What Is Consciousness?
What Is At The Center Of Reality?
What is consciousness? How are we having this experience that we appear to be having?
What is the fabric of the universe? What is the fundamental building block of creation? For centuries, philosophers, scientists, kings, and influential folk have sought to determine the answer to this question. Dating back to ancient Greece, there have been theories of a fundamental form such as an atom that is at the basis of reality. Indeed, Democritus and Leucippus were two ancient Greek philosophers, predating Socrates, who theorized accurately about the existence of atomic particles.
In classic philosophy, the idea of “The Monad” has been thrown around for thousands of years. What is a “Monad”? Essentially, it is the fundamental and absolute foundation of reality… The Monad is basically the divine origin of all that we experience. The idea of a Monad was conceived and developed in part by the Pythagorean sect of ancient Greek philosophy (the same followers of Pythagoras, the founder of modern day math). In later philosophy, the idea of a Monad was further developed and embraced by Leibniz, one of the creators of calculus and a contributor to modern philosophy.
The idea of a Monad further speculates on the original state of the universe. Essentially, trying to answer the question of “What is the fundamental building block of reality?” Research and philosophical work around an atomic or sub-atomic structure (such as in modern day quantum physics) generally takes a more scientific and rationalist approach to the question whereas theorizing around a Monad generally takes the approach of believing in some sort of divine force that is at the center of reality. However, that being said, those who speculate around a Monad are oftentimes quite rational and tend to approach the question from a basis of scientific thinking. Obviously, this is an oversimplification of a work that has spanned thousands of years of complex philosophical and scientific study.
Let’s explore this topic in detail and see what can be discovered!
Here’s an episode of the Beyond Homo Sapien Podcast where I explain this theory in some detail:
Thought As The Fundamental Building Block:
It is my contention that thought is the fundamental building block.
When we examine and explore how our world is created, it is important to take both a philosophical (or even spiritual) perspective and combine with the rational and “scientific” thinking that is being developed and understand. When combined, the multitude of different fields will illuminate the truth. When considering how religion, esoteric teachings, and science overlap, it is important to remember that for thousands of years the various fields were indistinguishable. It has only been a creation of the previous centuries that the fields have been separated. For instance, in ancient Greece, all thinkers around math, astronomy, religion, esoteric teachings, and more were called “philosophers”. Modern day science was called “natural philosophy”. As these various fields of thinking developed, they began to branch off into their own fields. In today’s world, the idea that religious beliefs could influence scientific thinking is discouraged by thinkers on both ends of the spectrum (for the most part). However, throughout history, true genius seems to emerge when folks combine the various fields into one.
Isaac Newton is a prime example. Did you know that Newton spent the majority of his time studying alchemy, astrology, and other “occult” practices? He is only one example. In fact, many great thinkers throughout history who have shaped the course of history have been intense disciples of spiritual and esoteric practices such as alchemy, channeling, psychedelic studies, and more. In their minds, these concepts are not separate but instead feed one another with inspiration and increased enlightenment.
When considering the fabric of reality, it seems unwise to discard millennia of spiritual teachings and esoteric practices that could provide “clues” to our answer when combined with modern day “rational” scientific study.
Following this train of thought, if we study Hindu beliefs, we learn that Hindus believe that the universe is “consciousness vibrating”… It is a mistake to think that Hindus believe in a pantheon of many gods. Actually, Hindus believe in one god… One source… One divine being. This being manifests itself into infinite forms. One aspect of “god” is you, another is me, another is the keyboard I’m using to type these ideas, another is Shiva, another is Vishnu, etc.
Hindus believe that the universe is generated by the aspect of god known as “Shiva”. They believe that Shiva is constantly changing “Om” to generate the universe into reality. Essentially, Shiva is what’s keeping the video game running by his constant divine chant. This is “how” the consciousness of the universe continues to vibrate.
When we learn about these spiritual teachings, we have two options: we can discard them as some “weird belief” or we can say “maybe this system of belief that has existed for thousands of years is hiding some basis of truth?”
Personally, I believe religious doctrines are discarded because they are taken too literally. These ideas make a bit more sense when we ask “What ideas and hidden secrets could be behind this belief system?”
If we examine the “common denominators” of all these esoteric teachings and spiritual practices, we identify thought and consciousness at the core. Everywhere from Christianity to Hinduism and all occult practices in between, we are continually introduced to this idea of the power of the mind, the creative ability of belief, the power of our thoughts, and more.
Could it be that all reality is formed by thought? That everything at its core is composed of an original thought?
“The Universe Is Consciousness Vibrating”
What does it mean for consciousness to be vibrating?
That sounds like a bunch of hippy woowoo buzzwords thrown together. However, in our modern world, scientists at the forefront of quantum theory are struggling to identify the answer to the question of “what is consciousness?” As we make advances in Artificial Intelligence, and other new technology, we begin to ask ourselves questions about when these advanced machines will become “conscious”… You see, if we closely examine the nature of our experience, we grow all the more confusing. In other words, what is actually going on here? How is it possible that I am typing these words? WHO is typing these words? As understanding of anatomy and human physiology advances, we understand that many of our decisions are controlled by the bacteria in our gut and the various substances we consume. Is this blog being typed by those microscopic bacteria? Who am I? Who are you? WHY is this all possible?
As our understanding of the brain develops, we grow all the more confused. Essentially, our brains are a connection of transmitters that radiate throughout our body to drive how we perceive and operate in this ever more confusing world. In his book Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari expresses this conundrum and why it is so confusing to modern science:
“When thousands of cars slowly edge their way through London, we call that a traffic jam, but it doesn’t create some great Londonian consciousness that hovers high above Piccadilly and says to itself ‘Blimey, I feel jammed!’ When millions of people sell billions of shares, we call that an economic crisis, but no great Wall Street spirit grumbles, ‘Shit, I feel I am in crisis.’ When trillions of water molecules coalesce in the sky we call that a cloud, but no cloud consciousness emerges to announce, ‘I feel rainy.’ How is it , then, that when billions of electric signals move around in my brain, a mind emerges that feels ‘I am furious!’? As of 2016, we have absolutely no idea”
(Yuval Noah Hararis, Homo Deus, Pg. 110-111)
The past two years have only been more confusing with no real answer emerging to this question.
If purely rational scientific thinking struggles to explain the origin and reason for consciousness and the human experience, perhaps it is logical and recommendable to copy Isaac Newton, Pythagorus, and other great thinkers as we turn towards a more spiritual explanation for the basis of reality.
What if there are some clues?
Here’s the challenge: obviously religion and spirituality in general are pervaded with mis-translations, misunderstandings, biases, crazy teachers, and a whole lot of quackery.
In order to find some semblance of truth, we should study a wide spectrum of religious or spiritual beliefs and ask ourselves “what is at the foundation?”
From my own foray down these spiritual rabbit holes, here is what I have found: consciousness IS somehow the fundamental building block. There seems to be no other explanation.
In other words, the very fact that we are alive and having this experience IS the “monad” and the very basis of reality itself. If we were not here to have this experience, there would be no experience to have. As a combined and collective whole, we are the “great being” that is generating this reality.
Essentially, we are collectively Shiva chanting “Om” to keep the whole video game going.
If we were to stop, the video game would get unplugged and there would be nothing to see.
We Are A Great Mind:
What I’m trying to express makes the most sense if I use some examples or parables. Personally, I think there is a reason Jesus and other spiritual teachers use parables and stories to explain their points: sometimes that’s the only way that things make sense!
Let’s use the example of Jeff Bezos founding Amazon.
In the year 2018, Amazon is a corporation that runs most of the “developed” world. In Europe, North America, and many other places around the globe, it is possible to receive just about anything via Amazon within a handful of days… Whether that be a book, a bookshelf, or hammer and nails to assemble the bookshelf. In many cities, a person can even have food delivered over Amazon.
However, all of that was made possible by a complex series of thoughts that had to emerge in the minds of many people before it was made possible.
For example, in order for Jeff Bezos to create the idea for Amazon, he had to first imagine (in his own personal mind) the general framework of the plan. This involved a complex equation that he personally began to sort out in his mind before ever taking action and bringing this idea to fruition.
Creating Amazon involved some of the following and much more:
- Examining a need in the “market” that Jeff and his team could solve.
- Evaluating the power of this new technology called “the internet” and how it might help solve this problem.
- Identifying “things” that could be “sold” over “the internet”.
- Choosing Books as a potential item that could be sold.
- Discussing with “like-minded” individuals about holes in the plan, ideas to improve, and refining the concept.
- Assessing the shipping system in the USA to assist in sending Books all over the country and, later, the world.
- Jeff conducting an extremely personal journey of overcoming limiting beliefs such as “I’m not good enough to do this”, “this won’t work”, “I am not made like those who succeed”, and many more which had to be overcome before this idea could ever be actioned. In other words, Jeff had to establish a certain degree of self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth to even be able to begin actioning this plan.
- A risk/reward evaluation of going forth with this idea despite potential failure. If you read Jeff Bezos’ biography, you learn that founding Amazon was his answer to the question “what would I regret never doing when I’m on my deathbed?”… In other words, Jeff had to come to terms with his own mortality to begin actioning this plan. Again, a personal and spiritual journey of self reflection and the human condition.
- Discussing with his mate (his wife Mckenzie) the whole concept, plan, and execution. Thankfully, she was “like-minded”. However, for many humans, it is difficult to speak with our sexual partner about such a risk because we are tapping into extremely primal and evolved systems of survival, risk/reward, and questions such as “will I be able to provide for the family?”… “Will this venture be enough to prevent my sexual partner from leaving me for a ‘stronger and more capable male’?”
Many of these thoughts and beliefs were formed at the subconscious level. Nevertheless, they were questions which needed to be answered either consciously or unconsciously. All of the above and much more had to happen in the minds of Jeff Bezos and the others who supported him in the early days of Amazon. At this point, Amazon is still just a thought in the minds of these individuals. However, as these questions are answered, this thought begins to take form.
What is conscious evolution? Higher consciousness is the idea that the human experience will begin to shift as we collectively increase in our awareness and personal development. We begin to shift into a higher collective experience because we are beginning to recognize and utilize our abilities as creative forces here on earth.
Conscious evolution is the idea that it is possible to have a more enlightened and “awakened” experience here on earth. For example, a person who has been able to shift their emotional states to a point where they no longer experience fear has effectively achieved a “higher consciousness” and exists in a new state of reality. Their reality has shifted to support their new internal states.
If we believe that we exist in an infinite living mind, the idea of conscious evolution has much to do with our expanding experience. How is this the case? Well, let’s say that hypothetically there are 100 people living on an island. As these people collectively begin to align their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs more with love, courage, and optimism, the “universal consciousness” of that 100-person island will shift. The 100 people will collectively have a better experience because the collective whole has achieved a state of higher consciousness.
These ideas of a “higher consciousness” make more sense when we consider ourselves living in a universal and collective mind. In the same way that a person’s individual situation improves when they shift from being afraid to being courageous, the collective consciousness will shift into a higher state of being when we collectively rid ourselves of beliefs, thoughts, and “vibrations” that are not serving of where we want to go.
Conscious evolution is a confusing topic with a lot of “fake gurus” peddling confusing answers.
On this episode of the Beyond Homo Sapien Podcast, I talk to Lucas Heisserer about conscious evolution and we get to the bottom of how this might actually work in the “real world”.
If we consider that we do in fact exist in a sort of infinite living mind, this could dispel much of the confusion around the topic of spirituality in general.
For example, is god real? Honestly, in the modern “spiritual awakening” crowd, “the universe” is often used as the new name for god. Even if the user of this phrase does not actually mean for “the universe” to replace the word “god”, this often seems to be the case.
Growing up in the Christian fundamentalist church, I’m quite familiar with the type of vocabulary used in those circles… The types of quotes and explanations that are used to describe complex situations and scenarios:
“God has got your back”
“God is watching out for you”
“Trust in God and he will provide”
“You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength”
etc. etc. etc.
I cannot tell you how many times i’ve seen almost those exact phrases but replaced with “the universe” instead of “God”.
For example, the Instagram page “Healing Energy Tools” provides a daily update on what “the universe” would have you do… Take this example from their “October 10th, 2018” post:
“The universe is saying to you today: Look within and find what warms your heart and allow it to lead you towards joy, accomplishment and happiness. You have within you the power to choose and create the kind of life that you wish to experience”
What the hell is actually being expressed here??
Please do not mistake what I’m saying: I certainly agree with the overall theme of this message.
You do indeed have the power to choose and create the kind of life you wish to experience.
However, the reason for that is not because “the universe” authorizes or approves you to do so… Thinking and reasoning along these lines is how we will create new explanations that continue to not make any sense, not persuade anyone at the collective level, and not make any real impact on the world.
For these ideas of universal consciousness to have impact, they have to make sense.