conscious-medicine
Conscious Medicine

“The way of peace is a soul journey. . . . If you can live from the level of your soul, you are doing something very special. The important thing is how much consciousness you add to the whole of human existence, for that is how eternity expresses itself, like a lamp shining through the window of eternity.” – Deepak Chopra

Consciousness: The Ground of Being

Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain, rather it is the ground and source of our experience of the world. The tools of objective science cannot quantify consciousness. To understand consciousness we must use the subjective means of direct experience.

Understanding consciousness is one of the great mysteries of life.

What makes it problematic is that in our desire for unbiased, quantifiable knowledge of consciousness, we look to the objective model of the physical sciences for answers.

Neurologists tell us  that if we understand the brain we can understand consciousness because consciousness is a product of the brain. In a reductionist view, if we can describe the gall bladder and  pancreas, and stomach with their secretion of bile and pancreatic juices and hydrochloric acid, then we can understand the concept of digestion. In this model, consciousness is just a brain secretion which we have yet to find under the microscope.

They want us to believe that if we can just accumulate enough data on brain functioning, then the elusive  notion of consciousness will be revealed as a quantifiable objective reality.

The contradiction inherent in this approach is that consciousness can only be explored by consciousness itself. When you explore consciousness, it is your consciousness that is doing the exploring. So consciousness of the researcher is studying consciousness and that has to be a subjective experience. Any objective analysis of consciousness can at best be inferential, not direct. This is what the great wisdom traditions have always maintained.

If you want to know what consciousness is, then you need to know yourself.

The inscription over the ancient Greek temple of Apollo instructed all who entered to ‘Know Thyself.’ Consciousness as the knower within must cognize consciousness as it own self. The one that you are seeking is the very one that is seeking.

The great rishis and sages of the past refined their consciousness through meditation practices to make it a reliable research instrument for this exploration of consciousness. Spiritual traditions of the past have prescribed the experience of pure consciousness, or unqualified consciousness, as the means for knowing consciousness. We can also comprehend consciousness through intuition, inspiration, creativity and insight.Objective methodologies are important and crucial aids in our quest to know consciousness, but insufficient in themselves. Wonderful insights have emerged through brain scan studies, neurotransmitter research, and  molecular neurology, but they can’t show us what consciousness is.

Attempting to understand consciousness objectively is like trying to understand the music from a radio  by studying the physical properties of the radio and ignoring the  radio waves that the receiver is processing. Studying the brain is an inferential and intermediary way to gain information about consciousness, not a direct way. If you close your eyes and think of a sunset in your mind, no amount of research will ever find that sunset in your brain. All you can find is electrical impulses. That image exists only in consciousness. This same principle applies to all perception.The reason selfknowledge is considered the essence of all other knowledge is because to the enlightened sages of the past consciousness is the ground of being.

Consciousness is the foundation that connects all humanity, all life, all creation. In this respect, the brain is really the by-product or epiphenomenon of consciousness, not the other way around. Our body and biology is a product of consciousness, and it is through this human nervous system that the consciousness of the universe becomes conscious of itself.

Consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain, rather it is the ground and source of our experience of the world. The tools of objective science cannot quantify consciousness. To understand consciousness we must use the subjective means of direct experience.

Meditiation Benefits Mind, Body & Spirit

According to the ancient tradition of yoga from which Primordial Sound Meditation is derived, we are multi-faceted beings. One of the most influential teachers of the philosophy of yoga and Vedic science was the 9th Century sage Adi Shankara.  Shankara categorized these layers of life into three primary divisions — a physical body, subtle body, and causal body. We can also say body, mind and soul. We live simultaneously on these different levels. Meditation is a technology that benefits body, mind and soul. Let’s explore each of these primary divisions and their three secondary layers.

THE PHYSICAL BODY

You have a physical body, which is comprised of matter and energy. Within your physical domain, you have an extended body, a personal body and an energetic body.  Becoming more conscious of the choices you make to engage the world by minimizing toxicity and maximizing nourishment is the key to a healthy physical body.

Your extended body is the environment, containing the never-ending supply of energy and information that is available to you. Although your senses may tell you otherwise, there is no distinct boundary between your personal and extended bodies, which are in constant and dynamic exchange. Each breath that you inhale and exhale is a reminder of the continuous conversation taking place between your physical body and your environment. This recognition requires you to become an environmentalist and take responsibility for what is happening in your environment.

Of course, you do have a personal body that consists of the molecules that temporarily comprise your cells, tissues and organs. We say temporarily because although it appears that your body is solid and constant, it is actually continuously transforming. The vast majority of the cells in your body are derived from the food that you eat.  Recognizing the intimate relationship between our personal body and the food we eat, Shankara named the physical body annamaya kosha, meaning “the covering made of food”. To create and maintain a healthy body, pay attention to the food you consume, minimizing the toxicity you ingest while maximizing the nourishment you receive.

THE SUBTLE BODY

Most people identify themselves with their mind, intellect and ego, which are the three components of the subtle body. People continue to believe that they are their minds, but Shankara encourages us to recognize that the components of our subtle body are simple coverings of the soul and spirit.

According to this framework, the mind is the repository of sensory impressions.  When you hear a sound, feel a sensation, see a sight, taste a flavour or smell a fragrance, the sensory experience registers in your consciousness at the level of your mind.

These experiences create our sense of reality. The mind cycles through different states of consciousness, and sensory experiences change with these changing states.  Yoga reminds us that reality also changes as we experience different states of consciousness

THE CAUSAL BODY – THE FIELD OF PURE POTENTIAL

According to vedic wisdom, underlying the field of molecules that we call the physical body and the field of thoughts called the subtle body, is a realm of life known as the causal body or the domain of spirit. Although we cannot perceive or measure this sphere of life, it gives rise to our thoughts, memories, feelings, dreams and desires. This domain of spirit supports our physical bodies and is the creative force behind the material world. Like the physical body and the subtle body, the causal body has three layers.

The personal domain of spirit is the layer where the seeds of memory and desire are sown. Given the right environment, the seeds sprout, and you become capable of expressing your gifts in the world. Although the modern material model of life suggests that genes determine people’s individual talents, we only have to look at identical twins to realize that the same molecular structure does not determine an individual’s nature. According to Shankara, every individual has a personal soul with its unique memories and desires. These memories and desires guide the course of your life. When you nurture the seeds of your innate gifts with your attention and intention, they sprout, and your personal soul finds fulfillment.

Our causal body is our underlying field of consciousness, which includes our soul and spirit. When we experience life from the level of spirit, our choices bring us greater happiness, peace, love, meaning and purpose.

THE JOURNEY

We live in a turbulent world where peace is sometimes difficult to find. The silence you experience in meditation is in the space between your thoughts where the potential for any other thought resides. Glimpsing this field of quiet, expanded awareness allows you to recognize that your essential self is not the perpetual traffic of thoughts that fill your mind and reflect the world around you. When, through meditation, you quiet your inner turbulence and connect to the creative power of the universe, your intentions for peace, health, love and meaning are spontaneously fulfilled. You find the thinker of your thoughts, the real you. The real you, being non-local, cannot be found in the body. It is spaceless, timeless, and unborn and therefore it can never die. Meditation allows us to explore our essential nature, restoring the memory of wholeness in our lives.

Marcel Proust wrote, “The real journey of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.” That is our intention at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing’s Seduction of Spirit Workshop. This subtle shift in consciousness can be a powerful force that will enable you to witness your environment, body and mind from a new perspective.

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