Editor’s Note: Deepak Chopra is founder of the Chopra Foundation and a senior scientist at the Gallup Organization. He has authored over 60 books, including The Soul of Leadership, which The Wall Street Journal called one of five best business books about careers.
By Deepak Chopra, Special to CNN
For most people, science deserves its reputation for being opposed to religion.
I’m not thinking of the rather noisy campaign by a handful of die-hard atheists to demote and ridicule faith.
I’m thinking instead of Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution has proved victorious over the Book of Genesis and its story of God creating the universe in seven days. Since then, God has been found wanting when measured against facts and data. With no data to support the existence of God, there is also no reason for religion and science to close the gap between them.
Yet the gap has indeed been closing.
Religion and spirituality didn’t go away just because organized religion has been losing its hold, as suggested by showing decades of declining church attendance in the U.S. and Western Europe.
Despite the noisy atheists, two trends in spirituality and science have started to converge. One is the trend to seek God outside the church. This has given rise to a kind of spirituality based on personal experience, with an openness to accept Eastern traditions like meditation and yoga as legitimate ways to expand one’s consciousness.
If God is to be found anywhere, it is inside the consciousness of each person. Even in the Christian West we have the assurance of Jesus that the kingdom of heaven is within, while the Old Testament declares, “Be still and know that I am God.”
The other trend is a growing interest by scientists in questions about consciousness
There are many forms of introspection and mental training that go by the name of “meditation,” and I have studied several over the years. As I occasionally speak about the benefits of these practices, people often write to ask which I recommend. Given my primary audience–students of science, secularists, nonbelievers, etc.–these queries usually come bundled with the worry that most traditional teachings about meditation must be intellectually suspect.
Indeed, it is true that many contemplative paths ask one to entertain unfounded ideas about the nature of reality–or, at the very least, to develop a fondness for the iconography and cultural artifacts of one or another religion. Even an organization likeTranscendental Meditation (TM), which has spent decades self-consciously adapting itself for use by non-Hindus, can’t overcome the fact that its students must be given a Sanskrit mantra as the foundation of the practice. Ancient incantations present an impediment to many a discerning mind (as does the fact that TM displays several, odious signs of being a cult).
But not all contemplative paths kindle the same doubts or present the same liabilities. There are, in fact, many methods of meditation and “spiritual” inquiry that can greatly enhance our mental health while offering no affront to the intellect.
UK UFO Files Show High Level Officials Were Concerned
Posted: 8/28/11 10:27 PM ET
Britain’s Ministry of Defence ceased to collect UFO reports as of December 2009, because, as they put it, “…in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom.” However, the UFO files being released by the British National Archives contain cases that clearly should be of concern, and I am not alone in this opinion. In fact, the last batch of files includes correspondence between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and two high level military officials who were adamant that UFO cases should be taken more seriously.
The highest ranking among those hounding the MOD about UFOs was Baron Hill-Norton, former Admiral of the Fleet (1970-71), Chief of the Defence Staff (1971-73), and head of NATO’s military committee (1974-77). Two years after his retirement in 1977, Peter Hill-Norton was made Baron and a member of the House of Lords. As you can see, Lord Hill-Norton was quite an impressive chap and known as a tough and aggressive leader. In other words, he didn’t take no crap.
At some point Lord Hill-Norton took an interest in UFOs, and was unsatisfied with the MOD claiming that they were of no concern. He badgered the MOD with questions, trying to get them to actively investigate important cases. There are over 300 pages of correspondence between Lord Hill-Norton and the MOD in the latest batch of UK UFO files.
Heat in Chili Peppers Can Ease Sinus Problems, Research Shows
ScienceDaily (Aug. 26, 2011) — Hot chili peppers are known to make people “tear up,” but a new study led by University of Cincinnati allergy researcher Jonathan Bernstein, MD, found that a nasal spray containing an ingredient derived from hot chili peppers (Capsicum annum) may help people “clear up” certain types of sinus inflammation.
The study, which appears in the August 2011 edition of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, compares the use of the Capsicum annum nasal spray to a placebo nasal spray in 44 subjects with a significant component of nonallergic rhinitis (i.e., nasal congestion, sinus pain, sinus pressure) for a period of two weeks.
Capsicum annum contains capsaicin, which is the main component of chili peppers and produces a hot sensation. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief. It is approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is available over the counter.
Giving up alcohol in order to lose weight is one of the most annoying parts of being on a diet.
Dieters are usually advised to cut out wine, cocktails and beer, all of which are high in sugar and empty calories.
However the results of a new study have suggested that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol every day could actually stop us putting on weight.
According to scientists at the Navarro University in Spain, people who drink wine and diet could lose weight more easily than people who abstain, or those who drink other types of alcohol.
A spokesperson for the researchers explained: “Light-to-moderate alcohol intake, especially of wine, may be more likely to protect against, rather than promote, weight gain.”
“As positive associations between alcohol and weight gain were mainly found in studies with data on higher levels of drinking, it is possible an effect on weight gain or abdominal adiposity [fat around the middle] may only be experienced by heavy drinkers.”
The researchers said they analysed the results of 31 studies and did not find a link between moderate drinking and weight gain.
‘Absolutely Fabulous’ To Make Anniversary Return To BBC
First Posted: 29/8/11 15:00 GMT Updated: 29/8/11 20:54 GMT
RESS ASSOCIATION — International PR “guru” Eddy Monsoon and inebriated magazine editor Patsy Stone are to return to our screens in three new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, the BBC has confirmed.
The award-winning comedy series will celebrate its 20th anniversary with the trio of 30-minute specials.
Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley will reprise their celebrated roles as Edina and Patsy, and will be joined by other original cast members. Julia Sawalha will resume the role of Edina’s daughter Saffy, June Whitfield as her mother and Jane Horrocks as Bubble.
The original series aired from 1992 to 2003 with a special in 2004. The new collection of specials picks up in the present day, with fashion follower Eddy still working in PR and sex-mad Patsy still employed in the magazine industry.
In the first episode, fans will rejoin the ensemble in the midst of a life-changing experience for one – which affects them all, while in the concluding episode Eddy and Patsy play their own very special part in the London 2012 Olympics.
Saunders said: “Its great that we are able to celebrate our 20th birthday with all the original cast. Like a good bottle of champagne we hope that we have got better with time without losing any of our sparkle.