“Most people think, consciousness is something that we HAVE. But it is, what we ARE” by Peter Russell
Trying to understand the nature of consciousness is fascinating, yet complex and difficult to understand, and few people have time to dig deeper into these questions. So, I am happy to share in a simple way a few bites of what I took from visiting conferences with some of the world’s most famous scientists and spiritual teachers, such as Deepak Chopra, John Hagelin, Peter Russell, Bob Thurman, Karen Johnson, Julia Mossbridge, Stanislav Grof and Stuart Hameroff and studying the topic for some years.
For an introduction, watch this wonderful short video on the “nature of consciousness.”
Did you ever ask yourself: What are we? What are we made of? If so, then you are in good company. These are the two top questions – hard problems as science calls them – and for which science currently is in the search for answers:
What is the Universe made of?
What is the biological basis for consciousness?
You might think these questions are answered: There are atoms and particles and they form the Universe (more or less), the brain is probably the basis for consciousness (what the second question already implies). While Western philosophy believes biological life gave rise to consciousness, Eastern wisdom tells us that consciousness is intrinsic to the Universe. So, the whole Universe is conscious and not made of dead matter, dark matter, black holes… a depressing Cartesian cosmology we have been confronted with for a few centuries.
So, the current paradigm in which science operates is the one of an ultimate, fixed reality: matter, energy, space and time. What it cannot explain is why there is (inner) experience – what it is, and what it is made of? Why and how does the brain create consciousness? And there is an additional problem: matter (German: Materie) has never been found! Emptiness everywhere – just like Buddhism is telling us from the very beginning. The weird quantum scientists dug a little deeper and looked into atoms and all of those things and what did they find? Nothing. No thing. In the best case, some waves/particles that are more or less mathematical forms depending on the existence of an observer. The fact that we “experience” a material world is no proof that there is something like matter. It seems that matter is a result of “how” we experience rather than what “is” out there. So, the brain is the image of what the mind is doing, that is why it is correlating so well.
What is consciousness and what is reality?
All spiritual wisdom traditions suggest that all there is experience, experienced by consciousness. And that’s it. So, what seems to be the latest scientific (not esoteric) agreement: Consciousness is fundamental and prior, not matter. In other words: Consciousness is the basis for everything we experience, and it is what “produces” matter, exactly the opposite of what we are brought up with and practiced to believe. Consciousness creates and is the basis for experience, having sensations, feelings, etc.
The “relative reality” we experience is an information field appearing in consciousness. Consciousness is the fundamental essence of existence out of which and in which the experience of time, space, matter and energy emerges. The material world is a “false” interpretation of what is there, and so it is called relative reality. This is where all old spiritual wisdom points and science could not prove wrong or deliver the proof for a real material world.
One shared consciousness – the ONEness of everything
You might have heard of Nonduality, or Advaita (meaning: not two), referring to the idea that we are all ONE. This means we are different but not separate, like waves on the ocean. The experience of separated units is an illusion, creating suffering for human beings. Everything is connected with everything.
Meditation is one way of experiencing the connectedness of everything. The EGO, suggesting we are separate units, dissolves into a strong feeling of oneness with the world and one another. The basic feeling is love: the wish for others to be well and compassionate, the will that others don’t suffer. The more we feel those feelings, the happier and more fulfilled we will be. When we lose this feeling of connectedness, we end up singled out, cynical, ruthless. This is the spiritual path: finding out not who but what we really are. And what we are not; for example, we are not our body, not our brain, not our thoughts.
But why does consciousness exist? Nobody knows yet. It just does.
Still, when I listen read scientists and spritual leaders debating the nature of consciousness, there is still something not resolved, called the hard problem: Why does consciousness exist?
Unified field theory
There is a fascinating scientific theory suggestsing that there is one collective field of consciousness out of which the world we experience emerges. If you would like to know more about this, consult the work of John Hagelin.
When we look deeper into old wisdom, we find refined scientific research that has been going on for thousands of years into that field of consciousness. Researchers explored and researched deep into the mystery of our existence and came up with seasoned results, models, mathematics – concepts that are now proven or ways ahead of “modern” science.
For an introduction watch this wonderful short video”nature of consciousness“
John Hagelin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjNjxDtLOjk
Rupert Spira: http://scienceandnonduality.com/reflections-on-mind-matter-and-awareness-rupert-spira/
Bob Thurman: https://www.ted.com/talks/bob_thurman_says_we_can_be_buddhas?language=en