Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thoughts on consciousness

Surely the issue of what has consciousness or does not is sourced in a mindset which sees or seeks 'separation' and denies or dismisses connectedness? In other words, what we define as consciousness is another form of separation sourced in ignorance and in mindset, i.e. what we believe is possible and what we expect it is possible to find.


A great deal of thought, time and effort can go into defining what consciousness is or could be and where it might be found or where it might be reasonable to assume it could exist, but since we do not know in essence what consciousness is or what its source or foundation might be, then is it not something of an impossible quest to seek to dictate what it could be and where it might exist? Having said that, I realise such explorations are invaluable as a part of any journey of understanding but it is also very easy to become distracted in that way of 'looking at the finger pointing at the moon' instead of 'looking at the moon.'


We believe consciousness exists, or rather we believe that which we call consciousness exists, in human beings and we deign to allow its presence in 'lesser' organisms to a small degree, dismissing much if not most of our material world as being without consciousness or being incapable of consciousness. This is cavalier at best and foolhardy at worst given that we simply do not know what consciousness is and therefore where and how it might manifest.


There was a time, not so long ago, when male-dominated society believed that women were not capable of 'full' or complete consciousness, i.e. intelligence, in the way that men were. That erroneous belief was eventually put to rest to a large degree in the Western world, but not completely, and is retained in much of the rest of the world, to lesser and greater degrees depending upon cultural influences.


There was also a time in the very near past when it was believed that babies were not capable of feeling in the  womb, reacting to stimuli outside the womb,


 feeling pain when circumcised and were in essence a 'blank slate' with little or no capacity for conscious processing in the first year at least. Few mothers would have believed that in the way that men were inclined to do so, particularly in the realms of science/medicine, and increasingly as research continues and develops, the error of this belief, assumption, dictat, or  mindset is being challenged.


It is impossible to assess just how much knowledge was lost during the years of patriarchal witch-hunts when most of those who ended up on the pyre were the healers and physicians of their time but we can gain a glimpse into lost knowledge by looking at 'stories' and 'tales' and 'mythical' beliefs which science in its arrogance has largely consigned to the 'old wives tales' heap.

And many of those make it very clear that in times past, often dismissed as primitive, people did believe that what happened in the outside world could affect the foetus. And these beliefs are common throughout many cultures. Then again, it was also common in many cultures for the healers, particularly women, to be demonised and destroyed and with them, their knowledge.


The point I am trying to make is that within our myths, legends, fairy-tales, spiritual teachings, poetry can be found insight into the human condition which makes it clear that all is connected and that this connection is a part of, not sourced in, but a part of something greater, eternal, constant and powerful.


And these stories also talk of 'consciousness' in all things - mountains, rivers, stones, flowers - everything. Astrology, one of the most ancient forms of divination and explanation and the mother of astronomy, is also sourced in a belief that the universe and everything in it, has consciousness. In times past these various forms of consciousness were called Gods - but what's in a name? Carl Jung would understand them as archetypes as Richard Tarnas, a contemporary author on the subject of astrology also attests.


But what is a 'god' but a form of consciousness?


If all is connected then  just as one cannot be half-pregnant, so one cannot be half-connected and that suggests consciousness is in and of us all: you, me, the cat, the carrot, the tree, the earth, the sand, the star ..... absolutely everything. And just as we did not have the mindset, experience, knowledge or capacity to understand just what a foetus might think or feel, how on earth can we say  whether or not a cloud, star, tree, ant has consciousness.


Perhaps when we accept that everything is an expression or manifestation of consciousness and therefore it 'has' or 'is' consciousness in its own way, we can rediscover wisdom which the ancients intuited long ago and in the doing find not only that 'god is in all things' but that 'all things are in god.'


NB: The use of the word God, god, 'God,' or 'god' has nothing to do with religion in any direct sense but is merely a term which 'describes' a force in this world, at work in this world, an intelligence which I believe is consciousness.






Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Things I have learned in life

I just read a post from someone listing 30 things they learned in life and thought I would do the same. I did not agree with some of his and I am sure many will not agree with some of mine, but it is not really the point. We are all different.
These are not in any particular order. And I added one for luck

1. Life is not fair but it is fascinating.
2. Life is too short and too precious, to waste much time looking ahead or looking back.
3. People matter, all the rest is things and stuff.
4. Deprivation breeds appreciation and familiarity breeds familiarity.
5. In every curse there is a gift and in every gift a curse.
6. Often life just is what it is and it will be until it isn't.
7. You might not be able to change things but you can always find meaning, purpose and fulfillment.
8. There is nothing so small or insignificant than it cannot be precious and rewarding.
9. You may not get what you want but you generally get what you need.
10. You may not always be happy or satisfied but you can always be fulfilled.
11. The only reality is Now and missing this moment means it is lost forever.
12. A set of beliefs which give your life meaning, purpose, contentment, comfort do not have to be believed by anyone but you.
13. People are more damaged than evil and more frightened than cruel.
14. Your parents did the best they could. There can be nothing more than that.
15. When those you love and who love you in return hurt you, it is because they care and you care, and that is the gift and the curse of love.
16. The good thing about family is they care; the bad thing about family is they care.
17. You have only one body, look after it as if it were the most precious thing in the world – which it is.
18. Beware of ‘shoulds’ unless you are certain they are your ‘shoulds.’ Doing something because it is someone else’s ‘should’ is likely to do more harm than good and that applies to everything, including exercise and what you eat.
19. Most of the things which happen in life have more to do with fate, destiny, chance or plain old-fashioned dumb luck than good management.
20. You can’t control most of what happens to you but you can choose to manage how you respond to what happens to you.
21. Good health is often a gift some do not get. If you have it, look after it but recognise there are no guarantees and just value your body as your best friend, whatever is happening.
22. Make the best of the bit you are in. There is no other bit except the bit you are in.
22. What is happening in the world may not change, but how you feel about it can and does. It is not the way the world is but just the way you feel.
23. If you want to reject something, make sure you do the research first so you know what it is you are rejecting and so you don’t look prejudiced, ignorant, bigoted or ill-informed when you are rejecting.
24. You will never understand anything properly unless you have experienced it. No man for instance will ever understand childbirth. But even with experience, what you learn will never be quite the same as what someone else experiences and learns.
25. Many of the opinions we hold are inherited and not formed from either knowledge or reason, least of all what we really think or feel.
26. Sex in a relationship is the glue of love, compassion and delight which holds you more firmly together. When sexual relationships diminish it is because the relationship itself has diminished and it has nothing to do with the physical act of love.
27. The most powerful force at work in the world is Love and you may forget where you left it for a time, but you will never run out of it.
28. There is no such thing as pure objectivity, ever. Everything is to lesser and greater degrees, subjective and perceptive. How self-aware you are will dictate how much you can assess objectively.
29. Because of the nature of the relationship dynamic a parent will always have far greater power to hurt a child than vice-versa. It is also why parents can never be friends with their children, no matter how friendly their relationship might be.
30. Liking someone is more important than loving them and often harder to achieve. Being liked is particularly important for children.
31. Know Thyself! It is the key to all life including this one and any which come after.