The Living Universe

THE LIVING UNIVERSE: Where are We?  Who are we?  Where are we going?
By Duane Elgin (Deepak Chopra, Foreword), San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2009.

Download Chapter One from The Living Universe (also includes full table of contents)

View a short video introducing the idea of a living universe and this book.

Order the paperback directly from:  Berrett-Koehler Publishers

“We are beings of cosmic connection who are learning to live in a living universe…”

Traditionally, science has regarded the universe as made up of inert matter and empty space. Duane Elgin brings together extraordinary evidence from cosmology, biology and physics to show that the universe is not dead but rather uniquely alive, an insight which, he shows, is in harmony with all of the world’s major spiritual traditions. He explores how this view radically transforms our concept of ourselves, our place in the cosmos, and the evolutionary trajectory of the human family. The non-living view of the universe has led to rampant materialism and global environmental degradation. To transform our planetary crises we need to move past a paradigm of separation and exploitation and learn to live sustainably on the Earth, in harmony with one another, and in communion with the living universe. We are beings of cosmic connection who are learning to live in a living universe.


“No book describes more accurately or guides us more powerfully to the world now waiting to be born.”
—Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love

“Vital reading for those wanting to explore and participate in the nature of reality at its most profound levels.”
—Edgar Mitchell, ScD, founder, Institute of Noetic Sciences and Apollo 14 astronaut

“A masterful, potent, and luminous contribution to both human knowledge and spiritual awakening.”
—Jean Houston, cofounder, Foundation for Mind Research and author of 26 books, including “A Passion for the Possible”

“It’s all here—brilliant discoveries of contemporary science, key insights of the world’s religions, and practical programs of action for bringing forth a new world.”
—Brian Swimme, PhD, Professor of Cosmology, California Institute of Integral Studies, co-author, “The Universe Story”

“The Living Universe invites the reader into an integral worldview that matters deeply for our planetary future. Without it we are lost; with it we have the possibility of creating a viable Earth community. This is a powerful contribution to envisioning and embodying such a community.”
—Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, Forum on Religion and Ecology



Foreword by Deepak Chopra

Introduction: The Great Awakening
A Personal Perspective • Living in a Dead
Universe • Cosmophilia: Love of the Universe • Does Aliveness
Make a Difference?


Chapter 1: The First Miracle
We Are Giants • The Nearly Invisible Universe • Just Getting
Underway • Our Intuitive Connection with the Cosmos
• Imagine Building a Universe

Chapter 2: The Science of a Living Universe
A Unified Universe • An Ocean of Background Energy •
A Continuously Regenerated Universe • Sentience at Every
Level • Freedom at the Foundations • Able to Reproduce
Itself • An Integrative View from Science


Chapter 3: Spirituality as Intimacy with a Living Universe
Judeo-Christian Views • Islamic Views • Hindu Views •
Buddhist Views • Taoist and Confucian Views • Indigenous
Views • Western Views • Harvesting the Wisdom of Human

Chapter 4: The Mother Universe
The Meta-Universe in Science • The Mother Universe in
Wisdom Traditions • An Integrative View • Growing in the
Mother Universe

Chapter 5: The Soul’s Body and Our Cosmic Identity
The Size of Our Soul • Qualities of the Soul’s Body • A Body
of Light • A Body of Music • A Body of Love • A Body of
Knowing • Recognizing Ourselves Before We Die


Chapter 6: Where Is the Universe Going?
Life Within Life Within Life • Growing Self-Organizing Systems
• Humanity’s Central Project • A Garden for Growing Life

Chapter 7: Humanity Is Halfway Home
Humanity’s Heroic Journey • Humanity’s Journey of Separation
• Our Supreme Test and Time of Initiation • Humanity’s
Journey of Return • The Second Axial Age • Awakening into the
Living Universe • Stage I: Reflective Consciousness • Stage II:
Oceanic Consciousness • Stage III: Flow Consciousness


Chapter 8: Six Vital Tasks for the Journey Home
Co-Creating Our Story of Awakening • Cultivating Reflection
and Reconciliation • Living Simply and Sustainably • Creating
New Kinds of Community • Becoming Media-Conscious
Citizens of the Earth • Bringing Our True Gifts into the
World • The Promise of the Journey Ahead

Chapter 9: Living in a Living Universe
Meditations • Conversations