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Stephen Hawking makes it clear: There is no God

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If I were a scientist, I’d stick to the Goldman Sachs principle: bet on both sides.

“Believe in science, believe in God” seems to cover all the possibilities and gives you the best chance for a cheery afterlife.

For a time, it was thought that astrophysicist Stephen Hawking had also left a tiny gap in his credo window for a magical deity. However, he has now come out and declared that there is no God.

He gave an interview to Spain’s El Mundo in which he expressed his firm belief that el mundo was the work of scientifically explainable phenomena, not of a supreme being.

Hawking said: “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.”

I’m not sure whether there was a specific moment in which science overtook the deistic explanation of existence. However, El Mundo pressed him on the suggestion in “A Brief History of Time” that a unifying theory of science would help mankind “know the mind of God.”

Hawking now explained: “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

He added: “Religion believes in miracles, but these aren’t compatible with science.”

Perhaps. But some look at, for example, the human eye and wonder how that exciting ball of jelly could have come about scientifically.

Hawking’s been tending toward such an absolute pronouncement for a while. In a speech last year, he offered an explanation of how the world came to being without God. He mused: “What was God doing before the divine creation? Was he preparing hell for people who asked such questions?”

I do worry, though, about Hawking’s sweetly divine faith in humanity. He told El Mundo: “In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind.”

If that’s true, the human mind still has to develop exponentially to explain everyday phenomena, such as social networking. And then there’s Hawking’s insistence that his speech synthesizer, which gives him a curiously American accent, has had this consequence: “With the American accent, I’ve had far more success with women.”

We definitely need some serious research to explain that.

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Spirituality

Meditation As A Glance Beyond Near Death Experience

In the first study of its type, Dr. William Van Gordon, from the University’s Centre for Psychological Research, followed 10 advanced Buddhist meditators from eight different nations over a three-year period. He compared meditation-induced NDEs to other regular meditation practices and evaluated their defining characteristics to make sure they met the standards of a conventional NDE.

Approximately four percent of adults in Western states report having an NDE when they are close to dying or in the interval between clinical death and resuscitation. Though individual, cultural and religious elements influence the language people use to explain and translate their NDEs, consensual scientific view indicates that there is little variation in the elements of NDEs.

These generally involve an out-of-body experience, a loss of awareness of space and time, communicating with light beings, meeting loved ones and looking back over their own lives. NDEs can often be transformational, prompting improved levels of intuition, changes in lifestyle and a better comprehension of the self.

The research demonstrated that some advanced Buddhist meditation practitioners can harness these experiences at will, fostering insight into the psychology of death-related processes as well as the nature of self and reality more generally.

Unlike regular NDEs, participants were consciously aware of experiencing the meditation-induced NDE and retained control over its duration and content. Assessment was however a range of methods such as restarting a battery of psychometric scales within one day of participants finishing their meditation.

Consequently, they also completed psychometric evaluations for a normal meditation practice which didn’t induce an NDE or involve any kind of contemplation on departure or death-related processes, as well as one which involved reflecting on death but did not induce an NDE.

Participants reported that throughout the meditation-induced NDE they visited non-worldly lands, experienced what occurs during and after passing, and undergone a state of presence called ’emptiness’. Compared to regular forms of meditation, the meditation-induced NDE led to a five-fold increase in mystical experiences and a four-fold increase in feelings of non-attachment. Findings also demonstrated that the profundity of the meditation-induced NDE increased across the three-year study period, suggesting that the experience can be learned and perfected over time.

Unlike regular NDEs, participants were consciously aware of experiencing the meditation-induced NDE and retained volitional control over its content and duration.

Dr. Van Gordon, himself an experienced meditation practitioner, was the principal investigator for the study. The research was carried out in collaboration with the Awake to Wisdom Centre for Meditation and Mindfulness Research in Italy, the Psychology Division of Lincoln’s Bishop Grosseteste University, the Miguel Servet University Hospital in Spain and Nottingham Trent University’s Psychology Department.

Dr. Van Gordon said:”The practice of using meditation to gain a better understanding of death is longstanding, particularly in Buddhism where ancient texts exist that aim to help spiritual practitioners prepare , or gain insight into, the processes of dying.

“This study appears to confirm the existence of these -induced NDEs, which have never been observed or investigated under research conditions before.

“A key implication is that the present study shows it would be feasible — and ethical — for future research to recruit advanced meditators to assess real-time changes in a person’s neurological activity during an NDE. To date, the health risks and ethical challenges associated with conducting such a study in those experiencing a regular NDE have made this impossible.”

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Spirituality

Scientists Have Discovered The Brain Region Involved in Spiritual Experiences

Whether we think of ourselves as religious or not, lots of people experience moments in life that can be considered spiritual – where we feel a greater sense of meaningfulness, serenity, or connection with the world around us.

Now, scientists think they’ve pinpointed where those transcendental moments are processed in the human brain, identifying a region in the parietal cortex that appears to be involved in experiences that go beyond our ordinary state of being.

“Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people’s lives,” says one of the researchers, neuroscientist Marc Potenza from Yale University.

“Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders.”

To ascertain where these moments of spiritual insight take place inside people’s heads, Potenza’s team interviewed 27 healthy young people, inviting them to help develop a personalised ‘imagery script’ in which they recalled a spiritual episode from earlier in their lives.

“We would like you to describe a situation in which you felt a strong connection with a higher power or a spiritual presence,” the participants were instructed.

“Spiritual states are those that through a felt-sense connect you to something bigger than oneself, a oneness, or strong force which may be experienced as an energy, force, higher power, G-d, deity or transcendent figure or consciousness.”

In a separate session one week later, the same volunteers underwent fMRI brain scans recording their neural activity as they listened to a neutral female voice reading a script of the spiritual experience they had recounted.

The idea was to make them recall the personal moments where they felt a transcendent experience of something bigger than themselves, while imaging their brain activity to see where and how that spirituality registered itself cognitively.

“Across cultures and throughout history, human beings have reported a variety of spiritual experiences and the concomitant perceived sense of union that transcends one’s ordinary sense of self,” the team explain in their paper.

“Nevertheless, little is known about the underlying neural mechanisms of spiritual experiences, particularly when examined across different traditions and practices.”

The results showed that when the spiritual experiences were recalled, participants exhibited similarly reduced patterns of activity in the left inferior parietal lobe (IPL), which is involved in awareness of self and others, as well as reduced activity in the medial thalamus and caudate, regions associated with sensory and emotional processing.

“Taken together, the present finding suggests that spiritual experiences may involve a perceived encounter with a spacious ‘presence’ or entity external to oneself,” the researchers write.

“This interpretation is consistent with a strong feeling of connection or surrender to a deity or other revered figure, as often reported in religious and spiritual literature.”

It’s important to note one of the chief limitations with this particular research.

Specifically, the team are basing their findings on a study of only 27 participants, all of whom were young, English-speaking people recruited from New Haven, Connecticut.

Of course, their experiences of spirituality can’t be said to be representative of everybody else’s – which is something the team acknowledges and says should be extended upon in subsequent studies, by incorporating people from a more diverse set of backgrounds.

But to the extent that this study offers us new insights into how feelings of spirituality occur inside the brain – and the attendant calmness and sensations of connectedness that go along with it – it could be a great launching point for future research into the neurological mechanisms of mental health.

By improving “our empirical understanding of how spiritual experiences are mediated by the brain,” the researchers write, we will be able to help “facilitate the judicious integration of spirituality into treatment and prevention in areas of mental health conditions”.

The findings are reported in Cerebral Cortex.

Read More On This At ScienceAlert – Latest

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Spirituality

Transcending the Hegelian Dialectic and Duality Reality

Rosanne Lindsay, ND, Guest
Waking Times

In our ego-driven, divide-and-conquer world, we live in a duality reality. This reality reflects a matrix of opposites: introvert/extrovert, beginning/end, living/dead, mind/matter, wave/particle, self/other, material/spiritual, on/off, right/left. This is merely a separation of the mind that always wants to compare. We are both and neither. Humanity is a part of Nature and Nature is a continuum. In Nature, there is no separation, no opposition, no self and other, no conflict, and no destruction, unless destruction is balanced with creation. Just as Nature is self-sustaining and self-healing, so are we.

The hierarchical, dual systems in which we find ourselves, from prisons to politics, are grounded in duality, promoting separation over unity, creating leaders and followers. The system is served well by the Hegelian Dialectic.

The Hegelian Dialectic originated with George Hegel, a nineteenth century school teacher, who argued that human nature is a series of conflicts and resolutions that eventually elevate humankind to a unified spiritual state. The process is based in three easy steps: Problem-Reaction-Solution. Create a problem. Foment a reaction (of anger or sympathy). Provide a solution.

Two hundred years later, whatever Hegel’s good intentions, the goal to achieve unity from conflict-resolution has remained unproven and unachievable. Under duality reality, economic chaos has produced increased taxation. Shortages of oil and food have reinforced monopolies. The threat of pandemics has led to vaccine mandates. The threat of terrorism has resulted in restrictions on individual freedoms. Conflict has only bred more conflict.

The obvious truth that refutes Hegel’s idea is that unity is not uniformity. Unity follows no leaders and leads no followers. Unity does not restrict, limit, or conform through education or through more regulations and mandates. Unity fails where players must choose to align with a tribe and plug into the implicit biases of tribal programming. The tribe – wearing the suits of political parties or the robes of religious sects – reinforces the divisions and the information that we already believe and want to hear.

Hegel’s goal for unity can never work because in duality reality we naturally choose competition over compassion. In our system of choosing sides we lose our individuality. We hope for peace and wonder why nothing ever changes. Those who believe they are on the side of peace accuse others of being on the side of war. Each group fights with weapons of words, never able to find peace, unity, or common ground because the very foundation of the system keeps people divided.

Duality Matrix

Each side feels threatened by the other in a struggle over control. The duality matrix creates winners and losers. The media reinforces the infighting that keeps both sides distracted while an imbalance of power is maintained – the few controlling the many. The many are promised protection and security against all their fears. However, no guarantees are granted. As a consequence, the many are left feeling vulnerable and powerless, embracing their servitude and begging for greater protections at the expense of their freedoms.

As a nation, we experience the fear of vulnerability every time we are faced with the consequences of an unexpected natural, or man-made disaster. We have become dependent on the guise of security in the form of the National Weather Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), so much so, that when the information is incorrect and the system fails, we are left helpless, not knowing how to forage for food, build shelter, or fend for ourselves as our ancestors did. We are a technically advanced nation without a community and without a connection to the land on which we live.

We believe that in giving our allegiance to the State and Federal government that we are protected. However, the State, including local law enforcement has no duty to protect us. The Supreme Court revealed this truth in 1856 in South v. Maryland when it ruled, “Local law-enforcement had no duty to protect individuals but only a general duty to enforce the laws. The Supreme Court uses the Constitution to protect the State in its ruling in Bowers v. Devito:

“there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals or madmen. The Constitution is a charter of negative liberties; it tells the state to let the people alone; it does not require the federal government or the state to provide services, even so elementary a service as maintaining law and order.”

In exchange for votes to uphold a dual system, people receive a false sense of security. However, our inherent rights do not come from the government, The Constitution, or The Bill of Rights, or any paper document. These are merely symbols. Inherent rights and freedoms are not dictated by regulations and statutes but by common sense and morals, as long as no harm or loss is caused. Inherent rights are higher, transcendent rights that are “unalienable.” These rights are God-given under the laws of nature, and can neither be granted nor withdrawn. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads in part:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

New Hampshire is the only state in the country to have an express, written right of revolution in the state constitution. The only concern is the non-negotiable prohibition against violence of any sort in the enforcement or manifestation of this right.

Text of Article 10: Right of Revolution:

Government being instituted for the common benefit, protection, and security, of the whole community, and not for the private interest or emolument of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

Transcend Duality Reality

The division of opposites will continue to play out in reality until we recognize that all war and peace, introvert and extrovert, light and dark exists within us. To attack another is to attack one’s very nature. To judge another is to judge one’s self. In peaceful resistance, we can either opt out or withdraw consent from any system that would subvert unity and cooperation. Just saying NO can be a powerful stance.

Transcending duality reality comes down to creating new rules under Natural Law, that does away with the hierarchical systems of authority. It also requires real choice. Choosing not to participate in a system that doesn’t serve the greatest good is making an energy statement as powerful as choosing to participate. Choice determines outcome. Withdrawing consent is not apathy but the opposite of apathy. Being vulnerable is not the problem, but fear is. F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is merely a construct of the mind, but it serves to hold humanity in shackles. The power to transcend conflict, and come together, is found in choosing kindness as our tribe.

Are we ready?

About the Author

A portion of this blog is excerpted from the book Nature of Healing, Heal The Body, Heal the Planet by Rosanne Lindsay. Rosanne  is a Naturopath in the State of Wisconsin and healer with the Turtle Island Provider Network. Consult with her via Skype to create a health plan that increases vitality at natureofhealing.org. Rosanne is also President of the National Health Freedom Coalition, co-founder of Wisconsin For Vaccine Choice  and author of the book The Nature of Healing, Heal the Body, Heal the Planet. Find her on Facebook at Rosanne Lindsay and Natureofhealing, where this article first appeared.

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