Do you ever feel like money or time spent on developing yourself is "selfish"?
And even if you don't think so, how often have you had it said or implied by others?
Many people, women especially, have been raised to think if they are doing things for themselves instead of others they are somehow being "self-centred". When I used to do more traditional therapy, it was particularly hard to "convince" clients that it was ok to take some time for themselves for reflection or relaxation or re-energizing (or doing the homework I assigned them ).
And the bigger the family or the organization, the harder it seemed to be for them to acknowledge and nurture themselves.
Well, I just finished an interesting book, Science and the Akashic Fields by Ervin Laszlo, that puts the "dilemma" of personal growth in a new light.
First let me tell you a little bit about his ideas, then you'll be able to see the connection I'm making.
Laszlo proposes that our universe is a collection of information, not just "empty space".
Everything we do or say or think produces new information which is available in this holographic field of energy.
How can that be?
Well, all our perceptions, feelings, and thoughts have brain activity associated with them - brain waves, as you'll know if you've toured my . ;-)
These brain waves are carriers of information and the waves and their electrical activity don't stop at our skulls. In fact, the beginning of their "spread" beyond the brain at the surface of the skull is what makes it possible to record brain wave activity in an EEG, right?
So imagine you are sitting next to me. Although not visible without the right equipment, my brain in working away and producing waves of information that are spreading in all directions, including toward you. No information is lost in this spread - if you had the right equipment, you could reconstruct exactly what I was thinking (still the stuff of science fiction,for now). Your brain, of course, is doing the same thing with its activity spreading in all directions, including toward me.
What happens when these two sets of brain waves "collide"?
Think of the surface of a calm pond when you throw in a rock. Circles radiate from the source, carrying information about the size and shape of the rock, the angle of trajectory, etc. etc. If you throw another rock, it produces another set of information like the first. Imagine what happens when these two circles of information meet -- they interfere with each other, creating another source of information about the collision. BUT, all the original information is still there and available, if we knew how to extract it.
Well, the same thing happens to our brain waves. They interfere with each other, preserving all the original information, but creating another "super-wave" of combined information. Of course, the world includes more than you and me - so our combined and separate brain waves will meet the brain waves of other people, creating a higher and higher level of complexity. And it's not just our brains that create waves - our hearts generate an even more powerful energy field, and of course, our bodies create waves with every movement!
Impressed? Let's not stop there! There is no friction in space, right? So there is no reason for those waves of information to ever stop. That means not only are the collective brain waves going to be collected across different people, they are also going to be collected across time. .
So you can think of this super-superhologram of interfering waves as the collective information pool of all humankind. Whoa!
So how could we access this information?
Laszlo believes that, based on the principle of "like informs like", we can most easily access the information carried by the waves we create by our own brain and body. In fact, he suggests that "reading" this holographic energy field for information about ourselves actually is the physical basis of long-term memory. Like a television, your memories (programs) don't live in your head (television) -- your brain is just the "receiver". No receiver, no images. Doesn't mean the images live in the television, right?
But Laszlo goes further.
He proposes that others can also access at least some of what we have contributed to the collective information pool (what he calls the A-field). The closer the connection to us, the more likely they are to be sensitive to our information -- and we to theirs. This receptivity is generally not the kind of explicit recall we have of our own lives, but more of an intuition, emotion, or sensation. He suggests that this explains those "psychic" connections we sometimes have with people we are close to (e.g., thinking of them just before they call, "sensing" when something is wrong with them, etc.)
And here is the evolutionary connection....
Laszlo and others have focused on the evolutionary jumps our brain has made over the millennia. Our brains have brought us from not being able to use language or tools to being very language-dependent, creative, innovative humans. And why should our evolution stop there?
Many spiritual philosophers believe we will continue to evolve and expand our consciousness. Laszlo (and others) believes this includes greater and greater "individual" access to the collective information pool.
Not only that, but the more positive growth and learning we contribute to the Pool, the more there is to draw on and the faster we all evolve.
Why does it matter whether it's positive or not?
Even if we can't knowingly access the collective information pool, it appears that we are influenced by what's in it.
The most concrete examples are physical. Think of how amazing it was for Roger Bannister to run a 4-minute mile - beyond what was considered physically possible for a human. Yet it's not so unusual these days -- I've even read an article that called it "routine". (I'm not a runner, so it's still pretty amazing to me! )
Laszlo thinks (and there are other theorists who agree with him) that this same principle applies to everything we do -- if one person "gets it", then it makes it easier for someone else... and other someones...until there are so many people it becomes "ordinary".
So if we contribute negativity to the A-field, then we are helping to build negativity as the ordinary way of being and thinking and acting.
If we contribute the best of what we can be and do, then we allow others to get there more easily too.
So - what will you have contributed to our information pool?
This is where I see self-development and neurofeedback coming in.
If you don't work on yourself and just maintain all your challenges without getting beyond them, you aren't making a positive contribution to the A-field.
But by working on yourself, you are working on all of us too (thanks!) and through your own growth, you make it easier for those of us with similar challenges to grow beyond them as well.
Feel better about making time for personal development? ;-)