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Atheists for God

By Dr. Deepak Chopra, MD

(Courtesy of Dr. Deepak Chopra and Intentblog.com)

 

I think if God has a chance to come back seriously, it will take atheists to rehabilitate him (or her). One synonym for atheist is free thinker. God needs a lot more free thinking if he is to escape the clutches of fundamentalism. The basis for that rehabilitation exists already. We have profound religious thinking from Einstein and other great scientists. We have sharp, mindful challenges to the old God from Sartre and other existentialists. We have humane theology from Paul Tillich and other non-literal theologians. We have the entire New Age, which has re-enlivened spiritual experience for millions of people. And of course we have the great traditions of wisdom from the East, all but unknown a generation ago but now extremely well publicized thanks to figures like the Dalai Lama. 
 
A great deal of this wealth of new thought is atheist or close to it. Buddhists do not worship God. Einstein conceived of a God who would conform to the laws of nature, not override or rule them. The New Age replaces God, quite often, with the sense of "I am" (a concept of the higher self that exists throughout Eastern spirituality). Some new thought, of course, remains within the bounds of religion and the Western tradition. 
 
The point is that with the current theologically based violence at a feverish pitch, atheism may be God’s best hope for making a positive difference in history once again. Right now God is making a difference, but given the baneful effect of fundamentalism in every society and the repugnance of an aggressive male deity who justifies war and intolerance, that difference is highly destructive to human happiness and progress. That’s unfair to God, and if the secular elites believe that happiness and well-being can be established without a spiritual basis entirely, they are fooling themselves.

 Democracy and elitism are always suspicious of each other, and for now the common belief in fundamentalism rides high while the educated elite keeps silent. The educated elite in my experience is not filled with the faithful. After a century of liberal arts education in America, agnosticism and atheism are the norm. People become educated to fill secular roles. Anyone who runs for office would have to piously deny and scorn this idea, but the fact is that our modern world is scientific and technocratic, not religious. The three most powerful forgers of modern thought--Freud, Darwin, and Marx--were notable atheists.

Time Magazine heralded Deepak Chopra as one of the 100 heroes and icons of the century, and credited him as "the poet-prophet of alternative medicine." Entertainment Weekly described Deepak Chopra as "Hollywood’s man of the moment, one of publishings best-selling and most prolific self-help authors." He is the author of more than 40 books and more than 100 audio, video and CD-Rom titles. He has been published on every continent, and in dozens of languages and his worldwide book sales exceed twenty million copies. Over a dozen of his books have landed on the New York Times Best-seller list. Toastmaster International recognized him as one of the top five outstanding speakers in the world. Through his over two decades of work since leaving his medical practice, Deepak continues to revolutionize common wisdom about the crucial connection between body, mind, spirit, and healing. His mission of "bridging the technological miracles of the west with the wisdom of the east" remains his thrust and provides the basis for his recognition as one of India�s historically greatest ambassadors to the west. Chopra has been a keynote speaker at several academic institutions including Harvard Medical School, Harvard Business School, Harvard Divinity School, Kellogg School of Management, Stanford Business School and Wharton.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the editor/publisher.


Allergic to Spirituality

By Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

It is very important that the spiritual dimension of life is brought into everybody’s lives. Why many people have developed an allergy to spirituality is because somebody always told them, ‘spirituality means leaving everything and going to the mountains.’ Even if you want to go, there is not enough space for all of you there. You had better learn how to be spiritual in your office, in your home, on the streets, wherever you are. You had better learn that because spirituality is about your interiority, not what you do outside. Spirituality is an inner science to create a conductive inner atmosphere because the quality of your life is dependent on how you are within yourself. That quality this moment depends on how joyous, how peaceful you are. This dimension you have completely neglected. Unless you do something to the inner, you will not know what it is to be peaceful, to be joyous, you will not know how to go beyond the limitations of being just a physical body and mind.

See, your body is simply accumulations of what you have gathered from the Earth – when you leave you can’t take an atom of this body. So this body is not really yours. Your mind is not yours too. It is also just an accumulation – what you have gathered from the backgrounds in which you were brought up in life. So there is something else which needs to be looked at beyond these dimensions.

Even if I erase all your memory, still you will be here. Yes? Your family will disappear, your status will disappear, your business will disappear, everything that you own in the world will disappear. But still you are here. So beyond all the things that you identify yourself with, still there is something called as you. That you is not subject to what you accumulate from outside. But unfortunately that you has been so much covered, so much crowded with other things that you never allowed yourself to look at that. You always thought that what you are identified with is much more important than who you really are. Now if your focus shifts, then the other dimension can start opening up for you.

The whole process of spiritual science, yoga in particular, is to somehow elevate you to an experience that is beyond the five sense organs. When you transcend the limited experience of what you know as yourself, your experience of life is naturally in a different dimension. Then you begin to experience that which is not physical, the spiritual, the Divinity of your true nature. If you are ready and willing to experience life in a deeper dimension, to be truly happy, I have methods. Then you can begin to experience the joy, the blissfulness of knowing who you really are.

For more information about Sadhguru, please visit www.ishafoundation.org

Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev is an international speaker, author and peace advocate with profound spiritual and cultural insights on health and human potential. He addresses over 500,000 people annually at his public forums. Sadhguru is a realized master and yogi who has practiced yoga since age 13 and authored four books on the essential nature of yoga. Sadhguru has synthesized the science of yoga into a dynamic program that allows people to restore and maintain optimum health and inner balance.

Through his books, columns, articles and interviews aired and published in a host of international media, Sadhguru is considered an authority on yogic science whose teachings help people gain an inner understanding of the issues and events that happen to themselves and the world around them.

Sadhguru is founder of the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization advancing physical, mental and spiritual health through yoga and self-transformation. The Foundation administers over 100 yoga centers, an ashram, residential complex and medical center in India, and conducts public programs around the world. His humanitarian initiatives for world peace and his outreach programs for Tsunami relief, prisoners, children and Action for Rural Rejuvenation in India are examples of his determination to improve the human condition for all people.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the editor/publisher.


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