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Mind, Energy and Consciousness – The Best of TEDx

How 2015 turns out for you will be largely determined by your consciousness, how you perceive and process what we usually call “reality”. So, naturally, understanding your brain, mind and soul and the interrelation of these key elements can be a huge help in your quest to excel over the next 365 days and beyond.

Every day, YouTube’s TEDx channel adds new talks on a wide variety of topics, and it would take hundreds of hours to go through all of them. But here is a selection of videos that bring to light information on human mind and human consciousness that’s absolutely critical for personal resilience.


The Woman Who Changed Her Brain

There was a time when we believed that as adults, our brains are relatively static- not so. Motivated by her childhood coping with severe learning disabilities, Barbara Arrowsmith-Young has been a student and exponent of applying the principles of brain plasticity to the developmental challenges of children.



How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains

Sara Lazar was as skeptical as many other neuroscientists when she heard her yoga teacher’s claims about the benefits of meditation for brain function. So she set up a series of studies, using MRI neural imaging to see up close how meditation changes the brain.



The Science Delusion

In a talk so provocative that TEDx censored it, Dr. Rupert Sheldrake lays out the hidden ideological assumptions of the Newtonian materialist worldview which contaminate the objectivity of science in dealing with any sphere of inquiry that intersects with what even science calls the “Hard Question” – consciousness.

An interview discussing the ban on this talk and the ideological dogmatism that led to it can be found here.  More from Rupert on the same topic here.



Do we have a quantum Soul?

Dr. Stuart Hameroff used his background in anaesthesiology to demonstrate the influence of quantum physics on human consciousness and the startling implications for how we think of our existence in the wider context of the universe.



The groundbreaking material in these videos and the many others like them give us new ways of thinking about who and what we are, and what our possibilities are. They unlock us from the mechanistic materialist world, or rather put the material world in its proper perspective as a function of something much deeper.
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Does Natural Energy Bring Enlightenment?

There is a strange notion going around about spiritual life. The notion is that by developing our natural energies, or qi in Chinese terms, we are developing spiritually. Qigong, yoga, energy healing of various kinds, these are powerful systems, and sometimes enthusiastically touted as paths to enlightenment in themselves.  It is an understandable thought- after all, our civilization spent millennia completely ignoring this side of reality, so rediscovering the potential of natural energy was bound to make us a little giddy.


The Role of Natural Energy Work

There is no doubt that energy work is a powerful level of personal development, a healing modality that affects the entire organism, a profound avenue for discovering our potential as human beings, and a foundational tool for spiritual life. Energy work can help us to clear mental and physical ailments and trauma that hold us back. It can clarify our powers of perception and our ability to align our lives with powerful universal principles. The experience of real energy work is often powerful and a profound revelation of our own potential. To experience the universe as energy and consciousness rather than matter is a transformative realisation for many.

But that energy is still, in the terminology of the hesychast tradition, created. There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. But Authentic Ancient Traditions recognise that there is a distinction between natural energy and divine or uncreated energy, the divine love. Only in the latter do we have contact with the Absolute. Even Taoism, of all traditions the most excited about energy work, acknowledged a distinction between natural and primordial energy, between natural energy work and spiritual cultivation. The good news is that that divine energy exists as potential within each of us.  The bad news is that unless we cultivate it, we risk becoming like a gardener who weeds and fertilizes and waters but doesn’t plant anything.



What we have here is in part a challenge of worldview or cosmology. Having rejected the Western view that God is outside of nature, what we call panextheism, many people default to some form of pantheism- God is nature in one way or another. But the third alternative, the alternative pointed to by the AATs, is panentheism- God is everywhere present throughout nature, but still distinct. We, and all of nature, are made to share in the energies of the Absolute and to be transformed by them.

Divine and natural energies are thus not unrelated. But we can’t just cultivate qi and expect to find enlightenment or deification. When the energy system of the human organism allows itself to make room for the divine energies, the energy system itself transforms. Created energy finds itself, aligns with its intended function, only in contact with divine love. Hesychasm calls this the process of deification, and it profoundly transforms the whole organism. Without this, natural energy ultimately cannot overcome its own corruption.


The Magic Pill

Our culture has a particular fascination with instant results.  Because the results of energy work are so immediately apparent, it is tempting to see energy work itself as the ultimate solution.  We’d like to believe that someone can have us on the table for twenty minutes and reconnect us once and for all with the Absolute.  It would certainly be more convenient.  But unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.  Energy work can help us a great deal, make it easier to do the work, but in the end it is we who have to make room in ourselves for the Absolute to act.


Conclusion- The Path and the Goal

Energy work is a potent and, in our culture especially, indispensable aid to spiritual life. But we should not mistake this important part of the path for the goal.  To stabilise our moment-to-moment contact with the divine love, to make room for it to abide in us and transform us, is an endeavour that requires not only energy work, not only prayer and meditation, but a conscious approach to every aspect of life.

Qigong the Personal Resilience Multitool: Lung Health

Many of you are familiar with our Rock Solid Health Qigong video series and the tremendous health and wellness benefits to be derived from practicing these foundational Qigong techniques.  In the spirit of our upcoming Resilient Life Code unit on Internal Exercise, we’d like to take a moment to consider Qigong in a different light, as a specialised toolkit that can help you to achieve particular goals, both health and fitness related and in other areas of your life. 

Qigong is a term that encompasses the Chinese arts of internal exercise and energy cultivation in all their diversity.  Qigong is a collective project, having been developed, practiced and refined by Taoists, Buddhists, martial artists, healers, monks, generals and all orders of Chinese society.  It stands between meditation on the one hand and the martial arts on the other and is not entirely separate from either.  The basis of Qigong is the absorption, circulation and refinement of natural energy through the coordinated use of mind, body and spirit for the cultivation of all aspects, faculties and powers of the human being.

Qigong is extremely specialised and diverse.  It treats the physical body almost like an onion, strengthening it one layer at a time.  Fascia, muscles and tendons and major organs all receive their due attention through specific techniques.  The human energy system is likewise cultivated step by step.  Qigong’s biggest flaw is that there is far too much for any one person to master.

Nevertheless, there is another level of specialisation in Qigong that can be very helpful for your health and personal development goals.  Qigong has branches designed not only to maintain good health, but to heal illnesses and chronic conditions in yourself and others, to improve physical performance, to absorb energy from the environment, and to apply qi energy to the development of the spirit (shen).  It is here that you can really match your qigong to your personal resilience goals.  Here’s a look at a specific set of techniques for dealing with one set of health challenges.

(Note: Please seek the advice of a qualified practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine before using specific medical Qigong techniques.)


Medical Qigong: The Lungs

Much of the world’s population suffers from asthma and other chronic lung diseases.  Qigong approaches lung health from several directions.  First of all, the lungs are included in the Inner Smile meditation, a practice for bringing positive qi to the different major organs, a version of which is shown in the video.  There are also specific breathing exercises for strengthening the lungs, qi circulation exercises, and specific attention and massage exercises for asthma.  Here are some basic exercises:

  • First Breathing Exercise: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, hands folded over your dantien (lower abdomen).  Press gently as you exhale and draw your abdomen in, bending your upper body forward.  Straighten and breathe in naturally.  Repeat three times.
  • Second Breathing Exercise: From the same position, lean back as far as you comfortably can and extend your arms slightly back while inhaling, expanding your lungs and contracting your abdomen as much as possible.  Hold your breath as long as you safely can.  Then return to an upright position and exhale through the mouth.
  • Asthma Focus Exercise: Be still in a sitting, standing or prone position.  Focus your attention on your zhichuan (“benefit asthma”) acupuncture points, located on either side of your spine on the narrowest line between your shoulder blades.  Focus for 20-30 minutes.


There are many other related exercises and approaches to lung health in the Chinese tradition.

Qigong is a diverse and multifaceted tool for your personal resilience and personal development, waiting to be explored.


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

~ Anthony S. Rodger, M.A.

Energy Psychology and the Shape of Things to Come

Just blew in the door from presenting at the 12th Annual Energy Psychology Conference (EPC) in Toronto.  And it was a phenomenal experience!  (For me it started out as dinner with friend and EFT expert Carol Look, so it definitely got off on the right foot 😉

Although I certainly enjoyed giving a 2-hour workshop on Hara to about 40 enthusiastic people, the real “ice cream” for me was being able to spend three days with a group of highly intelligent, friendly and open-minded people whose primary focus is healing others.  Their collective dedication to truth, to scientific rigor and their insistence on respecting the scientific method were very inspiring.

As you know all too well, respect for the scientific method is the first casualty of the “ideological orthodoxy” running most any academic field.  You see this in fields as diverse as medicine, history, theology, archeology, and psychology.  In fact, there’s probably no field where this hasn’t happened.  

I’d like to share with you some of the cutting edge information on energy healing presented by Dr. Larry Dossey, a best-selling author who left his very prestigious medical career to write “heretical books” on the effects of spirituality on the healing process and whose keynote address kicked off the conference.  The information he and others shared has enormous implications not only for the future of health care, but for each one of us as we pursue our goal of personal Resilience.


So just turn up your speakers and I’ll tell you some of Dr. Dossey’s key points:

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger