Podcast 890: God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called God with Sally Ornstein

My guest in this podcast is Sally Ornstein, co-author and wife of Robert Ornstein. Sally is on the show to promote Robert’s final book that she co-authored entitled God 4.0: On the Nature of Higher Consciousness and the Experience Called God,”  The book offers a fresh understanding of how the brain can produce a transcendent shift in consciousness that some have called “seeing God.”

In the interview, Sally and I discuss about nonverbal experience, normal consciousness and the experience of creativity and problem solving that will direct your life and that will enable you to understand much more than you than you currently do.

If you want to know more about Robert and Sally Ornstein and their books, please click here to be directed to their website.

You may also click here for a  free download offer of Ornstein’s final edition of his bestselling  book, The Psychology of Consciousness,when you purchase God 4.0 today, October 15. 

 

THE BOOK

 

What if “God” was not some external being but rather the experience of certain brain states in which the self is transcended?

Could practices of modern day religions be degenerated relics of the true spiritual practices of the original prophets?
Might it be possible for humans to move beyond faith, belief, doctrine and emotion to directly experience states of consciousness sometimes referred to as “God?”

Drawing on research from neuropsychology and religion, to evolutionary psychology, anthropology, archeology, and genetics, God 4.0 documents these “what ifs” as “what is.”

The authors begin by coalescing findings from the shamans of the Ice Age (God 1.0), to the first temples, priests and gods of the Neolithic era and Mesopotamia (God 2.0), to the Axial Age prophets and the three major monotheistic
religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (God 3.0), showing how transcendence happens and has been sought since Paleolithic times

THE AUTHORS

Robert Ornstein
Considered one of the foremost experts on the brain, Robert Ornstein was an internationally renowned psychologist and author of more than 20 books on the nature of the human mind. He was perhaps best known for his pioneering research on the bilateral specialization of the brain, continually emphasizing the necessity of “conscious evolution” to meet the challenges of the 21st century. His books have sold over six million copies worldwide and have been
used in more than 20,000 university classes. Completed just before his death, God 4.0 was a collaboration with his wife Sally who edited and published it posthumously.

 

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transcription (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen the host of Inside Personal Growth. And Sally as I do every time I come on, I thank my listeners who come from around the world to listen to the words of wisdom from our authors. And today joining me from Oakland, California is Sally Ornstein. And Sally co authored this book with her husband, Robert Ornstein. And this book is entitled god 4.0 on the nature of higher consciousness, and the experience called God. Well, an interesting title Sally. And I want to let our listeners know about your husband and you. Before we move on, Robert Ornstein, the award winning psychologist and pioneering brain researcher has authored more than 20 books on the nature of the human mind and brain specifically, as they involve the two hemispheres, the different modalities, functions and potentials. Completed just before his death, God 4.0 was a collaboration with Sally, who edited and published the book then finally published the book. Well, Sally, good day to you. And thank Good day. No, I know you had an interesting journey with Robert and you met 1981 at the conference in London, the psychology of consciousness and health. What really was Bob like, and why did you want to finish this? Kind of it says finished book, but I know you had a lot left to do after he passed away in December 2018.

Sally Ornstein
Yes, well, to answer your first question, he was brilliant, actually. But unlike a lot of academics, he was emotionally very mature. He had wonderful intuition and was very perceptive, he couldn't lay one over on me, gotcha. Take off too, immediately. So and he had the most delightful sense of humor. We had a good we had a good match, it was good. Luckily for me, by the time he died, he had understood the neurobiology that he talks about in God 4.0, and come to the key conclusions of the book. As you know, from his previous work, he was very, very good at devouring a lot of material from a lot of fields and really system, it's seeing how they connected to each other different fields. And in this book, he did the same. So it took a while for him to realize that or come to the conclusion that he states in the book that we all have this latent ability for transcendence that can be developed. And that would, meaning that we can all proceed beyond our normal consciousness. And in fact, we do so to some extent, everyday without noticing.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, and he did it eloquently, both of you in this book, and I want to thank you for, you know, finishing it up, because it could have been a manuscript that that didn't get out there. But Sally, your husband, Bob, or Robert, wrote the book. And he said, this book is about what it means to go beyond the ordinary perception of reality, and understand why I think that's important. How, in your estimation, do we, as a species, as a human species, connect through our transcendence and make a connection to what he referred in the book as the other? Or in this case, God?

Sally Ornstein
How do we go about it, I think the first thing we have to do is to Well, two things really know what normal consciousness is, and then know who we are. Because without knowing that normal consciousness is really very, very limited and addresses survival, it's enabled us to survive very successfully. But it's no longer appropriate for the global problems that we have today. To address the global problems that we have today, we have to, in a sense, go outside of ourselves. Which religious teachers often addresses shun the world go beyond normal consciousness and try to get beyond ourselves to a more selfless, more intuitive, expanded perception of our connection to each other.

Greg Voisen
Yes. And you know, there's so much out there today, Sally around this. Now I know, as BM being a neuroscientist, it was really interesting. But, you know, look, you look at Michael Pollan's new book, and he writes about people micro dosing, LSD and various substances to try and go beyond the current consciousness and to make this connection, and we've tried to transcend our normal existence in search of these answers, he said, to our perennial questions about the meaning of life and death, because this is really what this is all about. This is why individuals will utilize other substances, pod, whatever it might be. How do we expand our consciousness in your, in his estimation, to better understand our longing to receive answers to those meaningful questions in life? The questions of really meaning the meaning of life?

Sally Ornstein
Well, there's a saying that if you sincerely seek truth, truth will find you. I think the I think the problem of of ingesting substances, or doing practices that you feel might get you somewhere is that you don't really know how to do that without guidance. I think what you have to realize, is that what I am for myself, I realized that I don't know what truth is. And so if I take something that tells me Well, okay, it's not the experiences different, I'm having a transcendental experience, I'm outside of myself on coyote or whatever, and, but I've already, I already have expectations of what that journey is like. But if you're looking for truth, one of the caveats is is to go, you have to try and get rid of your assumptions and your expectation and allow the perception to come to you. I think the best analogy I can think of is my own experience as a painter. When things go really well, I am not involved, the magic happens. And I don't know what I'm painting about, I don't know what I'm doing exactly. But after, when one comes back to normal consciousness, it teaches you you can understand something about what you've painted, that you didn't know, you were bothered by, or didn't have any insight into. So in that in a way that's analogous to what we're trying to develop. Does that make sense?

Greg Voisen
Yeah, because you know, the people have been experimenting with this and talking about what we're talking about for some time. Some of this, what I would call benign terms that are being used for it is getting into the flow. Yes, Steven Kotler talks. Yeah. And Steven Kotler has been on the show six times, and he has the flow Genome Project. But the but the issue there is, is when like you said, You got out of the current state and into a new state or into an altered state of consciousness, which the painting full came through you. You didn't, there was no time there was nothing you done, you look back, and you went, Wow, look what I created. I didn't create that. Exactly. beyond me. Yes,

Sally Ornstein
that's the point, you have to get your ego out of the way. So even if you realize that you have this intuition, in a sense, you have to ignore it, you really, really have to keep quiet about it. It doesn't like interference, emotional interference.

Greg Voisen
Right now, these two hemispheres of the brain and the neuroscience part of it that Robert spent so much time how do we open the extra dimension, usually dormant in consciousness? To better know God?

Sally Ornstein
I think the it begins by self knowledge. I mean, there's a story I don't know whether you know, that folk, folk hero called nurse or Dean who goes to the goes from his village to the city, and he makes the king and he comes back and he says, the king spoke to me. And the villagers who were What did he say? And he said, he said, the king said, Get out of my way. That's what we have to do allow the king to come in and get out of and get out of its way. And then the our actions or understandings are different. It's not something you have to think about you, it just acts through you. It's like if I come in I don't Yeah,

Greg Voisen
we're, we're out. We're talking about consciousness. Here we're talking about neuroscience, we're talking about how the synapses to the brain actually fires in the endorphins released and all the chemicals in the system. But with inside this small little package at the top of our head, is really the thing that transforms our consciousness to make these connections. And you mentioned that the public or Robert did the public discussion of spirituality is often dominated by the extremes. Those that think the whole thing's in illusion, and the old fashioned superstition, while the other side maintains that God is everywhere. So if God is everywhere, and we are God, how can individuals rationalize this concept?

Sally Ornstein
Well, the short answer is they can't. As Bob describes, in the book, this is an intuitive perceptive capacity that can be developed. But it's a nonverbal experience, that's the result of the cultivation of the deactivation of certain areas of the brain. Areas that keep us in time, space. And with a sense of self, the part of us the me first, normal consciousness is what prophets and spiritual teachers, they've consistently told us that we should shun that, in other words, get beyond that, we have to get to a selfless state. Right to be activated.

Greg Voisen
And, and that can be done through many different practices, contemplation, meditation, prayer walks in the wood, extreme sports, we find people finding ways to actually attain this new altered state of consciousness, as Robert talks about in the book, in many different ways. Yeah. And, you know, Robert commented on the evolution of our consciousness, because that's what we're talking about is the evolution of this consciousness if, if we're at a lower level of consciousness, to elevate it, to a higher level of consciousness, and any talked about in a section of the book, how shamans played a role by showing us how they entered this static state of consciousness, where spirits can either enter their bodies, I should say, and speak through them. If you would speak with us about that the shaman experiences and the growth of spirituality, and are experiencing god 4.0. Because, in reality, if you were to take Iosco or you were to go to a shaman and the shamanistic traditions, you would find that this is where this is being spoken, kind of coming through you. And I bet you when they come out of that state, they don't even realize what they said.

Sally Ornstein
Yes. Well, in the book, we describe the vision journeys of the shaman who these accessing, as you said, access it, meaning outside the cell. In a sense, they can be thought of as our original priests, and we talk of the vision journeys as ways in which dealers, they survived, really, I mean, 35,000 years ago, we're talking about six people per 40 square miles in in an ice age, I mean, it's incredible circumstances that we went that we survived, and we must have done this in a way in which other modes of consciousness were accessible, it's because it can't have been by trial and error. They weren't enough enough of us. So there must have been some intuition involved. And in fact, in the book we talk about a contemporary Sharma and I don't know whether you remember what we talked about. I think her name was Colin sundram. And she's was she got into natural Shon manic states when she heard certain drumming and eventually got trained with shamans in Mongolia and she also is part of a laboratory that that is investigating what happens in the brain and one of the trance states that she got into one of the tests that they gave her was to was to bowls of water was to come across to was to Intuit which bowl of water had the poison, and she could, so in a sense that that might in these intuitions, in a sense go by beyond what we normally experienced, but don't forget that, you know that this is a long for most of us this, we emphasize writing. And now in the digital age, you can see children's brains are wired up differently. I mean, our brains are wired up differently. And a lot of the space that now is dealing with Excel sheets and manuscripts. Trying to put things into words, takes up a lot of space. And what the book is suggesting is that we need to really allow for saluted support for activities that can, in a sense, provoke this other higher consciousness because it can be now valuable to us, since normal consciousness doesn't, in fact, serve us. And we can tell that by the mess we're in, frankly, politically, everybody's out for me first, and then as we get beyond that, there won't be the solutions we need to survive and maintain the planet.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, I concur. And and I think we speak about a topic, when you look at the levels of consciousness is Ken Wilber talks about, or many different authors speak about, we do have smaller numbers of people that have evolved, but we are seeing more and more evolution in this area. And you know, you talk about the evolution of consciousness, along what Robert referred to, as a timeline from God 1.0, to God 4.0. And you reference in the book arrows in time, all kinds of errors, you go way back, and how our understanding of God involved. And he's stated that in, in it in the 1500 years ago, that we produced a world substantially different from the way it was at the time of the genesis of any of the three Mana lithics religions a monolithic religion? And what is our new spiritual literacy? in your estimation, what is this, you know, it was spoken about in the book, the new spiritual literacy.

Sally Ornstein
I think the new spiritual literacy is something that we have yet to develop what Bob did in the book was to describe how this state of consciousness is activated. neurobiologically and he got that information from, as you say, people who took drugs from, from brain damage, people with brain damage and, and such like, so we know how it works neurobiologically and we know that this activation is on a continuum. And that, at the far end, say the beginning of the continuum will be when there's an insight, a small insight on how to solve a problem, but at the end of and then you will go to the creative experience, as we were talking about and to, for example, Einstein and Rama, Newton, those exemplary people who valued intuition and who were remarkable in their own fields and beyond that, I think, with and this is important with a lot of discipline and practice. You have the prophets and spiritual teachers, and that doesn't that activation that what we distinguish as a higher consciousness in Arabic, it's insane and Camille that perfected man, doesn't come easy, but it is in our potential. And what we're seeing in God 4.0 is that if this latent faculty become known that if we start to know know about this faculty that it can be developed, and that we promote the idea of it, of its potential in the world, it will activate it you can't activate something you know nothing about so we're saying this is and that's one of the reasons why I was determined to finish the book because it's, it's so important to know that we have this extra step in our evolution that we need to make as Bob Bob said, since the 70s, I think you can't have social evolution without conscious evolution. And this is what he's talking about.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, agreed. And you know, the concept is almost a bit more awful in the sense that, you know, to for listeners to try and get their hands around it. So to bring it back in to something That you're asking people to become versus them doing, if there were things that you saw, because Bob spent his life studying the brain and the neurosciences and was very interested in this. And you have a lot of listeners out there that are probably saying, well, I understand what she's speaking about. But how do I individually take some type of steps toward this evolution of my own consciousness? What would you tell them? Because both you and and Bob, obviously are extremely high in your levels of consciousness. And it would be something that the listeners, I think, would want to know.

Sally Ornstein
Well, as we say, in the book, and we quote, a lot of the material from the works of the Sufi tradition. For us, the understanding that we've gathered through studying the works of Idris Shah, and who is the, the latest contemporary teacher of the Sufi tradition. That is where really, we've gotten our understanding. And that has always been, I expect, you know, from Bob's work in the past, from the psychology of consciousness onwards, something that has been of importance to him. But again, we're not, we're not authorities on that. And we're not saying this is the way you have to go, I mean, we will have to find their own direction. But that is the way through studying interest shots works for teaching stories that we mentioned in the book, and that his comments on the teaching stories show himself, we take a long extract in the afterword of the book, so that people can clearly see what is in it in, what the teaching stories are, and how they might help them. And I can talk about that more. But that is what Bob and I have used to develop this more comprehensive, this more perceptive capacity.

Greg Voisen
And perceptive capacity is a great way to reference it because, you know, individuals that are listening today, whether they're on a spiritual path or a personal growth path, or whatever path they're on, they're seeking, they're seeking something more, because they know there's something more and what your book does, is open up the the more to them, and how that consciousness can expand. And if you would speak with us about the difference, an independent line of research that confirms how our brains open to enhanced connections to the world, because this was Bob's work and how does this Transcranial direct current stimulation, which you referenced it in the book assist in making the two connections between the two hemispheres of the brain? And does this allow us to experience this out of body experience to make a connection with God?

Sally Ornstein
Um, well, Bob was quite interested in expert in brain stimulation studies, as you point out, he was also quite clear that studying people with brain injuries, while it can be revealing, you've got to be careful what you do. So I don't think and he also points out that they're often quite imprecise and not ready for practical application. I think that's what you're referring to that yes, it's very hard to get a real take on what happens with an experience of higher consciousness from applying an instrument because you're already affected by the actual invasion of the instrument or the the fracture going on around you. Again, I think what what what really he's talking about precisely his what goes on in the brain that he's known that he's recorded, like for example, the deactivation of the default mode network, which is a part of the brain that we all go to when we're doing nothing and it kind of as we say in English, it rabbits on it goes on and on and on about who am I What do you think of me? Oh, there's the roast burning. I've got to get the Children from school all those things when that is and that's very much the center of what he calls the executive function of the brain that that puts up our self, this self that we need to actually deactivate. It puts it in the center of it all. Because again, our normal consciousness class Imaginarium as he calls it in the book, is what Kant that's what makes each of us that's the world we live in. I mean, we all share normal consciousness, but our Imaginarium our experiences and memories are all different. So, when that is deactivated when the default mode and the Imaginarium is deactivated, that is the he describes it as the the borders dissolve and the and the self is diminished in favor of this more holistic approach this more or less, a more holistic comprehension. In the same way, he talks about the right parietal lobe, which has its function and forgive me, but I'm not the expert on this. And he does describe it so perfectly in the book. So I hope readers will take this from the book rather than me, but I'll do the best they can. The right parietal lobe puts us in in place, look at the location, space time, all the things all the aspects that keep us locked into the normal world and that also has to be deactivated. Right? In order for us to attain this higher consciousness. So you're looking for something that will do that. But again, because we're all individual, the there has to be some precision what works for somebody in like, for example, in the 13th century, Jalaluddin Rumi, the Sufi, mystic and poet used to had in Konya Whirling Dervishes right now he prescribed the wording of the dervishes because he was dealing with a community that was quite phlegmatic. You wouldn't put you wouldn't prescribe that with Western says with America today because we tend to be over emotional. So you have to find another way of quieting of not feeding that emotionality but going in another direction in order to develop this consciousness through a quieter means. And as I said, for us, for Bob and I the the choir to means is to is to familiarize ourselves with these teaching stories from the Sufi tradition collected for this time, and these circumstances by Indra Shah,

Greg Voisen
yes, idrissa. Well, I think Sally, then what you really have highlighted here is that we're all individuals, number one, and number two, the experience is a holistic one, that we don't need to alter our consciousness with drugs or other things to elevate this consciousness to this level, the key is to be able to not only move to the new level of consciousness, but to stay there and have it become part of our being. And if you were to leave, if you were to leave our listeners with the three important points regarding god 4.0, what would they be? And how can they elevate their consciousness to have a deeper connection? In this case, God 4.0 kind of connection. Personally, they're they're out there listening, they understand, they understand that this is available to them, they understand they want to take a holistic approach to it. You were talking about the various things that they could read? Is there anything in particular that you would recommend that they go to read resource reference? What might you tell them?

Sally Ornstein
Well, they could start with God 4.0

Greg Voisen
Well, they're going to read God 4.0 because they're gonna put it up there. And you have a huge agenda here in the book with all kinds of references that Robert made when he was writing the book, and I was just curious if there were and when you look at the references, you know, he talks with Rumi the way of the Sophie's the case of God the and it goes on and on and on. And I guess maybe just let them reference those particular elements of the book including the addendum. Yeah.

Sally Ornstein
Hi. They asked what is is the afterword is is key to what, which is written by Idris Shah, which describes the teaching story more succinctly that either Bob or I could, which is why we included it.

Greg Voisen
Well, it's the Idris Shah foundation dot orgy. So for my listeners, this is ID r i e s s h a h foundation dot o RG Idris Shah foundation is for further readings, it's listed in the book, but I wanted to give it to him. And we will put a link in our blog for that as well. Now going back now going back to this, what would you What would you want to leave our listeners with three important points?

Sally Ornstein
I think that it's about experience, it's about a nonverbal experience that will direct your life. And that will enable you to understand much more than you than you currently do. And that it is possible to develop and that the province of provoking it starts with knowing who we are, starts with understanding what normal consciousness is, and the experience of creativity, problem solving. So those intuitions that you get our part of that continuum that leads to this higher perception. But again, it's it's about experience. So it's very hard to is just

Greg Voisen
to know, I understand, you know, it's it's intuition, I wrote a book on intuition, so I understand it well. And I think that the things that we do to prepare ourselves to have greater levels of intuition or opening of our consciousness or understanding that it's available. As I mentioned, you know, 15 minutes ago, it's, you know, it's deep contemplation, it's meditation, it's walks in the woods, it's doing things that takes that part of the brain, which is constantly clicking, and keeping you in what I would call either the dead past or the imagined future, because you're thinking about things that happened yesterday, or things you have to do tomorrow. And if you can learn to stay in this state of now, as we've talked about, many famous authors write about, I think that is the starting point, to actually access this highest level of, of consciousness. And I don't know if you agree with that, but I would think that you probably would,

Sally Ornstein
I think being in the present, in the sense that the ordinary world is a is a bridge to that higher consciousness. So being in the present is certainly important.

Greg Voisen
Well, I think the Buddhists used to talk about the delusion and the Maya. And the reality is, is the rest of the world that is the Maya and the delusion. And to get out of that requires that we understand that we're in it. So the first element is awareness. And I think so many people don't actually even have that level of awareness. So first, a number one is awareness. And after the awareness is finding things that we can do to alter the state of consciousness to access a higher level of intuition, and then a connection with God. Agree

Sally Ornstein
being our higher consciousness. state of mind? Yes, I think that's so but it is, you know, it is quite subtle and one can't have it's not exactly like, as we're used to, you can't sort of pay your money and get it immediately. So it's a long road.

Greg Voisen
Oh, that that's for certain. I think people, shamans, spiritual, spiritual teachers, people that have been going down this path. It's all a unique experience at each one of them. And I think it's at the intersection frequently where it happens, we see it happen, as many people that have had near death experiences come the closest, but then are able to come back from that and actually give an account of those kinds of things. Those, those experiences actually do get people to shift and transform their consciousness most of the time, most of the time.

Sally Ornstein
So yes, but what we're what we need to work on is? How do we get this higher consciousness to inform our actions in the everyday world? Yeah, that agree that there has to be something that's developed and works in parallel. It's not about giving up something or it's about making making room for. And it informs our choices. I mean, intuitively, you know, for example, what not to do and what, what to do, as Bob would use to say, we have no idea sometimes whether, because we took a less it saved us from an accident if we take an A write, you know, it's sort of on that we have no idea a lot of the time that intuition that protective capacity is working, but it is working and we can develop it.

Greg Voisen
Most certainly, well, Sally, it's been a pleasure having you on inside personal growth. And for my listeners, we've been talking with Sally Ornstein, and the book is God 4.0 we'll put a link to Amazon. It's on the nature of higher consciousness and the experience called God. If you want to take a deeper dive into this, Robert has done a wonderful job of giving you kind of a roadmap here giving you history and talking about the neuroscience of it as well, along with the spirituality of it. And I think the book is extremely well done, and gives the reader an opportunity to take a dive and understand more. And Sally, thanks for you, sticking in there after Roberts death and actually completing the book and getting it published, bringing it out to the public. I really appreciate that.

Sally Ornstein
Thank you for having me, and I'm grateful for this opportunity to talk about it. Thank you.

Greg Voisen
Thank you. Bye

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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