Satiama: We’re here today talking with Lynne McTaggart about her newest book, ‘The Bond – Connecting Through The Space Between Us,’ and I was very honored to receive an advance copy of your book. It is fascinating beyond words. I think it’s going to be one of my new favorite books in the future. But I’m so excited to have you tell us today, what exactly is ‘The Bond?’
Lynne McTaggart: Well, I was very interested from my work in The Field, and with the intention of experimenting, there seemed to be evidence that we’re not quite as individual as we thought we were. At least on the subatomic level. But then I started researching frontier biology and also psychology and some of the other sciences and I discovered it’s very true. In itself, there is no such thing as an individual thing between our subatomic particles in our biology and the way we’re constructed, in our relationships with people, in the way we cluster and organize ourselves in groups. There is a bond, which means there is a relationship so profound and so connected that it’s not possible to determine where one thing begins and another thing ends. So that’s ‘the bond.’ The bond in a sense is the space between us, and it’s the point as more and more science is demonstrating. The point is the connection itself. That’s what is the thing now, rather than the thing in itself.
Satiama: Well, one of the things that has fascinated me about the book so far and I have to admit that I’m reading this book more slowing than I usually do because there are parts of it that are so fascinating to me that I have to keep going back and re-reading entire sections, but it is the notion in your writing that the survival of the fittest does not accurately describe the nature in that natural impulse of man. Will you tell us more about that?
Lynne McTaggart: I think that we are laboring under this delusion that life is all about competition and that’s really why I wrote the book – to figure out if there is such a thing as this real competitive instinct in man and in life. And I discovered absolutely not, that in every way, nature has a drive toward wholeness, toward connection and unity and not this whole idea of splitting things up and competing. It’s a false notion. It’s a lie. And the reason we’re in such trouble today, the reason we’re facing so many crises in so many areas: economical crises, financial crises, all sorts of crises, a crisis of confidence, a crisis of community and we’re all retreating is because we’re acting so much against nature and we all think now that we’re at the end of something – that something is collapsing and for me what is really collapsing is this false idea of who we are. We’re finally at the end point where we can no longer live according to this false story. But nature always drives toward wholeness and we live and we thrive and we succeed when we follow that. It’s not survival of the fittest. It’s survival of the fairest.
Satiama: And is this primarily the reason that you write that Americans and the people in western countries are actually living a lie?
Lynne McTaggart: Yeah. I mean, we are meant to care, share and be fair. We’re hard-wired to do so. I mean, so much of the studies I looked into demonstrated that we are hard-wired to connect in every way, including altruistically. We’re always told that we’re inherently selfish. That’s not true. From a scientific point of view, people are inherently healthy people. I think psychologically people are selfish, but healthy people are natural givers and they’re meant to be givers and sharers and when we act against that, when we create societies that act against that, that’s when we lose. That’s when we’re in crisis. We thrive and we succeed when we share and we connect. When we act with nature and not against nature.
Satiama: Will you tell us a bit about the concept in your book — in ‘The Bond’ — that our bodies don’t actually exist independently, that we’re not a set of fully individuated beings but created from the outside in?
Lynne McTaggart: The weird thing we think of – when we think of ourselves, we think of ourselves as individuals and we think this we because we think “I have a body that is unique from all others. My thoughts are my own. I’m the master of my fate.” All of those ideas make us think that we’re truly individuals. But when I started looking into frontier science and frontier biology, I found that’s actually not the case. We think this ultimate driver of our body is this genetic blueprint – our DNA. Well, the latest evidence shows that DNA is only a possible blueprint. Whether or not genes gets turned on has to do with environmental influences. There are a core set of atoms that surround a gene that turn on genes on or not and they’re totally controlled by everything in your environment: your diet, your air, your water, your relationship, your own emotions positive and negative, the sum total of how you live your life. That causes your genes to turn on or be silenced. So when you look at it that way, you realize that our bond in terms of our physical self is with our environment and in a sense we can invent it from the outside in. And of course, this is a really weird notion because you have to say, “Well, how can I say with an formality that this is the real me? If everything from the outside is really creating the person that I become, then where do I begin, where do I end and the rest of the world begin?’ So that’s why I’m saying physically our bodies are created by our relationship with everything outside of ourselves.
Satiama: And what about the impact of solar activity — you discuss in the book that some of the things that we consider to be uniquely individual motivation are partly at the whim of solar activity?
Lynne McTaggart: Yeah, again I’ll mention that one of the ideas we have about being individuals is about being the masters of our own fate but more and more, scientists – and these are not crazy, fringe scientists — these are people from the University of Minnesota and a number of scientists from many countries around the world that have been studying solar activity. Now remember, the sun is a big, old serious star that pulls a lot of things toward Earth. Coronal mass injections, solar flares which are just bulks of gas which get picked up by the wind and hurled toward the Earth at unimaginable speed and this hits the geomagnetic shield – a shield of energy surrounding the Earth and even though in a sense that is a faint charge, it seems to affect all living processes and in human beings, primarily the heart and the brain. We all know that a lot of solar activity affects people and makes them more heart attack prone, makes epileptics more likely to have fits, psychiatric conditions increase. We get destabilized in our hearts and in our brain. The other thing that seems to happen to is that it affects individual motivation. There are a lot of studies looking at, for instance, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they found that the times when they’re most likely to solicit new members corresponds pretty much completely with solar activity. This is a big study that was carried out with the University of Minnesota and also looking at the stock market, which the stock market, of course is affected by human beings whether or not we’re going to be buying – we’re bearish buying or we’re bearish sellers. We always think it has to do with just the market or individual motivation. But again, in tracking this, a bunch of experts in investments have found that they can only track solar activity. So what this suggests is that we’re part of the giant cosmic bond. When we think of ourselves as individuals, we can only think of ourselves as a collective single being with all of the universe.
Satiama: So are you saying that each of our thoughts then are not really our own?
Lynne McTaggart: Well, that’s another thing too. I mean there has been some really interesting science about mirror neurons. The more we look at there, there is no evidence showing that when we see somebody else doing something or having an emotion of some sort, the very same neurons in our cells fire as if we were doing that movement ourselves or we were having that same emotion. So in other words, we have these batches of neurons that are firing with things that are our own experience but we’re seeing someone else experience something. So we have to understand the world by, in a sense, experiencing it ourselves. So what it comes down to is our thoughts and our emotions are a complicated mix of the outside and the inside. Once again, our bond with ourselves is with us and the rest of the world. So what we’re driving at is the notion that the emotion of an individual is really a fallacy because we’re such a complicated mix of the outside and the inside that we can’t really say, ‘This alone is me.’ We can only consider ourselves as part of the whole. And that, of course, is the way nature designed us in our relationships. That we are meant always to connect.
Satiama: Another idea that you present in The Bond that I think might be very challenging to readers would be the idea that there is no such thing as individuality but that we are really one vast organism, so in addition to not all our thoughts really being our own, being influenced by solar activity, the ideas that our bodies don’t exist independently, that we as individuals are really just part of a larger organism…would you talk about that?
Lynne McTaggart: Absolutely. I mean, even sub-atomically, scientists have been looking and looking and looking to find the thing – the thing that is the smallest thing out of which the rest of the universe is created. You know, the smallest building blocks of nature and they kept finding smaller and smaller ones like finding smaller pieces and smaller dolls in a Russian doll set. You know, they keep finding smaller and smaller things and when they finally get down to it, they realize that the smallest things in the universe aren’t really things at all. They’re vibrating pockets of relationships between one batch of energy and another and there is no actual thing that we can just sit down and research and say this is it. This is the thing. And it’s true when you start climbing up the ladder of the being that there are so many complicated connections that we have with the inside and the outside that we can’t really say, “I am an individual. This is me and I’m a totality and an individual entity.” We’re too connected and that is the way nature has designed us. Nature has designed us to always connect and connect as a totality.
Satiama: So if we are one totality, what is causing our western world especially to be such a competitive place?
Lynne McTaggart: Well, I think we bought into a mind set. Science basically writes the story we live by. Lots of things – a multitude of influences write that story science writes the main one and really since Newton – Isaac Newton, who described a universe of very well behaved, individual things according to six laws in time and space – since that time and the turn of the industrial revolution when machines were created, particularly the steam engine, we started defining ourselves in different terms. We thought of ourselves as individual. We thought of the world as operating in a sense like a machine and then Charles Darwin came along and said that things – living things compete and the fittest survive. That mind, survival of the fittest, I mean he went on to modify his views but it was taken and really spread by his followers till that became a great justification for burgeoning self like capitalism, et cetera. So we’re operating according to this whole idea that that’s how the universe works. It’s one big cafeteria. It’s a very predatory dog eat dog, eat or be eaten place and we’ve created that in our societal structures. But if you look around the world, not everybody lives like that. Not all societies do. A lot of other societies live much more holistically and so we in the west have created this to the point where it’s actually destroying us because it’s against nature. It’s not the way nature has designed us. It designed us to connect. To share, care and be fair. Whenever we don’t do that, we get into trouble and that’s where we are right now.
Satiama: So you’re talking about a natural predisposition toward wholeness – toward sharing, being fair, caring, rather than a natural predisposition to be competitive. How do you think we got derailed and what do we do about that?
Lynne McTaggart: Well, let me just say I think we got derailed because as these various revolutions came along, we began to believe that this is who we are and it suited certain mindsets: burgeoning capitalism, et cetera. But it’s not true. The science says it’s not true. I mean there is a lot of science looking at how we connect and showing that human beings need belonging more than anything else. Studies have shown that when people aren’t connected as part of the community, they’re more likely to get ill, for instance. They’re more likely to get heart attacks. All these kind of – this lack of connection can prove fatal, can prove that kind of lone wolf person that we really idolize in the west – that Gary Cooper person. That ‘John Wayne’ guy that is fighting against the establishment is a perfect candidate for a heart attack. So we’re meant to share. We’re meant to care, as I mentioned before. The science shows that we’re meant to be altruistic. We’re meant to be automatically and without thinking giving. And finally, the fairness. There has been evolutionary studies. There are studies of the brain showing we’ve got an inherent ‘it’s not fair’ part of the brain and when things are very unfair, everybody suffers. Some of the latest information about different societies, a lot of western societies show that those countries that are most unfair, that have the biggest disparity of income have the worst statistics in terms of every social factor: healthcare, education, violence and crime. You name it. And sadly, America, which has the world’s billionaires, you know, very, very rich country, has this enormous disparity of income – probably the biggest and it’s at the bottom of every social indicator these days. Of all western countries. So when you look at those kinds of statistics, you find that everyone, rich and poor, suffers when we’re not fair. We’re meant to give, we’re meant to be fair and when we’re not that way, there is a really big sense of an enormous loss that we have, maybe even subconsciously, that we know we’re not living according to our birthright.
Satiama: Yet things like fairness, happiness as well as loneliness or any kind of emotion can actually act like a virus out there – have a positive viral effect. Will you tell us more about that?
Lynne McTaggart: Well, it has a good or a bad effect. Again, our nature is to connect and we do it almost automatically. We have an automatic tendency to agree with each other and you see this most with a couple things. First of all, emotions. There have been studies showing that emotions are like virulent viruses that can affect everyone in their path. It’s like when you hear somebody laughing at your company and everybody starts laughing. It’s that kind of thing. A happy person makes the people around him happy and a sad person or a grumpy person will affect people similarly. But also it affects people in network so they find that happy people are more likely to create friends and friends of friends that are happy people. It’s because we actually find and create a natural state of happiness. Similarly, loneliness does the same thing. Lonely people are likely to create lonely people among their friends and loneliness spreads. So there is this need to connect all the time, this need to agree, this need to be aware of each other and we have that to positive or negative effect.
Satiama: You have so many wonderful stories in your book. Examples of where small societies have been created or the experience of a shift of perception transforming our relationships. There are the survivors of the 2004 tsunami. There is the story of the two rival street gangs in Watts. You also talk about the South African rugby and Oxford rowing teams. Pick a story – the Chilean miners. Anything. Give us an example through a couple of those or tell the story and tell us what we learn from those examples.
Lynne McTaggart: Okay, well you know, we have lost the bond right now but we can recover it and it doesn’t require waiting for the right President or changing our government or our way of life, even.
Satiama: That’s a wonderful point.
Lynne McTaggart: We need a change of perspective and some new ways and practice which I detail in great deal in ‘The Bond.’ For instance, the 2004 survivors of the tsunami – there were four tribes, thousands of people killed but there were four tribes who watched the whole thing from a mountain top and these were individual tribes, native tribes who were taught to see holistically and they notice great detail and so in my book I talk about how to recover this so that you start noticing things and you’re able to see the whole and see holistically instead of just seeing things piece meal the way we do in the west. I talk about Orman Bishop who is working in Watts with rival gangs and trying to teach them how to relate to each other. But he’s having success for the very reason that he says, “Stop looking to be right and start looking to make the relationships more important than you yourself. How the connection itself is the thing to look for. You change your sense of perception. It’s not about me. It’s about us. How do I make myself available to make that relationship thrive.” And I have been going into a lot of detail in the book about many things that can cause that to flourish. How to create a dialogue with someone else when you’re so different so that you’re not just looking in a relationship for sameness. You’re not just looking for ‘I’ in another person. How do you create forgiveness in that situation? Again, you connect with someone on a very, very deep level as opposed to just looking for similarity. You go past that and you get into the space between and the story of the guys in South Africa was very interesting because we all want to recreate communities. At the moment, all we’re doing is retreating behind gated communities in main America. We’re looking for neighborhood sameness so that it’s us versus them and America is suffering from its biggest polarization ever where this idea of me and us is getting smaller and smaller and smaller. So Don Beck, this guy who is working with South African leaders wanted to create something that would unify a nation and he tried to think about it and he had found a student in psychology and he had heard about something called the super ordinate goal which means the goal that can only be achieved by the collective teamwork of everyone involved and he started thinking about doing that in South Africa with rugby because rugby in a sense symbolized the right majority. He for one, is behind that whole movie Invictus. He found if he could get Nelson Mandela to embrace the Springboks, which was their rugby team, he could bring the whole nation together under this unifying banner. So he used sport in a sense for the super ordinate goal. There are many ideas you can do in your neighborhood, your community, your small friends to create a little goal that you can all carry out and the most wonderful thing about this is the science shows us that when you do this together, that rush of we’re all in this together creates a great bond. We establish a bond between and we establish community and closeness.
Satiama: I am fascinated about the idea that we’re actually, in doing things like that, creating or attempting to create a super ordinate goal like that, that we’re actually returning to the reality of who we are, which is part of a vast, intergalactic organism. So we’re not looking to be something that we never were before. We’re looking to become something that we really, actually are.
Lynne McTaggart: And we feel it and I find it in my Intention Experiment Community. I get a lot of people – small groups of people that send healing intention, healing in meditation where they send an intention for somebody in the group that has a health challenge to heal and I find that really fascinating things happen. First of all, the people who are receiving the healing intention report remarkable, immediate effects. But so do the senders. A lot of the senders with health challenges report a lot better too. They also all report having very similar visualizations and things like that. And that demonstrates that they all at that time are on the same wave length and there is some science to support that too. People who worry together or do things together wire together and we connect as you say, the way we’re supposed to. The way nature designed us to. We speak of the bond there.
Satiama: Lynne, in our short remaining time, can you tell us why you decided to write this book?
Lynne McTaggart: I started watching my neighborhood and watched community deteriorate into competition and that started me thinking about it and I started wondering whether competition was inherent. I also started looking at all of the crises that face us now and I started thinking about it and I started wondering, ‘Were we meant to be this?’ I needed to find it out for myself but I also shared that and my message is really ultimately of hope. The last part of the book is really about how to recover the bond and to say we don’t have to wait for the right President. We don’t have to wait for the right political conditions to do this. We are so affected by each other that the science shows that just one or two instigators – you know, you yourself, doing a few — turning around and doing some positive things, one after generosity. There are the three degrees, which means one after generosity with one person in effect, their friends and their friend’s, friend’s friends. All it takes is one or two little instigators to turn around a whole culture from selfishness and so I wanted to say to everyone it doesn’t require to be out there. It requires here and now with you and me. All it takes is the belief that it doesn’t have to be like this, not for one more day.
Satiama: So any individual at any moment on any given day can engage in what I call then an act of sacred activism, which is any small, positive thing that begins to ripple through the world, changing the world.
Lynne McTaggart: Absolutely. And I think if we learn – when we learn to…and this is what I talk about in my book. When you learn to see more holistically, relate more holistically, organize more holistically, you can create and revitalize your whole neighborhood doing this. Just little tiny acts of kindness and also reset your own moral compass and your own worth compass and say my purpose in life isn’t just about getting and spending or getting stuff for mine and mine alone, my purpose is “the bond” and my connection and through little acts of connection, you can make enormous changes in the world.
Satiama: Lynne, I can’t thank you enough for joining us today and having the opportunity to learn directly from you about this incredibly important work which will be for sale on Satiama by mid May. The book launches April 19th. I think everyone listening should run, not walk, to your nearest store to try to obtain a copy. I promise each of you that it will be a book that you will read again and again for many years. Lynne, thank you so much.
Lynne McTaggart: Thank you so much. Thank you and if your listeners want to find out more, they can also visit my website, which is we have a new website for The Bond which is www.thebond.net.
Lynne McTaggart, author of the international bestsellers The Field and The Intention Experiment, is one of the pre-eminent spokespersons on consciousness and the new science. This article, discussing her forthcoming book The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us, is the culmination of her groundbreaking work, offering a completely new scientific story, plus a detailed blueprint of how to live in harmony with it. For more information and pre-orders www.thebond.info or www.thebond.net 0r visit Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Bond-Connecting-Through-Space-Between/dp/1439157944/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302903421&sr=1-1