Sign up for this free online seminar for "Evolutionize Your Life" with bestselling author and change-agent Michael Dowd and noted science educator Connie Barlow. Discover the ONE breakthrough in our understanding of human nature that is missing from virtually all self-development programs...
After a decade of sharing the practical gifts of an inspiring view of Big History and evolutionary brain science with more than 100,000 people, young and old, in some 1,500 diverse secular and religious venues across North America, bestselling change-agent Michael Dowd and noted science educator Connie Barlow launch their premiere online course for living a joy-filled life—even in the midst of difficulties and setbacks.
It doesn’t matter how overwhelming your challenges may be…nor your background or beliefs. Science has cracked the code not only for understanding but for working with our evolved human nature.
An evidence-based process for befriending and mastering your biological instincts and impulses is now available. These “Evolutionize Your Life” principles and practices have revitalized the lives of virtually everyone who has internalized and applied them. They can make a real and lasting difference in the quality of your life and relationships, too.
Who among us wouldn’t rejoice at being able to consistently overcome our self-sabotaging thoughts and behavior with lighthearted strength?
And who doesn’t want healthier relationships and a life filled with meaning and purpose?
That’s because we’ve all known what it’s like to feel that we’re on the right track, living with purpose and integrity—and then fall back into frustrating and harmful patterns.
We do our best, but sometimes it’s as if we’ve taken one step forward and two steps back.
We meditate or pray, attend a meeting, or fervently commit to do better next time—to be more attentive to our truth and live in alignment with our deepest values. And while that may help for a day or a week, it rarely gives us the lasting breakthrough we yearn for.
Why? What’s that about?
Why do we do things that aren't good for us—even when we know better?
Where do addictive behaviors come from—and how can we break the cycle of any habitual pattern, no matter how deeply ingrained it is?
Only in the last decade have answers become available that are grounded in scientific knowledge, rather than pre-scientific speculation, beliefs, or traditions.
Every religion in the world offers beliefs about our inner workings. But until recently, we had no measurable knowledge about how our minds and emotions actually work.
Leading-edge scientists have cracked the code of human nature. Now we can understand why we do what we do—what makes us tick.
Knowing how your instincts work and why they are so powerful is like being handed the keys to success and fulfillment in practically every area of your life.
What have scientists discovered that could possibly be so transforming?
Fundamentally, we have learned that …
Within us are instincts molded by millions of years of evolution to have us think and behave in ways that certainly benefitted our ancestors. Indeed, all of us alive today owe our existence to those very same instincts. But what have they done for us lately?
To be blunt, they’ve made some of us fat, some addicted, and most of us frivolous in how we use our downtime. But our instincts can hardly be faulted.
All of us are surrounded by ‘supernormal stimuli’: processed foods, feel-good drugs and alcohol, internet porn, romance novels, mind-numbing television, addictive gaming—none of which our ancestors ever had to face.
We have also inherited exquisite skills for self-deception. The human brain not only distorts perception and memory; it then uses its extraordinary powers to rationalize or justify the distortion. In essence, our brain regularly tricks us—and then masterfully hides the evidence!
Few things are more enlightening than learning why we are so good at self-deception—that is, what purpose this “skill” serves—which will be discussed at length in the course.
Overall, given our mismatched instincts and our penchant for self-deception, it’s no wonder that we so often …
Or maybe our everyday lives are pretty good—but we want more. We want to make a difference; we want to leave the world a better place for our having been here. Yet …
We’ve all been there. These are human universals. But here’s the good news …
As we all know, modern science has vastly improved our understanding of both what is real and how things work. In many cases, that fresh understanding is lifesaving.
Most of us have a loved one (or ourselves) who would have died long ago were it not for modern medicine—thanks to science.
Why wouldn’t science also have something vitally important to teach us about our minds?
Definition of "a losing battle": Trying to significantly improve your life and relationships, or grow spiritually, without first appreciating—indeed, honoring—your brain’s physical, relational, and interpretive instincts. —Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow
If you think about what’s running your life primarily (or solely) in ill-defined, abstract, or traditional religious or psychological terms, such as your…
… you’re bound to struggle because ...
Consider this …
The cultural contexts have changed enormously—but our brains and bodies have not.
We still have the same fears and desires as our ancestors—but now those instincts are out of sync with life conditions.
Science has done much to help us understand the world around us, but until recently there was no evidenced-based understanding of the world within us. This lack of understanding our inner nature has been the greatest cause of suffering throughout human history—individually and collectively.
The inner world that was once solely the domain of religion and spirituality has finally been breached by science, and its discoveries (and their implications for our lives) are profound.
In fact, as bizarre as it may sound…
…honoring and managing your natural instincts using proven, science-based tools may be the most important spiritual practice of all...
Consider: Prior to microscopes, it wasn’t just difficult to understand infection; it was impossible. And prior to telescopes, it was impossible to understand the universe.
Well, the same is true of our inner world. Without an evolutionary grasp of why our instincts and emotions are the way they are, it isn’t just difficult to wisely choose and live our priorities in this fast-paced, modern world. It’s effectively impossible.
Our long history of living in primitive conditions and in small tribal communities did not give us instincts, or equip our brain, to deal with the supernormal stimuli surrounding us today.
This is why so many of us find our lives in disarray.
This is why social norms, religions, and self-help or spiritual practices emerged. They all evolved culturally to help us manage our mismatched instincts.
Trying to master your animal urges without first learning why they evolved (and are so powerful), and without appreciating the purposes they once served, is like trying to figure out why your car is running poorly when you’ve never been taught what’s going on under the hood.
"We exist in a bizzare combination of Stone Age emotions, medieval beliefs, and god-like technology." —Edward O. Wilson, esteemed Harvard biologist
We cannot, of course, change our instincts—but we can change how we relate to them, how we manage them.
Thanks to the evolutionary sciences, we now can understand our instincts and finally face our challenges with a measure of lightness and compassion …
… and with proven practical tools that actually produce results!
By using these tools and gaining an appreciation of your biological and social instincts—an appreciation that can only come from knowledge …
What’s more, understanding our physical, relational, and interpretive inner drives (the “code” of human nature), offers profound insights into…
Find out how this revitalizing perspective can improve your life (and the lives of your loved ones).
For the past decade, bestselling author and change-agent Michael Dowd and his science educator wife, Connie Barlow, have been sharing the practical gifts of an inspiring view of Big History and evolutionary brain science with more than 100,000 people in some 1,500 secular and religious venues across North America.
Michael Dowd is a former pastor, NLP Master Practitioner, and nationally recognized leader in helping people cultivate healthy habits of sustainable living and relating. He is the author of Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World, a book endorsed by six Nobel Prize-winning scientists, noted skeptics, and by religious leaders across the theological spectrum.
Connie Barlow is the author of four popular science books, two with MIT Press, that explore the heart of an evidence-based approach to meaning, inspiration, and right relationship to reality. A gifted evolutionary educator, she is the creator of one of the leading educational websites (for adults and children) in the Big History / Big Integrity / Epic of Evolution movement: TheGreatStory.org
Together, Michael and Connie are America’s evolutionary evangelists. They show how a scientifically accurate view of reality can inspire and empower people in ways simply not possible before. They also show how such knowledge can expand our hearts—and motivate us to live in integrity and to cooperate across religious and political divides in service of a healthy future for humanity and the entire body of life.
"In our experience, the first and most important step for any course of transformation that hopes to mend the mismatch between the instincts we’ve inherited and the world we must navigate is to really take in how vitally important those instincts were for helping our ancestors survive and reproduce. Until we can appreciate why those instincts evolved, we will continue to resist, deny, or obsess over that which we judge or condemn in ourselves and others." – Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow
Dear Fellow Evolutionary,
I will be your lead guide on this evolutionary journey. Please join me, along with my wife and mission partner Connie Barlow and fellow participants from around the world, on an exciting adventure that will help you re-envision and re-shape your life.
We will begin our journey by learning to view our most troubling urges and behaviors with fresh eyes. Equipped with an evolutionary understanding of why we are the way that we are—and what we can do about it—new possibilities will emerge for embarking upon a meaningful, even mythic, life of contribution. Along the way, we’ll discover that compassion for self and others comes naturally—and we lighten up.
History will show that the greatest psychological and spiritual realization of the 20th century was the discovery that human beings have powerful—indeed, compelling—instincts just like all
other animals do.
If we don’t understand, appreciate, and respecfully manage our inherited drives, we’re bound to be enslaved to them.
It will be Connie’s and my great privilege to show you how science can be the ultimate spiritual and self-help resource.
But first, a little background…
My co-leader in this course, Connie, has been a world-class science writer and evolutionary educator for decades. Perhaps unusually, she has never really struggled with personal or relational issues and has been pretty much living the life of her dreams since graduating high school. My story is considerably different.
In my teens and early 20s I struggled with my “sinful nature,” which drove me into the recovery movement and a variety of self-help programs. I continued along these lines and have been involved in the sector of personal growth since the mid-1980s—serving variously as a pastor, NLP trainer, 12-step sponsor, Landmark Education Introduction to the Forum leader, and head trainer for Global Action Plan, where for five years I helped individuals and communities across the USA develop habits of sustainable living.
I am enormously grateful for the tools and integrity practices gained from all this experience, some of which I’ll be sharing with you in this course, but…
It wasn’t until I gained an appreciation of my evolved instincts that I found what I was looking for.
By celebrating (rather than disparaging) my inherited impulses, I’ve been graced with an ability to consistently and almost effortlessly live in integrity, enjoy life to the fullest, and cultivate mutually enriching relationships.
Thanks to a practical understanding of evolution, Connie, too, has discovered a renewed playfulness and lightness of being. And for both of us, choosing to live in accordance with our highest values—inspired by what science has revealed—has unleashed our creative gifts for making a difference in the world.
This is why Connie and I created Evolutionize Your Life.
We are excited to share with you our experience and the relevant tools and knowledge the two of us have acquired, distilled, and compiled over the last several decades.
So please join us on this adventure to appreciate the gifts and face the challenges of what we all have inherited, to clarify our priorities, to replace bad habits with good ones, and to get on with living a life rich in meaning and contribution.
Together, with many others from all over the world, we will create an online learning community for evolutionizing our lives. Together, we will come to honor the past, live fully in the present, and serve the future.
With evolutionary encouragement and excitement,
"Thank God for Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow!"
—FRANCISCO J. AYALA
2010 Templeton Prize-winner; Past President of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
"Michael and Connie have created a truly superb offering—one that effectively shows how the earlier parts of the brain have evolved during times and under circumstances that in today's world make them either a constant source of trouble (i.e., "sin," "dysfunctions," "pathologies") or sources of strength and wisdom (when honored). This is a course that really can change lives. Highly recommended!"
The Integral Vision
"Michael and Connie's work is igniting a new and exciting conversation between evolutionary science and religious faith."
Professor of Cosmology, California Institute of Integral Studies
"With profound evolutionary understanding of the source of our emotions and inner urges, and by offering a step-by-step guide for gaining freedom from self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors, Michael and Connie are laying a new foundation for a psychology of self evolution!"
—BARBARA MARX HUBBARD
President, Foundation for Conscious Evolution
"We're fortunate to have Michael and Connie on our side (the "our" being humanity)."
Skeptic magazine, columnist for Scientific American
"Michael and Connie's work is a big step toward that ultimate truth in which both religion and science will be reconciled."
—BISHOP JOHN SHELBY SPONG
Author of Jesus for the Non-Religious
Our promise is to help you grow in your ability to consistently:
Enroll now and learn …
In this 5-week course, you will learn how recent breakthroughs in our understanding of human nature can transform your life and sweeten your most intimate and important relationships by helping you appreciate—indeed, honor—your inner and outer nature.
Module 1: The Big Picture: The Power of the Evolutionary Worldview How to Effortlessly Ground Yourself In Gratitude and Stay Inspired in the Face of Challenges by Knowing Your Larger Story
Module 2: The Scientific Practice for Having Healthy Habits and Relationships How to Overcome Self-Sabotage, Experience Deeper Intimacy, and Enjoy a Fabulous Sex Life by Honoring and Taming Your Physical Instincts
Module 3: Boosting Your Self-Confidence and Eliminating Judgment How to Honor Your Social and Relational Drives, Heal Virtually Any Relationship, and Be At Peace With Yourself and Your World
Module 4: The Science of Mastering Your Interpretive Instincts and Choosing Empowering Meanings Overcoming Victimhood and Thriving In the Midst of Chaos and Setbacks
Module 5: Unleashing Your Creative Gifts to the World and Leaving A Sweet and Memorable Legacy The Scientific Tools and Practices for Living a Big-Hearted Life of Purpose
In addition to your weekly Course Sessions and Live Interactive Q&A calls with Michael and Connie, you'll receive a series of bonus virtual sessions with some of today’s leading evolutionary thinkers.
Offered free of charge to participants in the Evolutionize Your Life 5-Week Course, each 90-minute bonus session will take you further into the specific skills, tools, and perspectives you need to unlock your potential and have a rich, on-purpose life and the healthiest relationships.
Bonus Session #1 “Big History: The Mother of All Sacred Stories” with David Christian
In this eye-opening conversation with David Christian, you will learn how Big History can nourish our lives with a strong and inspiring sense of meaning and purpose. Big History is the story of everyone and everything—the first and only creation story that reflects global collective intelligence and is grounded in our best evidential understanding of reality. It is the glorious epic of physical, biological, and cultural evolution that unites us all, celebrating our shared heritage.
About David Christian
David Christian, PhD, is the founder and leading voice in the exciting new interdisciplinary field of Big History, which invites us all to experience our lives as expressions of an immense, venerable, and deeply meaningful process. He is the author of This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity, and Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History, which won the World History Association Book Prize in 2005. He is currently working with Bill Gates to create a free online Big History curriculum for high school students around the world.
Bonus Session #2 “Of Course We Struggle! The Challenges of Living in a World of Supernormal Stimuli” with Deirdre Barrett
Here you will gain profound insight into why we struggle with overeating, mind-altering substances, porn, video games, and other “supernormal stimuli” that our ancestors—for 99% of human history—just didn’t have to deal with. Once you understand why our inner urges and temptations make sense from an evolutionary perspective, you will gain a new and liberating perspective. You’ll realize that your struggles are not your fault, even though they are your responsibility. Our challenges are normal and, indeed, inevitable. Thankfully, there are tried and true ways to overcome the pull of various temptations, which will be discussed by Dr. Barrett.
About Deirdre Barrett
Deirdre Barrett, PhD, is a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School's Behavioral Medicine Program. She has written four books, including Supernormal Stimuli, Waistland, and The New Science of Dreaming. Her commentary on psychological issues has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, CNN, Fox, and The Discovery Channel. Dr. Barrett has also lectured at Esalen, the Smithsonian, and at universities around the world.
Bonus Session #3 “The Evolutionary Origins of Human Sexuality: Why Understanding Our Nature Helps Us Live in Integrity” with Christopher Ryan
Renowned sex and love advice columnist Dan Savage declares that Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá’s New York Times bestselling book, Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships, is “The single most important book about human sexuality since Alfred Kinsey unleashed Sexual Behavior in the Human Male on the American public in 1948.” In this enlightening conversation with Christopher Ryan, you’ll learn why long-term fidelity isn’t easy, why many marriages lose passion and play, why middle-aged men sometimes risk everything for an affair, and, perhaps most importantly, why honoring our instincts can help us live in integrity and ensure mutually satisfying intimate relationships—even if we’re monogamously married to the same person for decades.
About Christopher Ryan
Christopher received a BA in English and American literature in 1984 and an MA and Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook University in 2004. His doctoral research, under the guidance of Stanley Krippner, analyzed the prehistoric roots of human sexuality, with emphasis on distinguishing the human from the cultural. Living with his wife and co-author Cacilda Jethá, M.D., in Barcelona, Spain, Christopher speaks about human sexuality to audiences around the world. His work has appeared in major newspapers and magazines in many languages, scholarly journals, and a textbook used in medical schools and teaching hospitals throughout Spain and Latin America. He blogs for Psychology Today and Huffington Post.
Bonus Session #4 “Getting Personal: Why the Science of Good and Evil Matters” with Michael Shermer
In this tele-lecture by Michael Shermer you will learn about recent breakthroughs in our understanding of human universals—instincts and cultural values we all share—and the evolutionary origins of morality. The focus will be practical: how we can use evolutionary insights to improve social, political, and economic systems, what science has revealed about our sense of good and evil, and how this knowledge can help each of us live upstanding lives that serve us, our loved ones, and the world at large.
About Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, the executive director of the Skeptics Society, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. The public face of the venerable tradition of skepticism in America, Shermer is by no means a cynic. Rather, it is his calling to seriously investigate truth claims that clash with well-substantiated principles of mainstream science. His books include Why Darwin Matters; The Mind of the Market; How We Believe; and The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Share, Care, and Follow the Golden Rule, which is on the evolutionary origins of morality and ethics.
Until now, to get the transformative benefits of learning from Michael and Connie, you had to travel to attend one of their talks or workshops, or wait for them to come to your region of the country (assuming you live in the USA).
Now, for the first time, you can gain the full benefits of engaging directly with these evolutionary leaders without incurring any travel costs or re-scheduling your daily planner.
Their 5-week process is based on extensive knowledge and years of experience working with thousands of people from all sorts of religious and secular backgrounds. It is designed to produce a noticeable shift in your life and to help you unlock your evolutionary potential.
Your engagement with Michael and Connie will take place in recorded audio sessions (posted weekly) and through LIVE Q&A calls, both of which occur within a matrix of selected exercises and targeted walkthroughs of supplementary video, audio, and text resources available online.
Equally important is the excitement and ease of interacting with both the leaders and other participants (at your convenience) by way of a members-only online community.
"Religion—or spirituality, or whatever you want to call it—has always evolved, and Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd are on the frontier of its current evolution."
Author of The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are: The Science of Evolutionary Psychology
"Your presentation was absolutely magnificent! Such clarity I have seldom encountered. I learned a great deal."
Legendary geologian, author of The Dream of the Earth and The Great Work
"For Catholics who are worried that evolution has nothing to offer them but random godlessness, Michael and Connie's work is like a gift from heaven."
—CHRIS CORBALLY, SJ
Vice Director of the Vatican Observatory
"That evolution is a divine force has not been well appreciated, or articulated, up till now. Connie and Michael’s ministry is making a real difference."
Founding Editor of Wired Magazine; author of What Technology Wants
"Connie and Michael, evolutionary cosmology's dynamic duo, not only tell the story of the living cosmos, they spark a dynamic exploration of evolution's next step and its practical implications for us all."
Spiritual Teacher, founder of Integral Enlightenment
"Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow's ministry enlightens and energizes all who are
touched by it."
Celebrated author and leading advocate of Creation Spirituality
Each week we will explore a new dimension of how to Evolutionize Your Life, and we will support you in making the next steps in the process of your inner & outer transformation. The course begins June 1st . You will be invited to participate in a course session each week for five weeks.
If for some reason you miss any class, you will have unlimited access to all of the recorded course sessions (listen online or download the mp3 file to your iPod or audio player).
We’ve set this time aside specifically to answer the questions that are most relevant to you. You'll have the opportunity to ask us questions about what's coming up for you on your journey of evolutionary self-discover
Q&A Sessions will be held every Saturday at 11:00 am PST for 5 weeks beginning on Saturday June 4, 2011.
You'll be able to engage live with other students to help support you as you dive into the course materials and exercises. As you go through the course you will be able to join with other course students online to share your interests, successes and insights. Through this collective engagement, you will experience the exciting connection that comes through doing deeply transformative work in a global community of sincere learning & deep practice.
If you need to miss a Q&A Session, you'll be able to download it immediately and listen at a time that is convenient for you. Our Q&A calls will also be uploaded to the community site. You'll be able to revisit important learnings, and listen to the calls that inspired you over and over again.
Practice & Reflection exercises are a great way for you to start to embody the lessons of the course in your everyday life. The exercises are designed to help you learn more deeply and to empower your new understanding to make lasting changes in your life.
You will be encouraged to engage in transformative practices and experiential exercises to help you cultivate a deeper understanding and help you fully integrate and embody your new insights and practices permanently into your life.
PDF transcripts are a great resource to go back and quickly reference key concepts and answers to frequently asked questions.
To get the results you want—for this course to make a real and lasting difference—you need not only information but also the ongoing support from and rich connection with a community of like-minded evolutionaries.
When you register for "Evolutionize Your Life" you'll become part of this community. You can begin interacting online through a private social network created for the participants in this course.
This won't be a standard, dull, all-head/no-heart online forum. It will be lively and passionate, since it will be filled with purpose-driven, inspired people—including your course leaders. As part of each week's curriculum, you'll be given exercises for reflection and action, and invited to post your responses on the forum.
“The world within and around us is an honorable world. To refuse this deepest instinct of our being, to deny honor where honor is due, is to place ourselves on a head-on collision course with the ultimate forces of the Universe.” — Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work
"The science vs. religion debate is over! Michael and Connie masterfully unite rationality and spirituality in a way that celebrates the mysteries of existence and inspires each of us to achieve a higher purpose in life."
2006 NOBEL PRIZE in Physiology/Medicine
"Michael and Connie's truly extraordinary work moves us at last beyond false separations of science and religion."
Buddhist eco-philosopher, author of World As Lover, World As Self
"The universe took 13.7 billion years to produce [Dowd's] amazing book. I heartily recommend it."
NASA Chief Scientist, 2006 NOBEL PRIZE in Physics
"Michael Dowd is one of my heroes..."
Founder of Spiral Dynamics Integral
"Connie and Michael are burning bright, their consciousness powerfully and passionately awake to the deep time-developmental context of this evolving cosmos that we all are."
Spiritual Teacher, EnlightenNext founder
"People of all faiths can learn from Michael and Connie."
—RABBI MICHAEL LERNER
Founder of Tikkun, Network of Spiritual Progressives
"Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow have given their lives in service of a healthy future for humanity and the entire body of life. May the Force of Gaia be with them all the way to a world of thrival for all!"
Evolution Biologist and Futurist
"Connie and Michael are truly inspiring teachers of the great story of cosmic evolution! They bring keen intelligence and uplifting enthusiasm to the grand vision of the unfolding drama of the universe in which we all participate."
Author of Promise Ahead and The Living Universe
We stand behind the quality of our work, unconditionally. That’s how confident we are that this science-based approach to living life fully and loving the life you live will work—not just in general, but for you. If you find at any time within the first 12 months of purchase that you are not satisfied, you can request a full refund, or a full credit to be applied to the purchase of any of Evolving Wisdom's other programs. Refund or credit requests must be sent in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“As I can testify, you don’t have to be highly evolved to live a joyfully on-purpose,
evolutionized life!” —Connie Barlow
Copyright © 2011 Evolving Wisdom. All rights reserved.