by Karen Larré, Mary Anne Weaver and Carla Garcia
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 12 award-winning books now published in over 40 languages including The Divine Matrix, Secrets of the Lost Mode of Prayer, Resilience From the Heart (English and Spanish), The Turning Point, Fractal Time, The God Code, The Isaiah Effect, The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, The Science of Miracles, Awakening to Zero Point and Deep Truth in addition to his newest book featured in this issue, Human by Design. 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 100 of “the world’s most spiritually influential living people” for the 5th 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.”
Truly Alive (TA): How has Darwin’s theory of evolution influenced our view of life itself?
Gregg Braden (GB): Darwin states that nature’s basic rule is “survival of the strongest,” which – if true – requires that we compete with each other for resources in order to survive. Darwin’s assumptions about competition, conflict, scarcity, and struggle for survival are firmly incorporated into the economic and social systems we use today. However, this foundational principle is failing us now because it is unsustainable – because, Darwin’s ideas are based upon a false assumption of an obsolete science.
Darwin lived over 150 years ago, in a world very different than our world today, without access to modern scientific discoveries. A humble and honest man, Darwin was the first to say that he expected his theories to fail when new ideas overturned key elements of his conclusions. Despite modern evidence to the contrary, academia is still supporting and defending Darwin’s theories, which are considered to be part of the “standard model” of biology and physics today.
However, peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals of the 21st century clearly demonstrate that nature is based upon a model of co-operation, not competition. When cooperation breaks down, it can be disastrous for a species. Methods we use to solve our problems, and choices we make in our daily lives, indicate how far we’ve strayed from these natural rules of harmony in nature. This is why I think it’s so important to embrace these ideas…we’re seeing the struggle between the new evidence and these old ideas, playing out on the world stage right now.
TA: What are modern humans and how did they come into being?
GB: As a degreed geologist, I have seen that evolution is a fact – I’ve seen it in the fossil record for many forms of life: animals, insects, plants. However, the physical evidence does not support the theory when it comes to humans.
The “human evolutionary tree of life” is often depicted as follows: modern humans are at the top of the tree and all the branches below represent forms of life that are believed to have preceded us. The branches in these drawings are represented by dashed lines because there is no physical evidence to support those relationships. They are called “inferred” or speculative connections. They are believed to exist, yet after 150 years of the best scientific minds, the greatest universities, the greatest amount of funding, the most sophisticated technology, the evidence has yet to be found that supports those relationships.
The latest exciting DNA evidence reveals that evolution as we’ve come to understand it is not the human story. We do not share enough of the DNA in our genome with the forms of life that are believed to precede us, such as Neanderthal. We did not descend from Neanderthal; we shared the Earth with Neanderthal – but, we could not have descended from them.
Modern DNA evidence is going one step further, showing that anatomically modern humans appeared on earth about 200,000 years ago. There is no controversy as to when that occurred – only about how it happened. There appears to be no evolutionary path leading to the anatomically modern human, because the DNA evidence shows that all these things happened quickly and just about the same time – 200,000 years ago. Modern humans have not changed since that time.
TA: What do you mean by “directed mutation”?
GB: We now know that 200,000 years ago, something happened that cannot be accounted for by evolution. For example, there’s our ability to clot blood. For our blood to clot, 20 proteins must be present in the body. If one of those proteins is absent, then our blood simply won’t clot. If even ONE of those 20 proteins had not been present in our earliest ancestors, then the first time they got a cut or a scratch, they would have bled out. Another example is cilia – little wiggly, wavy arms that we see on a number of cells including sperm cells. For those little wavy, wiggly arms to move, 40 components must ALL be in place at once. If even one of those components isn’t there, the “wavy, wiggly” motions don’t happen.
We appeared 200,000 years ago with these complex biological systems intact. If all of the components MUST be in place for these systems to function, that means they cannot evolve and grow slowly over long periods of time. The organism would not survive that growth process.
This has led to what is called “forbidden territory” in science, because the DNA changes that we see in the human body that made us who we are today, appear to be intentional. The “intentionality” word is like a shock wave reverberating through evolutionary biology, because it implies we are not dealing with random mutations and the product of “lucky biology.”
Science now is revealing discoveries that don’t fit the accepted story. Now we have to make a choice: will we allow the best science of the modern world to lead us to the deepest truths of our existence? Do we have the capacity to embrace what that story is and how it empowers us? Or, do we choose to remain stuck in the limited model that is no longer supported by the evidence? That’s where we are now.
TA: Do religious texts support the idea of “intentional origin”?
GB: I have researched some of our most ancient and most cherished spiritual traditions as well as the historic traditions from the great religions of the world. As different as they are in their specifics from one another, there are some general themes that are very consistent throughout all these traditions. Almost universally, the ancient spiritual texts tell a story that we are the product of an intervention from another intelligence. That intervention is described in different ways in different texts.
In indigenous traditions, when something is true, the theme will be consistent, although the specifics of the stories will vary. For example, almost universally in indigenous tradition, is there is the story of the Great Flood that swept the Earth. Each indigenous tradition held their specific tribal or their family history of what it meant, and so they vary, because they had different experiences. but the general theme is prevalent. As a geologist, I can go back into the geologic record and verify that a Great Flood really happened – it’s true.
In a similar way, the descriptions from the world’s sacred traditions about how human beings originated, are also very consistent. Each tradition has a unique story, but the common theme is that we are the product of an intentional, intelligent effort.
TA: How have we been “neurologically wired for extraordinary abilities”?
GB: Technology has advanced to the point where we are able to extract DNA from the bone marrow of forms of life that are believed to be our predecessors, our ancestors. We can now compare that DNA to the DNA that we have today. That genetic blueprint is telling us is that modern humans did in fact appear on Earth 200,000 years ago, and that we have not changed since we appeared. And, what it says to us is that all of the extraordinary capacity and potential that we have available to us today has been with us from the beginning. It did not evolve slowly, gradually over long periods of time.
A key component of this is what is called an “extended neural network.” Not only did we appear 200,000 years ago with a brain 50% larger than our nearest primate relative, but what made that brain possible is the fusion in human chromosome #2 that is so mysterious. Human chromosome #2 is the result of a fusion of pre-existing chromosomes, primate chromosomes, that happen in a way that resulted in the neo-cortex of the human brain and so many of the uniquely human capacities, such as sympathy, empathy, compassion, self-regulation, intuition – all those things are possible because that genetic change happened. So, when we talk about the extended neural network, we are still understanding what that means.
TA: What is “the little brain” in the heart? And how is “heart-based wisdom” a sophisticated technology?
GB: In 1991, scientists discovered about 40,000 specialized cells in the human heart that are called sensory neurites. These are essentially brain-like cells, but they are not in the brain, they are in the heart. These cells think, feel, remember, sense independently of the cranial brain, and have been called the “little brain in the heart.” We all know that we can use the brain or the heart independently. What we now are beginning to understand is that it is possible to harmonize these two separate organs into a single, potent system in a way that no other form of life can do – to achieve a state of “heart-brain coherence”. To the best of our knowledge, no other form of life can do this consciously, on demand, at will, by choice in the moment that we choose. We are believed to be the only form of life that has this extraordinary capacity.
Many people have a spiritual practice where they go to a quiet place, listen to music, maybe burn a candle or incense – and that creates optimum conditions for heart-brain coherence. But, when we need these abilities the most, we’re usually out in the world, in public, in a pressure situation. Maybe we have to make a decision quickly – such as a life-and-death decision. So, the conditions are not optimum when we need this wisdom the most.
How do we access this powerful wisdom at will? Heart-brain coherence can be attained through very simple techniques of breath and focus, according to modern science. Also, we can learn from the traditions of indigenous people all over the world, how to attain heart-brain coherence – such as the indigenous peoples of Tibet, the American desert southwest, Australia, the Yucatan jungles and Peru, and more. As different as these traditions are from one another, they all have learned to access this innate wisdom that is just now coming into vogue in the modern urban environment.
This is really when we find our power – the ability to access this heart wisdom when we choose to access it, rather than waiting for the external world to give us the conditions that make that access possible.
TA: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
GB: My newest book Human by Design is an invitation to free ourselves from the false assumptions and obsolete science in the 21st century. Let’s follow the evidence and find out what our story really is! This discovery has the potential to unite us in ways that the previous theories have divided us. Our innate ability to create heart-brain coherence at will, can empower us to create better health for ourselves and a better world for our children. The world is changing and if we don’t know what that change means to us, it can be scary, and we’ll fight it. Whereas, if we embrace our personal power and our ability to self-regulate, we are less threatened by change, and more willing to explore it and to go where it leads.