Exploring the nature of consciousness

“Most people think, consciousness is something that we HAVE. But it is, what we ARE” Peter Russell

This article is written by me, who has zero to little knowledge in science (beginners mind so to say), quantum physics and spirituality, so please excuse the very basic level of knowledge implied. Trying to understand the nature of consciousness is very 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 simplistic way (the only way I am able to) a few bites of what I took away from visiting conferences with some of the world most famous scientists and spiritual teachers like Deepak Chopra, John Hagelin, Peter Russel, Bob Thurman, Karen Johnson, Julia Mossbridge, Stanislav Grof and Stuart Hameroff  and studying the topic a little more for a couple of years. 

For an introduction watch this wonderful short video”nature of consciousness

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Did you ever ask yourself: What are we? What are we made of? Then you are in good company. These are the two top questions – hard problems as science calls them and for which they currently try to find answers for:

  1. What is the Universe made of?
  2. What is the biological basis for consciousness? 

You might think these questions are answered, like: there are atoms and particles and they form the Universe (more or less) and that probably the brain is the basis for consciousness (what question 2 implies already in the way the question is posed). 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, this kind of depressing cartesian cosmology, we are mostly confronted with since a few centuries.

So the current paradigm in which science operates in 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 – like good old Buddhists say all the time. The weird quantum scientists digged a little deeper and looked into atoms and all these things and what did they found? Nothing. No thing. In best case some waves/particles that are more or less mathematical forms depending on the existing 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 is our experience, experienced by consciousness. And thats 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 belief. 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, therefore called relative reality. This is where all old spiritual wisdom is pointing to and the science at least could not proof it wrong, or deliver the proof for a real material world.

One shared consciousness – the ONEness of everything

You might have heard the word: 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 and 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, that path to happiness. When we lose this feeling of connectedness we would end up singled out, cynical, ruthless. This is the spiritual path: finding out, not who, but what we really are. And what not: for example, we are not our body, not our brain, not our thoughts.

But why does consciousness exist? Nobody yet knows. It just is.

Still, when I listen read to all the scientists, spritual leaders debating on the nature of consciousness, there is still something not resolved, called the hard problem: why does consciousness exist?

Excurse: Unified field theory

There is one scientific theory (very fascinating) that suggests, that there is one collective field of consciousness out of which the world, we experience emerges. If you want to know more about this, consult the work of John Hagelin.

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When we look deeper into old wisdom, we find a deep and refined scientific research going on for thousands of years investigating into that field of Consciousness. They 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.

Way forward.. 

To me this is all very mysterious and worthwhile looking into it. Actually I could not think of anything more interesting than exploring into what we are. And the journey goes on, we are not sure we are even able to understand ourselves, due to the limitation that is inherent in us. Like the mouse trying to explain the world from its point of view: its findings will say more about the mouse and how it is constructed than about THE world.

OK, there is tons of material out there, you would have to study for yourself, please find some suggestions for you:

http://scienceandnonduality.com

John Hagelin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjNjxDtLOjk

Rupert Spira: http://scienceandnonduality.com/reflections-on-mind-matter-and-awareness-rupert-spira/

http://www.scienceandnonduality.com/love-is-a-place-rupert-spira-part-1-of-4/

Bob Thurman: https://www.ted.com/talks/bob_thurman_says_we_can_be_buddhas?language=en

http://www.nonduality.com/asmi3a.htm

http://www.welt.de/wissenschaft/article1938328/Die-Seele-existiert-auch-nach-dem-Tod.html