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And who said Darwinism was not a religion.

- When Rick Sternberg published a peer-reviewed paper in his Smithsonian journal that suggested support for intelligent design, a concerted effort was made to ruin his career. he was told not to come to the press conference disavowing the article because, he told Michael Powell of the Washington Post, "they could notguarantee me that they could keep order" among the distinguished Darwinist scientists (September 2005).

Beauregard was influenced to write this book by an NDE-like experience while suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when he experienced a sense of Cosmic Unity.

Not surprisingly, his book does not convince any materialist scientists, as he sometimes dares to appear contradictory, for example saying that we are too materialist in one part of the book, and that most of us believe in some sort of God in another part. It is perfectly possible to reconcile this, of course: technology dominates our lives for the sake of our bodily comforts, but does not satisfy our essential natures. Nevertheless, unless you state this specifically, materialists tend to jump on it and claim you’re a simpleton who contradicts himself and can’t marshal an argument. Sorry, but humans are complex!

Baudelaire’s philosophy is stated at the end of the book:

"Individual minds and selves arise from and are linked together by a divine Ground of Being (or primordial matrix). That is the spaceless, timeless, and infinite Spirit, which is the ever-present source of cosmic order, the matrix of the whole universe, including both physis (material nature) and psyche (spiritual nature). Mind and consciousness represent a fundamental and irreducible property of the Ground of Being. Not only does the subjective experience of the phenomenal world exist within mind and consciousness, but mind, consciousness, and self profoundly affect the physical world...it is this fundamental unity and interconnectedness that allows the human mind to causally affect physical reality and permits psi interaction between humans and with physical or biological systems. With regard to this issue, it is interesting to note that quantum physicists increasingly recognize the mental nature of the universe."

We might quibble at saying “mind” is synonymous with “consciousness”, but this is probably a semantic difficulty. Compare what has Michael H just said in the previous thread (Speed):

"There's plenty of particle physicists who suspect that there's some sort of organizing principle (consciousness anyone?) operating on the level of elementary particles, yet there's not a single physicist alive who can begin to explain the mechanism of quantum mechanics."

The book called “Consciousness is All” by Peter Francis Dziuban says one of the synonyms for ‘Consciousness’ (apart from ‘Awareness’, ‘God’, and ‘Unconditional Love’) is ‘Infinity’. Physicists aren’t too happy when infinity appears very often in their equations, and try to lose it. Perhaps that is their big mistake!

I highly suspect the answers as to "why we are here" may have more to do with quantum physics and the holographic nature of the universe rather than religion and spirituality. Or perhaps it's a marriage between the two?

Hi, Michael!

Thank you for drawing attention to The Spiritual Brain. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it and find it worthwhile.

Your readers may be intersted to know that the blog for The Spiritual Brain is The Mindful Hack.

http://mindfulhack.blogspot.com/

There I keep up with recent news and views relevant to the book.

Re blogging, my only two private blogs are the Post-D and the Hack. I am a paid blogger at two sites owned by others, and part of a volunteer blogging community at three sites.

Blogging is my main form of writing now, so my byline pops up here and there, just as a magazine writer's might. (I used to be a magazine writer, among other things, but there is no living in that now.)

Baudelaire's premise, as quoted by Ross above, is consistent with mystical testimony of all flavors. Reading the reviews of The Spiritual Brain at Amazon though, leads me to believe that the authors are attempting to make another argument in support of Intelligent Design as regularly presented in the Judeo-Christian tradition, positing the existence of a deity external to creation that brought existence into being.

It is extraordinarily difficult to get our minds around the idea that creation, rather than occurring in linear time, with a distant beginning, a past, a present, a future and a projected end, is instead happening now, in the moment, and is not so much a manifestation of the divine, as it is an aspect of the divine.

I suppose another tome joining the fray between science and religion may have its purpose, but the Amazon reviews tell me that this particular presentation joins the argument without breaking any new ground. The reviews are mostly strong in one direction or another; either highly supportive, or completely dismissive. There appears to be the same polarization that occurs with Dawkins' God Delusion. In either case, supporters will advocate the arguments presented because they buttress their own core beliefs, while dissenters will object because the arguments conflict with existing beliefs. Virtually no one will stop and take notice of their own reactions, yet it is in that 'noticing' that the solution, and common ground, is hidden.

A global understanding of reality, others and ourselves may be centuries away. Humanity will know it's arrived when materialism collapses in concert with the religions.

Materialist's would see this book as intelligent design invading cognitive science.

Take for example one review of the book here


"Intelligent design" invades cognitive science, September 4, 2007
By Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER) (REAL NAME)
This is a leading contender for "The Worst Book I've Ever Read". It certainly ranks high in the poorest study of cognitive science on the market. The authors want to erect an edifice proclaiming something "spiritual" in how the mind works. Unfortunately, their building material is obtained from the shattered reputations of those they dislike. The text is clearly dominated by "religious journalist" O'Leary, since the "science" here is minimal. A great deal of seething hostility is present, something a true scientist, which one hopes Beauregard is, would tend to avoid. O'Leary is a heavy contributer to "Christianity.ca", while Beauregard cites but four papers of his in the bibilography, one of which is encapsulated in the text.

They begin constructing their edifice in the opening chapter, "Toward A Spiritual Neuroscience", but the structure is based on straw. The straw man is "materialism", a vague term not well clarified by the authors. Their basis is a long-dismissed concept, Cartesian dualism" which postulated that the brain and "mind" are separate. Years of cognitive studies have demonstrated the falsity of that idea, but they resurrect it as if a fresh case can be found for it. Those who have demonstrated the fallacy of dualism, such as Daniel C. Dennett - who is frequently listed as a "materialist philosopher" - , along with Susan Blackmore, Pascal Boyer, zoologist Richard Dawkins [sic] and others are pilloried for failing to find "spiritual" elements in the makeup of the brain.

Beauregard and O'Leary castigate these investigators for failing to look at "evidence". This is a bit like saying all the brain-mapping studies undertaken over the past generation are meaningless. To these authors, that is precisely the case. They assert that the research is guided by a "monist" philosophy. Only things made of "material" are measured to arrive at conclusions. They examine the work of several researchers, most of whom have concluded that the human mind's acceptance of supernatural forces is some kind of adaptive trait. Beauregard then launches a counterattack, first by separating the mind and the brain, then claiming that the mind "acts on the brain" through "mystical experiences. They give the game away by citing Alister Hardy's assertion that there is a "key role for prayer and Christian mysticism". It is, ultimately, the "Christian" version of "spiritual neuroscience" that counts.

Their one "proof" offered is a study Beauregard undertook with Carmelite nuns in Montreal. Apart from the fact the cloistered life is only a step removed from normal experience than that of a "pillar saint" or desert hermit, they find these ladies meaningful subjects of study. Beauregard sees the lives of these nuns as suffused with Religious, Spiritual and Mystical Experiences [RSME], a term he applies to anything a person might regard as "beyond themselves". Given the regimen of the cloister, this is hardly surprising. After listing citations by the various nuns, Beauregard and his associate engaged in a brain-mapping exercise of their own. Using "Hood's Mysticism Scale" they argue that the brain exhibits activity in several areas during "mystical experiences", not only the temporal lobes [Persinger's area of research]. By this study, Beauregard dismisses the notion of a "god spot" in the brain, postulated by Geschwind, and to a lesser extent, Dean Hamer. Instead from this, they conclude the entire human brain is "wired" to communicate with the supernatural. Wired up by that same supernatural?

All this is patently false, of course. The brain-mapping studies have been carried out on a range of subjects under varying environments. One factor these studies have shown is that the brain is a more dynamic organ than previously supposed. While many studies, especially that of Michael Persinger, a countryman who they particularly desparage, it's clear that spiritual experiences come from within the brain, not outside.

It's regrettably clear why the publishers issued this travesty of science. It fits well with the spate of "anti-Darwin" books issued in North American recently. The "faithful", of which O'Leary is a clear proponent, and Beauregard presumably so, cannot abide the notion that human beings are a product of natural selection. The human brain is the last bastion they can mount against the idea that Homo sapiens is but one among several remaining primate species. How long it will take for that fact to permeate down to the level of the authors of this book is unclear, but the prospect is depressing. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

Apologies - I said Baudelaire at one place and led Michael H to do the same - it's Beauregard of course.

Thought for the day comes from Michael H:

"it is in that 'noticing' that the solution, and common ground, is hidden."

Indeed. It reminds me of a quote:
“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.”- Richard Moss

I know I'm guilty of not noticing and not listening. Must do better.

It's true that the journalist in collaboration with Dr. Mario Beauregard is a christian journalist too that degree many materialist's see it as a crusade on mainstream science.

I for one like the irreducible mind book better because it goes into great detail about psi, evidence for life after death and mystical experiences.

I know I'm guilty of not noticing and not listening. Must do better.

And who among us can claim otherwise, Ross? I didn't notice the confusion of the names, and I had the Amazon page open as I wrote that! Didn't notice!!

:-)

“Humanity will know it's arrived when materialism collapses in concert with the religions.”

Interesting concept.

I think Ross you will find these words comforting. Apparently you were not content with what you considered your failure.

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure."
Abraham Lincoln


“The human brain is the last bastion they can mount against the idea that Homo sapiens is but one among several remaining primate species”

Not sure this person got the point of the book. Is anyone arguing in this book that we humans are not a member of a primate species? It is the gaps that have always been a concern to me for holding up Darwinism as my religion of choice.

Art welcome back.

>Thank you for drawing attention to The Spiritual Brain. If you read it, I hope you enjoy it and find it worthwhile.

Thanks, Denyse. I do intend to read your book, and I look forward to it. I've read Post-Darwinist on and off for a while now; excellent coverage of the controversy over the new movie Expelled. It's amazing that scientists' reputations and careers can be ruined for expressing a contrarian opinion. Yet we are constantly told science is an objective, self-correcting enterprise ... Maybe this is even true, in the long run - the very long run. But that's cold comfort to the folks whose livelihoods are being trampled here and now.

According to Michael Shermer the scientists that are in the movie were whiners.

http://www.expelledexposed.com/

http://www.dailygrail.com/news/dawkins-avoids-being-expelled

I've been lurking very heavily on various ID sites of late, including Ms. O'Leary's blog; you'll forgive me if I feel a bit 'spooked' right now...

One of them, that is...

Sorry I know you do not usually ask questions here however I would like to raise the following.

Assumption - all memories and knowledge is external.

If that is the case then we either assume that they are compartmentalised and we have a link to that compartment via some mechanism or biological structure or that all memories and knowledge are intertwined so again we need a mechanism or biological structure that filters those memories and knowledge from all others.

If compartmentalised then we have a problem with the all knowing version of the NDE and the holographic universe as the compartments would need to be dissolved to allow someone to see or know everything. Thus we would need two states occurring simultaneously not unfeasible but somewhat impractical and would make no sense in the overall scheme of things.

So let us go with the intertwined model.

How then do we access only our memories and the knowledge that we have acquired.

I suspect DNA is one of the keys, what do others think?

”we need a mechanism or biological structure that filters those memories and knowledge from all others.”

Not sure we need a biological or mechanism both appear to be in the material paradigm. We are all part of that oneness and under the right conditions some appear to be able to access that oneness and find bliss beyond words. (Mystics and those that have mystical experiences)

As far as intertwined that may be closer to reality as often we do access others thoughts and memories. It appears that the more advanced our soul the better we can access others thoughts and memories.

The dream (visitation?) I had many years ago this entity was able to access not only my memories but also my thoughts and even the motivation behind my actions that created those memories. Do we really know how or why this is so?

What we can ask is what is the meaning of what appears to be? (dr Hora) We are very early in our evolutionary process and how and why are often very difficult but not impossible questions to answer. But consciousness will never quit until it finds these answers.

Kind of like oneness awaking to itself, of course itself being a no self.

The words of truth are always paradoxical.
Lao Tzu

"I suspect DNA is one of the keys, what do others think?"

Do you mean like this:
http://delphian.7gen.com/13thDNA_Strand.htm

Assumption - all memories and knowledge is external.

I'm not sure that I fully grasped your question, JimS, but I can say that the assumption you opened with is the common denominator between materialism and dualism. Both assume that we are separate entities operating within an objective reality. It is reasonable to think so; it sure appears to be the case.

The mystics of all disciplines though, suggest precisely the opposite. They all claim that true reality is subjective; that objective reality when viewed and experienced from the highest levels of consciousness is ultimately illusory. The epistemology that best describes this view is Radical Constructivism. A brief introduction and explanation of this view is available at the current issue of http://anti-matters.org/ojs/index.php/antimatters/article/view/54>AntiMattersand the philosophy is explored in depth at the http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/>Constructivist Foundations web site. This approach is succinctly explained in the abstract at the AntiMatters link as follows:

The constructivism of Jean Piaget was developed by Ernst von Glasersfeld into the epistemology known as “radical constructivism.” Knowledge, according to this epistemology, is not passively received, nor can it be transmitted. It is actively built up by the cognizing subject. Cognition serves the individual’s organization of her experiential world, not the discovery of an objective ontological reality. Although the social environment constrains the construction of knowledge, radical constructivism is an individualistic epistemology, which entails that agreement cannot be forced or bought but must grow from conviction. It comes as a wholesome corrective to both scientific totalitarianism and religious dogmatism. For those who believe that Truth is mystically accessible but cannot be put into words, it would seem to be the epistemology of choice.

This being said, though, I would personally suggest that this epistemology can't be fully grasped intellectually. By that I don't mean that we can't understand it, only that we can't actually see it as true until we undergo a sort of inner shift ourselves. Until we alter our conscious focus away from the external, to see that aspect of ourselves that is doing the observing, it will remain just a theory.

Michael H: not sure this theory takes into consideration the sea of mental thoughts that may be floating around in the universe.

Dr Hora calls this sea of mental thoughts "the sea of mental garbage" but does not do a good job of explaining the origin or how it works or the why of this sea of mental garbage. I think there is a sea of thoughts out there but not all is garbage, some of these “floating” thoughts are profound.

And your quote stated, "It is actively built up by the cognizing subject." I think this was the question. If it is activity built up then where is it stored and how is it activity built up. The answer does not fit into a materialistic paradigm.

My simple explanation is we are walking balls of energy (vitality) and within that energy are memories and conscious thoughts but I suspect being invaded all the time if we allow this sea of mental garbage to enter. Or we can let this sea of profound thoughts to enter our minds.

These questions can fry ones mind, as I don’t think we humans are at an evolutionary stage of knowledge to understand such things. Yet! But then you stated the same thing in your response.

People are able to read other people’s minds so I don’t think we are hardwired but consciousness (pure awareness plus unawareness (i.e. ignorance) = consciousness) is the vehicle that connects us all to one another at least to be able to communicate.

I suspect it is awareness that truly connects us and this awareness makes us all one of the same infinite oneness.

Tough question I noticed not many responded to that question. Maybe they were pretty smart not to take that on. For me I love some of those tough questions.

When I took on the origin of ignorance most people just crossed me off as losing it and they felt I was qualified for a straight jacket.

And your quote stated, "It is actively built up by the cognizing subject." I think this was the question. If it is activity built up then where is it stored and how is it activity built up. The answer does not fit into a materialistic paradigm.

The answer doesn't fit the dualist paradigm either, William. The only paradigm it fits (as I see it) is monism: One appearing as many.

Regardless, one can't think their way to understanding it. It has to be experienced.

Apologies for the delay in responding, different time zones

“Regardless, one can't think their way to understanding it. It has to be experienced.” Michael H

“I suspect it is awareness that truly connects us and this awareness makes us all one of the same infinite oneness” William

Thanks for the replies, as you probably guessed I am new to this and have more questions than answers

As to awareness and experience - I am aware of many things of which I have experienced few, however both add to my body of knowledge.

My current body of knowledge is external to my physical self and part of my spiritual body of knowledge (which may be greater depending on your beliefs) and my spiritual body of knowledge is part of the overall body of knowledge (universal consciousness) yet I only get to access that which is relevant to my physical awareness/experience. So to quote Julius Sumner Miller – Why is that so?

Or am I over complicating this?

Or am I over complicating this?

Yes. :)

Just a couple of things occur to me, Jim. The first is the statement, "My current body of knowledge is external to my physical self. . ."

How can knowledge, which is a mental phenomenon having to do with familiarity or understanding, ever be external? It appears to us that what we know at this moment was once information that was external to us before we learned it, but what we know (or think we know) at any moment is internal, isn't it?

The second thing has to do with what I think may be a misunderstanding of my earlier statement, when you wrote, "I am aware of many things of which I have experienced few, however both add to my body of knowledge."

When I stated that 'we can't think our way to understanding, we have to experience it', I was referring to discovering the truth of Radical Construcivism as I suggested in my initial reply. If someone tries to grasp these ideas intellectually, they will inevitable fail. What I'm suggesting is that we must shift our awareness away from the content of the thoughts and feelings that are happening in the moment, and instead learn to see our mental processes happening in the moment. It's about living from a meditative state of mind, but it doesn't require meditation to do so.

My understanding of reality is that consciousness is primary. By that I mean that consciousness did not somehow arise from matter, as reductionist science tells us, but rather is the core stuff of existence. Instead of consciousness arising from matter, matter arises from consciousness. It is because of this that the mystics, upon experiencing the highest levels of consciousness, attempt to describe ineffable feelings of unity and fail. The truth is accessible to us, but it can never be fully transmitted to someone else - it can only be pointed to. Truth can only be realized on the level of the individual.

We've had pretty extensive exchanges on this blog about this for a while now. Spending a little time browsing the archives will give you a feel for several perspectives on these ideas. I'd also suggest exploring some of the secular mystics, such as Sydney Banks or Eckhardt Tolle, and then comparing what they have to say with the religious mystics like Christ, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Meister Eckhart, Jacob Boehme, Rumi, Yogananda, Ramana Maharshi or Sri Aurobindo. If you look carefully, you may discover that they're all trying to say the same thing.

I hope this doesn't just complicate things more. :)

“One appearing as many.” It appears to be so. And how tell can oneness appear as many? The many must be unaware of their oneness or stated another way their true identity. Another name for this unawareness is ignorance.

Lo and behold a synonym for unawareness is ignorance.

The origin of our ignorance is our innocence of our true identity. (I.e. innocence = ignorance) The implications of this are profound. When the Christians state we are always in the grace of god they appear to be absolutely correct.

As the Buddha correctly realized the origin of our suffering is ignorance. Without ignorance there is no creation. Perfection must create/manifest imperfection to create uniqueness (many). Every snowflake is unique just as every human appears unique to us.

“As to awareness and experience - I am aware of many things of which I have experienced few, however both add to my body of knowledge.”

An entire book is needed to explain just this one statement you have made. We can experience many things but understand truly understand few of them.

Understanding sees the underlying reality and the meaning of the experience. Knowledge is only conscious of the experience. The Buddhists call this difference lower knowledge (knowledge) and higher knowledge (understanding).

Micheal H - Thanks, will explore further, externally as suggested and within.

I am sure I will have more questions but promise not to clog the blog.

William - Thanks - I think you and Micheal H are a bit above me at this stage and to be honest I am probably only grasping part of what you are both saying

:-)

Jim as I was doing my yoga I realized that the book "the self aware universe" by amit goswami might be a book you would find interesting.

he is a theoretical quantum physicist that has moved beyond the materialist paradigm.

Can be bought at Abe used books or alibris used books for under 4 dollars. Plus shipping.

Also I suspect Michael H has some recommendations for books that may address your question.

Michael H:
Can you explain how Radical constructivism overcomes the problem of solipsism? If everything is subjective, how can there be other people, or a co-created reality? Is it simply that we (in our ignorance, William!)see ourselves as separate? And if this is so, surely separateness is an Intention of the Universe...a very important intention.

“And if this is so, surely separateness is an Intention of the Universe...a very important intention.”

Is separateness an intention or part of the process of the universe awaking to itself? The evolution of consciousness to a Self-identity allows an infinite number of awakenings.

Like one big circle. I have always felt the circle has profound implications for our understanding of reality. Pure speculation here but of interest to me.

Some enlightened Hindus claim the universe (God or gods) thru perceived selves (souls) are constantly awakening to or discovering itself. The bliss of the realization and attainment of being that oneness is a constant bliss.

The mystics during their mystical experiences appear to awaken to and feel some of that bliss as they lose their individual egos and see and feel an oneness to all that exists.

OK then William:
If Awareness = The One; and
Unawareness = The Many; then does
The One plus The Many = Manifestation ?

So I am asking: Is Manifestation the same as Consciousness? If it is, do we mean Self-Consciousness?
In other words: Is Consciousness only self-conscious when it manifests separately?
In other words: Without splitting Self into a zillion entities, how can Consciousness know itself?
Is separation the only way to avoid solipsism?

William, I had this funny picture of a man in a red Freddie Mercury style (or bodybuilder)spandex body suit in a yoga lotus pose.

Now I'm not saying that is something you'd wear when your doing your yoga but now everytime you mention when your doing yoga and receiving cosmic insights I will find it hard to see anything else besides this. ;-)

Can you explain how Radical constructivism overcomes the problem of solipsism? If everything is subjective, how can there be other people, or a co-created reality?

I puzzled a little over this question, Ross, and then came across http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2007/09/subjective-reality-vs-solipsism/>this piece by Steve Pavlina that seems to explain the difference quite clearly.

He writes, "When people tell me they’re concerned that seeing the world through the lens of subjective reality will make them feel lonely or depressed, I know they’re really talking about solipsism. Solipsism is basically what you get when you try to interpret subjective reality through an objective lens . . . If you wish to grasp the perspective of subjective reality, you have to put down the objective lens first."

Compare this with what I wrote earlier: "Until we alter our conscious focus away from the external, to see that aspect of ourselves that is doing the observing, it will remain just a theory . . . Regardless, one can't think their way to understanding it. It has to be experienced."

Pavlina's analogy to lucid dreaming is excellent. As I read it, a passage from Mitchell's The Gospel According to Christ came to mind.

It is quite true that the kingdom of God both has come and is coming; but this "is coming" is in the present, not the future.

From the absolute perspective, one is all; when you are healed, the whole universe is healed. Thus, according to the Diamond Sutra, the Bodhisattva who vows to save all beings is still under a fundamental delusion:

Any Bodhisattva who undertakes the practice of meditation should cherish one thought only: "When I attain perfect wisdom, I will liberate all sentient beings in every realm of the universe, and allow them to pass into the eternal peace of Nirrvana." And yet, when vast, uncountable, unthinkable myriads of beings have been liberated, truly no being has been liberated. Why? Because no Bodhisattva who is a true Bodhisattva entertains such concepts as "self" or "others." Thus there are no sentient beings to be liberated and no self to attain perfect wisdom.

Ramana Maharshi clarifies this point:

People often say that a liberated Master should go out and preach his message to the people. How can anyone be a Master, they argue, as long as there is misery by his side? This is true. But who is a liberated Master? Does he see misery beside him? They want to determine the state of a Master without realizing the state themselves. From the standpoint of the Master their contention amounts to this: A man dreams a dream in which he finds several people. On waking up, he asks, "Have the dream people also woken up?" How ridiculous!

In the same way, a good man says, "It doesn't matter if I never get liberation. Or let me be the last man to get it so that I may help all others to be liberated before I am." Wonderful. Imagine a dreamer saying, "May all these dream people wake up before I do." The dreamer is no more absurd than this amiiable philosopher.

"They want to determine the state of a Master without realizing the state themselves." With this statement, Maharshi has perfectly described the problem we encounter when we try to understand the mystics through our intellect, when we try to 'think our way there'. The only way I know how to describe the path to understanding the higher perspective is to suggest we shift our focus to outside of our intellect, to learn to watch our intellect in action, instead of operating inside of the intellect and playing 'figure out' from that perspective.

The difficulty is that we have trained our minds to analyze. If we can honestly see that we've done so, we can find our way back to the perspective of childhood, rediscovering the wonder and depth of the moment, while still having full access to all we've learned to this point. This is what Christ meant when he suggested, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

"William, I had this funny picture of a man in a red Freddie Mercury style (or bodybuilder)spandex body suit in a yoga lotus pose."

Far from it and you don’t want to know. I do my yoga in a heated room. And my middle name is not pretzel. But sometimes insights come to me during that time. My best insights have always come to me when I first awake in the morning.

"So I am asking: Is Manifestation the same as Consciousness?"

In my view this is a correct statement. Consciousness is a function of pure awareness. As "our" consciousness evolves we become more aware of our reality.

Most people I think believe awareness is a function of consciousness. Consciousness is like a flow of thoughts whereas awareness just is.

It appears to me that the more aware a perceived entity becomes of its reality the more this conscious entity sees its self as this oneness. The mystics lay testament to this phenomenon.

“Without splitting Self into a zillion entities, how can Consciousness know itself?”

Not sure this is correct but may be so. Some enlightened Hindus think that.

Maybe this pure awareness must manifest itself to experience itself or to share its self to continually realize its fullest potential or simply to express its self. How else could infinite oneness express itself without manifestation?

What I did discover was that the creation/manifestation of perceived separate entities demands an innocence of our true reality, and this innocence leads to ignorance as we evolve from self-awareness to an awareness of our true reality. (I.e. the origin of our ignorance is innocence).

So simple it eludes us. The Adam and Eve story appears to have some validity but of course has been misinterpreted.

“Is separation the only way to avoid solipsism?” Deep question must think more on that one.

"The difficulty is that we have trained our minds to analyze"

Amen to that but I suspect a step in the process (evolving) of awaking and becoming that that is.

We are not failing but evolving and part of that evolving process may very well be seeing the failure of our intellect to grasp reality. I.e. our ignorance is our innocence.

Of course we never left that that is.

Excellent replies -thank you, Michael H and William!
MH: "If we can honestly see that we've done so, we can find our way back to the perspective of childhood, rediscovering the wonder and depth of the moment, while still having full access to all we've learned to this point."
W: "We are not failing but evolving and part of that evolving process may very well be seeing the failure of our intellect to grasp reality. I.e. our ignorance is our innocence."

I can relate to this. William Blake had the idea of Innocence, Experience and Organised Innocence.
But I'm afraid the Maharishi is a bit beyond me, unless he means (simply) that in Oneness all separation dissolves.

William's idea of "evolution" is something I find easy to grasp - gradual refinement until one sees the light, like gradually climbing a hill and suddenly, at the top, seeing the breathtaking vista beyond. But Michael, you seem to be seeing enlightenment as simply a matter of perception...our intellect is a sunblock. Whilst I agree that intellect is insufficient, I somehow intuit that its absence is undesirable, just as it would be undesirable for us to be without feelings (of bliss, for instance).

But I'm afraid the Maharishi is a bit beyond me, unless he means (simply) that in Oneness all separation dissolves.

This is precisely what he means; it is the simplicity of it that confounds us. Most of us are convinced that "enlightenment" is some far-off state that can be achieved only through herculean effort, when in truth, it is simply being in the pristine state.

But Michael, you seem to be seeing enlightenment as simply a matter of perception...our intellect is a sunblock. Whilst I agree that intellect is insufficient, I somehow intuit that its absence is undesirable.

I'm not suggesting that the intellect is undesirable, Ross. On the contrary, the intellect is a tremendous gift. Without it, we would be incapable of even discussing this! What I am saying is that we cannot discover our connection to the core consciousness through the use of the intellect. It is because our intellect has proven so successful in the objective world, that we automatically assume that it will be sufficient for understanding subjective reality as well. And this is the assumption that fails us.

It is simply a matter of altering our perspective, learning to see ourselves as the thinker. Once we have done so, we still have full use of the intellect, but we have a higher perspective. We no longer are the intellect, but we still have an intellect.

To paraphrase Sydney Banks 'Three Principles': All we can ever be aware of is Thought. We are aware of it through our capacity of Consciousness. Both Thought and Consciousness are aspects of Mind, which is the source of all things.

The idea isn't to believe him, it is to understand him. And to understand, we need only see it for ourselves.

“To paraphrase Sydney Banks 'Three Principles': All we can ever be aware of is Thought. We are aware of it through our capacity of Consciousness. Both Thought and Consciousness are aspects of Mind, which is the source of all things.”

There may be semantic difficulties here –perhaps we differ in our terms. Some say Mind is an aspect of Awareness/ Consciousness. William says Awareness + Unawareness = Consciousness. You sometimes refer to Consciousness as prime too, I think (interchangeable terms – it’s tough finding the right epistemological lexicon).

I do perfectly understand that a thought is an ‘object’ rather than a ‘subject’, and that everything we are ‘aware of’ is not in itself our identity as ‘Awareness’.
However, what I sense is the need to in some way “take the subject through the object” to achieve enlightenment, rather than, as it were, drop the object or see through it (which implies that it isn’t really there).

Synthesis – Organised Innocence: I can’t see the way to enlightenment in pure Subjectivity, which I define as Innocence. The object is experience. The synthesis is both Subject and Object reintegrated as One. In considering that the Prime Mover must have moved His own substance to achieve an Object in the first place, the idea of re-integration seems…logical! And it fits in with the idea of evolution…gradual reintegration.

Now if what I have said is equivalent to your saying (per your quote above) Consciousness = Subject, Thought = Object, and Mind = Synthesis, then we are in full agreement!

But it seems to be you may be saying one of the following:

1. Mind = Subject, Thought = Object, and Consciousness = Object. If so, we are not saying the same thing.

2. Mind = Unmanifest (Prime, Pre-creation Awareness), Consciousness = the Manifested version of mind, Thought = Object.

If the latter, you would appear to be expecting us to return to Non-manifestation rather than seek a new synthesis of Subject/Object in Organised Innocence.

Are we returning to source-as- it- was, or are we creating something new, ie-Organised Innocence? I have always thought the latter. However, I realise that the very idea of something ‘new’ is odd in terms of an Omniscient Being. So I may well be wrong. But if I am, why are we here?

“However, I realise that the very idea of something ‘new’ is odd in terms of an Omniscient Being. So I may well be wrong. But if I am, why are we here?”

Oh who can pretend to know the answer to that question? My theory is what the so-called mastermind stated in the open door through George Wright. God is always in the act of becoming. If we were not here experiencing, would that mean pure awareness is static. God is dynamic and we are “part” of that dynamic expression of oneness. We are gods in the making knowing of course we were and are that that is.

Meister Eckhart said something to the affect “
'”The eye by which I see God is the same as the eye by which God sees me. My eye and God's eye are one and the same — one in seeing, one in knowing,”
Spoken like a true mystic.

Look at the universe it appears to be always in the act of renewal and becoming. Can infinite learn something new? I think god is more about expressing than adding something new. Involution then Evolution appears to produce entities that are unique just like every snowflake is unique.

I have found the simpler the answer the harder it is for the intellect to comprehend. The origin of ignorance is so simple it defies explanation but I spent six intensive years of research on that one question alone. Most religions want to blame we humans for our sins without realizing that without our imperfections there is no expression (i.e. creation).

There may be semantic difficulties here –perhaps we differ in our terms.

There are always semantic difficulties, Ross. And there always will be. Language itself is inadequate. If this were not the case, anyone operating at the highest level of mental clarity could just call a press conference, broadcast their understanding worldwide, and the whole planet would awaken. (Wouldn't THAT be great!!) This is why Mohrhoff writes in the abstract on RC, "For those who believe that Truth is mystically accessible but cannot be put into words, it would seem to be the epistemology of choice."

As for Banks' Mind, Thought and Consciousness, this is what he writes on his http://www.sydneybanks.org/frameset.php?id=hm>home page:

* Mind, which is the source of all intelligence

* Consciousness, which allows us to be aware of our existence

* Thought, which guides us through the world we live in as free-thinking agents.

He explains each of these in depth on his website, which may address your questions better than I can.

You are correct in that I often state that my understanding is that consciousness is primary; I suppose if I were to use Banks' terminology the better term would be "Mind". Or maybe universal intelligence.

As I wrote earlier, the only way I know how to describe the path to discovering the higher perspective is to suggest we shift our focus to outside of our intellect, to learn to watch our intellect in action, instead of operating inside of the intellect and playing 'figure out' from that perspective.

The problem with trying to figure it out, isn't that we aren't bright enough. The problem is that we always begin with assumptions that we have acquired from the perspective of self-consciousness. Shifting to a higher consciousness alters the perception of everything, including space and time.

An example of this is contained in the last two paragraphs of your post. From the perspective of self-consciousness, we will naturally assume that the source is manifesting in a linear time frame. This leads us to ask questions based on that assumption: "Are we returning to the source? Are we creating something new?" Yet the experience of Cosmic Consciousness is often reported as beyond space and time, as captured in the first stanza of Blake's Auguries of Innocence; time is seen as a constant, creation is happening in the moment, space is nonexistent. The source is not becoming anything, it just is.

Until someone has experienced the perspective of the highest consciousness, it all just sounds like madness. William's quote from Lao Tzu applies here: Words of truth are always paradoxical.

"Why are we here?"

I'm reminded of a Sydney Banks audio tape in which an audience member asked that question. Banks paused for a moment, restated the question and replied, "It's only a guess, but I think we're here to discover who we truly are, to discover our divine nature."

The man in the audience thought about it for a moment, then said, "And that's it?"

The entire auditorium roared, Banks included. Two or three minutes passed before he regained his composure. Finally, Syd chuckled again before responding, "I told you it was simple!"

"to learn to watch our intellect in action"

That is a humbling experience in and of itself.

"It's only a guess, but I think we're here to discover who we truly are, to discover our divine nature."

I think Ross is asking the why behind the statement to discover who we are. There is so much suffering involved in the journey to discover our true identity. At least maybe in the early stages of our journey, which I believe, we are in now as humans. (I.e. often we can be egotistical, selfishness, warring, materialistic, greedy, blaming, judgmental, self-righteous, etc).

Understanding the causes of these qualities in others and ourselves is part of the challenge and the journey. It appeared someone like Jesus was able to do this.

I suspect the want of love is responsible for our displaying these previous qualities of human nature and it is the innocence of our true identity that prevents us from realizing the potential of our ability to love self unconditionally.

“The ways are but two: love and the want of love” Duncan Blewett

As we love self we love others. Scary thought if we are honest with ourselves. The woman on moment of truth got caught on this one. The moment she stated she loved (liked?) self I knew she just lost 100 thousand dollars.

But then the mystics tell us in their bliss it was all worth it. In fact some tell us a million times more suffering would have been worth it. Wow something to think about.


I lean in the direction of oneness expressing itself and the process of expressing are these perceived individual entities (us and others) discovering who we are and that is the journey of the soul. How else could oneness express its potential fully without the discovery part of the journey?

The discovery element may be part of the process of oneness expressing its potential, but only god may know the meaning behind the process. Or not.

Thank you again William and Michael H.

Michael H: "Shifting to a higher consciousness alters the perception of everything, including space and time."

-Yes. But it's nice to postulate, seeing as we are "made in God's image"! And dare an ant climb a wall to look a man in the eye?

William: "The discovery element may be part of the process of oneness expressing its potential, but only god may know the meaning behind the process. Or not."

I suppose what I'm after is your perspectives. I tend to associate the Eastern approach (which I equate more with Michael H), as being about seeking extinction of individuality to rejoin the original unchanging Infinite, whereas the Western approach (which I equate more with William), is providing something new (basically a unique perspective rather than information), and keeping our individuality:-the drop of water in the Ocean still knows itself and keeps its memories in RAM as well as having access to the 'universal server'.

I tend to associate the Eastern approach (which I equate more with Michael H), as being about seeking extinction of individuality to rejoin the original unchanging Infinite

I've heard this before from others, most recently in an email exchange with a writer I've corresponded with. It puzzles me, because I'm not at all sure that complete extinction of individuality is possible. The memory I have of my peak experience was that what remained of 'me', was primarily the capacity of awareness - although there was still a sense of self, of who I was and had been, but there was also the realization that I (and everything else) was far beyond anything that I had ever conceived. My sense of self was permanently altered, though I've never again reached that level of awareness since.

I wrote earlier that, "the difficulty is that we have trained our minds to analyze. If we can honestly see that we've done so, we can find our way back to the perspective of childhood, rediscovering the wonder and depth of the moment, while still having full access to all we've learned to this point."

Yet, for some reason, however I'm attempting to express things is inadequate. I guess it always is.

"Yet, for some reason, however I'm attempting to express things is inadequate. I guess it always is."

I'm very tempted to quote a wise man:

". . . as long as one chooses to think so."

(But, no, that's mean! Truth is you've had a peak experience and I haven't.)

Below is a quote that I think may very well be reality. The non-existence part scares us. But by the time we get to that point of so called non-existence, which is really all existence we do not sacrifice self but grow into the job so to speak. No loss just become that that is.

So our greatest fears mine included never materialize. Unfounded fears I suspect. Sorry if I mislead you but contrary to what most teach even some advanced spirits I don’t ever see a stop in our progress until we return home. I may be wrong about this of course. We never give up me but our me (identity) becomes that that is.


I died as a mineral and became a plant.
I died as plant and rose to animal.
I died as animal and I was man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as man, to soar
With angels blessed. But even from angelhood
I must pass on. All except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! For non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, “To Him we shall return.”
Rumi (1207-1273)

I guess speculating about complete non-existence can hold a certain appeal (especially when I consider the prospects of Hillary Clinton leading the free world! :-)), but it is probably not accurate.

I recall Yoganada's conversation with his master Sri Yukteswar, as recounted in http://www.ananda.org/inspiration/books/ay/43.html>Chapter 43 of Autobiography of a Yogi. Yukteswar describes three distinct realms of existence in detail: the physical, the astral and the causal. Towards the end of their discussion is the following exchange, in the words of Yogananda, quoting Yukteswar:

"Many beings remain for thousands of years in the causal cosmos. By deeper ecstasies the freed soul then withdraws itself from the little causal body and puts on the vastness of the causal cosmos. All the separate eddies of ideas, particularized waves of power, love, will, joy, peace, intuition, calmness, self-control, and concentration melt into the ever-joyous Sea of Bliss. No longer does the soul have to experience its joy as an individualized wave of consciousness, but is merged in the One Cosmic Ocean, with all its waves-eternal laughter, thrills, throbs.

"When a soul is out of the cocoon of the three bodies it escapes forever from the law of relativity and becomes the ineffable Ever-Existent. Behold the butterfly of Omnipresence, its wings etched with stars and moons and suns! The soul expanded into Spirit remains alone in the region of lightless light, darkless dark, thoughtless thought, intoxicated with its ecstasy of joy in God's dream of cosmic creation."

"A free soul!" I ejaculated in awe.

"When a soul finally gets out of the three jars of bodily delusions," Master continued, "it becomes one with the Infinite without any loss of individuality. Christ had won this final freedom even before he was born as Jesus. In three stages of his past, symbolized in his earth-life as the three days of his experience of death and resurrection, he had attained the power to fully arise in Spirit.

I added the emphasis in the above quote. I have no way of knowing whether Yukteswar's descriptions are accurate, but I will say that it all made sense to me somehow when I first read it, and it continues to do so.

I guess we'll all know soon enough, won't we?

"it becomes one with the Infinite without any loss of individuality.”

My logical mind or illogical mind take your pick cannot comprehend such a thing. One with the infinite but no loss of individuality? We are talking infinite here I cannot comprehend infinite number of individual souls being one with the infinite but yet individual. Maybe one can be individual if need be and with the one when that condition is desirable? Kind of a pick and choose scenario.

Remember his master was Hindu and he very much would teach Hindu thought even on the other side. Of course most people have stated my writings are very much Hindu. How does one be one with the infinite but yet individual? May be so: the answer is blowing in the wind.

Once we have attained pure awareness what would be the need to be an individual consciousness other than to express individual qualities. Maybe I just answered my own question. You think?

I don't think we can conceive of this from our current level of self-consciousness, William. We can't really conceive of timelessness, either can we? Or formlessness? It's another reason that our intellect fails us in getting there - it makes no sense, and we want things to make sense.

I think what the mystics tell us though, is that one can merge with the infinite while maintaining individuality. Isn't that what Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tzu and Christ represent?

My best guess is that Yukteswar is saying that the ultimate destination is to merge with the source, but the sense of individuality, the sense of awareness of an "I" remains, even after one has opened entirely to the indescribable bliss of the totality; the sense of "I am experiencing this" remains.

The question then becomes: What is the "I", doesn't it?

“the sense of awareness of an "I" remains, even after one has opened entirely to the indescribable bliss of the totality; the sense of "I am experiencing this" remains.”

When intelligence and awareness match perfectly with the absolute where is the individuality? Individuality demands some degree of unawareness. Not sure once we reach a level of pure awareness we seek unawareness.

This could be but my intellect cannot fathom it. But then how can this level of unawareness we have now begin to fathom pure awareness? It sure sounds more blissful than our human intelligence and awareness.

My belief is the more we progress the more we find joy and bliss in our existence.

Tonight as I was watching TV something came over me. Can’t explain it, some kind of viewpoint of only seeing goodness. Can’t explain it and during an action movie. Go figure. It was not blissful but serene and only lasted a few minutes.

I suspect we humans have only touched the surface of what is available to us in joy and love and our connection to all things.

Michael H: "When a soul finally gets out of the three jars of bodily delusions," Master continued, "it becomes one with the Infinite without any loss of individuality."
-I agree with this. However, I can easily imagine that at some point we would become bored of our individual perspective and discard it.

William: "Individuality demands some degree of unawareness. Not sure once we reach a level of pure awareness we seek unawareness."
-From the highest point, where else is there to go but down? Hence our existence! I see individuality as having the ability to choose distinct perspectives instead of comprehending totality all at once.

Reading the interesting “Autobiography of a Yogi” Michael H linked for us, it occurs to me why I sometimes assume the mystical tradition requires extinction of individuality.

If it is true that the senses are insufficient to grasp Reality, and words are incapable of describing it, then everything we associate with ourselves, including our sense perception, our opinions, our feelings, and our education (as well as our bodies), would ultimately appear to be redundant. If this is so, the part that remains of us (formless Awareness or Consciousness) would not appear to need the experiences we have gathered by these means. If it does not need them, then they can be simply outgrown or shed.

On the other hand, if the Eternal Self does have a need of individual separate expression to realise itself, then it is reasonable to suppose that the stuff that identifies us and makes us up now continues to be of use (even though inevitably refined and elevated by continued experience).

"Tonight as I was watching TV something came over me. Can’t explain it, some kind of viewpoint of only seeing goodness . . . It was not blissful but serene and only lasted a few minutes."

I think it's all perspective, William. I think we all have an occasional glimmer, a momentary glimpse of higher states, when calm, peaceful feelings predominate. Serene, as you say. It sounds silly I suppose, but I think the idea is just to entertain positive thoughts and feelings when they occur, rather than search for them. Release the negative, nourish the positive. Back to 'noticing' I guess.

What I've noticed myself is that the times I have enjoyed higher perspectives were times I wasn't actively looking for them. They just sort of happened. And I've also noticed that if I do slip into a higher level, the moment I become cognizant of it, it tends to level off. The moment I say to myself, "Wow! I feel extraordinary!" is the same moment I drift back to what's best described as my 'ordinary' state of consciousness. It's like moods, or biorhythms. We're all stuck in the Matrix. :-)

A friend recommended Autobiography of a Yogi to me a couple of years ago, Ross. I remember being fascinated by it; I read the entire book online in one sitting. When I finally fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning, I had the most exceptional dreams of wandering through ancient India. That book, along with Stephen Mitchell's Tao te Ching and The Gospel According to Jesus are the books I reach for at those times I find myself in need of some inspiration. Yogananda's exploits stretch credulity at times, but I find a real sense of hope within those pages: His spirit infuses that volume. If anyone chooses to purchase a hard copy, I would suggest that they go with the original version as available at the link I provided earlier. Subsequent editions suffer from editing by the Self-Realization Fellowship that tends to dilute his message.

I'm afraid William, Ross and I, (along with some prodding from JimS), have managed to spin this thread well off topic. On the other hand, I guess we are supporting the idea of a spiritual basis for reality. It's in attempting to articulate and interpret it it that we all tend to go awry.

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