The meaning of consciousness is slippery and much debated. Some researchers have gone so far as combining living parts of rats with electronics in the hope of isolating consciousness. Many scientists still believe that consciousness is the result of brain activity, a position that seems untenable in light of current research which demonstrates that consciousness is not only fully operational when the brain is no longer functioning, but operates immeasurably better without the brain.
You do not have consciousness, you are consciousness. The consciousness of every living being is unique, possessing its own psychological and spiritual characteristics, its own patterns of thought and expression, its own strengths, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, its own life aims and world perspective. To me, the simplest definition might be sentient energy that tends to form constellations of identity. These constellations of identity have centers of greater density as well as strands that reach out across the universe, intertwining with the strands of others. No part of consciousness is ever stationary but is in ceaseless motion, change and growth. When aspects of consciousness are focused in the material world, they create matter. At the physical level, human consciousness of the self includes imprints or directives that form the overall body. This general body consciousness works in cooperation with cellular consciousness from which cells are formed, for example, and they group together to form a consciousness that will be a specific organ. Each identity, the body, the cell and the organ is a unique and separate consciousness in continual interaction with all the others. Each is more than the sum of its parts. The consciousness of any entity, no matter what the species, separates from its body consciousness in sleep, hibernation, coma, out of body episodes and death. Disembodied consciousness observes rules that are different from those observed while corporeal, yet always preserves its identity. The consciousness of all creatures on this planet, humans in particular, seeks constant expansion. It also seeks to fulfill its nature.
At least, that’s the way it looks to me now. This is a cold, logically organized, horribly blunted explanation of an extraordinary, complex, living phenomenon. I could describe it in more personal terms, for example, that to me pure consciousness seems wet, full and pregnant with potential, like spring air before a rain. It impresses me visually sometimes as an aggregate of extremely minuscule bubble-like particles, somewhat like organic molecules, which keep changing shape. In deep dream states, I have visualized it as a kaleidoscope of geometric patterns and waves. Other people have described it as composed of minute crystals. Sometimes, it seems to be everywhere, like an atmosphere that is at once inside and outside myself, with denser currents moving through it or amassing in certain areas. It also sometimes has colors. Since consciousness exists independently of a spacetime matrix, I wonder what these impressions are based on. For lack of words and comprehension, I still cannot explain what it is other than to say it is the sentient substance out of which all things visible and invisible are created. In the centuries to come, we may have a hundred words for consciousness that delineate varieties as yet unknown. I have no doubt that our present conceptions about consciousness and the nature of reality, no matter how progressive, will be regarded in the future as quaint, if not downright laughable.
Just as a cooperative of cellular consciousnesses composes organ consciousness, the consciousness of any given organ orchestrates cellular consciousness to create itself. It’s a two way street, or perhaps better said, an agreement. Similarly, discrete consciousnesses that make up individual selves compose larger identities in dimensions outside the physical. Mystics have called these superhuman identities the oversoul, a mighty entity indeed. It too organizes individual consciousnesses, even giving birth to them. The oversoul is then your parent consciousness in a way. And it too is more than the sum of its parts. We are not lost in this massive super entity, nor are we diminished by it. I know too little about the oversoul but one thing is clear to me: it is an inconceivably vast resource of knowledge, inspiration and energy. If we were only more practiced in accessing it! Learning about the afterlife will help us do that.
To further this discussion, I’ve added a video of two major players in the field of consciousness research, one, Deepak Chopra, and the other, the materialist scientist Leonard Mladinow. The two of them battle over their opposing views.
I look forward to hearing your comments!