I’ve spent the last month completing Ashok Gupta’s Meaning Of Life Experiment, after being reminded of it on the Community Of Hope For Recovery group on Facebook. It sounds like Ashok is doing a Deepak and expanding his teaching beyond just CFS sufferers to the masses. Here’s what I discovered about the meaning of life…
I really liked the effect of making the commitment to doing a 20 minute meditation every day using the meditations in the iPhone app. It gives you the choice of a 10 or 20 minute guided meditation led by Ashok’s familiar soothing voice. The Soften and Flow meditation sounded particularly familiar… It’s exactly the same as the one in his Amygdala Retraining Program; which must make the references to symptoms sound a bit out of place to people without any physical health condition.
I enjoyed the daily teaching videos too. While the metaphors he uses are new, the videos encapsulate a lot of what I learned during my counselling and life coach training and my own life journey from head to heart. Not bad given that you get this all for free given what I’ve forked out for a zillion courses over the years.
The biggest challenge for me in completing the experiment was when my bullshit detector went off during the teaching on about day 4 where Ashok suggested that consciousness is a basic property of matter in the universe, and that human consciousness arises in the brain as a result. It included all the usual misappropriation of concepts from quantum physics that the quantum consciousness crowd like to spin out. I suspect he’s been reading too much Deepak Chopra. The telling point for me here is that actual quantum physicists do not generally agree with this interpretation of their own discoveries about the nature of reality.
I firmly believe that consciousness arises in our brains as a product of the incredible complexity of their wiring, in a manner that we don’t yet fully understand. Hypothesising that consciousness exists outside of our own minds just because we can’t fully explain how consciousness arises in our brains is just as bad as hypothesising a god or gods to explain other aspects of the natural world that we don’t yet fully understand.
On the other hand, I can see that Ashok’s ideas could confer a calming benefit on a believer’s nervous system, and that may be more important that sticking with objective truth. The notion that we are all connected to a blissful, loving, universal, eternal consciousness is a lovely calming idea. I even had a session with a client last week where we discussed why she didn’t pray when feeling overwhelmed with anxiety; which was interesting given I’m an atheist. There’s a reason the concept of a higher power exists in all religions: it works if you believe in it, whether it’s actually true or not.
I nearly abandoned the experiment at this point, but I persisted; and I’m glad I did. Most of the concepts and tools presented in the later videos work regardless of what you believe about consciousness. The material on unconscious conditioning and projected reality makes a lot of sense and is the crux of the experiment for me: How we see the world and our place in it is an unconscious projection of our early life conditioning, at least until we bring it into consciousness and learn to rewrite it’s story about us.
I felt a little frustrated with the last few days on Life Purpose. I’m pretty sure I know what my life purpose is, but it’s challenging to pursue right now when I don’t feel 100% well. I suspect I just have more conditioning to undo before I can really move forward full speed. In the mean time, I’ll do what I can and remind myself that I’m exactly where I need to be right now.
In the last couple of videos Ashok talks about the value of having a coach in life, and I totally agree with him on this point. I’ve had many coaches, teachers and mentors to help me make sense of life’s ups and downs. I haven’t done his CFS coaching training but I do think his heart is in the right place when it comes to being a coach and making a positive difference to the world.
I’m curious how other people with CFS find The Meaning Of Life Experiment. It’s really not a replacement for The Gupta Program for CFS, but it does cover some similar ground and clearly shares the same foundation about letting go of defining ourselves by our over-achievements.
If you’ve completed the experiment or are part way through and looking for someone to help you implement what he teaches, get in touch with me and I’d be happy to talk about whether I’m the right coach for you.