I’ve been selected as Author of the Month for June 2019, on Graham Hancock’s website. The administrator asked me to contribute a 2,000-word essay. I could have extracted something directly from “I, Universe,” but decided to write something new instead. You can read it here: Rediscovering Magic Through Science.
A few days ago, I was the guest on episode 227 of the Trans Resister Radio podcast. The host, Aaron Franz, and I chatted for a hour on all kinds of esoteric topics: religion, death, non-duality, the meaning of life, paranormal phenomena, and more. You can access the show at the link below (available as an MP3 download or through services like iTunes, Spotify, and others). Enjoy!
As always, I ,Universe is available from online bookstores everywhere, including…
I’m inclined to think there’s something more than wishful thinking to the notion of dream interpretation. I’ve had a few bizarre ones in my day, and upon waking, I’ve been able to see direct synchronicities with things in my life. One such dream was about me cooking a dog (alive) in the oven, followed by me about to be caught in the act by my mother. The factor that ties this dream to reality is not the specific details, but the themes of guilt and shame – specifically something I was dealing with at the time of the dream. Isn’t it strange that our subconscious presents these challenges to us encapsulated in such bizarre symbolism? I certainly hadn’t been cooking a dog!
Last night I had a dream that involved something so weird that, immediately upon waking, I had the urge to commit the details to memory. First, I’m dreaming that I’m having an enjoyable bike-ride in the countryside with a woman (someone from real life that I happen to like a lot). My bike has no handlebars, so I can’t brake (probably a reference to my bike in real life that is in need of a little maintenance, including new brake-blocks). I almost fall off a few times as I encounter the corners at speed. My bike actually takes air at one point, but the laws of physics are a little funky and I manage to land safely and stay on course. This part of the dream finishes with one bend in the road that is a little too sharp, and I go spinning through the air doing multiple summersaults. I don’t recall an impact. Now, here’s the weird bit coming up: suddenly I’m at my house, standing alone, entering through the front door. As I close the door behind me, I notice three butterflies on the doorframe, near the top, sitting still, close together.
Now, I’m not going to jump to any wild prophetic conclusions. But it just strikes me as totally weird that my subconscious should insert something as out-of-place as butterflies inside the house. I’m not a nature-lover and I never think about butterflies. And here are some very specific details: there are three. They are not flying but resting together in a huddle on the inside of my doorframe – doing something I’ve never seen butterflies do; they’re not pack animals, after all.
I looked up some dream interpretation dictionaries online, but it’s hard to know when you’re being taken for a ride by these things.
The book Secrets of Dreams by Caro Ness mentions that butterflies can be seen as “symbols of transformation”, or as “accurate and startling affirmations of rebirth into a newer, brighter, and more illuminating existence …”
Interesting. The only thing I can say with confidence is that to dream of butterflies appears to be a very positive thing. Got to be better than oven-baked canine!
The intellectual and spiritual journey I’ve been on for the past year has been powerful and life-changing. It shows no sign of fading. In fact, the whole picture has gotten clearer and clearer as time has progressed.
I’m really glad I blogged about it all, because I now have a permanent record of what is probably the most important transition of my life. For a while, I’ve been considering turning the past year’s blog entries into a physical book, but I think I need to start afresh and introduce the insights from a more effective angle than the haphazard way that they occurred to me at the time.
I put an outline together today, penned an introduction and the first chapter, totaling some 3,000 words. I’m really happy with the results so far.
I’m not sure how much or how little a book of this kind is going to interest the folks who visit here. I just feel passionately about, so I’m going to do it.
The working title is Reality Check, which is a perfect fit thematically, but is a bit common. I’m sure those words have already been used as titles before now. I’m all ears for an alternative title.
I would like the cover to feature a kitten playing with its reflection in the mirror (i.e. not fully understanding reality), but how I’m going to get a photo of that I’ve no idea.
I want to thank everyone who posted challenging comments to my blog entries over the past year. It’s good to be kept on your toes and also helps me to notice my failure to communicate at times.
The journey is, of course, not over, and probably never will be. I haven’t reached any sort of ultimate conclusion, and I doubt there’s a point where I will say, “I understand it all now. Job done.” So, when is a good time to write a book about the nature of reality? Might as well be now.
Some people think of eternity as a line with no beginning and no end. In church, I’ve heard preachers say things like “Way back in eternity past …” It’s as if God were on his own forever until he decided to make the universe. Likewise, we are led to believe that we, as individuals, had a beginning but will not have an end – that we will simply go on collecting experiences forever, both on earth and in heaven. But I think we misunderstand the nature of eternity. It is not a line with no end. We’ve misunderstood the whole nature of time itself. Infinite Consciousness (my preferred term for what you might think of as God) does not experience time in the way that we (that is, our individual egos) do because it knows the end from the beginning. There is no value for Infinite Consciousness in travelling along a never-ending line where it always knows what’s coming.
Infinite Consciousness exists in eternity, which is not a never-ending time-line; it’s a realm of no-time or all-time – a realm where free will, deductive thinking, and decision making do not exist, because all is known, all is complete. Time as we understand it is merely a construct. Infinite Consciousness created time as a means of fragmenting itself, of experiencing incompleteness, for reasons known only to itself. The consciousness within me is Infinite Consciousness. The consciousness within you is Infinite Consciousness. We are the same being. We have simply been placed into an arena where we cannot access the full awareness of what we are. Just beyond my subconscious mind is Infinite Consciousness holding me here – holding itself here. Likewise, just beyond your unconscious mind is Infinite Consciousness holding you here. We are one and the same being; we have simply been forced into a state of amnesia, because that amnesia is the only way to experience what it’s like for there to be something other than you. To be human is to leave eternity and enter time – to deliberately forget what you are and undergo a period of learning filled with thrills and spills, joys and sorrows.
I experienced a sudden moment of clarity recently. It came like a bolt from the blue when I was out cycling one evening, travelling along a route that I had cycled since boyhood. I was reminiscing about what it had felt to be here doing this when I was a teenager, playfully imagining I could ride through a time-warp and suddenly be that person again, re-living those memorable school days. And it suddenly hit me: “There is no time. You are not moving forward through time. You are Infinite Consciousness, and there is only this one eternal moment – the NOW. Time is an illusion that is playing through you. You are standing still. There is only NOW.” I had read these ideas before, but never understood them until this strange moment when the pieces of the jigsaw clicked. I suddenly got a new perspective on the question “What happens to my soul when I die?” Or as Christians would say: “Where will you spend eternity?” I’m not heading for anywhere, heaven or hell. I’m standing still. The events of time move towards me and play through me, and it’s all a construct. It’s like time is a DVD and you’re the laser reading it, standing still in the now while the movie plays through you. If I could tear the veil of time away, the full knowledge of what I am would flood my consciousness – and time would disappear. When I had this moment of clarity, I just started to laugh joyously (good job I was alone). It was a wonderful moment of intuition that added another layer of clarity to the intuitive journey I’ve been on for the past year.
I have heard the analogy that we are like droplets of water and collectively we make up the ocean. It’s a limited analogy, because we’re still inclined to identify ourselves with the droplet (the ego) and not the ocean. The truth is you are the ocean. Yes, little you. You are Infinite Consciousness. The awareness inside you is the awareness of God, if you like. The only reason you don’t already know that is because the experience of human individuality makes you forget it. It’s the only way the human experience can work. If you suddenly awoke to your true magnitude, you couldn’t function here in this place as an individual. Here at this human level we are individuals. We may still be individuals are a higher level. But at the highest level, you and I are the the same being. In simple terms, imagine two people dying at the same time, suddenly realising they are the same person with two sets of memories (the truth is likely more complex than that, but I hope you get the idea). We are only lulled into thinking that we are separate by “ego.”
Some people who embrace this kind of thinking seem to favour the idea of reincarnation. Now, reincarnation might be true on one level, but at the same time, it’s just another part of the time construct, and we have to get beyond that. Even if my indivudal “soul” has lived a hundred lives before now, on a higher level of awareness, my soul and your soul are the same person. Reincarnation strikes me as just another way to perpetuate the human ego into “eternity to come,” when the whole point is the realisation that ego is a construct, and the future is a construct. There is only ONE existing in the NOW.
The whole universe is an expression of Infinite Consciousness undergoing an experience of separation. And humans are only a small part of that. The three-dimensional physical nature of the universe is nothing more than a holographic projection which allows human and animal life to interact via five senses. In its fundamental essence, way beyond the atomic level, it is pure energy. And all of it is a projection of Infinite Consciousness.
Well, that’s what I think. Crazy as it may sound to some ears, this is the view of life that resonates most clearly to me. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest that I can’t stand in line with a whole bunch of people and call myself a Christian or an atheist or whatever. The world is full of people patting each other’s backs and assuring each other that they’re on the right track. There is a massive section of the population that believes strongly in something that is in direct opposition to the strong beliefs of another massive section of the population, and only one of them can be right. Or maybe neither! The sheer scale of each opposing herd leads me to put no faith whatsoever in the herd mentality. The truth is not found in following the archetypal belief systems of those around us.
Have you ever noticed how someone can say “I’m an atheist,” or “I’m a Christian,” and no one will laugh. But if you should say, “I am Infinite Consciousness. I am everything that ever was, is, and will be,” the person you are talking to might think you are mentally ill. This is how much we are infected with the herd mentality. It doesn’t matter if one herd says something in complete contradiction to another herd. As long as it’s a herd, we give it respect. But when someone stands up and says something different, the ridicule begins (David Icke, circa 1991, anyone?).
We refer to ourselves as “human beings,” but it might be more accurate to call ourselves “human becomings.” None of us are existing in a state of being. The experience of life in a body is the experience of continual change as we move through time. There is only one that possesses being outside of time: Infinite Consciousness. I intuitively believe that this Infinite Consciousness is the awareness inside every one of us. The experience of being propelled through time is just an illusion, born out of our disconnection from the full awareness of the vast being that we collectively are.
Most people identify who they are with their physical selves. This is evidenced by how obsessed we are with our bodies. It’s all well and good to take an interest in your appearance, on the grounds that your appearance is what you use to interact with the world around you. But few would deny that the pursuit of beauty has reached epidemic proportions. “Buy this new wondercream to hide those wrinkles!” screams the latest TV advertisement. Young people are constantly bombarded with impossible standards of beauty from the media and are urged to think, “This is what you must be or you are not good enough.” Middle-aged people are encouraged to mask what they are becoming by this gel, that needle, or the other operation. It’s as if the entirety of your personal worth hinges on what you look like.
You can buy into the hypnotic trance sold to you by the media and society, or you can think your way out of it by asking one simple question: “What am I?” First of all, you are not your body. Your body is a machine. It may not be made of metal, but it works on exactly the same principles. Grab any human biology textbook, look at the diagrams, and tell me that’s not a machine. Our bodies are made up of thousands of parts, each one unique in appearance and function, each one serving the whole machine, allowing you to walk, run, dance, talk, whisper, shout, look, listen, smell, pick your nose, and so on. The body is a biological machine. You feel this machine is you, because you are so intimately aware of it and connected to it. If someone kisses you or slaps you on the face, you feel this, not only on your face, but in your emotions. This way, we are lulled into thinking, “My body is me.”
The body is 70% water. Are you, then, 70%, water? If you fill the bathtub with several litres of water, would you say that you’re two thirds of the way to creating a human being? Let’s take it further. In the centre of your chest is a heart that pumps blood around your body. If your heart failed, and you received a heart transplant, are you any less you for having an organ from another person working in your body? No, you still exist. It’s no different from replacing a faulty component in a car engine. If you lose your your legs in a car accident and are in a wheelchair for the rest of your life, you still exist. In fact, a whole lot worse could happen, and you would still be here. Because the body is not you. It is the vehicle you are using to intereact with the physical world.
So, what am I? You know what I’m getting at by now. I am the awareness looking out from behind these eyes. I am the consciousness that is able to say, “I am me.” It seems so obvious to me now, and yet I’ve lived with the false understanding all my life that I am my body. “Body consciousness” seems to be the prevalent way of thinking in the world, because few people question the reality that is handed to them on a platter by the conditioning of human experience.
Okay, so I’ve identified myself as my consciousness. But what is consciousness? Is consciousness the brain? Am I still just a biological machine with the central part of me being my “grey matter”? Is self-awareness nothing more an electrical activity flowing through neurons? The atheist says, “That’s exactly how it is.” The spiritualist says, “No, we have a soul.”
To answer this dilemma, I would use the analogy of comparing the brain to the processor of a computer. Just like a brain, a computer can think. You can program a computer to perform a task, feed it data, and it will work its way through the task and produce results for you at the end. In fact, a computer can think much faster and more reliably than a human brain. It’s like a superbrain. Imagine yourself playing chess against a computer. The game is quite real, because your opponent’s thoughts are quite real. And let’s face it, unless you’re very good at chess, the computer is going to win. But here’s the thing: even though you’re playing chess with a computer, would you ever say that your computer is self-aware? Can your computer use its own volition to say to itself, “I am conscious”? No. It isn’t conscious. And this points to a very important truth that is sadly overlooked by science. Thinking and consciousness are not the same thing. (I’ve heard people use different words for these concepts, and there doesn’t seem to be any consenus. I’ve heard someone refer to “mind” and “consciousness” as the same thing, and referring to the other as “pure awareness.” For my purposes, if I refer to “mind,” I’m referring purely to physical brain-based thought. When I say “consciousness,” I’m referring to self-awareness.)
There’s no doubt that thinking is brain-based. After all, chemical substances affect how you think. Different animals, with different sizes of brains, have different levels of intelligence. People with brain damage have problems thinking correctly. All this makes the atheist rub his hands with glee and claim, “Look. You’re nothing more than a brain. Here’s the proof.” But this is only true if mind and consciousness are identified as one and the same. And the computer analogy shows they are not. Atheists don’t seem to realise that they are essentially reducing themselves to the level of robots. Robots are a facsimile of consciousness, incapable of self-awareness; we’re the real thing.
An important question to ask at this point is: “If consciousness is something that trancends brain-based thought, then does it die when the body dies?” It’s impossible to answer this question on purely rational, empirical grounds. If I say I have an immortal soul, something that transcends physical life and drifts off to who knows where after death, then how exactly do you measure and quantify that and say “Look, here is consciousness” using the science of the physical plane you’re claiming to transcend? Bit of a predicament, eh? If you’re of the strict mindset that dismisses everything outside of empirical investigation as untrue, then this is the point where some of what I say from here on will read like nonsense. You’ve decided never to believe in something you can’t grasp, even though there may be such a thing as the ungraspable. But as I see it, absense of proof does not necessarily mean proof of absense.
People commonly believe in one of two archetypes: you either have an immortal soul or you don’t. But the trouble with archetypes is that they are merely hand-me-down ideas that slip into your thinking without you realising it. I think the truth is far more amazing than the idea that the human race is a collection of disembodied souls floating around in some other realm. In choosing what to believe about the nature of consciousness, my own intuition is my guide, with rationality as its close cousin, providing clues and helping me avoid self-delusion.
When I was a Christian, I had the rather primitive understanding that when I die, my personality floats off into the ether to meet God. But if I identify my consciousness with my personality, I make another mistake. Personality is purely brain-based and this is easily provable. For instance, the personalities of teenagers are dictated by chemical changes in their bodies as they go through puberty. Alternatively, when a teenager drinks a can of Red Bull, you can watch a rapid change of personality unfold – at least temporarily. There are clear differences in the way that men differ from women in how they think, feel and act, and these differences are purely bio-chemical. Furthermore, imagine yourself shipwrecked on a desert island, completely alone. What happens to your personality when there is no one to interact with? It cannot be expressed, so it ceases to be. Yet you don’t cease to exist. I happen to like my personality (others may disagree!), and I feel quite attached to it, but I know it will undergo changes in later years, just as it has undergone changes up till now. Personality is not a constant that equates to consciousness. Science shows that there’s a lot about you that is provably physical in nature, and everything that is physical perishes. A mother who loses her teenage son in an accident will not find that same bubbly, quirky, mischeivous personality waiting for her on the other side, because all those things that made her son the person he was are physical in nature. When you die, say goodbye to your brain and everything you used it for. After death, we’re done with thought and emotion. Do you think you’ll continue to be a man or a woman, psychologically and emotionally, after you shuffle off this mortal coil? Why would you be, when everything that dictated those qualities has turned to dust?
My, doesn’t this cast a new light on our assumptions about what lies beyond death? I am left with the understanding that my awareness trancends physical reality, and yet there’s so much that I think of as me that I’ll be leaving behind. When I die, just what will I be? Because there doesn’t seem to be much left of me to be anything! The horror of this situation is simply a result of identifying who you are with the wrong thing: your personality, your ego, your sense of being a unique individual, different from everyone else around you. “But if I’m not my ego, what’s left?!” you cry. “If all I amount to when I shrug off this body is some bland, unthinking, unfeeling consciousness, then death might as well be oblivion, for all I care.”
Ah, but all is not quite as it seems. There are more pieces to this puzzle. But that’s a story for next time.
The knowledge of what we are is discovered by realising how we’ve been misdirected by our experience. We’ve been conditioned to think, “I am a human being having a spiritual experience,” when the underlying truth of it is “I am a spiritual being having a human experience.”
[A Christian friend recently asked me, “What is it that you believe now?” Tough question to give a short answer to. I could say, “I believe I am everything that exists, experiencing a state of separation from the full magnitude of what I am.” Or I could say, “The universe is holographic in nature, like the Star Trek holodeck or The Matrix.” I’ve tried those kinds of answers and I’ve seen eyebrows raise in an expression of bewilderment that seems to communicate, “How on earth did Darryl go from believing in Christ to this bizarre nonsense?” For what it’s worth, I’m going to try and guide you step by step into my headspace.]
What is the true underlying nature of reality? What is my place in it? Does my life have meaning, or am I a cosmic accident? Are the answers to these questions found in religion, or is science where the real enlightenment lies? Is it even possible to know? What chance do I have of finding out? And where the hell do I even begin?
The first step is a willingness to unlearn what you’ve been taught, or more appropriately, what you’ve been conditioned to believe all your life. With hundreds of belief systems on Earth, the chances of you inheriting the right one, by virtue of geographical placement, are miniscule. If you were born in America, is Christianity true by virtue of the number of people around you who believe in it, or the number of times its ideas are repeated to you? If you were born in Iraq, is Islam true for the same reasons? Look around the world and you will find countless differing religions, each one confident of its superiority over all others, one generation indoctrinating the next. The thing that so few people dare to do is to step outside of the zeitgeist – the spirit of the age. But it’s what you have to do if you want to discover the real truth. No belief should ever be so sacred that we are not permitted to look critically at it and assess its worth.
The zeitgeist is not only religious in nature, but also infiltrates the arena of science. Science is concerned with what is definable and measurable. It’s all about weighing evidence and making rational deductions. When there is no evidence for something, it will not become a scientific fact. That is why science has little or nothing to say about ideas like God, or the soul, or the afterlife. And that’s fair. Those things seem to be outside the scope of measurement. I would guess this is why many scientists are atheists. They have decided that if there is no evidence for something, then they have no business believing in it. But therein lies the trap. Absence of proof is not necessarily proof of absence. And although science prides itself on making no assumptions, the entire discipline hangs on one colossal assumption – that the physical universe is the cornerstone from which we do our thinking. Matter is what matters. But if we’re willing to look closely at the presuppositions that shape our thinking, we might discover that we’ve been making deductions using the wrong set of presuppositions – that we have been unwary victims of the zeitgeist. One of the most important things I figured out was that the proper starting point for rational thought is not observation of the physical universe; first and foremost, it is observation of our own self-awareness, as I will attempt to show.
Having unlearned (or at least temporarily shelved) everything taught or imposed upon me by science and religion, I begin with the knowledge that I am a conscious being. I am self-aware. Let’s not even assume that I am a body. First and foremost, I am self-awareness. It appears that I have eyes with which to see and ears with which to hear. Five senses in total, allowing me to receive information from outside of myself. But already I’m making too many assumptions. Do I really see with my eyes? No. On closer inspection, my eyes receive information, convert it into electrical signals, and pass these to the visual cortex at the back of my brain. I see with my visual cortex, experiencing a bright world of colour and motion inside the absolute darkness of my skull, which no actual light can penetrate. If I pick up a pencil, I feel the pressure of it in my fingers. But I don’t, really. The nerves in my fingers transmit signals back to my brain, and my brain tells me that my fingers are touching something. Meanwhile, my eyes relay signals to my brain, showing me visual information about the object I’m touching. The principle to remember here is that you cannot get beyond your brain in order to prove the existence of the physical world. All the information is second hand.
Perhaps you think it should be taken as a given that the physical universe exists, by virtue of the rich and repetitive nature of our perceptions. But let’s remember that every night in bed we experience a five-sense environment in our dreams. Dreams are so lifelike that we usually believe them to be real for the duration of their experience, yet they have no physical substance. When we are awake and when we are dreaming, it is our consciousness that does the perceiving, not our physical senses. In truth, when we awake, we simply have no way of knowing whether we are connecting to a real physical universe, or merely a longer dream – one whose rules are more concrete, perhaps because it is a dream-world held together by the collective unconscious of the all those who share it. Either paradigm is possible, and neither provable.
We are perceivers and we can never get past our perceptions to discover the actuality of the universe. You can look out of the window and say, “The grass is green.” Are you sure? Did you ever consider that a cat or a lizard might see the grass in a different manner, since the structure of their eyes are quite different from a human’s. What right have I to say, “The universe really is the way I see it,” when I am perceiving the universe through the machinery of my body. Consider the bat, which is almost blind and much more reliant on a form of radar. Or the dog, who experiences an exotic realm of smells that we humans can barely imagine. Bodies are biological machines that perceive the universe in differing ways. The grass is only green when the body-machine interprets the data it receives in a certain manner.
We cannot be certain what the actuality of the universe is; we can only see it through our own particular lens. We can’t even know that the universe is genuinely physical in nature. Consider the analogy of the modern videogame. We can take part in adventures across city-sized maps, with amazingly detailed roads, buildings, and countless nooks and crannies for exploration. We can make our game character turn his head in any direction and watch the real-world laws of geometry playing out in two-dimensional space on the flatness of our television screens, beaming out texture, light and shadow. Once, I had a moment of clarity when I stood on a hillside, gazing down through the trees at a lake and a castle on the opposite side (in a game, that is). It was a picturesque scene, and in the real world it might have made me reach for my camera. And I thought, “No one else has stood on this precise spot and looked down the hill at this exact angle. Not even the game’s creators. The game is just too vast.” It struck me as profound that something so artistic – something that was just for me in this moment – could spring to life from nothing more than a rapid series of mathematical equations being processed inside my computer. In videogames we experience an interactive world of sight, sound and touch – a limited but spectacularly detailed facsimile of the physical world. The big question, then, is this: if we mere mortals are able to create this 3D experience inside a computer, have we any business assuming that our universe is truly 3D in its deepest essence, in its actuality? The three-dimensionality of a videogame is nothing more than binary ones and zeros flowing through electrical circuits, and yet the laws of physics in a game are as solid and dependable as the laws of physics in the real world. A game’s vistas, although not nearly as detailed as the real world, use the same mathematics of geometry, the same understanding of light and shadow. Put simply: the universe is made of mathematics.
Some people simply will not enter into this manner of thinking, because it seems repugnant that the universe should be telling us fibs about itself. But this is exactly what has already happened and continues to happen. Without any knowledge of astronomy and geometry, we started off believing the Earth was flat. Why? Because our experience told us it was flat. The human form is so tiny in relation to the magnitude of the Earth that we have no conscious awareness of moving over a curved surface as we go from place to place. Only when we started getting our heads around geometry, and noticing things like how the stars travel up the sky as we move towards them, could we begin to deduce that we were sitting on a big ball. When a cat sees its reflection in a mirror for the first time, it thinks it is looking at another cat, one that mimics its every move – until it learns to see through the lie. We’ve invented the hologram – images that stand out from their photographic paper screaming, “I have substance!” Yet wave your hand through one and there’s nothing there. The key question is whether you want to trust your experience or try to see the bigger picture.
The universe lies until you figure out the lies. Its purpose is not to tell you its innermost secrets. Its purpose is to provide consciousness with an experience. It is up to us to probe its nature, except most of us have been doing so from the wrong standpoint. We’ve assumed that it’s all real, when that realness – that three-dimensionality – may be nothing more than a stream of data, a matrix, a frequency to which our consciousness is tuned. Is Betelgeuse six hundred light-years away from Earth, or is it sitting right next to us, just another point on the data stream?
You may ask, “What difference does it make which view I take? Life is the same either way.” On the contrary, life is vastly different. If we use the physical universe as the cornerstone of our rational thinking, we can easily lose sight of the importance of our own self-awareness. When you look in at yourself from the outside, through the eyes of science, and you begin to understand the brain, the tendency is to explain away your own consciousness in purely physical terms – as if your consciousness is little more than a computer program performing a task. And yes, there is something very computer-like about our minds. All creatures, humans included, possess behaviour patterns: appetite, sexuality, testosterone, predatory instincts, maternal and paternal inclinations, etc. These things, and more, make us predictable to a certain extent. Similarly, a computer programmer can create an autonomous game character, imbue him with behaviour patterns, and place him into the game environment, where he will interact with it and behave as if he is self-aware. However, you would never say that such a character is genuinely self-aware. And yet you know that you are, in a manner that transcends any form of artificial intelligence. Science has never distinguished mind from self-awareness. The two are not the same. Mind is a brain-based faculty used by self-awareness. Science has fundamentally lost touch with the wonder of consciousness that we all experience. It has no place for such a thing because it cannot seem to grasp it and measure it. “No,” says science, “you cannot be immaterial consciousness interfacing with a brain. You’re just a brain.” And yet, where is this thing called self-awareness on any map of the brain? Nowhere to be found.
If you start from the deeper standpoint of using self-awareness as the cornerstone of your thinking, you end up with a vastly different perspective on the universe. For a start, the one thing you can be sure of is that you exist. As Rene Descarte said, “I think, therefore I am.” Everything else is under suspicion, because everything else is a perception. What this means is, if you want to believe in a physical universe, you have to take it on trust. If you want to believe it’s all a matrix, you have to take it on trust. In this predicament, what do you do with the scientific approach, when you suddenly realise you can’t use it to get anywhere? My answer to that is you use an almost forgotten little thing called intuition.
What do you sense the truth to be? The two most fundamental questions you should ask yourself are “What am I?” and “Where I am?” In my experience, asking those questions starts you on a wonderful journey of self-discovery that brings an end all to the bewilderment of living in the zeitgeist. For the scientifically minded person, the understanding that consciousness transcends matter opens up the genuine possibility of life after death and the mystery of whether our physical birth was really the beginning of our life. For the religious among us, it presents spirituality free from imposed dogmas that must never be questioned. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
(I recommend watching the following documentary for an easy-to-understand visual look at the nature of reality.)
A subject that I want to get a solid understanding of is intuition, not least because I’ve used the word to defend some of the things I’ve come to believe in over the past half a year. It strikes me that this is a topic best understood by experience, not by theory. Well, this morning I had my first verifiable experience of intuition in action (the first I’ve taken proper notice of, at least).
If you are the sort of person who sets his alarm at the same time every morning, you may have had the experience of forgetting to set your alarm (or leaving it off because it’s the weekend), and you discover that your body wakes you up at exactly the right time anyway, as if you have some kind of internal clock that keeps accurate time. It appears to be the unconscious mind at work. I’ve had this experience, and I’ve had the similar experience of waking up seconds before my alarm goes off.
This morning I had an interesting variation on this kind of event. I woke up because my bladder was full, so I got up and went into the bathroom. While relieving myself, I thought, “Why did I have to wake up at 7.30? No point going back to sleep now, because the alarm is set for 7.40 as usual … Hold on a minute. How do I know it’s 7.30?” It was dark outside, could have been 6.30 or 7.00, but I had the overpowering sense that it was definitely 7.30 on the dot. Furthermore, there was no way that I could have glanced at the clock on the way out of the bedroom because I always keep it facing the wall; I hate the way the LEDs light up the room. When I got back to my bedroom, I checked the clock, and it said 7.31. Spot on.
We know that the conscious mind doesn’t possess an accurate sense of time, otherwise there would be no market for wrist-watches. But the experience of many people confirms that the unconscious mind has an uncannily accurate timekeeping facility.
It seems to me that in those early moments of semi-wakefulness, before the conscious mind starts it’s usual chitter-chatter, I was able to pull information from my unconscious mind. I have also experienced in interesting parallel with this in another area of study: in my experiments with telekinesis, I’ve learned that it works best when I quieten my conscious mind and send information to my unconscious. It’s a strange experience, almost like there’s two of me, the conscious and the subconscious, or the ego and the soul.
Talking to our inner self is probably something you’ve done without realising it. I might say to myself, “Drat. What’s the name of the black actor in Pulp Fiction? I can’t remember.” Anything from a moment to several minutes later, the answer will pop into my conscious mind, as if from nowhere. “Samuel L. Jackson!” Now, the next time you have a conversation with yourself like that, ask yourself what process you went through to recall the information you wanted. Because I have no idea. The unconscious you just seems to get on with the task, and then it gives you the answer when it’s done. Spooky.
What is an intuition and where does it come from? It’s a sense of knowing that comes from the unconscious mind. And what is the unconscious or subconscious mind? That’s a hell of a question, one I want to get to the bottom of, and one that holds the answers to how much information it’s possible to access. Are we all one consciousness, as I suspect? Are we everything that exists? Hopefully I’ll be able to learn more about this.
It could be an interesting experiment to quieten my conscious mind through meditation and see if I can sense the time accurately on multiple occasions.
What is important to note from my experience this morning is that the concept of intuition is not some irrational flight of fancy. Intuition could well be a means of learning that is every bit as important as the critical thinking of the conscious mind.
For those of you who have been following this spiritual transformation of mine, it’s about time I told you the specifics of what I’ve now come to believe.
I suppose it started off with me reading about “chakras,” energy vortices that are beyond the physical realm and aligned with the body – seven of them, from the crown of the head to the base of the spine, each with its own function. Whether this is your soul, part of your soul, or whatever, I’m not sure, but it’s seen in terms of energy, rather than something far out that can never be understood.
This gelled with me, because of an experience that I had when I was twenty-four, when I was praying with my girlfriend. She prayed that God would touch me, and I experienced an intense vibration in the stomach area for several minutes (skip the dietary, jokes, please; I’ve heard them all). Very pleasant, very exciting, and very real. Also documented by other Christians. Touched by the Holy Spirit? I thought so initially, but the conservative Evangelical in me soon dismissed the whole thing as purely physiological. Over a decade later, now reading about chakras, I couldn’t help but wonder, did I experience energetic activity in my solar plexus chakra?
The trouble is, rationality is king with me. I needed to bring this knowledge down to a level where I could hang it on something rational. And so, I decided to experiment with something I remembered from my teenage years: I saw a friend perform telekinesis (more correctly called psychokinesis), the moving of an object with the mind. So I tried to do it myself, and as you’ve seen lately, I got some excellent results. Whilst this doesn’t prove anything specifically about chakras, it does bring the view that we are beings of energy a little closer to credibility than the laughability that many people attach to it.
There are other reasons for believing in chakras, too. For instance, the heart chakra, in the centre of the chest, is our emotional centre. We don’t feel emotions with our brains. Our souls experience them in the chest area. Anyone who has felt deep emotional distress knows the crushing pain in this location. It’s where we get the expression “broken heart.” It’s certainly not the organ that pumps blood around the body that is suffering. It is the energy centre that occupies that physical space. The throat chakra is said to be responsible for matters of the will. Think about some of the contexts in which our throat becomes uncomfortable, or dry, and makes us gulp.
Okay, so I can connect some of the dots to things we know from this physical world. It isn’t proof; it’s just a way of looking at things. Here, briefly, are more ways in which we can look at reality. I’m going to use some terms that I will be hard pressed to define accurately, because I don’t fully understand the concepts myself, and it’s going to sound like I’ve jumped off the deep end.
Everything that exists is consciousness. All matter is consciousness. Yes, that means that every blade of grass, every rock, every piece of matter in the universe, is in some sense conscious. Everything is in a state of vibration, and matter is consciousness condensed to a slow vibration. What we see as the physical realm is only a fraction of what really exists.
Our own consciousness is tuned into this “frequency” – one of a great many frequencies. Our birth in this life was not our beginning. We didn’t have a beginning because we are each an aspect of the infinite consiousness that is everything – God, if you like. It is very likely that our consciousness experienced other incarnations before the one we are currently in. Being born is not the beginning of your life. It is like your consciousness chose to incarnate, to condense itself into this body, thus shutting off a great deal of its “higher self” including all the memories of every life it has lived. After the experiences of this life, your consciousness with leave the body and reconnect with its higher self and you will move on to whatever’s next, whether that is another incarnate life or something different.
On a more down to earth level, we perceive the physical world in a certain way, and we think that’s the way it really is; we say that a blade of grass is green or the sky is blue, or whatever. What we should realise is that that’s not strictly true. Other creatures are perceiving this world in different ways. The cat or the lizard see the world differently, with their slit-like pupils. Flies, with their compound eyes, have a vastly different means of processing visual reality that our eyes do. Bats are near blind and rely on a form of radar. Birds migrate by sensing something we don’t. Dogs experience a world of smells that we know little about. My point is the world isn’t actually as humans see it. The physical world is just an energetic frequency, and the body is just a computer that interpets the physical world in a certain way to the brain. The old philosopher, I think it was Rene Descarte, who said, “I think, therefore I am,” was onto something: the view that you can’t really prove that anything exists beyond your own consciousness, because everything that you gather through your five senses is transformed into impulses in the brain that your consciousness interfaces with and experiences. Your brain is between you and the world.
There’s a book called The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot that I’m dying to read on this theme. If you have the time, here’s a good video that explains the idea behind it. Be warned, it’s 20 minutes long:
So, try to stretch your mind to conceive that we may all experiencing a collective “illusion.” Something like Neo in The Matrix. When you rap your knuckles on the desk, it feels solid, but it’s actually the illusion of solidity created in your consciousness by the “computer” that holds all this together. Not even your body or brain is real. It’s all part of the program. A screwball idea? Remember, the illusion of solidity is something that even we mere humans have made great strides in. We invented the hologram. Look at the incredibly detailed worlds that you can interact with in today’s videogames, a three dimensional illusion behind a flat TV screen. I’m suggesting that physical reality may be the same thing on a vastly more spectacular scale. And behind it all is not Neo sitting asleep in a vat of smelly gunk in a human battery farm. Behind it is infinite consciousness, of which you are a tiny and unique aspect undergoing an experience in your evolution. You, and everyone else, and everything else that has conscious reality are one.
Oh boy. I really did jump off the deep end, didn’t I? Do I really believe this stuff? I’m afraid I do. But who’s to say it isn’t just the biggest load of poppycock? Nobody. I can’t prove this stuff. These are hard admissions for me because I’ve started believing certain things without knowing quite why I believe them. That’s a strange thing for me to say because anyone who knows me knows I prize rationality above anything. While these beliefs aren’t irrational, they are unprovable. The only thing I can attach these beliefs to is “intuition.” And that’s another weird thing for me to say, because I’ve never thought much about intuition until now, and I’ve certainly never lived by it.
I think it works like this. Once you let go of the mind prison that says “this world is all there is” and the other mind prison of religious belief systems that restrict you to a strict set of beliefs – once you open your mind to all possibility – then you connect to your higher self and to knowledge you had before you were even born. People live lives shut off from this knowledge because they are disconnected, at a mental level, from their higher selves.
Of course, it’s very convenient for me to believe something and then to say I don’t have to prove it because it’s intuition. And I know someone will accuse me of just believing what I want to believe. But for me, the strength of conviction I feel goes beyond wishful thinking. That’s why I’ve been reluctant to really let fly and talk about this stuff. I also want to be careful to say that this isn’t something I want to impose on you. It’s just another way of looking at life. Take it or leave it, it’s up to you.
For me, I can’t understand rationally why I believe so strongly in this stuff – so stongly that it has transformed my life. Did I merely read some good material by David Icke and decide to take the rest on faith? Come on, I’m smarter than that. Something else is going on here, and I don’t know what to call it except intuition. For me, the proof of the pudding has been in the eating. And next time I’ll talk about some of the ways this new understanding has benefitted my life.
“Eek! Has Darryl Sloan got a messiah complex?” you cry. Nope. “I aaaam the one and onlyyyy … Nobody I’d rather be!” Good ol’ Chesney Hawkes, eh? You can’t beat ‘im. I’m serious, actually. I love that song. If you can get around the 80s cheese factor and listen to the lyrics, it’s actually carrying a really positive message championing individuality.
Individuality is claiming the freedom to think for yourself, to form and hold your own opinions. And the enemy of individuality is anything which denies you that freedom.
In the previous post I stated that our freedom to think for ourselves is “taken away by Popes, pastors, and every other religious authority that insists it has a right to your mind.” Let me clarify and expand on what I mean by that.
Our freedom to think for ourselves is only taken away because we give it away willingly, and are encouraged to do so. This is illustrated by the way that most Catholics don’t become Protestants; most Protestants don’t become Catholics; the majority of adult Christians are those brought up in Christian homes, rather than people who converted to it from here, there and everywhere. Churchgoers generally aren’t moving towards greater awareness of “the truth,” despite listening to countless sermons week after week. They are buzzing around merrily in their own cliques. That is not my opinion; it is observable reality in all the countless church factions. In my personal case, it is illustrated by the imbalanced state of mind I went through in my earlier years as a Christian – the days when I took at face value what I was told about what it is to be a good Christian. Only by taking back my freedom to think, by slowly realising that I was being fed error on some levels, was I able to say, “No. The way you people want me to think is not right.” And to step away. It was very hard to do, and took a long time. The scope of the problem is illustrated by how many people choose to blindly tow the line of whatever their individual church scene says is right. Churches are not teeming with people who embrace their individuality, nor are they encouraged to be individuals. Paradoxically, all the factions in the church were no doubt created by certain people expressing their individuality and rebelling, but this does not negate the point that the only way to escape the prison of a particular church faction that is in error is to start thinking for yourself and to stop giving up that responsibility to your minister.
The Bible itself, as an authority, is also a problem because when you become a Christian you have to accept all its precepts en masse. If your own intelligence leads you in a different direction on some points, you have to agree with what the Bible says regardless of what you think, because it’s the word of God. Take homosexuality for instance. I believe it’s not natural, okay? I did as a Christian; I still do. But if I allow myself the luxury of disregarding that the Bible calls it an “abomination,” I suddenly find myself able to empathise with other Christians who have been dealing with homosexual urges all their lives, with no evil intent (two of whom I’ve known as close friends, incidentally, and one of whom was responsible for leading me to Christ). And yet, typically, if I’m sitting with another Christian and a homosexual comes on TV, the Christian will happily pass a remark about “that queer.” There is the general feeling among Christians that homosexuality is a great evil, with Bible verses to back that up. My personal individual view is that there’s something very unbalanced about that attitude. So, do I believe what the Bible says, or do I believe what my experience of knowing homosexual Christians tells me? When your indivuality conflicts with a belief system, you’re in trouble. And that’s the problem with belief systems. For me right now, rejecting the belief system and embracing my right to have my own view, it is so refreshing to be able to look at somebody and say, “It doesn’t matter to me what you are,” instead of regarding them with suspicion as if they must be some kind of deviant. If I’m honest, I haven’t looked upon homosexuality as “evil” in a long time; “not normal” is as far as I can reasonably go. So, I’m guilty perhaps of covertly reclaiming a little of my individuality that was not strictly permitted for me.
I’m not just Bible-blasting here. This giving away of one’s freedom to think is equally true of people who vegetate in front of soap operas, and base their moral outlook on the behaviour of what they see there. On the topic of homosexuality, it’s interesting to note how society’s view of it has become gradually more tolerant over the past couple of decades. Is this because people have suddenly become more enlightened? Could be, but (the rights and wrongs of homosexuality aside) I’m more inclined to think the change came about by the bombardment of the population by positive depictions of homosexuality on TV dramas and movies. It’s covert manipulation, folks, made possible only by our willingness to accept what we’re told without thinking for ourselves. True, attitudes to homosexuality really were in the dark ages a couple of decades ago, and social consciousness has probably been moved to a better place, where we’re less likely to kick the crap out of a couple of “queers” in a dark alley, but that doesn’t negate the fact that the means of delivering this better understanding was a manipulative one. I mean, these days a guy like me can hardly raise a single objection to homosexuality on purely rational grounds without being immediately branded homophobic.
The big problem is that we can so easily sacrifice our ability to think for ourselves without realising we’ve done it. Another manipulation I fell prey to at a point in my life is the idea that the scientific view of reality is the only one that holds any water. You get an impression from society – and that’s all it is, just an impression, with no actual substance – that scientists are the truly smart people. Before you know it, you’re beleiving in an axiom like “Nothing is true until I can smell it, taste it, touch it, measure it, or quantify its substance by some means or other.” A man who opens his mind to the possibilty that there may be a God, and who chooses to pray to this God, is seen as backward by comparison. But the wider possibility that science won’t acknowledge is that a whole lot of stuff might be true that we just haven’t discovered with our microscopes and telecopes, etc. It’s no surprise, really, that a great many scientists have an athiestic perspective. They have decided that if they can’t find it, it mustn’t be real. To only have room in your heart for scientific thinking is a great pity. Once you ackowledge that it’s possible to discover truth beyond the narrow constraints of scientific investigation, you realise that the scientific mindset is a prison for your mind – useful within its own capacity, but inadequte as an exclusive principle to live by. The problem is, the wool is pulled over our eyes without us realising it.
Yet another aspect of this lack of freedom to think is what goes on with friendships during our school days. The more I look back on my youth, the more grateful I am to have been a geek – an outcast from the popular crowd. It was painful at times, sure, but the most beautiful gift of this is that peer pressure has absolutely no power over you. Since the popular crowd have already made you an outcast, there is absolutely no benefit to you in doing anything that would please them. You grow into a true individual, making your own decisions, and thinking your own thoughts, without any great feeling that you ought to conform. It’s no surprise that I finished school having never smoked a cigarette or consumed any alcohol.
The ultimate expression of indivuality is when you just don’t give a damn what anybody else thinks of you. That’s largely what’s motivating the direction of many of my posts in recent months. It’s easily mistaken for arrogance, but it’s really just the detemination to live up to a standard that I’ve set for myself: to speak out about what I care about, to be unafraid of rebuttal or ridicule.
It’s an interesting experiment to observe others, keeping your ears peeled for evidence of the fear of what others think – various expressions of the old “What would the neighbours think?” attitude. Even more challenging to look for it in yourself. As ol’ Chesney says, “You are the one and only you.”