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13 February 2017

Life is Consciousness, Consciousness is Life

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Hello everyone, for this blog thought I would share a passage from my new book, The Survival Guide to Staying Conscious with a couple of audio tracks on the same subject. I hope you enjoy!,.

” It was the Buddha who originally pointed out that greed and aversion are not innate in any of us but simply conditioned responses that evolve within us. He suggested that the condition for the arising of greed, selfishness, anger and ill will is simply confusion, or ignorance. Simply, we become confused because we cannot see or understand what is going on. We don’t see what life actually is. Our suffering, he suggested, is caused by our inability to pay sufficient attention to what is actually governing our  lives.

So let’s start now by looking at what we might not be paying attention to. And for that let’s start right at the beginning, or if you like, let’s start with the biggest, most obvious thing of all. Life – what is it?

It’s going on around us everywhere, we are an expression of it ourselves, it is the basic principle that governs our entire experience of being. And yet for all of man’s ingenuity it still remains to a large extent the most unfathomable mystery. Here we are on this planet, somewhere in the vastness of space, rotating yearly around the sun, on this earth which is rotating daily around its own axis, and we just wake up every day, not quite sure where we go to at night, carrying on without the slightest idea of what it is all about!

We have broken the parts of it down and looked at it under a microscope, we have analysed it and tried to make sense of just how the coming together of a sperm and an egg randomly sometime in the past produced each of us individually. And we haven’t really come close to figuring that out.

Now I would say that instead of trying to reduce it down into its constituent parts and rob it of its exquisite mystery, we should allow it to be the very mystery that it is and start to acknowledge that perhaps there might be more to it than meets the eye. When we acknowledge that there might be more intelligence behind it than we have assumed, we create a space within our hearts where we allow ourselves to start to honour life as sacred again; deeply  so.

Perhaps you haven’t stopped for a while to reflect upon it, but this is your life, and it really is so special, and if you are suffering, unhappy or dissatisfied with it, it most certainly is worth doing whatever you can to turn that around and find your joy. This life really is so brief and taking the time to reflect on your own suffering and happiness is certainly worth your while.

We have spent a long, long time trying to figure this world out through scientific observation. The problem scientists have faced since they tried to unravel life’s great mystery is that all they have had to observe was the apparent physically expressed form of it. We can only quantify, as science loves to do, that which we can discretely perceive to be there. By removing consciousness from the equation, we may have robbed life of the very sacredness which might prompt us to respect it and honour it more than we currently do.

From the late 1890’s to the mid-1920’s, after an exhaustive study of everything they could observe, a number of eminent scientists, Plank, Bohr and Einstein, amongst others, together some of the greatest intellectual minds in history, reached this milestone; they could no longer separate manifest reality from the consciousness that observed it. Although some scientists have gone on to conjecture about what this implies and propose that the universe is the workings of a deep intelligence, this opened a Pandora’s box for science and it is not quite sure what to make of it.

Scientists have spent the last eighty years trying to understand the implications of this discovery which requires such a complex understanding of mathematics to mechanically fathom what has been realised. It is so baffling to the intellect that for the most part the implications it might have on our moral understanding of life have generally fallen prey to the efforts to use quantum theory in the development of increasingly complex technology. Meanwhile mainstream Western thinking has continued to adopt the view that this is simply a material universe and consciousness is an occasional by-product of material processes. The problem with this is that there is one great big elephant in the room the moment we even start down this root. And that is this:

Life itself is consciousness.

Consciousness is life.

It is consciousness that is the intelligent organising principle that galvanises life and brings it into expression. Any attempt to understand life in the absence of consciousness is going to fall hopelessly short. We have continued to adopt the ironically named C18th Western Enlightenment view that the universe is a material occurrence that under certain circumstances brings forth life. But what if, in truth, it was a conscious universe that under certain circumstances brings forth matter and expresses itself as life when this consciousness and matter interact? Perhaps that is a big step to take, so let’s take it gently.

Taking a materialist approach to understand life is a bit like trying to understand your computer simply by looking at the hardware. When we take the actual physical thing apart and look inside and try to fathom how on earth it does all the myriad things it does, there is no way that by looking at the constituent parts we are going to figure out how it works. That is because the real functionality of the computer is governed not by its hardware, but by its software. It is the flow and current of information that brings it to life. We, the human being, indeed any form of life, is exactly the same.

Consciousness is the software package that brings this mass of flesh and bones to life. And it is the absence of it that marks us as dead. It is as simple as that. The appearance of consciousness within a living organism produces a subtle electromagnetic current or field. In fact all things that are alive are alive because of this subtle current that is produced by conscious-ness. It is this current that flows life through us, and the absence of it is death. It is important to understand that this current is not produced by the food we eat or the air that we breathe. It is produced by the consciousness that arises within us. Scientists may well just see this as an electrical charge, but it is a living flowing current of consciousness.

Science has for a long time known that we can communicate information through electromagnetic fields. This is how all of our wireless technology works. In the same way that our phone sends electromagnetic signals that carry information, so too  our body and mind communicate endlessly through  electromagnetism. It is not enough to see life as just an electrical current. We have to start to understand the information that it conveys.

If you ever watch a plant with your naked eye it’s extremely hard to recognise the point at which it goes from being alive to the point at which it’s dead. There’s quite a long period when it’s sort of almost alive, or barely alive, but it’s still alive. And then there’s a point where it’s clearly not. In a human being it’s much more obvious. There’s a moment that marks the point of death, and although it doesn’t look very different with the naked eye because the physical body remains intact, it has profoundly changed at an unseen level. So profoundly in fact that it is now no longer capable of performing any functions whatsoever.

And what is it that marks it as dead? The heart’s stopped? Is that it? No. The mark – the sign of life in all things – is the appearance of this subtle field, this very, very delicate charge, or electro-magnetic field; this electrical charge is the current of life itself. The presence within the organism of this charge is what marks it as alive. The absence of it marks it as dead. That’s it. And although there is very little change physically – you have to look quite hard to be sure that someone is dead, it’s blatantly obvious when you can see that field of life within them and around them. With the withdrawal of consciousness from the body during the dying process that subtle electrical field fades. There is a point at which it is no longer able to support the heart and it stops beating, and thereafter a point where all activity, even of the brain and nerves, likewise  ceases.

This field of life is produced by one thing, and only by one thing. It’s produced by the arising of consciousness within the organism, by awareness itself. I am not talking about the kind of active intelligence that is produced by our brain, I am talking about the basic ground of our very being, which is consciousness or awareness itself. This is a pure intelligence that expresses itself absolutely perfectly for as long as it’s allowed to. The integrity and coherence of this living, conscious current as it flows through us is one of the single most important conditioning factors behind the integrity of life itself.

If you ever watch a plant with your naked eye it’s extremely hard to recognise the point at which it goes from being alive to the point at which it’s dead. There’s quite a long period when it’s sort of almost alive, or barely alive, but it’s still alive. And then there’s a point where it’s clearly not. In a human being it’s much more obvious. There’s a moment that marks the point of death, and although it doesn’t look very different with the naked eye because the physical body remains intact, it has profoundly changed at an unseen level. So profoundly in fact that it is now no longer capable of performing any functions whatsoever.

And what is it that marks it as dead? The heart’s stopped? Is that it? No. The mark – the sign of life in all things – is the appearance of this subtle field, this very, very delicate charge, or electro-magnetic field; this electrical charge is the current of life itself. The presence within the organism of this charge is what marks it as alive. The absence of it marks it as dead. That’s it. And although there is very little change physically – you have to look quite hard to be sure that someone is dead, it’s blatantly obvious when you can see that field of life within them and around them. With the withdrawal of consciousness from the body during the dying process that subtle electrical field fades. There is a point at which it is no longer able to support the heart and it stops beating, and thereafter a point where all activity, even of the brain and nerves, likewise  ceases.

This field of life is produced by one thing, and only by one thing. It’s produced by the arising of consciousness within the organism, by awareness itself. I am not talking about the kind of active intelligence that is produced by our brain, I am talking about the basic ground of our very being, which is consciousness or awareness itself. This is a pure intelligence that expresses itself absolutely perfectly for as long as it’s allowed to. The integrity and coherence of this living, conscious current as it flows through us is one of the single most important conditioning factors behind the integrity of life itself…” This is continued in The Survival Guide to Staying Conscious Chapter 7.

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