Tag Archives: universal consciousness

Deepak Chopra: What Is Enlightened Awareness?

Perceptions, thoughts, emotions, and everything else we experience in life comprise the contents of our awareness. How, then, do we move from passive awareness to enlightened awareness?

In this episode of “Ask Deepak” on The Chopra Well, Deepak discusses methods for developing enlightened awareness and moving toward universal consciousness:

How do we know that we, other people, and the world exist? Because we are aware of their existence. How do we experience our world? We experience them as thoughts, sensations, feelings, moods, and images in consciousness. All that exists is awareness and the contents of awareness. To know this and to feel this is to have grounding in a universal awareness. Our world is only a “qualia gestalt”, a perception in our quality of awareness. To be able to be grounded in that understanding is moving in the direction of enlightened awareness.

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Deepak Chopra: Your Brain Is the Universe

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Murali Doraiswamy, MD, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., & Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.

Cosmic ConsciousnessIn our previous articles, we challenged a cherished point of view, that reality is material and external.  There is a world “out there” that that every baby plops into when it is born.  Convincing someone that this didn’t really happen is disturbing, and among scientists, whose worldview depends on the material world being real, hackles are raised as soon as you say otherwise.   But we aren’t straying outside science in the quantum era. Our basic point, that the physical world lost its reassuring status a hundred years ago when the quantum revolution began – is beyond dispute.

But the fact that every particle in the universe winks in and out of the quantum field, or that particles can transition into waves that spread in all directions doesn’t strike very close to home. Quantum physicists get into their cars every morning with no fear that the engine will vanish into a cloud of energy.  But this new, nonmaterial reality actually lies much closer than anyone supposes.  The human brain is where the quantum meets the road, with far-reaching implications.

What if there is physical evidence that the brain is a quantum device, and that its design reflects the cosmos in an uncanny way that cannot be by chance?  In the Vedic tradition of India, it is held that “as is the smallest, so is the greatest. As is the microcosm, so is the macrocosm.”  We’re using modern terminology, but the concept is timeless: Nature is coherent from its subtlest level to its grossest.  Some clues to this truth are visual – the helix that appears in DNA and in spiral nebulas, for example.  Hard science isn’t moved by casual resemblances, however.

To tighten the parallels, one can turn to recent work by physicists including Dmitri Krioukov and reported in mainstream journal like Nature’s Scientific Reports. To quote:  The “universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain – with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies.”  Looking at simulations of galaxy interconnections in the early universe and neuron interconnections makes it virtually impossible to tell them apart. The brain and the cosmos, like the Internet, are networks, and they evolve the same way. The result, the authors argue, is that the universe really does grow like a brain. In a related article in the prestigious journal Science, researchers have discovered that the connections in the brain are highly organized, the brain’s structure is like a grid of city wiring, the neurons traversing in all directions.

Several years ago the philosopher Clark Glymour at Carnegie Mellon University published an intriguing paper titled “When is a brain like the planet?” He provocatively concluded that when it thinks, the brain parallels the ecology of our planet. A phenomenon like El Nino, which is coordinated with weather events far away in Africa, is similar time series correlations observed in an fMRI brain scan.  (Similarly, Greek seismologists at the University of Athens have concluded that the tremors before an earthquake are identical to the heart patterns before a heart attack.)

The similarities in physical systems can be inexplicable. We ourselves noticed that the number of neurons in a brain (about 100 billion) is on the same order of magnitude as the number of trees on the Earth (estimated by NASA to be about 400 billion). In their actual physical appearance, neurons look like trees with a main trunks (axon) and branches (dendrites, which comes from the Greek word “Dendron” or tree). Neurons connect together in a tree-to-tree fashion as their branches nearly touch.  The life of a single neuron is as entangled with every other neuron as the trees in a rain forest. The number of synapses in different neurons (neurons come in many varieties) vary from around 1,000, to 200,000 for large Purkinje cells. Trees have branches that show a self-similar pattern from a few hundred to more than 100,000.

It‘s hard for a neuroscientist to look up at trees and not see even more intricate parallels. Trees receive “information” in the form of carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water to produce the oxygen that sustains life on Earth. Animals in turn produce carbon dioxide, which forms a feedback loop back to trees which are fed by it. In a sense oxygen and carbon dioxide, flowing through every living system, are like neurotransmitters. The synapses where brain activity occurs from neuron to neuron are organized through feedback, with one side feeding chemicals to the other.

The fact is that all systems seem to be self-organized, from the complex way that replicant RNA organizes a new strand of DNA to the way the brain produces a single picture of reality that organizes the firing of billions of neurons.  The constants that rule the evolution of the universe are so precise that stars are organized to live through definite, orderly stages, and the formation of galaxies from interstellar dust follows its own life cycle.

In recent decades it has become established that a single cell is a system, as is the brain, and the entire body – you are presiding over an entire ecology, and like planetary ecology, everything finds a delicate balance. The phenomenon of homeostasis is the body’s way of balancing hundreds of different functions (e.g., blood pressure, body temperature, the symphony of hormones coursing through the blood stream, digestion, respiration, and waking and sleeping). It strikingly mirrors planetary ecology and its living response to forces of balance and imbalance.  The Gaia hypothesis, which looks upon the Earth as a single organism, may well apply to our own bodies as cells in the body of the cosmos.

“As is the smallest, so is the greatest” has come full circle from ancient wisdom to modern science once we accept that every system is driven by feedback loops, homeostasis, and continuing self-organization. At this point, it is up to dissenters to prove that we aren’t inhabiting a living universe, tied into it by the most fundamental characteristics of biological systems.

If it seems too much to grant that the universe is a living organism, that point isn’t necessary. What we wanted to show in this article is that the material world isn’t primary but secondary. Without homeostasis, feedback loops, and self-organization drive every level of Nature – they are invisible and intangible.  Without them, the fine- tuned universe couldn’t exist, or the fine-tuned human brain.

There are further horizons to cross. Might it be that forests here on Earth are not only responsible for energy generation but also connect planetary consciousness to cosmic consciousness? This may not be just bold speculation. If indeed the universe behaves like a brain, then why wouldn’t it harbor universal consciousness? After all, if the “hardware” looks the same, then the “software” that creates coherence at every level might be the same.  Even though everyone uses phrases like “I’m making up my mind” and “My mind’s not very sharp today,” the “my” is only an assumption.

When you get out of the shower, you are wet; you don’t say, “This is my wet.”  General qualities aren’t individual. You can’t call the Earth’s atmosphere “my air.” In the same way, human pride in being able to think and reason may be a false assumption. The great quantum pioneer Erwin Schrödinger thought so:

There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousness…. [I]n truth there is only one mind.

The implication is that just as our bodies are cells in the body of the universe, our consciousness is immersed in the universal mind. But how would we go about validating this scientifically? Going beyond resemblances in Nature, systems give us a toehold –  studying the evolution of physical systems on Earth will tell us a lot about the evolution of the brain, and vice versa.

If the universe is encoded in the brain, then perhaps “insights” that scientists and philosophers have had in the past (breakthrough thoughts about reality) are not be so mysterious.  Einstein was astonished that relativity, a theory formulated in his mind, turned out to match Nature’s workings with incredible mathematical precision.  Such astonishment has evolved beyond amazement by now. The brain is now being examined in the light of quantum biology, and it is dawning that thinking involves quantum operations at the basis where ions exchange charges – thus exchanging information in a precise, even digital way – down to a finer level where “normal” interactions between particles ceases. People do unexpected, strange, weird, and spooky things – so do quanta.  If their weirdness is entangled with ours, there is more than resemblance, parallels, and coincidence. The same source is at work for stars, brains, and thinking.

Perhaps, we are all tapping into cosmic knowledge (the ultimate software), acting as a portal from one piece of hardware to another, from the brain to reality “out there.” Using the same build for the hardware, Nature has allowed us to enter our mental universe, only to discover the infinitude of the conscious universe.  Infinity is hard to think about, but happily, our brains keep evolving. Having evolved to the point that we can look “out there” and see incredible mathematical orderliness, we’ve reached the horizon where reality may reveal its true source.

(To be cont.)

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Snake in the Grass?

Not this snake. He wasn’t satisfied with grass. He wanted something more. So he came in. To my bedroom. And ruined a perfectly peaceful afternoon. My ritual of a good night sleep, gone too. And three days later, I’m still typing with my feet up.

 

I met him once about five years ago. He was playing in the garden under the big leaf glossy greens in my entry way. Now, while I love nature I am not afraid to share with you that I don’t love snakes. So as soon as I saw him, I ran outside for a boy, any boy, to help me rid my magical garden of a not so magical creature. But I didn’t act fast enough. The snake was so small, the garden so lush, that he was gone before Jose even made it in the garden. He will leave, said Jose. Just like he came in, he will go out. I wanted to believe him. And as the years passed with never any sign of mister snake, I did.
 
Until three days ago.
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Kundalini is a spiritual energy or life force that lives coiled like a snake at the base of our spines. It is said that when each of our seven chakras, or energy centers, are awakened this snake will rise up, threading itself through each of our open chakras, leading us to profound inner and outer experiences. These experiences that can last anywhere from a few moments to a few weeks or even months tend to be incredibly powerful, even life changing. Some say a ‘kundalini opening’ is a merging of individual consciousness with universal consciousness, creating in effect a divine union, a sacred opening. In my own experience, I can’t help but agree.
 
*          *          *
 
Reggie taught kundalini yoga in the States so when he visited my little Mexican town and found few interested in his unique style, he offered his newest fan a few private lessons—Me. We set up under the bougainvillea on the back side of my casita, specks of sunlight twinkling through the pink leaves, a gentle breeze blowing intermittently, puffs of pink falling like snow, landing around us, on top of us, dancing on our hands and faces. As he led me through the poses, the breathing, the chanting, I began to feel moved beyond words, lighter, more joy-filled than I had felt in years. And then, when I felt the most elated of all, I began to see.
 
I saw Reggie, my dear new acquaintance, as a boy. He was alone and crying on a doorstep. He was overweight. He was struggling. He was different and yet he was somehow the same. What am I seeing, I thought to myself. I barely know this man so where do these images come from? As they started to fade I calmed myself back to my previous state of peace and the images returned. I saw feelings. Felt emotions. Sensed pains. And yet none of the sensations were mine. Or were they? I started to tremble. I opened my eyes to reconnect with what I knew best.
 
Do you mind if I ask you a personal question? I asked Reggie after he, too, opened his eyes.
Please do, his face soft and kind, his eyes ladders to his soul.
Were you ever abandoned as child? Left alone on a doorstep? I fumbled with my words, my head not knowing what I was asking.
My father left me when I was seven. I lived in foster families most of my childhood. I sat on many doorsteps…alone. His eyes twinkled with wonder.
I gulped.
And did you ever, were you ever, a bit overweight?
I have always been troubled by my weight, a struggle that has been with me since I was a teenager. But how? How do you know these things, he asked.
 
But I couldn’t say. I just did. I felt them. Saw them. Experienced them as if they were my own life experiences, a taste of another’s lifetime squished into a few blissful moments of my own.
 
He smiled. Yes, did he smile. Kundalini, he said. Lets play again tomorrow.
 
 *          *          *

 

The snake that sits coiled at the base of our spines isn’t meant to sit dormant its whole life. Like the snake in my garden, it is not content to just sit in the grass. It wants to explore, to seek and discover, to sense and feel new and uncharted territories. Some, including myself, need to be reminded that such a desire isn’t scary. (Even if it happens to end up in your bedroom!) It is not worthy of a quiet terror, of sleepless nights or anxiety-riddled days. When the message comes, when the invitation arrives, we can cringe in fear or we can see it for the beauty that it really is, for the opening or transformation that it begs to represent. Wide-eyed wonder of life is a choice. Fear is a choice. Snake outside or inside, if I can see the magic, I know you can too. 

Life is Short! Or is it?

 I was working out at the gym the other day when I heard a fellow member say, "Life is Short!" This is a common phrase and one that I have heard often, but for some reason, it struck me as an awkward statement that needed correction. So, I blurted out, "Or is it?" This unwelcome response was met with a very strange look. So, I politely stated to the annoyed gentleman, "The human existence is short, but life is everlasting." He looked at me awkwardly as he pondered this bit of unrequested knowledge. After a brief moment he turned to me and said, "What do you mean?" So, I began to explain:

Most people do not realize the most inherent truth: We are all spiritual beings, living a human existence. It is not our "human" self, but our "spiritual" self that matters most in the equation. You can break it down like this:

Humanity = Individual Existence (Your individual existence will eventually cease. Thus, so will your humanity.)

Life = Spirit (Your spirit never ceases to exist. Thus, your life will never cease to exist.)

The man listened to my explanation intently. He then looked at me and said, "What do you mean, the spirit never ceases to exist? And why be human at all if we are just going to die?" This was a reasonable question and showed that he was at least curious to understand better. So I began to explain further:

As spiritual beings, we are all a part of the Universal Consciousness. While we are a part of this Universal Consciousness we are co-creators, co-learners, and co-explorers of the universe we have created. What is lacking in this collective, singular intelligence though is autonomy. Our spirits are separate entities, but we are part of a singular consciousness. It is like the spiritual version of the Borg. (He was obviously a Trekkie because he understood the reference.) To put it simply, their is no individuality.

While our spirit is part of the Universal Consciousness, the emphasis is on logic and understanding. Like a computer, there are no emotions. The Universal Consciousness even a lacks the senses of smell, touch, taste, sight, and hearing. In order to experience our creation, we have to become a part of it. In order to find individuality, we have to separate from the collective. In order to experience the beauty of creation and the freedom of thought, we become human.

Our bodies are simply the vessel that contains our spirit during the human existence. During this existence of individuality, our spirits will experience first hand each and every emotion that the brain allows. It will experience all of the wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and tastes that surrounds us. It will feel the delight of a first kiss and the flutter of one’s heart when you hear the words I love you. As we meander through this human existence, our spirit is collecting data and information, to expand its knowledge and understanding. (Unfortunately, this storage of data is limited by the human brain.) When our bodies cease to function and the human existence ends, the vessel may be lost, but the spirit remains and returns to the Universal Consciousness. All of our experiences during our human existence will be shared with the collective to be processed and analyzed.

Then, you will do it all over again. So, life isn’t short, it is everlasting.

The man looked at me dazed and confused by the plethora of information I had just given him. Slowly, a smile began to spread across his face and he looked at me and said, "Heck, you mean I have to go through all this again? I think I will just hang with the collective and be a Borg."

I smiled back at the man and said, "Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated."(Borg reference)

Enjoy your human existence. It may be short, but every experience is special and amazing, whether good or bad. Blessings on your journey.

 

PS – My next Blog will be titled: "The Kobayashi Maru we Call the Universe" 🙂

The Feeling of Unity

That certain feeling of oneness, which is described by many as unity consciousness is a wonderful moment in the expansion of consciousness. A lovely feeling of unity that is felt through the subtle waves of consciousness, which takes place when the individual suddenly and without warning moves aside causes their internal perceiving point retracts into subtler waves of energy. This is usually an important event in many people’s lives, that’ll leave them thirsting for more. This consciousness unity can lead many down the spiritual path and it’s indispensable for that reason, and it can happen in natural or unnatural situations, however it should not to be confused with Self-realization or Eternity, because of the feeling aspect.

This feeling of unity can be attained in many different ways and although it may change your outlook it simply doesn’t have a lasting effect, but the thought of it will, and it should inspire you to continue on to higher levels of spiritualism. Unfortunately some get complacent and some look for notoriety before its time, and this will stagnate any further growth. Some find this place unnaturally and try to replicate the conditions and some teeter on thin lines falling into it, but both of these conditions are usually very misleading. 

Any number of things can bring about this unity feeling naturally or forced and sometimes an event induces it, such as: a traumatic experience, a near death experience or drugs, however the trigger mechanism reflects the conditions making every situation different. The natural way through Religion and Spirituality is the best way to attain this heightened state of free-floating awareness, and the results here should propel you on to deeper states, if you continue your pursuit.   

The Evangelist’s are waving arms trying to feel that unity, the Catholics are reciting scripture and prayers, the spiritual groups are reciting mantras and meditating, the fringe groups are using sleep and food deprivation as a tool, and the chemist is doing powerful drugs in order to recapture it, however most are looking within the confines of matter and energy. Looking everywhere and doing anything for that feeling, but that feeling can only be temporary and never repeated in the same manner, because feelings are very convoluted. Anything that’s based in energy and matter such as feelings are so complex they’re usually a one-hit-wonder and that’s helpful, but at the same time a curse for some. Because the seeker will try to recapture it in any form they can, for they believe that this is ‘it’ and they know how to find it, thus pushing them in the wrong direction.

The natural way is somewhat similar to the unnatural way in this regard, because trying to duplicate the same conditions as before is impossible, and this is the reason why the present moment is ever fresh and ever new. However, there is a stark difference between the two that needs to be pointed out and that’s the danger factor, one is safe and the other is a life threatening stumble in the dark with a possibility of no return.

The natural way propels you further while the unnatural way has the tendency to mislead.

I have fallen for both ways and found that feeling of unity in drugs and naturally through meditation, but I didn’t stop there, because my mentor urged me to let go and continue. We need to heed the advice from those who walked before us and trust in their ability to guide without letting our ego in to inflate or deflate the situation.

The real experience of Self-realization is totally contrasting to feelings of any type and forms of any type and that will be Self evident when Self-realization happens to you.

Eternity is permanence at the source and only the Self can experience this eternal realm, because energy consciousness is oscillating waves breeding interim opposites, which have a short shelf life and energy consciousness allows you the ability to perceive opposites in action. Pure Awareness or Pure Consciousness at the source is beyond all of these new attributes provided by energy consciousness, but nonetheless the two are still related. Pure Consciousness is still, and moving energy consciousness evolves out of that Stillness giving birth to new qualities, including the mind. The sacred feeling of unity through the unbiased universal consciousness is a purer source of energy consciousness that is subtler, identity-less and free flowing.
 
 

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