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Archive for the ‘Evolutionary Spirituality’ Category

Let’s All Go to a British “Wank Camp” Now, Shall We?

Posted: January 16, 2014 at 3:52 am

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This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England, this knob that needs a little extra 'ow's yer father. Let's take a trip to a "personal development" camp in these cherished isles. Let's put a little more jack in the Union Jack. Am I being too coy? Fine, let's go on a weekend retreat to learn how to masturbate better.

Because the United Kingdom has thought of everything, it apparently has such blessed placesto be fair, in Scotland, not England proper. So explains Jack Flanagan of Kernel magazine, who took a quickie jaunt north to Edinburgh find himself, and then to fondle himself: "I was headed for a three-day exploration into self-pleasure I had dubbed 'wank school' but which the organisers described in more florid language as 'tending the fire in your belly'":

I reviewed my notes. I'd made a list of three things I wanted to get out of the weekend: to understand a hobby better; to see if masturbation can be better than it is now, and to connect with other men about male sexuality

My, my! This sounds tasty! We Gawkerers are known to defend self-love against its crude detractors from time to time. What new tricks can we learn? And how does one find such seminars? Are any offered at the 92nd Street Y? Sadly, Flanagan leaves these questions largely unanswered: We aren't getting self-service service journalism here; we're getting taken for a wild ride:

I had with me a list of things I'd been told to bring: an object "for the altar", a drawing of my genitals, ear plugs and wet weather clothes.

Rdfavfsvasf. "Altar"? "Genital drawings"?! Who's coming to this thing, anyway? [Spoiler: Six men, the youngest of whom is 44, excepting Flanagan.] Will there be much nudity? [Spoiler: Oh, yes, so so much. With blindfolds and oils.] Flanagan, to his credit, isn't scared yet, though he does allow himself a minute's dread after dropping his bags in the home of Peter, the middle-aged organizer, upon realizing what this retreat is, and what it isn't:

A few minutes later, he wandered back into his living room, a little sheepish but stern. "Just so you know, at no point will we be having sex. I want you to feel safe with me." He left to pick up another man... I was shocked, and realised I'd have to accept the implication: we would be in a situation that could possibly lead to sex. This was not a man's retreat, and it certainly looked less and less like a heterosexual man's retreat.

But hey, make the best of an awkward situation:

Two things happened next: I felt a wave of anxiety and, then, 10 minutes later: an orgasm. I'd started early.

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Let's All Go to a British "Wank Camp" Now, Shall We?

Written by grays

January 16th, 2014 at 3:52 am

Teilhard’s Evolutionary Spirituality

Posted: January 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm

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Teilhardian spirituality and his path to God are fresh and new in many ways. Here are a few that will be discussed in greater detail later on:

1. A New Starting Point

Teilhards spirituality takes a different starting point from most classic approaches to God. Unlike those approaches which require that you spurn the world in order to love God, Teilhard wrote The Divine Milieu for those who love passionately both God AND the world.

2. Picturing God

In addition to the two classical ways of picturing Godeither far away in heaven (transcendent) or living within your heart (immanent)Teilhards spirituality presents a third, much more comprehensive way to view our relationship with God. God is the One in whom we live and move and have our being. This is a way that was recognized in ancient times but never emphasized by formal religions.

3. Evolution and Science

Teilhards spirituality embraces and accepts the findings of modern science, especially the laws of evolution, which are at the roots of his thought. His approach does not distance itself from science, progress, complexity, modern life, information technology, or the media, as traditional spiritualities tend to do.

4. A Shared Destiny

Teilhard takes traditional individual spiritualitymy personal relationship to God and my personal enlightenment or salvationand expands it to become part of the grand project envisioned by God for humanitya shared planetary destiny.

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Teilhard's Evolutionary Spirituality

Written by grays

January 9th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

This is your brain on religion: Uncovering the science of belief

Posted: January 5, 2014 at 8:45 am

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As far as Im concerned, the most interesting question about religion isnt whether God exists but why so many people are religious. There are around 10,000 different religions, each of which is convinced that theres only one Truth and that they alone possess it. Hating people with a different faith seems to be part of belief. Around the year 1500, the church reformer Martin Luther described Jews as a brood of vipers. Over the centuries the Christian hatred of the Jews led to pogroms and ultimately made the Holocaust possible. In 1947, over a million people were slaughtered when British India was partitioned into India for the Hindus and Pakistan for the Muslims. Nor has interfaith hatred diminished since then. Since the year 2000, 43 percent of civil wars have been of a religious nature.

Almost 64 percent of the worlds population is Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, or Hindu. And faith is extremely tenacious. For many years, Communism was the only permitted belief in China and religion was banned, being regarded, in the tradition of Karl Marx, as the opium of the masses. But in 2007, one-third of Chinese people over the age of 16 said that they were religious. Since that figure comes from a state-controlled newspaper, the China Daily, the true number of believers is likely at least that high. Around 95 percent of Americans say that they believe in God, 90 percent pray, 82 percent believe that God can perform miracles, and over 70 percent believe in life after death. Its striking that only 50 percent believe in hell, which shows a certain lack of consistency. In the Netherlands, a much more secular country, the percentages are lower. A study carried out in April 2007 showed that in the space of 40 years, secularization had increased from 33 to 61 percent. Over half of the Dutch people doubt the existence of a higher power and are either agnostic or believe in an unspecified something. Only 14 percent are atheists, the same percentage as Protestants. There are slightly more Catholics (16 percent).

In 2006, during a symposium in Istanbul, Herman van Praag, a professor of biological psychiatry, taking his lead from the 95 percent of believers in the United States, tried to convince me that atheism was an anomaly. That depends on who you compare yourself to, I replied. In 1996 a poll of American scientists revealed that only 39 percent were believers, a much smaller percentage than the national average. Only 7 percent of the countrys top scientists (defined for this poll as the members of the National Academy of Sciences) professed a belief in God, while almost no Nobel laureates are religious. A mere 3 percent of the eminent scientists who are members of Britains Royal Society are religious. Moreover, meta-analysis has shown a correlation among atheism, education, and IQ. So there are striking differences within populations, and its clear that degree of atheism is linked to intelligence, education, academic achievement, and a positive interest in natural science. Scientists also differ per discipline: Biologists are less prone to believe in God and the hereafter than physicists. So it isnt surprising that the vast majority (78 percent) of eminent evolutionary biologists polled called themselves materialists (meaning that they believe physical matter to be the only reality). Almost three quarters (72 percent) of them regarded religion as a social phenomenon that had evolved along with Homo sapiens. They saw it as part of evolution, rather than conflicting with it.

It does indeed seem that religion must have afforded an evolutionary advantage. Receptiveness to religion is determined by spirituality, which is 50 percent genetically determined, as twin studies have shown. Spirituality is a characteristic that everyone has to a degree, even if they dont belong to a church. Religion is the local shape given to our spiritual feelings. The decision to be religious or not certainly isnt free. The surroundings in which we grow up cause the parental religion to be imprinted in our brain circuitries during early development, in a similar way to our native language. Chemical messengers like serotonin affect the extent to which we are spiritual: The number of serotonin receptors in the brain corresponds to scores for spirituality. And substances that affect serotonin, like LSD, mescaline (from the peyote cactus), and psilocybin (from magic mushrooms) can generate mystical and spiritual experiences. Spiritual experiences can also be induced with substances that affect the brains opiate system.

Dean Hamer believes that he has identified the gene that predisposes our level of spirituality, as he describes in The God Gene (2004). But since it will probably prove to be simply one of the many genes involved, hed have done better to call his book A God Gene. The gene in question codes for VMAT2 (vesicular monoamine transporter 2), a protein that wraps chemical messengers (monoamines) in vesicles for transport through the nerve fibers and is crucial to many brain functions.

The religious programming of a childs brain starts after birth. The British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is rightly incensed when reference is made to Christian, Muslim, or Jewish children, because young children dont have any kind of faith of their own; faith is imprinted in them at a very impressionable stage by their Christian, Muslim, or Jewish parents. Dawkins rightly points out that society wouldnt tolerate the notion of atheist, humanist, or agnostic four-year-olds and that you shouldnt teach children what to think but how to think. Dawkins sees programmed belief as a byproduct of evolution. Children accept warnings and instructions issued by their parents and other authorities instantly and without argument, which protects them from danger. As a result, young children are credulous and therefore easy to indoctrinate. This might explain the universal tendency to retain the parental faith. Copying, the foundation of social learning, is an extremely efficient mechanism. We even have a separate system of mirror neurons for it. In this way, religious ideas like the belief that theres life after death, that if you die as a martyr you go to paradise and are given 72 virgins as a reward, that unbelievers should be persecuted, and that nothing is more important than belief in God are also passed on from generation to generation and imprinted in our brain circuitry. We all know from those around us how hard it is to shed ideas that have been instilled in early development.

The Evolutionary Advantage of Religion

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Napoleon Bonaparte

The evolution of modern man has given rise to five behavioral characteristics common to all cultures: language, toolmaking, music, art, and religion. Precursors of all these characteristics, with the exception of religion, can be found in the animal kingdom. However, the evolutionary advantage of religion to humankind is clear.

(1) First, religion binds groups. Jews have been kept together as a group by their faith, in spite of the Diaspora, the Inquisition, and the Holocaust. For leaders, belief is an excellent instrument. As Seneca said, Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful. Religions use various mechanisms to keep the group together:

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This is your brain on religion: Uncovering the science of belief

Written by grays

January 5th, 2014 at 8:45 am

Neighborhood briefs

Posted: January 1, 2014 at 11:44 pm

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Broadway Proper hosting Wonderland

Broadway Proper retirement community will be hosting a Winter Wonderland event Jan. 15 at 400 S. Broadway Place.

A happy hour will be in the main lobby at 3 p.m. A dinner by chef Michael Montesano will be served in the Sky Island Dining Room from 4 to 6 p.m.

Guests may be photographed against a backdrop of snow-covered trees. A classical piano performance accompanies dinner.

Cost is $10, and reservations are required; call 296-3238.

The Rev. David Wilkinson, pastor of St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church, will present a discussion at 11:45 a.m. Sunday at the church, 4625 E. River Road, on the life and work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: A Prophet of Oneness.

Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion, which will be in the Church Center.

De Chardin was a Roman Catholic priest who worked as a paleontologist in China for many years while developing a philosophy/theology focusing on evolutionary spirituality, according to a press release from St. Francis Church.

He sought to merge his evolutionary thought with Christian theology in what he called Christ consciousness. This got him into trouble with the Catholic hierarchy, and his books were banned by the Vatican.

Coffee and refreshments will be provided.

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Neighborhood briefs

Written by grays

January 1st, 2014 at 11:44 pm


Posted: December 31, 2013 at 11:48 am

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You can change your life.. You do have the power to create anything, anyway you wish to experience it.

I'm all about helping you to understand and experience a New Movement! This movement is TRUTH. Spiritual TRUTH!

The law of attraction is more than what you've been led to think it is. It's deeper than most teach.. it's about empowerment of YOU. You are the creative force.. you just don't realize it.

What I offer you is more than coaching, more than energy work to heal your body... I offer you the tools to SEE yourself as you really are.. to know yourself as Source Energy. This is the secret..

The secret is knowing how to work with the principles of life itself.. the law of attraction Creative LifePrinciplesto create with conscious intention.

Most of the people in the world, most of the time, create unconsciously from the place of fear, doubt, dread, past painful experiences and expectation that life is hard.

This is exactly what they get over and over again.

Perhaps you are one of those people.

You've worked hard, long hours and still you don't have the success you dream of.

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Written by grays

December 31st, 2013 at 11:48 am

Lynn Sparrow Christy on Evolutionary Spirituality – Video

Posted: December 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

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Lynn Sparrow Christy on Evolutionary Spirituality
Author and speaker Lynn Sparrow Christy talks about the subject of her book, Beyond Soul Growth: Awakening to the Call of Cosmic Evolution. Christy #39;s ability...

By: Edgar Cayce #39;s A.R.E.

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Lynn Sparrow Christy on Evolutionary Spirituality - Video

Written by grays

December 26th, 2013 at 9:49 am

EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITUALITY | Foundation for Conscious Evolution

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There is arising a new spirituality, experienced as a form of evolutionary consciousness. This consciousness is three-fold: Backward, Inward, and Forward.

It reaches backward in time and identifies itself as the whole process of creation, recognizing that within our atoms, molecules, cells, organs, brain is the whole story of creation. At the same time, this evolutionary consciousness looks inward to Source, to Pure Awareness, to Oneness and holds that as its center. And then it looks forward, yearning to express the creative impulse within, in spirit-motivated action on behalf of the evolution of the self and the world.

Evolutionary spirituality opens up the path of the cocreator. It is not a new religion. It is a new person. Its purpose and practices are to incarnate the Great Creating Process, to discover deeper life purpose, and to express that purpose through joining with others in the cocreation of a new world.

New Thought and Conscious Evolution

Conscious Evolution/New Thought (CE/NT) is a new initiative started by Barbara and Reverend Jim Lockard to create a synthesis between the principles and practices of New Thought, and those of Conscious Evolution.

New Thought is an over-a-century-old initiative to reframe Christianity around the recognition that God is within us. This point of view has given birth to Religious Science and Unity churches among others, and is at the forefront of the new evolutionary spirituality.

Conscious Evolution as a frame of reference is very aligned with New Thought principles. A synthesis of these perspectives will enhance the effectiveness of both initiatives in the 21st century, and a curriculum and new materials are in the works.

Some of this development is to be presented for the first time at the Association for Global New Thought (AGNT) conference to be held in Palm Springs October 3-7. Barbaras Institute titled Experiencing the Communion of Pioneering Souls is planned for October 5.

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EVOLUTIONARY SPIRITUALITY | Foundation for Conscious Evolution

Written by grays

December 26th, 2013 at 9:49 am

Evolutionary origin of religions – Wikipedia, the free …

Posted: December 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

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The evolutionary origin of religions theorizes about the emergence of religious behavior during the course of human evolution.

Humanitys closest living relatives are common chimpanzees and bonobos. These primates share a common ancestor with humans who lived between four and six million years ago. It is for this reason that chimpanzees and bonobos are viewed as the best available surrogate for this common ancestor. Barbara King argues that while non-human primates are not religious, they do exhibit some traits that would have been necessary for the evolution of religion. These traits include high intelligence, a capacity for symbolic communication, a sense of social norms, realization of "self" and a concept of continuity.[1][2][3] There is inconclusive evidence that Homo neanderthalensis may have buried their dead which is evidence of the use of ritual. The use of burial rituals is evidence of religious activity, but there is no other evidence that religion existed in human culture before humans reached behavioral modernity.[4]

Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, argues that many species grieve death and loss.[5]

In this set of theories, the religious mind is one consequence of a brain that is large enough to formulate religious and philosophical ideas.[6] During human evolution, the hominid brain tripled in size, peaking 500,000 years ago. Much of the brain's expansion took place in the neocortex. This part of the brain is involved in processing higher order cognitive functions that are connected with human religiosity. The neocortex is associated with self-consciousness, language and emotion[citation needed]. According to Dunbar's theory, the relative neocortex size of any species correlates with the level of social complexity of the particular species. The neocortex size correlates with a number of social variables that include social group size and complexity of mating behaviors. In chimpanzees the neocortex occupies 50% of the brain, whereas in modern humans it occupies 80% of the brain.

Robin Dunbar argues that the critical event in the evolution of the neocortex took place at the speciation of archaic homo sapiens about 500,000 years ago. His study indicates that only after the speciation event is the neocortex large enough to process complex social phenomena such as language and religion. The study is based on a regression analysis of neocortex size plotted against a number of social behaviors of living and extinct hominids.[7]

Stephen Jay Gould suggests that religion may have grown out of evolutionary changes which favored larger brains as a means of cementing group coherence among savannah hunters, after that larger brain enabled reflection on the inevitability of personal mortality.[8]

Lewis Wolpert argues that causal beliefs that emerged from tool use played a major role in the evolution of belief. The manufacture of complex tools requires creating a mental image of an object which does not exist naturally before actually making the artifact. Furthermore, one must understand how the tool would be used, that requires an understanding of causality.[9] Accordingly, the level of sophistication of stone tools is a useful indicator of causal beliefs.[10] Wolpert contends use of tools composed of more than one component, such as hand axes, represents an ability to understand cause and effect. However, recent studies of other primates indicate that causality may not be a uniquely human trait. For example, chimpanzees have been known to escape from pens closed with multiple latches, which was previously thought could only have been figured out by humans who understood causality. Chimpanzees are also known to mourn the dead, and notice things that have only aesthetic value, like sunsets, both of which may be considered to be components of religion or spirituality.[11] The difference between the comprehension of causality by humans and chimpanzees is one of degree. The degree of comprehension in an animal depends upon the size of the prefrontal cortex: the greater the size of the prefrontal cortex the deeper the comprehension.[12]

Religion requires a system of symbolic communication, such as language, to be transmitted from one individual to another. Philip Lieberman states "human religious thought and moral sense clearly rest on a cognitive-linguistic base".[13] From this premise science writer Nicholas Wade states:

Another view distinguishes individual religious belief from collective religious belief. While the former does not require prior development of language, the latter does. The individual human brain has to explain a phenomenon in order to comprehend and relate to it. This activity predates by far the emergence of language and may have caused it. The theory is, belief in the supernatural emerges from hypotheses arbitrarily assumed by individuals to explain natural phenomena that cannot be explained otherwise. The resulting need to share individual hypotheses with others leads eventually to collective religious belief. A socially accepted hypothesis becomes dogmatic backed by social sanction.

Frans de Waal and Barbara King both view human morality as having grown out of primate sociality. Though morality awareness may be a unique human trait, many social animals, such as primates, dolphins and whales, have been known to exhibit pre-moral sentiments. According to Michael Shermer, the following characteristics are shared by humans and other social animals, particularly the great apes:

Evolutionary origin of religions - Wikipedia, the free ...

Written by grays

December 23rd, 2013 at 12:48 pm

Discourse on Sri Aurobindo’s Mahasamadhi anniversary – Video

Posted: December 12, 2013 at 9:49 am

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Discourse on Sri Aurobindo #39;s Mahasamadhi anniversary
December 5 is the anniversary of the day Sri Aurobindo left his physical frame to more effectively bring about the evolutionary process of the world. Sifu Ro...

By: Rohit Arya

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Discourse on Sri Aurobindo's Mahasamadhi anniversary - Video

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December 12th, 2013 at 9:49 am

At the Academy: Young musicians, a talk on Cuba, and living off the desert

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Dec. 17

Junior Strings concert to include music mix

About 16 musicians from the Tucson Junior Strings will share a mix of music by Dvorak and Mozart, as well as light classics, show tunes and perhaps even some Christmas carols when they return to the Arizona Senior Academy for a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

As in previous concerts, the violin, viola, cello and bass players will consist of high school students drawn from Tucson Junior Strings members throughout the area. All are part of the elite Chamber I, the top of six levels of Tucson Junior Strings orchestras.

The Tucson Junior Strings have been part of the Tucson music education scene for 46 years. Under the guidance, organization and dedication of Dennis and Anna Bourret (working together since 1970), along with Andrea Jameson, young Tucson string musicians have progressed through the strings six stages as they master increasingly difficult levels of music.

Working in concert with school orchestra programs, the strings emphasize, in particular, the gaining of leadership skills by playing without a conductor and continually rotating concert master and section leader assignments.

Basic to the program is the cooperation of everyone for the benefit of harmony both musical and interpersonal. That emphasis has resulted in Tucson Junior Strings alums in leadership roles in many organizations, both inside and outside the musical world.

Summer tours are planned for each year, with the 2014 tour heading to Boston, where Tucson Junior Strings students will have the benefit of coaching sessions with members of the Boston Symphony and the New England Conservatory of Music. Closer to home, Tucson Junior Strings will be conducting a weeklong Music Camp in the Santa Catalinas.

For more information about the program, go to online.

Janet Kerans

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At the Academy: Young musicians, a talk on Cuba, and living off the desert

Written by grays

December 12th, 2013 at 9:49 am

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