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Deepak Chopra and Intent

Deepak Chopra and Intent

Which Universe Do You Want to Live In? It’s Your Choice

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By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD

 

The night sky that you can view from your back yard is roughly the same, given a few changes in the positions of stars, as the night sky Galileo turned his telescope on to. But visual similarity is misleading. There have been half a dozen different universes conceived of in the human mind. As each conception changes, so does reality. We like to think that science steadily marches forward, but with each new universe something is lost and something is gained. Here we take the term universe to imply a world view, rather than just the large-scale universe explored with telescopes and deep space probes.

 

Here’s a sketch of how this has worked:

 

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  1. The Divine Universe: The first universe was created by God or the gods.
  2. The Classical Universe: The second universe, sometimes known as the clockwork universe, perceived to work in a perfect mechanism, was created and ruled by fixed laws of nature knowable through human reason and by applying the mathematical equations of classical physics.
  3. The Relativistic Universe – The third universe, based on Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, preserved the unity of the classical universe but showed that a new spacetime geometry was necessary. Its consequence was a dynamical, expanding universe.
  4. The Quantum Universe: The third universe was still ruled by laws of nature, but in place of constants, a large element of randomness and probability was introduced. Einstein’s attempt to preserve a unified scheme akin to the classical universe was rejected, mostly because of laboratory evidence rather than philosophical principles.

 

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Because no one to-date has been able to make the relativistic universe mesh with the quantum universe, an enormous mathematical guessing game began and still continues.  There are many exotic universes that could be described, according to one’s belief in cosmological and particle theories such as steady state, eternal inflation, superstring, Standard Model, many worlds, the multiverse, M theory, and so on. All are mathematical in nature. They do not describe how reality actually works, although there’s always the optimistic hope that theory and reality may match. Taken as a group, these theories all belong to the present universe, which is as follows:

 

  1. The Uncertain Universe, which is based on many equations, some critical observations, and huge expenditures of time and money in an attempt to extract new data about the fabric of nature.

 

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Uncertainty isn’t a comfortable state to live with, so two other universes have recently cropped up.

 

  1. The Conscious Universe, which is based on the notion that random events may not be enough to explain the exquisite fine tuning of the laws of nature and, more importantly, the rise of life on Earth.

 

  1. The Human Universe, which is based on the undeniable fact that any universe must be based on the human mind’s ability to think about reality. If all knowledge is rooted in human consciousness, perhaps we are viewing not the real universe but a selective one based on the limitations of the brain.

 

The gains and losses that attend each universe or world view are well known. If you shift from the divine universe to the classical universe, you lose God but you gain predictable, exact mechanisms for natural phenomena. If you shift from the classical universe to the relativistic universe, you lose the absolute constancy of time and space but gain a dynamic way to explain how distant objects in motion seemingly recede from us up to the speed of light. For some people, including scientists, there’s a refusal to accept the losses. People who believe that God created the world in seven days are willing to sacrifice science because they don’t want to lose God. Chemists, whose work is largely confined to the classical world, willingly turn their backs on quantum insights, finding them interesting but largely not utilitarian.

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This leaves us in a landscape where choices are being made for arbitrary reasons. The many camps that vie for dominance in the Uncertain Universe have spent decades bouncing from one fad to the next, and although a so-called standard model of the cosmos exists, the basic interpretation of quantum mechanics, a hundred years after its formulation, is hotly argued over.

 

What needs to happen is a decisive break based on validated findings that clear away the arbitrary choices and faddishness that has made the Uncertain Universe such a muddle. This is what the Conscious Universe attempts to do, and at a more speculative level, the Human Universe. Actually, in a sense, the Human Universe is an aspect of the Conscious Universe, referring back to us as observers. At the very least each of us needs to be aware of the lay of the land. The basic notion taught in school holds that science marches in a straight line, thus insuring steady progress in any field of knowledge. That model is only partially true. Science also contains politics, fads, false starts, shaky assumptions, and confusion about basic principles that have become outmoded over time. Remember this the next time you are tempted to pick the universe you live in. There are a lot more choices than you may imagine. Ultimately this is good, because it opens the door to ponder the deep questions of existence, which are far more important than contending theories among a handful of scientific elites..

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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. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Dr. Chopra #40 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Coming soon: Super Genes (November 10, 2015, Penguin Harmony)

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MENAS C. KAFATOS Ph.D. is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics, at Chapman University. He is a quantum physicist, cosmologist, and climate change researcher and works extensively on consciousness. He holds seminars and workshops for individuals and corporations on the natural laws that apply everywhere for well-being and success. His doctoral thesis advisor was the renowned M.I.T. professor Philip Morrison who studied under J. Robert Oppenheimer. He has authored 300+ articles, is author or editor of 15 books, including “The Conscious Universe” (Springer) with Robert Nadeau, and is co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, “The Creative Cosmos” (Harmony). You can learn more at http://www.menaskafatos.com and follow him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/menas.kafatos Twitter:@mckafatos and LinkedIn: Menas

 

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Meditation and the Spiritual Life of Children

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By Deepak Chopra, MD

When they become parents, many people wonder how to impart spiritual values to their children. The traditional model of sending them to Sunday school is one alternative; another is to draw the entire family into the personal spirituality of the parents, as more people turn away from organized religion to carve their own path. Children grow up to reflect how they are raised, which makes this an important issue.

 

To begin with, a child’s spiritual life should be age appropriate. A very young child’s brain hasn’t matured enough to absorb adult beliefs, and the overall development of every child is unique. Before age ten or so, I feel that spiritual parenting will have the most lasting effect if it builds a foundation in the self rather than focusing on principles. As a practical matter, every young child should feel that

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  • They are loved and lovable.
  • They are worthwhile in their parents’ eyes.
  • Being a good person comes from within.
  • Happiness and fulfillment are natural.

At this stage, the role of caretaker is all-important. Young children have their own predispositions that show up early on. A child starts to show personality traits very soon in life. Yet no matter how different they are, children need to feel worthy and loved.

 

The next phase of spiritual parenting is about values. Child psychology studies have shown that babies as early as six months old want to help their mothers, and even infants react positively when they see good behavior and shy away from bad behavior in others. So there is reason to feel that children have a moral nature.

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With that in mind, parents should develop a child’s inner values all the time while keeping in mind that grasping these values mentally, in terms of abstract ideas, isn’t going to happen early on. Instead, children internalize what they see and how they are treated. Saying “Be nice to your little brother” makes an impression the first time, with decreasing meaning as it gets repeated. But seeing parents who are fair and kind literally trains a child’s brain in that direction.

 

Lifelong values are not instilled through negative lessons and punishment. What a child takes away from these experiences is guilt, shame, and resentment. The same is true if parents instill fear and doubt by telling children such things as “Life is unfair,” “If you don’t look out for number one, no one else will,” and “If you want anything in this world, you have to fight for it.” Remember, what we all grow up remembering most vividly from our childhood is the emotional tone of family life. Children raised in a tense, stressful, or difficult home environment will adapt to it, because it’s in their nature to adapt, but that doesn’t mean that they will emerge undamaged.

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And now to the question of meditation and the inner life. Meditation can add to a sense of a child’s self-worth and even a sense of power, because it’s an activity that belongs just to them. The childhood brain is a factor here. Where it has been shown that introducing meditation in the schools leads to behavioral improvements in older ages (middle school and later), younger ages benefit, I feel, when meditation fulfills the following criteria:

  • It feels like fun.
  • The child expresses enjoyment.
  • Nothing is forced or turned into a chore.
  • The whole family participates.

Looking back, many adults feel turned off by the religious lessons their parents tried to impart because of an air of strict morality or pressure to be good.  The beauty of meditation is that everything comes from within, but “within” means different things at different ages.

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Starting at age six or seven—each parent will have to play this by ear—the parents can sit down to meditate with a child, using a simple technique: Sit quietly with eyes closed and follow the breath. Don’t ask the child to meditate for more than 5 to 10 minutes. Make it clear that if they stop enjoying it, they are free to get up and go play. But the parents should continue their own meditation for the usual time.

 

By being invited in and yet given the freedom to choose, a child will associate meditation with something they have control over. The worst lesson is to feel that meditation is a way for them to be controlled, forced to settle down and “be good.” In other words, don’t make meditation the equivalent of sitting in the corner or taking time out. A child who is running around or acting out needs a nap, a talking to, or some other corrective. Meditation isn’t one of them.

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The greatest benefit of meditation comes when a child is able to notice actual changes themselves. They feel calmer, more centered, less troubled, less tempted to act out. A parent can coax these realizations, but gently, by pointing out a positive change. But be careful not to intrude. Everyone’s inner life is private, no matter how young they are. Taking note of inner changes probably won’t happen consistently until age twelve or later, and the attraction of major changes probably won’t happen until mid to late adolescence, at a time when discovering who they are comes naturally to teenagers.

 

I hope these points are useful, but the most important one became the theme of a book I wrote, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Parenting, which is this: If you want your child to lead a fulfilled and successful life, the best route is through spiritual parenting. The child learns the value of their own inner world, and as the years pass, this value increases until the realization dawns that all of existence originates “in here,” at the level of the soul.

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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. www.deepakchopra.com

Check out Let My Light Shine Bright, a new mix-and-match meditation app for kids, ages 8-12

 

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Do We Really Know What’s Real? The Most Optimistic Answer Is Maybe

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By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD

 

For a very long time, if you wanted to know if something is real or not, the go-to people have been scientists. The rise of rationality over superstition is considered the single greatest achievement of the past three or four centuries. So it’s startling news–as we discussed in the last post–that physics has arrived at a reality crisis. Three great unsolved mysteries remain, and they are the same riddles asked by ancient Greek philosophers: What is the universe made of? Where did the universe come from? How do we know what’s real?

 

It’s fascinating to observe how working scientists approach these questions. The vast majority pay no attention to them, because a scientist’s everyday work, including the work of physicists, is about collecting data, running experiments, and making calculations from known theories, and once in a while formulating new theories. The Big Questions which are left to theorists, are usually bypassed in the everyday lives of scientists. But as we discussed last time, science has to test every theory to see if it matches empirical reality.  Galileo could calculate on paper that two objects, when dropped from a height, would hit the ground at the same time, despite the age-old assumption that a cannonball, being much heavier than a lead fishing weight, would hit the ground first, as Aristotle believed. To prove that his calculations were correct, Galileo offered empirical proof, and physics took a huge counter-intuitive step forward.

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Most physicists are still deeply wedded to empirical proof, and because massive particle accelerators and deep-space telescopes continue to bring back better and better data, delving deeper into the fabric of Nature, there’s a camp we can label “we’re almost there.” If you belong to this camp, you view the future as an unstoppable march to progress; the same march science has been on for centuries. There is no reason to believe that the Big Questions won’t be answered as long as we’re patient enough. But this confident attitude has run into three major obstacles.

  1. Most of the universe is sub-empirical, which means that the fundamental fields that make up the physical universe are invisible, probably infinite in expanse, and out of direct reach to experimenters. The evidence for their existence is through isolated experiments that “excite the field” into activity.
  2. As much as two-thirds of observable creation is conjectured to be composed of dark matter and dark energy, which are so alien to ordinary matter and energy that even to detect a particle of dark matter is a laborious enterprise, not yet successfully completed. Being far more exotic, dark energy baffles even the most sophisticated mathematical models.
  3. The Standard Model of the cosmos, although widely accepted, is filled with holes and unproven assumptions. Its core concepts, such as quantum field theoretical concepts, are constantly being added to and patched together. Quantum field theories like quantum electrodynamics and quantum chromodynamics are elegant and work well within their own domains. But do they truly lead to a unified view of the cosmos as proponents of the Standard Model believe?

 

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Knowing just this much, you can see why another camp in physics is saying “We haven’t even begun yet.”  When told that they are anti-science–a frequent slur usually made by those too afraid to “abandon ship” or too blind to notice that the ship is tilting–or that current assumptions work very well, the “We haven’t even begun yet” camp points to a decades-long roadblock in unifying the four fundamental forces in Nature (gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear force). A Theory of Almost Everything has been left hanging, with the Holy Grail, the Theory of Everything, perpetually out of reach. This halt dates back almost a century, when it was first realized that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which explains gravity, spacetime, and the behavior of large objects, is irreconcilable with quantum mechanics, which explains the other three forces and the behavior of very small objects.

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Besides the three Big Questions that reinforce a belief that we haven’t even begun to get at the deepest realms of Nature, there are other problems that remain up in the air, such as

–How did the initial chaos in the first instant of the Big Bang turn into orderliness?

— Why are the constants of nature so fine-tuned that the tiniest alteration in any one of them would have prohibited the universe from forming as we see it and to  us not even  being here to ponder these questions?

— How can we believe in popular theories like superstrings and the multiverse when there is no way to verify them and never will be, since they exist outside spacetime?

— When the so-called God particle (the Higgs boson) was discovered, it supposedly explained how particles of matter acquired mass. But how do we know this is true? How do we know what is “fundamental” in quantum field theory? Nineteenth century philosopher Ernst Mach held the view that inertial mass of nearby objects is created by the entire distribution of matter in the universe.

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— When advanced concepts like supergravity and superstrings theory posit the existence of eleven dimensions or more, what does that really signify except numbers on a blackboard?

 

It seems that the Standard Model faces an increasing number of challenges. And we would submit that the Theory of Everything may be even more elusive than the Holy Grail. Superstring theory and the value of the cosmological constant indicate that we are still facing monumental challenges as gravity and quantum theory are still far apart. In terms of empirical evidence, if that is the ultimate test of reality, such evidence for both aspects of what the universe holds in darkness, dark matter and dark energy, such validation is still glaringly missing in the laboratory.

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One camp says, “Give us more time (and money) we are almost there!” We are saying, “Look at the trends and see if things are converging or not. If they are not, maybe we need to look at the foundational issues of what we call reality with a fresh look”.

 

So instead of saying that physics has reached a crisis, which raises some hackles, it’s more objective to say that ever since the quantum revolution a century ago, matching theory and reality has become more difficult, not less difficult.  The supremacy of physics was based on theory marching ahead with empirical validation to back it up. This held true for all of classical physics, then for relativity and quantum mechanics. But unless a new paradigm springs up, it may turn out that we haven’t really begun to answer the Big Questions.

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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. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Dr. Chopra #40 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

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MENAS C. KAFATOS Ph.D., is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics, at Chapman University. He is a quantum physicist, cosmologist, and climate change researcher and works extensively on consciousness. He holds seminars and workshops for individuals and corporations on the natural laws that apply everywhere for well-being and success. His doctoral thesis advisor was the renowned M.I.T. professor Philip Morrison who studied under J. Robert Oppenheimer. He has authored 300+ articles, is author or editor of 15 books, including “The Conscious Universe” (Springer) with Robert Nadeau, and is co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, “The Creative Cosmos” (Harmony). You can learn more at http://www.menaskafatos.com and follow him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/menas.kafatos Twitter:@mckafatos and LinkedIn: Menas Kafatos

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Physics’ Split Personality: Is the Dark Side Winning?

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By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD

 

For some time now most of the universe has gone dark. This startling news was brought to popular attention in a June Op-Ed piece in the New York Times called “A Crisis at the Edge of Physics.” It began, “Do physicists need empirical evidence to confirm their theories?” In other words, once you work out a theoretical explanation for how Nature works, do you need evidence to prove it?

 

The answer seems like an obvious yes. If someone had a theory that unicorns live at the center of black holes, no one would believe it without evidence. But for a hundred years, ever since the quantum revolution, mathematics has often substituted for empirical data. The quantum world is too far removed from the everyday world for empiricism to guide the way. There have been famous validations of arcane theories, as when astronomers used a total solar eclipse in 1919 to verify Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity that light can been bent into a curve by strong gravitational forces.

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But in the last half century or so, a great many theories either cannot be proven through gathering evidence or barely can be. A professional cosmologist will never observe what occurred in the first instant of the Big Bang, the so-called Planck era, which lasted for trillionths of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second, because matter and energy as we know it didn’t exist yet, nor perhaps the very laws of nature, along with space and time. The Planck era is an example of a sharp divide between the known universe and another, unknowable state.

 

Other candidates for unknowability are the centers of black holes, thought to contain infinite gravity. At the most basic level, since black holes swallow up all matter and energy–they are sometimes called the vacuum cleaners of the universe–no particles or energy can escape from them, either,  except for  radiation around the periphery. In order for the barely knowable to deliver usable empirical data, huge billion-dollar particle accelerators are built to blast exotic subatomic particles out of the vacuum, and even then the evidence of their existence, as in the much ballyhooed “God particle” (the Higgs boson) is extremely fleeting and requires teams of mathematical physicists to analyze it in order to understand exactly what happened.

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The crisis referred to in the Times piece is about breaking away from centuries of science where empirical evidence was a must. At the cutting edge of modern physics, evidence is a maybe or a never. A variety of theories that have become popular, such as the multiverse and superstring theory, are based entirely on mathematics that may say nothing about reality. Concepts like supersymmetry and the collapse of the wave function describe processes that will never be witnessed directly.

 

But probably the biggest obstacle is the dark matter and dark energy that has caused most of the universe to wander out of reach. These two entities are called dark in the ordinary sense–they emit no light and cannot be seen. But they may also be radically dark, meaning that in the case of dark energy its structure could bear no resemblance to atoms, molecules, and the four fundamental forces of nature, except for gravity or actually its opposite. The existence of dark matter and energy has been deemed necessary because of actual observations having to do with the galaxies accelerating as they fly apart from one another, along with related calculations of how much ordinary mass and energy exist in the universe.

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Darkness would qualify as a niche subject except for how much of it exists. The current best calculation holds that the cosmos is 4.9% regular matter, 26.8% dark matter, and 68.3% dark energy.  In that 4.9% is included all luminous matter contained in billions of galaxies plus a huge amount of non-luminous matter in interstellar dust. So the barest fraction of creation is offering empirical data. Physics has been dealing with the cherry on top of the sundae, the tip of the iceberg, or the grin of the Cheshire Cat after its body has vanished–pick whatever metaphor you like. Most of the universe is at the very least quite exotic.

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Given that the situation is what it is, how should future science proceed? It seems intellectually naive or futile to keep acting as if empiricism still rules the roost. Arcane mathematics dethroned it long ago, and in their candid moments, theoretical physicists will concede that to believe that Nature acts the way these theories predict is largely a matter of faith. Actually many of the founders of quantum mechanics held the view that theories are really about our interactions with nature, not how things are. It seems realistic to face the fact that at the cutting edge of physics and cosmology, physical validation either isn’t possible or hangs on by a thread.

 

The crisis in physics  is as much philosophical as scientific. We haven’t solved three big mysteries that Greek philosophers began to struggle with over 2,000 years ago.  Where did the universe come from? What is it made of? How do we know if our knowledge is reality-based? Most working scientists can chug along with their research not having to face these cosmic riddles. But in the quest to answer the, two camps have emerged. One camp says “Hold on a little longer. We’re almost there.” The other camp says, “We haven’t even begun to find the answers.”

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For decades the first camp has held sway. The crisis in physics comes down to a loss of credibility in “We’re almost there.” In the next post we’ll offer the reasons for why the “We haven’t even started yet” camp could be dead 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.

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Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.” The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Dr. Chopra #40 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. www.deepakchopra.com

MENAS C. KAFATOS, is the Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics, at Chapman University. He has authored more than 300 articles, is author or editor of 15 books, including “The Conscious Universe”, and is co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, “The Creative Cosmos” (Harmony). You can learn more at http://www.menaskafatos.com and follow him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/menas.kafatos Twitter:@mckafatos 

Previous Posts

Which Universe Do You Want to Live In? It's Your Choice
By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD   The night sky that you can view from your back yard is roughly the same, given a few changes in the positions of stars, as the night sky Galileo turned his telescope on to. But visual ...

posted 10:54:49am Aug. 31, 2015 | read full post »

Meditation and the Spiritual Life of Children
By Deepak Chopra, MD When they become parents, many people wonder how to impart spiritual values to their children. The traditional model of sending them to Sunday school is one alternative; another is to draw the entire family into the ...

posted 10:42:06am Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Do We Really Know What's Real? The Most Optimistic Answer Is Maybe
By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD   For a very long time, if you wanted to know if something is real or not, the go-to people have been scientists. The rise of rationality over superstition is considered the single greatest ...

posted 1:06:30pm Aug. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Physics' Split Personality: Is the Dark Side Winning?
By Deepak Chopra, MD, and Menas Kafatos, PhD   For some time now most of the universe has gone dark. This startling news was brought to popular attention in a June Op-Ed piece in the New York Times called "A Crisis at the Edge of ...

posted 12:32:11pm Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Mindful Evolution: Can You Guide What Your Genes Are Doing?
By Deepak Chopra, MD and Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD   Human beings are unique in the scenario of life on Earth--that much is obvious. We are guided by awareness, and to implement our wishes, dreams, and inventions, the higher brain ...

posted 11:49:40am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

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