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Finding The Science Of Consciousness: SAND 2015

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If the number of cars in the parking lot at the Dolce Hayes Mansion were any indication, the SAND community is exploding exponentially. With a warm welcome video from Zaya and Maurizio this year’s amazing conference got underway with a talk by Peter Russell on What is Nonduality?

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Peter “defined” nonduality as its name suggests – “not two” and went through both scientific and philosophical bases to make the case that consciousness must be primary.  Everything knowable is within consciousness–even science.

What sets this conference apart, besides the incredible vibe, is the confluence of top scientists along with nondual and Eastern philosophers in a lively dialogue. And with this year’s title, the unstated aim of the conference was another attempt at coming to a “Science of Consciousness.”

A major contributor to this endeavor is Stuart Hameroff of the Center for Consciousness Study at the University of Arizona who has done extensive research into the very tiniest of organisms and their components in order to find “Where’s the Bing?”  The Bing being essentially BEING – the energetic and presumably intelligent first cause that leads to life.

Stuart makes the point eloquently that “computation and information storage is not consciousness.” His research has discovered the presence of Pyramidal neurons and Microtubules within cellular structures of even one celled organisms that seem to behave consciously albeit on a very basic level. From his famous Microtubules, Stuart has found that the universe wants to feel good – hence Life.

Just as bacteria in a petri dish will move toward nutrients and away from toxins even without a nervous system to guide them, Stuart’s discoveries have led him to conclude that the impetus behind Evolution is a move toward the experience of pleasure, on whatever level that unfolds.

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How Close Is Science To Understanding Consciousness?

He also participated in the essential panel of the first morning: How Close is Science to Understanding Consciousness? The panel included Hameroff, Julia Mossbridge, Chris FieldsHenry Stapp and Donald Hoffman, facilitated by A.H. Almaas.

This incredibly stellar panel of scientists from various fields including physics, mathematics and neuroscience were familiar with one another’s work and engaged in a lively dialogue over whether science is the right way to understand consciousness.

If they were attorneys several of them might have concluded with a “Demurrer” that for science the “hard problem of consciousness” is simply not the issue (so what?) but they gamely tackled this topic.

Chris Fields made the point that science needs to accept certain concepts as undefined – like “energy” and proceed from those assumptions because by its nature it cannot define more deeply.

The very language of Science leads to uncertainty (Heisenberg aside) because everything we know or can know is the phenomenal awareness of something or other.

In studying awareness, Chris suggests that science focus on the less known senses like raw touch and taste as opposed to vision and hearing to discern the working of consciousness.

Ultimately Chris said that “We have no theory as to why there is awareness.” All scientific theory is for predictions based on initial assumptions and postulates with no ontological implications (that is, why something is the way it is). Science, as practiced currently, has nothing to do with being beyond the fact that we understand conditions required for consciousness and its study, but no organization of material objects explain consciousness.

He went further to maintain that no concept of a “boundary” conforms to our best science – all such constructs are artificial overlays of our minds and that any science of consciousness would require us to change our perspective in what awareness is doing, presumably from our materialist predispositions.

Julia Mossbridge was perhaps the most skeptical of the entire endeavor to deal with consciousness in a scientific way because of her belief that there must be a “My” consciousness to be scientific.  What happens to this “me” in deep sleep?  And once there is a me, there is apparently a “not me.”  There is that sense of separation which leads to the apparent but elusive objectivity of scientific inquiry.

Julia also said that the manner of inquiry also depends completely on the specific field of science conducting the work. “Math people want math” and so on.  Her contention was that Science doesn’t (need or intend to) answer why questions, just how questions, echoing Chris Fields’ initial suggestion that science only “works” once certain assumptions or ground rules are set.

Julia said that any scientific inquiry into mind (she is a neuroscientist):

  • Must understand the idea of causality
  • Must understand time

Aspects of consciousness that suggest that A comes after B violate any such notion of causality.

Demurring on “the hard problem” she asked scientists like Stuart Hameroff whether the issue of how consciousness functions scientifically is soluble and more important, and if it is necessarily even an interesting or significant question?  [From a scientific rather than philosophical or metaphysical perspective.]

From her perspective she concentrates on discerning the relationship between the “my experience” and everything else (and presumably is not concerned with who or what this “my” fundamentally is).  For Julia, consciousness is all we got, and not all that there is.  She insists on focusing on what is empirically and objectively knowable.

Quantum physicist Henry Stapp also challenged Hameroff saying that there is simply “no history of ‘Bing” (as something definable). The quantum state is a state of universe and the role of observer is choice without prior rules or definitions. According to Stapp all math explains dualistically. His conclusion: “Matter behaves like an idea. We have an idea-like universe and the one fundamental fact is that consciousness exists.” Science properly focuses on not why consciousness exists but why is it needed scientifically to understand reality.

Stuart Hameroff reiterated and defended his work with Roger Penrose that suggests that it is a pleasurable feedback function that suggests how life originated.

When pressed on the ultimate origin of this function, Stuart more or less went ethereal in a very interesting way – he said that “Space/Time is based on fundamental [immaterial] Platonic values” (or forms?) This resonates with other theories that say that mathematical constants like Pi and Phi are universal values (perhaps forming the basis for the assumptions grounding science that are necessary for thinkers like Chris Fields?)

But ultimately Stuart says that the nature of understanding is non-computable and presumably impersonal.  “Hitler happened, evil exists.”

The Brain As An Orchestra Rather Than Computer

In a wonderful analogy he went beyond the hard problem of “qualia” (the qualities of experience which we all know) to describe reality or consciousness not in computational but orchestral terms so that “like the painter orchestrates dabs of color into a Mona Lisa via the “agency” of consciousness as it were, the orchestral warmup emerges as “music”.

“The brain is more like an orchestra than a computer.”

Don Hoffman took almost a nondual position by zeroing in on the key aspect Qualia or Agency – experience and activity – and asked the core question “take action by whom?”

Don challenges the critical assumption that consciousness has structure that can be objectively known or defined and maintains that “space and time is a format for human experience” and not fundamental.

No scientific theory explains everything according to Hoffman, who said that everybody assumes something and “Consciousness is my given.” Start with consciousness, and physics is not a mystery. If you start with a math model you can make new predictions that turn out valid.

When asked whether consciousness is algorithmic, Hoffman replied simply, “No. Models are not reality. [One can construct an] abstract math model that best models consciousness but the model IS not consciousness.”  The mathematical model still requires a “ground” to work.

Moderator Almaas had his hands full trying to establish a definition of consciousness among the scientists who mainly demurred. His contention was that consciousness is not a thing but an activity or agency (verb) — a point that was reiterated later by Rupert Spira and Deepak Chopra who referred to it as an “activity.”

In terms of qualia, Almaas contends that Consciousness makes feelings possible and is fundamental.  Scientists we can rightly only talk about what it does. When he challenged Stuart Hameroff if he had worked out the math of every experience, Stuart remarked, “You’re being hard on me.”

What makes this conference so unique is the presence of the nondualists like Joan Tollifson who eschew a need for scientific validation entirely with the recognition that [All] “Thought leads to a sense of separation.” Separation cannot be sustained through a deeper inquiry.

According to Joan, life is simple – “When we bring attention to the present moment, everything shifts.”  It is our inner talk that makes it seem that we are separate things; through direct inquiry we can find we’re inseparable from other “objects”.

She inquires as follows:

Is there any place in the sensation where chair and body meet? – Can we find the “me”.  Is it really there? – We can find stories, thought, mental images but where is me? – Consciousness is dividing Wholeness into fragments (sound bites) – Deeply in any sensation there is nothing. – Me in the body is a thought – Reality is undivided – Awakening is just Noticing and being interested in what is happening. – What is going on is simply what’s happening.

This reminded me of Michael Jeffreys’ wonderful description of being moved by watching a video of a boy singing “Amazing Grace” on television and suddenly realizing that all of the emotion was overlaid by his own being – what was “really” happening was simply pixels moving on the screen.

Ultimately for the nondualists it’s not personal. Just a thought or the movement of conditioned patterns.

“This ‘awaring’ presence is our true nature. We cannot doubt being here now. We can doubt an interpretation but not the experience,” Joan said.

Comparing Eastern & Western Wisdom

I have written extensively about philosopher Bernardo Kastrup, and we were fortunate to interview him for Collective Evolution (interview to be featured in an article soon). One thing I found fascinating was his description of the wisdom of East and West. Science or the quest to understand has three components according to Bernardo:

  1. Introspection
  2. Empiricism
  3. Intellect

But the West only uses the last two, while the East focuses on the first two. According to Bernardo the truth must encapsulate all three.

Nondualist Rupert Spira was typically uncompromising in his understated but methodical presentation, maintaining that the ultimate science is the science of mind and the deconstruction of the subject/object nature of language that results in our conditioned perception of separation.

His questions (without answers):

  • What is the irreducible aspect of mind?
  • What is the nature of knowing and who or what could know the nature of consciousness?
  • How can the sun shine on itself?

This type of inquiry leaves no room for a method.  It results in a deep knowing that what one “is” is “without dimension”.  Not in time or space.

The finite mind is the activity of consciousness vibrating itself to know objective experience. The finite mind is an activity; an agency thru which consciousness is able to know itself as one.

Rupert provided an amazing analogy in which he said first, let’s call consciousness a woman named “Mary” who lives in Los Angeles. Mary goes to sleep and begins to dream that she is Jane in New York. To do this she needs to overlook “her own mind” and assumes she is Jane.   Jane’s experience is now that she is “mind inside and all else is matter outside.” She is separate. Jane believes her knowing is located behind her eyes.

Suffering is the price of her separation and she tries to ease her suffering through more matter – things.  Finally a friend she meets invites her mind inward. Her mind sinks into its source divested of its own limitations. Jane falls asleep.  Mary wakes up. Jane was never an entity but an activity (“Mary” = Consciousness = One = Everything).

“Like a spider who spins her world from herself and loses herself in the web.”

Your Body Is A Metaphor For Experiencing Reality

The formal presentations climaxed with who else – Deepak Chopra.  I have watched Deepak with appreciation since his days as the “weird guy on Larry King” I am always enchanted by his style and clarity. He began his presentation with a story of an encounter with a young boy who asked where the ocean came from and similar questions and Deepak turned these around and finally he asked the boy where did the Universe come from?

The reply:  another dimension  The audience laughed and Deepak said he asked the boy where he had gained this wisdom. The reply: Pokemon.

Deepak then outlined the two fundamental mysteries:

  1. What’s universe made of? (We don’t know)
  2. What is the biological basis of consciousness?  (We have no answer).

According to Deepak there is simply no explanation for perceptional or mental experience or “Qualia” without somehow addressing the question of precisely “Who is having experience?” — which is precisely the question he poses to conventional scientists that inevitably bring them to what Deepak said was simply a “dead end.”

He asks, “Where is the I?”  The reality is that the I center of experience cannot be found. Deepak said, echoing Rupert Spira with whom he shared the stage later that evening, that consciousness has “no dimension” – as his colleague Eckhart Tolle says, it is “no thing.”

Deepak continued with an amazing Prezi presentation of the history of scientific theories about reality culminating in the fact that Wikipedia has at least 15-20 current “explanations” of quantum mechanics. ‘’Nobody knows what’s going on.  The math works but no one knows.”

He smirked as he summarized some theories like an “infinite casino infinity of universes,” which made me happy I moved to Las Vegas. For Deepak, Science has become a “math guessing game leading nowhere.”  He went on to describe his own and his colleagues’ work in Qualia which now includes 40 scientific principles of this mysterious phenomenon.

The mysteries of cosmos do not end, they expand –Deepak provided the mind blowing fact that the visible universe is 0.1% of everything that our math tells us exists.  There is also dark matter which is 40% (and we don’t really understand it) and then there is the rest, which is (?) space?

Deepak said,  “Your body is a metaphor for experiencing reality.”

Deepak’s new book which goes into more detail about the latest scientific advances is  Super Genes: Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi.  Rudolph Tanzi is a renowned neuroscientist specializing in Alzheimer’s (Deepak also was kind enough to sit for an interview with CE which will be posted shortly).

Everything Offered Something Of Great Value

Much of the conference goes to the community that exists from Wednesday until Sunday and the exchange of ideas. Here are some other participants of note:

Scott Kiloby, a renowned nondual teacher has an addiction recovery program in Palm Desert and spoke on the topic. On a personal level I discussed my own challenges in this area as a result of moving to Las Vegas with its many temptations. Scott confirmed my own experience that many people “on the path” become enamoured of “allowing everything” which results in the surfacing of many unresolved traumas that are stored in the body.

Exacerbated by a new self identification with “being enlightened” the subject cannot understand his or her sudden weaknesses and lapses into depression and self hate. Scott was kind enough to spend a few minutes discussing this issue with me and I suspect that his program is helping many many people.

Om Orgasmic Meditation from OneTaste had a nearby table. “Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is a wellness practice (like yoga and pilates) that is designed for singles and couples to experience more connection, vitality, pleasure, and meaning in every aspect of their lives.”

CE has covered virtual reality and CoreReboot has a new VR app from Dorote Lucci that provides experiences of deep rest and relaxation.

Those who feel the urge to follow their breath inward will be fascinated by the Spire app.  As beautiful as it is functional the Spire is no ordinary stone –it provides information on your breath and stress levels to lead to a harmonious and fulfilling experience.

Another app from  Kathleen of Lockwood United Divine Intentions is intended to promote healing vibrational energy to world and local leaders for transformation (a la Lynn McTaggart).  The app and website “present evidence that Subtle Activism can create positive social and environmental change. As spiritual beings we enact change through our thoughts – our prayers and intentions. The human experience – the physical world – responds to this energy.”

Ex-model and yoga teacher Kristen Eykel presented her Attunement Chakra Meditation. Kristen has founded Sacred Circle Teachings- a physical & spiritual Yoga, Hypnosis & Reiki training academy devoted to empowering the teachers of tomorrow with the sacred knowledge of all time. And Kristen just published her 6-week planner incorporating her teaching.

I’d like to close my review of this wonderful event by sharing an exclusive interview that we at Collective Evolution had with one of the event’s co-founders Maurizio Benazzo. Maurizio’s passion is an inspiration to many and an integral part to why the SAND Conference continues to be as successful as it is. Check it out:

Stay tuned for our interviews with Deepak Chopra, Bernardo Kastrup, Peter Russell and More.

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Consciousness

Dark Jewels: Mining The Gifts Of 8 Difficult Emotions

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Our difficult emotions are not just unpleasant experiences. They have hidden gifts, including the capacity to transform our lives into more joy and wholeness. They impart wisdom and compassion we can't find living on, or fearfully clinging to, the su

  • Reflect On:

    Which emotions do you have trouble feeling or accepting in yourself and others? These might be the frontiers you need to embrace and enter to more fully embody your life.

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

—Pema Chodron

Unless we look into and skillfully navigate our dark sides, we can’t become our fullest selves. Consequently, we can’t truly love ourselves and the world as much as we are capable. Following Pema Chodron’s reasoning: if we cannot bear our own pain, how can we bear the pain of others? If we are afraid of our own suffering, how can we genuinely stand with another in theirs and thereby be the friend possible?

Below I list eight natural, universal emotions that at first blush we might feel like avoiding. This list is a kind of treasure hunt, revealing what we get to discover when we welcome and allow these at first uncomfortable feelings to be, and eventually change us from our depths on up through our heart and mind. For this growth to happen, we first have to be honest with ourselves—to be aware of what we are feeling and able to name it. Then we can embrace the feelings and go from there.

Notice how each “negative” emotion mentioned below informs us of our care. To welcome and work with our shadow emotions enables us to care more. Caring also requires sensitivity. So, if we have a sensitive heart, we will likely feel all these difficult emotions in good measure. And, when we learn how to intimately, courageously and patiently dance with them, they give us more heart and more inner power. Each emotion is therefore a portal to fulfill our capacity for greater love—love for ourselves, for those we love, and the Earth itself.

Difficult Emotion #1: Guilt

Guilt is usually a signal that we have acted, or might act, inappropriately. Guilt brings us back to our values, morality, and care for one another. Guilt shows us where we have acted poorly and can do better. Guilt keeps us accountable to one another. Guilt (that we have done wrong) need not become shame (that we are wrong or bad). We can harvest the lesson in our guilt (oftentimes along with our remorse), make amends, and forgive ourselves. For example, if I feel guilty that I wasn’t fully honest with you and this cost you, I might make an amend and confess my shortcoming.

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Sitting with guilt allows the sting of wrongdoing to impress a lesson upon us, or to change our hearts for the long term. Guilt need not be self-hatred, self-condemnation, or endless regret. It can be a mature reckoning and opportunity for more integrity. Note, guilt can also be a symptom of depression and OCD, in which case it’s best to notice it and not ruminate on it or try to mine it for wisdom.

Difficult Emotion #2: Anger or Rage

Almost every instance of anger arises because something we treasure has been threatened or taken away. It shows us what we care about and how we feel violated. Anger is the smoke alerting us to the fire of where we have been hurt. Anger shows us where our boundaries are, and welcoming the energy of anger helps us set boundaries. Anger protects what we love and shows us how much we care and value what is rightfully ours, or what is another’s. In the face of abuse, for example, anger or even rage, is an appropriate response. It protects our vulnerability.

Sitting with anger, without acting it out violently (unless appropriate in the moment to set a strong boundary) empowers our functional ego, or sense of self. It’s good, however, to make sure we get the facts straight before we let our anger take over, so we are not acting out on false assumption. With all this said, I find anger one of the less remunerative emotions to perpetuate. I try to get the lesson, hear the message from anger, then try to skillfully express, discharge, or let it go (not suppress or perpetuate it in thought and heart) as soon as possible. In excess, anger ages, wears us down, and burns bridges of support. At the same time, not embracing and discharging anger in healthy ways can sabotage and age us even more quickly.

Difficult Emotion #3: Fear

There is helpful and unhelpful fear. Helpful fear shows us our limits and where our limits for self-protection are, and therefore, what we care about. Fear of heights, or walking at the edge of a cliff, help us be careful so we don’t hurt ourselves. This is helpful fear. We all have limits, and healthy fear tells us when to stop and what to avoid, or to be careful in proceeding. Sitting with helpful fear shows us how to take care of ourselves and others, how to avoid harm. Unhelpful fear should be confronted, skillfully, and in good timing, so it doesn’t prevent us from achieving our goals. Asking that someone special out on a date or taking the steps to follow through on a dream, despite the fear, is confronting unhelpful fear and not letting it hold us back. We can’t help feeling unhelpful fear, and sometimes rather than try not to feel fear, the way to conquer it is simply to “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

Difficult Emotion #4: Remorse

Remorse is related to guilt. It signals us that we have made a mistake, caused harm, or could have done better. Remorse arises because we care; otherwise we wouldn’t care how our actions affect others. Sitting with remorse allows it to teach us a heartfelt lesson. The remorse we feel because we didn’t take the time to review the pesticide-impact report accurately, or because we didn’t make the call that would have prevented a disaster, can all be good medicine. It’s important to allow remorse and not excessively beat ourselves up about it, which also gives us the opportunity to practice forgiveness. Remorse is tinged with sadness, which arises from caring, which is why it’s a good sign to feel remorse; it means we have a heart, care about life, and have a moral compass.

Difficult Emotion #5: Despair

Despair is tough and humbling. Sometimes we can’t help but despair. Despair has an element of giving up, and this total or partial surrender can bolster our capacity for letting go of unnecessary control. When we do, we can find inner strength we didn’t know we had, as well as outside support in those who come to our aid. Inside despair is the kernel of faith. Despair can be a path to what we might call God or Spirit, which is often our own resiliency and trust that things will somehow work out when we have given up, or feel like we have nothing left.

It’s important to have support and to self-motivate when appropriate so that despair does not unnecessarily turn to depression and self-harm. Falling apart in the arms of despair can be a powerful way to contact our depths and find that invisible inner fortitude. This is best done with people who can stand by us, hold us, and keep our heads above water, if indeed we are afraid of figuratively drowning. When we have support and can weather its storm, despair also reveals what we care about and who unconditionally cares for us.

Difficult Emotion #6: Worry or Anxiety

Worry can be unrealistic or realistic, and shades of both, just like fear. Noticing what we worry about can show us what we care about; otherwise, why would we bother to worry? Some are worrywarts, in which case it’s helpful to try not to worry as much, while preserving the kernel of care in worry. Sometimes it’s appropriate to act in order to reduce worry. If I’m worrying about having left the gate open, getting up and closing it abets my worry. Other times, when our worry is more unrealistic, we don’t need to act as much as we need to bring our minds back into balance. Sitting with realistic worry shows us what we need to do to protect ourselves and others, even if it’s as simple as closing the gate or moving a glass from the edge of the table. Worry brings out the care in our hearts or our fear of harm. Controlling negative and anxious thinking, getting the facts straight, and breathing deeply all help keep worry from becoming exaggerated, unrealistic, and getting the best of us. Worry is our hearts thinking out loud about what we care for.

Difficult Emotion #7: Grief

Grief is the price we pay for the privilege of love. Yet, it’s only a temporary cost, for I consider grief the most soul-making of the emotions. Grief takes us down into ourselves;  it is the polisher of our souls. Grief dissolves our pain, which making it invaluable for living as a sustainable person. For if we don’t clear our hearts of pain, the tendency is to poison the world and others with the hurt we didn’t allow it to dissolve. Within grief is the blossom of rebirth from suffering and loss. The more we grieve, the more we can love; and the more we love, the more we feel the sting of loss. To deny grief is to deny love. While most of us don’t want to feel the drag, dullness, and despair of grief, it is a natural and healthy reaction to loss. Grief is a symbol of our love and when we can welcome it, we give our hearts the opportunity to break and grow as wide as the world. Grief work is an aspect of grief that I describe as  intentionally entering our past pain, especially that from childhood, that has not been resolved. This work frees our lives from the inside out as nothing else can. Grief is merely the other side of feel-good love and is always in fluid communication with it.

Difficult Emotion #8: Envy or Jealousy

Envy, as the desire for what someone else has, points to our fulfillment. It brings out our longing and desire and shows us what we want and what we can work for to make our lives better or more enjoyable. Of course, it’s important to make sure that what we are envious of is something we truly want and value, and not just an excuse to hate on someone. Sometimes we feel a heavy dose of envy because we don’t want to work for the success another has. Yet, once we admit our admiration for someone else’s success or freedom, we can use that inspiration to work to acquire what we envy, and admire our own progress and achievements.

Jealousy, which is feeling threatened that what we cherish will be taken away or injured, is often accompanied by anger. In wanting to possess, jealousy shows us what we value, what we want to protect, what we would feel pain in losing. The element of anger, or even worry, in jealousy helps us set boundaries and limits to protect what we want and care about. Marriage, or committing to monogamy, are examples.

The Takeaway

I hope this deeper glimpse into difficult emotions allows you to lean into and appreciate them for their uncommon gifts and not throw out their wisdom with the bathwater of knee-jerk reaction of temporary discomfort. Yes, they can be difficult and bring us down, but when we wisely work with them, and for long enough, they release their nectar, transform us into better and kinder people, and initiate us to our shared humanity. Their benevolent darkness gifts us depth and beauty we can’t otherwise find in the sunny side of life alone.

****

Jack Adam Weber, L.Ac., M.A., is Chinese medicine physician, having graduated valedictorian of his class in 2000. He has authored hundreds of articles, thousands of poems, and several books. Weber is an activist for embodied spirituality and writes extensively on the subjects of holistic medicine, emotional depth work, and mind-body integration, all the while challenging his readers to think and act outside the box. His latest creation is the Nourish Practice, a deeply restorative, embodied meditation practice as well as an educational guide for healing the wounds of childhood. His work can be found at jackadamweber.com, on Facebook, or Twitter, where he can also be contacted for medical consultations and life-coaching.

 

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Consciousness

50 Years of Near Death Experience Research Suggests That The “Soul” Is Real

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    50 years of research conducted by scientists into Near Death Experiences is summarized below. The research shows that consciousness, or the soul, or something continues to have awareness after "death."

  • Reflect On:

    Evidence of sensitive and touchy topics in science have always been dismissed and ridiculed. Why, no matter how strong the evidence, are discoveries ridiculed or swept under the rug? Are our minds that closed?

Nikola Tesla once said that, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

Fast forward to today, and we now have hundreds of notable world-renowned scientists studying “non-material” science. Science the birth of quantum mechanics, the mysteries of consciousness have been at the forefront of scientific study, and we now know today that consciousness plays a crucial part, in several different ways, when it comes to perceiving what we call our physical material world.

Most of our founding fathers of science, especially physics, were all spiritual mystics.  Max Plack, a physicist who originated quantum theory, regarded consciousness as “fundamental,” and matter as “derivative from consciousness.” He said that “we cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” 

Eugene Wigner, a physicist and mathematician told the world that “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.”

With all of this being said, there is still a resistance to the new discoveries that non-material science is making, especially when it comes to topics on the umbrella of parapsychology, like telepathy, remote viewing (which was used by the US government for intelligence purposes for 25 years), for example, near death experiences (NDE’s) and much more.

Here is a video of CIA contracted Physicist Russel Targ sharing everything he knows about ESP.

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“Despite the unrivalled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger.” 

– (T. Folger, “Quantum Shmantum”; Discover 22:37-43, 2001)

This is, again, perhaps why so many scientists are coming together to create awareness about this and emphasize some very important points about non-material science.

You can read more, in detail, about that here.

Near Death Experiences (NDE’s) are one area of study under parapsychology and non-material science.  What happens when we die? Does some aspect of us survive death? Some non-material aspect, like consciousness, for example?  Does consciousness originate in the brain, or is it a receiver of it?

It’s been the topic of discussion in philosophy and theology for years, and in the 20th century it has become the subject of scientific research. One of the people responsible for starting this initiative was Ian Stevenson, who, as the Chair of University of Virginia’s Department of Psychiatry, in 1967, created a research unit within the department to study if anything of the human personality survives after death.

His research investigated multiple hundreds of children who claimed to recall past lives and there are many examples. These children are able to give remarkable details about their past lives, and in some cases include describing how they died, locating past family members of who they used to be that are still living, and more details that would otherwise be impossible to describe.

You can see some specific examples in an article we’ve previously published, linked below:

6 Extraordinary Cases of Kids Who Remember Their Past Lives 

Here is a video of Dr. Bruce Greyson speaking at a conference that was held by the United Nations. He is considered to be one of the “fathers” of near death studies. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neuro-behavioral Science at UVA. In the video he describes documented cases of individuals who were clinically dead (showing no brain activity), but observing everything that was happening to them on the medical table below at the same time. He describes how there have been many instances of this – where individuals are able to describe things that should have been impossible to describe.

Another significant statement by Dr. Greyson posits that this type of study has been discouraged due to our tendency to view science as completely materialistic. Seeing is believing, so to speak, in the scientific community. It’s unfortunate that just because we cannot explain something through materialistic means, it must be instantly discredited. The simple fact that “consciousness” itself is a non-physical “thing” is troubling for some scientists to comprehend, and as a result of it being non material, they believe it cannot be studied by science.

To access some of the published research in this area, you can refer to this article.

Below is a lecture that was filmed at the UVA by the medical department. It features Jim B. Tucker Bruce Greyson Edward F. Kelly J. Kim Penberthy, from the Division of Perceptual Studies.

Large studies have shown that a significant amount of people who have been clinically dead, experience some type of ‘awareness’ during that time. For example, one patient – a 57-year-old man at the time, despite being pronounced “dead” and completely unconscious, with no detectable biological activity going on, recalled watching the entire process of his resuscitation.

On a side note, Certified Master Hypnotherapist Michael Newton developed a technique to regress his clients back in time to recall memories from their past lives. During this process he stumbled upon a discovery of enormous proportions. He was able to bring the souls back to the place where they go before their next life — a life between lives. Out of 7,000 regressions, a large majority had eerily similar recollections of a place that many of them called “home.”

You can read more about that here.

The proofs for the existence of worlds beyond this one go well past this topic and this article, and this cited research.

A New Groundbreaking Documentary About Post-Materialist Science

It’s interesting because as far back as 1999, statistics professor Jessica Utts at UC Irvine, published a paper showing that parapsychological experiments have produced much stronger results than those showing a daily dose of aspirin helping to prevent heart attacks. Utts also showed that these results are much stronger than the research behind various drugs like antiplatelets, for example.

This new film, called Expanding Reality  can be purchased  here.

“Expanding Reality is about the emerging postmaterialist paradigm and the next great scientific revolution. Why is it important? Because this paradigm has far-reaching implications. For instance, it re-enchants the world and profoundly alters the vision we have of ourselves, giving us back our dignity and power as human beings. The postmaterialist paradigm also fosters positive values such as compassion, respect, care, love, and peace, because it makes us realize that the boundaries between self and others are permeable. In doing so, this paradigm promotes an awareness of the deep interconnection between ourselves and Nature at large. In that sense, the model of reality associated with the postmaterialist paradigm may help humanity to create a sustainable civilization and to blossom.” – Mario Beauregard, PhD, from the University of Arizona

These people have exhausted their own resources in order to make Expanding Reality for the world, show your support by purchasing the movie HERE. You won’t be disappointed.

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is to recognize the evidence existing suggesting the soul, or consciousness, or some type of awareness exists after death. Now, what consciousness encompasses, might be different from the soul, etc, but those are much deeper discussions to be had.

When will science recognize something that’s clearly observable given the witness testimony and similarity of the experiences, and that phenomena that can’t be explained can still be real?

The parameters of modern day science really prevents us from moving forward, which is why we are seeing such a large growth in non-material science, the next step after quantum physics.

Related CE Articles

CIA Document Confirms Reality of Humans With Special Abilities Able To Do Impossible Things

Edward Snowden Tweet Hints That The NSA Can Access Your Secret Thoughts & Feelings – Telepathy? 

Scientists Demonstrate Remarkable Evidence of Dream Telepathy

Physicists Examine Consciousness Conclude The Universe Is Spiritual Immaterial & Mental

Distinguished Scientists Gather To Emphasize: Matter Is Not The Only Reality

Beyond Space & Time: Quantum Theory Suggests That Consciousness Moves on After Death

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Consciousness

If You Do One Thing At Christmas Make It This: Acts Of Kindness

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Gentleness and kindness will make our homes a paradise upon earth. C. A. Bartol

As we enter into the ‘silly season’ I felt inspired to write about what I wish Christmas could mean for everyone.

In a world where we have so much focus on material goods, (and never is this more obvious than at Christmas time)  I think its time to touch on something that is far more important.

And that is, have you ever thought about what exactly the true meaning of Christmas might be? What do you think it is?  Being with family and friends? Eating a lot of good food or going away somewhere nice?  Yes it can be all of that, but for me, it is more about giving.

Not the giving of expensive presents to family members and friends, but instead, giving to those that need it most.

Yes, I know that is a cliche, but its a valid one, and it is so very important right now.

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Only We Will Make The Changes Needed

Looking at the state of the world, with all of it’s chaos, more and more people are suffering.  Homelessness is reaching unprecedented levels in many ‘first world’ countries, there are more than 114,000 people living on the streets alone in California (with likely even more since those terrifying fires a few weeks ago), and in the UK, it has recently been reported that 1 in 200 people are homeless.   Hungary have recently declared that homelessness is a crime.

We are countries with access to enormous wealth, yet our governments are cutting funding for important programs to look after our most vulnerable people.

A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men. Thomas Carlyle

Seeing that this has become a global problem, and one that is not improving,  it has become clearer to me, that only WE can really make the differences needed now.  It truly sits on our shoulders as individuals to make more of a conscious effort to help those around us.

We have to stop waiting for others to sweep in and make these changes, we have to help do it ourselves.

I know, many may say ‘I am struggling myself to survive’ or ‘ I don’t have any spare money’, but kindness to others can be totally free.

For inspiration, please watch this beautiful and touching clip below that really lets you feel the power of kindness.  I am sure that even by watching this clip, many of you will be inspired now to go and do something for someone in need.  I was inspired to write this article after viewing this clip and I know it will create a domino effect!

You know, it’s not actually that hard to be kind.  You just have to have your mind ready to see an opportunity for being helpful to someone else.

Being kind to others, is actually a gift to yourself, the joy you feel in your heart when you do something nice and thoughtful for others, is a truly amazing feeling. It literally gives your heart a big happy bursting feeling. It feels like real love.

Science Shows Kindness Is Good For You

There actually is scientific evidence that being kind is very good for your own health, and for the other people who experience your kindness.  Kindness can also create a domino effect, and your act alone could end up helping many people, perhaps hundreds of event thousands.

Giving beats any short lived feeling you get from buying something material when you know that you have made a difference to someone else, especially when it helps them when they are at their lowest point.

If I have spare change in my bag, I do try and give to homeless people, (or instead buy them a meal) and despite that some will say ‘we shouldn’t encourage it’ I feel this is very unfair, as we never know their back story and how they ended up on the streets.

I think many of us turn our backs on them (like I used to) because if we really thought about it, we are probably petrified that we could end up like that.  For this reason alone, if you can, give, because would you not hope that people would help you if you were in the same position?

A little thought and a little kindness are often worth more than a great deal of money. John Ruskin

Kindness unites people like nothing else can and it is what we desperately need to bring our fractured societies back together.   With so much division between us now, what can heal this is our acts of kindness.

Everyone Matters

Every single person wants to feel that they matter, it’s embedded into our consciousness.  When a stranger does something kind for someone they don’t know it is even more special, because it was their way of saying ‘I see you, I don’t know you, but I care and you matter to me’

I have had many people be kind to me, in times of severe depression, where I nearly ended my life, I always had people show me that I mattered to them and not to give up.

I know this is what got me through those very dark times.  Their acts of kindness, made me realise I wasn’t worthless or truly alone, which brought me to be here today.

I am very lucky now to have this opportunity here at Collective Evolution to now be able to share important things with millions of readers around the world.

Who Will Benefit From Your Own Ripple Effects?

What if no one had of been kind to me when I was so low and in a desperate place? Would I not be here today? I really believe no, that I wouldn’t be.  We all are capable of creating positive ripple effects that can literally go around the world.

This is the power we all have, that you have, to impact someone else’s life positively, and maybe even many other peoples lives.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

Kindness comes in so many forms, and we are all capable of doing many of them.  You just have to open your heart and want to make the effort to do it.

I hope this Christmas you experience kindness in action, and could maybe even consider making a pact to continue this long after the festive season is over.

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. Og Mandino

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