A Walk About In My Mind by Harold Stearley
Who, then, is “animate” and who “inanimate”? Within the assembly of the Lotus, all are present without division. In the case of grass, trees and the soil . . . whether they merely lift their feet or energetically traverse the long path, they will all reach Nirvana.
— Zhanran the Sixth Patriarch of Tendai Buddhism (1711-82)
As I was walking along the creek’s bank, my head was in a swirl. So much internal noise, while the outside world remained placid. Utterly calm and quiet. The only noises came from the trickling, crystal-clear, emerald water. The hum of seventeen-year cicadas. The occasional bee, wearing a cloak of pollen and having a belly full of sweet nectar, barely able to carry its own weight on its flight path back to the hive. And from the trees swaying, or rather dancing, in time with the Chief Western Wind.
A Black Swallowtail fritters past, in complete silence. Not a care in the world.
But, oh so much internal clatter. An orchestra of out-of-tune instruments each playing a different symphony. Does this tumult of turbulence comprise what we’ve come to call our Consciousness? Does all of this internal noise make us “Aware?” And “Aware” of what exactly?
Now, when I started writing this piece, I had no idea where it might lead. Frankly, my thoughts have been pretty scattered as of late. Just too much going on to process. Yet we do process tremendous amounts of information each day, even if we think we’re not. And we believe we process more information in our sleep, but how we do that remains a complete mystery. It’s all just theory.
And who’s to say whether “dreaming” and being “awake” are the same thing? Which is more “Real?”
Perhaps it’s all a dream.
So, just what is Consciousness? Or better yet, what does it mean to be Alive? Where do our identities come from? Does our physical brain even have anything to do with being “Conscious” or “Awakened?”
By Consciousness, I don’t simply mean being awake from our slumbers or aware of our surroundings, I throw in self-awareness – the awareness that we exist and being aware of that existence. We talk to ourselves constantly as our rational mind tries to make sense of the world and figure out how we’re supposed to fit into this mess. Does that internal dialog represent our Consciousness?
And that poses an even harder questions besides determining what constitutes Consciousness. Just what is our Purpose? Why do we have such Consciousness in the first place?
What the hell are we all doing here?
Scientists have yet to correlate any specific physical structure in the human brain to Consciousness. We are currently unable to quantify what our Mind or Soul or Consciousness are. We can’t locate a physical point of origination. We can’t measure it. But we can describe action. The things we see happening around us and the things we ourselves are putting into motion. And we can describe thought, even if we lack the means to understand or express exactly where that thought arises from.
Sounds a lot like Quantum Mechanics. The physics of atomic and subatomic particles. Are such unseen particles, only identified by their effects in the environment, the same as our own “Particle of Awareness?” Do we define our existence or Consciousness then by the effects we have, physical or otherwise, as we traipse through this world?
Since we can’t seem to wrap our heads around what Consciousness is or where it comes from, why not a “Mass” or “Collective Consciousness?” And if we are all Particles of Awareness from a singular Source, do we essentially represent one part of the internal dialog of that infinite Source? The Source’s Mass Consciousness.
One thing scientists have confirmed is that different organelles in each of our cells interact with other components of the cells, which by definition is social activity. Does that mean they are Conscious? They definitely are “Alive.” If they are not Conscious, but they are “Living,” does that mean life itself is unrelated to Consciousness?
The concept of the “Eternal Soul,” might shake its head in agreement.
While we all seem to be packaged up with our own distinct Particle of Awareness, who’s to say we all aren’t linked (MitaKaye Oyasin) in some form of Mass Consciousness or Awareness. For that matter, since various cellular organelles are themselves independent creatures, then we, so-called humans, have direct physical interconnections with billions of other personalities within our own bodies. Our internal hive.
Ponder that for a while.
We are multi-beings. Is that analogous to the Supreme Being having spread its Particles of Awareness out among the eternity of its ethereal body? A tiny part of which are we?
Depending on one’s definitions or beliefs, being “alive” could be totally divorced from Consciousness and all of matter could possess Consciousness. So where does that leave us in terms of what we traditionally call the “inanimate” or unalive?
So enters a new word for my vocabulary – “Panpsychism,” or the idea that Consciousness is inextricably linked to all matter and simply grows stronger as a physical object becomes more complex. I might take issue with the growing stronger as a part of complexity part, as I believe Consciousness is Consciousness, period. I mean, how would we judge the Consciousness of a flower? Does it possess more or less Consciousness than we do? How would we know?
It is said that as the centuries passed, humans forgot the language, the means of how to speak to the rest of the Natural community. Thus, we remain in ignorance of the Real World around us.
Panpsychism rings true with what our First Nations Peoples recognized – there is Spirit in absolutely everything in existence, including the “inanimate,” down to the infinitesimal specks of sub-atomic particles. For example, in simple to understand terms, we have the Stone People and the Thunder Beings. Anthropomorphic analogies to honor the Soul Light in every form of matter.
This includes the recognition that the four basic elemental forces have Consciousness because they’re all composed of matter. Earth, Air, Water, and Fire – all matter in different forms, perhaps even in transition from one form to another, all possessing Consciousness.
Have you spoken with your campfire lately? I have with mine. 😊
Consciousness is all subjective. It doesn’t have to be made up of thought, reasoning, sight, sound, or smell. And even if it did, we currently have no way to measure the Consciousness of a Dragonfly or a Stone. How would we know what they were contemplating? Or perceiving? Or feeling?
We go around labeling all forms of matter and cry out that they lack “sentience,” the ability to perceive and feel things. But we have no way of knowing what a rock senses as it’s skipped across the surface of a lake or ground up by a glacier carving a cirque into a mountainside.
Perhaps, instead of looking at Consciousness like it must be embodied within a physical, live, so-called sentient organism, it is composed of something more similar to electromagnetic waves. These waves are constantly being emitted by all forms of matter, just like our own Auras.
If we are perceptive enough, we might just see the Auras surrounding Trees, or Clouds, or Lightning Bolts, or Mountains, or maybe even that Dragonfly. Maybe we do this all the time subliminally, and we respond continually to cues being emanated from these other beings without realizing how our Consciousness is interacting with theirs.
Our waveforms colliding with theirs.
In human societal terms, we are very much sense-addicted. Our Consciousnesses tend to accumulate sensory perceptions, and label these self-generated interpretations as “reality.” If this “reality” matches what others believe they perceive, at least marginally, then we will call that truth. If there is no match, then it’s called a delusion or a hallucination by those who believe their perception was in congruity with the “Norm.”
I guess I live in a World of Delusion as I prefer to see what others deny.
Physical bodies are Ephemeral, while Consciousness is Ethereal and stretches on into Eternity.
I always find the Life and Spirit in Nature every time I foray out into the Real World. All Our Relations, all forms of Consciousness, are there waiting to speak to us. The Creature-beings, the Stone-People, the Standing-People, the Plant People, the Winged Ones, the Finned Ones, the Two-legged, the Four-Legged, the No-legged, the Creepy-Crawlers, Mother Earth, Father Sky, Grandfather Sun, Grandmother Moon, the Cloud-People, the Thunder-beings, the Great Sky Nation, the Four Chief Spirits – Air, Earth, Water and Fire, the Four Chief Winds – North, South, East, and West, the Ancestors and, of course, Great Mystery. They surround us in that Real World. If some or all of that World is Panpsychic in nature, well that’s fine with me.
That World is where I feel at Home 🙂
Many thoughts come to me about writing, and I know I’ve said this many times, but it seems to me that, I’m channeling rather than having independent thought. The thoughts, the words, are foreign in origin. They simply emerge in my brain from somewhere in the void. How is that possible? But then again, how is that not possible? Why is the concept of collective information or mind sharing so controversial? Why is it delusional to believe a Butterfly can communicate on an unseen level with us and provide an affirmation or even a warning? The world becomes so boring and trite if we try to remove all of the Magick in it.
- Twenty-One Grams
One doctor, back in 1907, attempted to determine if Souls have a physical weight. If so, there must be a physical nexus somewhere in our body that houses this indescribable sense of “being.” So, he measured the weight of people before and immediately after death. While widely, and appropriately, criticized for selective reporting of the data, this doctor came up with the figure of 21 grams as being the weight of a human soul. But even assuming that’s true, however nice it sounds, just where are these 21 grams of Soul-weight hiding in our bodies?
- Phantoms Surround Us
I have certainly met people whom I felt were Phantoms. Lacking self-awareness and awareness of their surroundings. Soulless. If Consciousness is independent from “life” that can provide the answer for these apparently oblivious mounds of flesh that merely parrot back cliches and platitudes. A rock has superior Consciousness to these folks. You’ve probably met a few of these folks yourself.
Disclaimer: It’s been a while since I posted on the blog (2 months to be exact), and there are a couple of reasons for that. Once I had a post pilfered, I sort of lost my enthusiasm. Another, more significant reason though is that my illness has advanced. That’s a pretty bland statement, but without going into a lengthy discussion on chemical and mold sensitivities, let just say my brain has been scrambled and it’s really tough concentrating and putting together cohesive thoughts. So if this post seems to be a bit unworldly, maybe that’s why – LOL ! Or maybe it’s just the character of the subject matter 😊
** All of my writing and photographs are copyrighted and cannot be used in any fashion without express permission of the author, Me.