Category: Journeys Written by José Stevens PhD
For some very strange reason human beings do not apply their Intelligence and reasoning to the most fundamental questions of life.
The strange reason seems to be related to the additional fact that most people are not afraid to think big when it comes to business plans but are terrified to think big when it comes to the more important questions of consciousness and awareness, two more important topics that drive many into denial. Let’s take for example the topic of cause and effect or perhaps the questions about the origin of life. Scientists are forever looking into the origins of life by studying smaller and smaller units of what they call matter. They want to know the exact chemistry of how life came to be. This is a fine question and one that deserves our study however there are several problems with this approach.
To this date no scientist has been able to prove that matter actually exists. This is a source of great controversy and that is fine but until that controversy is resolved how can we pursue the question of the origin of life based on the actuality of matter? This seems odd, to say the least, and these are intelligent scientists we are talking about.
Let’s look at another assumption that just does not hold up. We keep looking at aspects of life that are impermanent as the origins of something that is not impermanent. How does that make sense? For example, we think that the origins of consciousness must somehow be in the human brain chemistry. We have studied brains and dissected them but as we all know brains are very impermanent. They are given birth, grow for a time, wear out, and turn to worms eventually, unless they are fried in cremation, not a very enduring chunk of beef if you will. Yet this is seen conveniently as the origin of our awareness and consciousness. We could argue that awareness and consciousness are also very impermanent and they die with the death of the brain but this does not explain a number of inconvenient facts. First of all, there is plenty of evidence that even though the brain has died, awareness lives on in the person’s experience. There are many people who have been pronounced brain dead after no sign of life can be detected and then they revive and tell great tales about watching all the medical procedures and interventions that attempted to resuscitate them. They also recall grand adventures, sometimes describing exactly what relatives were doing at the time of their supposed death even though these events were taking place many miles away. These anomalies are ignored or dismissed away with implausible explanations.
Consciousness and awareness have been around for a very long time but no body has endured more than a few years. Also, we think that perhaps life exists throughout the universe perhaps generated by a mix of lightening and chemicals but these too are highly impermanent. So, the upshot is that we think that something that endures for eons can come from something that is very temporary. Does that actually make sense?
Let’s go a little further here. We all think that our bodies are well defined and stable physical structures while they are alive. However, no one has actually experienced a human body in toto. This may sound outrageous to say but it is a fact. Our awareness of our bodies is a conglomerate of sensations, thoughts, ideas, feelings, perceptions, memories and what have you. No one of these things is enough to declare that the body is whole and complete and an actual thing. No one of us has ever experienced our bodies in its completeness. The best we can do is focus on this part or that for a few seconds apiece and then assume that is all one thing. What I am saying here is that our experience of our bodies is just a pile of fragments that seem to make up a body because that is what we have been taught to believe. Did anybody happen to notice this? Our belief in our bodies is not based on any actual factual experience but simply by agreement that we have one. Try for a moment to prove you have a completely intact body without resorting to sensations, perceptions, thoughts, ideas, feelings, memories etc. You cannot, in fact, do it. If you can, you should be awarded the Nobel Prize. None of us actually experience the body as a complete thing. We take it so for granted that we forget to question it and forget to examine the experience closely. Some Tibetan Buddhists and enlightened masters have examined this phenomenon closely and have all concluded that it does not exactly exist the way we think it does. It is more like a virtual reality experience. So, how can something as enduring as awareness and consciousness be a product of something that does not have permanence and is not exactly even an actual thing. This is why in mystical traditions the body is called no-thing, nothing.
We can cut off various parts of our bodies and still experience awareness. Eventually we can remove the human brain and that seems to end the life, but does it? That just ends the life that we can detect with our impermanent machines. When Steve Jobs was on his death bed his last words were “OH WOW.” Why would someone express such awe if they were truly going into blackness and no consciousness? “Oh wow” could mean any number of things but it implies that there was way more awaiting him than he ever thought. It implies continued awareness, consciousness.
Consciousness and awareness, then, do not and cannot depend on something as impermanent as a body and a brain. Awareness is indestructible, uninterruptable, permanent, and eternal and yet it is no-thing, nothing. We cannot measure it with any known device. It is a complete mystery. We don’t know how it works and yet it is an undeniable fact that if you ask anybody currently alive and awake on the planet if they are alive, conscious, and aware of themselves as being alive, every one of them will say yes. This blatant fact is denied, ignored, and dismissed by some of the most intelligent people on the planet and yet it is never denied by all the greatest spiritual teachers, avatars, and enlightened masters current or past. This is strange, don’t you think? Considering that some of the most intelligent people on the planet have also sometimes been brutal killers, disastrous dictators, and the creators of the worst weapons of mass destruction and enlightened masters have not been such people. Who would you rather believe? Of course, this is your choice. As for myself I have more faith in those who are in touch with love, that makes more sense to me but that is another amazing thing about human beings, that they can put their ultimate faith in people who have no heart whatsoever.
On a more encouraging note, thirty to fifty percent of all scientists now believe that this experience we have been calling real life is actually a virtual reality experience. Scientists have recently given up space and time as reliable ways to measure the universe. While this may sound shocking, perhaps horrifying to you, I believe this is actually progress. We are beginning to lose our death grip on what we think is real and not real. This frees up our minds to consider things that before we could simply not admit. Maybe nothing is real in the way we thought it was. Maybe things and objects are not what is important after all. Maybe what is actually truly important is something indescribable and undefinable called consciousness, awareness, presence. Maybe these phenomena (if we could call them that) are not divisible, not two as the ancient Taoists used to refer to them because saying one implies more or less than one. Maybe the one thing that we all share as human beings is our awareness and that is not divisible. If it is not divisible, then we are all not two after all and maybe Spirit, Source, Creator is in our awareness and we are all actually just expressions of that Source many call God. If we are not two then when we look around and see two, and see objects and things, then perhaps this is not actually the truth after all. When we see the world as two or more then we are reinforcing a pretend world and our hypnosis deepens. When we see everything as not two, we are remembering what is truth and that brings it forth in a way that we can rejoice about and our hypnosis dissolves and we awake. Could this account for the Pulitzer prize winning film critic Roger Ebert’s surprising final conversation with his wife on his deathbed in 2013? In the words of his wife: “But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: ‘This is all an elaborate hoax.’ I asked him, “What’s a hoax?” And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.” Hmmmm!
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