A Conversation with Gregg Braden

Conscious Life Journal: We’d love to get your take on the changes in the world that you’ve studied in the past, what you see happening now, and what you see in the future.

Gregg Braden: The books in the past have addressed the shifts in the world. The current book addresses the shift within us. There’s a place where the two meet. The best minds are telling us that we’re living in the time of “extremes,” which doesn’t mean that only bad things are happening in the world, or even good things. It means the things that are happening are affecting the world in big ways and we can no longer separate us and our everyday lives from that world, so we’re all being affected in big ways. No one is exempt. Even spiritual leaders living in remote locations are feeling the changes. I’m a geologist, with a strong background in the life sciences—molecular biology, molecular chemistry, invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology—and that gives me the ability to stay current with authentic scientific publications. It’s not our imagination that the world is changing. So when I look at our time of extremes, my question is, what’s driving the change?

There are three massive, natural cycles that are converging in a way we have never seen in 5000 years of recorded human history. The first of those cycles is the climate cycle. We’re in the midst of a shifting climate cycle that’s naturally driven. If there were no humans on earth we would still be going through a climate cycle. This is also not the warmest the earth has ever been. In the mid-1800s we had the medieval warming period and in the late 1800s we had a mini ice age in parts of northern Europe. So extremes are part of our history and the cycle we’re living right now is very similar to one about 5000 years ago. Because of this climate extreme we need to have clean, green, sustainable ways of creating energy. We could have stopped using fossil fuels over sixty years ago, which tells me that if there were a serious effort to change the way we create energy on our planet, I think we would be following a different path than we are today. It also tells me it has yet to become a priority for us to make the shift collectively. We’ve been led to believe that if we drive smaller cars and use different light bulbs somehow we’re going to reverse the climate cycle rather than understanding that this is a natural cycle. It’s only a problem if we’re not prepared for it. So if we embrace the fact that we are moving into this cycle of change we begin to live differently.

In addition to climate, we’re living the completion of one and the beginning of another economic cycle (second cycle) that began about sixty-five years ago. They can be very hard on personal finances and very detrimental to national finances. And it appears that the powers that be have a very short memory, because they’re making the same mistakes in this cycle that they made in the last cycle. We’re now living in a time when tangible assets are holding their value stronger than paper assets. We’re also living in a time of unprecedented global debt. The gross domestic output from the planet is less than the debt incurred. When that happens to a nation, typically another nation or the World Bank bailed them out. But when an entire planet is in debt to the degree that we are, who bails out a planet? That would be enough to shift the way we think and live and it’s happening in conjunction with the climate cycles.

The third cycle that few people hear about is the cycle of human conflict. Science has found a solid link between cosmological cycles and human conflict and those cosmological cycles include the magnetic fields of the earth, shifting the magnetic fields of the sun, and the solar cycles of the sun. When the magnetic fields are strong, we tend to be less aggressive and more cooperative, more willing to work together to solve our problems, and more willing to give one another the benefit of the doubt when issues arise. When the magnetic fields are weak, we’re less cooperative, more aggressive, more fearful, and more suspicious. Beginning in 2014 we began the uptick of a cycle of conflict. The magnetic fields are weakening and this cycle peaks in the year 2020; this is the weakest point in those magnetic fields.

Any one of these three cycles could be significant. The fact that all three are converging in a single lifetime is creating the change that we’re feeling. While we’re vulnerable and susceptible to conflict, we’re not slaves to the cycle. We always have choice. And when we recognize where we are in the cycles and our vulnerability, it also creates the greatest opportunity for peace, because we make the choice to extend the benefit of the doubt, to extend the olive branch, to recognize that we need now, more than ever, to be better listeners, and this happens on a personal and family level as well as between nations.

All three of these cycles are converging right now. So we have to think and live differently, now more so than we ever have in the past, and that’s what my work has been about for over thirty-three years now—the science that gives us the reasons to think differently about ourselves and our relationships to our bodies, to other people, and to the world. It overturns one hundred fifty years of scientific thinking, like Darwin’s ideas that nature’s based upon competition and conflict. Now we know that simply isn’t true. Nature is based upon cooperation and mutual aid, and the more conflict we see shows us how far we’ve strayed from the truest laws of the natural world. This is where science comes to bear in a really beautiful way with our everyday lives and our most cherished and ancient spiritual traditions, spiritual principles of relationships that inform us about ourselves and our relationships with the world. These are the cycles that are causing change and now we’re being invited to think differently to meet that change in a healthy way.

CLJ: Don’t we have to make that transformation in order to survive?

GB: When we understand the nature of and the context within which we’re living our lives, when we understand the changes, when we understand the new discoveries and the new human story, then it becomes possible not just to survive but to thrive. But we’re living in a new normal now and that requires us to create a new baseline for our thinking. This is the really exciting part for me because science is giving us the reasons to do that. Extraordinary abilities are being documented that are possible within the human body. We now know that every organ in the human body has the ability to repair and heal itself, including spinal cord tissue, brain tissue, heart tissue, and pancreatic tissue. They all have to be given the right environment—this is the key—and that environment can be nutritional or supplements, but a lot of it is an internal environment of thought, feeling, and emotion, and we now know that thought, feeling, and emotion is the key to triggering very specific states in the heart. The brain receives much of the information to tell it what to do from the heart, so now we’re talking about the heart and the brain, two separate organs, working in harmony to create this well-being within us. And when we create the right kinds of emotions within the heart we change the signals that are going to the brain, and the chemistry of the brain releases into the body and that provides an environment in the cells so the cells can do what we consider extraordinary things super immune response, longevity and the ability to reverse the biological markers for aging, deep states of intuition, resilience to change, access to the subconscious so that we can introduce healing affirmations into the subconscious.

All these things are possible through harmonizing the heart and the brain in a very precise way and it’s being validated in laboratories of science such as the Institute of HeartMath. Science is leading us to the deepest truths of our existence that parallel so many of our most ancient and cherished spiritual traditions and it’s all happening when the cycles of change are driving us to think and live our lives differently than we ever have before. We have everything we need to thrive in the new world and this is the generation that’s making that shift so that we can think and live differently.

One of the new discoveries was made as recently as 1991. Scientists discovered about 40,000 specialized cells in the human heart that are called sensory neurites, essentially brain-like cells except they’re not in the cranial brain, they’re in the heart. Scientists call these cells “the little brain in the heart.” They function the way that cells would if they were in the brain. They think independently from the cranial brain, they remember independently, they sense and feel independently. When we have a deeply emotional experience or an emotionally significant experience, we register that experience in two different places. So if we address the experience only in the cranial brain through conventional clinical techniques, what about the memories in the heart? Now that we understand this, we can go through healings that are more complete.

We’re also learning that we have the ability to do this for ourselves, to self-regulate in a way that no other life form can. We can sit down in a moment in time and say in this moment I choose, I choose to awaken the longevity enzymes that are dormant in my body, and this is what triggers a healing response and reverses the biological markers for aging. I choose to awaken a super immune response. I choose to open the door to a subconscious conversation with myself, and this is where affirmations of healing and changing unhealthy patterns would apply. But we’ve got to speak to the subconscious in a language it recognizes. All this is self-regulation. I choose to become more resilient to create greater resilience to the change I’m feeling in my life. I choose to awaken deep states of intuition on demand, not when it happens, but when I need it, so that I can understand and truly empathize as well as sympathize with people. All of these things and more are available through this ability to self-regulate the systems in our body, and they all boil down to a relationship between the heart and the brain.

We are the only form of life that can harmonize the neural network in the heart and brain, two organs, into a single potent system that gives us the extraordinary abilities no other form of life has. And when we do this, we access our greatest potential, our super learning and all of the self-regulation that I just shared. These are the things that we always thought were reserved for yogis and mystics. Now we know anybody can do it, and rather than thinking of it as an extraordinary state of being, I believe this is an ordinary state of being that we are designed to embrace in our daily lives to make life easier and more meaningful for us.

The better we know ourselves, the better equipped we are to deal with whatever life brings to our doorstep. The better we know ourselves the less fear we have of a changing world, the less fear we have of other people. The better we know ourselves the less we fear other people because we trust in ourselves and our ability to embrace what it is that we’re seeing in our lives. The better we know ourselves the less we fear our own power. Those are the things that open the door to the evolution that we’re all seeing, and it’s all about a new human story. There’s a new human story that’s emerging and it’s a beautiful story and it’s a powerful story of hope and possibility and it’s all based upon self-awareness.

Gregg Braden is a five-time New York Times best-selling author and is internationally renowned as a pioneer in bridging science, spirituality and human potential! From 1979 to 1990 Gregg worked for Fortune 500 companies as a problem solver during times of crisis. He continues problem solving today as he weaves modern science, and the wisdom preserved in remote monasteries and forgotten texts into real world solutions. His discoveries have led to twelve award-winning books now published in over forty languages. Gregg has shared his presentations with The United Nations, Fortune 500 companies, indigenous elders, religious leaders, diplomats and the U.S. military, and he is now featured in media specials airing on major networks throughout the world. The United Kingdom’s Watkins Journal lists Gregg among the top one hundred of “the world’s most spiritually influential living people” for the fifth consecutive year, and he is a 2018 nominee for the prestigious Templeton Award established to honor “outstanding individuals who have devoted their talents to expanding our vision of human purpose and ultimate reality.” www.greggbraden.com