The Edge - Winter 2015

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Evolutionary Leaders is a project of The Source of Synergy Foundation

Calling All Evolutionary Leaders in Service to Conscious Evolution!

Together, we can accelerate the evolution of human consciousness and co-create the future.
Are we ready to step into our power and take an Evolutionary Leap?

UPLIFT Worldwide Evolutionary Programs

By Bruce Lipton

The Universe had plans that have taken me (and Margaret, of course) on a whirlwind roller coaster ride over the last year and a half of life. It's been an exciting, mind-boggling experience. My personal lecture tours have been wonderful because audiences around the world are waking up to the empowerment offered by the "new" biology. Simply, "The Choir" is getting bigger every day.

Much of the exciting work has been our collaboration with Bharat Mitra and Bhavani (their given names in India) Lev, cofounders of the amazing company, Organic India. Their conscious corporation is changing the face of agriculture and community in India. They began their efforts in response to the 250,000 suicides that resulted from Monsanto's endeavors in India. Together we have been involved with creating the UPLIFT (Universal Peace and Love In a Festival of Transformation) Festivals and programs. We took part in the third program in Byron Bay Australia from Dec 11-14th . Our UPLIFT efforts are also designed to serve as a hub for connecting globally dispersed evolutionary communities (see the website at

What is Conscious Evolution? with Bruce Lipton from Uplift Festival on Vimeo.

Bruce Lipton speaks on conscious evolution

Margaret Horton and Bruce Lipton
Margaret Horton and Bruce Lipton discuss the Honeymoon Effect

UPLIFT has been creating worldwide evolutionary programs, such as UPLIFT Israel (we gathered 1500 Arabs – many from the West Bank – and Jews to create reconciliation and emphasize that childhood programming is responsible for the generations of violence) and the UPLIFT Black Hills Program, which supported the largest gathering of Lakota Indians in an effort to turn over control of the Black Hills to Native Americans. UPLIFT is also sponsoring Rock the Gate, the largest public program to ban fracking in Australia, to be held on Sunday, Nov. 23rd and we are developing UPLIFT Uttarakhand in Northern India, where floods killed thousands of people two years ago.

We recently spearheaded a major organic action plan in India. Our efforts were in response to India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to redirect Indian agricultural priorities.

Prime Minister Modi recently avowed that, “India’s journey to prosperity can be a more sustainable and environmentally sensitive one than the path followed by countries that came of age in earlier eras. This is a journey of our choice, rooted in our tradition that worships nature’s bounties.” In his new platform, Mr. Modi specifically emphasized that he intends to, “… set up the ‘Organic Farming and Fertilizer Corporation of India', to promote organic farming and fertilizers, and provide incentives and support for marketing organic produce.”

In response to Mr. Modi’s declaration, Bharat and Bhavani had arranged for us, along with three other scientists and experts (including consumer activist Jeffrey Smith), to meet with Mr. Modi’s representatives in Delhi, to counter the advances made by Monsanto and other GMO industries to sway government opinion.

We were honored to have had private sessions with three members of the Prime Minister’s new cabinet and their secretaries where we were provided with an opportunity to present our case for the adoption of agroecology as a fundamental directive for India’s future. After sessions with the Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Environment and Minister of Water, we were asked to submit data to support our assertions that Earth-friendly farming would enhance India’s food production and grow its economy.

In the process, our meetings also emphasized the need to shift the consciousness of 1.3 billion Indians to economically enhance the market for organic products. We feel that our collaboration will provide a very positive impact on efforts to influence 500 million farmers and one billion consumers, and thus make a real difference in the future of India and planet Earth.
Wishing you a happy, healthy and harmonious holiday season!

NOTE: Bruce Lipton, Joan Borysenko, Gordon Dveirin, Joshua Gorman and Barbara Marx Hubbard were all part of the UPLIFT2014 festival in Byron Bay on December 11-14, 2014.


Garden of Light: A New Online Platform for Emerging Spirituality

Garden of Light

The Garden of Light is a new website designed by 

Deborah MoldowRev. Deborah Moldow, co-director of the Evolutionary Leaders. The site offers a gathering place for those who feel part of the current emerging spirituality, which transcends differences of culture, nationality and even religion. Shared beliefs that are becoming widespread include:
  • Divine light shines through everyone
  • Love is both the path and the goal
  • We are part of a living universe
  • We co-create our reality with every thought, feeling, word and action
  • We respect every person, every living being, and the Earth herself
The Garden of Light features a place to post prayers, a Meditation Room, an interactive Forum, and a Facebook page that asks a Question of the Week.
If you resonate with a universal spirituality shared by people across the globe, you are warmly welcome to join the community at

Lessons in Courage: Peruvian Shamanic Wisdom for Everyday Life

By don Oscar Miro-Quesada Solevo and Bonnie Glass-Coffin, Ph.D.

Don Oscar Miro-Quesada

At long last, don Oscar Miro-Quesada shares with the world the story of his own awakening to his purpose in life as a servant to conscious evolution for all humanity in his new book, Lessons In Courage. After completing his sacred compact to his Andean teachers to help others awaken through their oral tradition, he was free to tell his extraordinary story of individual, spiritual and planetary transformation.Lessons in Courage"This book is the fruition of a long held Earth-restorative dream of spiritual service. It is a sharing of personal vulnerability and the power of defenselessness. It is a tale of our human quest for wholeness, for seeking balance, for attaining integration and acting from a place of love. It is my story and it is your story, it is the story of our New Earth, a soul fulfillment of the prophetic insight so artfully honed by my mentor don Celso Rojas Palmino from Salas, Chiclayo, Peru. Through its pages, the evolution of Pachakuti Mesa Tradition cross-cultural shamanism is illumined and made practical and available to all aspirants of the Great Work. My fervent prayer is that Lessons in Courage serves, beyond seven generations, as heartfelt catalyst for the emergence of a peaceful, cooperative, loving human presence upon our beloved Gaia."


European Evolutionary Leaders Synergy Circle Meets in Megève, France

Members of the Evolutionary Leaders met as a Synergy Circle in the mountains near Megève, France in January 2015. The purpose of the gathering was to give European members the opportunity to gather close to home, as well as to launch an ongoing series of Synergy Circles to be organized in various regions and/or around different areas of interest.

Fred Matser of the Netherlands hosted the group in his lovely chalet nestled amid the Alpine ski slopes near Mont Blanc. Attending were Elisabet Sahtouris coming from Spain, Jude Currivan from the United Kingdom, Ervin Laszlo and his wife Carita from Italy, and Evolutionary Leaders project co-directors Diane Williams, who lives in Italy, and Deborah Moldow. Lynne McTaggart and Nina Meyerhof also participated via Skype.

Megeve Group

Those gathered inspired one another as they shared science, service, stories, support, laughter, and a birthday party, as well as a ceremony for peace and light in the Alps.

Jude Diane and Ervin in Megeve Elisabet with Cake Fred Matser

The meeting marked an encouraging launch to the Evolutionary Leaders Synergy Circles. The next Synergy Circle will be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico in June.


Panache Desai Interviews Evolutionary Leaders

Howard Martin, Gregg Braden and Michael B. Beckwith Featured

Panache Desai, Howard Martin, Gregg Braden, Michael B. Beckwith

On December 11, 2014, Panache Desai hosted live Google "hangouts" with three fellow Evolutionary Leaders. These fascinating conversations on "Living Your Authentic Expression" can still be viewed on line:

Gregg Braden

Howard MartinHoward Martin               Gregg Braden
Michael Bernard Beckwith


Children of the Earth to Collaborate with World Peace Caravan

Giving Global Youth a Voice for Peace
By Nina Meyerhof

World Peace Caravan

Children of the Earth (COE) is delighted to be partnering with the World Peace Caravan (WPC) to help trumpet the youth voice for peace. COE’s mission to inspire and unite young people to create a peaceful and sustainable world coincides beautifully with the intent of the WPC’s Youth Ambassador Program (YAP), a web-based, multi-media, solutions-driven educational program based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals that is being undertaken by the WPC’s 12 international Youth Ambassadors in the year leading up to the caravan this December, 2015.

About the World Peace Caravan

The World Peace Caravan is a 12-day camel caravan for World Peace that will retrace Queen Sheba’s peace journey to King Solomon 3,000 years ago. Scheduled to depart Petra, Jordan on December 15, 2015, the caravan will travel by camel, horse, and foot to Jerusalem, Israel, retracing the steps of this early peace movement along parts of the storied Frankincense Trail. The caravan will be spearheaded by the World Peace Caravan Youth Ambassadors (twelve youth leaders, ages 16-24, selected from a global pool of candidates) and anchored by two landmark events, the World Peace Caravan Peace and Health Conference on the Dead Sea in Jordan and the World Peace Caravan Concert for Peace in Jerusalem. A uniquely embracive movement, the World Peace Caravan will engage participants physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually while inviting people of all cultures, faiths, and backgrounds to come together to demonstrate and promote peace, harmony, compassion, and a greater understanding of one another.

Twelve dynamic, bold, and purposeful young people from ten countries have been selected as Youth Ambassadors for the World Peace Caravan (WPC), 2015. They are Jeetan Khadka (24) from Bhutan/Nepal, Simran Vedvyas (16) from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Antonio Roca (24) from Guatemala, Yesid Lainez (24) from Honduras, brother and sister Jeremiah (23) and Naomi Mwangi (19) from Kenya, Mandukhai (Manda) Bataa (18) from Mongolia, Anum Nawaz (24) from Pakistan, Evelyn Apoko (25) from Uganda, Cat Hudson (22) from the United Kingdom, and Larissa Peltola (18) and Kyle Wright (18) from the United States.  Click here for their bios.

These 12 youths will spearhead the caravan and will be the voice for youth at its two-day Peace and Health Conference. Their presentation from the conference will be streamed live to a worldwide audience. In the twelve months leading up to the caravan, the ambassadors will participate in the Youth Ambassador Program (YAP), a web-based, multi-media, and solutions-driven program designed to empower the WPC Youth Ambassadors and its Youth Community to invent and implement solutions to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the soon to be identified Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Based on The Dream project, a socially conscious curriculum that has been implemented in elementary and high schools in Los Angeles, Louisiana, Ohio, and Florida with much-heralded success, the YAP will make use of the latest technology and social media networking to create a lively, interactive, virtual think tank where these twelve ambassadors will brainstorm actionable solutions to six of the Development Goals: Eradicate poverty and hunger; Achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Ensure environmental sustainability; Attain healthy lives for all; Reduce inequality within and between countries. In its novel use of reverse problem solving, the YAP will inspire creative and imaginative ways in which to tackle these lofty goals by facilitating access to the “dreaming” part of the mind where, according to Albert Einstein, the solutions to any problem reside.

Guided by Kelly Sullivan Walden, the creator of the Dream Project and the YAP, the ambassadors began the 12 month program on January 14, 2015. They have each been assigned a goal to tackle and will begin by visualizing a time in the future when it has already been realized. Working backwards from there, they will research the circumstances and history that have contributed to the problem at hand, brainstorm actionable solutions, and apply them within their respective communities. The ambassadors will meet with Walden bi-monthly via teleconference to collaborate and share their progress. The teleconferences will be recorded and broadcast online at the World Peace Caravan website for the world to view, participate in, and support.

“The core premise of the World Peace Caravan Youth Ambassador Program is that each person is born a natural genius. We seek to evoke that genius, and fan the flames of their greatest potential with the purpose of making a unique, positive, “out of the box” and sustainable contribution to the world. With this program we have an opportunity to make a life-changing difference in the lives of young people around the world…and create a lasting legacy of peace.” Kelly Sullivan Walden

The WORLD PEACE CARAVAN is founded by the international D. Gary Young Foundation, a 501 © (3) non-profit organization. The foundation is looking for like-minded partners who share in the vision of a world at peace and welcomes anyone who is interested in sponsoring the Youth Educational Program and/or one or more of the Youth Ambassadors.


QUESTion Project Reaches Into Schools 

The QUESTion Project of the Open Future Institute provides forums for high school and university students globally to reflect on their beliefs, values, and purpose. It is designed to give students an opportunity to engage authentically with their core values and how they define meaning at a stage in their lives when they begin making choices that will set the trajectory of their future. This initiative aims to support students’ sense of responsibility to the greater society, their potential for inspired leadership, and their capacity to respond creatively to the pressing needs of our time with vision and purpose.

Gerard Senehi with Students 
Evolutionary Leader Gerard Senehi with students

The QUESTion Project launched in March 2014 with a group of students from Florida State University and a smaller, online co-creative engagement with students from eight other U.S. universities and colleges. Pursued over the course of twelve weeks, these collaborations far exceeded expectations. A team of advisors, volunteers, and interns, we are working towards our long-term goal of reaching 500 schools in the U.S. and abroad by 2020.

For more on the QUESTion Project, click HERE.


iGod, the MovieiGod DVD

By Neale Donald Walsch

People have been asking questions about the nature of God since the dawn of humankind. And even though our world has seen many advances in both science and technology over the last few centuries, disagreements about God still, to this day, lead to ethnic and religious warfare, hatred, exploitation, the suppression of women, and the debasing of human dignity. Many religions have created rituals and dogmas that separate one from the other, and they often cling to the belief that only they have the answers, the correct explanations, the one truth. But are any of them actually right? Can the true nature of God ever truly be understood or explained?

Gregg Braden, Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch

Gregg Braden, Neale Donald Walsch and Deepak Chopra

This documentary traces the origins of the concepts of God, and how the various belief systems have evolved into what exists in the present day. The questions that so many of us have asked are also explored in depth--questions that have plagued many of our greatest thinkers, spiritual leaders, and philosophers for thousands of years: What does God truly want? Are we judged by God after we die? Is there an absolute right and wrong? Why is there both good and evil in the world, and why would God allow so much suffering to take place? Is there a devil? Is there really a heaven and a hell? Are we one with God? Why do people believe what they believe?

iGOD explores the diverse beliefs about the Divine by asking these questions to regular folks, religious leaders/members of the clergy, and best-selling spiritual authors like Deepak Chopra, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Gregg Braden, Rabbi Michael Lerner, James Van Praagh, Alan Cohen, Amit Goswami, Marianne Williamson, and Neale himself. Perhaps through this exploration we can finally begin to understand what God really is, what God wants, who we really are, and why we are here.


Updated for the 21st Century:
Conscious Evolutionby Barbara Marx Hubbard

Conscious EvolutionThis seminal work of hope was re-released in February 2015 withforewords by Terry Patten and Neale Donald Walsch.

With her clear-eyed, inspiring, and sweeping vision of a possible global renaissance in the new millennium, Barbara Marx Hubbard shows us that our current crises are not the precursors of an apocalypse but the natural birth pains of an awakened, universal humanity. This is our finest hour.

Conscious Evolution highlights the tremendous potential of newfound scientific knowledge, technological advances, and compassionate spirituality and illustrates the opportunities that each of us has to fully participate in this exciting stage of human history. As we do, we will bring forth all that is within us and not only save ourselves, but evolve our world.

Evolutionary Leaders Website Gets New Look

Check out all the new features at

To stay up to date on all the Evolutionary Leaders news,


Addressing Parliament on Historic Anniversary

Women’s Visions and Strategies for 100 Years of Peace Heard on November 17th

By Jean Houston

I have just returned from England where I had the honor of addressing members of the House of Lords and the House of Commons and invited guests at the special meeting room of Parliament on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

Jean About to Address Parliament

My speech was on the importance of women in helping create the possibility of 100 years of peace. It was well received, as was the pungent talk of my colleague Scilla Elworthy and the performance of Rama Mani, who brilliantly incarnated the lives of women from all over the world. The great room was packed and unfortunately many could not get in.

Jean Houston Addresses Parliament

Dr Jean Houston, Baroness Hussein-Ece OBE,
Dr Scilla Elworthy, and Dr Rama Mani

However, this occasion served to formally launch our organization Rising Women, Rising World in the UK. During the whole week, we met with our women colleagues from around the world to explore and further plan our work in designing a world that works for all from the perspective of women. See our new website


Gaia's Dance: The Story of Earth and Us

New Elisabet Sahtouris Book Online

Gaia’s Dance is Earth’s own enticing adventure story covering billions of years. Looking now through a telescope powerful enough to see Earth from a planet a few thousand light years away from us, we might see an ancient Greek storyteller relating the creation story of Gaia’s Dance.

Gaia's Dance

Evolution biologist Elisabet Sahtouris takes us through the scientific story of evolution showing parallels with the ancient story while unfoding it scientifically to reveal how our own amazing bodies trace their roots to ancient bacterial cooperatives and how the essence of biological evolution is a repeating maturation process in which youthful competition gives way to mature cooperation. Learning how our own smart molecule proteins manage our cellular economies shows how we ourselves can navigate the perfect storm of crises we face and mature quickly into a healthy, cooperative human future.


Introducing Sourcing the Way

By Jeff Vander CluteSourcing the Way Logo

Humanity's operating system is being upgraded, bringing a fundamental shift in how we perceive ourselves and how we work and live, as individuals and, increasingly, as consciously aware collectives stewarding living systems in partnership with Earth.

Jeff Vander CluteHow do we embrace the radical shift from ego-based systems to ecosystemic awareness? How do we evolve our organizations and institutions to align ever more fully with Life? How do we partner consciously with Planetary Being? What are the practices and ways of knowing that support humanity’s “Great Transition” into higher-order awareness and intelligence?

Sourcing the Way is an evolutionary response to the need to dance with emergence and the unknown while evolving organizational forms and social institutions. The company, founded by Jeff Vander Clute and Maria Bäck, launched publicly on January 1st, 2015 after a decade of co-creative experimentation and live prototyping. From the chrysalis of “realization and development” have emerged unique tools such as Resonance Mapping and offerings for Awakened Leadership and Organizational Alchemy, which are fundamentally in service to humanity’s Conscious Evolution.

Sourcing the Way offers consciousness-based strategic consulting and coaching services that serve the evolution of businesses, nonprofits, communities of practice, and global movements for social transformation. We are actively supporting creative agencies, entrepreneurial ventures, the peace building and subtle activism organizational ecosystems, and the global compassion movement. Our more radical offerings include working directly with the transpersonal consciousness (and inner heart) of some of the largest corporations in the world, and whole-systems healing through applied oneness.

As pioneering co-creators at the emerging edge of leadership and organizational transformation, we at Sourcing the Way are committed to helping to midwife new solutions from the next level of consciousness that are springing forth planetarily. We look forward to deepening our collaborations with evolutionary leaders everywhere, and to the joyful fulfillment of these alchemical times.

Jeff Carreira Leads
Miracle of Meditation Summer Retreat

The Miracle of Meditation retreat led by Jeff Carreira will take place at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center outside Philadelphia from June 29-July 5. Five days of the Practice of No Problem will lead to deep freedom of being and growth.

Jeff CarreiraJeff says, "When meditation occurs it is like realizing that you can fly. You have been anchored within a narrow range of experience and suddenly you find yourself floating in unlimited awareness. Nothing is more thrilling or life transforming than the freedom you find in true meditation."

For more information, click HERE


Featured Quote

From The Conscious Activist by James O'Dea

"As I discovered at an early age purification The Conscious Activistdoes not necessarily mean getting holier. It is really about becoming more whole and more integrated. Sometimes we must experience the polarization of saint and sinner before we can move beyond the divided self or have things turned around enough that we give fresh life to the soul with radically new insight into what is saintly, sinful or sacrilegious.

"Similarly the purification process may give us the training wheels of sweet and then bitter experiences before we are capable of experiencing the deeper mystical states of unity where the bitter and the sweet will finally merge into a great compassionate heart of oneness.

"Any notion of instant oneness without passing through the fires of purification should be carefully scrutinized. The mystic poet Rumi reminded his followers that those who jump too quickly into the water will end up in the fire but those who go through the fire will end up in the water."


Joshua Gorman Speaks in Kosmos Journal

Joshua Gorman

Kosmos Journal interviewed Joshua Gorman, founder of Generation Waking Up at the New Story Conference in Scotland in October 2014. 

Joshua's personal and moving narrative explains how he sees the "new story" emerging in education, in the food and climate movements, and in politics. He says, "So the new story is playing out in every sector and we all have a role to play. Young people are finding their gifts, finding their passions, realizing that ‘hey, we’re all in this together and we’re going to make it happen’. That’s why we’re here, right? That’s why we’ve been born at this time to take the largest step that humanity has ever taken before, right? To step from an old world dying into this new world that’s being born."

Click here to read the full interview online.


Evolutionary Wedding Bells

Miriam Devorah Rawicz and Oran Cohen

Evolutionary Leader Oran Cohen married Miriam Devorah Rawicz in South Africa on February 3, 2015.

Oran says, "Taking in the peace and the love surrounding us. Feeling so much appreciation for community and friends and the beautiful woman by my side. I feel stronger and more grounded after this mammoth initiation. Ready to do my work in the world with even more commitment, vigor and passion."



Inspiration Corner

Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith offers this excerpt from his talk called “Limitless Good Must Happen Through You. Yes, You!!!”

This short video will remind and empower you to listen to your inner wisdom which will enable you to create a magnificent life.

May it be a reminder to practice embracing yourself as a worthy, lovable being, fully capable of revealing your inner greatness.


YES! Facilitation Manual Offered Online

Connecting, Inspiring & Collaborating with Changemakers

YES! Facilitation Manual

Developed over 24 years of experiences with YES! camps and Jams, “Connecting, Inspiring, & Collaborating With Changemakers” is full of over 200 practices, tools, games and resources to support changemakers at all levels to bring forth thriving, just and sustainable ways of life for all.

Download the entire manual as a pdf HERE for free!

Send your feedback on the activities you use to or contact YES! for a PDF or a hard copy, available for a donation.

For more information, visit


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Can Science and Religion Save Each Other?Deepak Chopra

By Deepak Chopra, MD

Reprinted from 5, 2015

A flurry of controversy surrounded the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson two weeks ago when he took a jab at religion in the name of science. It began Christmas day with a mischievous tweet: “On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.” Then deGrasse Tyson felt that he needed to be more pointed in a follow-up tweet: “QUESTION: This year, what do all the world's Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday.”

Angry responses came his way, and in a follow-up blog entry deGrasse Tyson offered this reflection: “Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them.” Since he also has a history of declaring that philosophy is useless and an obstacle to progress, this champion of materialism, objectivity, and reason underlined a familiar stance.

Ninety percent of educated people would probably agree with this stance without looking much deeper. But it’s a shopworn canard that science is superior to religion. Beneath the surface, every term that deGrasse Tyson invoked is problematic. He is stuck in a mindset where “enlightened” applies only to science. How enlightened are the atom bomb, mustard gas, and biological weapons? His reliance on “objective truths” is a creaky relic of pre-quantum science and ignores the mystery of the observer effect as posited by the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics. Scolding his critics for being “offended” by his tweets is hypocritical, since he obviously relished giving offense and did it on purpose.

In reality science and religion—or more broadly speaking, spirituality—have arrived at core issues about the nature of reality. These issues center on the unsolved problem of what is ultimately real and how the human mind works. Most working scientists like deGrasse Tyson remain unaware that their version of naïve realism, which accepts that the five senses give us a true picture of reality, has no actual scientific validation. The three-dimensional world is actually an artifact of the human nervous system, and nobody can explain how this artifact is created. The Jolly Green Giant obviously can’t fit inside the human brain, which in addition has no color inside. So when you visualize a green giant in your mind (or any other product of the five senses), a mysterious process is taking place that can’t be explained as happening in the brain.

Physics has arrived at the point where all processes actually occur in the infinite expanse of a field that has no boundaries in time and space. If the cosmos originated in such a field—and if everyday perception is also taking place there—we find ourselves in a realm of explanation that verges on notions of an infinite creative source labeled as God. But here religion stumbles when it remains anchored to a personal God with human traits sitting above the clouds in Heaven.

Because science cannot explain ultimate reality through the collection of data and a reliance on naïve realism, while religion cannot explain God by resorting to outdated cultural myths, the time has come for the two to join forces. This isn’t because it’s good to be friends but because two models of reality, one entirely objective, the other entirely subjective, are inadequate to the task. There is no such thing as perfect objectivity or completely valid subjectivity. The only way beyond this impasse is to transcend duality, no longer seeing objectivity and subjectivity as opposites but as perspectives streaming from a common source.

The best candidate for such a source is consciousness, and outside the little dust-up that deGrasse Tyson caused, many scientists are venturing into the study of consciousness as it applies to the cosmos, speculating that the source of the universe may be a conscious field that organizes and governs physical phenomena. At the same time, spirituality in its non-religious guise has been exploring quantum physics for several decades, finding parallels with attributes associated with God, such as timelessness and existence beyond the envelope of space-time. It’s fascinating to be a part of this dialogue, which has a good chance of causing the next great revolution in human thought. At the very least, it’s time to stop stoking disagreements over outdated notions that do no good for devout believers or inquisitive scientists.


On Well Being: Two Days in Germany

Nipun Mehta By Nipun Mehta

Reprinted from, Feb. 6, 2015

Around the theme of "global well being", Germany's GIZ, MIT's Prescening Institute, and Bhutan's GNH center convened a thoughtful dialogue over the last two days. Governments, businesses leaders, civil society change-makers.

From Bhutan, the visionaries of the Gross National Happiness; Oregon's First Lady whose state is implementing Genuine Progress Indicator; Scotland's Katherine Trebeck who created the Human Kind Index. And on the flip side, South African economist Lorenzo, who has written books on "Gross Domestic Problem" and how numbers rule the world, cited the complexities around quantification -- citing an example of many African communities that upend Maslow's hierarchy of needs when they self-assess very high levels of well-being despite not being materially well off. In theory, the idea is that there is vast amount of capital that can be liberated in a more wholesome direction, if we had the sufficient metrics that brought concepts of well being into our public policy conversations. Costa Rica's head of social innovation and co-founder of social impact bonds, David Bullon, shared how they redirected the country's entire military budget to social programs, a practice that is now being adopted by Panama. However, Daniel Izzo, who runs a $100M impact investing fund in Brazil, open-heartedly pointed out the limits of capital and his growing dissatisfaction with the capacity of money of bring about sustainable change.

Nipun with Group in Berlin

Add ServiceSpace ecosystem, which represented creative solutions that go beyond financial incentives altogether, and one can imagine how rich the conversation was. :) And it was in a picturesque, rural Germany setting.

Our circle was inspired by Otto Scharmer and his life-long work around Theory U. Growing up on a farm in Germany, he noticed a lot of unsettling divides in society that ultimately led him to his PhD thesis titled: "Transformation of Capitalism as a Revolution From Within." As he jokes, "No one read it, so I went on another pursuit to make such ideas more accessible to the public." Having now written several popular books, becoming a professor at MIT, starting U Lab and Presencing Institute and most recently hosting an online course with 27 thousand students, he's certainly tilled the soil.

The crux of Otto's thesis is about "bending the beam of observation to include the observer." If we are to collectively bridge the ecological divide between self and nature, the social divide between self and other and the spiritual divide self and the capital-s Self, we have work inside out. To summarize "300 years of economic thought in 3 minutes", :) he looks at how we have managed division of labor. Early on, labor was organized centrally in a state-centric economy with a command and control mindset; then we shifted to a more decentralized "free market" with a competition mindset; more recently, we've seen the rise of networked, social markets with a negotiation mindset. However, if we are to effectively dissolve our divides today, Otto thinks we need to shift from "ego-system to eco-system" and give rise to a fourth phase of an aware mindset that operates from a vision of the whole. It's a state of mind, where we have hold an open mind that can contain diversity, an open heart that can transcend cynicism, and an open will that can move beyond fear. Then, William O'brien's words would ring true: "The success of an intervention depends on the interior condition of the intervenor."

Seeing the field is the core competency that we have to cultivate, as elegantly noted in this clip from the movie Bagger Vance:

"There's only one shot that's in perfect harmony with the field, one shot that's his authentic shot, and that shot is gonna choose him. There's a perfect shot out there tryin' to find each and every one of us. All we got to do is get ourselves out of its way, to let it choose us."

When we don't see the field, we externalize problems -- which eventually manifests as social dis-ease. Julia Kim, a researcher from Bhutan, shared lots of interesting data from political, economic social, environmental, spiritual sectors that seem to be building the conditions for changing our definition of success. Kids are engaging in 8.5 hours of screen time everyday, the use of Ritalin has grown by 44% in the last decade, we are consuming at the rate of 1.5 planets, by next year, top 1% will own more wealth than the bottom 99%. We have more people committing suicide around the world than those who are killed in war and natural disasters. The list goes on, to add a whole new level of urgency to Robert Kennedy's prescient talk in 1968.

Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction - purpose and dignity - that afflicts us all.

Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product - if we judge the United States of America by that - that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans. If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.

Tyler Norris, who heads up "Total Health" across all of Kaiser Permanente, reminded us: "In the US, today, 20 cents on every dollar goes to sick care. We now know that prevention comes down to three things: eat healthier, move more and find joy." To move that needle, he needs more well-being metrics on their dashboard. And he is the first to admit that metrics alone aren't enough; we need a shift in hearts: "In treating disease, we have to move from what's the matter with you to what matters to you."

Where is this change going to come from? Alfred Tolle, former CEO of Lycos and now known as Google's "Compassion Guy", underscored the need to re-channel money and elevate business. With advisor to the Costa Rican president, Brazilian member of parliament, and policy maker from Trinidad and Tobego, there was also a global sense that we shouldn't give up on government. Various grassroots leaders, like Totrinh Phan who is pioneering special education in Vietnam and Louise who is empowering schools in South Africa and Alex who is enabling bike sharing in Denmark, stressed the importance of bottom-up change. And in the end, everyone agreed that beyond the superficial boundaries of these sectors, it is all deeply inter-connected.

In one of the breakout circles, we were all discussing our definitions of well being. It's a complex topic -- how much of it is objective and how much subjective? For me, an antecedent to well being is an alignment of my hands, head and heart. That takes me on a journey to my natural state, which is inter-connected and compassionate. If there is suffering along the way, I consider that to be a a gift -- part of the "caterpillar turning into a butterfly" process.

Generosity was a vibrant under-current across all the sectors. "What our societies are facing is a serious trust deficit," Mary Jane, from Nelson Mandela Hospital in South Africa, remarked. She cited some joyous examples of Guerilla Gardening in the slums near her residence. Ben, a local conference coordinator, mentioned examples of pay-what-you-can wineries in Germany. In Italy, there's the growing movement of Suspended Coffee, where people pay for stranger's coffees. Katherina Lobek spoke about her engagement with bookshelves on the streets of Frankfurt (like Tiny Libraries in the US), where anyone can take a book or leave a book. Using the example of Karma Kitchen (and subsequent research), we explored the difference between pay what you want and pay forward. Tho HaVinh shared his personal experiences of being part of a collective of 40 families in Switzerland (for 12 years!), who would pool all their salaries together every month and take whatever was needed. "First thing that happens is that you disconnect labor from money. That's powerful. We also had a rule of not-accumulating year over year, so we would always have lots of money left to give away." Few of us also had fascinating side-bar conversations around surviving in a gift ecology and the relationship between tragedy of the commons and inner transformation.

ServiceSpace threads were also found in so many unexpected ways. Dang Huong Giang, a happy spirit and a grassroots organizer in Vietnam, said it has been her personal practice to read DailyGood everyday for the last 4 years. In a circle, as I was sharing about Awakin Circles, we were all wowed when Julia and Tho remarked that they have been part of them in Bhutan! I was happily surprised to learn that Otto shows Designing for Generosity to all his students at MIT, and that we're part of his upcoming MOOC as well. Regina, an executive with Eileen Fisher, mentioned how she had also used that video with her staff at work -- and is now going to start a practice of picking a Smile Deck card at the end of a meeting and check-in to the next meeting with a story of that kind act. Gregor Henderson, director of UK's Wellbeing center, said one of the visionaries behind the upcoming What Works center, is very keen to get ServiceSpace spirit to UK -- and we've plotted many ideas. And of course, a lot many synergies emerged. Hang Mai, a farmer activist from Vietnam who is currently translating Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution, is keen to start a Karma Kitchen with surplus from farm produce. Gross National Happiness team wants to tie with Moved by Love community and co-create new ideas (particularly after Bhutan PM's recent talk in Gujarat). With Tyler, we're exploring some very creative generosity interventions with Kaiser Permanente's community of 10 million folks. I'm sure you'll see various people at our local circles and global Awakin Calls. Even the gentleman filming, Johnny Burke, was keen to share his film, Tashi and the Monk, on KarmaTube as soon as HBO rights retire shortly. The ripples will surely continue as they need to, especially since all of us are to meet twice more (in different parts of the world).

Pedro Paulo, a Formula One racer in Monaco turned farmer in Brazil, shared a beautiful native proverb: "You have a watch, I have time." As we nuanced it further, we spoke about our capacity to align our attention with our intention. If we can't control our attention, all our technologies, frameworks, metrics, and institutions can't create much change. If, however, we are able to nestle our innovations in the field of our own inner transformation, then its potential is boundless. Truly taming our mind, of course, is a long path, but the good news is that we have each other's support along the way. Not just the support of those immediately present, but the richly diverse ancestry that had come together for these two days in a village that was home to German resistance to Hitler.

In our closing circle, I noted how my gratitude for the circle started even before I landed in Berlin. When my Dad heard I was departing for sub-zero weather in Berlin, he excitedly said: "Wait, I have something for you." He goes in to bring a coat he had bought in 1968! On my first day, four of us walked up to the Berlin Wall, as I put on my Dad's coat for the first time. The wall that divided Germans ultimately ended up being so thin, I thought, and the coat I wore with ripped up lining ended up feeling so warm. When our hearts and minds come together as one, wonders can emerge.

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