This is the first of a two-part exploration of how cultural stress might have been a contributing instigation for the spiritual masters Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and Martin Luther, followed next week with the potential for a rebirth of spirituality as a result of the stressful times we live in.  Peter described the cultural stresses of ancient India, Palestine, Arabia and Europe as motivation for the deep introspection and creative redefining of spiritual development.  Each of these profoundly transforming insights came about as the result of introspective efforts by the above mentioned individuals, who were trying to come to terms with the internal contradictions of the prevalent cultural and religious norms, along with the accompanying wars and other societal upheavals.  The radical changes that followed could be conceptualized as a form of rebirth, not of the body but of the culture.  These innovations then were codified by the development of the religions that came afterwards, which provided another set of internal bureaucratic contradictions.  The current cultural situation is perhaps the most radically stressful period in human history.  Peter suggested that this period of time might also produce a revitalization of spiritual/evolutionary development, prompted by the almost total sharing of insights regarding the human condition provided by contemporary scientific research and the direct introspection that mindfulness meditation provides.  What is unique about this era is the almost universal research into the history of the various world religions through the medium of the internet, along with neuroscientific research that shows how dedicated meditation practice changes the structures and functions of mind/body processes.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  A Different View Of Rebirth

Next week’s talk will be “A Different View of Rebirth, Part 2”.  The focus will be on how important the cultivation of mindfulness will be for the adaptive creativity that will be necessary for human culture to successfully resolve the radical changes prompted by environmental stress, accompanied by economic and societal pressures.