This is Gypsy, one of my (Tina Tully) many cats. Gypsy was so-named because, when he first began frequenting my home in early 2008 as a stray, he would announce his impending arrival from many fields away with his loud miaowing – advance warning that we should have his food ready! He reminded us of the Gypsy Rover in that well-known Irish song, coming whistling over the hills.
I like to think that I lead my life with a similar spirit to that of the lady in the Whistling Gypsy song, that when it comes to the really important decisions I allow my heart and my intuition to lead. For those of you not familiar with the song, the lady leaves her very wealthy father, her lover, her servants, castle and state to follow the Gypsy Rover whom she believes to have nothing. She discovers that, in fact, her Gypsy Rover is also very wealthy and all her needs can be met, including, most importantly the needs of her heart and her spirit.
I think I probably always had a strong social conscience but sometime during my final year of a Sociology and Irish Arts Degree in Trinity College, I began to research possible careers in community development. However, at that time, I did not even know the phrases “community development” or “rural development”, they were concepts that had not yet reached my world. I had no idea if a career even existed that matched what I felt I wanted to do with my life.
I was strongly motivated by a number of things that I saw happening around me in the early nineties. They included high levels of emigration of young people from the rural area where I had grown up, a sense among small farmers of whom my father was one, of being told “by someone coming down from Dublin” of how to run their affairs and some solid ideas on Inis Mór, where I had spent three summers, of ways in which strong communities can effect positive change from within. To my extreme delight and excitement, I discovered a Masters in Community Development in what was then University College Galway and succeeded in getting a place on it. And so, my career in community development began and has continued apace since. I did not stop to wonder then as an idealistic student if I could find work in what I wanted to do. Somewhere in my memory, I knew that the best way to predict the future is to invent it.
As a child growing up in a traditional Catholic family, I was quite religious and spiritual with a particular devotion to the Saint I had been named after, St. Martin. However, in my twenties, as happens with so many young Irish people, I lost all of that faith and belief and did not think much about life beyond the immediate and the physical. A series of events, incidents, encounters, courses and books in my thirties led me back on a quest to think about life at a deeper level and has proved to be a fascinating journey.
One of the books I picked up along that journey that has most inspired me is “The Divine Matrix – Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief”, which was written by Gregg Braden, published in 2007. Braden is a former senior computer systems designer, computer geologist and technical operations manager and he combines a high level of scientific understanding and knowledge with his spirituality to produce a book that is impossibly difficult to summarise in this short article. However, by outlining some of the key concepts that Braden puts forward, some of the astonishing scientific experiments that he describes and some of the conclusions emerging from this, I hope that it will create a desire for some to further explore for themselves this and other related material.
Many community development enthusiasts begin with a desire to somehow “change the world”. Braden’s book poses the question as to how much power we really have to change our world. In answer to that, he puts forward compelling arguments that “… all things are possible …through the reality makers of imagination, expectation, judgement, passion and prayer, we galvanize each possibility into existence. In our beliefs about who we are, what we have and don’t have, and what should and shouldn’t be, we breathe life into our greatest joys as well as our darkest moments”. Braden offers “a sense of hope, possibility and empowerment in a world that often makes us feel small, ineffective and powerless” (pg.s 3, xx).
Many others have written on this same theme and one such author, Catherine O’Driscoll, published a book in 2012, ‘The Animals’ Agenda’ (self-published), which is the most recent such book that I have read. Like Braden, O’Driscoll writes about the “Law of Attraction”, which “ensures that you will attract people and events to yourself to support your beliefs” (pg. 161). The Law of Manifestation, she states, “means, literally, that we create our own reality. If I believe I’m poor, then life will honour that belief. If I believe I live in abundance, then I will” (pg. 162).
O’Driscoll argues that we live in a world where far too much emphasis is placed on logic, left-brain reasoning and scientific knowledge. “The mind of logic has required that we conduct double blind trials and prove theories in laboratories. Concepts that cannot be proven, or are harder to pin down, such as love, awe, intuition, and mind-to-mind communication, have been dismissed and demoted – even ridiculed” (pg. 2). There is considerable merit in this, particularly if we consider the amazing levels of knowledge, in the absence of science, of our ancestors who built monuments such as those found at Newgrange, Stonehenge and the lesser known Lough Crew. However, for the sceptics among us, Braden offers detailed scientific evidence to support his theories.
Braden draws on a range of experiments that have been and are currently being carried out by scientists today. These include particles of light (photons) that have been observed to bilocate, that is, to be in two different places separated by many miles at precisely the same instant. Braden maintains that “from the DNA of our bodies to the atoms of everything else, things in nature appear to share information more rapidly than Einstein predicted anything could ever travel – faster than the speed of light. In some experiments, data has even arrived at its destination before it left its place of origin” (pg. 12). If things have this ability, Braden asks, what about us? Braden states that “these are the possibilities that excite today’s innovators and stir our own imaginations” (pg. 13).
How, then can imagination become reality? According to Braden, “it is in the coupling of the imagination – the idea of something that could be – with an emotion that gives life to a possibility that it becomes a reality” (pg. 13). Braden sets out that “for the imaginary ideas of one moment in time to become the reality of another, there must be something that links them together”. “The key to healing, peace, abundance and the creation of experiences, careers and relationships that bring us joy is to understand just how deeply we’re connected to everything in our reality” (pg.13). The energy connecting everything in the universe is what is often referred to as “the ether”. Braden reminds us that “while conventional physics states that such a medium does not exist, new studies show that the ether, or something like it, does exist and it is this universal field of energy that connects everything in our world and beyond, and affects us in ways we are only beginning to understand” (pg.s 19-20).
To understand where this connection originates from, Braden takes us back to what is commonly referred to as the Big Bang, which was estimated to have occurred between thirteen and twenty billion years ago. Before this burst of energy, all the matter in the universe was squeezed into a very small space, believed to have been no bigger than a pea. In that compressed space, everything was joined and as the energy of the Big Bang caused our universe to expand, the matter’s particles became separated by greater and greater amounts of space. The experiments suggest that regardless of how much space separates two things, once joined they are always connected. The energy that does the connecting is what the scientist, Max Planck, described as the “matrix of everything” (pg.s 32-33).
Braden quotes Planck as having stated that “the existence of the field suggests that intelligence is responsible for our physical world. ‘We must assume behind this force that we see as matter the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind.’ He concluded ‘This Mind is the matrix of all matter” (pg.27). Braden suggests that “it may be our reluctance to accept just what it means for space to be occupied by an intelligent force, and for us to be part of that space, that has been our biggest stumbling block in our understanding of who we are and how the universe really works (pg. 26)”.
Braden states that “while our precise role in creation is still not fully understood, experiments in the quantum realm clearly show that consciousness has a direct effect on the most elementary particles of creation. And we are the source of this consciousness” (pg.43). A fundamental principle of community development and an often used buzzword is that of “participation”. John Wheeler, a colleague of Einstein, argued that we might live in a world that’s created by consciousness itself, a process that he calls a “participatory universe” (Braden, pg. 39). This brings a whole new dimension for us to the concept of “participation”.
Braden draws on a number of scientific experiments that give proof to Wheeler’s theory (pg.s 43-53). In summary these experiments show that:
A type of energy exists that connects everything in the universe;
Cells / DNA influence matter through this form of energy1;
Emotion has an effect on and can change the shape of DNA. (Despite being conditioned to believe that the state of DNA in our bodies is a given, a fixed quantity when we are born, these experiments show that nothing could be further from the truth);
When DNA is separated from the donor the effect of emotion on the DNA is simultaneous, that is, the emotions do not have to travel;
It can be concluded, therefore, that the DNA in our bodies gives us access to the energy that connects our universe, and emotion is the key to tapping in to the field.
Braden asks then, “what problem can’t be solved, what illness can’t be healed, and what condition can’t be improved if we’re able to tap the force and change the quantum blueprint where all of these things come from? Our ability to do any of this comes down to what believe about ourselves and our role in the universe” (pg. 53).
O’Driscoll very aptly states that it can appear downright cruel to suggest to someone who is living through hardship, perhaps terminal illness or tragedy that they are the creators of their own reality “…because none of us would consciously create our own suffering…most of these thoughts are subconscious” (pg. 161). However, if the information is also provided on how that is and what they can do about it, it can, on the other hand, be the most empowering gift we can offer.
In summary, what Braden and O’Driscoll have shown is that we can invent our own futures and we can do this through our emotions and our beliefs. Our emotions affect our DNA, which in turn affects matter through the medium of the energy that connects our universe. The precise way in which we can do this is often complex and both Braden and O’Driscoll provide guidance clearly and meticulously in their books to help us to do this, a subject matter for another day!
1 In this experiment carried out in the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1995, all of the air was removed from a specially designed tube, leaving just photons. The location of the photons was measured in the tube and they were found to be completely unordered. Samples of human DNA were then placed in the tube. In the presence of the DNA, the particles of light arranged themselves differently in the presence of the living material. DNA had been found to have a direct effect on the quantum stuff that our world is made of. When the DNA was removed from the tube the photons remained ordered, just as if the DNA were still in the tube. The scientists were forced to accept that some “new” field of energy existed that connected the two.