Experience and consciousness

Discussion in 'SCIENTIFIC and ANECDOTAL research' started by Deborah, Nov 3, 2006.

  1. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Past life memories are a subjective experience, something that can only be shared with words. Looking for proof, validations and questioning what exactly happens during those experiences is a constant here on the forum. I want to explore another angle;

    In the here and now, in the world, there is one thing we all share - the faculty of consciousness. The difference and the difficulty lies in the forms that consciousness takes on. Those forms are our personal reality, we know it, we experience it. The problem is - we mistake our personal reality for physical reality; we believe - we are in direct contact with the world "out there."

    It is hard for us to realize that the colors, the sounds the objects we see are not "out there" they are all images within the mind, pictures of reality we have constructed. Science seems to be aware of this based on the current books I have been reading.

    Immanuel Kant insisted that the thing itself remains forever beyond our knowing and that the mind is an active participant in the process always shaping our experience of the world. He believed that reality is something we each construct for ourselves and that all we can ever know is how reality appears in our minds.

    If this is true about physical reality, what does this suggest about past life experiences? The world around us is composed of physical matter, but the world we perceive around us, is not the physical world. That's a hard one. ;)

    If every thought, feeling, color, sound, or sensation is a form that consciousness takes on, it appears that as far as the world is concerned, everything is structured in consciousness. Even time and space.

    If our experience is constructed by consciousness, and we create our realities, I wonder if when we have a past life experience - is it because we have reached a place within that is termed samadhi (still mind) and then we are able to move consciousness beyond our awareness of time and space?

    Samadhi is a state of mind - there is awareness, a person is wide awake, but there is no object of awareness. It is pure consciousness, consciousness before it takes on various forms and qualities of a particular experience. Buddhists speak of this.

    Physical reality appears to be all around us. I can say I see it, feel it, smell, touch and know it. When a past life experience happens....... I see it, I feel it, I touch and I know it.

    The difficulties we have in understanding past life experiences seems to also be true for physical reality. To understand experience, we need to understand consciousness and it appears science is attempting to do so in recent years.

    All we can speak of regarding past lives - is our experience. All we can ever know is within us. Reality, isn't happening - out there, but then neither are past lives from my point of view. What are your thoughts?
     
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  2. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    I would have to agree with you Deborah. Every memory, current life or past life, does seem to come from within. Whenever I meditate, I do so by focusing inward. the only time I have problems meditating are when the outside world intrudes upon my inner thoughts. I've long thought that we live self-contained lives, and this would seem to agree with what you posted. Our consciousness is our reality.

    John
     
  3. pineal

    pineal The witness

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    Consciousness

    Understanding Consciousness is what we do in meditation. We can achieve the state beyond dimensions ( spacial and time) only in deep meditation ( Samadhi). The knowledge we gain in that state is purely subjective knowledge. To me, it is the only way to perceive the self.

    -pineal
     
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  4. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    Pineal, you said exactly what I think, but in a much better way than I did. Or could. Thank you for your insight.

    John
     
  5. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Hi Deborah,

    What a wonderful question. :) You always have such profound thoughts. For me, as always, they resonate deeply. ;)

    I agree – the experience of consciousness is purely subjective. Rather than consciousness being the feeling of what happens, what happens and our experience -- is one of the facets of consciousness.

    I believe consciousness is the manifestation of Pure Being. Consciousness creates the world in which we live. Just like a mirror, consciousness reflects things on its own surface.

    Imo, consciousness must reflect back on itself -- to know itself and what appears within it. Internality is the state of oneness with True Self, while externality is the state of separation from it.

    When we are focused on what is outside -- we are stuck in ego and separateness, limited to the slow moments of time, to the finite possibilities, to the emotions and actions of others. Since we "participate" in everything other people experience, we not only connect with them on a subtle or energetic level, but we are constantly being influenced by these energies.

    When direct our focus inwards -- we are consciously experiencing our highest center of wisdom and knowledge, and we are open to all that we are. There is a movement away from ego, toward unity, toward greater possibilities and truths, to timelessness, and the movement of the past, present and future into the Now, all of which enables infinite possibilities, vast understanding and insight.


    Our senses perceive duality -- but on the most profound level only unity exists.

    Everything is alive -- this includes matter. Matter is also a life form, vivified by the omnipresent life energy. Matter has been created, it has structure, it has the ability to grow and it ages.

    Consciousness brings you into contact with all matter -- with its forms, structures, molecules, and atoms; and with subatomic particles and quantum energies.

    "Matter is derived from mind or consciousness, and not mind or consciousness from matter." - Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation

    Based on my own experiences -- I would definitely agree. ;)

    The psychological definition of consciousness, in the most general of terms, is -- self-awareness; the state of being conscious. Consciousness is considered to exist – if there is awareness of one's self, environment, sensations, and thoughts. Therefore, consciousness is the experience of an inner and outer world.

    Imo, because our spiritual Self, or essence, exists beyond linear time, we are experiencing everything in a 'now' time. Past life memories are not in the past - they are here, now. We carry the memories and the effects of those lives with us.

    Quantum dynamics suggests that a person’s healing is found within. Many Tibetan and Ancient texts speak of an inner spiritual light, a state of consciousness that transcends time and space. All states of consciousness are ever-present potentials simply requiring a slight change in perception in order to experience.

    I absolutely agree!

    In our present lives -- we are a product of every experience from birth to the present time. I believe -- the same applies to past lives – and the soul’s journey. We are a product of all the energies of memory and experience that have gone before. If our experiences are created from consciousness -– then everything is within us -- it is not something separate.

    "You realize beyond all trace of doubt that the world is in you, and not you in the world." Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

    Aili :)
     
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  6. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hello everyone,

    Some great ponderations... :thumbsup: Makes perfect sense. :) To me, far more than "simultaneousness" in the sense of "soul-splitting"...
     
  7. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    HI Charles,

    Peter Russell's book was great. I enjoyed his use of simple language, everyday concepts and his approach to bring science and God together. God - meaning the "all there is" God as Light, and God as Love.

    HI Aili,

    You are so sweet. : angel I tend to be an abstract thinker and I am told I start in the middle instead of the beginning. :rolleyes: Intuitively I understand a lot. Ask me to explain something scientifically and I have a hard time. I guess I am an artist at heart.

    Your depth of spiritual understanding Aili, is something I honor, and admire. A shining light for many. :D
     
  8. Charles Stuart

    Charles Stuart Probationary

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    Hi Deborah,

    You know the "Light" you often mention? My view is that it corresponds to the "Universal Cosmic Fluid", of which ALL things originate. My view is that this "Light" is in direct and close connection to what or who we refer to as "God"... :) :thumbsup:
     
  9. Tinkerman

    Tinkerman Administrator Staff Member Super Moderator

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    I found this article not to long ago and shared it with others. It seems to fit in so many places. It has to do with measuring things that are immeasurable. Here they speak of religion, as we do here on occasion, but the same could be written about reincarnation...couldn't it?

    https://msu.edu/~lotz/classes/information/The_Ister.pdf

    The Tinkerman
     
  10. tanguerra

    tanguerra Moderator Emeritus

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    "No doubt we could conduct brain-imaging studies to demonstrate differences in the activity of cerebral structures while listening to the Ninth Symphony and to white noise. Would that tell us anything about the aesthetic experience?"

    Good article Tinkerman. Yes, reductionism - trying to reduce the 'whole' into teeny little bits and thereby scatter it about like confetti - destroying meaning along the way. Sometimes we are less willing to trust our own intuitive feelngs and understandings about an experience ('Reality' in the case of Deborah's original proposal) and look around for an authority to explain it to us.

    This is the thing that bothers me sometimes when scientists of various persuasions find a link between neural activity and personal experiences of various types (emotions, thoughts, etc) and assume that one is the cause of the other. Just because they correlate does not indicate cause and effect. In Australia we are fond of quoting the correlation between ice-cream sales and shark attacks, which both spike in summer with amazing correspondence. Obviously the cause is not one or the other, but 'something else' - in this case, the warmer weather, therefore more people at the beach eating ice-cream...

    I read an article recently by a professional scientific 'myth buster' who writes a regular column in the paper. Sometimes he is very good, explaining why we get hiccups and various interesting scientific factoids of that nature. However, on this occasion he was supposedly definitively refuting the 'mystical' nature of near death experiences by saying that it was simply a chemical activity of the brain due to the extreme stress of nearly dying, because brain chemistry changes had been detected during such experiences.

    Also, he was being either deliberately selective or misinformed, because he cited reports by certain jet pilots of supposed "NDEs" who passed out due to extreme g-force situations. The bit he did not add was that in fact these pilots are experiencing 'tunnel vision' where they see a dark tunnel with light at the end of it and sometimes roaring noises, but report no mystical feelings, visions of departed relatives, Jesus or some other culturally specific religious figure etc.

    Just because this type of tunnel vision experience is caused by hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), does not by any means indicate that all NDEs are purely physical in nature or rule out or refute the 'mystical' content of the many, many other reports of NDEs (by people who were truly clinically dead, however temporarily, not just unconscious) reported over thousands of years across a wide variety of cultures, all with amazing similarities.

    http://www.spiritualtravel.org/OBE/nde_arguments.html

    The problem is that people who are less daring (or intellectually confident/arrogant) than I don't question these figures of authority and will parrot these spurious arguments back because they 'read it in the paper' and did not check out the facts for themselves. Most vexing.

    That is my whinge for today. Thanks for listening.
     
  11. tiltjlp

    tiltjlp A Recycled Soul

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    Interesting article TMan, and yes, it should apply to the study of reincarnation, or anything else, for that matter. It possibly points to the reason a lot of us have problems making sense of science at times. I'm not always the most logical or clinically thinking person around, so I have a hard time putting everything into a pigeonhole, which is what science seems to do. And since I don't live or think in a sterile environment, science at times is hard to untangle.

    John
     
  12. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Couldn't agree more Charles. ;) :thumbsup: :D : angel
     
  13. Rob

    Rob A Very Cool Member!

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    Off the topic? Not really...


    Last night while asleep, I found myself over my head in freezing water. I could taste the salt of what must have been an ocean. I woke up gasping for breath.


    Was I really drowning in a frigid ocean? While I was gasping for breath, that was definitely my reality... and I wouldn't have questioned it for a minute.


    Thank God it was just a dream. Thank God it was all in my mind.


    ;)
     
  14. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    All we can speak of regarding past lives is our experience. All we can ever know is within us. Reality, isn't happening - out there, but then neither are past lives from my point of view. What are your thoughts?


    It's a tough question and a hard thing to wrap our minds around, but science seems to be attempting to do so. Have any of you read any new books that talk about this premise?
     
  15. sixeyes

    sixeyes sixeyes

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    I wholeheartedly agree that we all are the creators of our own reality...and that simultaneous time does exist. Reality is conceived through each's individual perception...many times in varying degrees. Though, I feel, sometimes perceptions are limited based on the degree and amount of defenses we have in place in order to "protect" the reality we "think" we need. People scramble to hold onto their ego with these defenses...and though defenses are good things, they can sometimes keep us from understanding the relationship between the conscious and subconscious and the roles they play within the spirit individually as well as collectively. Reality can become muddy...it takes a strong ego to be able to surrender it to the reality of our own consciousness...and I think if that can be achieved, those defenses that are toxic can fall away and allow connection and understanding to be made.
     
  16. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Thank you sixeyes for your thoughts.

    A topic I hope others will address here.
     
  17. soulfreindly

    soulfreindly Senior Registered

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  18. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Hi nanciwell,


    I do see your point, however the focus for this thread is from a slightly different perspective. For example, my reality includes the apple on my table, the feather near by book stand, my computer, my shoes...etc.. It's how I perceive them in consciousness that I am referring to in the original post; this is what I know and how reality appears to me.

    Regarding past lives - I stated the following because this is a discussion forum and we all struggle so hard to express our pl experiences.

    IMO - reality is a subjective experience. Always. ;) Even in daily life. How we express this understanding, how we act and react to it is a choice. :)
     
  19. jhskulk

    jhskulk New Member

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    This is starting to sound pro-qualia. Reality itself being "subjective" really sounds like a qualia-like statement. Think of it this way:


    We know "reality" through our five primary senses - hearing, sight, taste, touch and smell (and to a lesser extent, some of our other senses such as thermal sensitivity, pressure sensitivity, pain, balance, motion, etc). However, we all process these things differently. For someone with red colour-blindness, they see the American flag as green, white and blue, not red, white and blue. For a bat, they don't see the world the same as us, they have supersonic hearing to "see." It's a fundamentally different way of navigation, and yet I'm sure that if a bat had human-like intelligence, it still couldn't "imagine" seeing the world as a human does, just as a human cannot imagine seeing the world as a bat does. To them, that's what reality is.


    I could ramble on and on about this. Basic point is, "reality" is fixed to an extent, but we all perceive it differently which is what makes it somewhat subjective.
     
  20. Sly

    Sly Practitioner of the Dharm

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    Somehow I belief our understanding is limited by what we're taught.


    Let me select a simple example. When we think in our minds, we use words. We talk in our mind using words, expressions. Sometimes we even act it our without knowing like a hand gesture and such.


    Well, ever have the experience that something happen is so wonderful or so terrible beyond descriptions? When we can't express it with words it's often we get so frustrated. We depend too much on words and spoken language to express ourselves that we're practically limited to the words available to us for use. Almost everyday new words comes out from every single culture and language.


    The invention or words and language was suppose to ease our way or communication between each other but it too had come up short in many ways.

    I have a tendency to assume that when we first existed, we might have communicated somewhat in a telepathic way. But due to the episode stated in the bible, language and words was taught to us to confuse us and limit our ability to realise about ourselves.


    I would suggest people try a simple test. Try not to use words and any talking in your mind while you think of something. We're always talking in our heads with words. I doubt anyone could. If you could, You'll reach a much higher level of understanding and consciousness. Trust me. :)


    I believe the way to reach our consciousness in order to understand the true nature of things like life and reincarnation lies within our conscious mind. And to reach it your mind must not be limited by anything at all.


    Now if you could add that to meditation it would be of great help to your spirituality. And that is important in understanding your real self and purpose. Meditation too have a proper way to be done. Almost all "professional teacher" that charges you for a fee to attend meditating courses teaches you the wrong method but that's another story..But if you wish to know you can PM me and I'll share with you. Not that I do not wish to post here but just didn't want to bring this out of topic hehe :)
     
  21. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    Hi Sly,


    Can you tell us what version of the Bible you are quoting? Translations can make a difference.


    Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility of a mistranslation. Not all Aramaic words translate into English or other languages. For example, in the Kabbalah, the personal name of God is sacred and was never to be spoken. His name was removed from religious texts.


    Gregg Braden challenges that interpretation with the help of Rabbi's and Jonathan Goldman; they suggest that his name is to be sung. In other words, it is about the vibrations.....the sound which leads to higher awareness and a spiritual opening. It was not to be spoken but sung. Just a small example of mis-understanding.
     
  22. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    A good older thread for discussion.
     
  23. Alexnovo

    Alexnovo Senior Registered

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    Deborah, Your are really getting at very big and profound issues in this thread, and I thank you for that. This discussion takes me back to the basic question from my philosophy classes, can we prove that the external world exists? in other words, back to Descartes dreaming hypothesis. Using Reason to look for proof of facts, cannot take us, according to Descartes' early works, out of our own mind. Using his reasoning, I can prove that I exist, because I can think and even question my own existence; but beyond that, Reason cannot get us out of our own consciousness. While my consciousness may exist, I cannot even prove that my body exists much less any thing else in the external world including all of you readers - everything except my consciousness, therefore might be a dream. In other words, everything might be a figment of my imagination. Likewise I may be a figment of your imagination. You have imagined me typing this response. :D


    I say this not because I don't believe that the external world exists, but because I believe that everything we do is premised upon an unprovable, but utilitarian assumption that our senses give us reasonably accurate information about the external world (sometimes called "common sense" assumptions). Indeed I believe that science itself was created not to discover the ultimate truth, but to find "laws" that predict future events (e.g. if you do this, this will result). This is highly utilitarian and, I think, also a good way at getting closer to the ultimate truth. But now, I get the sense that science itself is running up against the underlying assumptions about the veracity of our senses of the external world. I am watching with amazement the advances in physics and the growing evidence that the universe is not as we perceive it (for example look at the recent discoveries lending support to the holographic principal).


    So where does this take me? I for one, am not ready to throw out all of my assumptions about the external world. For example, I am reasonably confident that you and the rest of the people out there, are indeed, out there as separate consciousnesses. However at the same time, I believe that what I perceive is such a small part of the bigger picture that I cannot be sure as to what that picture is. I like to think that my recovery of my past life memories, is a part of my evolution; in other words that I am beginning to develop an understanding that I exist not only in this physical reality (the one I perceive in my consciousness most of the time) but also in another reality that is either timeless, or of another time.


    Does any of this make sense? I hope so.
     
  24. -barry-

    -barry- New Member

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    My thought on this is that it isn't an either/or question - either the outer world is real or only consciousness is real. Rather, I see there being many layers of consciousness, each providing a different form of perception and experience - and hence a different kind of "reality".


    Ultimately, if you could strip away all consciousness, what do you have? Pure Being. This can be experienced directly as what we call a moment of enlightenment or awakening.


    An attribute of Being is consciousness, and layers of consciousness are wrapped around it, as it were.


    First, there is the consciousness of pure Being itself - "I am". This is blissful in the extreme!


    Then there is the consciousness of alternatives - "What else could I be? What am I not?" This gives rise to the conceptual realm of opposites and dualities.


    I have noticed both from personal experience and from others' accounts that slipping into this dualistic level occurs more or less instantly after an awakening experience. The bliss then starts to fade as thoughts take over. That's not a "bad" thing though - it's the nature of consciousness to keep flowing, to expand itself by asking questions.


    Then to explore our questions at the level of duality we drop into a level of consciousness that is very constrained - wired into a brain made out of matter. This modifies our consciousness such that our experience is dominated by sensory inputs - sensations, images, sounds. This creates the sense of being "in" a body as well as the belief in the physical world as the primary or sole reality.


    By meditating we can reverse the process, so to speak. First we let go of the overwhelming sensory input. This puts us in touch with our inner thoughts and feelings, and these slowly but steadily resolve themselves into a simple flow of consciousness itself. Then it's just another step of letting go to directly experience pure Being. :)


    -barry-
     
  25. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    An interesting older thread for reflection.
     
  26. John Tat

    John Tat Senior Registered

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    I believe my consciousness is within one of my three identities My pure identity and awareness. Everything I am that is not physical.


    My pure self told me you are in touch with your consciousness when you can do the following. You are dreaming and while you are dreaming you can step back and say to yourself


    "I'm Deborah and I'm having this dream while I'm asleep in my bed at home.. try doing that
     
  27. BriarRose

    BriarRose Senior Registered

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    That's call lucid dreaming, John. It's a well known phenomenon, and many of us practice it. Do you have experience with it?
     
  28. John Tat

    John Tat Senior Registered

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    Yes It happens to me all the time


    As soon as I say who I am and I'm asleep in my bed at home I instantly wake up


    When I wake up I have either vivid memories of my past or incredible insight into why I believe what I do.


    Because the vivid memories are exact, such as the backyard at my parents home when I was around four years old and I see everything as it was then , even the hole in the back fence I used to look through to look at the kids next door play, the scratch on the garage door, the items stacked up in the backyard shed all long forgotten memories and there they are as though I was four years old again, leads me to believe the insight this gives me on what I believe must be just as accurate.
     
  29. Mere Dreamer

    Mere Dreamer Senior Registered

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    John, THIS right here is the type of remembering many of us experience when we remember a past life. This is the quality of memory we encounter, and the details are verifiable in many cases. You are conscious of yourself as having once been the four year old and you remember details that you had since forgotten, as an adult. For us it is the same, only we are remembering another lifetime. We know that we are no longer "four years old" or even the same body, and yet we remember those moments we lived in just this way.
     
  30. John Tat

    John Tat Senior Registered

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    Mere Dreamer


    Great reply I now understand As I said if those memories are so accurate then what is your opinion that the same experience's lead my beliefs in such a different direction to yours? My beliefs of us being three separate identities in one which makes it impossible for us to be only our souls is not just a little different it is way different
     

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