mistake our thoughts, feelings, and sensations as the whole story.

Yet if you take away all the shapes that consciousness turns into, the is another kind of experience, of inner silence without any content. This alone deserves to be called the Self. It is the pure experiencer, devoid of mental or physical activity, needing nothing to identify with except its own being. It’s odd that this is who we are, and people need convincing, because the allure of the divided self is powerful; in addition, it’s the only self–or three selves–we’ve been used to all our lives.

Yet if the Self is the correct answer to “Who am I?” it must be present here and now. Which means that the higher states of consciousness that is our birthright, the source of love, compassion, creativity, intelligence, and evolution, can’t simply be faraway ideals. They are attributes of who we really are. This is the main teaching of the worlds wisdom traditions, and the seers, saints, sages, and spiritual guides revered in every culture are no more than people who found the right answer to “Who am I?” In that light, there is only one discovery to make along the spiritual path, the discovery that the Self is intimately present at every moment. Being the source of everything, it cannot change. It cannot come and go.

The only thing that changes is our perception and understanding. The three selves we identify with right this moment are only perceptions, constructs or models we hold in our heads. Abandon the constructs, and what is left is the “real” reality, the field of pure consciousness. In the practice of meditation perception shifts closer to the source of awareness. That is the open door through which the self is glimpsed, and with time and attention, the divided self melts away leaving only the unified Self. In that process lies the whole story of answering “who am I?”

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

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Closing the Truth Gap and How to Close It

By Deepak Chopra, MD

There’s a truth gap that has nothing to do with facts versus lies in politics. Rather, it has to do with how we verify that something is true. Without doing it consciously, everyone shifts their “mode of knowing” all the time. That phrase is necessary because everyday truth is relative. It depends on what viewpoint you take and nothing else. For example, everyone trusts their five senses, but when the eyes tell us that the sun rises over the horizon in the morning, we shift our mode of knowing because intellectually that sensory perception isn’t true. If looking at a sunset makes us happy, we are shifting into an inner knowing that’s entirely private, since only the person having an emotion knows that it is real.

Because relative truth is what experience delivers, it would seem that the story ends there. Science attempts to tighten up relative truth through data, measurements, experiments, and findings that can be replicated. But that is still just another mode of knowing with its own slippery relativism. After all, it was a scientist, Albert Einstein, who subjected time and space to relativity, while another quantum pioneer, Werner Heisenberg, not only introduced the Uncertainty Principle into modern physics but declared that the atom has no intrinsic qualities. In their everyday work scientists can largely ignore the radical relativism of the physical world, but pretending that it doesn’t’ exist; that scientific objectivity is the end all and be all of truth, is intellectually naïve.

One could sort all our modes of knowing into an impressive range of choices as we shift from the five senses to the intellect, from speaking to doing, from feeling to perceiving and interpreting. Relative truth is so vast and diverse that it is easy to mistake what we really know. If one person says that granite is hard while another person, resorting to quantum mechanics, says that granite is composed of clouds of particles winking in and out of a measurable state, ultimately existing as probability waves, then two modes of knowing have clashed. In reality, neither mode has a privileged position. Relative truth is relative, just as the term says.

But we spend most of our lives defending the mode of knowing we happen to favor. Scientists will adamantly defend the scientific method with the zeal that a churchman in the Middle Ages defended prayer, reflection, contemplation, and meditation as the only way to truth. At the opposite pole from science, there’s a tradition of knowledge that goes inward in order to acquire self-awareness, and in both East and West “Know thyself” has an honored legacy.

But when one mode of knowing competes with another in this way, something illusory is going on. Relative modes of knowing are equal choices, like flavors of ice cream lined up on a freezer shelf in the supermarket. In the mental life of human beings, what justifies picking one flavor of truth over another is practicality. It’s practical to get out of the way if a block of granite falls off a building, just as it’s practical for the weatherman to announce the times for sunrise and sunset.

Intuitively we understand this, because everyone has a lifetime’s worth of experience shifting from one mode of knowing to another. When heated arguments break out between atheists and religious believers, we rightly assume that this has little to do with the issues and challenges of everyday life. On the other hand, when climate change deniers block the findings of climate scientists, we sense an urgency that provokes guilt and apprehension about the future. So modes of knowing aren’t just theoretical or an intellectual game; they matter.

Then the question arises, Is there an escape from relative truth? The word “escape” seems strange at first sight, but in fact relative truth traps us in a world where all kinds of suffering, violence, war, crime, famine, disease, aging, and dying never seem to end. To be human is to know this fact, and wanting to find a way out is just as human. Some would say that suffering is simply inescapable; the best you can do is to hope you have better luck than most in evading pain and suffering. But this has not been the position taken by the world’s wisdom traditions.

They say that a gap exists between relative truth and absolute Truth with a capital T. This gap is known as the state of separation, meaning separate from God, the soul, our true nature, or ultimate realty, depending on what wisdom tradition you come from. In separation, also known as duality, truth is forced to be relative, because all the modes of knowing operate through opposites (good versus evil, light versus darkness, facts versus myths, birth versus death, etc.). Separation cannot escape itself, just as water cannot escape being wet—the whole relative setup is a closed system.

Or is it? What if there is a state outside duality, beyond separation? This nondual state is simply called Being. To exist is to be. Nothing could be simpler, yet for most people, to exist is a given, something unexamined and never investigated. This doesn’t constitute a failure of imagination. It simply attests to how self-enclosed the state of separation is. But if a color-blind person says that colors don’t exist, we know he’s wrong because of his limited ability to perceive. In the same way, saying that there is nothing outside the dualistic world is a failure of perception.

If you stand back, it is obvious that Being and knowing go together, like the wetness of water. To exist implies experience; experience embraces all relative modes of knowing. So there is a ground state we can call the state of pure knowing. This is consciousness itself. Here most people begin to feel lost. They are accustomed to relative truth. This requires an object of knowing. I know how to cook spaghetti, she knows all about Renaissance, art, he knows quantum physics. To escape this self-enclosed bubble, take the phrase “I know X” and remove the X. Then you are left with pure knowing, like the blank screen in the cinema before the movie begins.

Even if they can accept this analogy, people usually can’t see the good of depriving themselves of the relative modes of knowing—the five senses, feeling, thinking, doing, etc. If you once more stand back, there is actually a sense of threat at work. Our very selves are defined by relative truths, which create labels we cling to. “I” am a bundle of labels reinforced by memory, beliefs, wishes, hopes, and fears. Take it all away and what’s left?

The threat is that nothing will be left, but the reality isn’t threatening. What’s left is pure, undisturbed Being, where all the possibilities of relative life spring from. Imagine Einstein or Mozart sitting quietly in a chair, perhaps dozing off. They are simply existing with their consciousness in an undisturbed state. Yet we know that the possibility of great science and great music are still there. No one would deny this of Einstein and Mozart, yet they deny it of themselves.

If you can accept that the nondual state exists, it must exist in you. The field of infinite possibilities is your own awareness in its pure state. The escape from pain and suffering isn’t mystical or imaginary; you only have to rest in a state of undisturbed awareness. So it turns out that Truth with a capital T is real, not as a religious belief or abstract metaphysics. Absolute truth is the nondual state of awareness, and once we close the gap between relative truth and absolute Truth, we will find ourselves knowing who we are for the first time.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudy Tanzi, Ph.D. and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

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Grounding the Human Body for Health :

By Marty Zucker, Gaetan Chevalier, PhD, Clint Ober, Paul J. Mills, Deepak Chopra, MD
The Earth is like a gigantic battery that contains a natural, subtle electric charge—a special kind of energy present in the ground. For safety and stability, almost everything in the electrical world is connected to the ground, whether it is an electric power plant or your refrigerator. That’s what the term “grounded” means.

Being grounded also applies to people. When you are electrically grounded, when you maintain your body at earth’s electric potential, you feel:

· Centered

· Solid

· Strong

· Balanced

· Less tense

· Less stressed

Overall, you feel good. If you have pain, you have less of it, or maybe none at all, when electrically grounded to the earth.

Increase in Illness

Many people live with daily pain and constant stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. They feel out-of-sorts, not centered, strong, or solid. Doctors often can’t find the cause and resort to prescribing medications that produce side effects like fatigue, poor mood, and headaches.

There has been an increase in the number of people suffering from autoimmune diseases in the U.S. Fifty million people in the U.S.—75 percent of whom are women—are suffering from:

· Multiple sclerosis

· Lupus

· Inflammatory bowel disorders

· Rheumatoid arthritis

Researchers don’t know the specific causes behind the steep increases in a diversity of illnesses. Some say it is because people are eating more unnatural foods than ever and that the ingredients in these foods could be harmful, others point to increased exposure to environmental pollutants.

While certain lifestyle approaches such as meditation and yoga can help, there are limitations to their effectiveness for many of these illnesses.

The Art of Grounding

We are bioelectrical beings living on an electrical planet. Our bodies operate electrically. All of our cells transmit multiple frequencies that run our heart, immune system, muscles, and nervous system.

With the exception of humans living in industrialized societies, all living things on our planet are connected to the ground’s electrical energy. In industrialized societies, we rarely go barefoot outside or

wear natural leather shoes that allow us to absorb the ground’s energy. For the last 50 years or so, most people have been wearing plastic soled shoes that act as a barrier to the Earth’s energy, insulating them from electrical contact with the Earth. People also generally don’t sleep on the ground anymore. They live and work above the ground, even far above the ground in high-rises.

The truth is, we are disconnected, ungrounded, out of touch with the Earth. Might this disconnection be a factor in the onset of some illnesses?

Healing Benefits of Grounding

Scientific research over the past decade indicates that our bodies can be protected and helped—and that we feel better—when we are electrically connected to the Earth. That is, when we are grounded. Here are three examples of benefits that have been reported in scientific research studies (these studies are listed at the end of this article):

1. Decreased Levels of Inflammation and Pain

Being grounded can help relieve inflammation. In a small pilot study of 12 subjects, results indicated that grounding the human body during sleep reduces night-time levels of cortisol and resynchronizes cortisol hormone secretion more in alignment with the natural 24-hour circadian rhythm profile. In one case, medical thermal imaging was used to image a 44-year-old woman with chronic back pain. Images taken after being grounded while sleeping for four nights, as compared to before grounding, showed a reductions in inflammation, at which time the woman also reported:

· 30 percent reduction in pain

· 70 percent reduction in pain interfering with sleep

· 30 percent reduction in morning stiffness and soreness

After four weeks of continued grounding while sleeping, she reported:

· 80 percent reduction in pain

· No sleep interference

· 70 percent reduction in morning stiffness and soreness

By eight weeks, she reported that her pain was gone.

2. Reduced Stress Levels

When grounded, the diurnal rhythm of the stress hormone, cortisol, begins to normalize. Cortisol is a vital part of our body’s stress response system and helps control blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism and inflammation, and assist with memory formulation. A study that examined the diurnal rhythm of cortisol after sleeping grounded showed a normalization of the rhythm. In addition to a normalization of the rhythm, participants in this study also slept better and woke up feeling more refreshed.

3. Improved Circulation

When we are grounded our circulation improves, aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the body, including better blood flow to the face. These were findings of a study that used a laser speckle contrast camera to quantify facial blood flow in response to one hour of grounding.

How to Reconnect to the Earth

While the research on grounding is relatively new, the practice is timeless. Past societies went barefoot or wore leather footwear made from hides that allowed the energy of the Earth to rise up into their bodies. They were grounded.

In modern society, most of us have lost our electrical roots, so to speak. We are disconnected and this disconnection may be a seriously overlooked cause of human pain and discomfort and the steady rise of chronic illness worldwide.

The good news is we can easily get grounded. Weather and schedule permitting, go barefoot for a half-hour or more, go outside and see what a difference that makes on your pain or stress level. Sit, stand, or walk on soil, grass, sand, or concrete. These are all conductive surfaces from which your body can draw the Earth’s energy. Wood, asphalt, and vinyl are not conductive.

For many people, however, there isn’t time in their busy days to go out barefoot. There are, fortunately, indoor options. Investing in grounding products, such as grounding mats or chairs, can be used to remain electrically grounded to the earth while sleeping, relaxing, or working.

Ideally, you want to sustain the grounding experience and make it a part of your daily routine.

Further Reading and References to the findings discussed in this article.

1. Grounding after moderate eccentric contractions reduces muscle damage.

Brown R, Chevalier G, Hill M. Open Access J Sports Med. 2015 Sep 21;6:305-17. doi: 10.2147/OAJSM.S87970.

2. The effects of grounding (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Oschman JL, Chevalier G, Brown R. J Inflamm Res. 2015 Mar 24;8:83-96. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S69656.

3. The effect of grounding the human body on mood.

Chevalier G. Psychol Rep. 2015 Apr;116(2):534-42. doi: 10.2466/06.PR0.116k21w5.

4. Earthing (grounding) the human body reduces blood viscosity-a major factor in cardiovascular disease.

Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Delany RM. J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Feb;19(2):102-10. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0820.

5. Earthing: health implications of reconnecting the human body to the Earth’s surface electrons.

Chevalier G, Sinatra ST, Oschman JL, Sokal K, Sokal P. J Environ Public Health. 2012;2012:291541. doi: 10.1155/2012/291541. Review.

6. The biologic effects of grounding the human body during sleep as measured by cortisol levels and subjective reporting of sleep, pain, and stress.

Ghaly M, Teplitz D. J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Oct;10(5):767-76.

7. Grounding the human body improves facial blood flow regulation: Results of a randomized, placebo controlled pilot study.

Chevalier G. Journal of Cosmetics, DermatologicalSciencesandApplications. 2012;4:293-308. doi: 10.4236/jcdsa.2014.45039

AUTHORS

Martin Zucker

Marty has written extensively on natural healing, fitness, and alternative medicine for nearly 40 years and has co-authored or ghostwritten more than a dozen books during that time, including Earthing (Basic Health Publications, 2014, second edition), co-authored with Clint Ober and cardiologist Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D. His previous books include Reverse Heart Disease Now (John Wiley & Sons, 2006), Natural Hormone Balance for Women (Pocket Books, 2002), and The Miracle of MSM (Berkley Trade, 1999). He is a former Associated Press foreign correspondent in Europe and the Middle East.

Gaétan Chevalier, PhD

Gaétan has his PH.D. in engineering physics and specializations in Atomic Physics and Laser Spectroscopy. He spent four years of researching plasma physics and nuclear fusion at UCLA, and then served as a professor at the California Institute for Human Science (CIHS). Dr. Chevalier is currently lead faculty at CIHS, visiting scholar in the Department of Family Medicine & Public Health, School of Medicine, UC San Diego.

Clint Ober

Thirty-year veteran of the cable television industry, Clint pioneered cable modem and satellite distribution of digital services via cable to personal computers. In 1998, he began investigating the effects of electrically grounding the human body to earth. He has promoted and supported 20 research studies that collectively demonstrate how maintaining the body at earth’s electrical potential reduces inflammation and promotes normal functioning of the body’s electrical systems. Clint is currently President of Earth FX Inc. in Thousand Palms, CA.

Paul J. Mills

Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health and Director of the Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health at the University of California, San Diego. He is Principal Investigator of the Self-Directed Biological Transformation Initiative, a randomized trial that is examining the psychosocial and biological effects of whole-systems medicine approaches to wellbeing.

Deepak Chopra, MD

Founder of The Chopra Foundation and the Chopra Center for Wellbeing, and Co-Founder of JIYO.COM, which sells grounding products. Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.

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