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Science of Mind – For Real

I opened my eyes from my morning meditation and on the nearby Persian rug, my cat was similarly reposed in her Sphinx position.

Our eyes met briefly and I was moved to think of what my friend Michael Jeffreys says so often, that “what is looking out of your eyes is the same thing that is looking out of mine.” I had never completely bought into this idea because clearly our emotions and thoughts (the content of what we might call consciousness, even between twins) are clearly different.

But of course the deeper question is: what is thinking? And what is aware of our thoughts? (Another thought (can’t be thinking…), or perhaps “something else” entirely?)

We understand that our brains (and perhaps even our cells) record these experiences as memories, but how does all of this happen? And how is it that my cat and I seem to have experiences (live, as it were) and yet the laptop on which I write this, as intelligent as it may be, has never had a thought or presumably an experience?

These are questions that conventional science generally ignores as “unknowable” but with advances in neuroscience, biology and quantum physics, we seem to be getting closer – at least in terms of noticing that these issues form the very boundaries of our ability to know anything for certain.

And yet certainty, as a result of investigation, is the basis of our science, despite the fact that what we knew for certain only 50 years ago has changed or been proved wrong.

I believe that the next frontier of science is precisely what Eckhart Tolle calls “no thing” – nonmaterial energy or even, dare I say it, pure intelligence.

To me the true nature of Life, what some call Consciousness, Being, Awareness or even God, is the most interesting and compelling subject of all. I have always sensed that there is “something else” besides what we can tangibly see or understand, and most recently I have discovered numerous other teachings that suggest that it is Everything (David Bohm) and it is also “Me.” (Mooji)

This Thursday I will be privileged to attend an event that brings together some of the greatest minds in this field. SAND, or Science and Nonduality in San Jose, held this year at the luxurious Dolce Hayes Mansion will be a forum for discussion of these issues from a scientific perspective.

And what is “Nonduality”? Duality is the structure of our minds – we judge and think in zeroes and ones, opposites, hot and cold, yes and no, etc.

So Nonduality is whatever might be the basis for our minds, beyond that structure, and therefore beyond the conditioning that separates us from truth.

This again is the area that conventional science avoids so it will be fascinating to approach these issues, which have turned some scientists (Einstein) into mystics who have refused to simply use the word God, or supernatural theories, to explain what is.

There are those who say that the ONLY thing we know for sure is “I am” – we are here – and that there seems to be something which we call “Mind” which knows this. Everything else can be “deconstructed” logically or disproven.

A close friend introduced me to the work of Ernest Holmes, who actually started a teaching called, literally, the Science of Mind, which describes a power present in nature that we can use.

Others talk about energies, “the Force” and of course others (Tao, Christ, and so on).

One of my favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, writes that there is an intelligence far greater than the one we attribute to our thoughts which runs our breathing, digestion, circulation and for that matter, all of life. In fact we have discovered this as a code far more complex than anything humans have programmed –DNA.

But again, conventional science has avoided all of this until recently, and organized religion has claimed to have the “answers”. This week in San Jose I will get what Michael calls “the latest.”

I will be writing about this conference for Collective Evolution and sharing my own thoughts, and I can’t wait to get started.

The Challenge of Unconsciousness

Perhaps the biggest challenge one faces is to remain conscious in the face of unconsciousness.

Consciousness, characterized by openness, discernment and empathy can quickly dissolve when the violence, irrationality obtuseness of another person or bureaucratic system trigger deeply rooted automatic responses to protect and assert one’s deeply conditioned “identity.”

Noticing these instances repeatedly can begin to create a space in which everything is recognized as “naturally perfect” and the degree of unconsciousness experienced begins to abate.

In this space, rest, relaxation, silence and attention to breath serve to gradually envelope the remaining unconscious energy—or not. Some manifestations of unconsciousness are impervious to the influence of reason or love; they are best avoided, ignored or finessed. Sometimes unconsciousness must even be met with conscious force, but never out of fear or “personal” anger but simply as a means of survival of the present form.

How does one recognize the existence of consciousness in contrast to its opposite? Trick question: it has no opposite. As Eckhart Tolle says, “the opposite of death is not Life, it is birth.” Life, Consciousness or Reason has no opposite.

True consciousness is apparent in its impartiality and impersonality, its support of life and natural functions, and its mirroring of the intelligent aspects of Nature — including the mathematical principles of Phi (growth – Golden Mean – Fibonacci sequence) and symmetry (Pi). Another way to express this is a conscious movement toward love over fear.

But consciousness operates beyond the thinking brain—it is felt when every cell of every organ works harmoniously with the external world, and no differentiation begins to emerge between what is “within” and “without.” The individual self still functions as part of this dynamic but only to serve reciprocal energies passing through within the moment, and in sacred submission to a much higher Intelligence.

This equilibrium is a state of joy – as opposed to the conditioned “happiness” one anticipates in the fulfillment of an externally programmed “goal.” It comes with the acceptance of the moment as it unfolds without judgment.

What is eventually noticed is that this nameless quality of consciousness precedes Everything; without it Existence could not Be. In the face of this traditional science crumbles in the same way that rationality simply surrenders when one looks up as an infinite night sky.

One does not need to know it as “God”. One only need feel it as Awe.



Money and the Meaning of Life – Jacob Needleman


“God gently reassures him [Man] that the deepest contradictions of human life are not to be solved but to be lived in full consciousness of their contradictoriness.”

— Jacob Needleman writing in “Money and the Meaning of Life” (226) quoting Isma’il Al-Faruqi, “On the Ethics of the Brethren of Purity” – Muslim World, July, 1960

Needleman continues “What is most necessary for man and what is given to him in abundance are experiences, especially experiences of the forces within him. This is his most essential food, his most essential wealth. If man consciously receives all of this abundance, the universe will pour into him what is called life in Judaism, spirit in Christianity, light in Islam, power in Taoism.”

To me, the key word here is “consciously” — to “consciously receive” does not mean to hungrily seek and acquire (or to visualize material wealth) — but rather to accept what IS with gratitude and awe. In Needleman’s terms this is the true meaning of conscience, to maintain attention in both the outer and inner worlds—in deference to the struggle between them.

This level of consciousness may serve to reconcile the contradictions — but Life is to be trusted, certainly beyond the intellect and what Life offers is beyond the judgment of the human mind—and if one looks at the heavens at night—beyond its capacity to comprehend.

Needleman: “I would say that one needs money to live and survive in the outer world, to fulfill one’s obligations to the community and to nature, but that above and beyond this, the role of money is to serve as the instrument for getting understanding. We come to the bottom of civilization if instead of understanding we are going after ‘information.’ Information is the plastic version of understanding. Just as bank cards stand to gold, as easy and deadly credit stands to honest need, obligation and giving…”

Money and the Meaning of Life (excerpt)

An Awakened Moment

When I opened my eyes from meditation this morning my cat Eva was sitting silently by my left foot.

As I looked down at her in wonder I realized that in her stillness she was in perfect harmony with the natural world, her ears attentively taking in frequencies I could only imagine, and in her own way probably meditating as well. In that space she was also attuned to Life itself and I was grateful for how she had shown me to accept what is instead of what I thought should be – and the wisdom that I had accumulated in the three years we’ve been together…

And then she yawned – and I realized that once again my mind had tricked me into believing a bunch of crap.

I laughed out loud, and in that moment, I was free.

Juice Cleanse: A Nuclear Option for Leaving My Comfort Zone

I love food. I did not realize how much until I began this little experiment.

Recently I wrote about thinking of food as a software program; if DNA is code, then the zeroes and ones you put into your system through nutrition chemically effect the information in your cells and your system “operates” differently.

This was pounded into my head by my health coach and holistic healer friend Darko Juric who used another computer analogy – “garbage in, garbage out” to drive the point home.

This week I am going a step further – I am embarking on a three day “juice cleanse” to flush out my system and remove toxins – I suppose this would be the equivalent of a virus and malware scan and presumably a system “update” for my operating system.

Day 1: Made it to my afternoon nap with lots of thinking about lunch. Took an Epson salt bath which refreshed me and gave me a bit of energy but no desire to go out and need lots of trips to the bathroom. Have Wimbledon to watch on DVR in the evening but the conditioning of building my evening around dinner is a distraction.

I watched a movie I had recorded – “The Prestige” – about two rival magicians who try to top one another, and one of them seems to do “real magic” – using advanced science – he contacts the historical figure Nicolai Tesla whose knowledge was so advanced that he was ruined by his rival, Thomas Edison.

Day 2: When I woke up I felt like crap, but then I remembered that this is the same way I feel on most days when my eyes first open–lethargic. I got moving by going out and turning on the air conditioner and PC, and cleaning the litter box, and discovered that the first water of the day was Aloe Vera – Mental Clarity.

I drank and got liquid into my system and my mood improved. I continued my routine of starting slowly and giving myself space, and noticed that the absence of “real” food was again very conditioned, and mental. My body did not feel hungry or even that weak.

I considered “normal” food and realized that the main aspects I was missing was chewing and biting – which I would be able to do again in another day and a half. There was also the issue of “taste;” but again I knew of taste mainly as a mental “concept,” as my friend Michael Jeffreys would say.

Michael had also advised me to “be the scientist” and I was approaching this experience as an experiment: what if my body is sluggish due to toxins and sludge that a cleanse would flush out? Wasn’t it worth a try? And how would “I” react in the face of discomfort, fatigue, irritability and craving for a hamburger?

I soon realized that food or “meals” were simply conditioned intervals in my day that gave it meaning and structure. Sometimes they were a container for social interaction but often they simply “filled up” other kinds of emptiness which I could notice and accept – certainly for a couple of days.

The activity of preparing the meal, planning it and even shopping again gave my day structure.

(I realize that those who work a full schedule and raise families are saying, “what is with this guy, how does he have so much time to fill” – consider how these conditioned behaviors fill your day and what might happen if they were suddenly gone. Right now I am quite fortunate, but not long ago the sudden disappearance of these structures made me very anxious).

When I was tour guide I noticed how some people were very uneasy on “vacation” unless they planned many activities which they were able to report back on their return. Only a few just soaked in freedom.

In many ways these “meal intervals” are a pointer to how much reality is “pure information” – and again mirrors the “virtual or encoded” software of our computers. How is that, you say?

Well if our life were a computer animation that was “programmed”, these intervals would be the “key frames” between we unconsciously fill space with automatic activities unless we are “present.”

Without key frames, life becomes “meaningless” but as you “deconstruct” reality you realize that all such meaning is “overlayed” onto a Life that is simply empty of “real” meaning.

For example, where are the lines of latitude and longitude, or borders between countries or states, on our actual planet?

As we look deeper, as I am trying to do in this cleanse, more and more of our habitual understanding of a world that in of itself is devoid of actual “concepts” falls away, and yet a deeper clarity of a far greater intelligence emerges. My body functions without the habitual movements—I breathe, move, eliminate and even think. And most important, without the habitual interludes of distraction, Life keeps moving.

In another day I can have a “real” breakfast.

Day 3: Upon arising I went to the fridge to see what today’s juicery looked like and decided to start with a Lavender Phenol water – having no idea what it was. I found it delightfully refreshing and got me going, with the added realization that my cleanse would end today.

For “breakfast” I am having a concoction of Kale, Cucumber, Parsley, Celery, Spinach and Romaine, while dreaming of an omelet, pancakes or bagel, lox and cream cheese…

In terms of bodily awareness, I had a headache yesterday and it got worse when my DVR failed to record Wimbledon, and the Tennis Channel gave away the results at the opening of the evening broadcast.

But I could hear rumblings all through my digestive track as my stomach asked “WTF”?

But I have a sense that my intestines, colon and kidneys were expressing a bit gratitude that the usual crud was not going through the system, and that they were getting flushed and cleaned.

At least I hope that was what was happening.

It reinforced the sense that we identify so strongly with our thoughts (and in this case my thoughts are gravitating toward FOOD) that we forget the significance of our “hardware”.

Everything internal is connected by design (let’s not get into the religious argument here) – and of course the internal and external are basically mental constructs anyway. Seen from a higher perspective, our “physical” existence is part of EVERYTHING although we tend to sense ourselves as separate, vulnerable, frail and potentially victimized entities unless we support our “selves” with sustenance – food, drugs, alcohol, sex, relationships, money, power, fame and of course, food.

And the notion of food is far reaching—embracing the social aspect of meals and all of its ramifications.

Another powerful insight on this cleanse that my female friends don’t seem to appreciate is the potential healing quality of irritability and complaining. Dark humor brings an inner smile as I realize the absurdity of various situations, and the fact that I apparently chose to do this is incredibly ironic to me.

Of course that brings up the conundrum of “who” chose, and free will. That one will give me another headache.

A Proposed Hierarchy of Awareness


Thought has been getting a bad rap lately in various circles. Ever since Eckhart Tolle pointed out that there is an awareness that observes thought, so that a thought itself cannot be “me”, all hell has broken loose.

Of course a central problem is that we mainly think in words, and words form the basis for much of our conditioning, so the realization that the persistent thought “I am a mess” is not “me” is extremely helpful.

And as anyone who meditates knows, the ability to observe a series of thoughts and not attach or identify with them, creates “space” for other types of inquiry and experience. We become less and less caught up in any one thought or pattern of thinking.

Inevitably, however, the question of free will comes upas we try to discern whether the thought “I want to get up” causes the action that makes us go to the kitchen. My friend Michael Jeffreys, in his deconstruction, points out that “we don’t make any thought happen so what makes us think that a thought that happens of itself has any power?”

We can even go as far as to negate the reality of thought entirely when we again recognize that there is an awareness beyond thought, that can observe our thoughts, and it appears after the actions that seem to result from them have already occurred. Life never stands still.

We sometimes call this quality of mind “consciousness,” and there are teachings that maintain that the awareness of consciousness is in fact “all” that there is that we know for sure—that the brain does not take in but rather projects the outside world entirely.

It is difficult to refute such an argument, but when it’s time to go to Trader Joe’s it’s a lot easier to assume that we can get in the car and drive because we need food and it’s “out there.”

It seems to be much less painful to live “as if” there is a real world “out there” beyond our thoughts.

And it is also very helpful to accept the world as it presents itself, regardless of our thoughts. The entire Eastern concept of suffering, or Samsara, is based on the illusion created by an overly powerful mind that “thinks” it knows better than reality. We can see some of that in hubris of modern science which sometimes believes “Nature made a mistake” and “we” can do better.

So how can we approach these issues, using our flawed language, and understand them more deeply?

It helps immensely to look at the language we are using more closely. For example, teachers like Rupert Spira point out that when we examine the subject-object structure of the way we communicate with words, it is easy to see where the notion of “ownership” by a self came from – for every action (verb) there seems to be a doer (subject).

E.g., “I had a dream”…

Or when we say “it is raining”, what is the it? And again, when we say “I feel bad”, who is the I – when we discern that there is always an awareness that knows what is being felt, sensed or thought, we move “above” thought, as Eckhart Tolle says. When we numb ourselves with drugs or alcohol, or habitually follow conditioned patterns, we are “below” thought.

But what about thought itself. We may compare thought to software, and it has many similarities in that it seems to “trigger” events and solve problems. But where is this realization pointing?

But if we’ve used computers, we have confronted the following set of circumstances:

We have tried to perform a task, like create a report from data, and it doesn’t seem to work. We may even open the manual, but the language of the manual is obtuse and we cannot follow it. We try the task over and over but we are stuck in the realm of thought.

We think we are doing it right, and we’re attached to our concept of how it ought to be, but it is not working.

Then we go from thought to an idea that takes us “outside” of our “selves”. We’ll call an expert and we dial tech support.

This idea takes some courage to implement, as we all know. We might encounter more linguistic frustration by being connected to someone in India or the Philippines; but let’s assume we have an experienced friend who has used the software more extensively and has experienced the same issue.

This friend, or someone competent at tech support, takes us through the steps and now explains the operation from the point of view of the program (or the programmer who designed it).

Suddenly the entire process “makes sense” – we have gone from Thought – to Idea – to Insight or Realization.

In many ways we have taken our “selves” out of it in order to make space for the “solution” to unfold.

I had an epiphany along these lines last year, when I was invited to Chicago for a weekend to celebrate the marriage of a niece I had never met by a cousin with whom I had recently reunited and bonded.

I wanted to go but was anxious about getting out of my comfort zone and had many “thoughts” about what could go wrong. I could get stranded, delayed, lost, stuck on the tarmac, lose my stuff or massively inconvenienced, and these thoughts were inhibiting me from taking the trip.

When I expressed these fears (thoughts with a powerful self-attached) to Michael Jeffreys in the Santa Monica Eckhart Tolle Meetup Group, he said, “what if you went to Chicago (and none of that happened) and you had a really good time?”

This came from beyond my “self” and was a new Idea. It had not appeared among my thoughts previously, which had been all self/fear-based.

Suddenly I laughed (a common reaction to insight or realization) and said, “I never thought of that.”

Again, it seems to me that I had gone from a coarser, materially controlled sense of experience (a threatened self) to a broader perspective (someone else’s input or idea) to a “finer” realization of a much higher frequency (hence the insight and laughter): I did not know the outcome (and it could be favorable).

And in fact, I went into the trip without expectations and open, and had a blast.

A big part of the experience was the ability to meet every situation “fresh” – without the need to orchestrate or control the outcome – and accept it as it unfolded. In fact, when my cousin picked me up in the car in Chicago and told me I was going directly to dinner downtown, instead of to my hotel for a nap, I had no choice but to surrender… And nothing horrible happened.

I now find it immensely helpful to attempt to create space and use my awareness to discern the quality of thoughts that arise – and let them go unless they have the taste of an idea, or occasionally, an insight or realization.

As I’ve learned, ordinary thought is just sound in my skull, like the traffic going by, and frequently negative bringing up a “problem” that I didn’t even know I had.

And such negative, habitual low frequency thoughts can easily become obsessive.

But beginning to notice different qualities of the same energy as ideas or insights, and not “taking credit” for them as an “I”, gives me the ability to potentially effect a different outcome from one that other thoughts might have envisioned.

Is there a “me” freely doing any of this? I am now prone to dismiss this entire issue as a “word trap”.

And what about the use of the word “Divine” in the diagram above – certainly modern science would frown upon such language.

When I look out at the stars and galaxies, which can take me easily beyond thought or ideas, I have a profound realization – I don’t know. My language is incapable of grasping the “meaning” of what I perceive from “my” own limited perspective.

I can only fathom that there is Something far Greater than my own limited capacity to “think” that comprehends the vastness that is HERE and obviously EXISTS.

It is an experience beyond my mind to grasp. Neuroscience tells me it is all happening within my brain, so it in fact IS Mind, but hardly a mind for which “I” can take credit.

To “me” this becomes the ultimate insight or realization—awe and humility in the face of experience that none of my thoughts cannot comprehend, and that the “I” that I think I may be, and need to get to Trader Joe’s, is nothing in comparison to… this infinite and vast Intelligence called Life.

Going Beyond the “Yes-No” Computer

Biocentrism is a new “theory of relativity” or potential “theory of everything” — rethinking our view of reality relative to our biology – and finally inclusive of consciousness. According Dr. Robert Lanza and Robert Berman, the authors of ‘Biocentrism’: How Life Creates the Universe“, Life is primary, not the accidental occurrence of a random and lifeless universe.

Our biology therefore is the basis for our notion of reality, and our experience (which science has not accounted for) include a Consciousness that seems to exist outside of Space/Time – an infinite intelligence.

Let’s try to understand this experientially. We all use computers today, with software that “works” in the real world.

Let’s more deeply examine the computer analogy. We use a binary computer – only two values – 0 and 1 – the next value in the sequence which we think of as “2” is 10 in the binary system. 3 in the binary system is 11, 4 is 100, so that only the symbols “1” and “0” hold value. This is the power of “0” – we do not need infinite symbols to count until… the end…

For calculation we use the decimal system – we have separate symbols for 1 – 9, and then the next value is 10, and so on.

So why do we use the binary system in our computers? The most obvious answer is that each calculation is an electric switch, which is either on or off. This allows it to be electrically “switched” according to software instructions within the silicon chips that calculate at massive speed.

If you think of a light switch – there is no dimmer, or three level switch, which might represent a “trinary” system. That would be too complicated and expensive to manufacture.

(A “trinary” belief system – what a concept: The Father, Son and the Holy Ghost?)

It also turns out that “our” brains run on a binary system – sometimes known as “dualism”. We “see” things generally in opposites – Yin/Yang, masculine/feminine, on/off, good/bad or yes/no.

(So perhaps we created the computer software “in our image?”)

Language provides us with finer shades of meaning; instead of black and white, words let us think in areas of “gray”, but again our language is structured as binary – subject and object (and noun and verb).

This dupes us into “thinking” we comprehend reality as it is. But there is no such structure in nature – there are no subjects and objects – there is only movement. Nature, or Life, never stops. As Buckminster Fuller wrote, “I think I am a verb.” For a really clear presentation of this, I suggest watching almost any video by Rupert Spira.

So as we examine nature from a Biocentric perspective, and begin to integrate a sense of the meaning of Consciousness, the first thing we must take into account is the limitations imposed by our own dualistic (yes/no) brain – and its limited thought structure.

If we consider that a binary system of only two symbols is obviously restricted (we already know of another system of calculation which uses ten symbols before the Zero – our decimal system), can we begin to imagine as system with NO restriction.

Not a binary system, not a decimal system, but a system beyond the limitations of our thought entirely?

That would be the beginning of a recognition of the scale of Consciousness.

It is interesting to comprehend this in the realm of “prime” numbers. Primes are numbers only divisible by themselves and “1” and as you get larger their frequency obviously diminishes, but theoretically there would be an “infinite” number of prime numbers (there would always be something higher).

In a recent “thought experiment” on this topic I pointed out that with the help of supercomputers (still calculating using an on/off, yes/no, dualistic and binary system (like our brains), “the largest prime number has been calculated, each time as a result of more processing power. The record is currently held by 243,112,609 − 1 with 12,978,189 digits.”

If you try to conceptualize this it may give you a headache. (I suspect it would strain the processing power of your brain – but not the processing power, presumably, of Consciousness – stay with me here…)

Consciousness as has been speculated is beyond the space/time limitations of our brains – and truly “Infinite”.

Consider other so-called infinite constants—Pi, or the relationship between the radius and circumference of a circle – 3.14 etc. and Phi, or the “Golden Mean” or 1.618 – which is the ratio of the famous Fibonacci sequence of numbers where each equal to sum of the previous two numbers – each imperfectly (not a “whole” number) expressing a perfect relationship found in nature.

(Both relationships are also, apparently, expressed in many ancient monuments including most famously the Great Pyramid—could they be a sign of a deeper comprehension of Consciousness as Primary?)

To us, as Deepak Chopra has said, Infinite is “just a concept” of our yes/no brain for something truly unfathomable. Try grasping infinite by going out and looking at the stars and trying to figure out what is “outside”. You cannot mentally do it. It strikes you in your heart, gut and body.

In his recent Workshop on “What is Enlightenment?” Michael Jeffreys made the interesting point that Infinity “is not just one more thing–higher or bigger” – such as the next largest prime number or decimal place, and then the next one, and then just one more…

Infinite would = ALL. EVERYTHING. That is Consciousness.

Compared to our own supercomputers, or even our brain, both running binary “code” – and remember that our DNA is also “code” – Consciousness would be beyond any limitations of a binary, decimal or million or trillion-based system.

The “base” of Consciousness would literally be incalculable.

Our science, limited also by dualistic and binary thought, has finally come up against this on the quantum level, where space/time makes no “sense” without an Observer – or the reference point of Consciousness –the present moment.

To truly understand Nature and Reality, we must (as Biocentrism suggests) begin to comprehend the “scale” of Consciousness, or the basis for our very existence – and of course the word is merely a pointer to the reality of what Life is… “biologically” or “organically”.

The question becomes, can our current “religion” (belief system) of science, which assumes our existence as a given and absolute perspective (because Consciousness is too complicated to consider), begin to work objectively with this scale of being?

After all, the Infinite does exist. Look into the sky at night. And look into yourself and notice what has been “seeing” everything. It is not your thoughts or your emotions.

As Eckhart Tolle says, it is something the mind cannot understand (as a binary yes/no) system.

It is “no-thing”

It is what some have called God or Source. And it is what science and Biocentrism are beginning to comprehend as an infinite intelligent energy that is simply here and EVERYTHING: Consciousness.


Biocentrism – the New Relativity

Recently I was introduced to the work of Robert Lanza, a respected biologist and researcher in stem cell therapy who is also an executive with Advanced Cell Technology, a biotech company in Massachusetts.

Although he may not refer to his concept as “biophysics,” Lanza effectively opens the floodgates to a scientific discussion of the main obstacle facing science, philosophy and psychology today:

“There is nothing in modern physics that explains how a group of molecules in a brain creates consciousness. The beauty of a sunset, the taste of a delicious meal, these are all mysteries to science — which can sometimes pin down where in the brain the sensations arise, but not how and why there is any subjective personal experience to begin with.

And, what’s worse, nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter. Our understanding of this most basic phenomenon is virtually nil. Interestingly, most models of physics do not even recognize this as a problem.”

Deepak Chopra refers to such aspects of experience as “qualia”, and echoes Lanza’s remarks in terms of conventional science’s reluctance to address the subject of consciousness – or the ground level of our actual experience.

Interestingly the TED conferences, where Lanza has also spoken, recently removed two lectures by other speakers who speculated about the nature of human consciousness in ways their colleagues deemed “unscientific.”

Of course, even a cursory knowledge of Quantum Physics tells us that experiments on a molecular level have shown that our measurement or observation of a phenomenon is an integral part of its manifestation – we cannot take ourselves out of the process and view it “objectively.” (Lanza discusses the famous “slit experiment” also seen in “What the Bleep” that demonstrated that an electron can act as a particle in one situation, and as a wave in another, depending upon observation).

I addressed this issue in a blog I wrote some time ago proposing, lightheartedly, a new theory of “Bio-Relativity” where reality is based on a formula such as M = C/P – where Mind is a function of consciousness based on physiology. I made the point that it is easy to speculate on the different reality experienced by a dolphin, that “sees” through sonar, or a dog, that “sees” through nostrils thousands of times more sensitive than our own.

Dr. Lanza uses the term “Biocentrism” and argues eloquently for an opening within the scientific community to accept the obvious fact that our own consciousness is the lens through which we see everything – so that the religion of scientific objectivity is unfortunately revealed as flawed.

Everything is truly open to question when this reality “lands”, as my friend Michael Jeffreys likes to say.

Michael goes so far in “deconstructing” what we think we “know” by showing that all we really see are colors and shapes—calling something a “pen” for example already introduces “an overlay” of conceptual judgment that the pen itself is not.

In fact, what IS really out there, or “in here”? Michael tells the story of watching a video of a young boy singing “Amazing Grace” on YouTube, as a tribute to his mother who died of cancer, and how it brought tears to his eyes.

When he “came back” Michael realized that the “reality” of what had happened, and evoked such emotion, was the movement of a set of pixels on his computer monitor—nothing more.

All of the emotional content was really supplied by himself. Someone else might have reacted to the video completely differently or not at all.

I recently had a similar insight through a different set of pixels. Financial advisors have convinced me that without taking a bit of risk in the stock market, I will die poor if I live past a certain age. So, I have made some small speculative investments in companies represented by letters like “AAPL” and now, every morning, I can watch how my mood can be affected by seeing the numbers next to those symbols—if the color is green I am happy. Red, not so much.

In this way it becomes obvious that we literally (and I say that deliberately because language is such a key part of it) – we LITERALLY create our own word and the judgments about it that form our “qualia” or experience.

In therapy I began to understand my conditioning, for example, around money being safety, such that a set of numbers on a computer screen could make me feel secure or anxious.

If I pulled back, and observed my “Self”, I quickly realized that my day to day (or present) experience is no way reflected by that number on a computer screen – just as Michael Jeffreys had us realize that we our “selves” shaped our own reaction to a set of pixels moving on a screen.

Taken to a logical conclusion, everything and I do mean EVERYTHING is truly “us” – or our “Consciousness.” This is what mystics mean when they “merge” with the All – by deconstructing their selves they are left with only one Mind or Intelligence that is EVERYTHING.

The common reaction to this is, “but how can you live like this?” To me it is enormously helpful to objectively begin to witness how my conditioned “I” shapes my experience, like the suffering I can endure if AAPL goes down. But the world itself has not changed one iota. If I hug my cat and put my attention on her, the stock market is no more.

A famous quote that gives context to these realizations is “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T. S. Eliot – from his work, “The Wasteland”.

That is the problem for this kind of work – when we begin to see the “overlay” we begin to lose interest in what is “out there” and like Dr. Lanza, focus our attention on our “Selves”.

Others may see this is self-absorbed; often they want us to take great trips or go on adventures, but to us, the greatest adventure is to discover, as Eckhart Tolle says, the “structure” of our thoughts instead of working with their “content.”

Some have called Dr. Lanza one of the great scientific minds of our time, and with his impact on biological research, and the work of others in the area of neuroscience, I do believe that inroads can be made in truly understanding “the nature of Consciousness” – even from the “inside.”

In the meantime it is helpful, when stressed, to remember the immortal words of the comic strip Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Thinking of Food as a Software Program

It’s the premise of this blog that consciousness is not “like” computer software as a metaphor, but rather it IS a computer program in its real existence as mental intelligent energy.

The source code for “our software” is found in DNA, which also acts as a storage center (hard drive) for the software which we “run” as “Us”. (Click the link for a Wall Street Journal article on the findings).

So what do we know about software, from our own experience?

Well we already know that based on written symbols (code) a different set of actions (programs) can launch and run, resulting in different sets of experiences – in such a way the computer simulates “human” thought.

So what about our sense of “Self”? The feeling about “us” that we take without questioning is “real”?

Consider this —

Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? This is a profound question raised by neuroscience as it studies our hardware – i.e., the brain and nervous system (which I like to call an awareness system).

In I Am a Strange Loopneuroscientist Douglas Hofstadter argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a special kind of abstract feedback loop inhabiting our brains. The most central and complex symbol in your brain is the one called “I.” The “I” is the nexus in our brain, one of many symbols seeming to have free will and to have gained the paradoxical ability to push particles around, rather than the reverse.

How can [such] a mysterious abstraction be real—or is our “I” merely a convenient fiction? Does an “I” exert genuine power over the particles in our brain, or is it helplessly pushed around by the laws of physics?

Let me digress to the teachings of a mystic and philosopher, G.I. Gurdjieff, who also suggested that we have “three brains” (intellectual, emotional and physical) and that we actually process (digest) three types of food: air (as breath), nutrition (actual “food”) and impressions (thoughts/feelings).

P.D. Ouspensky, another philosopher who popularized portions of the Gurdjieff work in his seminal work, In Search of the Miraculous, describes the nutritional system (all three types of foods) as forming different “I”‘s or selves until they are integrated through intense self observation and psychological work.

His work suggests that under proper circumstances, Impressions (received through the senses) are converted into the finer energies or substances needed for Higher Intellectual or Higher Emotion centers to develop within the organism – but these conditions do not exist naturally at our current level of being.

Due our inner fragmentation into multiple “I”‘s or centers, the shock necessary for the proper processing of impressions is consistently thwarted by the various ego and mental illusions that distract the organism. Our current state of being prevents and obstructs us in from summoning the consistent attention necessary for the proper processing of Impressions to take place naturally.

Another way to describe this is that as a complex organism we have a main “operating system” that we consider ourselves – which “grows” as we derive our conditioned identity through our parents, peers and “education.”

But Gurdjieff/Ouspensky suggest that this “normal” sense of self is illusory – actually a series of ego and mental illusions, that interfere with alignment with our true nature – consciousness – or a proper connection to higher intellectual and emotional “centers” – Life itself.

Evidence of this can be found by simply loading a different set of “programs” as “real food” – namely energetic input through nutrition that is “healthy”. I “experimented” with his recently when a friend suggested I change my diet in the morning (when I felt sluggish and negative) with a different set of chemicals listed here:

Daily Shake for breakfast

  • 1 banana
  • 4 strawberries
  • 1 spoonful blueberries
  • 1 spoonful goji berries
  • 1 teaspoon maca powder
  • 1 tespoon acai powder
  • 1 teaspoon cacao powder
  • 2 glasses of coconut water
  • piece of ginger
  • teaspoon honey
  • 3 shakes of cinnamon powder

What I believe happened as a result is that my operating system of Ego was modified sufficiently to see myself as less “separated” or differentiated from nature, and consequently more lucid and energetic.

While my DNA (software code) in the nuclei of my cells remains the same, its “activation” has been altered chemically – different software is running within me.

This concept of environment (Life) or energy input activating software (like a mouse click on the computer) is the new field of Epigenetics and also, as Hofstadter’s work suggests, the current trend in neuroscience.

The Newtonian materialistic universe has been replaced by Quantum Physics; energy (nonmaterial reality – including thought and intelligence) – also known as “software” – is part of our organic/biochemical “nature” – and we can feel its influence.

I suggest that you also think of “chemistry” and “biology” in terms of software – and the periodic table of elements as software “code” for how this “program” of Nature “operates.

Some of these chemicals when combined as “molecules” are classified as “organic” – but what does this mean?

It simply means that a different level of programming is operational – higher conscious energies are at work – Consciousness “lives” through their manifestation and expression. (Wikipedia describes the table as a “tabular display” of the (known) chemical elements – if you compare it to “sequenced” DNA it is just our own English symbols for Life and Nature – it is not Nature itself – it is “code” for Nature – or software).

Within “our” consciousness we have developed an artificial and basically arbitrary set of programs that we think of as “Me”.

Most important, this illusory operating system of a single, separate self apart from Nature/Life can be over ridden by a new layer of programming.

The result is a deeper connection with Life and a sense of “joy” – not the ephemeral “happiness” that the mass media promises through material gain, but an energetic connection that runs experientially deeper and that begins to soften the egoic sense of “Me”.

This softened sense is less prone to anxiety and suffering because it begins to “trust Life” – it surrenders “control” because it begins to realize that “I am not inc charge of everything” – in fact, you can “do” very little in many, many circumstances.

It is interesting to speculate where this separated sense of a fixed, solid Egoic Self came from – is it the natural result of an evolved greater brain more able to survive through mental activity – as scientists would have us believe?

Or was there actually a “Fall of Man” – as the bible and some religion suggests, and might that have been an actual bit of genetic “tampering” with our organism to increase suggestibility through our Ego – and more readily control our actions?

I do not pretend to have the answer to these questions – and in fact I think they are more profoundly effective as deep QUESTIONS than as facile answers.

As open questions they again activate levels of software, in our brains and bodies, that more directly connect us to Life and decrease our sense of separation and ultimately the fear of death.

“Lord my body has been a good friend

But I won’t need it when I reach the end”

Cat Stevens (“Miles from Nowhere“)

It is precisely this deeply sensed fear of the extinguishing of our sensory and mental processes that increases the control of the mass media—through a fear of violence (terrorism) or sense of lack (not measuring up to standards).

These are the negative” impressions” Gurdjieff described in terms of reprogramming our three brains (consciousness) and again separating us from Life (higher centers).

As my friend Michael Jeffreys says, “don’t be a victim [under outside control] – become a ‘scientist'” and actually experiment with these energies.

You can see the same results with meditation and yoga as you do with nutrition – and they are actually new software programs not like a computer – but really and truly – in alignment with Life – truly higher energies that lead to a lessening of separation and an increase in vitality – which is again, another word for LIFE.

I Think I Am a Verb

(This is an excerpt from Presence of Mind: Journey to a New Operating System discussing Consciousness as a verb – a concept brought up by Deepak Chopra in last night’s live broadcast with Eckhart Tolle)

For my cat, an object or toy that is of absolutely no interest when stationary, becomes an item of intense examination and attraction when in motion. A hat dropped to the carpet, or a fake mouse tossed across the room elicits a spring into action and energetic attention.

David Bohm, a famed physicist and thinker, whose work attracted the admiration of both Einstein and Krishnamurti, suggested that our study of reality became flawed with its initial focus on things, or atomism.

Echoing some of Eckhart Tolle’s insights into the importance of both the structure as well as the content of thought, Bohm says that “the subject-verb structure of language, along with its world view, tends to impose itself very strongly in our speech, even in some cases where some attention would reveal its inappropriateness. For example, consider the sentence ‘it is raining.’

Where is the ‘It’ that would, according to the sentence, be doing the raining—in the same way we might suggest we are running?

Bohm suggests that it would be more accurate to say, rain is going on. And the same is true of running—the “I” is similarly an assumption.

Expanding on this concept, and bearing in mind the significance of the observer in quantum physics, Bohm goes on to say that our structural view of a separate observer and an observed object is similarly prejudiced by the language we use to consider its meaning.

In reality, according to Bohm, there is only a process of observing going on with whatever the object is – or may be doing.

Moreover he suggests a new experiment with language and thought he calls a “Rheomode” that puts the emphasis on the state of being – or the verb – rather than our structurally predisposed tendency to give primacy to the subject – a noun or a false sense of “I”.

Just rain is happening, running is happening, you are happening and I am happening, all as part of a greater complete Whole that Bohm calls the “Implicate Order,” and of which all of our thoughts and experiences are necessary fragmentations.

Above all, I would submit, Life is happening, and in many instances we operate under the illusion that we are in control. Occasionally, what happens may indeed correspond to our thoughts or expectations and we feel more powerful—the “I” which we assume to exist according to our mental conditioning takes the credit.

But what did the “I” actually “do” if the ego is a purely habitual mental construct? And what does this say about our negative emotions that pummel our inner “I” with rejection, humiliation and shame?

So, now that we also know that our own software mimics the activity of life on the level of genetic code—DNA is based on a set of coded instructions like software that tells genes how to express—let’s examine more closely what that actually means.

If we go back to the simple example of macro code cited earlier, which turns a rectangle red in Microsoft Word:

Sub red()

‘ red Macro

ActiveDocument.Shapes.AddShape(msoShapeRectangle, 93#, 43.5, 117.75, _


Selection.ShapeRange.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(192, 0, 0)

Selection.ShapeRange.Fill.Visible = msoTrue


End Sub

What is “happening” here is that based on a user input (click of the mouse), a subroutine (sub) “named red” will “run,” executing this code in the same way the geneticist (Juan Enriquez) said that an apple executes its (DNA) code and falls from the tree.

Two active verbs form the basis of this simple subroutine—Selection, which puts the attention of the Program on the shape whose color will be changed, and Fill, the activity which will ensue based on the coded instructions.

But there is no Subject doing anything.

Fill is happening to the Selection.

It is the result of data processing (happening) just as Life is simply being.

Remember, this is how Life and DNA also “work.”

The difference here is that rather than “data process” with chemicals in our body, for example, like proteins and amino acids, in our macro this simple set of coded instructions works with a property of silicon that puts those concepts into action programmatically, in this case to create text and graphics on a page.

If we examine our own lives and the conditioning that shapes us, it turns out that our automatic functions (habits) work exactly like the macro described above.

If you can “be the scientist,” as suggested by my friend Michael Jeffreys, and observe yourself carefully, as my therapist had me do early on, you will see that changing a habit comes down to three essential steps, as outlined in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg.

Each habit has three components – a trigger, a routine and a reward.

Performing an experiment with life –like changing a habit –you find that these steps conform perfectly to a simple computer program like a macro:

First, in a macro, the trigger an “event”–is “On Mouseclick” — the routine has the same name in programming — subroutine — and the reward is getting the desired result—like filling the rectangle with a new color.

Like a habit, the programming macro lets you run the same program again and again with just one keystroke (trigger)).

The first step toward changing a habit or conditioned response is observation and noticing – and then altering the reward with something that provides the same feeling (fulfillment) but is not self-destructive.

But consider the meaning of this – changing the conditioned responses of your brain (and its structure—neuroplasticity) involves rewriting (or rewiring) internally coded instructions— inner alchemy is reprograming your software.

This ability to mimic life through the coded instructions of symbols or language is why I consider the development of software an evolutionary event in our history.

Incidentally I take this opinion again directly from geneticist Juan Enriquez, who has suggested that we (our species) is now in a position to effect (if not control) its own evolution through our knowledge of DNA sequencing.

But I suggest that this aspect of software—its ability to actively mimic our intelligence symbolically as an active force in the world, and thereby demonstrate how life actually operates, makes it the most significant human achievement since the construction of the Great Pyramid.

Why is Mind a necessary primary attribute of these processes?

If we go back to our macro, a mind needed to “decide” on some level that the rectangle “should be” red.

Or rather, within the activity of a human mind, Redness will happen to the rectangle.

So “whose” mind contemplated the various purposes behind DNA?

The problem here is the again the structure of any sentence, if we go back to Bohm, the very assumption of a subject-object structure for it to be “understood” by our thoughts or language—solely the left brain.

Based on my personal experience (Life) it has become apparent that through meditation, it is possible to occasionally step into a “space” where “I” am not thinking, but thinking is happening within being, and an observing faculty or notices this.

As soon as “I” identify with the observer, the Subject returns to thought, the space and my state changes. Thought happens, the space disappears, and “I” return.

But within that space I can sense that Life happens through me and without “Me.”

As soon as “I” identify with the observer, the space and my state changes.

But within that space I can sense that Life happens through me and without “Me.”

“I am” – but what I am is Life, energy, movement—genetic code running –all beyond and besides my sense of who “I am” as a thing, group of words, set of stories, beliefs or attributes.

Any “thing” that I think “I am” is wrong.

As Buckminster Fuller titled one of his works, “I seem to be a verb.”

Where does that leave me?

Unfortunately, at one point I became isolated and separated from the majority of my fellow humans who live according to an entirely different set of beliefs.