Exploring Fractal Time

Tami Simon: You’re listening to “Insights at the Edge.” Today my guest is Gregg Braden. For over 20 years, Gregg has been a leading authority on ancient prophecies, sacred sites, and lost spiritual practices. He’s the author of the books Fractal Time: The Secret of 2012 and a New World Age; Awakening to Zero Point: The Collective Initiation; Walking Between the Worlds: The Science of Compassion; and The Isaiah Effect: Decoding the Lost Science of Prayer and Prophecy. Coming from Sounds True beginning on November 3, Gregg Braden will be hosting a three-part online event series called Exploring Fractal Time: Choice Point 2012.

In this episode, Gregg and I spoke about cycles of time, the energy that’s at the center of the Milky Way, and what we can learn from ancient cultures about what he calls “choosing with our hearts.” Here’s my conversation with Gregg Braden.

I wanted to begin, Gregg, by talking to you about fractal time. What is fractal time, and how did you come up with that phrase, that concept?

Gregg Braden: Well, those are two very different questions, so I’ll begin just with a little background on fractal time. For the bulk of my adult life, I’ve spent time with indigenous cultures and traditions throughout the world, and one of the really profound understandings that I’ve gleaned from my time with these people, ranging from the Andes mountains of Bolivia and Peru, to the monasteries of Tibet, to the mountains of Egypt and India and Nepal and all places in between, is that almost universally the ancient people of this world see our lives and our planet in terms of cycles—cyclic time, beginnings and endings that lead to new beginnings.

And for many Westerners, in our modern, technological, kind of left-brain society as it is formed today, what I’ve found is this is a very different way for them to see the world. That we’re conditioned, most of us, through our family thinking, through our society, certainly through our educational system, to think in terms of linear experiences. Take civilization, for example. When I was in school back in the sixties, I was taught that civilization began with primitive communities that gradually advanced over a long period of time to the steel skyscrapers that we see today: a linear progression.

And when we talk about history in our classrooms today—even right now, our listeners who have children in school, the children are being taught that civilization is about 5,000 years old. Well, while that may be true for this civilization, what the archaeological record is beginning to show is that there were civilizations that pre-date that 5,000 years. Advanced civilizations. And it is causing problems in terms of historical time lines and chronology. And it’s difficult to explain until we allow for the possibility of cycles and the cyclic existence that so many other cultures talk about. And the bottom line for me is that civilizations appear to have existed in the past. Humans certainly have had understandings in the past that have been forgotten, and that we are now rediscovering through the language of science.

And for me, Tami, the value of embracing this cyclic view of the world is that it really helps us to understand and give meaning to the changes that we see happening in our world today. It’s almost universally our—the best minds of our time today suggest that we are living a time of crisis, multiple crises all converging in this narrow window of time, between about 1980 and 2016. And they talk about crises of climate and economy, and crises of war, and food shortages and water shortages, and the things that we all know are breaking down very quickly today. And when we look at all of those things converging in this narrow window of time, the question comes up as to why. Why would all these things be breaking down in such a narrow window of time? And it doesn’t make a lot of sense until we think of the world in terms of cycles, and we begin to adopt the cyclic view. Then we know that whatever’s happening today has probably happened in the past, and if we know where to look, then it gives us a good insight into realistically what has happened in the past and what we can expect in terms of physical changes on earth, and what we can expect in terms of the way people respond to those changes.

So it’s this cyclic nature of life and civilization and the universe that led to my exploration of cycles of time. And this is where the fractals come in, in nature. What we see are patterns that repeat themselves on different scales of magnitude again and again and again. For example, the pattern of an atom, with little electrons orbiting around the nucleus, looks a whole lot like moons orbiting around a planet, which looks a whole lot like planets orbiting around a sun—very, very similar patterns, but obviously they’re different in scale. So we say that the atom is a fractal pattern of the solar system, for example; the same pattern exists on a different scale. And the beauty of understanding fractals is if we know how the pattern works on one level, it gives us tremendous insight into how that pattern works on other levels. So if we understand what keeps electrons orbiting around a nucleus, for example, it gives us insight into what keeps planets orbiting around the sun.

So if that idea makes sense, then what I’ve done in the book Fractal Time is applied the idea of fractals to cycles of time. If we can understand the patterns from the past—the smaller patterns of cycles of time in the past—it gives us insight into our understanding of what we can expect when those big patterns repeat in the present and in the future. So it’s a long answer to a short question.

TS: No, no, no—it’s very good.

GB: It gives us a lot to tie into as we go through our program today.

TS: Yes, very good. What it brings up for me is: in fractal time evolution, how do you take into account forward progress, a sense of linearity, which of course each one of us can feel in our own life, and we can feel in terms of the stream of history?

GB: That’s a great question. It’s a question I had to ask myself as I was developing these ideas. And I’d just like to say the idea of cycles of time is acknowledged and embraced now not only by indigenous traditions, but the idea of repeating patterns in nature and the role of fractals is now accepted in modern science, in peer-reviewed scientific and technical journals. So cycles and fractals are both accepted in mainstream science. The leap that the book Fractal Time takes is marrying these two natural patterns into a greater understanding that gives meaning to our lives personally as well as collectively, locally as well as globally. And we can talk about what that means in the program.

And to understand all of that, what I had to do was draw upon my background in the earth sciences and the space sciences and mathematics and physics and biology, and bring all of those to bear upon this understanding. And the bottom line is that nature appears to be a very simple process, and the patterns of nature appear to be very simple patterns. We can make them complex; we can use complex language and complex mathematics to describe them if we choose. However, very simple mathematic principles are what govern the orbits of planets around the sun, and they’re what govern the proportions of the human body. And those patterns and those mathematics appear to take into account all of the natural possibilities that you’re talking about.

So the stock market is a beautiful example of this. Economists acknowledge that the stock market is essentially a mirror of investor psychology—of mass investor psychology. And because the investors are humans, we are part of nature, so the stock market follows natural cycles that are also governed by very simple patterns of mathematics. And it is that understanding that led to one of the most successful stock-market prediction tools in history, based on the works of a naturalist early in the twentieth century. His name was R. N. Elliott, and R. N. Elliott recognized the natural patterns of economics. In the 1980s, a man named Robert Prechter applied that to the stock market and came up with what is now called the Elliott Wave Principle. And it is one of the most successful market-prediction tools, taking into account the mathematics itself and taking into account all possibilities of human choice. And that opens the door to a whole conversation about free will and how our choices affect our reality, but that’s again a long answer to a short question. The math incorporates all of the possibilities of linearity, as well.

TS: Well . . .

GB: If that makes sense . . .

TS: Well, I’m still not 100 percent clear on the linearity component in looking at fractals and cycles.

GB: Well, the linearity is— It’s only linear until we step back and look at the big picture. And what we find is the linearity itself repeats again and again as fractal cycles. History, for example, only appears linear if we’re looking at 5,000 years of history. And that’s what’s being taught in our classrooms. But the archaeology now is revealing— I just had the opportunity, we just had a group in Peru in June, and when the group went home I had the opportunity to visit and document what is now the oldest archaeological site, Tami, in all of the Americas. Older than anything in the Mayan tradition or in the Aztec. It’s upsetting the history books because it is dated 1,500 years before this kind of advanced civilization should even exist in the Americas, according to traditional wisdom. And interestingly enough, this archaeological site—it’s a 66-acre site, five massive pyramids surrounding a great, central, sunken, circular complex—it’s dated right at 5,000 years. It’s at the end of the last 5,000-year cycle and the beginning of the current 5,000-year cycle that so many indigenous traditions are talking about. And it’s a beautiful example of—we have a linear view of civilization until we step back and look at the big picture, and see that there was another rise and another fall that happened before that, that creates the cycle.

TS: OK, I’m with you now. So it’s a question of taking a far enough view from far enough away to get a big picture, if you will.

GB: It is. And one of the things visually—when I share this information with audiences all over the world, and as you know a lot of it is done through translators, and I never really know how well the translations come across. But I know that pictures and charts and graphs and illustrations really tell a lot of the story. So when we talk about the history of the earth and changes upon the earth—physical changes upon the earth—one of the ways that we’ve been able to convey that to large, general audiences, nonscientific audiences, is by sharing with them the images of data collected from the earth and on the poles of the earth: the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland, the North and the South poles. Those areas represent essentially a library, locked into the ice, of the history of the earth. Every year a new layer of ice is deposited on the North and the South poles. In that layer, we have dust particles from the atmosphere—little bubbles of the atmosphere, little air bubbles that contain carbon dioxide and oxygen, as well as pollen grains that are floating in the atmosphere during that year. And all of that information is locked into that layer of ice.

So in 1999, scientists of the earth, who recognized that global warming was destroying the ice, said, “You know, we’d better capture as much of this data as we can.” And they drilled to the bottom of the thickest ice core, or the thickest ice layer, in Antarctica—it’s an area called Lake Vostok. And even the scientists were amazed, Tami; they captured 480,000 layers of ice, each layer representing one year of the history of the earth. So all of a sudden, we now had 480,000 years of earth’s history where we can tell how much sunlight penetrated the earth, how strong the magnetic fields were, were the temperatures high or low? Were the sea levels high or low? And we could compare today with those 480,000 years.

And when we look at those charts, what we see is the cycles are so obvious—the rhythmic rise and fall of the sea levels, the rise and fall of the temperatures both in the North and South poles, the rise and fall of the energy from the sun that reaches the surface of the earth, of the magnetic fields of the earth. And when our audiences see graphically that vast span of time, and they see that if we step back far enough, what we see is that the earth goes through these rhythmic changes on a periodic basis.

And then we overlay a chart of civilization in human history onto this rise and fall, and what we see is that the changes in the earth actually correlate to the rise and fall of great civilizations, to triggers for war and peace as resources become abundant or resources dwindle, and competition for the resources. And it really helps to convey this idea that we live in a cyclic world, at least on our planet, and that our civilization is in a critical phase of a cycle, which we can see if we step back far enough and look at the message of history.

And then it opens the question, what can we learn from those cycles and those civilizations of the past that may benefit us today? What did they know that we’ve forgotten? What mistakes did they make that we can learn from? And all of that, I believe, is what we are now gleaning from this relatively new understanding of the earth and our lives in terms of cycles, and the fractal nature of cycles. If we understand the little patterns of the past and we know where to look in the past, it gives us this insight into what we can realistically expect, and choices that we have before us in our lives today.

TS: OK, let’s go directly into exploring. You mentioned the period between 1980 and 2016 as being this period that we’re in right now. Where in history or what other great cycles brought us to a similar fractally resonant period of historic time, to the time that we’re in now?

GB: Well, this is interesting. It’s an interesting question, and I’m going to begin just by saying that mainstream science in journals like Nature, very prestigious journals like Nature, now publish the peer-reviewed articles telling us, number one, that earth is directly influenced by a powerful source of energy at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, the magnetic fields at the center of our Milky Way. So that is now accepted scientific fact: that earth is influenced by an invisible field of energy, a magnetic field, at the center of the Milky Way. And number two, that our location in the heavens, where we are in the orbit around the Milky Way, determines how much we are influenced. So when our orbit brings us closer to the center of the Milky Way, we have greater influence. And when the elliptical orbit takes us farther away, we have less influence.

TS: Now I’m sorry, I’m not following you, Gregg. Influence: what do you mean, greater or lesser influence?

GB: That life on earth is influenced by these powerful fields of energy, specifically magnetic fields that emanate from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. So the technical journals are actually linking what’s called biodiversity and the rise and fall of life on earth to how close or how far away we are from these fields. And that is determined by where we are in the orbit around this source of energy at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

And what’s so interesting is that scientists now have determined as well that it is cyclic—that our location, our change in location in the heavens and how we’re affected by these fields, is cyclic. There’s a rhythm that they’ve been able to determine mathematically, and this was only in the early 2000s—2004, 2006—when these articles were published. So number one, they’re telling us that there’s a field of energy, and number two is that where we are in the heavens determines how we’re influenced, and that this changes on a cyclic or a rhythmic basis.

So the reason I’m beginning to answer the question like this is because modern science has only arrived at this understanding, but somehow many ancient cultures knew about this long before we had satellites, GPS, computers, and things like that to tell them. And among those cultures were the Mesoamerican cultures, through the desert Southwest down through Mexico, the Yucatan, and down into what is now called the Andean region of South America—Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and those areas. These cultures developed systems of timekeeping that actually predicted when these cycles would occur.

And the tradition that the Western mind relates to the best is the Mayan tradition, because they use numbers and cycles of numbers that make sense to us. Many of the other traditions used earth-based signs. In the desert Southwest, for example, they said, “When the white buffalo appears in the plains of North America, it will be time for a cycle.” Or “When the crops don’t grow in their season, and the rain stops, it will be time for a cycle.” And scientists can’t do much with that. But the Mayan traditions actually attach numbers that make sense to us today, numbers that are linked to rare astronomical events like eclipses and solstices and things like that, which we can actually verify with our computers. So the Mayan culture is the one that’s kind of on our radar today. It’s in our sights, because the Mayans so accurately predicted a 5,000-year cycle that began with a rare astronomical event in the year 3,114 BC—that’s the Biblical era, 5,000 years ago—and that 5,125-year cycle ends with the winter solstice of December 21, 2012 AD. And this is the date that so many people and so much of the media have really latched onto.

That is the cycle that the Mayan timekeepers identified. What the mathematicians tell us is that the effects of that cycle—actually, we began to feel the greater effects right around the year 1980, and it lasts for 36 years through the year 2016. We’re in 2010 now, telling us that we’re over halfway through, and well into the changes that can be expected to accompany that kind of a cycle.

TS: So Gregg, are you saying that 5,000 years ago, there was something happening on earth that we need to pay attention to, because there was a transition then that can help us go through this transition now?

GB: I think so. If we consider the cyclic nature of our world, of earth, of orbits, earth’s orbits in the heavens, and the influence of magnetic fields from the center of our Milky Way, the magnetic fields from our own sun, things like that—if we consider all of those things, then what we know is the 2012 window that we’re looking at today has happened before. This isn’t the first 2012. And from that perspective, if we know where to look in the past, we can see physically—from things like the ice cores that we mentioned a few moments ago—we can see really what kinds of changes happened to the earth. Were the temperatures then like they are now? Or are we living an anomaly in terms of the temperatures of the earth? The sea levels are rising now and the islands are disappearing—is that really unusual for where we are in the cycle right now? We can determine those things. And we can also determine what it meant to people through the archaeological record and through civilizations—how did people respond? What was the cultural response? What was the social response?

And the bottom line, just to get there very quickly, is that the changes we’re seeing on earth right now—if we compare them to the last 50 years—has earth gone through a big change? Absolutely. For the last 100, 150, 200 years, absolutely earth has gone through a lot of change. When we look at the big picture, is the change anomalous for where we are in our cycle? Absolutely not. These are the changes that we expect when we go through the cycles that we’re going through right now. So—and I think this is the value of looking into the past—if we understand that as so many indigenous traditions have been telling us for so long, they were saying, “Get ready. We’re going to go through some big changes.” It’s not the end of the world. It’s the end of a way of living in the world based on the world that has been, and the opportunity to develop new ways of living in the world now that the world is changing.

So I think there is a value in looking at the cycles and the history of the past, and learning from the mistakes (if there were any) that were made in the past so that we can avoid those mistakes today.

TS: So what I’m interested in is, what do we know about what was happening 5,000 years ago that’s relevant for our situation now?

GB: Well, this is where the archaeological sites, I think, are fascinating, and the history in the ice is fascinating. So let’s begin with the physical changes on the earth. We’re hearing so much about the earth’s changes. Many people suggest the earth is broken, that something has gone horribly awry. And I can see where they would feel that way, because the earth is very, very different now than it was 100, 150, 200 years ago. When we look at the ice cores from Antarctica, for example, what we see is that the changes that we’ve all experienced in the last 20 to 50 years, those changes have brought us precisely into the range of where we always are when we reach this point in the 5,000-year cycle. The temperatures of the earth always increase one to two degrees Celsius, and the ice melts on the poles to some degree. And that melting ice causes an increase in the sea levels, which changes the ocean currents, which changes the climate, which changes the weather patterns. And we can see in the charts, we can see in the graphs the data, the physical data, that where we are now, the energy from the sun reaching the earth right now, is equivalent to the energy of the sun reaching the earth 5,000 years ago. And then if we look further, it’s also where it was 10,000 years ago, two cycles—two 5,000-year cycles—in the past.

So what we can say is that the physical changes bring us into an alignment, [the same as when we reached] this point in the cycle at least for the last two cycles.

TS: OK, now let me just interrupt you for one second here, Gregg, to ask a question. Because I think most people think that the increase in temperature is related to the human impact from carbon dioxide emissions, and of course that wouldn’t have been true 5,000 or 10,000 years ago in the same way.

GB: This is where we have to be really careful, because it’s easy to skew data, and I think we all know that. We can make data look— You know, you can take a sample of data and make it look almost any way you want to make it look. If we look at carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere for the last 50 years, and the last 100 years, the last 200 years, the last 500 years, it’s easy to see that increase—because it has increased, because of industry—and correlate that with the temperature of the changes in the earth. If, however, you step back and you look at the big picture, what we find is that the earth warmed 5,000 years ago and we didn’t have the carbon dioxide. And the energy from the sun was believed to be responsible for that; it’s called a solar-driven model. And then if we go back another 5,000 years, another 10,000 years, we see the exact same thing happening. It’s not approximate. When we look at the charts from Antarctica, for example, and the Greenland ice cores, it’s almost exact.

So do we need to clean up the way we live on this planet? Absolutely. Do we need to find green, sustainable ways of living our lives? Absolutely. And I am completely onboard with that. Have we broken the earth? Probably not. Have we contributed to the amount of carbon dioxide in the air? Absolutely we’ve contributed to it. Did our contribution trigger global warming? The jury’s out on that, but from what I see the evidence suggests that we did not trigger the global warming. So you can see where it can become very political. And you can take that data and we can use it in a lot of different ways.

But for me, it goes even beyond this, because now we look at the human component: What happened to people when they went through the changes 5,000 years ago? And what we’ve found is some of the great civilizations like the one in South America, it collapsed right at that 5,000-year mark. And now there are archaeological sites that are being dated at 10,000 years. So 10,000 years ago is 8,000 BC. This completely messes up the time line and the chronology in most history books.

On the border between India and Pakistan, for example, evidence of advanced civilizations—hot and cold running water, closed sewage systems—they are now being dated right around 8,000 BC. That’s two cycles ago. The same thing we find in Egypt: new evidence of advanced civilizations that are at that 10,000-year mark and possibly older, in Egypt and also in Bolivia. Now the dates are controversial, absolutely, because they upset the conventional wisdom. But the anomalous evidence is becoming so abundant that we have to ask ourselves, “Do we need a new model of our history?”

And it causes problems from the historic perspective. For me, those problems are solved when we consider cycles of time. When we study 5,000 years of civilization and we say civilization began 5,000 years ago, what we really mean is that this cycle of civilization began 5,000 years ago. And the question is, what happened before that? And I think part of what we’re all learning right now, we’re redefining our relationship to the world. And I think many of your authors are contributing to that, people like Bruce Lipton helping us to redefine our relationship to the cells of our bodies, and to the role between emotion and—the power of human emotion and how it triggers changes in our bodies. We’re redefining the history and how long we’ve been on this planet; we’re redefining our relationship to the earth and possibly beyond.

And I think all of this is a healthy reality check; it’s a reexamination of our role and our relationship to the world. And it all—this is where context is so important—it all is happening at the end of this 5,000-year cycle, when changes in the world have triggered a series of crises that we must solve in order to survive. And the only way to solve the crises is to think differently about ourselves and our relationship to one another, and our relationship to the earth. And I think this is the reality check, if you will, that we’re experiencing now.

And what I find so fascinating is when I talk to people like my mom—I talk to my mom about this all the time—from her perspective and her years on this earth, my mom says it looks like the world’s just falling apart at the seams. And it’s easy to see that, until we look closely at what is breaking down. And what we find is that the only things that are really breaking down are the things that are no longer sustainable. And this appears to be a hallmark of our time in history, our time in this cycle. When the world changes, the systems that we’ve put in place to live our lives are strained by the change, and the ones that are not sustainable seem to show up pretty quickly; they break down very quickly. And the ones that are sustainable seem to hold up pretty well in the presence of the changes. And I think that’s what we’re witnessing in the world now: a breakdown of an economic system that’s not sustainable. Of a system of providing electricity to a planet and fueling a planet by burning fossil fuels, which is a finite source of fuels that actually destroy the very atmosphere of the planet that we love.

So I think when we look closely, we see the only things that are really breaking down are the things that are not sustainable. And then our choice becomes one of whether or not we can honor the things of the past that worked so well, that got us to where we are today, and let those things go and accept new, sustainable ways of living, or if we fight to try to hang on to old, unsustainable ways of life. And we’re still making that choice today.

TS: So when we look back 5,000 years or 10,000 years, can we see that there were certain successes in the way that people dealt with this period of time? And if so, what were those successes?

GB: Yes, absolutely, because people lived through those changes and they wrote to us. It’s fascinating to me that the Biblical Era—for example, 3,000 BC, which is 5,000 years ago—this is the time when the core of so many of our most cherished spiritual traditions developed, during the time of the Great Change of the cycle 5,000 years ago, where people looked within themselves to try to find answers or find a mechanism to deal with the changes in their outer world. We know that people lived through the changes because they wrote to us in the language of their day and shared with us what they experienced and—I’m just paraphrasing—that they said, “You’re going to need this when you go through the changes in your time.”

The Hopi are a beautiful example of this. The Hopi of the American desert Southwest have a beautiful pictograph that was believed to have been created right at the end of the last cycle, and it shows the changes that the people went through then, as a map of both a way of being, as well as what we could expect as we go through the next cycle. And the map—I talk about this in the book Fractal Time—the map is two parallel paths representing two different ways of living in the world. And the oral tradition that goes with this map states that humans can choose either one of the two paths to live on. One path represents comfort, greed, and profit; and the other one is love, strength, and compassion. And with different tellings, those exact words vary from one to another. But the general idea is that one is more about cooperation, and the other is more about competition.

And what the Hopi say is that as we go through this cycle, people can move back and forth between the two paths; they can try comfort, greed, and profit, or they can try love, strength, and balance. Love, strength, and balance, that’s the lower path. But they say that there will be a point—and they identified this point to the United Nations in 1998—they said in 1998 that we had reached a point where it would become very difficult to move back and forth between the two paths. That we must choose one path or the other to carry us through the Great Change. And when we look closely at the pictographs, it’s interesting: One path—the path of comfort, greed, and profit—becomes very rough, very jagged; it ends abruptly, and there are no humans there. And the other path is a smoother, more level path. It shows abundant food represented as stalks of corn that are growing; it shows humans living to an advanced age, kind of hunched over with a cane. And it says that people will live long and abundant lives if they follow the path of beauty and strength and balance.

So that’s just an example of one indigenous people that not only experienced, but they communicated in an eloquent and simple way, both a map of what we could expect, as well as a way of being that would help us navigate the changes. And we find similar teachings throughout the world, Tami—in the Andes, in Bolivia and Peru. I spend a lot of time in the high-elevation communities in South America, certainly in Tibet. I’ve been there five times, visiting twelve monasteries and two nunneries over 26 days. And the tradition through these monasteries and nunneries, when we see the chanting and the mudras and the mantras that are being practiced for 12 and 16 hours a day, my question was “Why? Why do you do these things?” And they’ve told us that they do these things to create a feeling in their bodies, and the feeling is their interface with the world around them that helps them deal with changes in the outer world. And this is a teaching that’s been preserved there for at least 2,000 years.

So we find evidence in the temple walls of Egypt, maps of the sky showing when earth will go through very specific changes in ways that we didn’t know until the twentieth century. And how the knowledge got there—who knew 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 years ago that these changes were there? That’s a whole conversation we could have. But it appears to be like the great secret that everybody knows except us, “us” being the science-based, technologically oriented, left-brained world that has evolved for 300 years since the dawning of science and the time of Isaac Newton, about 300 years ago. So it’s interesting to see how the scientific understandings have validated many of the ancient principles, but how scientific understanding has also negated things that science has yet to embrace, the very principles that the ancient traditions identified and have preserved and their way of sharing that kind of information.

TS: If I’m understanding you correctly, Gregg, it sounds like the entire atmosphere, the entire Milky Way, that what’s happening in this larger galactic theater, if you will, is having this effect on these cycles, these large cycles of change here on planet earth. And you alluded to a source of energy that’s at the center of the galaxy, that when this energy from the center of the galaxy, I think you said, has its magnetic impact directly on the earth, that that’s what brings on this type of dramatic-shift period, like what we’re in now. Is that correct?

GB: Well, you covered three different topics. The answer is yes. And maybe to help clarify that a little bit, if our listeners can imagine in the whiteboard of their minds the image of the Milky Way galaxy. There’s what the ancients called the Great Central Sun, the source of energy at the center of the Milky Way. And then countless numbers of solar systems orbit around the Milky Way, just the way we are in our solar system. And it’s fascinating, the NASA images of the magnetic field that emanates from the Milky Way—it’s not a solid field, Tami. It has what are called magnetic filaments. It’s like tentacles of magnetic energy that are moving through these huge expanses of space.

And if you could imagine, if our listeners could imagine, when our orbit around that source of energy . . . It’s not a perfectly circular orbit. It’s called an ellipse. And so that means sometimes an ellipse, sometimes we’re close to the center, and when we’re way out on the edges, we’re further away. So where we are in the orbit is what triggers the changes.

And by the way, the changes are not only on earth. Every planet in our solar system is being documented as going through changes that at least astronomers haven’t seen since they’ve been documenting the planets. Mars has undergone global warming. Magnetic fields are shifting radically in Uranus and Neptune, for example; these are documented in the technical journals. So it’s not just earth.

And what it tells us is that we’re part of a big system that’s undergoing a rhythmic or a cyclic change. Our ancestors told us about this change in their language, and science is only beginning to understand it in the language that we trust, in this technological language where we can assign measurements and numbers to the change. But our indigenous ancestors have been preparing and suggesting—in their prophecies and predictions, they have been saying that we would go through a change.

But the beauty of this, Tami, and what to me brings it all back home to the message of Sounds True, and to my message that I’ve shared for the bulk of my adult life, is that the change is in a context, but the question is, “What does it mean to us in our lives?” And one of the fascinating things I’ve found is that of all— I have not studied every single indigenous tradition on the planet, and I have to say that clearly. What I also am going to say is that every indigenous tradition I have studied has been very clear: they cannot predict the outcome for this pivotal cycle of time and where we are right now because they say we’re choosing it right now as we live it.

And they offer two different scenarios. Some of the scenarios are very dark and very frightening; some of them are very joyous and very uplifting. Unfortunately, the media, the mainstream media—Hollywood, and a lot of the very authoritative cable channels creating documentaries—have focused on the dark and the frightening possibilities. But the indigenous traditions are very clear: they say that we’re choosing right now. They cannot tell, nor could the prophets—Nostradamus, Edgar Casey, Jean Dixon—none of them. The Tibetan prophecies, the Hopi prophecies, all of them say that the outcome essentially is unknown. All they can show us are the possibilities, and that we must choose.

And I think the first step is knowing that we have a choice. And that’s why I’m excited to be able to share in this Podcast series, and talk about how we make that choice and what choices we can make. Is it enough to speak the words of choice, or is there a way that we claim that choice in our hearts? And is there a language of choice that our indigenous ancestors understood that we’re only beginning to understand in the language of science? And these are all things that we’ll explore more deeply as we go through our series.

TS: OK, just a couple more questions here, Gregg, that I have to ask you. Now I’m so curious, when you talk about this energy that’s at the center of the galaxy, you mentioned how an indigenous person might have referred to it as a type of sun. What is this energy at the center of the galaxy that’s having such a huge impact on us?

GB: I’m so glad you asked. [Laughs]. I’m so glad you asked because it—I mean, this is a beautiful story unto itself. When I was in school back in the sixties, when I was in the industry and the corporations in the seventies and eighties, I was taught—and the belief at that time was—that the powerful source of energy at the center of our Milky Way galaxy, it was called a black hole. And as we find in the center of other galaxies (and our astronomers know this), they believe that this black hole was a powerful source of energy. But it never made sense to me, because a black hole kind of sucks everything away; I wouldn’t think of it as an emanating or radiating source of energy.

Well, it was only in the late nineties that the Hubble Space Telescope, one of the amazing thing that the Hubble Space Telescope discovered, because it could see—the Hubble Telescope can see things from its vantage point in space that we cannot see with the naked eye or with telescopes from here on earth. So as the Hubble Telescope was pointed toward the center of the Milky Way, it could see through the clouds of dust and gas. And what Hubble revealed is that next to the black hole that we find in the center of our Milky Way is a massive star, the brightest star known to exist in all the Milky Way. And the two are sort of situated, they’re parked at the center of our Milky Way side by side: a black hole and this beautiful, huge star that somehow together are the source of this powerful magnetic field that emanates and radiates throughout the Milky Way and beyond.

And because it does so through these tentacles or these filaments—if you can imagine, again, in the whiteboard of your mind, it’s not a solid field. But these are like rays, if you want to think of them as rays, rays of these magnetic fields in space. Then it begins to be obvious why we would sometimes be affected more and sometimes affected less. If it were a solid field, it wouldn’t make any sense. But because they are rays of energy, we pass through these rays at predictable times because of our orbit. And this is what our ancestors somehow knew, and they even called it the Great Central Sun. You know, it never made sense to me to call the center of the Milky Way a great sun if it was a black hole. But our indigenous ancestors—for example, the Dogan of Africa, in the Egyptian traditions, the Hopi—talk about the Great Central Sun. So somehow they must have known that there was more than a black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

TS: Now, you mention this very interesting thing, which is not just the spoken language of choice or the mental language of choice, but the feeling-experience of choice and how important that is at this time. And I know you call 2012 a “choice point.” So what is that; what is the feeling that we’re choosing?

GB: Well, Tami, I think this is where 5,000 years of spiritual history find the marriage with the best science of today, and the application of allowing us to tip the scales of life and balance one way or another at this time of great change, this pivotal moment of change in our lives. Because the Great Secret, what is called the Great Secret that was held in so many of the indigenous and the spiritual traditions of our past, is a secret of an inner experience, an inner way of being. Whether we’re talking about the monks and the nuns of India and Tibet chanting and doing all the things that they do to create the feelings in their bodies, or we’re talking about the people of the Andes, the High Andes, and their traditions, or the dancing of the natives in Africa—as different as those seem to be from one another, all of them serve to create a feeling in the human body.

And what our own science now is telling us is that this feeling is focused primarily in the heart, that the human heart is the strongest generator of electrical fields and the strongest generator of magnetic fields in the human body, stronger than the brain. The heart now has been documented as being as much as a 100 times stronger electrically than the brain, and the heart is documented as being about 5,000 times stronger magnetically than the human brain. So what we can say is, when we feel the right kind of feeling—a certain kind of feeling in our hearts—we’re actually generating a powerful field of electrical and magnetic energy that extends beyond our heart, beyond our body, into the world around us. And this is where the science of quantum physics, the science of quantum biology, the science of life systems all come together into a new wisdom that tells us beyond any reasonable doubt, Tami, number one, that the humans of the earth have the ability to influence the very fields of the earth that connect all life And number two, these are the very fields that are influenced by the change at the end of the cycle.

So if we follow the traditions of our ancient and some of our most cherished spiritual traditions, they say if we work together to live a certain way in our lives, to create a certain feeling in our bodies—and we call that feeling “care” and “compassion,” “gratitude,” “appreciation”—if we do that as individuals, we do that in our families, and we do that in our communities, that somehow it makes the changes that come at the end of a cycle easier. This is the language of the ancient traditions. And now our own science is showing us that when we come together as families and communities, making heart-centered choices, that a heart-centered way of living is more than simply a New Age metaphor, and it’s more than wishful thinking. But heart-centered living literally physically influences our physical environment, and it influences the physical changes in the earth that we undergo at the end of these great cycles.

And for me it brings—that’s a huge statement to make. And for me it brings a continuity, if you will, to 5,000 years of our history. All of a sudden, our ancestors that we think are ancient and primitive, all of a sudden we recognize that they knew something that really behooves us to understand today, and they did their very best in the language of their time to share this inner experience that we’re only now beginning to understand and document through the language of our time.

And we put all that together. I think it’s no accident that all of it is happening now, now we look at the context. Here we are, at the end of this rare 5,000-year cycle when earth undergoes the changes that are predictable for this point in the cycle, but that’s only because the world is changing that we’re seeking new understandings of ourselves and our relationship to the earth. And those understandings are revealing that we’re part of the change and that we have the ability to influence the outcome in positive, life-affirming ways. And I can’t think of a more beautiful message to be able to share with the people of this world: that for 5,000 years their ancestors have worked, and we’ve all worked together, to preserve a message that maybe now we’re only beginning to understand.

TS: Wonderful. I’ve been speaking with Gregg Braden. And he will be hosting a three-part online event series where he’ll be going into quite a bit of detail on the subject of Exploring Fractal Time: Choice Point 2012. And that will be beginning at SoundsTrue.com on November 3, 2010, and running for three consecutive weeks: Exploring Fractal Time: Choice Point 2012 with Gregg Braden.

Gregg Braden is also the creator of many audio programs with Sounds True, including The Lost Mode of Prayer, The Isaiah Effect, and Beyond Zero Point. And he’s also a contributor to a Sounds True published anthology called The Mystery of 2012.

Gregg, it’s always great to talk to you. I always learn so many things. Thank you so much.

GB: Tami, I want to thank you for being such a gracious host and for really good questions that allowed me to share with this audience things I rarely get to share with an audio audience. So thank you very, very much.

TS: SoundsTrue.com: many voices, one journey.

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