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Current Update as of December 19, 2005 

Inspired by The Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies

Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.

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What the Bleep Do We Know?

What the Bleep Do We Know?

   The recent movie What the Bleep Do We Know has caught on with the A.R.E. community as well as with other populations interested in science and metaphysics.

I was teaching at an ARE event in Texas when I learned that most of the group had planned on a long distance drive to the theater to see this movie afterwards, so I accompanied them.

Afterwards, there was a great amount of discussion about the ideas presented and their relationship to the readings. A lot of time was spent reviewing the film to make sure we understood what it was saying.

It is of interest to see how Hollywood would present these concepts to a general audience. Here is the synopsis I developed:

   The movie proceeds on at least two levels. One is the team of on-camera experts whose talking heads provide the non-fiction narrative.

Another is the story of Amanda, a photographer who takes medication for anxiety, and who tries to digest the new ideas being presented and ultimately tosses away her pills.

    The basic storyline of the documentary can be phrased in three parts. The first part says that quantum physics has discovered that reality isn't what we assume it to be. There is no reality "out there" independent of someone experiencing it.

What the person experiences, how they experience it and why they experience it that way is all open to infinite possibility, in reality. We live in the realm of consciousness, in the virtual reality interpreted and presented to us by our brains.

The second part of the story is about how the brain stores experiences and how that affects the reality it creates or grows for itself over time. The brain seeks patterns and develops habits of thought. The brain tends to process today in terms of yesterday.

It uses the chemistry we experience as emotions to help determine how the brain stores experiences. When we encounter something pleasant, we store that pleasantness along with various other associations. The same for when we encounter something unpleasant. Our memories are tinged with emotions that are linked to other memories and their emotions.

Emotional patterns tend to become habits of experience that lay down physical tracks in the brain. Brain networks that fire together, wire together. The hypothalamus secrets a different chemical compound for every different emotional pattern. This chemistry reaches down to the cellular level.

As cells become adapted to respond to a certain chemical, the offspring cells become more targeted to those chemicals and less even to nutrient chemicals. An addiction process is at work here. At the level of experience, any emotion we can't control is an addiction.

At the cellular level, it is the evolutionary process that develops specialized cells devoted to that chemical. We tend to set up situations that bring about the satisfaction of cellular demands.

Thus, the way the brain chemistry works, we are fated to become creatures of habit, reinforced by a society that runs on habit, and alternative ideas and alternative forms of living will be frowned upon because of a fear that these changes will cause us to lose chemical experiences to which we are addicted. It is a fairly mechanical picture of downward spiraling.

    The third part answers the question, What can cause a reversal of fortune? A new paradigm. People have to find a way to get inspiration, which means to think new thoughts. When people think new thoughts they actually lay down new neuronal networks.

People need to learn how to stop negative thought patterns. Just by paying attention to the mind, we can detect negative thought patterns. Observing them interrupts them and allows us to question, to think of alternatives, to develop new thought patterns. As we cultivate positive emotions, our bodily cells develop to thrive on such positive thought.

The research is shown of Dr. Emoto, on the effect of the appearance of water molecules depending upon the quality of thought directed at them. Just think what happens to us, who are 95% water, as a result of our thoughts.

We too easily toss off the power of positive thinking, because it is only a surface belief compared to all our other deep seated beliefs in other directions. It takes getting inspired by new ideas enough to take action, to try an experiment, to be the scientist of your own life.

    One person sums up how he has pulled himself up by his belief bootstraps by playing a little synchronicity game with himself.

Each morning as he creates his reality for that day, he asks that the spiritual side of himself, the observer watching him do his creating, will do something to let him know that the observer is paying attention, and bring into his experience something related to his creating in an unexpected way that will show him some new ability of creating that he has and in such a way that he will clearly recognize that this is the response of the observer, leaving no doubt.

Very interesting synchronicities occur under such a plan to help create a foundation of trust in this new paradigm.

    We need to be free to expand the horizons of the imagination, free of any addictions that would inhibit our thinking out of fear. We need to realize that we are a part of a larger story. The movie ends asking us to ponder the possibilities. The new science of quantum physics is the science of freedom, of possibilities. Who will choose among the possibilities and on what basis?

    I have encountered three responses to the movie. The first is excitement that a movie addresses topics to a general audience that are of such vital interest to members of the A.R.E. community. The second is disappointment that the movie didn't show anything "new," meaning what the person knew already.

The third is an expression of curiosity about how these topics, long a part of the Edgar Cayce material, are being presented to a general audience. What does the movie offer to audiences? What does it ask them to believe, or to think about? What would Edgar Cayce think about the message the movie makes about spirituality and how the movie expresses that message?

    To the first response, I would say, that the movie exists shows that there's a lot more people out there than the some tens of thousands of A.R.E. members that exist, so let's celebrate that we are a part of a wider spiritual community and learn how to work together.

    To the second response, I would say that although no single idea may have been "new," the juxtaposition of the ideas and their interlinking gives a lot to think about. Some of the cartoons seemed silly on first watching until I could realize how they were often more dramatically expressed metaphors for the abstract ideas presented in the narrative.

    The third response invites the most exploration. How does it speak to spirituality? What does it say about God? The movie almost says that God is reality is as big as you can allow yourself to imagine it, but you'll have to get control of your emotions in order to cultivate enough peace of mind and freedom from addictive patterns of thought to be able to conceive of a God that includes yourself as infinite as your imagination.

I am reminded here of Cayce's admonition that the greatest service we can render to one another is to share our concept, our experience, of the Creator. By the various voices in the movie expressing their various attempts to imagine the supreme being behind the great mystery, it was clearly implied, if not exactly stated, that we needed to expand our vocabulary and concepts about God.

    I think the part of the movie that would disappoint Cayce the most is the lack of information portrayed about the role of relationships, of how being of service puts us into healthy relationships with the world, allowing us to take advantage of the quantum possibilities almost as much, if not more, than simply cultivating positive emotions.

It is interesting that the movie never mentions meditation, but makes clear that unless you can get control over your thought processes and the attitudes and emotions they are entangled with, you are not going to get very far into enjoying the quantum freedom that underlies reality.

Instead you will be caught in a purgatory of judgments, learning by experience just how vicious downward cycles can be.

    There could have been as much evidence brought to bear on how volunteering raises positive emotions. How serving is a great way to achieve a stated goal in the movie, that is, to move beyond the focus on the self. Service is a great way to get beyond self. Some of the same changes of neural nets can accompany a shift in one's attitudes towards one's relationships.

    If I were to serve the population walking out of the theater with what I, as an A.R.E. member, as a student of Cayce, could offer to these people to help them take the awakening of new ideas, or the stimulation or inspiration provided by the aesthetic qualities of the movie, then here is what I think it would be:

First I would want to listen to the person to get an understanding of what they took away from the movie. Where is there inspiration to build upon? Where is there doubt to be soothed or educated? To build upon inspiration, I would share about how application in the smallest step of what I have realized is a powerful medicine that will build great things.

Take a small step. Don't underestimate the power of being able to associate with like minded people. But don't accept anything as true until you test it for yourself. Others might think of specific hypotheses in the readings that they might like to offer, for example, as corroborating evidence. As to doubts, my response would be much the same, except first to honor them and be gentle, encouraging gentle testing of small steps.

I can teach basic meditation without mentioning the word, and demonstrate to the person what it might be like to observe one's thinking and question one's assumptions. Or simply to learn to sit still for a minute a day as getting one's foot in the door on breaking old habits. One has to begin somewhere and the have the faith to allow it to build to the evidence that it is real.

What The Bleep Do We Know?
A Summary of the Ideas Presented in the Movie

    What is reality? Is it what we see in front of us? Where do we come from? What is our role in reality? Basic questions. Some startling first premises are presented by what appear to be educated authorities (identified at the end of the movie), premises based upon undisputed, if bizarre sounding, scientific research.

One is that quantum physics has determined that "no thing" exists, in that when looked at closely, atoms disappear into clouds of possibility. The second is that our experience is brain experience, not experience of the "out there" but something of its own creation.

These two facts present us with the notion that reality is not what it seems. If not, then what is it? Could we be living a mistake? It is suspicious that people keep having the same types of relationships, same jobs, the same problems.

Are we such creatures of habit that we have allowed ourselves to fall into the illusion that we have no control over our lives?

    A rock seems real and solid, but only when we actually encounter it. Before it is encountered, it is more of a possibility than a rock solid fact. Reality comes into being when it is observed, but not before. Thus we have some options as we begin to observe and create reality.

Research with brain scans shows that the brain can not distinguish, it behaves in the same way, when it is actually looking at something or when it is imagining that same something. Actually seeing and using memory to imagine seeing are both the same and indistinguishable to the brain. So, do we see with our brains or with our eyes?

    The brain processes 400 billion bits of information every second. Most of it is discarded. The brain is very selective in which information will reach consciousness. It selects only about 2000 bits to bring into awareness, selected with an agenda. We become aware of only a tiny minuscule of the information surrounding us.

The brain processes information that it cannot bring into awareness. Our beliefs have something to do with this selectivity, as it seems we can bring into awareness only that which we believe is possible to exist in reality. The story is told, said to be true, that the Caribbean natives could not see Columbus' ships off shore, because they had never encountered such things.

It took awhile for the chief to finally see what was causing the strange waves out there. Once the chief could see the ships, he could help his people see them. It is as if we live in our own hologram, rather than in the external world itself. We live in a virtual reality governed by our beliefs.

The brain matches the information coming to it with patterns it remembers and its conclusions become our reality. One physicist says, "there is no 'out there' out there separate from what we experience 'in here.'"

So there are choice points concerning how a life might go.

    Physicists are trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for all this. Most of reality is empty space. Matter takes up little. Why is it that time seems to flow forward? That is, it seems we can remember the past, but not the future. We can affect the future, but, it seems, not the past. Why is that? Quantum physics shows that these assumptions are false.

    Electrons are going in and out of existence all the time. The same goes for the nucleus, which we once thought was more real. What are "things" anyway? It seems that they are made up more of possibilities, ideas, information, concepts, thoughts, than actual things.

When you are not looking, there are waves of possibility. When you are looking, there are particles of experience. Quantum physics has shown that particles can be in two different places simultaneously, or in two different states of being simultaneously.

    It is only when an observation is made that these possibilities collapse into a single, observed experience. Everyone is constantly "collapsing" reality by their observation of it, constantly creating the reality they experience. Heroes consciously choose the reality they want to experience.

Everything that exists are actually possible movements in consciousness, and we each choose, moment to moment, one of those possibilities to experience.

Our tendency is to think that reality exists already out there, independent of our experience of it. Instead of thinking of things, think in terms of possibilities. It takes a lot of creative thinking to make sense of it.

    Physics knows what the observer does in terms of creating reality, but we have not been able to discover WHO this observer is.

We have all had the experience of being an observer, yet anyone who looks in the brain, or elsewhere, no one has ever observed an observer-the observer being that "it" that can collapse quantum possibilities. Is the observer the spirit "inside"? the "ghost in the machine"?

    When 4000 meditators converged on Washington DC and meditated, the crime rate went down. Is people's consciousness affecting the world we see? Yes. We see photographs of water molecules taken by Dr. Masuro Emoto, water before and after blessings were said over it.

The molecule of the blessed water was more symmetrical and beautiful than the plain water. On other bottles of water, he pasted on printed words, such as love, thank you, hate, etc. and you can see that the water molecules look more beautiful when words of positive emotions were pasted on their bottles.

Although the mechanism by which this non-material influence operates is unknown, Dr. Emoto claims it is the intent that is the driving force in the effect. Ninety per cent of our bodies is water, so it "makes you wonder what our thoughts could do to us."

    Thoughts can affect the body. Most people don't consistently create their effects because they don't really believe it is really possible. Positive thinking usually means that we have a little bit of positivity covering over much greater amount of negative thinking.

We become stuck in the sameness of reality because we give it too much power, but if consciousness can change reality, we can ask how we can make it better. If in our old thinking, we can change nothing because reality is already there, then we can do nothing, but if reality is waiting for us to observe it, then we can set an agenda for improvement.

    Reality comes down to our experience. What are thoughts made of? Do thoughts have a substance that can affect things? There are so many worlds, worlds of our thoughts, of our actions, the world of our bodies, of the atoms.

There are so many different worlds of possibilities, levels of truth. The most fundamental truth, affirmed by science and mystics, is the underlying unity. You and I are literally one. One, one, one….

    One man speaks of how he creates his day every morning. He says that he often has so much on his plate that it takes him awhile to settle down into his meditative process where he creates his day.

He says that when he creates his day, he encounters little things during the day that he knows are a response to his creative intentions. It gives him the reinforcement, the incentive, the confidence, to continue with his creative efforts. He believes he is shaping his brain to become more receptive and responsive to these efforts.

    "If we accept the idea that we create our experience," he says, "and experience is our reality is our life, then I have this little pact with myself as I go about creating my day, and I say, OK, I'm taking this time to create my day and I'm infecting the quantum field with this intention, If the observer is watching me as I do this, and there is a spiritual aspect to myself, then show your watching me the whole time that I'm doing this.

There is a spiritual aspect to myself then show me a sign that you are paying attention to what I'm creating and throw something in my path that shows me a sign that you are aware of me, something that relates to what I'm trying to create but in an unexpected way, so I'll be surprised by my ability to create, but in such a way that I will have no doubt that it came from you." [not exact quote]

    In addictions, we have a wonderful opportunity to observe the interplay between our potential in consciousness and how we play out that potential during the day in our physical, three dimensional world. Addiction is the feeling of a chemical rush passing through the body with its glands, ductless glands, spinal fluid, etc. It requires only a single thought to create an arousal that will release chemicals into the body.

    God and us are one, but over the ages, religions separated us from God, so it becomes a source of rewards and punishments. That is not what God is. Our consciousness is not fully aware enough to be able to comprehend God.

Science has grown to the point that it is capable of explaining Jesus' interpretation of the mustard seed and the kingdom of heaven, and it is only the science of quantum physics that can do that. We have such profound new concepts in science yet such backwater concepts of God. When you begin to question the images or caricatures of God, we become suspected of being an atheist or subverting the social order.

There needs to be more emphasis placed upon expanding our imagination when trying to conceive of God. God must be greater than the greatest of human weaknesses and the greatest of human skills. Feeling we are in control of creation is arrogance. How can we encourage one another to try on expanded visions of God?

    When the brain thinks a thought, there is an electric storm over its entirety. No one sees a thought, but does see the brain activity. Brain neurons have many connectors and they are networked throughout the brain to other neurons. The brain learns by associative memory, patterns of networking making its concepts.

The brain tends to respond to events the way it has in the past, as it cannot distinguish between what it sees and what it remembers, as it does both through the same, patterned neural firing. How we respond emotionally when we experience an event, the chemistry of the emotion fixes upon the brain the pattern of firing, the pattern of experience.

Our concepts are built up gradually, and each of us develops different conceptual patterns, so one person may associate the emotion of love with the fear of abandonment while another person may associate love with the pleasures of eating. Our emotions to current events are remembered, carried over and repeated the next time we encounter those events.

We begin to make up a story for ourselves about the outside world, what it is, how it works, and how we can engage it. Nerve cells that fire together wire together. Habits of experience become "hard-wired." The thoughts and feelings we have on a daily basis become a physical aspect of the brain.

Yet the brain is plastic, ever changing. When we don't respond automatically, but instead pay attention to our responses, interrupt a thought process with its associated emotional component, it tends to disrupt the neural firing, loosening those connections.

When we do so, we are no longer the emotional, body-mind person that is responding automatically to the environment. Emotions are neither good nor bad, but are designed to create chemical effects to help bond long-term memories. Emotions are holographically imprinted chemicals.

    The most sophisticated pharmacy is in the brain, the hypothalamus, which assembles chemical concoctions that match the emotions we experience. These chemicals called peptides, are small chains of various amino acids.

The hypothalamus assembles these short chains into conglomerates known as neuropeptides or neurohormones, each different combination matching a unique emotional nuance.

When the brain interprets an event using a particular emotional pattern, the hypothalamus assembles the corresponding neuropeptide and very soon that mood chemical is traveling through the body where it communicates with various organs, potentially reaching every cell in the body.

Every cell has thousands of receptors, places where the cell is receptive to the outside world. When a peptide connects with a receptor on a cell, it communicates with the cell, sending its special message.

    Most of us operate as if today were yesterday, often in either an emotionally disconnected manner or in an emotionally over-reactive manner.

    When a peptide is connected to a cell, its communications begin to change the structure of the nucleus of the cell. Each cell has consciousness if we define consciousness as the point of view of an observer. The cell is the smallest unit of consciousness in the body.

    An addiction is something we cannot stop. We bring to ourselves situations that will fulfill the biochemical cravings of the cells of our body by creating situations that will meet our needs [meanwhile, the visuals show a woman "accidentally" bumping into a waiter, having food spilled on her dress, "accidentally" stopping the overeating she was engaged in].

    The addict will always need a little bit more to get a rush or high of what they're looking for chemically. If you can't control your emotional state, it means you are addicted to it.

This can play out in relationships, where we can confuse being in love with the anticipation of the enjoyment of the chemical states we will experience in that relationship. Addiction to certain chemicals/emotional patterns could be behind having the same story play out in our intimate relationships, over and over again, like obsessions.

    We are our emotions, as they motivate the cells to take in things and to move out and relate to other cells. Emotions are not bad, nor good, but they are the life force expressing itself, our biochemical story. We have emotional responses to everything we experience.

The problem is that the emotional patterns repeat themselves in a positive feedback loop. We can become obsessive as we search for or interpret experiences in such as way as to feed these patterns. Can you have a Polish wedding without a polka? That's the metaphorical question the bandleader asks at the wedding, expressing how our obsessions affect our experience.

    As our "Dante," Amanda confronts herself in the mirror, looking at what appears to her as her too fat legs, she is reminded that our minds create our bodies. Candace Pert explains how cells develop addictions. If a given receptor for a given chemical is overstimulated with that chemical, the cell will begin to desensitize itself such that a given amount of the chemical will produce less of a response in the cell.

The attitude we adopt is equivalent to the chemicals attaching to the cells. When we've consistently adopted that attitude, then as the cell divides, its offspring cells will have even more receptor sites for that chemical and less receptor sites for other chemicals, including nutrients, vitamins, minerals or the chemicals that help the cell expel waste products or toxins.

Aging is the result of losing elasticity, ability to assimilate, digest, etc. the body becomes less flexible, less constructive proteins. It matters less over time what we eat, and more important that we are in the right mental framework for our cells to continue to evolve healthy appetites and abilities to absorb the nutrients in what we do eat.

In effect, the cells begin to evolve to be responsive to only one type of chemical, of attitude, or emotion. Our habitual mental attitude has a lot to do with the quality of subsequent generations of our body's cells.

    So what are we going to do about this? It's time for a new paradigm. Life is larger than we think it is. There's a bigger story.

    We need to realize that there are other dreams. That is our first step out of the box. Too much of clinical opinion gives people mental or physical labels of malfunction, and we need to instead look at it as bad choices and help people make better choices.

There's nothing wrong with the people, it's their choices, based upon faulty information, that is what's wrong. People need to seek inspiration. Inspiration is required to develop motivation to seek and live out answers to questions like the purpose of life, the mission of one's particular life, what will happen after death? People can begin to flirt with new ideas, and watch as old ideas fall away, over time, gradually.

    As we try out new ideas, try thinking new ideas, we are literally rewiring the brain, creating new neural networks, ultimately changing us from the inside out. If I change my mind, will I change my choices? If I change my choices, will my life change? Why can't I change? What am I addicted to?

What will I lose that I'm chemically attached to and what person place or time or event that I'm chemically attached to that I don't want to lose because I don't want to experience a chemical withdrawal from it?

Is the earth the only planet that is steeped in religious subjugation, responding to the expectations of the rewards and punishments based upon judgments of good and bad. Doesn't mean one is in favor of depravity, but to act consciously, there are things that will evolve me and things that will not evolve me.

    God, a placeholder name for the transcendent, the sublime. I can have an experience that God is without being able to know what or who God is. God can be seen as All That Is.

However you wish to imagine it, you have to love that God more than you love the addictions. In the long run, the real concern will not be how am I treating my body, but how am I treating my mind?

    People need to learn how powerful their mind is, and that it can help better ourselves, even to help us transcend ourselves, so that we might come to a higher level of consciousness where we could understand ourselves even better and live even better with each other.

    Understanding that we are interconnected and acting accordingly seems to be the best definition of spirituality. Our purpose here is to develop our gifts of intentionality, to become effective creators, we are here to infiltrate space with ideas and mansions of thought, to make something of this life, to acknowledge the place we have, the ability to make choice, when that shift happens, they are enlightened.

    Quantum mechanics allows for the intangible reality of freedom. It is the physics of possibilities, it opens up the question of who chooses among these possibilities what events will we experience.

We must open our minds without the interference of any addictions that inhibit considering possibilities. We need to manifest reality in our bodies, in new ways. One day we will all be avatars. Welcome to the kingdom of heaven.

    How we can tell if any of this is true? We can wait and see if something in our lives change? If we pay attention, then we can become the scientist of our lives. Don't take it at face value, check it out and see if it is true.

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