There are religious mystics and nature mystics, but it is still somewhat unusual to encounter a “science mystic”, since the implications of the two words would initially appear to be contradictory, and their respective realms perpetually antagonistic (even though such a renowned scientist as the great Albert Einstein himself has been characterized as “rational mystic”). Certainly, for centuries now, the world of the scientist and that of the mystic have seemed to have regularly clashed. On the one hand, the mystics report accessing a reality beyond the intellect or objective domain of the scientist, whereas the scientist points to the burdensome accumulation of religious myth and superstition that has accompanied mystical assertions, as proof of its obsolescence at a time when demonstrable facts speak louder than conditioned flights of fantasy.
Lately however, those entrenched views have undergone a significant change, an evolving transformation particularly evident in the meeting between the field of the Quantum Sciences and that of Mystic Esotericism. Today, if there were such a category as “Science Mystic”, writers such as Thomas W. Campbell, Jr., Peter Russell, and Gary Zukav would certainly qualify as excellent representatives (along with a growing list of others such as David Bohm, Fred Alan Wolfe, Fritjof Capra, Bruce Lipton, Nassim Haremein, Amit Goswami, Michael Talbot, Robert Monroe, and Rupert Sheldrake, to name a few).
Thomas W. Campbell
Thomas W. Campbell, Jr. (born December 9, 1944 – ) began researching altered states of consciousness with Bob Monroe Journeys Out Of The Body, Far Journeys, and The Ultimate Journey) at Monroe Laboratories in the early 1970s where he and a few others were instrumental in getting Monroe’s laboratory for the study of consciousness up and running. These early drug-free consciousness pioneers helped design experiments, developed the technology for creating specific altered states, and were the main subjects of study (guinea pigs) all at the same time. Campbell has been experimenting with, and exploring the subjective and objective mind ever since.
For the past thirty years, Campbell has been focused on scientifically exploring the properties, boundaries, and abilities of consciousness. During that same time period, he has excelled as a working scientist, a professional physicist dedicated to pushing back the frontiers of cutting edge technology, large-system simulation, technology development and integration, and complex system vulnerability and risk analysis.
Thomas Campbell graduated in 1966 with honors and majors in both Mathematics and Physics. A master’s degree in Physics was granted by Purdue University in 1968. Tom was admitted to the PhD program at the University of Virginia, however, he chose to accept an offer of employment before completing the program. Tom’s specialization was in experimental nuclear physics and his thesis explored excited states of the NA21 nucleus. Most recently, he worked as a consultant for NASA within the Aries I program (follow-on to the Shuttle) assessing and solving problems of risk and vulnerability to ensure mission and crew survivability and success.
Tom is the “TC (physicist)” described in Bob Monroe’s second book Far Journeys and has been a serious explorer of the frontiers of reality, mind, consciousness, and psychic phenomena since the early 1970s. His book My Big TOE [TOE = Theory of Everything] is a model of existence and reality that is based directly on Campbell’s scientific research and first-hand experience. It represents the results and conclusions of thirty years of careful scientific exploration of the boundaries and contents of reality from both the physical and metaphysical viewpoints. The author has made every effort to approach his explorations without bias or preconceived notions. There is no belief system, dogma, creed, or unusual assumptions at the root of My Big TOE.
The entirety of human experience (mind, body, and spirit) including both objective and subjective worlds, are unified under one scientific understanding. It is written in trilogy form with the main title, ‘My Big TOE’. Book 1: Awakening. Book 2: Discovery. Book 3: Inner Workings. This work can be shown to provide a basis for understanding the teachings of mystics and meta-physicians of the past. The acronym “TOE” is a standard term in the physics community that stands for “Theory Of Everything.” Such a theory has been the “Holy Grail” of physicists for more than fifty years. ‘My Big TOE’ delivers the solution to that scientific quest at the layman’s level. Campbell chose to first publish these ground breaking concepts in a “trade publication” rather than a technical journal because of their potential importance to every individual, and because the nature of the material (like Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, for example) requires broad explanations spanning multiple academic disciplines. This material develops entirely new scientific and reality paradigms. By demanding high quality repeatable, empirical, evidential data to separate what’s real (exists independently and externally) from what’s imaginary or illusory; Campbell has scientifically derived this general model of reality.
Campbell has appeared on many radio programs such as Coast to Coast AM. He has conducted lectures on his model of reality in London at The London School of Economics and in Austin Texas. Tom was also in the cast of [“Afterlife” The Path documentary Volume one] released in February 2009.
Thomas Campbell’s website: http://www.my-big-toe.com/about/
Some quotes from Tom:
“Money, refrigerators, light bulbs, and automobiles are too far removed (far beyond the practical, functional, or theoretical scope of a bacterium’s Tiny TOE) to be comprehended by the bacteria, or to be of any direct importance to them. To the bacteria in the intestine, the source of digested food descending from the stomach would seem mystical. The economic, social, and physical circumstances and processes that indirectly result in a particular food being deposited in the stomach would be beyond mystical. The causal mechanisms that drive and order these apparently mystical events and processes arc necessarily invisible to even the most brilliant intestinal bacteria. The forces and relationships that govern the growing of wheat as well as the making and marketing of bread falls beyond a bacterium’s theoretical ability to imagine, and therefore forever lies beyond the largest reality it can possibly comprehend . Do not be too surprised to find Homo sapiens in a similar situation.
This is a difficult pill for many, especially scientists, to swallow. The concept that there may be a natural practical limit to the extent of our knowledge – a limit beyond which our perception cannot penetrate – is based upon the notion that we are only a very small part of a much greater reality. This humbling thought runs counter to the significance and self-importance we humans place upon ourselves. If our experience is limited to a small part of a larger reality, it is only reasonable to assume that beyond the limit of our possible knowing there may well exist a host of phenomena, interactions, relationships, and ordered happenings upon which our reality and existence profoundly depends, but of which we cannot directly perceive. Allowing the outside theoretical possibility that our beloved PMR [3D physical matter reality] may be a local reality (a subset of something larger) is the first step toward comprehending a bigger picture.”
“The argument between science and belief – a more general version of the argument between science and religion – is a self-energizing, endless loop of non-logic bouncing uselessly in endless debate back and forth from one limiting belief system to another. The illogical excesses of each create the rational necessity for the other.”
“With no light and only a dim awareness, the fish knows nothing of water. Water just is, has always been, and is taken for granted. The fish does not ponder the nature of water, it swims in it. We swim in an ocean of consciousness. We are not aware of the ocean, but only of our local interactions with it.”
“Absolutes in communication are reflections of ego.”
“We do whatever comes to us at the moment — what we do matters little — the intent behind the doing is an expression of our being that matters much. The feedback from the doing informs the quality of the being to modify its intent — this is the bootstrap by which we pull ourselves up.”
“If it is not your truth, based on your experience, then don’t believe it — Remain skeptical and open minded. Whether it is true or not is the wrong question.”
“There is but one truth, however there are many expressions of it.”
“After we grow up enough, we no longer need pain to get our attention — we learn to continue growing while remaining happy and positive because we understand the nature of existence — we already know what really matters and why. Our capacity to love and to give expands without being prodded by pain and misfortune.”
“The bottom line is that the larger consciousness system is designed and constructed to support your personal growth in every and any way that could possibly be effective for you. It will not help you experience things that are likely to increase your entropy — you do enough of that yourself.”
“In short, Believe Nothing, Explore Everything, Know what you Know. Know More.”
“The ideal is to turn intellectual beliefs into knowledge based on direct experience.”
“Fundamental assumptions in general and scientific assumptions in particular are so hard to overturn because they are based on belief. Beliefs are so hard to overcome because they are irrational and therefore do not yield to logical argument.”
“It’s not about the body; you are consciousness. That’s what you are. Your consciousness is already out of your body. You don’t need to get out of your body; you just need to get into your consciousness.”
“An AUM-digital-consciousness-system-thing could not possibly be the larger and more fundamental reality because it is not exclusively manifested as a physical substance in the little virtual physical reality. Can you imagine a more illogical and irrational belief?”
“That a million smart people say “yes” is not a good reason for you to say “yes” if you do not have the experience and understanding to support it. Determining truth is not a democratic process ruled by the majority. It is also not something that someone else can do for you. Do not let these smart people sway you to agree with them simply because they are smart.”
“Your belief systems limit your reality to a sub-set of the solution space that does not contain the answer.”
“A man who will not leave his room because he does not know how, or is afraid to open the door, is trapped just the same whether or not the door is locked”.
“Simply walk fearlessly with love into whatever comes and everything will come out right. The larger consciousness system takes care of its own – no soldier is left behind.”
“Not only do you have responsibility for your own growth, but as you succeed past a certain point, you also have responsibility to help others succeed. The student becomes a teacher for those who are struggling with things that the teacher has mastered — yet he remains a student for there is always more to learn and more to give.”
“Do not worry about the future, it will come upon you gradually and only as you are ready for it – there are no big bumps or sudden transitions – you grow gradually from one stage to the next. Everything will open and become available as you need it and can profitably use it (not necessarily as you want it), no loose ends will be left flapping about. Your transitions will not come at the expense of others. All evolution is generally optimized for the system, not for individuals. Individuals do not evolve at the system’s expense – we are all one. The whole system is evolving.”
“A theory that integrates, unifies and logically derives physics and metaphysics, mind and matter, the normal and the paranormal – it answers your questions.”
“In any reality frame, one must strive to become aware of one’s abilities and limitations and discover the operational causality of the immediate environment.”
“More often than not, the tastiest and most nourishing part of life lies in experiencing the process, not in attaining the goal.”
“Words are imprecise symbols and metaphors. They mean different things to different people because both context and interpretation is personal.”
“Improving the quality of consciousness, advancing the quality and depth of awareness, understanding your nature and purpose, manifesting universal unconditional love, letting go of fear and eliminating ego, desires, wants, needs or preconceived notions – these are the attributes and results of a successfully evolving consciousness.”
“You are a creator that exhibits, uses and manipulates the evolution of consciousness and you are the result of that same process at both the nonphysical and physical levels”
“The being level speaks the language of art, music, color, shape and pattern directly – a language that requires no words – is not limited by words – nor does it have the specificity of words and thus cannot be broken into parts that can be manipulated or analyzed by the intellect. It must be swallowed, whole not parsed, sorted and justified.”
“Great leaps forward do not come from the center, they come from the edge.”
“Even if your intuition is grossly underdeveloped, it is still a better guesser of Big Answers than your intellect”.
“Open minded skepticism is the primary tool you will need to maintain a free mind capable of significant and evolutionary progress.”
“If you know about the larger reality, non physical matter reality, if you understand how things work you are better at playing the game than you are if you are totally clueless. So having your own big theory is really helpful so that you can interpret your experiences. If you can ask yourself “why is this happening to me” and then start looking for the lessons that you are being taught in the present experience packet, you start realizing that ‘growing’ and the choices you make are very important. Rather than going through life like a zombie and doing whatever you do because you are just ‘doing it’.
“You can be more aware that you need to live in the moment, be aware and try to reduce your ego, your anger, your fear in this way you can reduce entropy a lot better and a lot faster. If you are totally unaware you evolve in tiny steps.”
“When you have been back to this virtual reality a few times you get nudged a lot by guidance. Each time you come back initially you know zero but after a many incarnations you will start to be nudged to remind you. Paranormal experiences will pop in your face to speed up your process and so, as you don’t lose the gains you made in previous lifetimes, an attempt is made to bring you back up to speed so you can get to the bit where you were at the last time.”
“Trying to figure out the lessons you are here to learn is very important.”
“You will learn to appreciate the fact that the larger reality extends beyond objective causality, beyond the reach of intellectual effort, into the subjective mind of each individual. My Big TOE is the launch pad; Your Big TOE is the final destination.”
“Most of our beliefs lie beyond the easy reach of our intellects. Outside our awareness, they literary define, and thus limit, what we allow ourselves to perceive and interpret as reality.”
“Allowing the outside theoretical possibility that our beloved PMR may be a local reality is the first step toward comprehending a bigger picture.”
“The model itself may closely resemble the reality it describes or merely describe its inputs and outputs. In either case do not confuse the model of reality with reality itself.”
“A Big Picture Theory of Everything or Big TOE must include metaphysics, Ontology, Epistemology and Cosmology (ontology – the science or study of being -, epistemology – the philosophical discipline which examines the nature and validity of human cognition, the study of the nature of knowledge. And cosmology the metaphysical study of origin and the nature of the universe and the branch of Astro physics that studies the origin, evolution and structure of the universe as well as physics and other sciences within a seamless integrated model of reality. This is what the My Big TOE trilogy is all about.”
“Being non traditional is a necessary strength, not an unavoidable weakness.”
“Guides will take whatever form that is required to do their job (help us grow higher quality consciousness), they will appear as Jesus, Buddha, or any God you like.”
“My intent is to set your mind free to find truth, not to pile on another layer of belief on top of what you already have, or replace one of your current beliefs with a new one. Freedom – spiritual, emotional, and intellectual freedom – provides the necessary environment for learning. Open minded skepticism is the primary tool you will need to maintain a free mind capable of significant evolutionary progress.”
“Begin to understand your beliefs and their limitations. Inspect your ego regularly to see if it is growing or shrinking and expose some of its more blatant fantasies in yourself, then to your loved ones and finally to your friends. Dedicate some of your energy every day to finding and verifying the truth. Become aware of your motivations and intents. Turn off the TV and get acquainted with your mind. Learn to meditate. Be kind and loving in all your interactions with others. Stop thinking about yourself and your wants, needs and desires. Figure out what your fears are and outgrow them. And above all, continue to objectively taste that pudding to see how you are doing. Only real measurable, bona fide objective results are acceptable. If you do not get results that you, as well as others, can easily see after a serious six-month effort, do something else. Be patient, real progress takes serious dedication over a long time. Have fun always. Just go do it. You don’t need to know how!”
“Big Truth, once understood and assimilated, always modifies your intent, and invariably leads to personal change.”
“Once the mental door of indisputable fact is pried open, the light begins to flood through.”
“Becoming too enamored of paranormal phenomena can distract you from more important issues and retard or prevent your further development.”
“The evidence, as well as the key to understanding, lies within your own experience – and nowhere else.”
“We almost always let our egos trick us into believing that we are much less ignorant than we actually are.”
“The quality of your being expresses the correctness of your understanding. Think about that a moment. What does the quality of your being say about the correctness of your understanding?”
“What is deeply ingrained in us is nearly impossible for us to notice – it becomes part of the invisible inner core of our being.”
“The truth is not delicate; it will stand up to vigorous testing.”
“Belief is not a shortcut that will actually take you to a significant destination. Believing what others say is a risky business. You must discover truth and knowledge for yourself or it will not be your truth or your knowledge. Your truth and knowledge lives deeply and vibrantly within your being while someone else’s truth and knowledge can penetrate no deeper than your intellect.”
“To get out of the box, you first must step over its edge – an act too frightening and intimidating for most box dwellers who will always find plenty of good reasons why it is actually better to stay safely in the box.”
“For every irrational rationalization there exists an equal but opposite irrational rationalization.” [Campbell’s Third Law of No Motion (otherwise known as the law of inaction-reaction)].
“Assuming responsibility for your life is a good place to start anything.”
“These maze rats are not dumb – they are merely confused and blinded by their belief systems. What should you do to help? Love them and let them be – they will eventually figure it out (explaining it to them often ends up confusing them more). Just love them and let them be – and evolve your consciousness to the greatest extent possible. That way, if asked, you can point out unseen opportunities and options from a more balanced and less ego driven perspective, serve as a good example, and provide encouragement through living proof that success is possible. That is about all you can do to help.”
“Thinking big thoughts in small places can be socially and personally risky.“
“The point is: You are supposed to graduate eventually, not merely hang out wih your friends, smoke ciggies in the bathroom, and skip classes.”
“You can learn more if you try, pay attention, study, and practice, than you can if you just wander around in the school hallways waiting for gratuitous insight, or by hanging out with the smart kids. That’s it.”
“Trying to optimize your life by primarily applying your intellect (what most intellectuals do) is like a blind person with exceptional hearing trying to drive an automobile or fly an airplane.”
Peter Russell (b. 1946) is on the faculty of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and a fellow of The World Business Academy and The Findhorn Foundation, and an Honorary Member of The Club of Budapest. At Cambridge University (UK), he studied mathematics and theoretical physics. Then, as he became increasingly fascinated by the mysteries of the human mind he changed to experimental psychology. Pursuing this interest, he traveled to India to study meditation and eastern philosophy, and on his return took up the first research post ever offered in Britain on the psychology of meditation. He also has a post-graduate degree in computer science, and conducted some of the early work on 3-dimensional displays, presaging by some twenty years the advent of virtual reality.
In the 1970s, he was one of the first people to introduce human potential seminars into the corporate field, and for twenty years ran programs for senior management on creativity, stress management, personal development, and sustainable development. Clients have included IBM, Apple, Digital, American Express, Barclays Bank, Swedish Telecom, ICI, Shell Oil and British Petroleum. In 1982 he coined the term “global brain” with his 1980s bestseller of the same name in which he predicted the Internet and the impact it would have. His other books include — The TM Technique, The Upanishads, The Brain Book, The Creative Manager, The Consciousness Revolution, Waking Up in Time, and From Science to God.
As one of the more revolutionary futurists Peter Russell has been a keynote speaker at many international conferences, in Europe, Japan and the USA. His multi-image shows and videos, The Global Brain and The White Hole in Time have won praise and prizes from around the world. In 1993 the environmental magazine Buzzworm voted Peter Russell “Eco-Philosopher Extraordinaire” of the year. His principal interest is the deeper, spiritual significance of the times we are passing through. His work seeks to distill the essence of the world’s spiritual traditions and present it in ways relevant to the current times.
Wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, the collapse of the wave function, and entanglement all point to awareness being an intrinsic aspect of reality. Yet we are still trying to understand them in terms of a worldview that believes the real world to be that of space, time, and matter, and relegates consciousness to some artifact of brain processes. Yet the one thing of which we are certain is that we are aware. And it is the one thing the current worldview cannot account for. is profound anomaly will ultimately lead to the full paradigm shift to which contemporary physics is, unwittingly, pointing.
With consciousness as primary, everything remains the same and everything changes. Mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry are unchanged. What changes is our assumption as to what they are describing. They are not describing the unfolding of a physical world, but the unfolding of a universal self-aware field. We are led to the conclusion that the entire cosmos is a vast field of knowing, knowing itself, and in that knowing creating for itself the appearance of a material world. Why then don’t we see it that way? Why does the material world appear devoid of consciousness?
From the deep pools of Eastern wisdom, to the fast-paced rapids of the West, Peter Russell has mastered many fields, and synthesized them with consummate artistry. Weaving his unique blend of scientific rationale, global vision, and intuitive wisdom, Peter brings a sharp, critical mind to the challenge of self-awakening. The next great frontier of human exploration, he shows, is not outer space, but inner space—the development of the human mind.
An article by Peter Russell: Does Our Brain Really Create Consciousness?
“Western science has had remarkable success in explaining the functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind, it has very little to say. And when it comes to consciousness itself, science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other science that can account for our having an interior world. In a strange way, scientists would be much happier if minds did not exist. Yet without minds there would be no science.
This ever-present paradox may be pushing Western science into what Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift–a fundamental change in worldview.
This process begins when the prevalent paradigm encounters an anomaly — an observation that the current worldview can’t explain. As far as the today’s scientific paradigm is concerned, consciousness is certainly one big anomaly. It is the most obvious fact of life: the fact that we are aware and experience an internal world of images, sensations, thoughts, and feelings. Yet there is nothing more difficult to explain. It is easier to explain how the universe evolved from the Big Bang to human beings than it is to explain why any of us should ever have a single inner experience. How does all that electro-chemical activity in the physical matter of the brain ever give rise to conscious experience? Why doesn’t it all just go on in the dark?
The initial response to an anomaly is often simply to ignore it. This is indeed how the scientific world has responded to the anomaly of consciousness. And for seemingly sound reasons.
First, consciousness cannot be observed in the way that material objects can. It cannot be weighed, measured, or otherwise pinned down. Second, science has sought to arrive at universal objective truths that are independent of any particular observer’s viewpoint or state of mind. To this end they have deliberately avoided subjective considerations. And third, there seemed no need to consider it; the functioning of the universe could be explained without having to explore the troublesome subject of consciousness.
However, developments in several fields are now showing that consciousness cannot be so easily sidelined. Quantum physics suggests that, at the atomic level, the act of observation affects the reality that is observed. In medicine, a person’s state of mind can have significant effects on the body’s ability to heal itself. And as neurophysiologists deepen their understanding of brain function questions about the nature of consciousness naturally raise their head.
When the anomaly can no longer be ignored, the common reaction is to attempt to explain it within the current paradigm. Some believe that a deeper understanding of brain chemistry will provide the answers; perhaps consciousness resides in the action of neuropeptides. Others look to quantum physics; the minute microtubules found inside nerve cells could create quantum effects that might somehow contribute to consciousness. Some explore computing theory and believe that consciousness emerges from the complexity of the brain’s processing. Others find sources of hope in chaos theory.
Yet whatever ideas are put forward, one thorny question remains: How can something as immaterial as consciousness ever arise from something as unconscious as matter?
If the anomaly persists, despite all attempts to explain it, then maybe the fundamental assumptions of the prevailing worldview need to be questioned. This is what Copernicus did when confronted with the perplexing motion of the planets. He challenged the geocentric worldview, showing that if the sun, not the earth, was at the center, then the movements of the planets began to make sense. But people don’t easily let go of cherished assumptions. Even when, 70 years later, the discoveries of Galileo and Kepler confirmed Copernicus’s proposal, the establishment was loath to accept the new model. Only when Newton formulated his laws of motion, providing a mathematical explanation of the planets’ paths, did the new paradigm start gaining wider acceptance.
The continued failure of our attempts to account for consciousness suggests that we too should question our basic assumptions. The current scientific worldview holds that the material world–the world of space, time and matter — is the primary reality. It is therefore assumed that the internal world of mind must somehow emerge from the world of matter. But if this assumption is getting us nowhere, perhaps we should consider alternatives.
One alternative that is gaining increasing attention is the view that the capacity for experience is not itself a product of the brain. This is not to say that the brain is not responsible for what we experience — there is ample evidence for a strong correlation between what goes on in the brain and what goes on in the mind — only that the brain is not responsible for experience itself. Instead, the capacity for consciousness is an inherent quality of life itself.
In this model, consciousness is like the light in a film projector. The film needs the light in order for an image to appear, but it does not create the light. In a similar way, the brain creates the images, thoughts, feelings and other experiences of which we are aware, but awareness itself is already present.
All that we have discovered about the correlations between the brain and experience still holds true. This is usually the case with a paradigm shift; the new includes the old. But it also resolves the anomaly that the old could not explain. In this case, we no longer need scratch our heads wondering how the brain generates the capacity for experience.
This proposal is so contrary to the current paradigm, that die-hard materialists easily ridicule and dismiss it. But we should not forget the bishops of Galileo’s time who refused to look through his telescope because they knew his discovery was impossible.”
An interview with Peter Russell:
A quote from the interview:
Peter: “For me, it’s that consciousness is not something that’s created by the brain. Clearly the brain creates what we experience. If I am seeing a tree, it’s creating the experience of seeing a tree. If I’m falling in love that corresponds to brain activity. But the actual capacity to be aware I don’t think is created by the brain. I think that is actually a universal characteristic of the whole cosmos. And what has happened with human beings is we have evolved to a state where we are conscious that we are conscious. We are self-aware, but I don’t think awareness comes out of matter. I could almost argue the other way around, that our experience with matter comes out of awareness. And that to me is a complete reversal of the current paradigm. And it’s a hard thing to get across to people, because as you intimate we hold on to our belief systems probably more doggedly than we hold on to anything else. We will change jobs, we will change houses, we will change partners, and we will even change gender these days but changing our fundamental belief system is difficult for those with a religious belief system or a scientific belief system. I think it was – wasn’t Niels Bohr who said, ‘Science changes not because scientists change their mind, but the old ones die out.’”
Gary Zukav (born October 17, 1942) is an American spiritual teacher and the author of four consecutive New York Times Best Sellers. Beginning in 1998, he appeared more than 30 times on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss transformation in human consciousness concepts presented in his book The Seat of the Soul. His first book, The Dancing Wu Li Masters (1979), won a U.S. National Book Award.
Zukav was born in Port Arthur, Texas, and spent his early childhood in San Antonio and Houston. In 1959, he received a scholarship to Harvard and matriculated in 1960. In his junior year he left Harvard to motorcycle in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East before returning the following year. In 1964, he was deeply moved by the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and worked as a summer volunteer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Jackson, Mississippi, under the direction of Charles Evers, brother of the slain Medgar Evers. In 1965 he graduated from Harvard and enlisted in the U.S. Army. That same year he entered U.S. Army Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant in 1966. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets), completed Parachute Training (Fort Benning, Georgia); U.S. Army Special Warfare School (Fort Bragg, North Carolina), and served as an A Detachment Executive Officer in Okinawa and Vietnam, participating in Top Secret operations in Vietnam and Laos. He left Vietnam after the Tet Offensive of January 1968 and was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1968 as 1st Lieutenant.
Zukav returned to the U.S. in 1970 and moved to San Francisco, California, that same year. He recounts this period as an emotionally volatile time of sexual addiction, motorcycles, anger and drug-abuse until 1975 when an unexpected introduction to quantum physics by his room mate, Jack Sarfatti, who took him to the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory initiated changes in his experience that led to his first book, Dancing Wu Li Masters, written with extensive help from Jack Sarfatti and other physicists he met through Sarfatti as described in David Kaiser’s book How the Hippies Saved Physics. He later described this book as his “first gift to Life”. In 1987 he moved to Mount Shasta, California, where he lived in a cabin as a self-described “secular monk” and spent extensive time in the surrounding wilderness. In 1993 he met Linda Francis. They co-founded the Seat of the Soul Institute in 1998 and moved to Ashland, Oregon, in 2000.
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt reviewed The Dancing Wu Li Masters in The New York Times March 28, 1979. He called it
“a book that manages to explain relativity and a lot more without resorting to a single bit of mathematics (except for asking you to grasp the not-too-onerous concept that the velocity of light, a constant 186,000 miles per second, is a product of its frequency and wavelength). After all, Mr. Zukav writes, ‘The fact is that physics is not mathematics. Physics, in essence, is simple wonder at the way things are and a divine (some call it compulsive) interest in how that is so. Mathematics is the tool of physics, stripped of mathematics, physics becomes pure enchantment.’”
The review also acclaimed Zukav as
“one of those rare gifted teachers who makes you feel as if you’re ahead of the lesson, jumping happily to conclusions he hasn’t yet seen (though of course he has). And when he does arrive at those conclusions, he often states them in the words of their original discoverers, which suddenly seem as simple as “Pat the Bunny” and flatter you into thinking you could have understood them in their original context on your own. The drama built into Mr. Zukav’s presentation is considerable. It begins with his introduction of an Oriental dimension. The Chinese name for “physics”, “wu li”, also means (depending upon how it is pronounced) “patterns of organic energy”, “my way”, “nonsense”, I clutch my ideas” and “enlightenment”. These six meanings, not only become the title of the book’s six sections – for instance, “Nonsense” is the heading of the one on Einstein’s ideas, which is divided into chapters called “Beginner’s Mind”, “Special Nonsense”, and “General Nonsense” – they also serve to shape the leitmotif of Mr. Zukav’s discussion that relates modern physics to Oriental religion.”
David Bohm, renowned quantum physicist, wrote a personal endorsement provided to the book’s publisher Harper Collins: “Recommended highly for those who want to understand the essential significance of modern physics, and for those who are concerned with its implications for possible transformation of human consciousness.”
Zukav’s next book, The Seat of the Soul, published in 1989, was a No. 1 New York Times Best Seller for 31 weeks and remained on the list for three years. In an interview by Jeffrey Mishlove, for the popular Public Television series Thinking Allowed, Zukav summarized the concepts presented in The Seat of the Soul.
“My objective was not to make the soul legitimate in terms of science. The soul is legitimate, period. It doesn’t need validation. At least that was my perception and so I wrote The Seat of the Soul to share the things that were most important to me. The Dancing Wu Li Masters was designed to open the mind and The Seat of the Soul, is a book designed to open the heart. And this is often the sequence that many people encounter as they move into an expanded awareness of who they are and why they are here.
Our evolution, until very recently, has been as five sensory humans evolving through the exploration of physical reality. That is the same thing as the pursuit of external power. Now we have crossed the threshold, we’re in new territory, a brand new domain. We are now becoming multi sensory. That means we are no longer confined to the five senses. Now I use these terms because the five senses together form a single sensory system and the object of that sensory system is physical reality. That’s what it is designed to detect. As we become multi sensory, we move beyond the limitations of the five senses and we now are evolving to a different mechanism in the exploration of physical reality. We are evolving through responsible choice of and with the assistance and guidance of non physical guides and teachers.
We are spiritual beings, we have always been spiritual beings and we will always be spiritual beings. The difference is that now we are becoming aware of ourselves as spiritual beings and that is making all the difference.”
In 1998 Zukav began an on-going conversation with Oprah Winfrey, appearing on her television show 35 times – more than any other guest. Oprah, who keeps a copy of The Seat of the Soul at her bedside, proclaimed: “The Seat of the Soul is my favorite book of all time, except for the Bible.” Her favorite quote from The Seat of the Soul:
“Every action, thought, and feeling is motivated by an intention, and that intention is a cause that exists as one with an effect…. In this most profound way, we are held responsible for every action, thought, and feeling, which is to say, for our every intention.”
Zukav’s third book, Soul Stories (2000), provides examples of people creating authentic power. Thoughts from The Seat of the Soul: Meditations for Souls in Progress (2001) offered daily quotes for meditation. The principles in The Seat of the Soul were elaborated in The Heart of the Soul: Emotional Awareness (2002), The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice (2003) and Self-Empowerment Journal: A Companion to The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice (2003) co-authored with Zukav’s wife and spiritual partner Linda Francis. Soul to Soul: Communications from the Heart (2007) answered questions about love, fear, choice, responsibility and intuition. Spiritual Partnership: The Journey to Authentic Power (2010) provided guidelines for individuals engaged in relationship for the purpose of spiritual development.
In 1999 Zukav and Linda Francis co-founded the Seat of the Soul Institute. Its mission is to assist people across the world to create meaning and purpose, creativity and health, joy and love. It offers programs and tools to develop emotional awareness, responsible choice, intuition, trust, and spiritual partnerships. Events and programs include an annual five-day intensive Journey to the Soul immersion retreat, and co-sponsored lectures and workshops.
Zukav’s website: http://seatofthesoul.com/
A video collection with Zukav: http://lifeschool.seatofthesoul.com/videos/
An extensive compilation of Zukav quotes can be found online at these two sites:
Also of related interest, from Fritjof Capra:
The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism is a book by physicist Fritjof Capra, published in 1975 by Shambhala Publications of Berkeley, California. It was a bestseller in the United States, and has been published in 43 editions in 23 languages. The fourth edition in English was published in 2000. The following excerpt from The Tao of Physics summarizes Capra’s motivation for writing this book.
“Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both.”
According to the preface of the first edition, reprinted in subsequent editions, Capra struggled to reconcile theoretical physics and Eastern mysticism and was at first “helped on my way by ‘power plants'” or psychedelics, with the first experience “so overwhelming that I burst into tears, at the same time, not unlike Castaneda, pouring out my impressions to a piece of paper”.
Capra later discussed his ideas with Werner Heisenberg in 1972, as he mentioned in the following interview excerpt:
“I had several discussions with Heisenberg. I lived in England then [circa 1972], and I visited him several times in Munich and showed him the whole manuscript chapter by chapter. He was very interested and very open, and he told me something that I think is not known publicly because he never published it. He said that he was well aware of these parallels. While he was working on quantum theory he went to India to lecture and was a guest of Tagore. He talked a lot with Tagore about Indian philosophy. Heisenberg told me that these talks had helped him a lot with his work in physics, because they showed him that all these new ideas in quantum physics were in fact not all that crazy. He realized there was, in fact, a whole culture that subscribed to very similar ideas. Heisenberg said that this was a great help for him. Niels Bohr had a similar experience when he went to China.”
As a result of those influences, Bohr adopted the yin yang symbol as part of his family coat of arms when he was knighted in 1947.
The Tao of Physics was followed by other books of the same genre like The Hidden Connection, The Turning Point and The Web of Life in which Capra extended the argument of how Eastern mysticism and scientific findings of today relate, and how Eastern mysticism might also have answers to some of the biggest scientific challenges of today. It was preceded by R. G. H. Siu’s The Tao of Science: an Essay on Western Knowledge and Eastern Wisdom, first published by MIT Press in 1957 and later in 1964.