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My OnFaith 5: "Cosmic Consciousness"

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1. Is religion or spirituality important to you in your daily life? If so, how? I was raised in India to respect all religions, a belief that was carried out at home by the continual drift of friends and neighbors who sometimes shared my mother's deep Hindu faith but just as often followed their own religion. For a long time, I followed my father's bent, which was a faith in science and Western medicine in particular. Looking back, I somehow became imprinted by both attitudes yet in a way neither parent would exactly resemble. Like my mother, I am strongly committed to the inner path, and like my father I put my faith in spiritual "fact," if I may put it that way. Belief, faith, and hope are sustaining feelings but very subjective. Eventually there have to be experiences of higher consciousness as valid and reliable as seeing clouds in the sky or smelling the salt air of the sea. In my daily life, I am aware of two levels of attention. At the first level I deal with every practical matter in the life of Deepak Chopra. At the second level, I peel back all the tags and labels that constructed this construct of mine known as Deepak Chopra, and shift my attention to "I am," the ground state of consciousness itself. It's at the second level of attention that spiritual awakening occurs. 2. How has your understanding of “God” evolved throughout your life? In India the God concept enters in as half the picture, the other half being the Self concept. God is the entire range of consciousness in creation. Being infinite, God cannot be comprehended. Therefore, each person embodies a small, individual, finite portion of consciousness, which we call the "I" of the self. Something inconceivable is brought down to the human plane, where we deal in concepts and beliefs that can be comprehended. The great challenge posed by this split--and I think it exists in every religious tradition--is to unite God and Self. In the Vedic tradition of India, enlightenment consists of a total merging: I am That. In other words, I am the same as the inconceivable, infinite consciousness of God. This merging requires each person to walk a path that brings new discoveries every day. So my conception of God hasn't changed, but the state of awareness I experience is always changing. 3. What do you think about religions other than your own? For me all religions are formats or operating systems. When you step into the format or operate within a certain system, the scheme can be useful. Every religion has its saints, seers, and holy teachers. But formats and operating systems are also limited. They lead to predictable results (when religion is consoling and inspiring), but a believer's world can be devastated when the system crashes. I don't accept the categories of atheist, agnostic, and believer. Either you accept a religion as a guide and map to reach your own spiritual awakening, or you don't. To prejudge the goal--the existence of God--before you have walked the path is invalid. Religion is an organized way to experience higher consciousness, and if it accomplishes this, I celebrate what religion offers. But in the end, the map isn't the territory. Awakening requires personal experiences that often lead away from credos, dogmas, the clergy, and the rest of organized religion. 4. Can you share a time when your faith helped you understand a significant event in your life? When my father died suddenly, I wasn't able to be with him at the last. We were very close, and I owed him an enormous amount, beginning with the love and appreciation I wanted to voice when he began to depart. But there was no process--he was here one day, gone the next. I felt the tug of grief and doubt that he was still all right. What if my father had vanished into thin air? Grief, like fear, is very convincing on the emotional level. I had to have faith in the new journey his soul had entered into, and at the same time I had to have faith that my own pain would be healed. It took time, but the pain of missing him so terribly did subside. And when I became peaceful again, I had the direct experience of reconnecting with my father and having a part of my awareness join him on his new journey. Eventually this experience faded, and I came to the resolution that he was gone but never lost. 5. What is your faith in one word /phrase or image? I place my entire faith on cosmic consciousness, the source of everything real in creation. •••••••••••••• Read more OnFaith 5 member responses here: https://www.onfaith.co/a/onfaithfive

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