Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion – AUDIOBOOK by Sam Harris
“For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris’s latest New York Times bestseller is a guide to meditation as a rational practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.
From Sam Harris, neuroscientist and author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, Waking Up is for the twenty percent of Americans who follow no religion but who suspect that important truths can be found in the experiences of such figures as Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history. Throughout this book, Harris argues that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow, and that how we pay attention to the present moment largely determines the quality of our lives.
Waking Up is part memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris—a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic—could write it.”
I am not sure where I am going with this post, but basically I am speaking to where we are today and where we need to be. Sadly we are miles apart. A few days ago I posted an article about the cause and effects of social media and what it is doing to society. I wish people had read it because it is so important for us to understand the situation we find ourselves in today! At such a critical time in our evolving as humans and where we are going next, we need people paying attention and holding themselves accountable. I always say if we are going to get ourselves back on the right track, we have to know first that we’ve even fallen off and we have.
We are never going to undo this mess if we humans as a whole don’t stop being distracted and start paying attention. Social media, as the above article explains, is tearing us apart not bringing us together. The Genie is out of the bottle and we will find it very difficult to undo what has been done, but hopefully we don’t allow ourselves to be sucked into the great abyss any further. It is time to face the fact that America’s and the world’s favorite obsession has become smart phones. Clever little name they gave such a destructive device. The phone may well be smart but rest assured we the people are getting dumber by the minute! We no longer think for ourselves and our brains muscles are weakening and need exercise just as our bodies do.
The only way we are going to get back on the right path towards evolving as human beings will be when we finally raise our consciousness up to the next level. It is time to lose our tadpole tails and become frogs. This is what Albert Einstein meant by his quote about not being able to change our situation with the same minds that created this problem in the first place. We should stop numbing ourselves out with distractions such as smart phones and place our intentions on moving forward, raising up our consciousness and leaving all of this chaos we are creating behind. We are SO MUCH better than this.
It would certainly help if we stopped ourselves from being brainwashed by our smart phones and started interacting with other people face to face and exercise our true conversational skills not our tweet skills. What so many fail to fully realize is whom this technology is affecting and with devastating results. It is our children, the next generation and other generations to come who are being affected. They are the next in line to take over but are they capable? We are being brainwashed from all directions and what is most disturbing is what our schools are pushing into innocent minds. Our children are being groomed to become certain voters who will carry on this sick agenda by whom they vote for. It is all about control, not about living our lives as WE wish.
In order to raise our consciousness we need to start exercising our brains and looking for new ways to perceive life than what we have been told. I am all for progress but only if nobody gets hurt in the process. If we proceed along our path, heads buried in our smart phones, not asking questions or looking for the truth about life, we are not challenging ourselves, we are not learning and growing, we are merely existing. So many people are addicted to drugs and alcohol, their smart phones and computers, social media etc. because we are empty within. Somewhere deep inside we know there is more to life but for some reason we have allowed ourselves to remain stagnant. I believe we fear having to give up our addictions despite the fact we may know they are bad. Addictive needs are extremely difficult to break.
It is time to sever our ties with what we have been told to believe in and set out on a journey to find the truth and embrace new ways of believing. We are NOT robots here in our lives to work 9-5 day after day and not experience life through freedom to pursue more meaning in our lives. Start reading again if you have put down books in favor of phones. Stretch your mind by asking questions, trying to figure things out and more importantly finding new answers. Create challenges for yourself to conquer and when you do, set the bar higher for the next one. Push yourselves to become more instead of just settling for what is. It does not need to be this way. Figure out your greatest fears and face them head on. When fear is eliminated we allow more room within to become more of who we are and what we can be. Loving. Honor strong morals and integrity because they are becoming a thing of the past and society will implode without them.
A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is the most “ambitious social policy of our times”. This video highlights how a UBI would work and discusses the arguments for and against.
Some people argue that if poor people are given a UBI they will probably waste their money on alcohol and the like, however, a study by The World Bank published in 2013 suggests that the opposite is true. Other studies have shown that the richer you are, the more likely you are to waste your money on alcohol and drugs. There are already UBI trials underway, with Finland being the first European country to launch a major dry run. 2,000 unemployed Finnish people were selected by the state to take part the experiment in which they are given almost €560 (£500) with no strings attached every month. The results of the two-year pilot will be published at the end of 2018.
“Is UBI a good idea? The honest idea is that we don’t know yet. There needs to be a lot more research, more and bigger test runs. We need to think about what kind of UBI we want and what we are prepared to give up to pay for it. The potential is huge, it might be the most promising model to sustainably eliminate poverty and it might seriously reduce the amount of desperation in the world and make us all less stressed out.”
In recent years, clinical research has revealed a high correlation between uncleared developmental and adult traumas and the onset of physical and emotional illnesses, evidence of a mind body connection. For example, people who experienced early childhood mind and body traumas were far more likely to have serious illnesses in early adulthood than those who did not suffer from such traumas.
Stress is associated with most of our illnesses, indicative of this mind body connection. Although a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 60 to 80 percent of illnesses reported to primary care doctors may have a stress component, stress is more likely a factor in at least 80 to 90 percent of such cases. Emotional and physical health issues to which stress has been linked sweeps across the body and mind spectrum, such as stomach issues; muscle aches and pains; joint and back problems; increased blood pressure; increased heart rate; higher cholesterol; increased risk of heart attack; mood problems such as anger, irritability, depression, panic, and anxiety; headaches; low energy; lower bone density; loss of libido; and especially reduced immune response, which makes all illnesses, including cancer, more likely.
The Mental Roots of Stress
Stress is actually a network of traumas; negative beliefs, thoughts, and emotions; interpretative perceptions; and even “downloads” of family patterns of how to deal with stress. Stress-induced illnesses don’t just happen out of the blue, and prescription drugs do not eliminate them—they only dull the physical and mental symptoms and often create other illnesses, nicely called “side effects.” If we truly wish for happiness and a healthy mind and body, then we should look towards the holistic healing offered by mind body medicine, which deals directly with this mind body connection surrounding the causes of stress, far more than just popping a pill.
What stresses one person may be easy for another because stress has more to do with how we react to an event than the event itself. We all give our own meaning to people, objects, and events around us, and that meaning is colored by our past experiences and interpretations. For example, Bill grew up in a house where he had to do everything perfectly or his mother would become very upset. “What’s wrong with you that you did that?” was her characteristic response. Then his father would yell at Bill for upsetting his mother. Bill’s conclusion, like so many children, was, “I am no good. I am not loveable. I can’t do anything right. Something is wrong with me!” Thomas, on the other hand, grew up with similar parents, but he didn’t see himself as a “problem” child. Instead, he thought his parents were “crazy.” As a result of his mind body connection, he stayed out in the neighborhood as long as he could, playing with other children. He hurried through dinner and rushed to his bedroom to do his homework. He made a point not to be around his parents any more than he had to.
Is it any wonder that Bill got sick several times a year because of terrible stress, which was stored in his body and mind, whereas Thomas rarely got sick because he wasn’t stressed? For reasons we do not know, Thomas was able to see things very differently and felt some control instead of taking his parents’ behaviors and attitudes personally. Bill, however, felt powerless to protect himself, so he became traumatized. The pattern of sickness for Bill and health for Thomas continued well into their adult lives and highlights this mind body connection.
Taking Control of Your Health: The Emotional Connection
The bottom line to this mind body connection is whether we perceive ourselves as powerless in a situation or as having the power to deal with the situation effectively. When we see ourselves as “at the effect of,” we are most stressed or traumatized. And that can go right into our bodies and minds and reduce our immune function; therefore, healthy mind, healthy body.
Even minor emotional stressors—if we interpret them negatively or feel powerless against them—can set off smaller psychosomatic mind and body symptoms such as colds, viruses, back pains, and allergies. Prolonged or accumulated emotional stresses often lead to more serious physical health ailments. A Johns Hopkins study reviewed data on 95,000 American children and found that nearly half experienced trauma, including physical or emotional abuse or neglect, deprivation, substance-abuse problems, or exposure to violence. Children who had two or more of such emotional experiences were twice as likely to have chronic health problems, indicative of a mind body connection.
While the good news is that mind body medicine can clear the effects of traumas—we do not have to live with them and let them make us sick—many people are puzzled about why in our relatively affluent society we still struggle to feel happy and physically well in our body and mind; especially when we are aware that a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. This has led us to ask several important questions:
+ Why don’t we often follow medical advice? (According to the American Heart Association, only 10 percent of us will maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle even though we know the measures. Also, only 5 percent of us who study meditation for stress reduction continue to practice it regularly for more than a few months.)
+ Why do visualizations, affirmations, diets, and exercise regimens often fail—even when a person is intent on making them succeed?
+ Why do physical symptoms or emotional mind and body problems seem intractable, even after years of talk therapy?
The answers to these questions lie in the hidden beliefs, unresolved traumas, and family downloads that influence our mind body connections. I think of this issue as a metaphor: first you pluck the weeds, then you plant the flowers. Just as flowers will not thrive in a garden full of weeds, so it is in our mind and body. If holistic healing tools such as visualizations, mind body medicine, or alternative treatments are to work fully and deeply, we need to pluck the weeds of traumas, stresses, negative thoughts and beliefs, and negative parental downloads that act as huge barriers to physical health and holistic healing.
Are You Being Affected by Parental and Ancestral Baggage?
What do I mean by “downloads”? All children imitate the behaviors of people around them. A dramatic example is cited in most mid-20th-century psychology textbooks. A baby, abandoned in the woods in Mexico, was raised by a wolf that had just given birth to pups. Ten years later, the girl was discovered running on all fours with a pack of wolves and making wolf sounds. Wolf-child stories like this one, though rare, illustrate what we all do: download the positives and negatives from our parents who did the same thing from their parents. This is why we cannot blame them—or ourselves—for holding thoughts or beliefs that may influence our mind body connection though not serve us. Fortunately, there are mind body medicine tools we can use to clear downloads we do not wish to keep, just as we clear unwanted programs in our computers.
As to the plethora of “weeds” we need to “pluck” in order to create and sustain the physical and emotional health that’s possible for us—a healthy body, healthy mind— I’d like to share a brief story about how widespread the unconscious “weeds” are in our culture.
The train, which features restored vintage carriages with flexible solar panels on their roofs, will travel between its solar-charging train station and a resort property in Byron Bay.
The Byron Bay Railroad Company is putting a disused track to work again with a restored “derelict heritage train” that has been converted to be 100% solar powered. The not-for-profit company refurbished a 3-kilometer stretch of tracks, as well as a bridge, between the town of Byron Bay, where a 30kW solar array, battery storage system, and charging station has also been installed, and the nearby Elements of Byron Bay resort.
The solar train features a 6.5kW solar array comprised of flexible solar panels on the roofs of the carriages, which can together carry up to 100 passengers at a time. The rooftop solar array will feed into the onboard 77kWh battery, which also gets partially charged between trips by the station’s solar array. According to RenewEconomy, the battery is about the same capacity as that in a Tesla Model S, but the solar train only requires about 4kWh to travel each leg of the trip, so there is plenty of juice for it to make “12-15 runs off a single charge,” and the regenerative braking feature will allow the train to recoup “around 25% of the spent energy each time the brakes are applied.”
The train was originally intended to be put into service as a diesel unit, but after “a fair bit of community resistance” to the idea of having a diesel train running there, the company explored the option of using an electric drive system coupled with a solar charging station, and found it to be a feasible alternative. The original carriages, which were built in 1949 at Chullora Railway Workshops in Sydney using lightweight aluminum aircraft technology (the facility was used from 1942-1945 to build bombers) were restored by Lithgow Railway Workshop.
Since the dawn of self-awareness, both spiritual and scientific minds have pondered similar questions to our existence: Who are we? Where did we come from? How did we get here and where are we going?
While most teachers within the world’s religions would disagree to the specific answers to these questions, there is a reoccuring theme that presents itself—our universe is not simply a colliding ground of ‘dead’ matter and scientific chance, but rather it is a vast, interconnected ocean of intelligence. We often hear this theory mentioned as the great ‘oneness’, source, god, and the list goes on.
Within the field of quantum mechanics, physicists, too, have opened their eyes to the possibilities of a conscious, vibratory field that permeates the Universe. In his best-selling book, The Source Field Investigations, author David Wilcock proposes the question, “could all space, time, energy, matter, biological life, and consciousness in the Universe be the product of a source field?” He references a number of curious experiments conducted by scientists over the last century which add credence to his theory, and by the end of the book it is difficult to refute the existence of what he names the ‘Source Field’.
Below are five experiments explored in The Source Field Investigations that aim to prove the existence of an interconnected consciousness that pervades the Universe.
1) Dr. Cleve Backster discovers plants perceive threats and have extra-sensory perception.
Cleveland Backster was a researcher and interrogation specialist for the CIA who served as director of the Keeler Polygraph Institute in Chicago. Backster developed the first numerical standardized evaluation of the polygraph chart and went on to study and promote the technology extensively.
Dr. Cleveland Backster: Henry Groskinsky/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images Backster performing one of his experiments.
On February 2, 1966, Backster’s secretary purchased him both a rubber plant and a dracaena plant from a store going out of business down the street. Backster ended up working through the night, and in the wee hours of the morning had an idea to attach his dracaena plant to the polygraph to see if anything happened.
He was surprised to see the plant exhibit a jagged and ‘alive’ pattern of electrical activity. Then in a brief, passing moment, the plant showed a similar pattern which would normally appear when a human lies. He took this a step further and decided to threaten the plant’s well-being to see if another reaction took place.
First, he dipped the leaf in coffee to no reaction on the polygraph, then he thought of putting a flame to the leaf. In the same instant the polygraph went wild. Backster stated that no words were spoken, yet by merely thinking about what he was going to do the plant reacted. “It was as though the plant read my mind,” Backster wrote in his book, Primary Perception.
Cleve Backster discovered that plants can perceive threats even if they are only a thought in our mind.
Next, Backster grabbed a box of matches and watched the wild reaction continue, and only when he put the matches away and let go of his idea to harm the plant did the polygraph return to normal levels.
Thus began Backster’s intensive study of plants and polygraphs. He discovered that by simply taking care of a plant, the plant appeared to begin to monitor his thoughts and feelings. “When I left the lab to run an errand, I found that the moment I decided to return to where that plant was, the plant often showed a significant reaction.”
In his book, Backster described how he carried a plant with him all the way from New York to Clifton, New Jersey, to attend a surprise party. When he arrived, right at the moment he and the plant entered the house and everyone yelled, “SURPRISE!” there was a big reaction from the plant at the exact time.”
Backster began leaving plants hooked up to polygraphs without trying to do anything—just observing their reactions and then trying to figure out what might have caused them. One day he found a strong reaction after pouring boiling hot water down his sink. Later testing revealed the sink was loaded with bacteria, and when the bacteria suddenly died from the scalding hot water, the plant received a threat to its own well-being and ‘screamed.’
In a later experiment, Backster designed a machine that would drop brine shrimp into boiling water at random. He noticed the plants would react strongly, but only at night when no one was around.
During a visit to Yale University Linguistics School, Backster got a student to trap an arachnid between his hands while an ivy leaf was plucked and hooked up to the polygraph. They noticed a reaction only when the spider became conscious that it was able to run away.
Backster evolved his studies, hooking up things like chicken eggs and yogurt cultures, and continued to get stunning results. Consistently, what he found was that every living thing is intimately attuned to its environment. When any stress, suffering or death occurs, all the life-forms in the surrounding area have an immediate electrical response.
One time, Backster hooked an egg up to the electrodes and watched as the egg ‘screamed’ as each of its neighbours were dropped into boiling water, one by one. Backster also noted that he had kept the electroded egg in a lead-lined box that screened out all electromagnetic fields, which eliminated the chance that any radio waves, microwaves, or other electromagnetic frequencies were to blame for the reading.
He repeated this effect by encaging plants in a copper screen, called a Faraday cage, and not surprisingly the plants behaved as if the screen did not exist.
“I felt certain [the information passing between plants, bacteria, insects, animals and humans] was not within the known electromagnetic frequencies…distance seemed to impose no limitation,” he wrote in Primary Perception.
2) Dr. Jacobo Grinberg discovers couple’s brains are connected by an undetectable field.
Jacobo Grinberg was a Mexican scientist who studied extensively in the fields of shamanism, meditation, and telepathy. After witnessing a phenomenon known as “psychic surgery,” he theorized that a “neuronal field” created within the brain interacts with a “pre-space structure”—a holographic non-local lattice that has the properties of consciousness—activating a partial interpretation of it and creating the brain’s perceived reality.