The Science & Spirituality of Consciousness: The Science & Spirituality of Consciousness
by Ren Koi from www.o-books.com
All is one offers a conclusive definition of consciousness that might satisfy both the scientifically oriented and spiritually oriented reader.
All Is One was written as a response to the birth of my daughter Alice in February 2020, which aroused a sense of wonder and awe in me and deep feelings that I had never previously experienced. The big scientific, philosophical, religious and spiritual questions of life suddenly became paramount before we went into the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. As a result, I had lots of spare time to write my seventh book. Following on from my previous six books, which primarily discuss the topics of addiction, recovery and spirituality, All Is One is a deeper dive into what science, philosophy, religion and spirituality have to say about humanity, enlightenment and God.
Contemplating the widespread use of drugs (including alcohol), the increasing use of psychedelic medicines, and the mainstreaming of meditation in popular culture over the past fifty years –through the lens of my own recovery from alcoholism – I have a unique take on the ‘human condition’ and methods that can be used to relieve human suffering, such as psychedelics that alter brain cognition and perception. Many people, including myself, believe psychedelics help us access higher states of consciousness, as these altered states have been known to result in a long-term and positive transformation of the person ingesting the medicine. Psychedelics can also be used for psychoanalytic therapy – as a means of providing patients the ability to access memories that are held deep within their unconscious mind. The word psychedelic essentially means revealing what is hidden, which is why the use of psychedelics, in the appropriate set and setting, can reveal the symptoms of illnesses buried in our subconscious. Due to the insights that psychedelics can produce, I have heard it said they are analogous to ten years of psychotherapy in one session, and like ‘cheat codes’ for the game of life. This has certainly been my experience.
Through the deconstruction and analysis of a variety of scientific studies and philosophies, plus my own experience of psychedelics and spiritual practices, I offer conclusions that I hope will help people connect the dots on some very complex ideas. These ideas make the case that, as we come to understand consciousness, we can also begin to understand God, our place in the world and how we affect one another. Despite the world being full of suffering, hope and meaning can be found through understanding. There are many ways to discover deeper meaning – from ancient spiritual and religious traditions to the use of psychedelic medicines. I offer insights to what is possible for all of us who are seeking to unravel the conditioning of our past experiences, so that we might come to a new understanding and a new experience of possibility and self-awareness.
All Is One suggests that the Consciousness Problem laid out by Galileo in the 1600’s will only be resolved when philosophical reasoning and contemporary scientific methods join forces. I believe we are on the verge of a new paradigm – whereby we will experience the scientific validity of ‘panpsychism’ as a middle-way between dualism and materialism. Panpsychism is the view that mentality is fundamental and ubiquitous in the natural world, which has a long and venerable history in philosophical traditions of both East and West. Panpsychism, strange as it may sound on first hearing, promises a satisfying account of the human mind within a unified conception of nature.
Once we universally recognise that human consciousness is not the centre of the universe, rather, consciousness abounds, we will experience a joint scientific-spiritual quantum shift of the same magnitude the world experienced when it was proven (in 1725) that our Earth is not the centre of the solar system. I believe it will one day become common knowledge that consciousness is an intrinsic property of matter. When you think about it objectively, it’s the only intrinsic property of matter that we know for certain; we know it directly as material conscious beings. All the other properties of matter have been discovered by mathematical physics and this method of discovering the properties of matter means that only relational properties of matter are known, not intrinsic properties. This is why philosophy and spirituality are equally as important as science in explaining consciousness.
I personally believe that consciousness is the ‘creator’ or ‘producer’, it is the origin of all things, is forever active in the world of nature, and introduces intuition, creativity, relationships, reasoning, and imagination into a humanly constructed world that is becoming ever-increasingly divorced from nature. In the argument between naturalists, such as philosopher Ernest Nagel and idealists, such as Plato, I don’t think it is so black-and-white, as I don’t see any reason why the phenomenon of consciousness couldn’t be ‘tuned in’ by the brain and other vital organs in the body (such as the heart), in the same way that a radio receives a signal. Emotions manifesting from consciousness via the five senses and thoughts manifesting from emotions is, in my opinion, a perfectly plausible explanation of what it is to be a human.
At the core of All Is One is courage. The kind of courage required to challenge our own self-made prison of thoughts and beliefs. Courage to bring our bias, assumptions and limited thinking into the light where all things are possible. We all have periods in our lives where we self-sabotage and get stuck, but having the courage to live with an open mind is the path to ascending to higher levels of consciousness available to all of us – that can lead to enlightenment.
To attain enlightenment, you must have a burning desire, so you will continue the journey of change diligently and carry out your spiritual practices with perseverance. It’s very easy, once you have experienced consciousness (and glimpsed enlightenment) to be satisfied with your achievement, but if your body has the wrong tendencies, habits, patterns or addictions (like mine does), it will not allow you to go back into consciousness again. In fact, these obstacles go on reducing your efforts as your ego-mind gives more and more excuses. The egotistical mind-frame that, “I am knowledgeable”, also gets added to the list of obstacles and you can get entangled once again in the web of ego-mind-games. I know this because I was lost there for some time until I realized that I would have to drop my last remaining habitual and compulsive behaviour patterns if I was to continue to change and grow toward enlightenment. I know that if my habitual and compulsive behaviour patterns are overcome, I would constantly reside in consciousness and become like a child – like my daughter Alice – who is always conscious in the present moment; enlightened.
The book offers a conclusive definition of consciousness that might satisfy both the scientifically oriented and spiritually oriented reader.
Despite centuries of analyses and debates between scientists and philosophers, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial. It is the most familiar yet mysterious aspect of our lives. There might be different levels of consciousness, or different kinds of consciousness, or just one kind with different features. Modern research into the human brain is yet to provide conclusive answers, and we don’t know if animals, insects or plants are conscious, or even the universe itself.
The contrasting range of research suggests that a new approach might be needed -- one that includes both an objective scientific view and a subjective philosophical and spiritual view -- in order to unlock the mystery. All Is One investigates how consciousness fits into a larger picture of the universe by exploring what science, philosophy, religion, and spirituality have to say on the matter, and offers a conclusive definition of consciousness that might satisfy both the scientifically oriented and spiritually oriented reader.
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