Someone forwarded me an older youtube video that I think continues on the theme of my previous blog post. In the video there are many very interesting observations, however one of the things which I relate to on a daily basis is information overload. In the video they didn’t relate it that way, but it is a reality.
In the "olden days" knowledge was power. Those who held the information controlled the masses. Religious rites were in languages that the lay people didn’t understand. So this required special priests to be the "middleman to God" to interpret the message. For Christianity Latin was the language for the priests, and for Hinduism it was Sanskrit for the Brahmins, who were the priests.
A lot has changed in the world, even in the last 20 years! In the new age that we are moving into the old ways won’t work. All the knowledge of the world will be at your finger tips. This is great, but with so much information most of us will not have the capacity to deal with it. As a result people do more and more crazy things and become more and stressed and more mentally numb. If you watch TV these days you’ll notice how the shows have had to become more and more extreme just to keep your attention and give you a "feeling".
The following is a VERY interesting and thought provoking paper published in April 1995 by SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (aka: Yogi Bhajan) and compiled by Dr. Gurucharan Singh Khalsa Ph.D. This was published over 14 years ago and it’s pretty amazing to see how things have progressed more and more and how REAL this issue is to all of us.
Go get some hot herbal tea, put on some soothing music and start reading this awesome article! Please do share your comments if you read the whole article!
We live in turbulent times. Storm warnings surround us. There are warning signs of personal breakdown and information overload everywhere. We must learn the way to be happy and thrive under new, elevated levels of pressure. The cover story of Newsweek reported that the president of Harvard University, Neil Rudentstein, collapsed into the fatigue abyss. He announced that his life was scrambled and devoured by an invisible enemy, information overload. Mr. Rudentstein lived for three years in a state of hyper-energetic activity. He used brilliance, little sleep and consistent high-level skills for information management to create excellent results for the University. Then he hit a gap. Relationships, family, health and performance all failed. He was forced to withdraw from all stimulation for several months on a Caribbean island before he could return to his work, and when he did it was in a much reduced capacity. Intelligence, skills, resources were not enough. He came up against some basic, perhaps primal limitations under the demands of an information overload.
Mr. Rudentstein is only one example on the top of a long public list of famous people and leaders who have declared a mental rupture and social meltdown from hyperactivity and information overload.
We have seen this happen to people in every walk of life: sports stars, police officers, professors, housewives, young students, and stress counselors. Even professionals whose job it has been to handle great stress and coach others to do so, fail to maintain their balance under increased pressure from the information storm, and resultant new social complexities .
Some writers have recently warned us about the impact that comes with the increased rate of change and access to unlimited information. The well known futurist Alvin Toffler proclaimed, "The breakdown of human performance under heavy information loads may be related to psychopathology in ways we have not yet begun to explore. Yet even without understanding its potential impact, we are accelerating the generalized rate of change in society. We are forcing people to adapt to a new life pace, to confront novel situations and master them in ever shorter intervals."
For many people the information bomb has already exploded – in the silence of their minds. Information overload and a constant exposure to the moods and manipulations of unprecedented numbers of other people through technology is becoming overwhelming. An article in the Wall Street Journal warns us of this increasing problem: "at executive seminars run by the Harvard Medical School psychiatrist Steven Berglas, technology-induced exhaustion is now the most popular session. ‘People won’t admit to being overwhelmed,’ Dr. Berglas says. ‘That’s why they’re driving themselves crazy."’
Current surveys confirm the rising impact and the emergence of new maladies. Our own eyes can witness the pressure and problems all around. None of the predictions and none of the current symptoms touch how vast, radical and immediate this problem is and will be in the future. The limitations of the brain’s capacity to handle information and the awakened sensitivity of consciousness will cause considerable pressure on each and everyone of us. The result will be new forms of psychological, emotional and spiritual disorders.
This new pressure on the mind has only just begun. We are sensing the first ripples of a vast tidal wave of pressure on humanity. InfoDementia SyndromesTM (IDS) defines the variety of maladies which have begun to plague us like depression, disorientation, diffusion of identity and other effects which come from the gap between the brain’s capacity to handle the flood of information and social contacts it is exposed to and the need to act immediately and consciously in each situation. The gap between information flow and sensory capacity and response will widen as the quantity of information and the number of people exposed to it increase.
The massive overload of information we will all be subjected to destroys the balance of the mind and creates conditions of unimaginable disorientation. We have mapped out these syndromes and changes both in the present and for the future We have used the quantum technology of the Shabd Guru to help thousands of people in these ways: to regain lost balance, to strengthen virtues already developed, and to overcome obstacles. Those who practiced the techniques of the Shabd Guru excelled with stamina and motivation, gained clarity in their values and direction in life, dropped addictive habits, and were healed from many mental and physical aliments.
The outcome of this shift of Age depends on our ability to assess and command our own consciousness. The demands of this great change require that each of us use and master and apply the inner technology of the Shabd Guru.
Using the Shabd Guru we can quickly and effectively find the calm eye of this mental and social storm of change. From this place of inner stillness, (shuniya), we can find our focus so we may excel and be happy. This state is described as the state of being samdarsi. The Guru describes the attributes of a mind that dwells in such a neutral state:
We must prepare for and find antidotes to a wave of new maladies. Each Age has its special challenges to body, mind and soul. For example, leprosy, tuberculosis, malaria and smallpox are plagues we faced for many generations in the last Age. Through new medical technologies and committed efforts, some of the old enemies, like smallpox have disappeared. Others are contained and in retreat. Now, as we enter a new Age, previously unknown challenges such as viral epidemics and psychological/spiritual ailments beset us, with more on the way. Depression and fatigue-related psychological illnesses are at epidemic proportions and rising at accelerating rates. The Annals of Internal Medicine, a prestigious medical journal, recently reported fatigue and stress as two of the top reasons people seek a doctor. Over 25% of patients complain of prolonged fatigue lasting at least several weeks. Other symptoms come with the fatigue: insomnia, inability to concentrate or make decisions, loss of a feeling of control, and alienation from normal social and sexual relationships. News reports are increasingly documenting that even the most competent, productive and intelligent people have lost their sense of balance to the inescapable pressure of information overload, the lack of time, and increased social and personal demands.
At first people will try to deal with this gap with increased electronic technology. We will attempt to use more sophisticated devices, software, even special intelligent helpers to sort the flood of information. The ancient defenses of our human nervous system will accelerate. We will fight, withdraw, and fantasize more. Some of us will attempt to diffuse the impact of the flood of information with harmful adaptations like drug use and violence. Electronic technology will only bring us more information, more choices, more contacts, and more complexity. It will push us beyond all the old frontiers of identity- home, neighborhood, country, values, and the natural rhythms of nature. Our old touchstones for forming an identity will fail and we will have a pervasive identity crisis.
All these examples highlight the necessity for a potent and practical technology to generate the inner energy needed to survive and excel under this pressure. Energy is "the capacity for action or accomplishment; the effort your mind and body is able to exert to move from the current slate to a desired state." Remember the famous formula of Einstein, E = MC2. It converts the mass of an object into the amount of energy it can generate. In the realm of the mind we can write a similar formula:
E (inner energy) = MC2
(Mind) (Consciously Conscious)
We must consciously direct the consciousness of the mind. We release the energy we need to excel and balance ourselves with an inner technology that can alter the frequency of the mind and the state of the brain.
Guru Nanak – the first Guru of the Sikhs, immersed into the Shabd Guru, saw the pain of people everywhere. He experienced the vast flood of information from the entire cosmic consciousness. And he perfectly laid down patterns of the Shabd Guru that commanded the brain and mind with rhythm, sound, concentration and breath. The patterns of the Shabd Guru combine atoms of information in the smallest sound units to release the inner energy of awareness needed to guide the brain and mind through this wave of change. Just as combining atoms has opened the way to use the greatest energy in matter, the quantum’s of sound are the atoms that open the way to the greatest inner energy of consciousness and command the chemistry of the brain. Those Shabd patterns are a legacy to be used and shared with all as an antidote to the maladies of the InfoDementia Syndromes. The Shabd Guru technology is not just for the Sikhs but for everyone, for in every human is the Light of the same Creator.
We do not need new choices. We are flooded with choices. We need an elevated capacity to make choices. We do not need more information. We need the wisdom to use all the information. We do not need another religion. We need the experience of a Dharma that creates the spiritual fitness to act believably on our beliefs. The Shabd Guru is a special kind of technology with a unique contribution to develop potentials and handle the problems of the new age – the Aquarian Age. In the body it produces vitality; in the complex of the mind it awakens intelligence and develops wisdom and intuition; in the heart it establishes compassion; in each person’s consciousness it builds the clarity to act with fearless integrity.
The Character of the Aquarian Age and the Information Revolution ( back to top )
We recognize the Aquarian Age is dawning. November of 1991 marked the cusp of the last step of the shift of Age. There have been many Ages and shifts of Ages before in the long history of Humankind. But this shift of Age is different. The old "Piscean Age" was dominated by machines and hierarchies. The new "Aquarian Age" is ruled by awareness, information and energy. The greatest power will be your Word, your consciously projected words. This change is radical, not incremental. It is a simultaneous change in both the outer and inner worlds. The mind is changing, its sensitivity, its basic frequency and functioning. Our lifestyle is changing its sense of time, space, relatedness and relevancy.
The Kalyug will turn everything upside down. (Parbeen 12)
In the Age we are leaving behind, it was a central and even sacred task to find and gain access to the right information. There were special places of study in remote areas – like Tibet, or in a deep jungle or an isolated desert, accessible to a few who could qualify or who had a special destiny. The motto of the Age was "to be or not to be." Learn, grow and become something. Great knowledge about human potential was guarded by secrecy and layers of initiations.
In the Aquarian Age there are no secrets! Information is available. Finding it is not the central task any longer. In this Age the motto is "be to be." You already are something by the grace of the Creator. Accept your wholeness and your connectedness to a larger creative existence and express it with each committed action 13. Let your actions demonstrate wisdom. Study alone, knowing a truth alone, will not be important. Real value will come from truth embodied in practical actions and in the internal caliber and qualities of your mind and heart. This is the profile of a fulfilled human being.
The Aquarian Age person will demand personal experience and the capacity to act The Shabd Guru is available to all and will soon be on Information networks all over the globe. You need not search. You need to practice, experience, incorporate and express .
This last point is a key to grasp the shift of the Aquarian Age. Imagine that information on anything and anybody is available to everyone. In such a world, your value will not rest in what you acquire, find or know. It will rest in who you have become through the experience of what you find. Value will lie in your capacity and consciousness to use information. You will be valuable for your wisdom and unique point of view. That is what the Shabd Guru develops. It is not a thought, an idea or a piece of information. It is a patterning of information. It is information about information. It is not just an experience, it is an experience about experience. In a world saturated with information we need a technology to develop our command of it, not just gather more.
A scientist from an MIT research facility demonstrated something amazing. He understood our point that, "People used to remove themselves from normal society in order to search out their spirit. They would go to mountains, jungles, deserts or caves. Or in a village they would wear special garb to be in a different world of spirit with different rules Now there is no place to go. You can take a tour to the most remote spot." His eyes sparkled as he turned on his computer terminal. The screen showed a spinning image of the globe. He had us pick a country. We pointed to a South American location. He zoomed the map on the computer screen to show that country. He asked us to point to a region in it. He zoomed the picture to enlarge that zone. It was a remote area laced with hills. He entered a special code. Several blips of light appeared. He selected one. With a little manipulation, a miniature image appeared of a vehicle with its speed and other information. Our eyes opened wide. He said, "We can track any vehicle that sends out a
cellular or other transmission, and moves at 100 mph or less, night or day, anywhere in the world. We can locate an object as small as a few centimeters. In a few years, we will be able to track anything passively, even without a signal from it. Shall I leave the computer to track it automatically so you can look at it later?" It isn’t even the future. That capacity exists now! Information, beyond what you expect, is available even now and is increasing exponentially.
Everything is recorded in the Akasha, in the Heavens – so make each action as if you are in the presence of God. The Shabd Guru develops brain states, feelings and automatic alertness so you can be aware of your actions and guide them before you take them. It gives you a tool to act as a conscious self-conductor. In the last Age you could get away with many more behaviors – from embezzling to dumping pollutants. You could just hide them. Now that is rapidly becoming impossible. In the past you could establish a persona, a mask you show to the world, and be known by it.Now every persona is under audit. We can track each of your actions regardless of how you may appear. Every money exchange, statement and behavior leaves a trail. Just as the Guru emphasized, we will be known by those actions. Our Individual actions bring us nearer or further to God. (Page 12, Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Japji Sahib)
Action is the language of the awakened self As the Aquarian Age dawns, the old defenses and manipulations based on hiding or controlling access to information will no longer work. We need the capacity to assess each action and its consequences before we take them, as if every action will be known and will reveal us. Only then can we realize that our word, fulfilled by actions,is our ultimate gift and power. The use of the Shabd Guru is the highest refinement of that power.
There are many other dimensions to the radical shift of this Age. People everywhere are talking about it, making predictions or debunking it. Some sense the shift as a cataclysm or end of the world, others as a new beginning, and still others as a time of uncertainty and unpredictability. What is clear to everyone is a sense of urgency and a vast change in society, consciousness and the nature of our perception of the world and each other. We have always experienced change. But rarely with this intensity and speed and NEVER with this scope and vastness. The change is on all levels of life at once. It is not sequential and orderly, nor is each step predictable. And it affects each one of us personally.
Regardless of how the shift is perceived, every person down to the grass roots of society is reaching for something to do about it. Each person must accept the responsibility to elevate and manage his or her own state of awareness, to deal with wide spread and constant stress, to take actions and to make decisions on a vast, shifting array of problems. Although people intuit the shift in different ways, there are several overarching themes we all agree must be confronted and dealt with.
Learning is not enough. We must learn how to learn. We need the capacity not just for Cognition but for MetaCognition. Change and learning is continuous and lifelong. We must maintain mental, emotional and physical flexibility. Intellect is not enough. We need a new relationship to intuition, emotion and instinct. Information is not enough.Neither is knowledge. We need wisdom Complexity is increasing as is our need to deal with it. Our sense of personal identity and its foundation is shifting.
This is an Age of Paradox – more global and more individual; fewer boundaries and more demand for political separations, everything is faster and we have less time. We need far more love and unity for we have more fear and tremendous insecurity. Stamina and constant peak performance are the common benchmarks to evaluate every person and their work, and the need is to go inward and regenerate. We require a reconciliation and integration of the spiritual side of life with the technological and material sides – a Spiritual Fitness to sense values and meaning.
There is no isolation. Each action we take must be considered ecologically, in terms of others and globally, because each person does affect, directly or indirectly, vast networks of people, and other living beings and places.
In all of this, the human being will need to cope with the core change in the amount and rate of information accessible and required. The rapid change in information processing power, storage capabilities and distribution are amazing. (See appendix II ) From the beginning of the information age studies have been done, from the 1940s to the present, that estimated the human ability to store and process information so we could take advantage of the new technologies. The results are fairly consistent. We have a massive capacity for storage. The number of neural connections goes into the trillions, but the capacity to process the information of the senses and the stored information of experience is severely limited. The process is not just electrical, it is also chemical. The brain is not just "hardware" or "software" to use computer terms, it is "wetware." It is an ocean of chemical exchanges of information via the most subtle and cosmic electromagnetic interactions. Each of us has a potential information processing bottleneck. That is one of the functions of sleep – to sort out information and to revitalize the chemical and glandular engines of consciousness.
The estimates most scientists use at this time is that the human brain can process and integrate information from the senses at a modest 50 bits per second. Over 100 million bits per second are needed to create a typical TV picture. So we must edit, delete and code the information. The Information Revolution and increased sensitivity of the Aquarian Age will overload the brain’s buffers, the temporary storage and sorting areas. We must be able to clear the subconscious quickly and start to develop new capacities in the brain to deal with the overload or we will suffer from InfoDementia Syndromes.
The initial symptoms of the IDS will be: stress, burn-out, more minor and chronic illnesses, fatigue, sleep problems,behavioral addictions and compulsions,poor judgments and feelings of depression, helplessness and withdrawal.Some people are reacting to the current level of pressure by refusing to use any technology or throwing out the computer and TV sets. But the future will be filled with increasing types and quantities of interconnecting devices. And we will have 10 billion people with historically unprecedented levels of higher education and the need to express and communicate! As the pressure increases, we will see chronic fatigues, identity collapse where people will simply leave their physical bodies for extended periods of inactivity, splitting of identities, and catastrophic errors in judgments.
There is opportunity and potential prosperity everywhere – and with it comes equal danger. Information and intellect are not enough to manage our brain and actions in this Age. This massive change will bring many unexpected reactions. Some people will react, burn-out, and try to isolate themselves physically or emotionally. Delusions will become common. The rise of the open information society will have a shadow filled with secret groups and fanatic societies. This is part of the turbulence of such a radical shift.
We must learn to use the mind differently. The mind of the future Aquarian Age person will change both in sensitivity and quality over the next several decades. In a few generations our mental struggles will seem as distant and perplexing to them as the problems and thoughts of ancient prehistoric empires seem to us now. That change of mental quality will occur automatically and has already begun in some people.
We need an intuitive mind to handle paradoxes, uncertainty and the need for action. The intuitive mind can integrate the polarities in an issue with a creative sense of purpose and neutrality that serves both polarities. This will become a key difference between the happy and prosperous and the miserable in the new Age: who can handle information pressure and who can not. The capacity to command the brain into states that handle all information (social, emotional,data, sensory, psychic and subtle) and the pressure to act wisely will create great differences and classes in the world of work, economics, relationships,leadership and lifestyles.
How can we develop the mind to excel in this new environment? How do we embed core value capacity in the mind so that it has an axis of action, an orientation to guide clear decisions? Information and intellect are not enough. It is just as the Guru says in Japji Sahib,
Thinking and thinking, even 100,000 clever thoughts will not solve the need of the mind for direction nor the thirst of the soul for meaning and connection. It is only by special practices of the Naam 14 or Shabd Guru that you can have the wisdom needed to act.
What happens when we have information and intellect, but lack the neutral mind and the practice of spiritual fitness to connect with our consciousness consciously? Consider this point seriously for a minute, What type of problem will arise? The answer is Chernobyl. And the thousand possible Chernobyls of the future.
The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl 15 on the morning of April 26, 1986, affected millions of people. It had an impact beyond anything, imagined by its designers, operators and even its critics. Though many details may still be discovered, the core of the story will stay the same. The whole disaster was caused by two electrical engineers. When the clean-up teams finally managed to breach the core areas of the reactor and the control stations, they pieced together what had happened. Surrounding the dead bodies of the two top engineers in charge was a clear trail of ill-taken decisions. The two engineers were well trained, and educated at the top of their respective classes. They knew exactly what they were doing and the risks involved. They had both information and experience. One night, perhaps out of boredom or a love of risk-taking, this we can not determine, they decided to play a game. They made a bet on how slowly and how long the turbine in reactor number four could ree-wheel when the power is removed. They began shutting down the
reactor. They knew the procedure created instability in the complex system. In fact there were six separate automatic, computer driven alarm systems to prevent exactly what they decided to do. The computer gave warnings with flashing lights, then alarms, then automatic valve shutoffs. They padlocked the valves and overrides so they could not close! How far down could they go? It went all the way down! It exploded. They got the excitement.They lost the bet. All that is left are the padlocks and a legacy of fear.
Those educated engineers had the intellect, the knowledge and the resources to fulfill their duty and excel in their profession. But for some personal reason they lost their clarity. Apparently they had no practice to use the intuitive,neutral mind. They lost track of the reality of what they were doing. They blocked out the calculated impact of their actions. They had the best external technology to stimulate the reactions of atoms but no technology to stimulate the inner atoms of the mind and self. They could not monitor their own internal state. Without being consciously conscious, the mind became distorted. For that momentary lack of spiritual fitness and value clarity, they died, thousands were killed and injured, and millions exposed to long term risks That environment is now uninhabitable. They lacked the spiritual fitness, the value capacity, to read their inner compass under stress. This will be an increasingly frequent situation.
Individuals will have access to technology and information with potential global impact. Watch the current controversies over Russia’s open sale of nuclear technology and weapons to the highest bidders. Now we have found weapons grade plutonium on sale in the black markets in Europe and the Middle East. Follow the spread of chemical weaponry across the middle east. Track the stories of hackers who successfully introduce computer viruses into key systems dedicated to defense operations and to medicine.
The outer education provided by the information revolution must be matched by an inner education in wisdom, self-control, intuition and the use of the neutral mind. We have the quantum technology of the inner science in the Shabd Guru to answer the call of the Age. We need stamina under stress, clarity of values for decisions, a new base for identity, and the ability to command our brain, mind and states of consciousness consciously through the filter of intuition, wisdom and the positive, negative and neutral minds. This is where the Shabad Guru becomes essential to the future.
The Nature of the Shabd Guru ( back to top )
"Shabd" means sound, "Guru" means teacher or knowledge that transforms you. The simplest meaning of Shabd Guru is a special sound that is a teacher. But what is it that we learn from the Shabd Guru and how does the use of sound act as a teacher?
To answer this question look at a deeper definition of Shabd Guru from its root structure. "Shabd" comes from Sha- and -bd. "Sha" means the expression of the ego, the attachments we identify with."Bd" means to cut out/off or to eradicate. The root meaning of Sha-bd is that which cuts the ego. It is not just any sound. It is not just a wise sound or a song of truth. It is a sound that cuts away the ego that occludes the truth from you.
Ego is formed by the mind’s constant automatic processing that attaches us to and identifies us with objects, feelings and thoughts. The ego is not inherently bad. It is just limited.
Ego is a chronic malady and in itself lies the cure (Siri Guru Granth Sahib, page 466)
In itself it can be useful and even necessary to functioning. But when you act attached to the ego as if it is your real nature and as if it defines your reality and scope, then you create pain, unhappiness and problems. Your spiritual reality is that you are part of a vast creation. In experience, you are a creature that is not separate from the larger matrix of life and consciousness. When you act in your specific role toward a goal or project, you must focus and limit your attention and energies. You can do that and forget anything other than your current attachment. Or you can act with passion and commitment as you remember and intuitively connect to the larger Self that is you and to the larger world that you act within.
The ego creates a kind of forgetfulness.You forget the Creator 16 . You forget vastness. The energy of the mind begins to act in narrow ways with petty feelings and limiting beliefs. You act according to the information patterns of a small part of your potential and experience.
What is the alternative? If we cannot base our identity in the known or on any limited position of ego what can we do? Act egolessly. Base an identity in the Infinite and the connection to your sense of the Infinite. That may seem a great or mystic accomplishment, but it is the natural state of the Self. We are part of the Infinite by nature. It is the mind that forms a limited sense of self. We do not need to create an Infinite self. It already exists That existence is called SAT NAAM – SAT 17 is reality, truth or existence. NAAM is the identity or creative name. We are all in essence a reality that vibrates and creates. Most of the time we act as if we are not. That is the pain imposed on our life by ego. The Shabd removes that pain by removing barriers to perceiving and acting from the Real Self.
This is one of the miracles of grace embodied in the teachings of the ten Gurus of Sikh Dharma. Each of the ten Gurus carried the Guruship and the Infinite identity of the Shabd Guru with very different personalities, ages and situations. And yet each affirmed they were all one Light. The identity they embedded in the Shabd Guru did not depend on ego or any finite identity. They sang Shabds that merged the one who recites them into the Infinite and infinity of self, beyond the limits of time and space. It is exactly such a technology that is needed. It establishes a link with the sense of the Infinite no matter what mood and position you begin with. There is a raga and sutra to lift every possible position of the ego into egoless merger.
Ego will no longer work! The shift of Age has changed the conditions of the mind. The Piscean consciousness operated with less sensitivity. You could hide actions, thoughts and feelings with a high degree of short term success. Some ego positions were favored above others by the conditions in a family, society or environment. That has fundamentally changed in this new Age: all finite positions of ego are equally vulnerable.
We need to develop a new habit of awareness. We must learn an inner technology to base the identity of our Self in the Infinite. The Shabd Guru is the quantum technology that establishes that awareness. It is a compass point that directs us to the Infinite in each finite action.
The practice of Jappa of the Shabd Guru changes the frequency of OUR words. We go from the words of the manmukh 18 -one who speaks with attachment to the mind and intellect, to a gurumukh 19 – one who speaks form the heart. When we speak from ego our words carry a hook, a calculation for what we believe we need or want. When we speak egolessly our words go to the heart of the other person and speak wisdom that is true regardless of advantage. Words spoken in ego are ruled by impulse and intellect.The words sharpened by the Shabd Guru are ruled by integrity, intelligence and intuition.
It is the function of the Shabd Guru to make our ego nothing so we can serve and be served by everything. In a cyclone you go to the eye of the storm to escape its turbulent power. In an Age swirling with chaotic change the path to the center of the storm is through the neutral mind, 20 established by quelling the conscious and subconscious reactions to the ego. A sense of identity based on the experience of the subtle and the Infinite within us is the only source of stability and power in the Aquarian Age.
The second word in the phrase Shabd Guru is "Guru." If we break this word into its inner naad,21 or atoms of sound, it becomes Gu-Ru. Gu means darkness or ignorance. Ru is light and knowledge. Gur is a formula or instruction. A Guru then gives a Gur, a formula or technique, that transforms darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge, the gross into the refined.
A Guru then is an active knowledge. It is not the intellectual knowledge that simply classifies or analyzes. Guru changes you. Guru develops the capacity to see. It removes darkness, obfuscation.The Shabd Guru transforms the practitioner by removing the barriers erected by the needs of the ego. The encounter with the Guru is through action. It gives you Know How not just Know What. It gives you procedural knowledge that is in your cells and subconscious, not just representational knowledge in your ideas. Think of the difference between discussing death in general, and discussing your potential death from cancer with your doctor. "Death" takes on an urgency and relevance when it is yours. It forces a deep evaluation of it, along with everything else that is important to you. And you want to know what to do; what action to take. To encounter the Shabd Guru is to learn by doing, by experience. The Guru will give a practice. That key practice for Shabd Guru is the meditation and repetition of specific primal sounds and phrases.
That may seem easy. Simple is not necessarily easy or without challenge. The greatest challenge is the practitioner’s own subconscious. The mind is not trained to base itself in a relation to the Infinite. It is based in ego. It is filled with reactive thoughts that try to maintain the attachments of the ego and tries to avoid pain.22 When you repeat the patterns of sound and thought in a Shabd, those thoughts counter the direction and intensity of the habitual thoughts. The Shabd provokes a dumping of the stored subconscious patterns of thinking and feeling If, under the torrential flood of subconscious feelings and thoughts, you persist in repeating the pattern of the Shabd Guru, then the new pattern establishes itself Your mind clears, and you awaken dormant inner capacities or enhance existing ones.
Where do the patterns of the Shabd Guru come from? They exist from the beginning of creation. They are the tides and rhythms of the movement of the creative pulse of Infinite consciousness. They vibrate in all things continually.
It is the ability to hear and feel them that is needed. That capacity comes to a mind that is fearless, neutral, open and awakened. The ten Gurus of the Sikh path heard it perfectly. They put that rhythm and pattern of energy into the poetic compositions of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. That’s why it is called a Granth rather than just a collection. It is a "knot." It binds the pattern of awareness into the words of the songs. Each Shabd is a template for an aspect of awareness and a potential of consciousness. Each Shabd is a kind of spiritual DNA that restructures the mind and stimulates the brain.(See Appendix I)The Siri Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of such gems.
The Quantum Technology and Impact of the Shabd Guru ( back to top )
The impact of the Shabd Guru comes from its masterful use of the technology of sound and rhythm. It is a "quantum technology. " A technology is the application of a science. The sound patterns of the Shabd Guru are based on the science of sound. In the West this would be the science of reflex to create changes in neurotransmitters to command the state of the brain and mind. It is "quantum" because it manipulates the smallest particles of sound and energy into effective combinations and patterns. It uses the quantum patterns like seeds that act as blueprints for constructing larger patterns. The atoms of sound build the molecules of language, thought and mind.
In time we will unravel many of the mysteries of this complex relationship of sound, brain, neuro-endocrinology,psychology and behavior. We will elaborate an intellectual model of the entire sequence of quantum sound technology. From the movement of the tongue to its reflexes to the neuro-endocrine cascades to the change of mental state, we are at the beginning of that study and modeling process.
The techniques of the Shabd Guru codified in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and in the mantras of Kundalini Yoga 23 24 wait for us to mine their secrets. Every person can use them to elevate themselves, to heal, to develop stamina, to increase intuition. They do not need to know the science of the process. They only need to apply the technology of the Shabd Guru.
Because the reflex points are stimulated by the movements of the tongue, you get the maximum benefit from the pattern of a Shabd by consciously repeating the sounds out loud. That is called Jappa -conscious, conscientious recitation.Rotating the tongue over the 84 reflex points in the pattern of the Shabd produces the maximum impact on the gross level of the neuro-endocrine system. As the Shabd gets established in the nervous system and your subconscious, every cell of your body will vibrate the pattern with you. That is called the state of Ajappa Jap – of repeating without repeating. In that ideal state the resource released by the Shabd Guru is always available to you regardless of the momentary focus of your attention on daily tasks. It is the result of great devotion, much practice and mastery, or grace. When that state is reached you still repeat the Shabd out loud, but the dimensions of joy and awareness that accompany the practice are without limit. You recite the Shabd in the beginning of the practice of the Shabd Guru in order to clear the mind, and attain an awareness. When you reach a stage of mastery, you still recite the Shabd out loud because you have become the Shabd and the Shabd has become you. There is a merger between the personal experience of you and the impersonal experience of Infinity beyond you and within you. 26 The core technique to precisely vocalize the Shabd of the Shabd Guru is useful and true for the most novice beginner and for the most exalted master. The repetition of the Sutras of the Shabd Guru is a tool as timeless and unconditional as the Shabd Guru itself.
The ancient seers and the Gurus have left us maps and tools to guide us into the territory we want to explore. They also give us the clear warning not to confuse the maps for the actual territory. They implore us to realize that no amount of study replaces the knowledge which comes through experience.
The human body is analogous to a musical instrument. It is constructed with 72 strings. Each string or "sur" aets like a meridian – it is a flow of the energy of life called prana 27 . The inflow of cosmic energy into the body cascades through the crown of the head, the "tenth gate," like a waterfall and collects in seven pools or special vortices. Those pools are called chakras or energy centers. The 72 strings are controlled by three central strings or channels These are called the ida and pingala – the left and right channels to either side of the spine, and the shushmana – the central channel up the middle of the spine. The upper centers vibrate with the release of each independent thought. The thoughts of the mind are released at a rate as high as a thousand per blink of an eye. These vibrations or patterns of thought "pluck" those strings. The strings vibrate into 72,000 channels. Their vibration creates the shape and function of the physical body, the emotional body and the mental body. Just as you stroke a string on an instrument and it forms a shape in
If you can vibrate a pattern in the central channel it will induce a synchronous pattern throughout all the rest of the strings. To vibrate a Shabd in the central channel you must become still, bring your full attention to the sound pattern and let go of your attachments by devotion or surrender. To vibrate perfectly it requires a combination of Shakti and Bhakti. Shakti is the power of precision and discipline in the repetition. It is the pure energy which enforces all implementation without human tiredness. Bhakti is the feeling of surrender and devotion; it is the devoted dedication which provides the energy to complete everything. It is form and flow, sun and moon, rhythm and tone in perfect blend.That opens the intuitive knowledge of the central channel – Gian.28
The thousand thoughts released by the mind can distract you. They can pull you away from the Shabd. But the rhythmic Naad of the Shabd Guru engages and synchronizes the flow of thoughts. The pulse of the atoms of sound produce a pattern of energy that structures the space of the mind to link with the Shabd. This produces an active stillness, a shuniya, a zero-point in consciousness. In that stillness you are like an instrument perfectly played in an orchestra. Your instrument merges into the larger tune.29
Another map for the mechanism and impact of the Shabd Guru traces the reflexes between tongue and brain. The body is perfectly designed to use the Naad or rhythm of the Shabd Guru. There is a connection between the movement of the tongue in the mouth and the chemistry and neuro-transmitters in the brain. One end of this connection is an array of 84 reflex points on the upper palate of the roof of the mouth.The palate has two parts: hard and soft.The hard palate is located directly behind the teeth; the soft palate is located on the roof of the mouth. 64 points (32 pairs)are located along a "U" on the hard palate near the base of each tooth.20 more points are in a "U" on the roof of the mouth. The exact location varies in each person to conform to the unique shapes of the mouth.
The movement of each part of the tongue stimulates these meridian points. The points are like a keyboard input to a computer. The computer is located in the hypothalamus area of the brain. It receives the impulses from the repetition of the patterns of sound in the Shabd. This is translated into instructions that regulate chemical messengers that go to all vital areas of the brain and body. The hypothalamus lies just below the thalamus in the midline of the brain. It is connected by blood vessels to the pituitary gland – the master gland of the body. The hypothalamus is known to regulate vital functions like hunger,drinking, body temperature and sleep. It also triggers the regulation of moods,emotional behavior and sexuality.
The special patterns of the Shabd Guru stimulate the hypothalamus to change the chemistry of the brain. This adjusts the functions of the endocrine system and the metabolism to create a neutral balanced mind, and to strengthen the immune function. Many sophisticated states can be stabilized in the mind using the Shabd Guru. It can conquer depression, enhance intelligence and intuition, and open the power of compassion.
Another approach to understand the impact of the Shabd Guru is to follow the functional changes in brain metabolism and the neuro-endocrine system. We wondered if we could see some trace of such an effect using the latest in brain imaging technology. We set up a pilot study at the University of Arizona using a P.E.T. scan – Positron Emission Tomography. We used an isotope of glucose to see changes in metabolism in different areas of the brain. We took a baseline scan after a period of activity -walking and normal internal dialogue. A second scan was taken in the same subject after a period of walking while using a basic Shabd Pattern, i.e., 2 repetitions of the Panj Shabd followed by one repetition of the Guru Mantra Shabd: Sa Ta Na Ma, Sa Ta Na Ma, Wha Hay Gu Ru. The researchers expected little change with such a subtle variation in activity. The results showed a powerful shift in the function of the left hemisphere to the right frontal and parietal regions. The metabolic shift suggests a strong mood enhancement, countering any
depression. The metabolic drop in some regions of the left hemisphere corresponds to a lessening of inner critical voices. The areas of the right frontal cortex suggest alertness and hypervigilence, which creates a readiness to respond to unusual stimuli and to creative thoughts. Some other areas seemed affected, like the anterior cingulate gyrus, but it will take further research to map the changes completely .
This was a small initial study to sample what we could notice using this instrumentation. The next set of studies will probably employ functional MRI technology for better resolution, especially of the hypothalamus regions. What is important about this study is that it is the first study to show a significant brain state shift from the use of the Shabd Guru. The brain can be shifted in specific patterns by the use of Jappa with the Shabd Guru. It opens the way to begin the exploration of the tongue, sound, shabd, neuro-chemical, brain connection.
These technological approaches and brain connections open the way to teaching a broad audience about the benefits and use of the Shabd Guru. For some, devotion is the natural approach. For others it is the immediate difference it makes in their lives. The explanations need to be practical and accessible, so the Shabd Guru can be known as a quantum technology anyone can use. For a more extensive explanation of some basic links between the brain, its structures and the use of sound, see Appendix III of this paper.
Understanding the technological process of the Shabd Guru in this way invites its use to alleviate many of the maladies we spoke of earlier. In fact, we have investigated for over 25 years the application of this technology in many social programs to end addiction, and a range of psychological problems from anxiety, to depression, to sexual disturbances. In every area we created change, alleviated symptoms and changed lifestyles. Just as the Gurus created social change and provided food and education to change people’s lives,the Shabd Guru approached as a quantum technological process can be used to alleviate many personal and social ills.
Affirmations and positive statements are helpful and good to use. Mantras are effective and gradually create changes. But the Shabd Guru as captured in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is unique. The patterns are a perfect weave of rhythm, sound, tone, focus, and meaning. They act as informational DNA for the spirit.There is nothing as effective and universal as those patterns.
Education for Leadership and Spiritual Fitness in the Aquarian Age ( back to top )
Education is changing. It is being evaluated and "re-invented" in every country. This should not be surprising Education responds to the needs of the society, individuals in the society and the Imperative of the Age. In the early years of the Greeks and in early Vedic times the capacity to memorize and to make acute sensory distinctions was essential. A core part of education was training the ability of each person in mnemonic memory techniques and in rhythmical poetry. In the Era of Enlightenment the transfer and questioning of information became important, as did apprenticeship in specific disciplines.
Now education is changing again. The impact of the information revolution has changed our training from memorization to the acquisition of information to the use and interpretation of information now. We are educating all the senses. Multi-media is becoming a new standard for presentations. The need and ability to use all the senses in education has introduced techniques to use the body,emotions and self-awareness as central parts of the education process.
We arrange memory and understanding based on our sense of self-awareness. As we discussed earlier this sense of self is changing. We must gain the skill, MetaCognition, to recognize our inner state of awareness, our state of emotion, our sense of the body and then adjust it to our task of learning. It is only through the cultivation of experience of the self; and the experience of self-regulation, that we can truly master the ability to "learn how to learn."
There are many calls for a new "experiential" education. The problem is which experience? Just having many experiences does not insure a "learning experience." There are many dimensions to the structure of experience that helps us move it from sensation to information to knowledge to practical wisdom.
That is the power of the Shabd Guru. The quantum process of the Shabd Guru guides and integrates experience into a higher, refined level for profound learning and practical use. It preserves balance and a sense of higher identity amidst the flood of information and change we must handle in the Aquarian Age. We must sophisticatedly educate that inner sense of the self so we can have a foundation in the self upon which to accurately weigh the deluge of information. This will only be possible by learning and teaching the quantum technology of the Shabd Guru as part of any complete education curriculum.
The quantum process of the Shabd Guru sets the brain to a new level of functioning. It gives the mind the caliber and strength to process any range of information. Teaching the quantum technology of the Shabd Guru as a core part of an Aquarian curriculum will become commonplace in the future. Real education for the Aquarian Age blends devotion with discipline, intelligence with intuition, and understanding with the capacity to act and project with integrity. It will be perceived not as a philosophy or a set of values. It will be seen as part of the training of the experience of self, so that you can embody your philosophy,carry your values, increase your spiritual fitness and deliver your self as an answer to the challenge and imperative of the Age.
Appendix I: Information ( back to top )
Information Itself. Why is information so important? Granted, the increase in its quantity, rate and distribution create pressure on each human. But why should it be so disturbing?
The answer is that information is not really a "thing". Things are concrete, stable and we can catch a hold of them. Information is the structuring element of reality. Take DNA as the example. A cell changes all its atoms in a short time. The human body changes many cells in 72 hours, the entire skin in a month, and even all the components of the brain cells in a year. But the structure of it all remains constant. And that is due to the information coded in the sequences of chemicals in the DNA. Information structures matter. Change the information and new forms emerge.
Your self-concept or Identity is the DNA of the mind. Change your concept and all the forms of your behavior and even the shape of your body changes. Information in this way is an ultimate power that restructures matter and directs concentrations of energy for use or dormancy in the human being.
Exposure to huge amounts of new information creates conflicting instructions for basic forms to contain and direct our energy- emotionally, mentally and physically. If we can no longer limit the information rate and flow, then we must use a new process to organize amidst it. The best way to do this is to allow a self-organization to occur. A Shabd is a template of information that directs the structuring of information itself It builds the mental DNA to direct the flow and character of the mind.
That is why it is a quantum process. It changes the fundamental codes. Human DNA evolved as an information medium. The combination of 4 base pairs, A-C-T-G, into long sequences forms a compact way to code information with sufficient redundancy to correct most errors. It is so well designed that recently DNA itself is being used as a computer! well designed that recently DNA itself is being used as a computer! 3 The human brain can contain about one million words. The DNA in a small test tube would have about 10 20 molecules which could code over a billion million words. A I,000 liter container of DNA would have about 10 14 the capacity of the human brain. So information, a great deal of information, can be stored in highly structured sequences of a few basic chemicals.
Now think of those basic chemicals as primal linguistic sounds and notes. Think of the rhythm of the Shabd, the Naad, as the structuring element that links them together. Think of repetition as the redundancy that insures the code implants itself in the new vehicle of matter- your brain and nerves, accurately. The capacity of the Shabd Guru to code trillions of aspects of the shapes of matter, mind and emotion is remarkable and expected. The trick is that the DNA has captured a compact code of basic units that holds the information of a pulse of the creativity of life. Exactly so the Sri Guru Granth Sahib has captured a compact quantum code of sound, structured in rhythm, that holds the information of the pulse of the creativity of Consciousness and God.
To immerse oneself in the Shabd Guru is to be restructured by the imprint of Infinity. The mind so organized is a perfect flexible structure to handle all information of the environment and mind. It has the structures necessary Each sutra and each complete Shabd adds an inheritance, a spiritual DNA that establishes your ID and lineage with Infinity, the unknowable unknown itself.
The information revolution has unleashed the hidden potential of kundalini, of Shabd Guru, of the patterns of God in each of us. It will push us to need a Guru that is of Shabd. Not a person, nor an idea, but a pulse that is a process of subtle and powerful restructuring of the mind to function without resistance or friction.
Appendix II: Information Technology ( back to top )
Information Technology. The Information Age has already penetrated every area of work, living and technology. It will only intensify its impact. The news wires are filled with discussions of the World-Wide Web formed by interconnected computers and information technology. Three changes in technology are bringing information to the fingertips of every person on earth no matter where they live, and gradually, no matter their level of status or wealth:
Processing Power. How much information can be calculated and manipulated at what speed measures the power of processing. Until recently only the largest corporations and universities could afford the "super computers" like the famous Cray computer. The average person used a small "home" or office computer. Now a new generation of chips is on the way within five years that will have the power of six Cray super-computers and cost only $100 (rather than say $10,000,000). The power that once only belonged to a small elite group will be possible to everyone.
Information Storage Capacity . Storing all that information used to be a major limitation. We are quickly moving into the use of crystals, molecules and optics. The expectation is that we can use molecular states in crystal arrays to store and retrieve information. This means that all the information contained in all the computers in the entire world could be stored in a single crystal of salt! Storage will not be a problem. This was a central problem for the last Age.Ancient scriptures would be engraved in gold foil, inlaid in bamboo and guarded from generation to generation. Most of the instruction was oral and relied on a strict culture of knowledge transfer. Now all the Shabds of the Guru is available on a single CD-ROM computer disk for a few dollars.
Information NetWorking. The computer on your desk is actually a doorway to every computer in the world. With a few keystrokes you can leap from Delhi to New York City, to the Sorbonne, or to medical databases in Africa.With the technology available we can form "virtual teams and offices" with members around the city, country or world with equal ease. The boundaries that used to define us by country, town, family, clan, class or caste no longer apply. We can work with, meet and be influenced by people and ideas everywhere. Some historians speculate that this will be seen as a major factor in the upheavals and transformation of politics in Eastern Europe and Asia as we enter the next century.Networking can not be controlled. It changes the flow of decisions and even the pathways of power in entire societies.
Complexity. Complexity is largely in the eye of the beholder. One person sees something as complex, another as simple. Genius and intelligence has been described as the ability to find simplicity in the complex. Intellect as been described as the ability to create complexity out of simplicity.
Complexity arises naturally as the number of things increases and there interactions increase. If you imagine a system of three people who don’t rely on each other for many fllings, it is relatively simple. But increase the number of people, N, and the number of possible connections increases proportional to N2. Include a feedback between people so each persons action depends on a response from proximate others and the system becomes non-linear or even chaGtic. That is it becomes so complex it is lawful but not predictable!
That is the other reason the information revolution has such an impact. It has connected us Hence it has changed the complexity and increased the unpredictability of all our actions. Who knows which action will suddenly be on world-wide TV networks? Who knows which transaction will be flagged by computer monitoring of the tax collection agencies?
It has always been true according to the teachings of the Shabd Guru that all our actions are accounted for. But we act as if they are not. As if a faulty memory is insurance against the karma of actions. Now even the gross world has increased the tracking of our actions, words and impact on others. Something you did years ago can be returned to you now. Watch the contortions of contemporary politicians and leaders as pictures and records from 25 years before are discovered and flashed around the world out of their original contexts.
With complexity comes the need for the mechanism in our brain that is built in to compute in such unpredictable, nonsequential conditions. We call that intuition. Intuition will grasp the higher order structures that information patterns create regardless of the smaller details. It is just like pulling a plug in a drain. The water swirls down the drain. Throw a flower petal on the water and you know it will eventually swirl its way down. You may not predict each wiggle of the petal, but you know for sure its destination. You can decide whether to put the petal in the water or not. Intuition lets you know if you are to act and put your self in the water or not. It is certain, even if with it you need nirbhao and nirvair, fearlessness and a sense of personal agency rather than blame.
Intuition, the opening of the brain areas that allow it, such as the hypothalamus,pituitary and pineal glands, are one of the gifts of Jappa of the Shabd Guru. That is effective, unique, and necessary.
Appendix III: Power of Words and Language and their connection to the basic neural and glandular structures in the brain. ( back to top )