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Consciousness

An Introduction To Mindfulness & Meditation

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The transformation process with meditation is gradual. With meditation, the goal is to cease the Ego mind from chattering. All thoughts are meant to slowly fade away with patience, which can be frustrating at first, especially if you have a busy mind, but the more you simply ignore the thoughts that occupy your reality, the more the thoughts will ignore you. Eventually they fade away and all that remains is a state of balance and feeling centered — no stress, no urgency, no desire to fix things that you see as problems in your life. All worries, however small or big in magnitude for that moment in time of being present with your inner world, cease to exist.

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In meditation, as thoughts begin to subside, layers of the ego unravel, allowing this intangible thing called YOU to exist without restraint. When you stop meditating, those layers come back, piling on top of one and other, making the mind feel heavy and caged once again. For one who commits him/herself to meditation, a gradual desire to free the mind begins. Life becomes more meaningful by letting go of the things that keep you from being present, happy, and productive.

The more you meditate, the more you will begin to notice the difference between how you feel when you meditate, and how you feel when you live your daily life. As you go about your day while worries and stresses make their way back into your reality, you’ll gradually begin to become more mindful of your thoughts. The responsible meditator will come to realize that their negative thoughts and feelings are what’s hindering the enjoyment of their reality. The choice of being mindful of those thoughts and feelings or indulging in them will be up to you, but your growing awareness of how your thoughts keep you from feeling centered will make all the difference. This is part of what it means to become more in tune with yourself, as many people who carry themselves unhappily through this existence are not in tune with the traits within them that are keeping them from happiness. Once you’re in tune with those traits, not just feeling them but objectively observing them, you can more easily process and let them go.

In meditation, the more you practice, the more mindful you’ll become of your thoughts and their sources. The point of meditation is to relax the mind, allowing it to be free of thoughts. Through this process you become more aware of how you feel when you are free of thoughts. You will notice how calm and relaxed you feel when in a meditative state of mind. This may induce an altered state of consciousness that differs from your regular conscious mind. As you practice meditation more and more, you will notice how your thoughts creep in and chip away at your ideal state of being present. You’ll notice the difference between how you feel when meditating and how you feel when you aren’t meditating. As you become aware of how you feel and how your thoughts distance you from how you feel when meditating, you will gradually make changes in how you think and you’ll begin to let go of all the unnecessary thoughts that distract you from being present.

You evolve through meditation by maintaining presence and centering yourself throughout all situations in life. It’s not easy to do all the time, but just being mindful of your ability to do it is a powerful step in the right direction. Our busy modern lives do not allow us to meditate all day long, nor would we want to when there is much to see and experience in this world, so the best we can do is to try to be as aware and mindful as possible when we’re within our regular states of consciousness. Be mindful of the negative self talk of the neocortex (thinking brain) and the emotional baggage of the subconscious mind. This can only be done if we take care to process and let go of all the thoughts and emotions that keep us from being centered.

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Meditation allows one to understand that our mind, without all the conditioning of the ego, is already balanced and centered. Who we are at the center of any chaos we may have in our life is all we need to feel complete and navigate through this world.

As you meditate more consistently, you may experience what is known as an ego death, the process of losing oneself to find oneself.

The Ego death dismantles everything that is trivial and unimportant in life. Ego death is the experience of a state of being that is free of the attachments used to form the personal identity filters that interpret your day to day experiences. The experience of Ego loss gives you a glimpse at how significant and/or insignificant these attachments are, and how they have been affecting your life.

Perspective and paradigm shifts are often accompanied by ego loss. Although you may feel inspired to do so, allow your experience to sink in and process before making any radical changes in your life. Use the experience as a resource to weigh the pros and cons of your new path and perspective. Do not make rash decisions immediately after the experience of ego death.

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Consciousness

Super Moon In Capricorn: Proceeding With Changed Perceptions

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We are having a Full Moon in Capricorn on June 24th/25th, which will appear the brightest on the night of the 24th throughout the world. This is the peak of the Lunar cycle that began with a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini on June 10th which is still affecting this period and beyond. It will also be a ‘Supermoon’, which is when the Moon appears larger and brighter due to its closer proximity to the Earth.

The energies of a Full Moon are strongest in the days surrounding it yet its astrological configurations also play a part over the following two weeks. You may start to see its themes slowly build up after the New Moon prior.

This is a period in which we feel a push-pull between two opposing signs, in this case being the Moon in Capricorn and the Sun in Cancer. It can play out as either a conflict, an integration, or some sort of dynamic between the energies of both signs. The Moon reflects the expression of feeling and emotion while the Sun reflects the expression of ego and conscious self.

We may feel this opposition happening individually within us and/or we can also experience it play out around us; with some people (or circumstances) expressing the Capricorn side and others expressing the Cancer side. In some cases, Full Moons can also reflect/trigger some sort of change or release.

Sun In Cancer Opposite Moon In Capricorn

Cancer season began when the Sun entered this sign on June 20th/21st which will conclude on July 22nd. Cancer is associated with family, domestic life, security, emotional needs, emotional sensitivity, nurturing, and nostalgia. It is caring, personal, motherly, empathic, vulnerable, instinctual, intuitive and protective. Cancer can also be moody, clingy, insecure, as well as overly subjective.

This Full Moon is in its opposite sign of Capricorn, triggering a push-pull or integration effect between both of these signs. Capricorn is associated with ambition, achieving, duties, career, productivity, and discipline. It is responsible, cautious, prudent, practical, orderly, masterful, worldly, business oriented, realistic, and a social climber. Capricorn can also be cold, narrow minded, controlling, pessimistic, cynical, and overly concerned with status.

Although Cancer is the emotional sign here, the Moon rules emotions and the sign of Cancer. With it being in Capricorn, emotional drive will generally lean towards Capricorn needs and expressions. The Cancerian themes will generally be more expressed externally or through ego, even though they can be emotionally oriented. However, these are all generalizations, and each of our experiences and perceptions of this polarity actualizing will be different from each other.

Full Moon Sextile Jupiter & Trine Uranus

This Full Moon is in a sextile with Jupiter in Pisces which has begun its retrograde four days prior and is nearly stationary. Jupiter ruled areas of education, beliefs, experiential pursuits, and travel may be more prominent. Business wise, it could have to do with marketing and publishing. Considering it is in Pisces with Neptune also about to retrograde here, themes or manifestations pertaining to spirituality, compassion, creativity, escapism, or idealism may also come up.

This Full Moon is also in a trine with Uranus which brings the potential of originality, positive surprises, or perhaps experiences that can be liberating, stimulating, new, or unconventional. This can be good for changing things up, experimentation, or some sort of renovation. This energy will come up more so on July 5th/6th when the Sun is aspecting Uranus.

Mercury Is Now Moving Forward, Applying Square To Neptune 

Mercury in Gemini ended its retrograde on June 22nd/23rd and is now slowly starting to move forward (from our Earth perspective) as it gradually increases in speed. The areas of our lives that have been affected by this retrograde and pre-retrograde shadow since mid-May will go through a conclusion process over the next few weeks. This may start to become apparent over the coming days.

We will have a better perception on how to proceed forward in regards to certain circumstances and developments that come up over the last 5-6 weeks. Things can fall into place more easily and we may experience resolutions. We can feel that we are in a better place to move forward in the areas of life that have been impacted (reflected in our individual astrology charts) and pertaining to how Gemini themes played out for you.

As Mercury moves forward it is applying towards a third square with Neptune. Although we are in this post-retrograde period, in some ways it can still feel somewhat like retrograde until July 5th/6th when the square occurs and is most potent. This can play out as some confusion, lack of focus, scatteredness, unrealistic thinking, missing details, or complications involving communication, misinterpretation, or technology. Due to this. it would be best to wait until after it is done (from July 7th/8th onward) if you need to make important decisions.

Saturn Sextile Chiron,  Mars & Full Moon Also Aspecting Chiron 

At the time of this Full Moon and the weeks before and after, Saturn in Aquarius is in its second exact sextile with Chiron in Aries. This is part of the astrological backdrop all year as the first sextile was in February and the final one will be at the end of the year. Although this isn’t a very strong aspect, it can be supportive depending on how we apply ourselves.

This is good for taking a disciplined approach to healing, overcoming negative patterns, and addressing some of our core wounds. It can also be good for efforts that are integrating, bridging, holistic, unorthodox, or reflective of our natural gifts. Mars is in the mix this time around, peaking July 2nd, which emphasizes being proactive in this way. This Full Moon is in a square with Chiron as well, and perhaps some of the themes or potential conflicts we experience at this time may require some sort of bringing together of opposing or fragmented factors.

Mars In T-Square With Saturn & Uranus

Mars in Leo is moving towards an opposition to Saturn in Aquarius and then a square to Uranus in Taurus, creating a T-square pattern. This combined energy peaks from June 30th-July 4th and Mars will also be making its trine to Chiron (mentioned above) at this time.

On the days leading up to July 1st/2nd, and especially at that time, we may experience our actions being blocked, restricted, resisted, or limited in some way as Mars’ opposes Saturn. We can get frustrated more easily and we may need to do things with caution, better structure, or extra effort. Conflicts around boundaries may also come up.

Mars’ trine with Chiron in the first few days of July and square to Uranus in the following days can be good for taking an unorthodox approach or applying creative solutions. However, Uranus in the mix can also play out as rebellious and impulsive energy.

Mars here is also triggering the Saturn square Uranus aspect that is happening all year. As a result this can also play out as conflicts around, or assertiveness towards, ‘old versus new’, ‘restrictions versus freedom’, ‘the status quo versus revolution’, ‘commitments/responsibilities versus liberation’, ‘elder versus youth’, ‘progressiveness versus tradition’ and so forth.

Things To Consider

What have been the main themes for you over the last month and is there anything coming up now that could point to some sort of conclusion or an important next step forward? What area of your life is calling for more determination? Is there something that you need to achieve? Should you be experimenting with new or unusual approaches to things?

These are just some examples of themes that could come up or ways to approach this period; however, there may be other variations of this energy playing out as well.  If you wish to do any sort of intentional release, it is best to do so after it begins to wane following the peak or during the two weeks afterwards when it is waning before the next New Moon. The exact peak of this Full Moon is at 6:40pm Universal Time on June 24th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

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Consciousness

New Study Finds Humans Can Access a Higher Level of Consciousness

Gautam Peddada

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Photo By Zelenov Iurii

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study sheds light on the existence of a higher level of consciousness in humans that is accessible.

  • Reflect On:

    Does consciousness originate in the brain or somewhere else? What does this say about who 'we' are as humans?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

New research has discovered verifiable evidence of a higher level of consciousness. Researchers used brain imaging equipment to analyze the small magnetic fields created in the brain and discovered that, across three psychedelic substances, one measure of conscious level — neural signal diversity — was consistently greater.

Neuroscientists discovered a prolonged increase in neural signal diversity — a measure of the complexity of brain activity — in persons under the influence of psychedelic substances as compared to when they were awake.

The variety of brain impulses gives a mathematical indicator of awareness degree. People who are awake, for example, have more diversified brain activity than those who are asleep, according to this measure.

However, this is the first study to show that brain-signal diversity is more than baseline, that is, greater than in someone who is merely ‘awake and aware.’ Previous research has focused on decreased states of awareness, such as sleep, anesthesia, or the so-called vegetative state. More research utilizing complex and diverse models is required, according to the researchers, who are cautiously hopeful.

Professor Anil Seth, Co-Director of the University of Sussex’s Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, stated:

“This discovery demonstrates that the brain on psychedelics functions quite differently than usual.”

“As evaluated by ‘global signal diversity,’ the electrical activity of the brain during the psychedelic experience is less predictable and less ‘integrated’ than during regular conscious wakefulness.”

“Since this measure has already shown its value as a measure of ‘conscious level’, we can say that the psychedelic state appears as a higher ‘level’ of consciousness than normal — but only with respect to this specific mathematical measure.”

For the study, Michael Schartner, Adam Barrett, and Professor Seth of the Sackler Centre reanalyzed data that had previously been collected by Imperial College London and the University of Cardiff in which healthy volunteers were given one of three drugs known to induce a psychedelic state: psilocybin, ketamine, and LSD.

Using brain imaging equipment, scientists examined the small magnetic fields created in the brain and discovered that, across all three medicines, this measure of conscious level — neural signal diversity — was consistently greater.

The researchers emphasize that this does not imply that the psychedelic state is a “better” or “more desirable” state of consciousness; rather, it demonstrates that the psychedelic brain state is distinct and can be related to other global changes in conscious level (e.g., sleep, anesthesia) by using a simple mathematical measure of signal diversity.

“That identical improvement in signal diversity was discovered for all three medications, despite their rather distinct pharmacology, are both quite remarkable and also encouraging that the results are robust and reproducible,” said Dr. Muthukumaraswamy, who was involved in all three original research.

The findings might help feed ongoing conversations concerning the strictly supervised medical usage of such medications, such as in the treatment of severe depression.

“Rigorous research into psychedelics is garnering greater interest, not least because of the therapeutic potential that these substances may have when taken wisely and under medical supervision,” said Dr. Robin Cahart-Harris of Imperial College London.

“The current study’s findings assist us to comprehend what happens in people’s brains when they experience psychedelic consciousness expansion. People frequently report having “insight” when using these substances, and when this occurs in a therapeutic setting, it can predict beneficial outcomes. The current discoveries may help us understand how this is possible.”

In addition to informing potential medical applications, the study contributes to developing scientific knowledge of how conscious level (how conscious one is) and conscious content (what one is conscious of) are connected.

According to Professor Seth:

“We discovered links between the intensity of subjects’ psychedelic experiences and variations in signal diversity. This shows that our metric is closely related not just to global brain alterations caused by medicines, but also to features of brain dynamics that underpin specific kinds of conscious experience.”

The study team is currently concentrating their efforts on determining how particular alterations in information flow in the brain underpin certain components of the psychedelic experience, such as hallucinations.

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Consciousness

Does Consciousness Create Our Material Reality?

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A new study authored by Robert Lanza suggests observers" are responsible for determining physical reality, and that conscious observers themselves generate and create the structures of time and space.

  • Reflect On:

    We observers, people like you and I, are responsible for how consciousness forms into physical matter, what does this say about the power of our individual and collective beliefs?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Where does the “physical” world come from? Matter at its smallest observable form, atoms, pop in and out of existence all the time. The idea that physical matter is birthed from a non physical realm, such as the “quantum vacuum” or the “void”, or something else we are unaware of is not novel.  Nikola Tesla himself believed that “all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the akasha, or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or creative force, calling into existence, in never-ending cycles all things and phenomena.” (Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907)

A paper published by Parahamsa Tewari in the journal Physics Essays explains,

“A century from now, it will be well known that: the vacuum of space which fills the universe is itself the real substratum of the universe; vacuum in a circulating state becomes matter; the electron is the fundamental particle of matter and is a vortex of vacuum with a vacuum-less void at the center and it is dynamically stable; the speed of light relative to vacuum is the maximum speed that nature has provided and is an inherent property of the vacuum; vacuum is a subtle fluid unknown in material media; vacuum is mass-less, continuous, non viscous, and incompressible and is responsible for all the properties of matter; and that vacuum has always existed and will exist forever….Then scientists, engineers and philosophers will bend their heads in shame knowing that modern science ignored the vacuum in our chase to discover reality for more than a century.”

This non-physical “field” may also be dark energy, we don’t really know or understand it quite well, but we know it exists. A declassified Defense Intelligence Agency document touches on this,

“We do not understand why it exists or how it is created; we simply know it provides an ever-present force on spacetime, causing the universe to expand. Indeed, recent high-precision experimental observations indicate dark energy may be a cosmological vacuum energy.”

So, if our material world is birthed from this non material “stuff”, does consciousness play a factor? It’s interesting to contemplate, especially given the fact that consciousness is not a physical thing, nor is it the result of any known physical process or biology. You cannot pinpoint or find the source of consciousness within the brain. Even at the quantum level, factors associated with consciousness have been known to change the behavior of matter, like photons, suggesting that matter itself may be a conscious perceiving thing.

Does this mean that all “physical” things possess some type of consciousness? Photons don’t have a brain, do they? What about plants? There is a growing amount of evidence suggesting that plants act and behave in ways suggesting that they are a thinking things, capable of feelings, emotions, perceptions and thoughts.

If consciousness can have such an influence over matter, and is a non physical property that exists within all physical things, could it somehow be responsible for the creation of reality? This has been a common theme discussed within the realms of quantum physics for quite some time. In fact, the discussion of “ether”, this non physical, indescribable “stuff” has been the subject of contemplation for thousands of years. Plato wrote about the ether  in his work Phaedo, and explained how life exists within it. He believed what air is to us, the ether is to them. Is the ether alive? Is the universe itself, which could be primarily made up of this non-physical stuff, a conscious living entity?

You cannot explain consciousness in terms of the existing fundamentals like space, time, mass,  and charge. As a result, the logical thing to do is postulate whether consciousness itself is something fundamental to the existence of reality, to view consciousness itself as one of these fundamentals.

“Why do you insist the universe is not a conscious intelligence, when it gives birth to conscious intelligences?” Cicero, c. 44 BCE 

A New Paper

Another paper has emerged claiming that “observers” are responsible for determining physical reality, and that conscious observers themselves generate and create the structures of time and space.

What’s interesting to contemplate here is that, if this is true, it would include all “observers” within the universe itself, not just human observers. It reminds me of the double slit experiment, where tiny bits of matter are shot through a slit forming what’s called a wave pattern of probabilities and possibilities, but when an observer is introduced the wave function collapses.

One of the authors of the paper, Robert Lanza, told Big Think that observers can dramatically affect the “behavior of observable quantities” both at a microscopic and massive spatiotemporal scales. In fact, a “profound shift in our ordinary everyday worldview” is necessary. The world is not something that is formed outside of us, simply existing on its own. “Observers ultimately define the structure of physical reality itself.”

How does this work? Lanza contends that a network of observers is necessary and is “inherent to the structure of reality.” As he explains, observers — you, me, and anyone else — live in a quantum gravitational universe and come up with “a globally agreed-upon cognitive model” of reality by exchanging information about the properties of spacetime. “For, once you measure something,” Lanza writes, “the wave of probability to measure the same value of the already probed physical quantity becomes ‘localized’ or simply ‘collapses.'” That’s how reality comes to be consistently real to us all. Once you keep measuring a quantity over and over, knowing the result of the first measurement, you will see the outcome to be the same

The implications of this are and have always been quite large. The idea that consciousness itself is fundamental to reality suggests that it must have played an integral part in the creation of reality, that consciousness itself had to exist prior to the birth of physical material reality. One could go on and on contemplating things like: if consciousness is fundamental to the creation of physical matter, then what created consciousness itself? Where does consciousness itself originate from? Does existence itself even have a beginning? Can the future change the past, can the past change the future?

Who knows, but the most important point to takeaway here is that consciousness itself is fundamental to the creation of our physical experience. If we want to change the world, ultimately we have to change the way we think, feel and perceive. This is a key factor that is directly intertwined with the type human experience we create for ourselves.

This is why, perhaps, sometimes it seems that the greatest resource for powerful people, politicians and corporations is human consciousness itself.  If we ourselves determine what direction humanity heads simply by what we think and feel, just imagine what somebody could do if they could manipulate that aspect within us? The state of the world today, some might say, is chaotic, and that could be a direct result of the fact that the collective mind and heart is not in a state of coherence.

You might say “we are all over the place.” We’re separated by our beliefs and unable to come together in understanding and harmony. This collective state of being in turn will create a physical experience that reflects that, which is exactly what we are seeing today and have seen throughout human history.

Below is a great little documentary from a colleague of mine, it’s based off an essay he wrote for his philosophy master’s degree. It dives a bit deeper into this discussion.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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