Review: Deepak Chopra’s Idea’s on ” The Future of God” Part 2 of 3
In part 2 of this 3-part series, I will discuss the role played by consciousness in various levels of spirituality. In the beginning, there was the word. The word is sometimes associated with pure consciousness, since without consciousness there cannot be a word. And, without consciousness there cannot be a self or a world. Perhaps there is no better example of the power of consciousness than our own DNA; cells split, differentiated body cells grow; body parts are formed; we become human; and, we end up with consciousness in our brain-mind-body-heart systems. Then there is the human immune system – what a wonderful thing! On a larger scale, we behold the universe. How was it made? What caused it to become? The famous quantum physicist Max Planck noted that everything material in the world – all that we become aware of or attached to – is sourced in our consciousness. In some intelligent minds, consciousness and creation are one and the same thing. So what is it about human consciousness that leads us into becoming highly spiritual creatures? Some may become atheists, while others may become religious extremists. In any event, spiritual consciousness packs great power to move people, groups, and nations. It even directs our not-always positive domination over other species on earth. The absolute answers about the power of consciousness are unknown. There are some clues!
Human consciousness, from early birth-awareness to blissful experiences, lays down the track on which the train of life rides. What we experience becomes our basis for learning, and learning is simply the pathway to consciousness. Personal value systems are built on consciousness. In Buddhism all experiences are said to be positive/pleasurable or neutral/sometimes boring or negative/suffering. Such schemas present satisfaction, dissatisfaction and what lies in between the two as the norms of an impermanent system of life. Personal values are based on pleasure vs pain; we seek pleasure, and do almost anything to avoid pain. The power of human consciousness to mold us and direct our thoughts, emotions and behaviors is almost beyond the mind-brain’s ability to understand. The realities of time and space are experienced via our consciousness. All this consciousness-raising about self, others, values, materialism, desires, fears, good, bad – even spiritual consciousness – traps us into belief systems and emotional-behavioral tendencies to seek out the consciousness we desire to be true. We may place the power of consciousness in others: spiritual or religious leaders, gurus, power-people, etc. Thus the source of our own right consciousness comes often from the outside. However, in the world’s major spiritual traditions and formal religions, the absolute source of consciousness is within us. Much like the source of happiness lies within us and our responses to whatever we experience in life. There are important leaders in the spiritual/religious worlds, but they are not the true source of your personal consciousness. The great Indian spiritual master, N. Maharaj noted that people need to allow peaceful inner quiet in order to know the self and not just the experiences of the self. This implies that personal desires/cravings and avoidances are simply based on what we want and do not want. To go beyond typical awareness, one needs to be alert but in quiet attention. This process is no simple matter. The great Buddhist master T’song-kha-pa meditated in a cave for five years to get to know and understand his mind. Mindfulness about consciousness and its experiences lies at the core of many Buddhist practices. Vedanta, perhaps the oldest spiritual tradition in India, noted that true, ultimate reality was located and experienced inside the self. One must move beyond duality and into the transcendent world of subtle energies. The typical “I/ME/MINE” in the West – and its extreme forms of narcissistic entitlement – are light years away from true consciousness of the self. We need calm humility to be with consciousness; Saint Francis of Assisi noted that if god could work though him, god could work through anyone.
So to be whole in our consciousness, in our transformations, we need to let go of fear and insecurity. We need to be brave in facing what consciousness brings to us. We need to let go of ego-driven desires to be in pleasure, happiness, and joy forever. We need to act with compassion toward others. We need to inquire deeply: Who am I? Why am I here? How/where do I find the light. Eventually,we need to move beyond all duality and into oneness – oneness with complete grace. We need to explore what the great Indian poet Tagore noted as one’s heart listening to the whisperings of the world. When we listen and respond to the whisperings, we find ultimate love. Yes, even ultimate love is simply another consciousness. A consciousness we humans like a lot.
As you read through this information, do your best to find your own personal meanings and paths into improved being at your emotional and spiritual levels. Understanding and using consciousness as a good tool is not so simple. Have courage to let go of material things as representing your true value. Spirit-consciousness and eventual onenesss are within you – deeper within you. Enjoy your journey! Be calm and kind.
For more information refer to Chopra, D. (2014). The Future of God: A Practical Approach to Spirituality for Our Times. New York: Harmony Books, pp. 211-282.
By Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont
Author of Mindful Happiness
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