“Every human being, and every human mind, has roots that extend indefinitely far back through time…the consciousness of the individual is inextricably tied to the consciousness of the whole…Everything in nature is actually connected or implicated with everything else…” – David Darling, philosopher, from his book, “Equations of Eternity
“David Darling has pressed the matter of consciousness into the moment vividly for me, not simply due to his compelling prose, but also because of the immediacy of consciousness and its relationship to the world we inhabit, which often offers us conflicting priorities based on our personal sensitivity to the events which transpire in the temporal portion of our reality. From the simple beauty of the beams of sunlight filtering through the trees in the front yard, all the way through to the urgency of world events, our consciousness encompasses every nuance of our existence in ways that generally escape notice much of the time, but occasionally in ways that feel like a punch in the stomach.”
With this beginning paragraph, which I wrote as part of a series of blog posts about consciousness in the world, I began to address directly how, in my view, our individual subjective experience of consciousness is part of a much larger awareness that includes “the consciousness of the whole.” Due in part to the ineffable nature of our connection to “everything in nature,” as well as to other living souls in our world, it can appear that such connections are an illusion produced by the astonishingly complex human brain, and the closer we come to understanding the processes involved in conscious awareness, the greater the tendency to suppose that it can be reduced to mere physiology.
The so-called, “illusion of consciousness,” seems no more like an illusion in the world of experience to me than the “illusion of the solidity of an object,” in light of our understanding of particle physics. We know now that all matter consists mostly of particles spread very far apart with vast areas of empty space in between. When two objects meet, like a fist thrust rapidly into your stomach, the two never actually make contact on the atomic level, but are rather repelled so completely in that realm that contact is not even possible. However, this underlying scientific explanation does nothing to diminish the “reality” of being struck by a solid object.
With all that we do know, we still have a limited view of the complete vastness of the universe, and it seems likely to me that there must exist other worlds where the natural rhythms are surely “worlds apart,” from any that we know of here on earth. Within each of us, also, from the deepest recesses of the many possible levels of attainable consciousness, there must exist variations in the depth and wealth of experiential awareness which may be possible, and the question remains equally compelling for me as the idea of space exploration or the possibility of time travel. There can be very little doubt that our central nervous system, and sensory processing in the brain, provide us with the most immediate experience of our temporal existence, but just as we perceive and express our understanding of the external world through our individual objective sensory capacities, so too can we express our individual subjective perceptions of the influences produced by what we may wish to describe as a transcendent source from which our understanding springs in the first place. Admittedly, the profound and utterly real notion of the existence of a transcendent aspect in my personal experiences has given me no particular advantage in expressing it outwardly, and in some ways, has complicated my attempts to do so.
Because we are intellectually aware of the spaces between fluctuating particles of energy at the atomic level also does not take away from the very real consequences of our interactions with other human beings who are also made up of these same particles. As a human being, I am afflicted with a very human frailty, and thus, prone to characteristically human drives, weaknesses, and a host of other tendencies. As a reasonably cognitive spirit in the world, I have worked very hard to achieve an understanding of the experiences of my personal humanity, particularly when it comes to my experiences with my fellow human beings. While I have stumbled many times, and at other times, flat out failed to reach a mutual understanding with each soul I encounter, the starting place has always been at the very heart of me, where I have, for most of my adult life, nurtured the development of a loving and gentle spirit, in order to interact as well as I can with other souls I encounter.
Personal weaknesses, while not something anyone really likes to acknowledge, have caused me some stressful periods throughout my life, and more than a few sleepless nights lately. At times, it has seemed that I simply can’t do anything right. I have become much more aware of these personal aspects in recent years, and strive constantly to improve myself, but in spite of my best efforts, I still occasionally stumble, and it makes me wonder if there might be some higher purpose to it all. A recent encounter with an extraordinary spirit has given me cause to believe in such a purpose. It is rare to encounter such spirits in my experience, but in his three part series, “Conversations with God,” Neale Donald Walsch reports a response from the Creator of all things, which expresses an encouraging view of such experiences in a segment from one such conversation in this way:
“I tell you this: every person who has ever come to you has come to receive a gift from you. In so doing, (they) give a gift to you–the gift of your experiencing and fulfilling who you are…When you see this simple truth, when you understand it, you see the greatest truth of all:
“I have sent you nothing but angels.”
There have been times when I have acted in my own best interests, and in retrospect, I recognized that at least part of what occurred was the result of my own selfish motives, but I believe that for the most part, I have been able to do much good in my life, and strive always to do what feels right to me. I am not completely selfless even now, but I am learning to forgive myself for not being so at every moment. The continuing story of my spiritual path which began in earnest in Massachusetts, now comes into sharper focus as I prepared to return to that place, and at that time, as it is also true today, I simply had to trust in the wisdom that brought me to the time and place where these events unfolded, and which constituted an essential step on my spiritual journey. Then, as now, the pursuit of my understanding of consciousness and its fundamental nature take on an even greater urgency.