If Pim van Lommel is correct (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOeLJCdHojU) that consciousness is non-local (ie. exists outside time and space) and he is not the only one who is providing evidence that this is the case, then it has some interesting implications for how we learn and become wiser. Pim van Lommel describes the brain itself as a transceiver or interface to consciousness rather than a generator of consciousness.
As one of Chrissy Philp’s students, I learnt to distinguish between my personality and my “owner”; my “owner” being the part of consciousness that could stand back from identifying with my personality and see it more objectively. I have tended to think of this “owner” as being like a parent for the personality; it’s role being to understand, take responsibility for and get the best from our childlike personality. Ram Dass, from a spiritual perspective, talks about how we become identified with our “space suit” in each incarnation and that part of the goal of enlightenment is to be able to separate our identity from our spacesuit so that we can be both “in the world but not of it”. He describes consciousness as the “witness” and this is common in many spiritual writers such as Ouspensky and Rudolf Steiner. It is also common in most religions where meditation attempts to still the mind and allow us to step back from the “mind chatter” of our personality in order to connect with the pure consciousness of being. There are also interesting implications for astrology. Is the personal horoscope describing the shape of our transceiver or the nature of our connection to consciousness? Perhaps it is both. And what of mundane astrology, is this describing the nature of consciousness more generally – the whole frame? Or is it describing the framework or field on which consciousness plays out? Perhaps, again it is both.
I have long considered that consciousness is separate from the body because of the realisation that consciousness does not age, most people describe the fact that they feel no older despite the years passing and it occurred to me that this was because consciousness itself lies outside the aging process; it is eternal. Thus our consciousness is no different at seventy than it is at seven. If our brains are transceivers (and perhaps given recent evidence our whole bodies) then what does this mean for our development? What I learnt from Chrissy was the importance of keeping my heart and my mind open. The heart and the mind are, as I have discovered, almost the same thing. What I mean by that is that they influence each other so symbiotically that it is almost impossible to separate them; when our heart is closed to someone our mind tends to close towards them and when our mind is closed our heart tends to close down too. To test this, imagine the person you find most difficult to deal with coming down a path towards you, there is no way to escape and you are going to have to interact. Now notice your thoughts, how long would the conversation be, what chance is there that it would be open and fruitful? Now imagine someone you really love coming down the path towards you and notice the difference in your thinking and assumptions.
So why is keeping the heart and mind open so important. Given Pim van Lommel’s conclusions, keeping the heart and mind open is critical because it keeps our connection to consciousness as pure as possible. When our heart and mind close down it is like interference on a radio station. This echoes Timothy Galwey’s concept in the Inner Game where he describes the fact that the role of helping or coaching others is to reduce interference (which is internal not external). Galwey describes our ability to use our talents as a function of our potential minus interferences. Our role he posits is not to work on potential but to clear away interferences. This also fits with Don Juan’s idea in the Carlos Castaneda books, where he talks about the tonal and the nagual. The tonal is everything that exists and is knowable in the material world and the nagual is the creative agent that works through the tonal. Again, he sees the role of wisdom as being the cleaning of our tonal, in order that we are a perfect receptacle for the nagual. Pim van Lommel states that the those who have had a near death experience (NDE) are more trusting of their intuition and operate from closer to a position of unconditional love. This seems to fit with the idea of an open heart and mind. One of my lessons as a student of Chrissy’s was that the intuition cannot be trusted if our heart is not open, that if it is closed our intuition gives us faulty data.
All this brings me to the I-Ching and taoism. The Tao-Te-Ching states that “the great man does nothing and yet nothing remains undone” which fits with the notion that the role of the brain is not to generate or lead but rather to be an open receptacle for consciousness which has its own purpose. The I-Ching itself in Work On What Has Been Spoiled (Hexagram 18) talks about our role being to clear up that which has been spoiled or gone wrong – to clean our connection, ie. to open our hearts and minds back up again so that our connection to consciousness is purified again. The I-Ching also states that “all men are one in their hearts” – that there is only one heart. If our minds or hearts are closed by interference then all we hear is a fuzzy static rather than beautiful music. In this context the black holes that we experience are the signs of where there is interference in our connection and also perhaps where new channels can be discovered, that is new areas of consciousness can be opened up to allow us to evolve. Armageddon has long been feared as the end of the world, but perhaps, like all good black holes, it is the catalyst for evolution and new understanding. Certainly in our individual lives experiences that feel like Armageddon are ones we look back on as having been key periods of learning or experience in our personal growth. Looking up the origin of the word Armageddon, it is believed to relate to the mountain of Giddon, yet the mountain here is a tel, a jewish word for a man-made mound where each civilization built on the previous ones until a hill or mound was formed. In the same way, the Armageddon prophesied by Revelation and feared by many in the shape of ecological destruction, nuclear war etc. may be no more than the transition to a new understanding or level of civilisation – a new city built on the old one. This new understanding of consciousness may be just such a moment in our evolution as a human race, particularly as we are moving from the age of Pisces-Virgo, to Aquarius-Leo. Surely separating the brain from the mind, or consciousness from the individual must be symbolised by the Aquarius-Leo axis?