Where did life come from?

Natural selection explains how organisms that already exist evolve in response to changes in their environment. But Darwin’s theory is silent on how organisms came into being in the first place, which he considered a deep mystery. What creates life out of the inanimate compounds that make up living things? No one knows. How were the first organisms assembled? Nature hasn’t given us the slightest hint.

If anything, the mystery has deepened over time. After all, if life began unaided under primordial conditions in a natural system containing zero knowledge, then it should be possible – it should be easy – to create life in a laboratory today. But determined attempts have failed. International fame, a likely Nobel Prize, and $1 million from the Gene Emergence Project await the researcher who makes life on a lab bench. Still, no one has come close.

Experiments have created some basic materials of life. Famously, in 1952 Harold Urey and Stanley Miller mixed the elements thought to exist in Earth’s primordial atmosphere, exposed them to electricity to simulate lightning, and found that amino acids self-assembled in the researchers’ test tubes. Amino acids are essential to life. But the ones in the 1952 experiment did not come to life. Building-block compounds have been shown to result from many natural processes; they even float in huge clouds in space. But no test has given any indication of how they begin to live – or how, in early tentative forms, they could have resisted being frozen or fried by Earth’s harsh prehistoric conditions.

Some researchers have backed the hypothesis that an unknown primordial “soup” of naturally occurring chemicals was able to self-organize and become animate through a natural mechanism that no longer exists. Some advance the “RNA first” idea, which holds that RNA formed and lived on its own before DNA – but that doesn’t explain where the RNA came from. Others suppose life began around hot deep-sea vents, where very high temperatures and pressures cause a chemical maelstrom. Still others have proposed that some as-yet-unknown natural law causes complexity – and that when this natural law is discovered, the origin of life will become imaginable.

Did God or some other higher being create life? Did it begin on another world, to be transported later to ours? Until such time as a wholly natural origin of life is found, these questions have power. We’re improbable, we’re here, and we have no idea why. Or how.

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Everything is God Given

I write a blog about money a few times a year because I think there is a lot of guilt, shame and confusion around money in the spiritual community.

There’s this idea that you can’t be spiritual and rich, or if you are – you have screwed people over to get there.

There’s this idea that you shouldn’t charge for God given talents like intuition or insights.

But – last time I checked, all talents are God given. The talent to play basketball, the talent to write, the talent to sing, the talent to act, or be a doctor – are all God given.

For the talents to be fully realized, we must practice and learn and apply a ton of hard work, but nonetheless the raw talent came pre-installed.

And yet, we seem to have some block around certain types of God given talent.

The idea that a rich person can’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven is widely used to take vows of poverty, but what Jesus meant when He said that was if you WORSHIP money and make it your God, then you’ll never be happy.

But you can have a lot of money and still be focused on The Divine.

You can also not have a lot of money and be so focused on money that you forget your connection to the Divine.

Money, like everything else, is a symbol for energy. That is it.

And the more of it we have, the more we can help ourselves, those that we love and others.

There is nothing spiritual about playing a small money game.

I also don’t believe that when you are a healer or life coach you are charging for the teachings.

All the wisdom teachings are readily available for free on the internet. Anyone who has access to the internet has access to the wisdom of the ages.

When you charge for your services, what you are charging for is your time and the facilitation of the teachings.

Your time and your wisdom are very valuable.

I know people who went to college for years and years and have six figure debts that never learned the things spiritually.

What is that worth?

I believe it’s important to give away scholarships, free content and help those who need it so that personal growth isn’t just something for “the rich.” But I also believe that healers who don’t charge what they are worth are doing themselves a major disservice and as a result, a disservice to their clients.

The guilt and shame around charging money for healing services is a way for many practitioners to play small.

The greater your cup is full, the more you have to give away.

Are you playing small by hiding behind prices you know are too cheap?

Are you scared to step up and play a bigger game?

Are you running yourself ragged and capped at a certain income because you are afraid to raise your rates?

Are you triggered by the rates of other healers?

Don’t you think you are worth investing in? And also being paid well for the value that you add to the world?

What would your life look like if you cast those fears aside and actually did what you knew you had to?

I’m curious.

LOJF-reflection-3dd8df

Nose of Surpanakha

Humanity has always killed for peace. The First World War was dubbed as the ‘war to end all wars’. The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to stop all wars. Now, Obama has killed Osama for peace. What do we kill actually? We kill that which cannot be controlled.

We cannot control the terrorist; we cannot make them see sense, so we feel justified in killing them, before they kill others. This killing is done in righteous indignation. It feels right. But why does the terrorist terrorize? If American psychologists have to be believed, they are all psychopaths and sociopaths, with genetic predisposition to violence. Such explanations conveniently enable us to deny our role in creating these monsters.


illustration/ Devdutt Pattanaik

In the Ramayana, Ravan abducts Ram’s wife, Sita, only because Ram’s brother, Lakshman, cuts the nose of his sister, Surpanakha. One can condemn Ravan but his actions can be seen as a reaction to the mutilation of his sister. Likewise, Surpanakha can condemn Ram and Lakshman but their actions are a reaction to her very own abrasive and uncontrolled sexual advances. Every victim likes to believe they are innocent. Unfortunately, every victim is the mother of his or her own tormentor.

According to the karma theory, nothing in life happens without a reason. Every thing that happen to us are actually reactions to actions we have performed in the past. Thus we are never innocent: our karma creates our fortunes and our misfortunes, everything we experience every moment. So we have no one to blame, or thank, but us. We may not remember our past actions, we may not be able to trace the source, but there is no escaping our responsibility.

Karma is often accused of making people fatalistic and not taking responsibility. But not taking responsibility is also action, which has reactions, whether good or bad, only time will tell. But the modern world order rejects karma, and prefers to take action, do something about the terrorist, an action based on the Greek model of heroism.

For many people around the world, America is the monster. So they cheered and danced when the Twin Towers was blown up. For America, the Jihadis are the monsters. So New Yorkers cheered and danced when news came of Osama’s death came. Both believe in their personal righteousness. No one asks: why did the terrorist seek to terrorize?

Today the world has three types of terrorists: the economic terrorist, the environmental terrorist and the cultural terrorist. The economic terrorist fights for jobs that are created only when there is industry and development, which unfortunately comes at a cost to environment. The environmental terrorist fights to save the environment and so is opposed to any kind of industry and development. As new markets are created to sustain industry and ensure development, old habits have to be changed; this threatens cultures and identities creating the cultural terrorist who fears all change, and clings to the past tenaciously.

Thus terrorism is not created in a vacuum; it is closely linked to our growing economic needs. We are a world where everyone is cutting the nose of Surpanakha and is crying foul when Ravan abducts Sita.

The author is Chief Belief Officer of the Future Group, and can be reached at devdutt@devdutt.com

By: Devdutt Pattanaik Date:  2011-05-08 Place: Mumbai

Can Money BUY , HAPPYNESS !!

I was just pondering over a thought today that .. Well, money surely can buy happiness and its true in many circumstances, but not always, you need money for the basics alright, but its upto your material needs and desires to want more. The needs are always limited, its the wants that surpasses the needs.

One may recieve a certain salary, and he might be satisfied with it, while the other might be over satisfied with it, while one might not be satisfied at all.

So IS HAPPINESS , you own PERCEPTION ????

Well it truly is!

Money is needed for some of the best things in life, if you have enough and are willing to spend on your desires, you should go ahead and do it!

Some feel the need to buy expensive materialistic items with their money while the other might like to save , while some might like to give it in charity. It’s totally a person’s choice !

It’s all upto an individual, and his willingness to use Money , in his own way.

One thing I have observed that , people who Think they are Poor, are not exactly Poor. Well most of them , not all, have access to food, shelter and a daily income, while for the unfortunate rest, there are a lot of helping hands our there whom we do not know of, doing their little bit , trying to bridge the gap, & it’s a fact !

So it all boils down to one simple logic, that Happiness is just a state of perception, and money is just a flow of Energy (where energy is your labour involved in working at your workplace, to getting that salary, then using it to buy food, and then back to work) ,  to satisfy our materialistic needs.

I have found the image below really interesting, thought of sharing with all of you.

– Mustafa Mun

I feel lost, but It is normal.

I like any other human, feel lost & completely helpless at times and reach a point where I do not know what to do. At times there seems no hope for something and even dreaming about a certain thing seems useless. Every other human passes through this phase at least once I guess, maybe I am wrong.

I have passed through this phase a couple of times, and it has taught me a lot. I feel that loosing “hope” is not the answer , to a problem, last year in 2010 , I face tremendous problems, I had to make certain decisions which would affect my life drastically, and all my heart said that, this is one last lap, don’t give up.

Till the end of 2010, I faced issues which I cannot express , and then I came out of it , with dignity , and a lot more confidence to face the world.

Today I am happy that I acknowledge the fact that time & nature are the best teacher’s of mankind, and I am being acknowledged back, in its own way 🙂 .

Everything falls into place, its just that the “wait” makes you feel lost, patience is a virtue, and what comes in time, stays with you for long, so acknowledge the nature’s test, and face it with open arms. Be Brave, Be Positive !

Dont loose HOPE !

– Mustafa Mun

It’s All About Feeling

 

 

Is it possible to increase your happiness or success by pushing your “energy pendulum” in the direction you want it to go – toward more possessions, greater fame, and more intense pleasure? Doesn’t the pendulum always swing back in the opposite direction? There are times in this ceaseless cycle of hope and disappointment when we feel repelled by the sheer monotony of it all. Finding ourselves no longer attracted by the excitement of a meaningless chase, we long for rest. But only if rest is sought within can lasting peace be really ours.

Any rest we find outwardly – in retirement, let us say, to a quiet cottage by the sea – is as temporary as our emotional joys and sorrows. That “peace” ends when we come to experience it as boredom. When this happens, we set out once again on our former quest for excitement. And so —interminably—it goes on. Everything in existence is balanced by its polar opposite. Heat is balanced by cold, light by darkness, and positive by negative. In humankind, duality is found in the opposites of male and female, joy and sorrow, love and hatred.

Wherever one quality exists, its complementary opposite will be also be found. The overall level of an ocean is not altered by the height of the waves at its surface. The higher the wave, the deeper is its trough. Our essential consciousness, similarly, remains unaffected by our emotional ups and downs. Pleasure and pain, success and failure, fulfillment and disappointment – these are but waves on the surface of calm, intuitive feeling. The Law of Duality is present in our lives, too. Because our emotions are tied to the post of ego consciousness, every joy that we experience emotionally must be balanced in our own emotions by an equal and opposite sorrow.

Every personal success must be balanced by an equally personal failure; every personal fulfillment must be balanced by a corresponding personal disappointment. The only state in which joy and other positive feelings are not balanced by opposites is in the state of super-consciousness. There, the waves of emotion subside in calm, intuitive feeling Joy, love, and peace are realised, then, as absolutes, not as relativities, for they are attributes of Pure Consciousness. Calm feeling is intuition. When that calm feeling is disturbed, it becomes emotion.

Until clarity of feeling is achieved, the one who meditates will be forever vacillating in purpose. Without devotion, indeed, in the form of deep yearning for the truth, you will not feel the incentive even to try to meditate deeply. Wisdom without devotion is like knowing that there is a good restaurant next door, and even committing its entire menu to memory, but not being hungry enough to go there and eat. The feeling quality is what makes it possible to commit oneself to the spiritual search.

 

– Swami Kriyananda

Have faith and Move Forward

I remember about a year or so ago I decided to reread Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking. I was going through a hard time. I had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and I was very scared!

I didn’t really know what stage the cancer was. I was in the middle of having surgery to have the tumor removed and had not yet found out how far the cancer had progressed and if it was in an early “curable stage”. The good news is it was, and my treatment was nothing compared with what some woman go through. I was still so scared and the emotional toll it placed on my mind and feelings was probably the hardest thing for me to deal within my life.

Anyway, just before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had decided to expand my business. I own an art gallery in a very wealthy area of California, but found that the downtown area had become less busy in the last few years. I wanted to have a “satellite” store” in another part of town that was heavily populated with shoppers.

I had found the “perfect” spot. It was positioned between two “perfect” stores and was in a small shopping center in town that had just been renovated and was bustling with shoppers! The space had been rented and remodeled, but then the tenants backed out of the lease and it was ready for me to rent it! The rent was inexpensive and it was “MY” spot!

I had made an appointment to meet the landlord and sign the contract the next day….then I received a call from my Doctor saying that I had in fact, had Breast Cancer and we needed to operate as soon as possible. I was not able at that point to sign the contract and had to let my “perfect spot” go. It was rented shortly after that.

Within the last two years every time I had gone by that shopping center I would grunt to myself, “that space should have been mine”. “If I hadn’t gotten cancer, I would be in that space and all would be well”. I started feeling sorry for myself.

That’s when I decided to reread The Power of Positive Thinking. I remember reading in the book about a man that had lost his promotion to another man that the company had brought to fill the position. He was so angry and felt that it was so unjust for the company and God to not let him have this promotion. He had worked harder and longer than the other man in the company and felt he was the “perfect” man for the job. He was devastated.

He and his wife struggled to let go of that promotion and focus on moving forward and accept that this was not the time or the job for him at this point in his career.Two years later the President of this company stepped down from his position and this man became the President of that company! What an inspirational story I thought to myself. Yes, they tell me all the time “sometimes when things pass you by it’s because there is something better waiting for you in the wings”, ” You need to have faith and move forward”, so that’s what I did. I had faith and I moved forward.

It’s been a little over two years since my cancer diagnosis and I feel like I’m back to normal again. I have moved forward and a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, a friend of mine called me to tell me that there was a space opening up beside him in a very good building that has only art galleries in it. It is a building known for having very good high end galleries and collectors from all over the country and the world come to visit this building and the galleries that are in it. Well, I’m sure you know that this was my “Perfect” spot! Yes in deed….I got a bigger space, in a better place, for less money!!!! I can’t tell you how the story of the man in the Norman Vincent Peale Book came rushing back to my mind. Yes, it is true! It is! Faith and the ability to let go and move on is what was needed. I did that, I trusted and I gave myself and God time to work things out.

Next month the gallery opens and though it is a small gallery space, it is a “perfect” space, it is the space that was given to me by God.

Karen Imperial

Feel free to email your thoughts to Karen on her story to: ktheimp@gmail.com and take the time to view her gallery website at: www.bryantstreet.com