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HOW TO KNOW MR GOD
"... a fully awakened brain is the secret to knowing God."
The mind is creeping closer and closer to the soul,
A Critical and Complementary
Review by Christopher P. Holmes, Ph.D.
Through my life, I have read three or four of Dr. Chopra's works, heard him lecture on one occassion, and seen several of his videos. He is often an inspiring speaker, widely knowledgeable and engaging, and a highly original thinker and researcher--bringing quantum concepts into the area of medicine and healing. I stress this as there is much of value in Dr. Chopra's work and I do not mean to be disrespectful in my critique of this book How To Know God. However, from my perspective of zero point studies and the heart doctrine, as elaborated throughout the esoteric teachings, this book is sadly mistaken and runs totally contrary to the most fundamental teachings of the world's spiritual and mystical traditions.
Modern western psychology and neuro-science 'assume' that 'consciousness' is produced somehow within the brain, primarily or exclusively 'in the head.' In my critiques of modern thought, I label this false dogma "the head doctrine." Generally, modern philosophers of science distinguish in a simplistic way between a dual mind and body, and assume that the brain is the cause of the mind and somehow produces human consciousness and self awareness. Of course, within modern psychology, there is absolutely no understanding of what consciousness really is, or how it is produced by the brain, or any of the details of this 'head doctrine.'
This illustration, from a Scientific American article The quest to find consciousness. consciousness, is an artist’s depiction of “the mysterious brain activity involved in consciousness.” (Roth, 2004) Scientists have focused exclusively on the brain’s structures and processes in order to explain consciousness and the nature of the mind. In a small table in Roth’s article appears the title “FAST FACTS: The Rise of Awareness,” wherein Roth makes three points:
Of course, there is not a ‘single fact’ in the table, but only questions or assumptions. It is not proven that consciousness emerges “from the physical information processing” in the brain, nor from “the neural correlates.” These are only assumptions although they are presented as ‘fast facts.’1. How does consciousness, with its private and subjective qualities, emerge from the physical information processing conducted by the brain? ...
Many new-age philosophies also implicitly assume the basic principles of 'the head doctrine.' This fundamental idea is espoused in both of the new age movies What the Bleep do we Know!? and Down the Rabbit Hole, which regard consciousness and the mind somehow to be produced in the brain within the head, with our thoughts somehow creating our reality. Similarly, parapsychologist Dean Radin in Entangled Minds assumes that ESP and other psychical phenomena mainly involve the brain which somehow taps the information fields latent within space due to quantum entanglement.
How to Know God by Dr. Chopra is a supposed spiritual and enlightened book which now informs us that knowing God also happens in the brain, where the mind and consciousnes are. These quotations from Dr. Chopra's book espouse such a view:
Oh dear, even Mr. God must fit into the brain's way of working!Now our search has narrowed down in a way that looks very promising: God's presence, his light, becomes real if we translate it into a response of the brain, which I will call the "God response." We can get even more specific. Holy visions and revelations aren't random. They fall into seven definite events taking place inside the brain. (p. 6)
This is really most strange! We are going to "find the basic facts" that will "make God possible"!!! Pretty unusual cerebral cortexes, making God possible and even giving him something to do to be useful! Of course, all the esoteric and religious teachings of humanity have portrayed the Mysteries of Mysteries as those of the Heart. Blavatsky describes the Mind as "the Great Slayer of the Real."God is woven into reality, and the brain knows reality in these limited ways. It may sound as though we're reducing the Almighty Father, the Primeval Goddess, and the Mysteries of Mysteries to a firestorm of electrical activity in the cerebral cortex--but we aren't doing that. We are trying to find the basic facts that will make God possible, real, and useful. (p. 10)
Anyway, in the new thought movement, with Mr. God in the brain and mind, trying to be useful, we find further:
Wow! Love is now in the brain, along with ecstacy. In this view "God's most cherished secrets are inside the human skull." Should we love God then with all of our heads? Do we love our sweathearts will all of our heads? Or should we really refer to them as 'sweatheads,' instead of sweathearts? Perhaps we can give out pictures of our cerebral cortexes on Valentine's Day, and assure our loved ones that we love them will all of our brains! If someone told me they love me with all of their heads, I would refer them to a psychiatrist, maybe to Dr. Chopra.If we only knew it, God's most cherished secrets are hidden inside the human skull--ecstacy, eternal love, grace, and mystery. This doesn't seem possible at first glance. If you take a scalpel to the brain, you will cut into soft grey tissue that doesn't respond to the touch. There are lakes of slow-running water in this quivering terrain and open caves where light never penetrates. You wouldn't suspect that a soul is hiding here somewhere, that spirit can find its home in an organ almost as liquid as red blood cells, and as mushy as an unripe banana. ... Your brain is hardwired to find God. Until you do, you will not know who you are. (pp. 13-14)
In line with these so-called scientific views of the brain producing the mind, consciousness and the 'i-experience,' this new book sees the brain as actually producing Mr. God! Consider this gobbeley-gook:
God is born out of the 'womb' of the brain! At least now, He can be useful.So now we have the outline for the entire spiritual journey in our hands; the unfolding of God is a process made possible by the brain's ability to unfold its potential. Inherent in each of us is wonder, love, transformation, and miracles, not because we crave these things but because they are our birthright. Our neurons have evolved to make these higher aspirations real. From the womb of the brain springs a new and useful God. ... A fully awakened brain is the secret to knowing God. (pp. 25-26)
This basic 'head doctrine' is opposed to 'the Heart doctrine,' of mystical sources--including The Secret Doctrine of Blavatsky, the yogic teachings and Hinduism, esoteric Christianity, mystical Kabbalah and Judaism, the teachings of the Sufis and Islam, the Tibetan Buddhism of the Dalai Lama, and many other esoteric teachings. In these views, the ego or personalized conscious experience is identified more with the 'mind' in the brain, but the deeper Self is identified as being within the human heart. No spiritual teacher ever espoused the idea that even the 'soul' in in the brain or mind. A few quotations illustrate the alternative view of consciousness evident within the mystical and spiritual teachings of humanity.
In a Psychology Today interview (1976), Guru Bawa, an eastern wise man, made these rather startling comments about western psychology and the common misunderstanding of Self. According to the guru, psychologists are quite deluded about the origin of the mind (or consciousness):
This is a telling diagnosis of modern psychology and science. Certainly scientists are in a sad predicament if they do not know where the mind is, or where consciousness originates! Yet, from a mystical and spiritual perspective, this is precisely the case:: there are fundamental errors in modern scientific and new age approaches to understanding of the origin and nature of human consciousness.“I studied psychology once, and I became crazy,” Bawa responded in a playful tone. “I lost all my powers. ... Psychologists don’t know where the mind is. Some think it is in the brain. Others think it is in the genitals. Others think it is in the ass. But the mind is in the heart, and that is what psychologists do not know. Unless the heart opens, you will be driven crazy by the monkeys of the mind.” (April, 1976)
Guru Bawa describes some psychologists as thinking that the
in the brain–as in the modern head doctrine. Others relate it to
the genitals–in reference to Freudian psychology, with its focus on
sexuality; or, to the ass–in reference to the kundalini energy, a
instinctual energy described by yogis as locked within the root
However, Bawa insists: “The mind is in the heart.” This
the deepest, most essential Self and Mind--beyond what the yogis refer
to as the “monkeys of the mind” of the material brain. In this
mainstream psychology, philosophy and science alike, are fundamentally
mistaken about the nature of consciousness, mind and self. They
grounded their approach to these essential questions on a set of
assumptions and illusory ideas. They are not ‘Knowers of Self,’
described in the mystical literature.
He does not know himself precisely because he identifies himself with the ego and not with his real ‘I.’ What compels him to identify himself with this pseudo ‘I’? It is Ignorance. And what tells him that the real ‘I’ is not and can never be the ego? It is his self-search. What he sees in the inmost recesses of his heart is his real ‘I,’ his God. (1970, p.16)Human beings lack true self-knowledge and are asleep to their deep nature as spiritual beings. According to the mystics, we live in ignorance, identifying the Self with the thoughts, feelings, desires and sensations which make up the contents of the mind and the personal daily life dramas. All the while, we do not know Self, or the “real I”–related to the subtle mystical dimensions of the heart. Modern scientisits and pseudo-scientists alike assume the brain and mind to be the basis for individual Self and for consciousness.
Ramana Maharshi, an Indian sage and mystic, similarly described the Self as being related to the mysterious Heart Centre–deeper than the personal or ego level of the mind centred in the head:
... the final goal (of yoga, or life) may be described as the resolution of the mind in its source which is God, the Self; in that of technical yoga, it may be described as the dissolution of the mind in the Heart lotus. ... The mind and the breath spring from the same source. They arise in the heart which is the centre of the self-luminous Self. ... Where the ‘I’ thought has vanished, there the true Self shines as ‘I.’ ‘I’ in the heart. ... The ‘I,’ the Self, alone is real. As there is no other consciousness to know it, it is consciousness. (1977, pp. 90-1)Ramana Maharshi makes a number of important points concerning consciousness and self. Firstly, real “I” or “Self” is identified most intimately with the spiritual and soul dimensions of the heart, and connected therein to God. Secondly, the goal of yoga is the dissolution of the mind into its source–within the heart lotus or centre. Thirdly, the Self is “self-luminous” and “shining”–having a inherent light nature. Fourthly, the self-luminous Self is “consciousness itself.” Consciousness is the light of Self. “‘I’ is within the heart.”
If scientists and psychologists are unable to locate consciousness, the soul and spirit in the material realm, perhaps they are looking for it in the wrong place: firstly, in the head, rather than in the heart, and secondly, in the materiality of the physical world rather than in the subtle matters of the metaphysical dimensions which underlie and sustain the physical dimensions.
The Heart, not the mind in the head, is the centre of a human being considered as a whole quantum system. Further, all the basic esoteric mystical and religious teachings elaborate the Heart Doctrine--that to know Self and God, involves the mysteries of mysteries of the Heart.
The heart is the treasury
"God placed a divine spark into
(Robert Frager/Sheikh Ragip, psychologist and
“Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.”
Unfortunately, Mr. God is now, in new think, somewhere up in the brain, trying to find something useful to do. Further,human beings should love each other with all of their heads. So many modern books articulate such superficial nonsense, gobbele-gook, on the nature of consciousness, mind and Mr. God, with his comb sticking. #1
1. Footnote: Mystic G. I. Gurdjieff, in his masterpiece story, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson, portrays in a literary way the strangeness in the mentation of those three-brained beings on planet Earth. Beelzebub explains to his grandson Hassein that the phrase “We are the images of God,” is “one of the only ‘cosmic truths’” expressed by the three brained beings on planet earth, although they have no understanding of what it truly means. Then, in his humourous and insightful manner, Beelzebub elaborates upon how those “unfortunates,” humankind on earth, have taken this deep truth:
Well, now we know that Mr. God is really up in our minds and brains, in the head, where Dr. Chopra even thinks the soul might be. Returning then, to How to Know Mr. God, lets consider what insights we might glean as to the lost science a of the soul. Recall Dr. Chopra's remarks, the only or one of a few simple references to the 'soul' in his work:“‘Good ... if we are “images of God” ... that means ... means ... “God” is like us and has an appearance also like us ... and that means, our “God” has the same moustache, beard, nose, as we have, and he dresses also as we do. ... almost with a comb sticking out of his left vest pocket ...
This actually suggests that 'the soul' is up in the brain! This 'maleficent idea' is most peculiar.You wouldn't suspect that a soul is hiding here somewhere, that spirit can find its home in an organ almost as liquid as red blood cells, and as mushy as an unripe banana. ... Your brain is hardwired to find God. Until you do, you will not know who you are. (pp. 13-14)
At one point, Dr. Chopra provides a very useful and insightful image of the search for the human self. He writes:
Peel away all the layers of an onion, and at the centre you will find emptiness; peel away all the layers of a human being, and at the centre you will find the seed of God. (pp. 8-9)
Illustration of interior chamber of the Heart
From my perspective, elaborating the heart doctrine and the
teaching, this quotation is most profound and congruent with my
and teachings. I argue that there is a form of "nothingness
the heart of being" as described in the Kabbalist's zimzum
Judaism depicts an empty space or void created within the human heart,
which is why we seek to find God, to fill this primordial
The first manifestation of a 'seed of God' is a 'divine spark'
within the higher dimensions of the vacated Heart Space. There is
both a physics and metaphysics to these processes.
Footnote: 2. Gurdjieff refers to those
beings on planet Earth, (who function mentally, emotionally, and
as “a particle of all that exists.” (p.
Beelzebub talks of his efforts to fulfill his being obligations and
in order to be worthy of “becoming a particle though an independent
one, of everything existing in the Great Universe.” (p.
Elsewhere, he describes humans, “as beings having in their presences
every possibility for becoming particles of a part of Divinity ... .”
At times, Dr. Chopra has some other valuable discussions of the soul, expressing concepts similar to what I describe through zero point studies. Towards the conclusion of How to Know God, in a section entitled, A Map of the Soul, Dr. Chopra writes:
The soul is as mysterious as God, and we have just as few reliable facts about it. ... the soul is really a junction point between time and the timeless. It faces in both directions. ... the soul is like a carrier of the essence, but what is that essence like?
So Dr. Chopra arrives at the idea of the individual soul, the jivatma, and the universal soul, the Paramatma, (or what he calls the jiva and Atman), drawing from the Hindu and Vedic teachings of India. This is all quite fine and Dr. Chopra has some valuable discussion of the soul, however, at the same time, he is seriously misrepresenting the teachings of India to imagine that God is know through seven levels of the brain and mind in the head!... the soul begins a quantum level, which makes sense since the quantum level is also our doorway to God. ... In India, the soul has two parts. One is called Jiva, which ccorresponds to the individual soul making its long journey through many lifetimes untill it reaches full realization of God. ... The second half of the soul, called Atman (is) pure spirit, made of the same essence as God. ... Jiva lives at the quantum level, Atman at the virtual. ... the soul must have a divine aspect that embodies the goal of all seeking. (pp. 275-6)
In fact, according to the Bhagavad Gita, the jiva and the Atman, the Supreme Lord (the Supersoul or paramatma), and the individual spirit soul (the jivatma), are associated with the heart: --not with the head.
The physical nature is known to be endlessly mutable. The universe is the cosmic form of the Supreme Lord, and I am that Lord represented as the Supersoul, dwelling in the heart of every embodied being. (8, 4)The two souls, the Supersoul and the individual soul, are compared to two birds sitting together on the branch of a tree. The individual soul is captivated by the fruits of the tree which represent material desires, while the Super Soul is a silent witness. To attain liberation, the individual spirit soul must overcome patterns of attachment to pleasurable experiences, desires and the fruits of action, and surrender to the deeper Self of the Lord. Self-realization, or union with the Lord, comes through overcoming the darkness of ignorance and awakening to the eternal principle within the sacred temple of the heart.
The nature of human consciousness can be understood as originating from the jivatma, or the individual spiritual soul within the heart. Again, consciousness is related to light and the spiritual soul is described as self-illuminating. Swami Prabhupada quotes the Gita:
... as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness. (Ch. 13, V. 34)The Swami further elaborates on the meaning of this sacred text:
As the sun is situated in one place, but is illuminating the whole universe, so a small particle of spirit soul, although situated in the heart of this body, is illuminating the whole body by consciousness. Thus consciousness is the proof of the presence of the soul, as sunshine or light is the proof of the presence of the sun. ... consciousness is not a production of the combination of matter. It is the symptom of the living entity. The consciousness of the living entity, although qualitatively one with the supreme consciousness, is not supreme because the consciousness of one particular body does not share that of another body. But the Supersoul, which is situated in all bodies as the friend of the individual soul, is conscious of all bodies. That is the difference between supreme consciousness and individual consciousness. (1972b, pp. 659-660)A small particle of spirit soul (the spiritual spark) inhabits the material heart as the “sun” of the body. The spirit soul is self-illuminating and its light is an expression of the infinite light of That Self, the Supersoul. Consciousness within the mind and body originates from this self-illuminating entity--as established within the Heart.
There is some kind of "seed of God"--but it is not simply in the brain. Dr. Chopra certainly has such moments of poetic insights. The Seed of God is within the heart, within the higher dimensional physics and metaphysics of the heart, and this is what the head scientists do not know. This book represents the most superficial of modern attempts to find God, although it provides some valuable concepts in thinking about the 'quantum nature of the soul.'
In another section, The State of Union, Dr. Chopra provides some valuable discussion of what I would label 'zero point dynamics.' He writes:
... knowing God comes down to this: like a photon nearing a black hole, your mind hits a wall as it tries to think about the soul. ...
When the mind falls into God's world and into 'bliss consciousness,' this is described by the yogi master as the "dissolution of the false mind into the lotus of the heart." That is how Ramana defines the aim of 'yoga'--or 'union.' And exactly, as Deepak describes, this is the dynamic of the mind yeilding to the deeper awareness of the life of the spiritual soul.The mind is creeping closer and closer to the soul, which sits on the edge of God's world, at the event horizon. The gap of separation is wide when there is no perception of spirit; it grows smaller as the mind figures out what is happening. Eventually the two will get so close that mind and soul have no choice but to merge. When that happens, the resemblance to a black hole is striking. To the mind, it will be as if falling into God's world lasts forever, an eternity in bliss consciousness. ... The mind was part of the soul all along, only without knowing it. (Pp. 288-289)
So Dr. Chopra certainly does provide some very valuable ideas and explorations, although, as I have argued, he has made fundamental mistakes. However, if we supplement his work, with my own, we can arrive at a deeper synthesize. I hope Dr. Chopra appreciates this article if he ever has the opportunity to read, or the heart to read it, as I think this only supplements and deepens his own efforts.
Towards the end of How to Know God, Dr. Chopra writes:
... every saint ... every master ... the human representatives of God constitute an infinite treasure. Dipping into this treasure will help to open your heart. At just the moment when your soul wants to blossom, the words of the saint or sage may be the right fertilizer. (p. 304)
Wow, quite a story of heads and hearts, mysteries and enigmas, new thought and ancient wisdom. In Kabbalah, both wisdom and understanding, Chokmah and Binah, are embodied within the mysteries of the human heart. A quantum approach to the nature of Self is most important.
This critique is a chapter of Triune Monads in Seven
Hyperspace, Book III of the Within-Without from Zero