Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Near Death Experience Documentary

What do you think happens when we die? The congruency of stories from various Near Death Experiencers is quite telling. Throughout history people who have died and later been resuscitated report the same story of consciousness leaving their physical body, entering a realm of love and light, meeting angelic beings, and watching their entire lives flash before their eyes. Slight differences exist in various accounts, but these pale next to the incredible universal similarities. The typical NDE is as follows:

A man is dying and suddenly finds himself floating above his body and watching what is going on. Within moments he travels at great speed through a darkness or a tunnel. He enters a realm of dazzling light and is warmly met by recently deceased friends and relatives. Frequently he hears indescribably beautiful music and sees sights – rolling meadows, flower-filled valleys, and sparkling streams – more lovely than anything he has seen on earth. In this light-filled world he feels no pain or fear and is pervaded with an overwhelming feeling of joy, love, and peace. He meets a ‘being (and/or beings) of light’ who emanates a feeling of enormous compassion, and is prompted by the being(s) to experience a ‘life review,’ a panoramic replay of his life. He becomes so enraptured by his experience of this greater reality that he desires nothing more than to stay. However, the being tells him that it is not his time yet and persuades him to return to his earthly life and reenter his physical body.” -Michael Talbot, “The Holographic Universe” (240)

A man is dying and, as he reaches the point of greatest physical distress, he hears himself pronounced dead by his doctor. He begins to hear an uncomfortable noise, a loud ringing or buzzing, and at the same time feels himself moving very rapidly through a long dark tunnel. After this, he suddenly finds himself outside of his own physical body, but still in the immediate physical environment, and he sees his own body from a distance, as though he is a spectator. He watches the resuscitation attempt from this unusual vantage point and is in a state of emotional upheaval. After a while, he collects himself and becomes more accustomed to his odd condition. He notices that he still has a ‘body’ but one of a very different nature and with very different powers from the physical body he has left behind. Soon other things begin to happen. Others come to meet and to help him. He glimpses the spirits of relatives and friends who have already died, and a loving, warm spirit of a kind he has never encountered before - a being of light - appears before him. This being asks him a question, nonverbally, to make him evaluate his life and helps him along by showing him a panoramic, instantaneous playback of the major events of his life. At some point he finds himself approaching some sort of barrier or border, apparently representing the limit between earthly life and the next life. Yet, he finds that he must go, back to the earth, that the time for his death has not yet come. At this point he resists, for by now he is taken up with his experiences in the afterlife and does not want to return. He is overwhelmed by intense feelings of joy, love, and peace. Despite his attitude, though, he somehow reunites with his physical body and lives.” –Dr. Raymond Moody, “Life After Life” (34)

I just finished watching the below Near Death Experience mini-documentary which I think was very well done and essential viewing for all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Consciousness, Perception and the Brain

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?  At first you might think, “of course it still makes a sound!” until further defining what “sound” actually means: the sensation produced by stimulation of the organs of hearing by vibrations transmitted through the air or other medium (  When a tree falls there are certainly pressure waves vibrating through the air, but since “sound” is a quality of consciousness, if no ears are around to “hear” those waves, then the tree literally does not make a sound.  

To the surprise of many, the world ‘out there’ has turned out to be quite unlike our experience of it. Consider our experience of the color green. In the physical world there is light of a certain frequency, but the light itself is not green. Nor are the electrical impulses that are transmitted from the eye to the brain. No color exists there. The green we see is a quality appearing in the mind in response to this frequency of light. It exists only as a subjective experience in the mind. The same is true of sound. I hear the music of a violin, but the sound I hear is a quality appearing in the mind. There is no sound as such in the external world, just vibrating air molecules. The smell of a rose does not exist without an experiencing mind, just molecules of a certain shape.” -Peter Russell, “The Primacy of Consciousness”

What we call “colors” or “sounds” or “smells” are all qualities created in consciousness which have no independent existence without a sentient observer.  Colors are just electromagnetic energy of a specific frequency, sounds are just vibrations of specific patterns, and smells are just various combinations of air molecules - all of which require the key element of consciousness to mystically transform these energetic emanations into our intricate and amazing everyday sensations.  

All our perceptions, sensations, dreams, thoughts and feelings are forms appearing in consciousness. It doesn't always seem that way. When I see a tree it seems as if I am seeing the tree directly. But science tells us something completely different is happening. Light entering the eye triggers chemical reactions in the retina; these produce electro-chemical impulses which travel along nerve fibers to the brain. The brain analyses the data it receives, and then creates its own picture of what is out there. I then have the experience of seeing a tree. But what I am actually experiencing is not the tree itself, only the image that appears in the mind. This is true of everything I experience. Everything we know, perceive, and imagine, every color, sound, sensation, every thought and every feeling, is a form appearing in the mind. It is all an in-forming of consciousness.”  -Peter Russell, “The Primacy of Consciousness”

Electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 380 and 760 nanometers (frequency of 790–400 terahertz) is detected by the human eye and perceived as visible light; everything beyond that is invisible to us.  All the colors of the rainbow and absolutely everything we see comes from just a narrow frequency on an infinite electromagnetic spectrum.  Our highest perceivable frequency, at 790 terahertz, is the color violet.  However with the use of tools/technology we know that above violet are ultra violet light, X-rays, and gamma rays.  Our lowest perceivable frequency, at 400 terahertz, is the color red.  However, with the use of tools/technology we know that below red are infrared, microwaves, and radio waves.  The spectrum is infinite, yet we base our entire experience on the minute sliver perceivable to us and assume that is “reality.”

Our eyes detect none of these other frequencies, and our image of reality represents but a tiny fraction of what is there.  The same holds true of the other senses. What we hear, smell and taste is but a limited sample of the physical reality. Furthermore, there are aspects of the physical world, such as magnetic fields and electric charge that have very little, if any, impact on our experience.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

In the space that you are occupying now are all the radio and television frequencies broadcasting to your area. You can't see them and they are not aware of each other because you and they are on different frequencies, or wavelengths. Only when the frequencies are really close do they experience 'interference'. It is the same with our reality. Our 'physical world' is just one of countless wavelengths, frequencies or dimensions, and to experience and interact with this realm we need an outer shell that is vibrating within this frequency range. Our consciousness is vibrating too fast to interact efficiently with this frequency … The body is the means through which our Infinite Awareness can directly experience this range of frequencies that I will call, to keep it simple, the five-sense realm, world or dimension. This is why the five senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing and taste are so limited. They are confined to perceiving only this range of frequencies - this dimension.”  –David Icke, “The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy” (13-14)

So in the universe there exists an infinite array of electromagnetic radiation, but only the tiniest glimpse of that array is available for sensory experience.  Our physical bodies act like electromagnetic transistors for our awareness by switching on/off, amplifying or muting the multitude of signals around us and funneling what we focus on.  All visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory sensations are brought to our consciousness through this frequency decoding process, just like tuning a radio, and in the grand scheme of things, we are barely receiving a signal. 

There is no 'solid' world 'outside' of you. All those people, streets, cars and buildings only exist, in that 'solid' 3D state, in your mind. Everywhere else, they are frequency fields, thought fields, energy matrices, call them what you will. Television and the Internet are perfect illustrations of what I am talking about here. When we think of television we think of pictures and programs, but the only place television exists in that form is on the TV screen. Everywhere else television consists of frequency broadcasts and electrical circuitry. When we think of the Internet we think of websites, pictures and graphics, but the only place the Internet exists in that form is on your computer screen. Everywhere else it consists of mathematical codes and electrical circuitry … To summarize: the 'physical' world is a tiny frequency range or dimension within Infinite Awareness - the 'ocean'. The body-computer tunes us into this strictly limited sense of perception, this television channel, and acts as our vehicle to interact with this 'world'. We have been manipulated into believing that 'we' are the computer and its mental, emotional and physical software programs. This dimension, like all the others, is a mass of frequency fields that the body-computer decodes into apparently 3D scenes, but in that form they only exist in the brain or, more accurately, the energy matrix we call the brain. There is no 'physical' world unless it is observed into form - decoded into form.” –David Icke, “The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy” (35-7)

The “outside” world around us has a convincing appearance of being “out there” somewhere, when in actuality the 3D world is no more “out there” than a dream.  In dreams we perceive sights, sounds, and sensations, we have all our emotional and rational faculties, we encounter people, places and situations all seeming to be happening in a world “out there” around us.  Not until we awaken do we realize that all those sights, sounds, sensations, people, places, and situations were simply creations of our minds, appearing around us, but coming from within us.

Since the Greeks, philosophers have been thinking about ‘the ghost in the machine’, ‘the small man within the small man’ etc.  Where is ‘I’, the person who uses his brain?  Who is it that realizes the act of knowing?  As Saint Francis of Assisi said: ‘What we search for is the one that sees.’”  -Ken Wilber, “Holographic Paradigm” (37)

 “Today, after thirty years of investigation into the nature of consciousness, I have come to appreciate how big a problem consciousness is for the contemporary science. Science has had remarkable success in explaining the structure and functioning of the material world, but when it comes to the inner world of the mind – to our thoughts, feelings, sensations, intuitions, and dreams – science has very little to say. And when it comes to consciousness itself, science falls curiously silent. There is nothing in physics, chemistry, biology, or any other science that can account for our having an interior world.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

How and why do we have an inner life at all?  Professor of Philosophy at University of Arizona, Dr. David Chalmers has coined this issue, “the hard problem” of consciousness.    How could any complex material process in the brain create our rich immaterial internal worlds of thought, emotion, sensation, and perception?  Why is there a subjective aspect to reality at all?

Nothing in Western science predicts that any living creature should be conscious. It is easier to explain how hydrogen evolved into other elements, how they combined to form molecules, and then simple living cells, and how these evolved into complex beings such as ourselves than it is to explain why we should ever have a single inner experience.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

Let’s put the “hard problem” of consciousness through the process of elimination.  We now know from multiple experiments in quantum physics that quanta, the building blocks of matter, the fundamental units of “stuff” in the universe, do not become a set “something” with definite properties, location, and materiality without the key element of consciousness to collapse the wave function; In other words, no consciousness, no matter.  So if consciousness is supposedly an emergent property of a Newtonian/Darwinian mechanistic universe, what used to collapse the wave function in the days before the “evolution of consciousness?”

[Since] a key component in the quantum measurement process includes an observer and his or her knowledge, this means the mind is inextricably wound into quantum reality … Based on the classical assumptions of local realism and mechanism, the brain – like any other physical object – is a clockwork object.  Since clockworks are not conscious, then what we call ‘I’ can only be an emergent property of a complicated piece of machinery.  And thus our sense of conscious awareness, or the feeling one has when smelling a rose, are illusions – though illusions to whom is not quite clear.  From a classical physics point of view, the ‘you’ that is currently reading this sentence is an illusion.  This seems to be a rather important limitation, as most people reading these sentences probably believe that they (their conscious minds) do exist.”  -Dean Radin, “Entangled Minds” (256-7)

We often falsely assume that we are our physical bodies because our consciousness seems trapped inside.  We feel pain and pleasure, all emotions, perceptions and sensations through the body and so we identify with it, but is the body who/what we really are?  If your leg gets cut off, is the leg still you?  Or was the leg just a tool, a vehicle you used to experience the physical realm? 

We are energy beings residing in bodies so that we can experience this physical dimension.  The relationship between our energy being and our physical body is kind of like a person driving a car, except imagine that the person driving believes the car is their true being.  It might strike you as funny to imagine a person who believes that they are the car, but that is the way most of us think of ourselves.  We do not separate our physical bodies from the pure energy being that controls the body.  When people drive cars, they do not become car-beings.  We are the energy beings within our bodies.”  -Eric Pepin, “Handbook of the Navigator” (111-112)

Anyone who has experienced an OBE, NDE, or taken DMT will tell you emphatically that we are not our physical bodies.  Indigenous peoples and shamanic cultures regularly practiced meditation, “dreamtime,” trance-inducing chants, dances, fasts and ingested psychedelic entheogens all of which put them directly in touch with non-physical aspects of their consciousness.  Even the staunchest materialists are compelled beyond their will every night to relax their bodies to sleep while their consciousness travels to various dream worlds/dimensions beyond the physical.  The signs are all around us but the point is easy to miss: the physical world is simply a recurring dream that we awaken from when our bodies die.

So the first revelation on the road to freedom: your body is not 'you' - it is a fantastic biological computer that 'you' are using to experience this reality.  It is a vehicle, a means, not a 'you' or an 'I'.  The spacesuit is the means by which an astronaut can experience other 'worlds'.  So is your 'body'.  We are not our bodies; we are Infinite Consciousness, the All That Is, a seamless energy field within which all 'worlds' and no 'worlds' exist.  The only difference between everything is the level of awareness that we are All That Is.  The deeper this awareness, the more you will access that level of 'knowing' and perception; the more you think you are an 'individual' and apart from everything else, the more you will disconnect from the Infinite One that you really are.”  –David Icke, “The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy” David Icke Books (2)

Still unconvinced that you are not your body?  Did you know that every 5 to 7 years, every single cell in your body dies and is replaced?  Your entire body, every cell in your brain, every cell in your eye, absolutely everything that composes your physical body has died and been replaced multiple times.  Meanwhile, your unique essence, your feeling of “I am-ness,” your consciousness, has remained exactly the same as when you were a child. 

This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences.  We do not ‘come into’ this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.  As the ocean ‘waves,’ the universe ‘peoples.’  Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.  This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals.  Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated ‘egos’ inside bags of skin [but] the cat has already been let out of the bag.  The inside information is that yourself as ‘just little me’ who ‘came into this world’ and lives temporarily in a bag of skin is a hoax and a fake.  The fact is that because no one thing or feature of this universe is separable from the whole, the only real You, or Self, is the whole.  The rest of this book will attempt to make this so clear that you will not only understand the words but feel the fact.”  -Alan Watts, “The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are” (53)

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Primacy of Consciousness

Matter is derived from mind, not mind from matter.”  -Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation

More and more, scientists are catching up with ancient mystics regarding the primacy of consciousness, the fact that consciousness is an a priori facet of reality, and not some emergent property of materiality.  One of the fathers of modern brain research, Wilder Penfield wrote The Mystery of Mind in which he argues his opinion as a neurosurgeon that consciousness does not have its source in the brain.  The prestigious VISION 97 award-winning psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof M.D., Ph.D. also agrees that consciousness is a primary, non-local phenomenon that precedes and transcends time and space:

Over three decades of systematic studies of the human consciousness have led me to conclusions that many traditional psychiatrists and psychologists might find implausible if not downright incredible.  I now firmly believe that consciousness is more than an accidental by-product of the neurophysiological and biochemical processes taking place in the human brain.  I see consciousness and the human psyche as expressions and reflections of a cosmic intelligence that permeates the entire universe and all of existence.  We are not just highly evolved animals with biological computers embedded inside our skulls; we are also fields of consciousness without limits, transcending time, space, matter, and linear causality.”  -Stanislav Grof, “The Holotropic Mind” (17-18)

The idea that consciousness mysteriously arises from the nervous system or brain functioning is proven erroneous by the plethora of organisms which exhibit clear signs of consciousness without having a brain or nervous system.  Plants, bacteria, single-cell and many multi-cellular organisms all seem quite conscious without these.  Are we to believe these life-forms are insentient just because they don’t have a brain or nerves? 

While new technologies are enabling scientists to understand more and more of the mechanics of how mind is expressed through the brain, after many years of research this still sheds no light on their central quest – one that we believe is fruitless because the premise on which it is based is wrong.  We agree with transpersonal psychologist Stanislav Grof, who, for more than 50 years, has studied human consciousness.  Grof has compared the effort of trying to discover how mind arises from the brain to an engineer trying to understand the content of a television program solely by watching what components light up in the interior of the TV set.  If someone sought to do such a thing, we’d laugh, yet this is the approach that mainstream science has taken and insisted is correct, despite no evidence to support it and a great deal that contradicts it.”  -Ervin Laszlo and Jude Currivan, “Cosmos” (76-77)

New scientific findings are beginning to support beliefs of cultures thousands of years old, showing that our individual psyches are, in the last analysis, a manifestation of cosmic consciousness and intelligence that flows through all of existence. We never completely lose contact with this cosmic consciousness because we are never fully separated from it.”  -Stanislav Grof, “The Holotropic Mind” (195-6)

There are documented cases of hydrocephalus, otherwise known as “water in the brain,” where people have lived perfectly normal lives with almost no cerebral cortex or neocortex whatsoever.  This is quite significant considering that classical science has always assumed the neocortex to be the supposed “center of consciousness.”  British neurologist John Lorber recorded one case in which a young man’s hydrocephalus was so extreme that his brain was virtually nonexistent.  Inside his skull was just a thin layer of brain cells surrounding a mass of cerebrospinal fluid.  Amazingly, everything else about the young man was normal; he was even an honor student.  If consciousness arises from brain functioning, how is this possible?

The underlying assumption of the current meta-paradigm is that matter is insentient. The alternative is that the faculty of consciousness is a fundamental quality of nature. Consciousness does not arise from some particular arrangement of nerve cells or processes going on between them, or from any other physical features; it is always present. If the faculty of consciousness is always present, then the relationship between consciousness and nervous systems needs to be rethought. Rather than creating consciousness, nervous systems may be amplifiers of consciousness, increasing the richness and quality of experience.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God” 

Peter Russell asks us to consider a couple simple thought experiments to prove to ourselves the non-locality of consciousness beyond space and time.  When asked to locate their consciousness most people sense it to be somewhere in their heads.  Since our brains are in our heads, and the brain is often associated with consciousness, many people assume their consciousness is located in the middle of their heads, but actually the apparent location of ones consciousness has nothing to do with the placement of ones brain, and rather depends on the placement of sense organs.  Since your primary senses (eyes and ears) are in your head, the central point of your perception, the place from which you seem to be experiencing the world is somewhere behind your eyes and between your ears (in your head).  However, the fact that your brain is also in your head is merely coincidence as shown by the following thought experiment:  Imagine that your eyes and ears were somehow transplanted to your knees so you now observed the world from this new vantage point.  Now if asked to locate your consciousness where would you point?  If your eyes and ears were on your knees, would you still experience your “self” to be in your head? 

I don’t think consciousness is in the brain.  The brain receives consciousness.  Consciousness is probably a non-local function of the space-time continuum and every individual brain is an individual receiver.  Just like the world is full of television signals and each television set is a receiver.  The delusion that you are in your body is a primitive, savage kind of logic, taking the data of perception at face value, similar to the delusion that Johnny Carson is inside your television set.  Johnny Carson is not in your television set.  Johnny Carson is in Hollywood.  Your television set just receives Johnny Carson’s signals. And consciousness is not in the brain, the brain just receives signals from the vast undifferentiated ocean of consciousness that makes up the space-time continuum.”  -Robert Anton Wilson

The faculty of consciousness can be likened to the light from a video projector. The projector shines light on to a screen, modifying the light so as to produce any one of an infinity of images. These images are like the perceptions, sensations, dreams, memories, thoughts, and feelings that we experience – what I call the ‘contents of consciousness.’ The light itself, without which no images would be possible, corresponds to the faculty of consciousness.  We know all the images on the screen are composed of this light, but we are not usually aware of the light itself; our attention is caught up in the images that appear and the stories they tell. In much the same way, we know we are conscious, but we are usually aware only of the many different perceptions, thoughts and feelings that appear in the mind. We are seldom aware of consciousness itself.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

In deep meditation, during spontaneous OBE, or under the effects of entheogens many people temporarily transcend their contents of consciousness completely and achieve a lucid state of awareness that is purely the faculty of consciousness.  In this state there is no space and time, just the infinite here and now, no “me” and “not me” division, just one universal awareness.  Such experiences are referred to as “mystical” and deemed “unscientific” because they are subjective and unrepeatable under laboratory conditions, but for those who experience such transcendental states, this first-hand gnosis provides them with an intuitive knowingness of the primacy of consciousness beyond all space, time, and matter.

The Eastern mystics link the notions of both space and time to particular states of consciousness. Being able to go beyond the ordinary state through meditation, they have realized that the conventional notions of space and time are not the ultimate truth. The refined notions of space and time resulting from their mystical experiences appear to be in many ways similar to the notions of modern physics, as exemplified by the theory of relativity.”  -Fritjof Capra, “The Tao of Physics” (164)

In short, the impression that your consciousness is located in space is an illusion. Everything you experience is a construct within consciousness. Your sense of being a unique self is merely another construct of the mind. Quite naturally, you place this image of your self at the center of your picture of the world, giving you the sense of being in the world. But the truth is just the opposite. It is all within you. You have no location in space. Space is in you.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who Am I? Who Are We?

In this clip taken from my interview with Wendy and Max of Lightwaves Radio we explore the question of Who Are We?  And in doing so discuss God, Consciousness, Intelligent Design, the Big Bang, Evolution, Duality, Satan and the Ego.  If you enjoy the video and want to help me out, please be sure to like, favorite, comment, share and subscribe to my YouTube channel.  Thanks so much!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Universal Consciousness

In the Eskimo/Inuit language of cold, wintry Alaska there are dozens of words for “snow” - Dozens of words with intricacies and connotations well-known and understood by them, but typically unnoticed and misunderstood by others. Similarly, in the Sanskrit language of ancient, spiritual India there are approximately a dozen different words for “consciousness” – a dozen clearly delineated words with subtle nuances which in English we can only loosely, clumsily call “consciousness.”

For every psychological term in English there are four in Greek and forty in Sanskrit.” -A. K. Coomaraswamy

So what exactly is consciousness? When western doctors say someone is conscious or unconscious they really just mean “awake” or “asleep.” The patient is called unconscious under anesthetics and conscious when awakened. However this particular meaning is clearly a misnomer because even when supposedly “unconscious” during sleep, coma, or under anesthetics we still dream and are “conscious” of that experience, so our consciousness hasn’t disappeared as implied, it has merely altered/shifted to another state.

In medicine, the presumption that consciousness is nothing more than a function of the brain is reflected in such statements as, ‘The patient regained consciousness’ – this routine, narrow depiction has assumed that consciousness is a mundane physical phenomenon, a self-evident priority for experience about which nothing more needs to be said.” -David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., “Power Vs. Force”(249)

Other common (mis)uses of the word consciousness are “awareness” as in “being conscious of something,” and “spirituality” as in “attaining higher consciousness,” but again these are not the denotations understood by modern scientists or ancient mystics. As best expressed by Theoretical Physicist/Experimental Psychologist Peter Russell, the true, simple meaning of consciousness is “the capacity for experience.” Consciousness is the ability to have an inner experience. It is our internal world of thoughts, emotions, sensations, perceptions, and choices, the “I,” the little me in our minds, the sense of self inside us that has never changed since childhood – that is consciousness.

The identification and experience of self could be limited to a description of one’s physical body.  Then, of course, we might well ask, how does one know that one has a physical body?  Through observation, we note that the presence of the physical body is registered by the senses.  The question then follows, what is it that’s aware of the senses?  How do we experience what the senses are reporting?  Something greater, something more encompassing than the physical body, has to exist in order to experience that which is lesser – and that something is the mind … The question then arises: How does one know what’s being experienced by the mind?  By observation and introspection, one can witness that thoughts have no capacity to experience themselves, but that something both beyond and more basic than thought experiences the sequence of thoughts, and that that something’s sense of identity is unaltered by the content of thoughts.”  -David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., “Power Vs. Force”(252)

That something is consciousness, the capacity for experience, the inner witness of our outer lives.  As written by philosopher Malcolm Hollick, “Events are experienced by an experiencer, thoughts are thought by a thinker, pain is felt by a feeler, imaginings are created by an imaginer, and choices are made by a chooser.”

What is it that observes and is aware of all of the subjective and objective phenomena of life?  It’s consciousness itself that resonates as both awareness and experiencing, and both are purely subjective.  Consciousness isn’t determined by content; thoughts flowing through consciousness are like fish swimming in the ocean.  The ocean’s existence is independent of the fish; the content of the sea doesn’t define the nature of the water itself.”  -David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., “Power Vs. Force”(252-3)

Given the definition, “the capacity for inner experience,” we can easily observe that consciousness is not a phenomenon limited only to human beings.  In fact, as we trace the trait of consciousness back through the animal kingdom, it becomes increasingly difficult to say there exists any animal which doesn’t have its own inner experience of the outer world.  In his excellent book “From Science to God,” Peter Russell examines this issue in detail starting with the example of a dog:

A dog may not be aware of all the things of which we are aware. It does not think or reason as humans do, and it probably does not have the same degree of self-awareness, but this does not mean that a dog does not have its own inner world of experience. When I am with a dog, I assume that it has its own mental picture of the world, full of sounds, colors, smells and sensations. It appears to recognize people and places, much as we might. A dog may at times show fear, and at other times excitement. Asleep, it can appear to dream, feet and toes twitching as if on the scent of some fantasy rabbit. And when a dog yelps or whines we assume it is feeling pain –indeed, if we didn’t believe that dogs felt pain, we wouldn’t bother giving them anesthetics before an operation.”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

My dog, Buddy, always recognizes me and shows excitement when I come through the door.  He also recognizes the veterinarian’s office and shows fear when we pull into the parking lot.  If I ignore Buddy and give more attention to his sister, Harley, then Buddy will exhibit signs of feeling slighted and jealous, he will sulk by himself in the corner of the room, his tail no longer wagging when I go to pet him.  If I raise my voice at him, he will cower, lower his head, and scamper off.  From facial recognition to dreams to complex emotions, dogs exhibit a multitude of expressions associated with consciousness.  To assume they exhibit all these external characteristics of consciousness without having their own internal experience is quite implausible.  And as Peter Russell points out, if we actually believed that dogs didn’t “feel” pain, we wouldn’t give them anesthetics before an operation.  

“If dogs possess consciousness then so do cats, horses, deer, dolphins, whales, and other mammals. They may not be self-conscious as we are, but they are not devoid of inner experience. The same is true of birds; some parrots, for example, seem as aware as dogs. And if birds are sentient beings, then so, I assume, are other vertebrates – alligators, snakes, frogs, salmon, and sharks. However different their experiences may be, they all share the faculty of consciousness.  The same argument applies to creatures further down the evolutionary tree. The nervous systems of insects are not nearly as complex as ours, and insects probably do not have as rich an experience of the world as we do, but I see no reason to doubt that they have some kind of inner experience.  Where do we draw the line?”  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

Carefully considering where to draw the line between conscious and non-conscious entities, the closer one examines the issue, the more difficult it becomes to argue that any animal is insentient.  Regardless of whether they have a brain or nervous system, no matter how small or simple, all animals seem to have their own inner experience and exhibit common characteristics of consciousness.  

So what about the plant kingdom?  While most would agree that animals are conscious, most would probably agree that plants are not.  Is this where we can draw the line?  Apparently not - Thanks to the work of Cleve Backster, Dr. Ken Hashimoto and others, it is clear that even plants are remarkably conscious.  

In 1966, polygraph-expert Cleve Backster conducted a series of experiments which conclusively demonstrated that plants are capable of intelligent thought processes.  First he took a Dracaena plant (dragon tree) in his office and connected lie detection equipment to its leaves.  Next he watered the plant and found that its polygraph output was similar to the undulation of human happiness.  In order to test his developing theory and elicit a stronger reaction, Backster thought to threaten the plant by burning one of its leaves.  With this thought in mind, even before retrieving a match, he noticed a strong positive curve appear on the polygraph paper.  He then left the room to find some matches, and as soon as he arrived back, another high peak appeared on the paper.  As he lit a match, the plant’s fear reaction spiked and remained high as he proceeded to burn one of its leaves.  In further trials Backster found that if he showed less inclination to burn the plant, its reaction was weaker, and if he merely pretended to burn it, there was no reaction.  So not only was the plant appearing to show genuine happiness and fear, but it seemed to be discerning true intentions from false ones.

[In] 1966 Cleve Backster, a pioneer of lie-detection methods, decided to threaten a dragon plant in his office.  A few minutes before, and having on a whim connected the plant to the electrodes of one of his lie detectors, he had noticed that when he watered its roots, the plant gave what in a human being would be interpreted as an emotional reaction.  To arouse the strongest reaction he could, Backster first placed a leaf of the plant in hot coffee, with no apparent response.  He then decided on a worse threat:  to burn the leaf.  But as soon as he thought about the flame, there was an instant response from the plant – without Backster moving but just thinking about the threat, the plant had reacted!  When he left the room and returned with some matches, there was a second surge of anticipation from the plant.  And as he reluctantly burned the leaf, there was a subdued but still noticeable reaction from the dragon plant.  Over the next 40 years, Backster ran a large series of experiments, building up a huge archive of data showing that all organisms are in continual communication in a vast matrix of dynamic and nonlocal awareness.”  -Ervin Laszlo and Jude Currivan, “Cosmos” (91)

In further trials Backster tried burning the leaves of other nearby plants not connected to the polygraph, and the original dragon plant, still connected, registered the same wild response to its friend’s pain as when its own leaves were burned.  In another experiment Backster placed two plants in an empty room, blindfolded 6 students, and had them draw straws.  The receiver of the short straw was then secretly instructed to uproot and destroy one of the two plants.  Since they were all blindfolded, only the short straw student and the remaining plant knew the identity of the murderer.  Two hours later Backster connected the remaining plant to the polygraph machine and instructed each student to walk past it.  The murder-witness plant registered absolutely no reaction as the 5 innocent students walked by, but then went crazy almost off the charts as the murderer came close.  Somehow it correctly identified and emotionally reacted to the guilty student.

Backster’s experiments suggest that plants are not only conscious, intelligent, and emotional, but also telepathic!  Plants will indeed register a typical human “fear” reaction on the polygraph precisely when someone directs a malevolent thought towards them.  These experiments have been replicated many times with the same results.  Somehow plants are able to intuit and react to certain human thought patterns.

The ‘Backster effect’ had also been seen between plants and animals.  When brine shrimp in one location died suddenly, this fact seemed to instantly register with plants in another location, as recorded on a standard psychogalvanic response (PGR) instrument.  Backster had carried out this type of experiment over several hundred miles and among paramecium, mold cultures and blood samples, and in each instance, some mysterious communication occurred between living things and plants.  As in Star Wars, each death was registered as a disturbance in The Field.”  -Lynne McTaggart, “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe,” (145)

Other experiments have been performed testing the effect of prayer, positive and negative directed intention and emotion on plants.  Dr. Bernard Grad of McGill University had a team of psychic healers habitually direct positive or negative feelings onto a variety of plants.  The positively-infused plants survived and thrived, while negatively-infused plants withered and many of them died.  Reverend Franklin Loehr, a Northampton pastor, performed similar studies with his parishioners testing the power of prayer to affect plants and seeds.  In one experiment he planted 46 corn kernels evenly spaced in a round pan with 23 on each side.  He then gave daily “positive-growth” prayer to half the kernels and “anti-growth” prayer to the other half.  Eight days later, the positive side had 16 sturdy, budding, seedlings growing and the negative side had only 1 barely left alive.  In another test, one of his parishioners, Erwin Prust, subjected 6 Ivy plants to daily “anti-growth” prayer while watering them and within 5 weeks, 5 of them were dead.

In the incredible documentary, “The Secret Life of Plants” Fuji electronics managing director and chief of research Dr. Ken Hashimoto created special instruments which translate the electrical output of plants into modulated sounds effectively giving them a voice.  His wife has since been teaching the Japanese alphabet to her favorite plants.  In the documentary Mrs. Hashimoto recites Japanese letters/phonemes/words and the plants repeat them back to her!  Reminiscent of a small child trying to sound-out new words, the plants are unable to properly imitate the language at first, but then actually struggle and practice, slowly improving until they are able to perfectly imitate the human sounds via their electrical output.  She says she looks forward to the day when she can have a conversation with her plants.

So if plants can learn languages, show emotional output, react to emotional / intellectual stimulus, communicate with other plants, and read the minds / intentions of humans, it is quite rational to assume that the plant kingdom, just like the animal kingdom, is conscious.

This demonstrates extremely well that plant life, like all life and indeed everything in the Universe are an inseparable aspect of the same infinite Mind, Consciousness, and intelligence of The Source, The First Cause, of God.  Human beings, still totally steeped in the material world and personal ego assume that just because a plant does not appear to have a physical brain, or a mouth, or any other animal characteristics that they are ‘unintelligent’ or simply ‘inanimate.’  Nothing in fact can be further from the truth.  The human brain is not the real Mind any more than physical parts of a plant or a mineral are real Mind.” -Adrian Cooper, “Our Ultimate Reality” (217)

So how far down the evolutionary line does consciousness exist?  The work of Dr. Masaru Emoto suggests that even water is in some sense conscious.  His research began by exposing H2O to nonphysical stimulus and photographing the resulting water crystals with a dark field microscope.

Japanese researcher, Masaru Emoto, of the I.H.M.-Institute in Tokyo, has revealed how water is fundamentally affected by words, thoughts and emotions - all of which are waveforms. He and his team exposed water to various music and different words and expressions, and then froze it to produce water crystals. When these were examined under a microscope the response of the water was amazing. Look at the way it reacted to the words and thoughts (vibrations) of 'Love and appreciation', and, 'You make me sick - I will kill you'. Imagine the effect on the body of our words and deeds when it is some 70 per cent water. This is how thoughts and words affect us energetically. I should stress that it is not the words that have the effect, but the intent behind them. If you said 'I will kill you' in a light-hearted fashion, as a bit of fun, it would not have the same effect as it would if you meant it, or said it with malevolence"  –David Icke, “The David Icke Guide to the Global Conspiracy” (47)

Thus even water has the ability to distinguish between real human emotions and fake platitudes.  When infused with positive intent the H2O molecules align themselves into beautiful, symmetric, sacred geometrical forms, and when infused with negative intent they align themselves into chaotic, non-symmetrical blobs.  Obviously the level and type of consciousness operating in water molecules is far different from human consciousness, but the fact that something in the molecules is identifying and reacting to human emotional/intellectual content suggests that even water is indeed in some sense conscious.

“We usually assume that some kind of brain or nervous system is necessary before consciousness can come into being. From the perspective of the materialist metaparadigm, this is a reasonable assumption. If consciousness arises from processes in the material world, then those processes need to occur somewhere, and the obvious candidate is the nervous system.  But then we come up against the inherent problem of the materialist metaparadigm. Whether we are considering a human brain with its tens of billions of cells, or a nematode worm with a hundred or so neurons, the problem is the same: How can any purely material process ever give rise to consciousness?  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

Can we truly draw a definitive line between conscious and non-conscious entities in the universe?  At what level of simplicity do we assume matter to be insentient?  Even single-cell organisms react to external stimulus, reproduce, communicate, respirate, hunt and consume food – is this all an unconscious, insentient “program” of Newton’s mechanical universe or are even single cells imbued with a slight degree of consciousness, a miniscule internal experience of their own?  When sperm and egg unite, each human begins their life as a single-cell organism which then rapidly divides and multiplies into the conscious community of 50 trillion cells we generally know as human.  In classical science, consciousness is a mysterious emergent property of this process; in spiritual science, consciousness is the known primary property and the physical world is the emergent mystery. 

The capacity for inner experience could not evolve or emerge out of entirely insentient, non-experiencing matter. Experience can only come from that which already has experience. Therefore the faculty of consciousness must be present all the way down the evolutionary tree…There is nowhere we can draw a line between conscious and non-conscious entities; there is a trace of sentience, however slight, in viruses, molecules, atoms, and even elementary particles. Some argue this implies that rocks perceive the world around them, perhaps have thoughts and feelings, and enjoy an inner mental life similar to human beings. This is clearly an absurd suggestion, and not one that was ever intended. If a bacterium’s experience is a billionth of the richness and intensity of human being’s, the degree of experience in the minerals of a rock might be a billion times dimmer still. They would possess none of the qualities of human consciousness – just the faintest possible glimmer of sentience.  -Peter Russell, “From Science to God”

The ancient Sufi teaching states that “God sleeps in the rock, dreams in the plant, stirs in the animal, and awakens in the man.”  What if we replaced the word “God” with “The One Infinite Consciousness?”  If God is defined as - an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent intelligence – then God must exist inside all things, yet outside of all space, time, and matter.  What has quantum physics (and honest introspection) shown exists inside all things, yet outside space, time, and matter?  Consciousness.

Without consciousness, there would be nothing to experience form.  It could also be said that form itself, as a product of perception with no independent existence, is thus transitory and limited, whereas consciousness is all-encompassing and unlimited.  How could that which is transitory (with a clear beginning and ending), create that which is formless (all encompassing and omnipotent)?  -David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., “Power Vs. Force”(250-1)

How can non-experiencing, unintelligent, insentient matter randomly coalesce into a form that magically creates conscious intelligent life?  What mechanical process could possibly bring consciousness, intelligence, and life into being?  How could any material process create something as immaterial as consciousness?  Why would the material universe even exist without a consciousness to perceive it?  Quantum physics and Eastern Mysticism are both quite clear that matter does not exist without a consciousness to perceive it.  Albert Einstein himself said, “A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’ – a part limited in time and space.  He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.

Whatever our beliefs – irrespective of how far we expand our perception and regardless of how profound the ability of science may be to understand processes of emergence – sooner or later we arrive at the requirement for an originating creative act.  We arrive ultimately at the concept of a cosmic mind.  Although science has so far chosen to ignore this inescapable logic, the deeper we delve into the fundamental mysteries of Nature – as did Einstein – we see order, harmony, and cosmic mind manifest in our universe.  What is revealed doesn’t require us to choose between intelligent design and evolution, but to recognize a co-creative design for evolution.  What we see, literally hidden in full view, is Einstein’s concept of a cosmic mind at work.”  -Ervin Laszlo and Jude Currivan, “Cosmos” (22)

Unless you actually think “God” is a bearded white man living in the clouds, perhaps replacing that word, as Einstein did, with something like “Cosmic Mind,” “Universal Being,” or “Infinite Consciousness” will help bridge the mental gap most Westerners seem to have between science and spirituality. 

After I shook the dust of organized religion from my sandals, I learned that the link between big ‘ol God and little ‘ol me was no more and no less than consciousness.  And each of us, at and as the very center of us, have this same feeling of I Am, for the not-so-obvious reason that each one of us is really God pretending to be each one of us.  There is only one I Am, there is only one God, one Brahma, one Tao, one beingness … we both see the same world, because we both are the same world.  But we have so cleverly and convincingly hidden ourselves from ourselves that we really believe that we are separate entities.”  -Roger Stephens, “A Dangerous Book” (56)

The coming scientific revolution heralds the end of dualism in every sense.  Far from destroying God, science for the first time is proving His existence – by demonstrating that a higher, collective consciousness is out there.”  -Lynne McTaggart, “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe,” (226)

As shown previously, the plenum of physical forms in the universe is fundamentally an energetic Oneness with consciousness playing the role of creator and experiencer.  This means the multitude of transitory material forms and bodies about us, don’t exist without us, and come from within us.

A growing body of research suggests that we’re more than cosmic latecomers simply passing through a universe that was completed long ago.  Experimental evidence is leading to a conclusion that we’re actually creating the universe as we go and adding to what already exists!  In other words, we appear to be the very energy that’s forming the cosmos, as well as the beings who experience what we’re creating.  That’s because we are consciousness, and consciousness appears to be the same ‘stuff’ from which the universe is made.”  -Gregg Braden, “The Divine Matrix” (39)

The universe holds its breath as we choose, instant by instant, which pathway to follow; for the universe, the very essence of life itself, is highly conscious.  Every act, thought, and choice adds to a permanent mosaic; our decisions ripple through the universe of consciousness to affect the lives of all.  Lest this idea be considered either merely mystical or fanciful, let’s remember that fundamental tenet of the new theoretical physics: Everything in the universe is connected with everything else.”  -David R. Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D., “Power Vs. Force” (148)

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