During the late 1980’s Gregg Braden had a front row seat to one of the most frightening times in the history of the world—the last years of the Cold War—as well as the desperate thinking about how it would be won. He was employed at the time in the defense industry, working as a senior computer systems designer. Gregg has seen first hand, how much time, money and human resources were used by the United States and the former Sovjet Union spent on a war strategy that seems unthinkable to any rationally minded person today.
In the mean time, Gregg has become a New York Times best-selling author. For three decades he has searched high mountain villages, remote monasteries, and forgotten texts to bridge their life-giving secrets with the best science of today. His work has led to paradigm-inspiring books such as The Divine Matrix (2007), Deep Truth (2010) and The Turning Point: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes (2014).
Gregg has received numerous honors in recognition of his work and has shared his presentations and trainings with the United Nations, Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. military and is now featured in media specials airing on major networks throughout North America and Europe.
Gregg Braden is also featured in the new movie The Amazing You. The movie is about a breathtaking journey to success and personal transformation, already inspiring thousands of people worldwide. You can here watch the trailer.
We are very fortunate that we could meet and speak with Gregg Braden about his latest book The Turning Point. You are about to learn more about the marriage of Science, Spirituality and the real world in this inspiring interview.
Personal Interview with Gregg Braden
Soul Love: In your book The Turning Point, you write: “We solve our problems based upon the way we think of ourselves and the world. Can you explain that to me?”
Gregg Braden: I begin with that statement: “We solve our problems and deal with the events of our lives based upon the way we think of our relationship to ourselves, to the people around us, to the world around us, to our past and to our future”. This is important because in the Western world, for 300 hundred years, science has led us to embrace a story based upon separation – We are separate from ourselves, separate from our own bodies, separate from one another, separate from the world and we are essentially powerless victims when it comes to the things that happen in the world. All that we can do is respond and react to what happens rather than to participate in the events as they unfold.
This is very important because we are living, what the experts are calling, in a time of extremes. That doesn’t mean necessarily that all bad things are happening, or even good things, but big changes in the world are creating big changes in our lives and we are doing the very best we can to embrace those changes based upon the way we think of ourselves. So we are trying to deal with the change through the story of separation.
The best science of the late 20th and now the early 21st century have changed the way that we think about ourselves. New discoveries in peer-reviewed science have now overturned 300 years of the story of separation and the new story is now a story of connection. This story is telling us that we are deeply connected to our bodies, we are deeply connected to the world beyond our bodies and that we solve our problems based on nature’s model of cooperation and what biologists call “mutual aide”, not the competition and the conflict based upon survival of the strongest that was introduced in 1859 by Charles Darwin.
So as we embrace the new discoveries of science it gives us a new lens through which to think of ourselves and to see ourselves in our relationship to the world. This gives us also new reasons to go about solving our problems differently. Whether it’s the big problems in the world, when we talk about the economy that is based upon a model of competition and conflict. When we talk about the big problems in like The Middle East, whether it’s Israel and Iran or Syria and what’s happening in Iraq or whether we’re talking about China or Russia and the Ukraine, it’s affecting all of our lives.
We’re attempting to solve these big social and economic issues based upon this model of survival of the strongest, it’s not working, it’s not sustainable in it’s present form and that’s okay because now the new discoveries give us new models of cooperation that we can utilize to solve these big problems.
Soul Love: You explain that we live in a time of extremes. Many people might think: “We’ve been living in times of extremes for a long time already. Just think of WW II, threat of the Cold War, massive starvation the African Sahel countries, the Great Depression in the 30’s and so on. So what’s different about this time Gregg?
Greg Braden: Dirk, it’s such a beautiful question and it’s a question I have asked myself often for many years and it’s also a question I hear people ask me when I speak to audiences all over the world.
We know that humans are resilient as a species – we have learned to make the best of whatever situation we’re in. We adapt to the changes – Humans adapted to the sudden shift of climate during the Ice Age and we survived. We survived not one but two World Wars, we survived diseases. We find that we’re really good at focusing upon one problem at a time and solving one problem at a time, adapting to one huge overriding issue at a time.
What’s different now, that a single generation has never been faced with, is that we face so many different extremes and some are calling them crisis. And each one is of such magnitude and they are all happening at the same time.
We never had to deal with global climate change, while we’re dealing with the collapse of the global economy, while we’re dealing with energy that is more expensive than many families in many parts in the world can afford, that makes the food for many families in many parts of the world more expensive than they can afford. Multiple pandemic diseases that we’re facing now. We’ve never had to deal with so many major extremes converging all at the same time. That’s what makes right now so very different.
“Science does not have all the answers. Science can only tell us how things work. Science lacks wisdom”
This is the thrust of my work Dirk. In the past we’ve relied only upon science in the 20th century to solve many of these problems. I am trained as a scientist and I believe science is good. It has served us well in some respects. I also know that science does not have all the answers. Science can only tell us how things work. Science tells us the nuts and bolts, the mechanism of how things work. Science cannot tell us how to solve the problems. Science lacks wisdom.
The wisdom comes from 5,000 years of the spiritual traditions where we apply what we know about the world and about our lives. It’s about making life work for us. As a scientist, I was trained and taught that I must follow either one path or the other – the path of science or the path of spirituality.
In this generation, we have an opportunity, rather than to choose between science and spirituality, to marry the best science of the 21st century with 5,000 years of spiritual wisdom and weave them into a way of knowing that is greater than the science can be all by itself. It’s greater than the spirituality can be all by itself. And when we do that, we give ourselves the evolutionary edge that our ancestors did not have. I believe that with this edge we can not only survive, but that we will thrive in the new normal that is emerging based upon the extremes that we see in the world right now. The extremes are with us. For our lifetime, probably for our children’s lifetime. We have to be honest with ourselves about that.
So rather than struggle and try to force the conditions of the world backward to the way they used to be – the climate to the way it was 10 years ago, the economy to the way it was 5 years ago, the borders between nations and the way people work together, we can embrace what is here at our doorstep, right now. This is the new normal and we can apply these new discoveries of cooperation, mutual aide and connectivity as we solve our problems. I believe that is the path to thriving in the new normal for our generation and for our children and their time to come.
“One of the deepest mysteries of human experience is that we seem to learn as individuals and communities by experiencing first the things that we don’t want rather than choosing the life that we do want and living in a way that supports that.”
Soul Love: You say: “When the discoveries off today tell us that the teachings of the past are no longer true, we must make a choice”. If those discoveries are so obvious, why don’t we make the choice to change?
Gregg Braden: That question is so obvious to you and to me and to our readers and it makes perfect sense to ask that question on the one hand, and on the other hand it’s one of the most difficult ones to answer.
In science there is the so called pop(ular) science that you see on the newsstand, on glossy covers of the magazines at the airport, that you see on the glitzy documentaries on television. This is science not always based on the most direct or honest facts.
On the other hand there is the peer-reviewed science. This is where real scientists do the research, present the reports, circulate them among their peers to find out where the mistakes are, to find out where the theories are not so strong or where they don’t hold up and they are published in peer reviewed journals, sometimes after years of going through this process.
Peer-reviewed science supports the new discoveries that we talk about in this conversation and that I talk about in my book. The popular science has yet to catch up with that. In mainstream media, mainstream textbooks, mainstream classrooms are still teaching the old scientific story and when I asked the question: “Why aren’t you embracing the new discoveries?” The answer I get to that question falls into the categories of power, ego, money and habit.
The college professors have taught one story of science and the world for 40 years or more. If they change that story, they feel that it invalidates their career. I don’t agree with that. I think it would be a beautiful example of how science is constantly being updated if they could share the new discoveries with their students.
They say: “Gregg, do you know how much money it would cost to change the story and all of the textbooks.” And my answer to that is “I think we won’t be using textbooks much longer. It’s all going to be digital online and it’s very easy”. We are less empowered when we embrace the story of separation and we will feel as powerless victims. We are more empowered when we embrace the story of connection and what the science is telling us about our relationship to our bodies, how deeply connected we are with our bodies.
Thoughts, feelings, emotions and beliefs regulate the chemistry in the brain that determines our healing, our immune response, how we age and the world beyond our bodies. Science is showing us that the magnetic fields, regulated through the human heart, connect all of us. I am not going to use the words ‘control’ or ‘manipulate’, I intentionally use the word influence – We have the ability to influence one another in those fields and this is important when it comes to cooperation. People are much more willing to cooperate and to work together to solve their problems – in the classroom, in the boardroom and on the negotiating table when very specific parameters are present.
Strong magnetic fields are conducive to cooperation and the strongest magnetic field of the human body is the field created by the human heart. The heart based emotions of cooperation, of compassion, appreciation, care, gratitude, are scientifically proven to strengthen the magnetic field of the human heart. These fields embrace a group and even our planet. This has also been shown through research through Princeton University and The Institute of HeartMath and so it brings us full circle back to our most ancient and cherished traditions when we find a way to communicate through our hearts.
It’s so important right now as the world is at this turning point where so many multiple extremes now need to be addressed, all at the same time. The old ways of thinking and solving the problems are no longer working and the science is showing us the path to the new ways that may. We simply must make the choice.
We’ve asked science to tell us about ourselves and how the world works. Science has done that. Now the choice is: “Will we embrace the deepest truths what sciences is telling us about ourselves and apply that to what’s happening in our lives or will we look the other way and fall back into the familiar habits and patterns of the past that are no longer serving us?” I don’t know the answer to that question because the answer is being made right now and we’re all part of that answer.
Soul Love: What do the following words mean to you?
Gregg: Our answer to our time of extremes.
Gregg: Our personal ability to thrive in our time of extremes.
Gregg: Are the key for personal resilience and the cornerstone upon which we base every choice we make in our lives, every day.
Food and energy
Gregg: Are the catalysts that bring us together as a global family as the necessities of life, each day for every person.
Gregg: Love is the energy that permeates the entire universe and is reflected through us, in our lives, each and every day as we share our love with one another.
Thank you Gregg for these beautiful insights and the wisdom you shared with us!
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER
Our interview also appeared on OMTimes Magazine.